In this Update: Ed delivers a labor of love to his Uncle Wesley.  Motor home repair; Communication links, Data Compartment cooling

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Hourly workers punching in for today’s work party: Lars Pedersen, Steve Rima, Brandyn Bayes, Von Armstrong, Les Holm, Keith Zanghi, Andrew Kirk, Eric Helpenstell, Steve Wallace and Ed Shadle on location in Monitor Washington.

The Story of Wesley Martinson’s 27 Ford Model T

Absent from today’s activities was Ed Shadle who was on a very special mission.  For over a year  he has been restoring a 27 Ford Model T that belong to his Uncle Wesley Martinson.  Here is the story in Ed’s words…

                                                     Wesley Martinson in 1956

In the 50’s my uncle Wesley Martinson built a hot rod from the 27 Ford Model T body and put it on a set of 1932 Ford frame rails. He built a hopped up 53 Mercury engine and set that in front of a 39 Ford transmission. It was THE classic 50’s hotrod with  4 deuces (4 stromberg 97 carberators), headers and Edelbrock heads.

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In about 1963 he quit driving it and it sat in front of his garage for about 40 years, collecting dust, rust, junk and anything that could get stacked on top of it. About 10 years ago his daughter Robin talking him into hauling it to her place for safe keeping as thieves were slowly picking over the bones of the once very cool hotrod. It sat out in the bushes by her place for the past 10 years and looking like just another piece of junk. 

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Many times I asked my uncle what he was going to do with the 27 and he would always reply, I’m going to fix it up one of these days. He is 93 years old, suffering from lung cancer and some other long ago injuries he suffered while serving on New Guinea and Luzon during WWII. Two purple hearts (shot by a sniper on New Guinea and blown up by a bomb on Luzon) and two Bronze Stars yet he is still one of the nicest and easiest to please fellows you could ever meet. There was just no chance he would ever get it running again.  


A year ago, I built a plan, along with his daugter Robin to secretly “steal the car” and take it to my place to resurrect it from the dead. We planned it so I would arrive at her house in East Wenatchee after 8 AM on a day when he was going in for his chemo treatment and have it gone before he returned at 11 AM. While he and Robin were in town, I took my van around the house and out into the field to yard it out of there for loading. Little did I know that my van was about to get stuck in the soft sand covering  the very spot where Robin’s horse had been buried that summer when it passed away from old age. With a great deal of labor and sweat, I managed to dig the van out, yard the 27 out of the field and load it up. I left the house at 10:45. Whew!!! 

                                            Ed’s Uncle Wesley was a racer too!

For the past 10 months I’ve been working evenings in the garage on the 27, finding parts at swap meets, scrounging through my own piles of junk and rebuilding the car from nose to tail. The engine ran for the first time in 50 years and it is as strong as ever. 


I deliverd it to the Hot Rod Cafe in Monitor this Saturday for a reunion of family and friends and Wes’s kids. His first comment when the people parted to let him see the car was “I used to own a car that looked just like that”. Robin finally convinced him it was his old 27T roadster. His usual comment came out “well I’ll be damned”. He was smiles from ear to ear. I can tell you it made my day. He asked me it it runs and I said, get in, let’s take a spin. We did and he was tickled beyond words. I’m a happy person today………….Ed 

                                         Ed rebuilt the 27 Model T in his “spare time”
                   Ed and his 91 year old Uncle Wesley, August 22, 2015

This week in the North American Eagle™ hangar.


Visitors today were Dave Zanghi and son, Jordan.  Keith gave Jordan his first tour of the Eagle.  Andrew’s dad Chris also stopped by. Dave and Jordan were told to bring their coveralls if they show up a third time!


Keith went right to work this morning repairing the wheel well damage to the motor home.  With some support work done by Eric last week, Keith did some metal cutting and fabricating to continue the job.  Note: A sudden tire shredding blowout at highway speed is capable of doing some serious damage to a wheel well. It did.

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The two Steves continue to upgrade the cooling system for the data acquisition compartment. Preventing the on board computer and other delicate electronic components from over heating during runs is a must.

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Brandyn and Steve W were at work today trying to establish proper signal connectivity between the onboard laptop and the wireless router.  Sometimes computers have a mind of their own.  


 Lars took on the job of chasing threads on the fairing panels.  Keith and Andrew tested the portable generator for the motor home.  It has been shutting down sporadically for no apparent reason. 

 And the beat goes on as Team NAE readies our big red jet car for next month’s run for the records.


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