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Thread: The 2006 Iron Bottom is Over

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    Default The 2006 Iron Bottom is Over

    I just got back from the 2006 No Frills Iron Bottom Motoring Tour. This is a motoring tour open to drivers with vehicles manufactured over 30 years ago. You may have heard of this from Victor Laury who was looking for a co-pilot/navigator a little while ago. I can tell you Victor is pretty darn fast in that U20 roadster of his. I don't think I could have kept my shorts clean if I had co-piloted with him. I am sure he pissed off a few of the Porsche blue bloods in the crowd as he blew by in his Japanese tin box.

    Check out my photo gallery for a few shots of the cars involved. The event is kind of like one of those track events where drivers of different skill levels and different levels of car performance run on the same track. Only with the Iron Bottom your sessions are 8 hours long instead of 30 minutes, and the track is 1,000 miles long and takes three days to cover, and instead of paying $300 or more per day, they pay you! The tour is run over public roads, and drivers are responsible to drive in a safe manner. Most of the roads are lightly traveled, and you might find one vehicle traveling in the other direction every 100 miles, so safe manner is subjective, eh?. You do have to watch out for those traveling in the same direction if you do not want to drive crazy fast. The crazy fast ones like Victor, however, will cut you some slack until they get to a stretch where they can blow by you.

    California at this time of year is green and lush and beautiful. It rained continuously for a month before the Iron Bottom, and will probably rain another few weeks after, but this year we hit a break in the weather, and there was very little rain for the three days of the tour. This is not to say, however, that the tour is for the timid.

    The first day we ran into snow and ice over the Angeles Crest Highway. I can tell you it is a thrill when your "summer tire" Yokohamas step sideways in the corner. Then there was the pea soup fog on pot-holed roads where cows roamed aimlessly unaware that that rumbling was your Datsun approaching through the haze. Due to the rain, many of the roads were flooded in places. It's like fording a stream. I got deep into one in my Z. So deep the tail pipe was under water, and the engine choked out from the back pressure. I was lucky to start it up on the third try and pegged the tach at 6500, dumped the clutch and boogied out of there. Unfortunately my BRE spook spoiler ripped off in the process.

    At the opening night dinner I was fortunate to meet Jim and Jerry who drove a gorgeous '73 Z. There was no time to drive and look at the driving instructions too, so it was invaluable to follow these guys who had a dedicated navigator on board. Jerry is a retired Navy submarine Captain, and Jim is retired Army.

    I hope to run the Iron Bottom again next year. If any of you from out of state or out of country would like to share the driver and navigator roles in the 2007 No Frills Iron Bottom I have a quite capable '71 240Z with 280 engine and 5-speed transmission.

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    I posted a few photographs of some of the cars that participated in this years event.

    http://www.classiczcars.com/photopos...hp?photo=19903

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    It was a Blast - Really! As in, there is no paint left on my air dam - Blast.
    The number of rock chips on the nose will keep me busy next week to get her ready for the Solvang show. My camera broke on the 2nd photo I took, so I'm glad you got a few Pete.

    Oh the water hazards!!! All ten(?) of them. I never thought my SR roadster was part duck. Fast way to find out if your missing a floor plug!

    Geez, I had some fun. Before this, I've had some rides to remember, This one was the best of them, three days long! I was just exhausted Saturday. Who'd thought I'd find my limit for "Just Too Much Sports Car Driving"?
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    There's a couple more albums up. I'll post the links of more as I find them

    http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/sblank...r7BsEBMC9m5egZ

    http://community.webshots.com/album/549345915XtJgzX
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    What the heck is this, a Wagette? Part Corvette, part wagon? And if so, what's the wagon part made from. An old Nomad or somehting?

    =Enigma=
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    4/73 - HLS30-156236

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    Here's another gallery. This site is a pain. Avoid all the "Sign Up"s and the username/password bs and keep clicking on the photo.

    http://www.kodakgallery.com/ShareLan...68_85167804210
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    OK! ...I made it up. g72s20's Avatar
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    Post Never went into production....

