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EDITOR'S MEMO: Shifting Gears

September 1, 2006
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A treatise on doing things differently by Managing Editor Brian Hayes

A brief preface: writing the monthly Editor's Memo is not part of my job description. As managing editor of ASI, I spend my days toiling in the magazine's What's New and Company News departments. I edit the weekly E-Newsletter. I proofread piles of feature articles and columns every month. But I never write the Editor's Memo. Not my job. In fact, the closest I usually ever get is the masthead to the right.

Okay, that wasn't so brief, but there's a point to all of this preamble: we're doing things a little differently with the Editor's Memo this month - just as Gene Dickirson, subject of "Built from Scratch," did in his line of work. Only, instead of writing a 400-word column, Dickirson and his handpicked crew of engineer-types built an entire car from scratch.

It's possible that this may not seem all that impressive to much of our readership, but to Joe Average (read: me) the mere thought of fabricating and assembling an automobile with one's bare hands practically blows the mind. After all, I'm the guy who pays $25 for an oil change. I once spent 15 minutes trying to figure out how to put gas in my dad's Jeep. And it's been a good day if I can somehow manage to get some engine coolant into ... the thing that holds engine coolant.

What makes Dickirson's accomplishment all the more ridiculous (and I mean that in the most sincerely ironic sense of the word, sort of the way bad meant good when I was eight) is the simple fact that so few of us humans have even attempted something so audacious. Did you put your own car together? Of course not! Know why? Because designing and assembling a car from scratch is that rarest of rarified air, like shooting through outer space to walk on the moon, or visiting the wreck of the actual Titanic on this planet: you could do it, but you probably won't.

In this age of instant gratification, Gene Dickirson and his crew spent over five and a half years working on the GDT Speedster project, during which time they fabricated over 2,000 original parts and used 17 different kinds of adhesives and sealants to put them all together. (I have to admit, I was wondering how I'd sneak that last part in there. Mystery solved.) As someone who struggles with even the concept of a manifold, I think there's something to be said for that.

It is, by definition, pretty awesome.

Brian Hayes is managing editor of ASI. He is also editor of ASI's weekly E-Newsletter. He can be reached at 6075 B Glick Rd., Powell, OH 43065; phone (614) 789-1881; or e-mail hayesb@bnpmedia.com .

Also in This Issue

  • The debut of our International Report. Look for this column periodically in the pages of ASI.
  • ASI EndUser: Packaging. The third in a series of special editorial sections focusing on end use applications.


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