Wednesday, December 14, 2011

New Tires! New Tires!

I picked up a set of new tires and rims for Car 23.  The old ones had some serious dry rot and the lug holes in the rims were getting a bit big.

I decided to give the Hankook Dynapro ATM a try.  They aren't the fanciest or the most aggressive off road tires but they seem to do the trick.  I'm getting more concerned about the paved parts of the course.  The Fj40 loves the dirt but doesn't really like going fast on a funky and grooved  paved surfaces (which is all the paved roads in Baja).  The Hankooks seem to be the best of both worlds.

The rims on the other hand were a challenge.  Fj40s need a really shallow  back spacing (3.75") or the tie rod ends rub on the rims.  Some people use spacers but that just seems like a bad idea, creating a weak spot where you really don't want one.  The guys at Big John's Performance tracked down a set of ProComp? rims that did the trick and were reasonably priced.

Now I've got some testing to do.  The tracking of the Hankooks is great (so far) but I haven't gotten it out to the dirt....I'lll keep you posted.

Monday, December 12, 2011

T-shirt Mania

Okay I haven't posted in a while.  Basically, I've been printing t-shirts, printing prints, dealing with the garage sale, ordering printing, printing Christmas cards and packing perks up.  Today I'll show off the shirts.

I have a pretty simple set up using a photo emulsion technique and do all my t-shirts in my garage (I should really do a walk through some time).  It's relatively easy and I've practiced enough I can really crank stuff out.  The thing I like about it is that there are mistakes and the image can be out of register thus a bit unique.  Something you don't see in modern t-shirts.

The front of the shirt has the fighting zebra on the pocket (I didn't get a good picture of it).

The back is Car 23 at Rowher flats.  

and "Tire Buyers" get a special tire enhanced shirt.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Car 23 is funded!

So, the United States Artists fund raising worked!  What a great organization.  Car 23 surpassed it's goal and raised $12,303 for preparations and racing in next year's Mexican 1000.  It will be so nice to see an zebra striped Fj40 back in the race and I am thrilled and so thankful to everyone for
supporting my project., it's time to get to work

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Car 23 shirt design is done.  Now I just need to make the screens and start printing them up.

If your interested check out the USA Projects site.

Monday, November 28, 2011

FOCA visit

The Friends of Contemporary Art came by my garage sale at Susanne Vielmetter's.  It was a good conversation on art and collecting with a bonus of excellent tacos from El Gringo.  I'm a fan of any caterer who has a vast knowledge of San Diego taco stands....I wish we could get better Mexican food up here....I miss Los Dos Pedros and Los Seven Burritos and Don Juan's and and El Indio and Hilberto's and Alberto's and even Roberto's.

Monday, November 21, 2011

A little levity - Car 23 gets a lift

The springs on Car 23 were a mess.  The bushings were shot, so I replaced them.  The front shackles were too long which threw the caster all out of whack.  So, I tried fixing that with some caster shims...

....and it didn't really help.

I'd spent too much time trying to fix them without addressing the BIG problem.  The 45 year old springs were shot.  I didn't really want to lift the car because the Mexican 1000 is a bit more of a rally.  I wanted to stay low and fast but stock height springs are no longer made and custom ones are pricey.  I also had problems with the tire rubbing on the body and I'm hoping a little more cushion in the spring will prevent another broken spindle.  So,  I finally decided to give the car a little lift.  About a 2" lift to be exact.  I went with the Old Man Emu Dakkar springs and bought a shorter shackle for the front.

Rhonda came up to give me a hand and Gretta also helped.  Although a dog that steels lug nuts isn't really a help.

 The old springs were a rusty mess and when we were taking them off it filled the garage with red clouds.

In the end the lift isn't that bad.  The rear is maybe 3" higher (considering that it's previous height was lower than stock due to the worn springs) and the front seems to only be about an inch higher.  So, far it feels good

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Garage Sale! at Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects

I'm doing a show/installation/garage sale/fund raiser for Car 23.  It will be up at Susanne Vielmetter's through December 22.

Here's the press release.

"Sean Duffy´s Garage Sale"

November 12 - December 21, 2011

Everything is for sale! First come, first serve! Cash and carry! As is! All sales are final! 

Sean Duffy is bringing his garage to Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects for a special benefit from November 12 - December 22. Equal parts repository of ideas and accumulation of objects, Duffy's garage is full of experiments, prototypes and inspirational materials that drive his practice into ever new and uncharted territory. Come on by and pick up drawings, paintings, prints, sculptures, books, records, bicycles, tires, chairs, tables, scrap wood, etc. - all at unbeatable prices. Duffy regularly transforms trash into treasure; now you can repurpose his thought processes into unique holiday presents for friends and family. Proceeds from sales will support the creation of new art. 