    Quote Originally Posted by =Enigma=
    What the heck is this, a Wagette? Part Corvette, part wagon? And if so, what's the wagon part made from. An old Nomad or somehting?

    ..... But GM did build a few.A design exercise when they first released the Corvette. There was a cavalcade of Corvettes I think it was called. I'm still waiting on the return of my book that covered this release from a fellow 'vette enthusiast...sorry I can't remember the full story.

    Thanks Victor, that Kodak slideshow was fantastic, as were all the shots of this event.It really looks like fun!
    Jim.
    Last edited by g72s20; 04-12-2006 at 09:47 AM.
    Regards,
    Jim.


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    Thanks Victor for all the great links and photos. Did you really drive the roadster through that stream over the road? Brave man you are indeed!

    Chris A.
    1973 240Z HLS30-156693

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisA
    Thanks Victor for all the great links and photos. Did you really drive the roadster through that stream over the road? Brave man you are indeed!
    I hit a couple at a good speed. I ended up soaked in my seat. Better than Six Flags. There was ten or so stream crossings. One road had five. The "Road Closed" signs were up. I stopped at one of the signs to water an oak tree (I had to pee). A local drove up and I asked her (after zipping up) about the road. She told me that the water level had come down over the past day, and she tought I'd make it. I waited for the next few cars to talk to them (A cobra, the turbo Miata, and the V8 datsun roadster) We came to the first crossing with me in the lead. I just dove in, thinking that if I carried enough speed, I'd get across even if it turned out too deep.

    I sent up a big spray, and quite a bit landed on my head. That set my pattern for the rest of them. Dam the torpedos and full speed ahead. Most of the other doubts of my sanity were settled by then.

    Did I already say I had fun?
    Last edited by Victor Laury; 04-12-2006 at 11:14 PM.
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    fantastic pics Kodak gallery . Would"t have thought all those collector type cars would have participated. Then again cars were made to be driven. see you all at Motorsport richard (nickname d**k) (fix the site so I can use my name)

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    Sorry for taking so long to write this up. Actually I tried Sunday, and wrote a couple of paragraphs, and then suddenly hit the wrong key and it all disappeared!

    So, last week I completed my goal to participate in the 8th annual No Frills Iron Bottom Motoring Tour (NFIBMT). I had first heard of this event from Les Cannaday, several years ago. He told me at that time, "Vic, you should go. It's just what you like." Well, I kept missing out. After all, It's 3 days and 1,000 miles long, and takes 2 days vacation, which is the hardest part for me. But seeing the photos of the past years events, just made me burn to go.

    This year, I made my mind up early and reserved my room and planned my vacation days, months ahead. Last Wednesday night, I met the organizer, Ed (he calls himself the "Disorganizer") at the kick-off dinner at a Pasadena BBQ. I also got to see a preview of some of the cars that would be on the run. A couple of 356 coupes, a giant Caddie convertible, two Citroen SM's (one a wagon), an ultra rare Lambo Muria, a brace of 911's, a spattering of 914’s, two Alfas and 4 Z cars. When they saw my SR, they talked swimmingly about Eric H's V8 roadster performance last year.

    The First Day-

    Bright and early Thursday morn I arrived with three dozen donuts for my car crazy fellows. Eric H's unfair "Ford-i-fied" roadster and Cary C's 68 black SR was there as well. Ed on the bullhorn gave the drivers meeting. I was awed when he announced the passing of two previous participants over the last year. He said, "These guys were true car nuts. A moment of silence would not suit their spirits. Instead, when you start your car, rev it up to a roar to salute our good friends."

    The first route brought us up the Angeles Crest, past the storm induced snow line. The road was icy, but the crowd was so slow, I thought I might have made an error joining this group. But on the way down to Palmdale, the slower traffic made way for some of the more "Sports car" minded, and it started to suit me well. It got better. After Palmdale, we made our way down Bouquet Canyon Road.

