Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Unsung Heros of the La Carrera

Nobody can start or finish the la Carrera without the support crew who live in the shadows of the race. This year we were blessed to have on our crew Kevin Sullivan and Jim Blett . Kevin and his wife Jackie spend their winters in San Miguel while living in New Jersey during the summer. We met Jackie and Kevin on our first trip to San Miguel two years ago and instantly became friends; it must be a Sullivan thing. Jim built the engine for the Volvo which preformed excellent all the time. When arriving at a service stop seeing the crew there is always a welcome sight. Many thanks to Jackie Sullivan and Jann Blett for allowing their husbands to join us on this adventure The crews pretty much travel the same roads as we do with the exception of some speed sections. The crew is the main reason most cars are on the road the next day preforming repairs on the cars at night with little to no sleep..Tom and I just want to thank Kevin and Jim for keeping us in the race and being there for us. Kevin speaks spanish which really helped us out and Jim's knowledge of Volvos really proved to be what kept us going. So when you see a Carrera car cross the finish line on the final day it is the crew who got them there.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

We are in Tuxtula

Racing legend Herschel Mcgriff and me in San Miguel de Allende. Today we unloaded the car and drove it to Tuxtula we went from sea level to 3800 feet we passed tech inspection and the car is ready to race tomorrow Tom and Jim are going to adjust the carbueration for altitude. Go to catch up with some friends from 2006.

Monday, October 20, 2008

We're almost there

I got to meet a true racing Legend Herschel Macgriff who won the first La Carrera in 1950 a very nice man who also was the oldest person to win a NASCAR race thanks to Gary Faules who Introduced him to me. He also signed the dash board of the Volvo for us. We are currently in Coatcoalcos Mexico which is on the Gulf of Mexico we arrived tonight after a 13 hour drive to get here a very stressful ride to say the least. Tomorrow we arrive in Tuxtula Guteirrez to start to go through the whole process of tech inspection and all. Just a note anyone can post to this blog site and as time permits I will try to update spare time will not be a luxary from now on . I have tried to upload images and it won't work Sorry

Thursday, September 4, 2008

We Now Have Shirts!!!

We now have shirts for Dover Bros. Racin' sizes available are small to 3XL the cost is 25.00 each including shipping. We are using this as a fundraiser for our Mexican adventure in October. To find out how to get the shirts e-mail and we will e-mail you the address to sent the money to . We feel this a more secure way to do this.
The car is coming along good we found a small pin hole leak in the radiator so that was repaired and reinstalled in the car . With all the cooling problems we had in the past this really didn't surprise us and this is another reason to have plenty of time to do testing on your car before you make the trip to Mexico. We are bringing a spare radiator along just to be on the safe side. Our last trip we didn't bring a spare alternator and it froze up and we were out for a half a day. I would say if a part has a chance of breaking bring a spare because the one item you leave home is the one that is going to fail. We had a spare transmission with us and another Volvo needed one so we worked out a deal and they were running the next day. One thing all the racers do is to help each other out with much needed advice or parts or car knowledge. Never shrug off advice from a veteran racer they are always willing to give some really good tips to help you out. And then you can listen to some really good stories from past races while having a cold beer with them.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Mechanicial Surgeons

Well we have the Volvo back running again we finished assembling the engine last night. It fired up right away and tonight we are going to reset the valves and re torque the head. Jim Blett really knows his way around the Volvo engine his value in Mexico in going to prove to be
quite a bonus for us to us. From now on Jim will be making all the mechanical decisions on the car. We still need to do some minor work on the car now the major thing for us is to wait to leave for Mexico.
This weekend we are taking the car to a Volvo meet at the Gilmore Car Museum and put some miles on it. I hope to post some more pictures from the weekend next week.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Your Help Appreciated