Duffy's current project is to become a race-car driver รข€“ to prepare for a grueling 1000 mile test of endurance, skill, and character. This adventure is designed to mine his family's involvement in off-road racing in the 60s and 70s, to explore father/son relationships, and to disrupt suburban ennui. And in line with the age-appropriate theme of a mid-life crisis, Duffy has acquired an impractical vehicle with exceptional power (in low gears) and outfitted it in zebra stripes. 

Car 23 has indeed succeeded in turning the heads of museum visitors, weekend warriors, and co-driver Rhonda Rodgers. This '64 Toyota Land Cruiser is a tribute to the ones Duffy's father raced in the Mexican 1000, Mint 400 and other desert races back in the day. Car 23 first appeared as the central sculpture in Hilites (Miami Art Museum, 2008). Its inappropriate Chevy small-block V8 engine became Small Block (Can't Stop It, Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, 2009). In 2010, Duffy had it outfitted with a Toyota engine and drove it into the Laguna Art Museum for Searcher. Now, Duffy is preparing Car 23 to go back from art to life. 

Sean Duffy's Garage Sale is a fundraiser in conjunction with his United States Artists Project. Please visit for details. You can support this project through a Garage Sale purchase or by making a tax-deductible donation to United States Artists. 

Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects is located at 6006 Washington Blvd in Culver City, 1 block west of La Cienega at Sentney Avenue, on the south side of the street. Gallery parking is available across the street from the gallery off of Sentney Avenue. Gallery Hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 11 am - 6 pm and by appointment. 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Car 23 vs Car 32

Car 32 was the Land Cruiser my dad used for his first Mexican 1000.  It was an FJ45v the gigantic station wagon version of the FJ40.  The early Mexican 1000s were a very long race and it was reasonable to think you'd be on the road for 40 hours.  So, Dad and his best friend and co-driver, Kenny Younghusband, decided to use the wagon and put a hammock in the back.  Dad had been in the navy and Kenny in the merchant marines, so maybe they thought they could sleep through anything.  Needless to say it didn't work.  Now with five point harnesses, fire suits, safety nets and neck braces it is amazing to think someone could just climb in the back and sleep.

Well, Car 32 only did the one race and after that my family moved on to the smaller, faster, more nimble FJ40.

One thing the fj45 and fj40 had in common was breakable spindles.  I managed to break the front drivers side spindle just a couple weeks ago and incredibly the wheel stayed on.  I drove it around for about a week before I realized what had happened.  Handling was terrible but the disc brake calipers and one ring clip held it together.  So, I fixed it.

Then, I heard from my mom, that dad had broken a spindle during the fj45's first race.  They'd actually brought a spare and Kenny replaced it by the side of the road.  I don't know if I'm up for changing it in the dirt but we'll be packing a spare spindle for our race.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Bushing Fest!

After some bouncing around off road I realized there was something I'd missed.  Car 23 had it's shackles and their bushings replaced but I hadn't gotten around to replacing the inner leaf spring bushings. The 1964 Toyota Land Cruiser isn't know for it's tracking but my fj40 was getting worse.  So I got under the car and here are the bushings that were removed. 

There should be eight but two had completely disolved and the rest weren't far behind.

Car 23 is tracking much better now.  

Friday, October 7, 2011

Manual Haiku 16 - Datsun 411


the information
may not be correct under
other conditions.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

What I'm Working On - testing the car

Last weekend was a work out for me and Car 23.  Rhonda - pilot, mba, recent superbike school graduate and dear friend agreed to be my co-driver.  She has a perfect balance of daring and sanity.  I was comfortable being the passenger as she bombed down mountain roads and she also put up with my driving.

Sunday was spent at Rowher Flats.  This time we really gave the car a work out and it easily handled anything we threw at it.  I loves to climb and doesn’t seemed to be fazed by any obstacle in front of it.  It’s feels like it wants to drive itself.

There are some issues.  Car 23 bottoms out and the tires rub against the body work.  So, there is definitely work to be done on the suspension.  Also, trying to figure out how to fit a fuel cell, spare tires and any other equipment in the back is a challenge..  Oh and remembering to tie things down - collecting tools and gas cans off the trail isn’t that fun.

I am thrilled to be at 27% funded this early in the United States Artists Project and now matching funds are available.  So, tell your friends. Thank you everyone who has supported Car 23 so far.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Support Car 23!


In 2007, I took a new route through a nearby neighborhood and spotted a familiar silhouette.  Parked in a driveway stood a 1964 Toyota Landcruiser.  It was full of cobwebs, and clearly hadn’t run for some time, but my stomach did a little flip-flop just the same.  I’d recently begun sketching out a body of work inspired by my father’s off-road racing career—a serious hobby he pursued when I was a boy.  He was a Landcruiser devotee, and my family had a series of them from this era, most adorned by zebra stripes so we could pick him out even when racing numbers were obscured by dust.

