Thursday, November 12, 2015

Another Visit to Sport & Specialty

Why is this man smiling?  Because he's good at what he does, and loves doing it.

Long before I knew John Saccameno as the proprietor of Sport & Specialty, I knew him as a driving instructor, wheel-horse of our sports car club, and a fun guy.  Hotshoe and I know he has a business to run, so we don't pester him at the shop too often.  (Or at the track, for that matter.)  The cars that go through the shop are interesting (some fascinating), and the work is first rate.  So we have come to regard our visits as pilgrimages.

If interested, you can search this blog for previous posts about S & S.  Here's what we saw on our visit yesterday.  (And here's a link to the website):

Above and Below: This ground-up Ferrari 330 GT also includes a conversion from RHD to LHD.  This car was in the
shop two years ago when we visited, but won't the there next spring.  It's almost done, appearances to the contrary.

Lampredi V-12 in the Ferrari.  

Before coming to work for Sport & Specialty 13 years ago as Shop Manager (the dirty-hands kind), Steve Messner ran
his own Corvette shop.  He did the paint on this car back then.  Now it's at S & S for engine, suspension, and interior
upgrades and restoration.  Steve road tested the car last week and was not satisfied.  So it's up on jack stands for a

Can this crank be saved?  Steve was "packaging" this rusty Jaguar 4.2 crank for a trip to the machine shop to see if it
can be rebuilt.  I glanced at his handwritten punch list for another car.  Steve's approach makes me think of the
gospel preached in Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance: mindfulness.

Above and Below: Although these are two different cars, on the same day, you could think of them as "Before and After."
The car above is being taken down to bare metal again because it sat in a body shop for years.  Body filler absorbs
water, = possible rust.  The car below was painted the day before we arrived.

Above: engine top-end refresh with a mild boost to power (which runs fine on 91 octane
pump gas) and also seat modifications to make a very tall driver comfortable, on a car
previously restored by Sport & Specialty.  Below: Saccameno's own To Be Amenitized
Big Healey.  His red Healey 3000 is for sale.  Hotshoe asked John "Would you rather
be known as Healey specialists, or a shop with broad and deep capabilities across
several marques?"  Answer: "Yes!"

Some of the cars Sport & Specialty has worked on over the years.  While S & S does rebuilds and major repairs, the
majority of the work going through the shop is restoration, from high-quality "driver" up to concours show cars.

To close this out, a few random pix:

A rebuilt Jaguar XK-E differential/rear disc brake unit (with parking brake linkage).  Besides killer looks, the XK-E took
some state-of-the-art race car design--including fully independent rear suspension--to the street.  It was as breathtaking
in 1961 as the XK-120 had been in 1948.

Because Webers...

The Webers for John's Alfa GTA/GTV vintage racer, atop the box in which the new pistons and rods for his new engine
came.  An interesting description of the pistons is on the box.  But the important part is is in the caption below.  Guess
who will be rebuilding at least one engine personally this winter?

This picture is of the big-end of one piston/rod assembly, because it looks so cool.  And
because the piston was still plastic-wrapped.  The crown is configured with a lower
dome that gives "only" 10.5:1 compression, but propagates the flame front across the
combustion chamber much faster.  John can therefore back the ignition timing down
from an astounding 38 degrees BTDC.  He hopes for 175 reliable horsepower from
the new engine, which will have new cylinder liners and a leak-tested head.
 Live and learn.  ;-)

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