I must start by quoting scripture. I take the following from the Old Race
Track Testament, Book of Riverside, Chapter 50, Verses 10-13.

...And he stood proudly on the shop room shouting to all that could hear. I
say to you don your nomex and find your competition license; discard the old
race tires for new; let the 108 Octane enhancer and Castrol R flow like
water for the Prodigal Bugeye returned from the body shop and it is good.
Now the rebuilding begins in earnest...

Yes, after 9 months the Bugeye Vintage Racer has returned. I am glad for
several reasons. First, I was worried that my readers would loose interest
in the project. After all, part 6 was published in July 2000.

Second the Mini Mania guys can now rest easy. I was expecting they would
send a sympathy card to my wife thinking I had died because they have not
seen a parts order for some months. That reliable income, generated by my
continual parts purchases, was necessary to pay for the move. Maybe the lost
income was necessary to maintain a facility in the high rent district and
forced the move. A side note: Most Bay Area Californians still wrestle with
the concept of Milpitas and High Rent District in the same sentence.

Finally, I feel like there has been some real progress. I wish the progress
were more personal but it is progress.

So why did it take 9 months for the body guy to do his thing? Believe me he
did not underestimate the job by any means. It seems that the project was
plagued by more important schedules and the painter's illness.

I admitted that I had no real schedule. I had no specific race day target. I
knew that when the car returned I had a lot of finish work. So I was
willing to tell the body guy that other projects could precede mine if
deadlines were to be met.

The problem was the painter. My body guy had three cars at the painter: a
Lincoln, a Mercedes and my Bugeye. They were there in early summer in plenty
of time to finish by August. Then the painter took sick with is best
described as a debilitating disease. The cars sat with a hope of recovery
that never occurred. So at the end of summer my guy pulled out all three
cars and was behind schedule on two. My car sat as he worked to finish the
other cars.

Was it worth the wait? YES, YES, YES. Even the delivery truck driver said
that the Sprite did not look nearly like the car he picked up in May. All of
the surface rust is gone. All of the unnecessary holes are gone. The dented
rear panel is replaced. Everything under the hood, in the cockpit and even
the roll bar is gleaming black. My body guy and I had talked quite often. He
asked several times what would be the ultimate future for the car. I kept
telling him it was a racecar so I did not need a show/100 point finish. If
this is his response I need to see some of his show work. Black is a
difficult color but he made it look easy.

I promised to given you his name when the car returned.

Jay Merritt
Waynesboro, VA

I highly recommend his work but he is busy. In fact the driver was off to
pick up another car for Jay.

The quality of the product only increases my admiration for working
craftsmen. I have already admitted I have no patience for bodywork. I have
tuned my welding skills graduating from grunt repairs of neighbor's garden
tractors to the repair of the Bugeye dashboard that was filled with a
multitude of instrument holes. I know that I can re-assemble just about
anything but I still admire and learn from every contact with craftsmen.
House painters, plumbers, mechanics it does not matter. I was looking at a
friends Model-A hot rod project recently. The owner had finished the chassis
- blown Chevy small block, independent front suspension and Jag rear. He was
also waiting for the body but proudly showed me the fenders. They started as
the usual abused, rusted Model-A fenders that were now a glossy red. I ran
my hand over the inner fender and it was as smooth at the outside. He told
me that his body guy used to do this for a living but is now studying
computer technology but still accepts one car at a time. My question was
why? Here I am 30 years as a mechanical engineer and engineering manager
with thousands of hours of meetings/travel plying my trade wondering why a
skilled craftsman wants to get into computers. The light bulbs flashed with
another inspiration. I plan to promote the Career Crossover Center (CCC). It
will match skilled craftsmen with working professionals in an atmosphere
where each can share and learn. Now I can learn body work/painting and teach
budget worry/meeting attendance. I think I will be the winner.

The Bugeye Vintage Racer sits is back in my shop. I visited it again last
evening just to admire it again. Everything sits on the shelf waiting for
assembly. Watch for my next installment. I am planning a photo essay.