    My homeboy roadsterites know this road well and so do I, a moderate speed twisty road, taken in third mostly with some forth gear stretches. I was delighted in finding myself in good company. Leading the pack were two Triumph TR2's, piloted by very good drivers, who attacked the road with reckless abandon. Once again, they proved skill and balls outweigh power. The rest of the pack included a 914-6, me, a turbocharged Miata and Eric H's V8 roadster. I found that the Miata and I were not only likes in the power range but also in driving mentality (degenerate as it may be) and we ended up sticking pretty much together for most of the event.

    When we reached the 5 Frwy, we then headed west on the 126 to Santa Paula, up the very storm damaged hwy 150 to Ojai. We left Ojai on the 33 north. This road has always been one of my favorites, just in sheer beauty. It did not disappoint this year as well. The rock faces dripping with moss, pierced with tunnels and sweeping corners with vistas overlooking the San Joaquin Valley. There were moments that I was going slow enough to enjoy the scenery, just not many.

    We arrived in Taft about 1:00, drivers hungry and cars thirsty. Ollie's on 33 diner is a Faux 50's theme restaurant, but of good quality and friendly atmosphere. I would suggest it for a future turnaround for roadster events. We made quite a fitting scene, taking over the parking lot with cars of interest. My patty melt hit the spot and so did the gas pump. I jumped out early to have Hwy 58 to myself. I'm glad I did, as it was a very good road to have a roadster spiritual quest upon. Smooth and varied from pasture to rolling hills, to twists, all rolled up into one.

    Reviews of Ollie’s on 33 diner
    http://www.newtobakersfield.com/home...327&post=11852

    When I got to the intersection of Huer Huero Road (“h-you-r where-o” what a tongue twister), the planned diversion loop, I was confronted by a ROAD CLOSED DUE TO FLOODING, in yellow and black. I paused to water a tree and a local rolled up to meet her kid’s school bus. I asked her about the road, and she said, “If I made it, you should too.” “The water level has come down a little since yesterday.” “But be careful, the Porsche Club always has one or two cars spin-out into Mr. Johnston’s pasture” – OH I just GOT To do this ROAD!

    I waited a little longer for some of the others to catch up. When we took off again, I was leading my Turbo Miata friend and Eric H. We got up to about 85MPH when we came on the first water crossing. After a little debate, I just dove in, sending up a rooster tail worthy of a WRC competitor, most, landing back on my head. Just like the log flume ride at an amusement park, with out the queue. Let me tell you, this is a great test to see if all your floor plugs are installed. I found out I was missing one in the driver’s side floor well in short order. The five water crossings did not dampen our spirits though, The Miata and I took several dashes above 100 MPH, when we weren’t braking hard for tight corners or misplaced rivers.

    This entire area is sports car heaven. I’d love to move there, but I’d become the neighborhood menace, and most likely have a torches and pitchfork party (ala Dr. Frankenstein) thrown in my honor. Eric H led a 911, me and the Miata up Camp 8 road, a well-paved single track, that curves so much you’d better have yourself and anything else strapped down. Especially if you plan to travel at “Socially irresponsible” speed. We arrived at Paso Robles, tired, elated and ready for the “Bar Car”, an Olds Vista Cruiser wagon that serves Margaritas.

    Day Two –

    We left Paso Robles in a fog. Our goal was a picnic lunch in Hollister Vehicle Park, east of Gilroy, first stop, Coalinga, to buy our sandwiches. After negotiating a mostly dirt, cow filled road, the fog lifted and we found ourselves on a rough single track, winding along the ridges of rolling hills (Vinyard Canyon, Indian Valley and Peach Tree roads). I was in very good company again, with an orange 72 240Z leading the way. The Z driver was the right man for the job, as we threw the cars through tightness at some times 90MPH. The only issue I had with him as he had no brake lights. Not a biggie, as you read the aspect of the car more than his signals. The stiff NISMO rear springs gave me a work out, as some of the braking and corners were taken with the rear skittering over the tops of bumps. I took it easier on the Rt 198 east to Coalinga and remembered being on it 17 years ago in a Honda Civic. Priest Valley looks like a nice place to live, if not a bit remote (very).

