Las Vegas – SEMA 2016 Day 2 (Part 1 of 2)

Wednesday 2nd November 2016. We got up early for something to eat, the sun was already out so this was going to be another lovely day in Las Vegas. For the second day of the show was going to be a little different. We wanted to do another hall of cars & trucks and finish a bit earlier ready for the second part of the day Adam had planned for us. We will cover that little adventure in the next post.

On arrival it was already busy, finding a place to park is a mission in its own right, seems as though people were starting to catch on to our secret little place.

The hall was packed out again so we decided to work logically up one walkway and down the next until we had seen the whole area. We start with more cars and trucks.

There was some pretty cool accessories on show and made some interesting pics. You found a “small upgrade” to add to his engine, some monstrous supercharger or two!


We worked our way outside to some more displays and the sounds of cars being thrashed around an arena.

The cars being thrown around the track were a couple of Mustangs going for it side by side.

Now for most Mustang lovers there is a special car which is owned by Ken Block. Of course we are referring to the Hoonigan. This reincarnation now has twin super chargers boasting a massive 1400bhp! Needless to say we are dedicating a little section to that car here. Hopefully we have it covered from every angle. It’s not often you get up close to such a car.



Now for the popular part gathering from emails tells us; the lovely SEMA promotion ladies.

Mart managed to get a pic taken with some of the models.

On the way back to the car we grabbed a few last pics from SEMA day two.

The next Part 2 post has nothing to do with cars or trucks. But it managed to make every one of us produce a huge smile for the hour or so we were there.

Las Vegas – SEMA 2016 Day 1 (Part 3 of 3)

Tuesday 1st November 2016. This post we wrap up the first day of cars and trucks.  We’re pretty sure we didn’t see it all, but we sure tried. Cars and trucks of the highest order along with some NHRA drag cars. We managed to capture some more of the wonderfully polite and patient ladies who signed their own promo posters and stood with everybody who wanted a photo with them. The photos are towards the end of this post.

Those of you who know Adam will seldom see him conduct public business, as he is a private man. But, at the show Yogi, Adam and Jason are seen making one of the rare conversations to start things rolling. The gentleman here liked what Adam had to say thus Adam was invited back for a more in-depth conversation to finalize the deal. Other various stands including a vinyl warp machine that printed your design’s while you waited.

Celebrity corner as promises, we have Richard Petty and of course the Bond car Aston Martin DB5 with all the gadgets. The DB5 here is called “The Q Car” and a fantastic replica.

This particular Chevy got a constant stream of admirers around it and we can see why. Such a great car to look at. This was one of a number of cars that were making copper look the latest trend.


We made the occasional wander outside when we got to an exit for some fresh air and some liquid refreshments in the shape of Iced-T. Now we don’t mean the rapper pop star here, just a chilled Iced T. It took a few attempts for the language barrier to be broken down and resorted to some half paced speaking which just made it worse. When that didn’t approach didn’t work it was a case of Neanderthal grunts and pointing to the drinks in a huge container of ice. Then young lady said; “Oh, you mean Iced-T”. To our ears there was no difference in pronunciation. There was a few giggles behind us in the (short) queue as we walked of trying to practice our American accents ready for next time. “Ice-T” or was it “Iced-T”?

More Promotional ladies.

We finished the busy day calling into a restaurant buffet. This was under a hotel/casino with the obligatory painted ceiling to look like daylight. This was a little different as the $39.99 will cover all you can eat and all you can drink.

The food was theme, seafood, Mexican, American, Asian, salad, soup and Italian. We managed to make a huge dent in each of the themes and the food was great quality. The best bit was us drinking beer the odd beer or two each. We think that Mustang Maniac crew got their monies worth this time. Although we don’t want to paint the picture of us all being heavy drinkers here, but the thirst was intense after all the walking of the day.

The pictures of the empty bottles was after a few had been cleared away. The journey back home was a contented one reflecting back on cars, trucks, engine parts, pretty girls, food and beer.

Also today was a special occasion as it was Yogi’s Birthday, so it was great evening off course, great food, lots of beer and great company.


Happy Birthday Yogi.

What could be better? We even come back to do it all again tomorrow for Day 2!