We have decided to offer space on the car for sponsorships .What you get is a 4"x8" space on the roof of the car for 150.00. The hood is open for someone who is willing to offer more support to our team. If anyone can your help would be greatly appreciated and you get to sponsor a race car with two really great guys. To contact us e-mail at
Now for the Volvo update. The engine was disassembled and Jim looked everything over and the lifters are going to be replaced and while the engine is apart all new bearings will be installed and of course all new gaskets. The cam and pistons were all in perfect condition . We had some serious cooling problems the last day of the 2006 La Carrera so we felt this was necessary to check everything over. Now the front suspension has been rebuilt the rear end has been changed, the exhaust and finally the engine. We should have the car ready to go with two months to do some testing and any changes we feel necessary.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Update July 2008

The gearing was changed in the rear end we now have 3.54 gearing which replaced the 4.11 gears. We should be getting more top end and not putting as much stress on the engine . We took the car out for a test run and noticed a difference right away. On the way to Veracruz in 2006 we unloaded the car to test it out an we happened to record the speeds with rpms so we can compare what we have now.

This is Jim Blett on the left who will be our crew chief in Mexico and Tom on the right installing the axles in the rear end. Jim has over 30 years experience working on Volvo's he runs a shop called Swedish Car Services which is in Coopersville Mi. Jim is a very welcome team member to Dover Brothers Racin. Our 4th team member is Kevin Sullivan who we met the last time we were in San Miguel. Kevin has a car passion and has followed the La Carrera for years.

Right now the engine is out of the Volvo Jim wants to check the whole thing over and make sure all is well inside. The car was running good but in the 2006 la Carrerra we had cooling problems so just to be sure he is going to go through the bearings check the cam and pistons. The car will be back together by the end of the month then we will have time to work out any problems if run into them.

Monday, June 2, 2008

We Are Smokin !!

This past weekend Tom , Bill and I rebuilt my smoker which was in dire need of a rebuild. The fire box was completely shot and some of the cooking area needed some attention also. I use my cooker all year and the winters have been rough on it. So we took a Saturday off from the Volvo and rebuilt the cooker

.This is how the old fire box looked when we cut it off.

The new fire box is made out of stainless steel which I fabricated . I wanted to make the fire box larger so I can use longer pieces of wood . The plan I had worked perfect it all went together like I knew what I was doing. Tom and Bill were a very big help during the rebuild the only thing I would do different next time is pay them in cash not beer.Here is the first firing of the smoker

I tried some pork lion and short ribs which came out really good. The thing seems to hold heat much better than before so less wood to use. When doing this type of cooking always low and slow.Tomorrow we are going to assemble the rear end in the Volvo with the new gears and try it out. We will have 2 complete rear end assembly's for the car. The La Carrera Panameriana is sold out this year there are 105 cars competing .

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Update May 2008

The car has been coming along quite well the pick list is getting smaller right now . The last major thing to do is to build up the new rear end with 3.54 gearing which should get us more top end. We currently have 4.11 gearing . The last day of the La Carrera is quite long with a lot of transit driving and this should take less stress on the engine. We will be making some minor changes to the roll cage adding a second door bar which will be removeable because two old guys just can't get in and out of a race car like young kids. We are still waiting for word on the fire system for in the car we always carr two extenguishers in the car and one in the trunk. Some time in August we will be pulling the engine just to be safe.

This weekend we will be doing a total rebuild to my smoker. The fire box finally gave out after 12 years so I fabricated a new one out of stainless steel. When this is finished we will do a test firing and then probably some ribs and brisket or pork loin. Whenever the somker is fired up people seem to show up like seagulls at the dump. Tom always seems to leave with bbq sauce all over him he knows never wear a new white shirt because it will be the last time it will look good.This is probably next to racing my favorite hobby.

I want to thank Gary Faules for reminding me that I need to update more often. I did it

Thanks Gary.

On another subject my son Tim got his Submarine Dolphins while serving on board the USS LaJolla SSN 701. He is a Machinest Mate and currently on patrol in the Pacific .

