Car stories

April 2013 » Columns » FROM THE PUBLISHER
Mark C. Zweig

A number of engineer-readers of CE News and its sister publication, Structural Engineer, have written to ask about my '35 Ford pickup in the picture above. It was a drivable but half-finished project when I bought it from a friend. It had a Buick V-6 in it at the time – barely any interior and no heater. I dropped in a 383 stroker crate engine with well over 400 dyno-tested horsepower, along with a new B&M Turbohydramatic high stall speed torque converter. It already had a Ford 9-inch rear end and front disc brakes. We added a new "hot rod heater," satellite radio, new radiator and electric fan, new window glass all around, and a "King Ranch" distressed brown leather interior with black piping. It also had new ceramic coated headers hooked up to four functional 3-inch-diameter exhaust pipes and electric exhaust cutouts going to dumps. We painted it in hot rod matte black, put some Dodge police car wheels on it, new tires, new shocks, and new wood bed stake sides.

What a wild little "trucklet" we created for my design/construct/development firm, Mark Zweig, Inc.! My wife described the experience of riding in it to that of an amusement park ride!

But like most good things, this one had to end. My fun with the '35 was over and the need to replace it with a "real" F-150 materialized, so I sold it. It ended up going to Tokyo where I hear the new owner is terrorizing the local citizenry with his new fire-breathing, all-American hot rod toy.

Engineers fall into one of two camps. They either love vehicles or strictly view them as a means of transportation. Earlier this week I traveled to Miami to meet with a new civil and structural engineering firm client. This firm's principals loved cars. One has a twin turbo 911 Carrera, and the other a 7-series BMW – along with many car stories to go along with them. I have clients with Ferraris and classic motorcycle collections. More than one civil or structural engineer friend of mine races motorcycles. One of my old clients – a major Midwestern transportation engineering company – even has their own Indy car! Then I have other friends in this business who drive 10-year-old Toyota Priuses or 20 year-old Mercedes diesels with 500,000 miles on them. They fall into the latter camp.

We'll be taking a look at company cars at engineering firms in a future issue. But meanwhile, we've got a lot of other great articles for you to read in this April 2013 issue of CE News. You'll also see some minor graphics improvements in this issue. More improvements to come! We appreciate your readership and the business you give our advertisers. That's what makes it possible for us to put this magazine out every month. Read on and enjoy!

Mark C. Zweig
mzweig@zweigwhite.com

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