Las Vegas – SEMA 2016 Day 1 (Part 2 of 3)

Tuesday 1st November 2016. The SEMA show day one continues after our lunch break, we walked back inside to head straight to the Ford stand. We spent a fair amount of time there looking at the new models, track day cars and cars that win after a full day of racing.

Looking at Ken Blocks previous ride it was interesting to see that the lights both front a rear were actually stickers on solid metal.

Perhaps the most prized car on the ford stand was the actual race winning Le Mans GT car. The car is in exactly the same condition it was in as it crossed the finish line.


There was an Eleanor on show, but this one was automatic without any NOS.


On the way through to the Ford stand we had taken some pics of the cars & trucks that took our eye. The choice was varied, movie cars, record-breaking wood cars to the most shiny car we have ever seen done out in anodised coloured panels.

Some of the accessories were replacements, some were modern takes on an old style, there was everything from complete replacement bodies to gauges, some were just all about the bling with an engine covered in Rhine stones. Mart meet Barry Meguiar and took great delight in saying that he wanted some free shares considering the amount of cleaning products he buys from them!


Of course we can’t have a SEMA post without with some lovely promotional girls.

The last part of day one (part 3) we shall have more photo’s of the rest of the hall, movie cars and the odd celeb spotted.

Las Vegas – SEMA 2016 Day 1 (Part 1 of 3)

Tuesday 1st November 2016. SEMA starts, the whole point of the trip out to Las Vegas was now being played out. Due to the number of photo’s we took we will have to split the SEMA days over a few posts, if we don’t there would be a huge post taking ages to load. So here is part one of three. Luckily there won’t be too many words on these posts as it’s mainly cars, trucks and the odd pretty promotional ladies.

We had already had the parking sussed out and drove there after a light breakfast of a Steak and eggs! The South hall was going to be entrance and first port of call. For the guy’s first visit, Yogi, Gary and Mart they were amazed at the size of the halls, not on a single floor, but in some places over two floors. We spent the day in this hall and the “Ford OutFront” show. At this point we would like to thank Gary for keeping an eye out for Mart while he randomly disappeared to take a pic of something throughout the four days of SEMA. He managed to keep us all together unless we separated for a while to look at our own things, so he deserves an award for that and having the patience of a saint.

The cars and trucks need no introductions.

Yogi said that he had found his next ride as it was big enough for the bear.


We called outside to see the “Ford Outfront” where some cars and trucks were being thrashed around a track. There was even a band to welcome you in.

Some very talented driving skills were on display we must say. There was a raptor doing leaps over mounds of mud and Mustangs making lots of noise as well as destroying a few sets of tyres!


Some of the best noises were coming from the Roush tuned Mustang.


Around the arena were various tuning companies, aftermarket upgrades and of course a Ford merchandising truck. There was celebrity cars of their own rights, along with some celebrities themselves.


After the Ford merchandising truck had persuaded us to part with a few dollars we had a look around the outside of the halls. Fascinating mixture of cars McLaren hyper car, the best of Japan Skyline all mixed up with SS lifted classic.

Around lunch time Adam had some business appointments from stand holders to demo their products and attended the odd meeting(s) throughout the day. We made our way towards some hospitality suites for a sit down and some food.

After the very welcomed rest we headed back inside.. all of which is to come in Part 2 of 3.

Las Vegas – Halloween

Monday 31st October 2016. After our trip to the Hoover Dam we sat in the Hoover Dam Lodge quenching our thirsts until it was dark. The idea here was we wanted to drive into Las Vegas down the straight roads to see the lights in the distance. We will of course have a post of the new strip lights in full to come.

We passed quickly through the new strip and took some photos on the way through from the car.

We arrived “Downtown” after our drive and found a place to park. The thirst issue was not fully resolved and needed to be addressed as soon as possible. We found a bar at the edge of the Fremont Street strip so we could watch the world go by for a while. We have gone from vast open expanse of scenery to a point where we couldn’t even see the sidewalk later as it was so busy. Halloween was underway and a prize was being given for the best outfit by the judges where ever they may have been hiding.  Live bands were playing and a group on a stag outing by the looks of it were enjoying the music and the beer!  The street was in full swing and the atmosphere was amazing, with every turn of the traffic lights more people flocked to the area.