Tim is on the far right

Sunday, March 30, 2008

One Job At A Time

We are working on our list of improvements one job at a time. Right now we are fabricating the mountings for the oil cooler . While doing this we wanted to plan how to quickly disconnect lines if by chance we lost and oil line or if the oil cooler failed. One of our plans is to carry in the car a by-pass line for an emergency. it is quite well known in the La Carrera to always expect the unexpected. Tom and I are able to do all of our own metal fabrication and I must say having to work with engineers every day at my job Tom is a top notch engineer. So far we have been able to figure out how to fabricate everything we have needed for the race car. Give us a good vise c-clamps some wood and angle iron and we can make it .
Here I am making the lower mount for the oil cooler. Below is the finished mount
We also made hinges for the hood this was done because a certain unnamed person (Tom) ran over the hood when we removed it to check things over outside of Puebla. At first when we got to Puebla Tom told everyone we hit a buzzard some people believed him. We still have a lot of laughs over this. I personally think Tom hates the hood because he put another ding in it so hinges were needed before he hit me in the head with the hood. We have always had fun working on the car and our friendship has gotten really close while doing this.

Friday, March 21, 2008

We Are In The Race!!

We are now officially entered in the 2008 La Carrera Panamericana we knew that this year all of the North American slots would be filled quickly so we sent our entry fee in right away. North America is going to be allotted 50 slots this year and at least 63 teams have expressed interest in running the La Carrera. There is a lot of improvements to be made to the car this year so now it is going to be full speed ahead on all of the work ahead of us. Gary Faules e-mailed me yesterday with some really good advice about spares and how to work with an auto parts supplier about getting spares on loan and returning what you don't use and paying for what you do use. Gary's blog is very well written with a lot of very useful information about racing and the La Carrera.
His site is We are going to Port City Racing today to get our new oil cooler and check out a few other things while we are there. We have to make some changes to the roll cage due to rule changes to to help with safety for the driver and navigator.
North American Director Gerie Bledso sends out updates by e-mail to keep all entrants up to speed on all rule changes . Anyone interested can go to the U.S. La Carrera web site and read these updates.
We will be looking for sponsors for this year our plan is to sell a 4"x4" space on the roof of the car for 150.00 the hood will be open if any major sponsor is interested. We can be contacted at .

Sunday, January 27, 2008

We Are Back For More

It is now official we are going to be back for La Carrera 2008. Lots to do to improve the car we also have a Crew Chief Jim Blett who has 40 years Volvo experience owning his own Volvo shop.
Jim has another crew member in mind for the team. Jim has a lot to offer to the team and we welcome him aboard Dover Brothers Racin.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

MGA Running

Here is the car outside running .

We are going to post our plans for Dover Brothers Racin soon. We have some exciting news to announce soon. Also we have built the Dover Brothers all weather deck pictures will be posted soon.

MGA Finally Started

We finally got a chance to try and start the MGA #46 after many years sitting idle. It took a while to finish things up before we were able to fire it a few friends were on hand to see this old race car start. The car idled fine and all of a sudden quit . Tom and I spent some time trying to restart it on the following Saturday a quick call to Jim Blett and he said to check for stuck valves what we found were 2 broken rocker arms. We then checked to see if all the valves were opening and all was fine so we replaced the rocker arms and it idled just fine I went to drive the car and heard a POP!! and it quit again. We pulled the valve cover off and another broken rocker arm. Tom called John Twist a well known MG expert who runs a shop nearby and who rebuilt the engine 13 years ago he said to bring in the head and he would check it over and while we had the head off to check the rise on the cam. A stock MG has .250 rise so we pulled the head and bingo there was the problem the valves were hitting the top of the block. We then checked the rise on the cam with a dial indicator and it was .325 so this all finally made sense.John Twist checked the head and all was fine no damage so what we did wad to cut clearance in the top of the engine block for the valves to open fully. The head was reassembled and started fine so we took the car for a ride nothing like driving an open roadster when it is below 30 degrees out and snowing. We both drove the car it was fun to finally drive this car after it had sat for over 30 years.

Later that day we loaded the car on the trailer and delivered it to the Beadle house. the car was driven off the trailer and into the garage for the rest of the winter. John Beadle aka "Big Dog" would have been proud to see the car running. There is some details to finish on the car we decided to wait till the weather improves before tackling those issues.