I found reasons to drive by this forlorn Toyota every few days.  Finally, I spotted the owner and offered to take it off his hands.  Thus began several bodies of work using elements of my childhood to explore larger ideas:  the impulse to conquer challenging landscapes, the drive to push our limits, the need to create meaning through personal quests, the construction of masculinity in ex-urban environments—you get the idea.

I took the car apart and made sculpture from its body (Hilites, 2008) and engine (Can’t Stop it, 2009) as well as lots of related work.  Soon, I started dreaming about a performative element that would tie all this work together—and produce more.  A grant from the California Community Foundation helped me rebuild the car and get it running.  Shows at theMiami Art Museum, Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery (Barnsdall) and the Laguna Art Museum focused my thinking.  A team of friends provided both moral support and considerable labor.  Now I need a little more help from a lot more people.

In spring 2012, the National Off-Road Racing Association is staging a vintage rally of the Mexican 1000 race from Mexicali to La Paz.  This was my father’s favorite race—and he did well in it over the years.  I am preparing the car and myself for this journey, and I’m seeking sponsorship through United States Artists’ microphilanthropy site for artist projects.  Please watch the video, read about my project and consider a donation.  Your gift is tax-deductible, and will make the difference in my ability to participate.

Feel free to forward this and email me with any questions.
Many thanks for your support.

All my best,

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What I'm working on - Dj Rig

For my book release I created a Dj set up.  It had some technical problems (the lower double turntable grumbled) but over all it worked nicely and the Recerd Player Tordimint was fun.

Next time I need to spend a bit more time setting it up.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What I'm up to - BOOK RELEASE!

We're having a little kick off party for my Front 40 Press book at Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects.  The book is really nice with an excellent essay by Doug Harvey and an interview with Veronica Fernandez (where I actually sound articulatet!).  The release should be fun.  I'm packing up the Dj rig and it looks like its going to be a full blown "Recerd Player Tornimint."

Saturday, September 17, 6:30-8
Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Spare Tire Carrier!

I picked up a stock spare tire carrier on the IH8MUD forum and it seems to work pretty well.

 When the cars were originally raced the spares were bolted into the bed, but until I race, I have a rear bench seat - so that's not an option.

I also haven't saved up for new tires yet, so for now it's really nice to have a spare.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Inspiration - 80s new wave ads

I came across this ad about 10 years ago and it cracked me uo.  With the resurgence of skinny jeans it might be funnier now.

Well, except, ten years ago people might have remembered who Kajagoogoo was.  It's impressive that Wrangler put their ad budget into a joke based on Kajagoogoo but then again it was the 80s.  Even X and Oingo Boingo were doing ads for Budweiser.  So it sort of makes sense.

The ad came from the June 1984 issue of the British magazine "The Face."  I bought it back when I was doing work about mods and modernists.  It had a pretty good article "Mods; the class of 84 hits the trail of 64." 

But, looking at it now, the real treat was "Gang Wars: Welcome to LA; Sudden Death in Olympic City" and it's handy list of "Gang Slang"  

This was two years before NWA formed - I wonder what British new wavers thought of it at the time?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Inspiration - folks' workroom pt 2

The filing system of the workroom flew out the window years ago.  Which makes you feel like a bit of an archeologist when you look for things.  This trip I noticed at least two rattlesnake rattles in the drawers.

 I really love this second picture.  You've got a 70s Bart Guides, "How to Solder", a rattlesnake rattle, a sardine can key, a pink diaper ducky pin, some string, spray paint nozzles, archaic fuses, and a bunch of picture hanging hooks....makes sense to me.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Inspiration - folks' workroom

I've always loved my folks workroom.  It has everything except that one thing you're looking for.  This weekend I was looking for a hammer and finally gave up and used an old pipe wrench.  When I brought the pipe wrench back I found a milk crate full of hammers, probably twenty or so. 

This trip I came across these Gemco Bags.  Not really all that spectacular, until you consider that Gemco went out of business in 1986 and this isn't the last Gemco logo but one from the early 80s.  Which means that I was living  there when two empty Price Club Mayonnaise containers were double bagged and hung from a hook.

Lucky on the other hand didn't go out of business until 1999 but it was still nice to see the bag and the old Coleman lantern next to it. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

inspiration - boss cars

A couple 1972 pictures of the Olds 442 "Grabber."  I'm guessing this is from the Mexican 1000.

 I think James Garner drove the white one.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Drawn to Television - ipad

I finally got around to getting a decent drawing program and a stylus for the ipad.  It's pretty fun and really nice to be able to plop down anywhere and sketch.

Here's yesterday's drawing.  It's a riff on the Thrush/Mr Horsepower logo and could be a good graphic for the car.

before I picked up the stylus, drawing with the ipad was a bit of a challenge, thanks mainly to my extra stumpy calloused fingers.  Here a couple where I just grabbed some images and started playing.