    We left Coalinga on Los Gatos Road and for it’s thirty mile stretch, it twisted through the mountains. Some of the sections were extremely tight and almost unpaved. I error’ed a right hander and almost plowed into the hillside – Understeer from an early apex bauble. Overall the Miata driver and I tore the road a new one. Thankfully there was not a soul on this road but us. God Loves Fools and Sports Car Drivers! I’m blessed on both counts!

    After lunch at the park, watching dirt bikes climb impossible inclines, we made our way to the coast and down to Seaside (Monterey area), where it began to rain. Down Carmel Valley Road by myself, slowly, as there was traffic, businesses and homes along it’s north end. It got much more exciting near the end where the traffic cleared and I was in the twisties (wet twisties) again.

    On the G14 South, to return to Paso Robles I attempted to chase an EXPERTLY driven Alfa 2000 Berlina Sedan. Dam they were skillful and just plain fast! I was just happy to keep them in sight. The Bar Car was a very welcome sight as was an aspirin bottle and bed

    Day Three -
    We back-tracked for the first time as we traveled again up the G14 to Fort Hunter Ligget for the “All Hands Breakfast”. Our Government sure knows how to pick some beautiful locations for bases. This one is in an ancient oak forest. The grounds once belonged to William Randolph Hearst as his hunting lodge – WOW!

    After breakfast we headed out Nacimiento Fergusson Road – PAY ATTENTION! All sports car lovers should treat this road as Mecca and go on a Haj to run it at least once! We (the Miata and my roadster), once again tore through the oaks and pines at break-neck speeds, stopping only once for a vista of the Pacific that HAD to be enjoyed.

    I followed Ed’s (the “Disorganizer”) silver 356 from there on at a much more leisurely pace. A road of note was Prefumo Canyon Road, which granted us another breathtaking Vista of Morro Bay, the green hills of earth surrounded by god’s only mountains. California is Awesome!

    We deviated from plan and crowd, enjoying The Best hamburger I have ever attempted to eat (half was dinner that night at home) in Nipomo at Jocko's Steak House. Ed told me the “Jacko Burger was way too much to eat, so I ordered it. Man, was it good!

    The course got even more corrupted when our route east back to the interstate 5 (Route 166) was barricaded closed due to storm damage. At that point, I waved off my company and headed down 101, home to LA

    Jocko's Steak House: 805-929-3686
    125 N Thompson Ave
    Nipomo, CA 93444, US
    Reviews at (lots of pop ups)
    http://cuisinenet.com/info/rstrnt-263836/#reviews
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    I thought I would add a little to what has been said. I had a wonderful time on the Iron Bottom. This is what our cars were designed for.

    Chris A. writes "Thanks Victor for all the great links and photos. Did you really drive the roadster through that stream over the road? Brave man you are indeed!"

    Indeed we all had to ford that stream. I don't know how Victor was able to make it through by making a run at it at 85 mph. I lost my BRE spoiler on about the third crossing. I stalled the engine when it came off too, but was lucky enough to get it started again so I didn't have to swim.

    Richard writes "Would"t have thought all those collector type cars would have participated. Then again cars were made to be driven."

    It was funny that there were a lot of cars that showed up at the bar car at night that you would never see on the back roads. The Muria for one was never seen off of major highways. That gorgeous Aston Martin convertible, however, was there every inch of the way, and he was not babying that beast either.

    Victor writes, "It was a Blast - Really! As in, there is no paint left on my air dam."

    I think this sums it up nicely. Three days of flat out back road hijinks. You want to make sure your car (and you) are up for the challenge. Besides loosing the front spoiler, my Z was about to loose a bolt on the drive shaft by the time I got home. Driving back North on Hwy 101 at 55 mph (to keep the car from vibrating apart) was the least fun part of the trip, but I'll be back again next year.

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