We tried to walk up and down the strip, but it was just best to go with the flow of people who had a natural slow meandering speed and direction.

Mart had on his bucket list to have a gamble in the Casino. Probably the famous casino in the area being the Golden Nugget was the place we headed for. The wallet that was previously lost was opened and some dollars were changed into little plastic discs. Black Jack was the chosen game and he found a table to take up residence.


Cards were dealt and we must say that Marts poker face was rubbish as he smiled at a good hand. After a few hands Mart had worked up a sweat, but he was up $75, not being able to believe his luck. So he decided to walk away and quit while he was up and his luck held out. Bucket list for Mart had another item ticked off.


The walk back took us past some more attractions not just bright lights this time.

We decided to call it a night not wanting to be too late as we had an early start for SEMA in the Morning. As we walked back to the car, we passed a monument that during the day was impressive, but at night it came to life. A fire-breathing bug, the noise and heat was pretty spectacular.

We found somewhere to eat off the beaten track a little, in the shape of a burger bar, it wasn’t the best, but it serviced a need but it did have a casino although it wasn’t that busy.

We had to stop off on the way back, just in case as we couldn’t remember the state of the beer supplies, in case that dreaded thirst reared its ugly head again. It was now T-minus six hours to go before we got to SEMA.🙂

Did you know?

  1. The names Las Vegas and Vegas are interchangeably used to indicate the Valley, the Strip, and the city, and are used as a brand by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority to denominate the entire region. The Valley is affectionately known as the “ninth island” by Hawaii natives and Las Vegans alike, in part due to the large number of people originally from Hawaii who live in and travel to Las Vegas on a regular basis.
  2.  Since the 1990’s the Las Vegas Valley has seen exponential growth, more than doubling its population of 741,459 in 1990 to more than 2 million estimated in 2015. The Las Vegas Valley remains one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the United States, and in its relatively short history has established a diverse presence in international business, commerce, urban development and entertainment, as well as one of the most iconic and most visited tourist destinations in the world.
  3. In 2014, a record-breaking 41 million visited the Las Vegas area, producing a gross metropolitan product of more than $100 billion.

Las Vegas – Hoover Dam

Monday 31st October 2016. After our trip to Shelby Factory we set of for the next destination on the bucket list, the mighty Hoover Dam. We had to travel for a while, looking out of the air conditioned car windows at the heat haze and you realise that you are in a desert, with spectacular scenery. Most of the pictures to start with here were taken from inside the car.

The main road across the top of dam itself has a security check point, after which you travel around a few corners and then you see it.

It’s hard to comprehend the size and huge scale of the construction and how long it took to build.


The main car parks were full, so we had to park in an over spill area about a ten minute walk away up the hill-side. In fact it was a perfect vantage point to look down on the dam as it were.

Mart and Gary couldn’t resist a selfie by the sign for Arizona.

After our walk down to the top of the dam you notice two large clocks on the towers. The state line for Arizona and Nevada states crosses Hoover Dam. The clocks are also the boundary between the Mountain time zone and the Pacific time zone. During the part of the year that the country observes Standard Time, you can gain or lose one hour stepping across the line.

The first thing you will see is the spill ways that were in place to allow the lake to divert while the dam was being built.


The first thing you will notice is the white line above the lake. This was the original water line when the dam was first built. Current rate of use means that the dam turbines that produce the energy had to be upgraded to take into account the less water flow and pressure. Looking over the wall past the spill way you can see the original lake bed.



The turreted wall invites you to look over the edge, on doing so it can give you instant vertigo looking at the power generation side. Trucks and cars parked down below look like tiny specs in the distance! It’s a sight that will stay with you forever once you see it for the first time.


