21 Nov 2021

Took Midlana out to shake out the cobwebs and gave the wife a ride to Costco. While waiting in the car, I was reminded how stress patterns in some materials (such as Lexan) are visible when viewed through polarized sunglasses. Pretty cool.

Driving home, there were a few opportunities to open it up, and with all the noise and wearing earplugs, I could hardly tell what all the drama and arm-waving was about with my wife. It must have been her exclaiming how much fun she was having.

 

20 Nov 2021

Wow, didn’t realize how long it’s been since an update. I’m still here, and still have Midlana.

The big news is that our company offered early retirement—and I decided to take it. December will be the end after 26.5 years with the same company.

The first big project is the home remodel that’s been pushed off for decades due to the car projects. The remodel is already underway, gathering major parts before anything is removed. Kitchen cabinets have been ordered, but will probably be delayed along with everything else parked on cargo ships off the coast of Long Beach, California. Other than cabinets, I plan to do everything myself, because as was learned during car construction, involving others (contractors, in this case) will likely lead to disappointment. I also enjoy learning new skills, and of course, it saves a huge pile of money.

About Midlana, I’m currently waging a mental battle with myself concerning sports cars in general. Sports cars haven’t changed, but I have. In short, I don’t enjoy driving as much as I used to. Well, I take that back. I enjoy driving, but only when conditions suit the car. That is, when driving the truck to Home Depot, traffic conditions don’t really bug me. Driving Midlana in heavy traffic though, can be extremely frustrating, very much like owning a thoroughbred racing horse and only being able to walk it. For me, the joy of driving a sports car is completely ruined when traffic keeps you in low gears the entire trip… I work 25 miles from home, arriving at work at 6 am to beat traffic, and get there in 30 minutes. The problem is going home. It doesn’t matter what I’m driving, it’s going to take an hour, averaged 25 mph. Doing that for 26 years really took the fun out of it. I drove Midlana to work a total of maybe four times in about eight years, because the frustration took all the fun out of it.

“Take early weekend drives”, they said. Heading out into the back country early does indeed result in more open roads, though Sunday afternoons are not much fun because everyone who headed back from the desert in their RV /caravans, usually pulling trailers. Want to take a relaxing drive down the coast? Again, unless it’s done early, it’s a lowspeed train of cars moving from one light to the next. I can only partly blame traffic, as the other thing that’s changed is me—my interests are drifting. I’ve mentioned the 3D printer, wooden gear clocks, astronomy, koi, gardening, etc. I discovered that I’m well suited to being a homebody, and having worked from home for the last year or so, it really underscored how much I dislike traffic, never mind the 90 minutes lost everyday to sit in it. (I’m very aware of the irony, that a guy who built two cars from scratch is complaining about traffic, but oh well.)

That said, with retirement nearly upon me, driving an over-powered sports car mid-day and mid-week may rekindle some interest. There are a few back road routes I haven’t taken yet, and mid-week, it should be fairly light traffic out that way.

One reason  for the slow updates is because I want to keep this focused on Midlana, not boring you with unrelated nonsense. This will continue, so Midlana material will appear here, while my other activities are detailed on the Midlana Builder’s forum (link at the top).

25 July 2021

Chris, in the UK, has fully completed his build of Midlana #2. He, and the magazine, Practical Performance Car, were kind enough to forward a copy of the subsequent article. It’s extensive and detailed, and I couldn’t have hoped for anything better. I was also very impressed that the magazine doesn’t chop up articles with ads as is done in so many magazines. In fact, there’s not one ad intruding into the article… very refreshing. Anyway, here you go!: Chris’s PPC article (34MB)

Practical Performance Car is exactly the kind of magazine I would buy because it’s eclectic mix of interesting one-offs. These are—to coin a UK term—”shed-built” cars, not $150K rolling advertisements for shops. It’s a little disappointing that magazines like this are so few and far between here in the states. I’ve always been a bit envious of the UK, how small car manufacturing there seems to be embraced much more so than here—the irony being how our “love of cars” doesn’t seem to extend past the showroom floor.

On a related note, Chris lives near Jeremy Clarkson’s farm, and I couldn’t help but wonder if someday, Clarkson might see the car. As for what he might say about it, I’m not holding out much hope for a complement, given the interactions that the Top Gear hosts had with homebuilts in general.

In other news, the 3D printer is finished—about as finished much as any home-built project can be. 3D printing being what it is, there’ll be endless adjustments, but I must say, the very first test print turned out far better than expected.