We Have Winners
Castrol North America's Top Techs program recognizes the best of America's automotive students every year as chosen by a "blue-ribbon" panel of judges including CC's own Matt King. Matt's parents are really proud of his blue ribbon too. Automotive students submitted 150-word essays through GTXTopTechs.com explaining why they should be considered as finalists, and judges pared those hundreds down to just eight. Each of the eight will serve as an honorary crew member on John Force's Funny Car crew during an NHRA event, and one will win a $7,500 scholarship to continue his (or her) automotive service education.
The eight finalists are Randi Reel of Bellville High School in Belleville, Texas; Daniel Gilbert of Flower Mound, Texas, a freshman at Universal Technical Institute's Houston campus; Chris Bohland of Half Hollow Hills East High School in Melville, New York; Dan Dorset, a senior at Bright High School in Brighton, Michigan; Michael Bretl of Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, a freshman at Madison Area Technical College; Carl Jones, a junior at Edwards County High School in Ellery, Illinois; Brian Millington of Belleville, Kansas, a freshman at Wyoming Technical Institute; and Pete Johnson of Mooresville, Indiana, a sophomore at Lincoln Technical Institute's Indianapolis Campus. They'll each get two tickets to the NHRA event they're attending plus a Castrol GTX hat and T-shirt, a Mac Tools toolbox filled with $1,000 of new tools, and a donation of both Castrol GTX motor oil and Castrol GTX High Mileage motor oil for use in his or her vocational education/automotive program.
Castrol will start accepting nominations for its 2004 GTX Top Techs program in September.
We recently had the opportunity to attend the Westec Metalworking and Manufacturing exposition at the Los Angeles Convention Center in March. The Westec expo is a trade show put on by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) featuring the latest in equipment and technology for those that turn metal stock into functional parts and pieces, and the level of sophistication available today is astounding. Still photos don't do justice to some of the equipment we observed-huge "cabinet"-based apparatuses that can perform multiple milling, drilling, and even threading processes without human intervention, short of loading the part and initiating the program. Just imagine what you could build if you had access to this stuff ... along with the knowledge to make it work. If this sort of thing interests you, check out www.sme.org.
There were many automated machine tools being demonstrated at the show. This is just one of the steps performed by this machine, which is capable of automatically switching drilling/cutting bits and then performing the actual operation. Although stuff like this is becoming commonplace in the manufacturing world, to motorheads like us, the possibilities seem boundless. Need a bellhousing adapter? Mill it up. A new set of pistons? Start carving.
A large portion of the show was dedicated to the computer hardware and software used to control the machines, design parts, and create prototyping models. One vendor explained that his company could accurately design a complex piece like a cylinder head on screen while also generating flow figures, and then transfer the design to a three-dimensional model (also done by computer), and then use that model to create molds for the actual parts. Technology like this partially explains the boom in aftermarket heads and intakes in recent years.
In And Out List
IN: Old cars that look like they're beat to hell, but run great
OUT: Old cars that look great, but run like they're beat to hell