We have found some facts about the Hoover Dam, it was once known as Boulder Dam, and is a concrete arch-gravity dam in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River, on the border between the U.S. states of Nevada and Arizona. It was constructed between 1931 and 1936 during the Great Depression and was dedicated on September 30, 1935, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Its construction was the result of a massive effort involving thousands of workers, and cost over one hundred lives. The dam was controversially named after President Herbert Hoover.
Since about 1900, the Black Canyon and nearby Boulder Canyon had been investigated for their potential to support a dam that would control floods, provide irrigation water and produce hydroelectric power. In 1928, Congress authorised the project. The winning bid to build the dam was submitted by a consortium called Six Companies, Inc., which began construction on the dam in early 1931. Such a large concrete structure had never been built before, and some of the techniques were unproven. The torrid summer weather and lack of facilities near the site also presented difficulties. Nevertheless, Six Companies turned over the dam to the federal government on March 1, 1936, more than two years ahead of schedule.
Hoover Dam impounds Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the United States by volume (when it is full). The dam is located near Boulder City, Nevada, a municipality originally constructed for workers on the construction project, about 30 mi (48 km) southeast of Las Vegas, Nevada. The dam’s generators provide power for public and private utilities in Nevada, Arizona, and California. Hoover Dam is a major tourist attraction; nearly a million people tour the dam each year. The heavily travelled U.S. 93 ran along the dam’s crest until October 2010, when the Hoover Dam Bypass (bridge) opened. The water flow rate has a maximum of 50,000 cubic feet per second!

River diversion

Before the dam could be built, the Colorado River needed to be diverted away from the construction site. To accomplish this, four diversion tunnels were driven through the canyon walls, two on the Nevada side and two on the Arizona side. These tunnels were 56 ft (17 m) in diameter. Their combined length was nearly 16,000 ft, or more than 3 miles (5 km). The contract required these tunnels to be completed by October 1, 1933, with a $3,000-per-day fine to be assessed for any delay. To meet the deadline, Six Companies had to complete work by early 1933, since only in late fall and winter was the water level in the river low enough to safely divert.
Tunnelling began at the lower portals of the Nevada tunnels in May 1931. Shortly afterwards, work began on two similar tunnels in the Arizona canyon wall. In March 1932, work began on lining the tunnels with concrete. First the base, or invert, was poured. Gantry cranes, running on rails through the entire length of each tunnel were used to place the concrete. The sidewalls were poured next. Movable sections of steel forms were used for the sidewalls. Finally, using pneumatic guns, the overheads were filled in. The concrete lining is 3 feet (1 m) thick, reducing the finished tunnel diameter to 50 ft (15 m). The river was diverted into the two Arizona tunnels on November 13, 1932; the Nevada tunnels were kept in reserve for high water. This was done by exploding a temporary cofferdam protecting the Arizona tunnels while at the same time dumping rubble into the river until its natural course was blocked.
Following the completion of the dam, the entrances to the two outer diversion tunnels were sealed at the opening and halfway through the tunnels with large concrete plugs. The downstream halves of the tunnels following the inner plugs are now the main bodies of the spillway tunnels. The inner diversion tunnels were plugged at approximately one-third of their length, beyond which they now carry steel pipes connecting the intake towers to the power plant and outlet works. The inner tunnels’ outlets are equipped with gates that can be closed to drain the tunnels for maintenance.



Columns of Hoover Dam being filled with concrete, February 1934 (looking upstream from the Nevada rim)
The first concrete was poured into the dam on June 6, 1933, 18 months ahead of schedule. Since concrete heats and contracts as it cures, the potential for uneven cooling and contraction of the concrete posed a serious problem. Bureau of Reclamation engineers calculated that if the dam was built in a single continuous pour, the concrete would take 125 years to cool, and the resulting stresses would cause the dam to crack and crumble. Instead, the ground where the dam was to rise was marked with rectangles, and concrete blocks in columns were poured, some as large as 50 ft square (15 m) and 5 feet (1.5 m) high. Each five-foot form contained a series of 1-inch (25 mm) steel pipes; cool river water would be poured through the pipes, followed by ice-cold water from a refrigeration plant. When an individual block had cured and had stopped contracting, the pipes were filled with grout. Grout was also used to fill the hairline spaces between columns, which were grooved to increase the strength of the joins.
The concrete was delivered in huge steel buckets 7 feet high (2.1 m) and almost 7 feet in diameter; Crowe was awarded two patents for their design. These buckets, which weighed 20 short tons (18t) when full, were filled at two massive concrete plants on the Nevada side, and were delivered to the site in special railcars. The buckets were then suspended from aerial cableways, which were used to deliver the bucket to a specific column. As the required grade of aggregate in the concrete differed depending on placement in the dam (from pea-sized gravel to 9-inch or 23 cm stones), it was vital that the bucket be manoeuvre to the proper column. When the bottom of the bucket opened up, disgorging 8 cu yd (6.1 m3) of concrete, a team of men worked it throughout the form. Although there are myths that men were caught in the pour and are entombed in the dam to this day, each bucket only deepened the concrete in a form by an inch, and Six Companies engineers would not have permitted a flaw caused by the presence of a human body.
A total of 3,250,000 cubic yards (2,480,000 m3) of concrete was used in the dam before concrete pouring ceased on May 29, 1935. In addition, 1,110,000 cu yd (850,000 m3) were used in the power plant and other works. More than 582 miles (937 km) of cooling pipes were placed within the concrete. Overall, there is enough concrete in the dam to pave a two-lane highway from San Francisco to New York. Concrete cores were removed from the dam for testing in 1995; they showed that “Hoover Dam’s concrete has continued to slowly gain strength” and the dam is composed of a “durable concrete having a compressive strength exceeding the range typically found in normal mass concrete”. Hoover Dam concrete is not subject to alkali–silica reaction (ASR) as the Hoover Dam builders happened to use nonreactive aggregate, unlike that at downstream Parker Dam, where ASR has caused measurable deterioration.

Walking across two time zones is thirsty work for Gary and Adam, meanwhile Yogi strikes a pose in the top pic on the right in front of the pillar, taking in view from the top of the dam.


Adam, Gary and Yogi by the spill way.


We walked back to the car feeling humbled with the sights we have just seen. Not the Mustang in this instance though.


After our visit was over it was just starting to get dusk and the sun was leaving a beautiful warm glow over everything. We called in to a local hotel by the dam called the “Hoover Dam Lodge”. We refreshed our thirst with an iced water or two (not).

After the refreshments were over it was now dark, the reason we delayed our departure a little was that we could then travel back to Fremont Street ready for the Halloween festivities in the old town Las Vegas at night. They say a picture speaks a thousand words, this one just said two that we were interested in, “Happy Halloween”.


Fremont Street here we come…..

Las Vegas – Shelby Heritage Center (Pt. 1)

Monday 31st October 2016. After the visit to Scott Drake’s we set of for the next part of the trip to the Shelby Heritage Center. Obviously five petrol heads going to see the home to some of the most iconic cars ever made, we were on a real buzz. There would normally be six of us, but one person who shall remain nameless (Jason) had a heavy night before meeting up with his mates in Vegas, alas he couldn’t join us on our early rise because of self-inflicted health issues, similar symptoms to a bad hang over apparently! This was going to be the first of two trips to the Shelby Center, this first was a trip was as normal customers. Once Adam had a word with the guys at Shelby, we were invited back for a second visit (covered in Part 2), for a very special personal guided tour of the whole factory that took two hours, with unprecedented access to the R&D areas, paint shop, finishing, fabrication and storage all behind the scenes.

The Center itself is home to a stunning collection of cars, a retail shop and the work shop. As you arrive into the huge car park just outside there is a chance to win a couple of Shelby Cobra’s in the name of a good cause. There was of course the obligatory selfie group photo, left to right: Chris, Mart, Yogi, Gary and Adam.


There was also a late Mustang GTE outside just for show to wet your appetite, and something to look at as you wait for the doors to open into the Center.

The retail shop is crammed full of merchandise, you soon come to the decision that you need to by something. That’s everything from key rings to Super Chargers, Wheels and suspension upgrades, or a baseball hat to table and chairs.

There are two guided tours around the museum cars where they will tell you the history of the cars, along with other Shelby related information and does get very busy.



Some of the cars were Carroll’s own every day drivers which still show the signs of wear and tear.

Within the main gallery there are photo’s all around the walls and information of each car, there is even an original artwork of the first designs of the cars.

Moving into the workshop from the main gallery you are greeted by a retaining waist-high wall which is covered in signatures which is encouraged by the factory to sign in, when that got full the wall was used, when that got full the floor was used. Adam found last years visit:

Then Yogi added his paw print for this years visit; We will add to the wall again, but in big style only the way Mustang Maniac know how! More on that in Part 2!

The view from the wall looks across the factory floor, onto the cars in various stages of build.


There was a right hand drive conversion waiting to go to Australia.