Team 385 showed us that it is possible to build a competitive engine on a budget in an ensemble setting. The folks involved in this internet effort not only built a great engine, but by the sound of it, they had a great time doing it. The fact that it's the experience of a lifetime to rub shoulders on a level playing field with some of the best in the business is icing on the cake. Thanks Scott, and we're eager to see the fruits of your research next time the Engine Masters Challenge specifies a big-block for competition.

California, State Of Denial?I read your "Bangin' Gears" editorial on "California, Home of The Double Standard." And I have to tell you, if I wanted to hear someone bashing liberals for everything they perceive as not being right, I'd listen to Rush. I read car magazines for the cars, not to read about some right winger venting his partisian politics.

There is enough division in America because of politics. It's getting harder and harder to escape, so could you save your right-wing political statements for when you're around your right-wing buddies? I'm sure they'd be in perfect agreement with everything you've got to say. And stick to cars when writing for a car mag.JeffVia the Internet

We make no apologies for wanting to protect our hobby and our air at the same time, Jeff. The point of the op-ed piece was to bring attention to the inequality built into the system by people with a not-so-hidden agenda-those people being liberals by their own admission. If clean air laws are foremost to preserve clean air, then, logically, tailpipe emissions should be the first, last and only means of determination. Thus by extension, the only thing served by a visual inspection is to prevent us from modifying our cars. Another point, which may not have been articulated enough in the editorial, is that well-maintained hot rods driven on an occasional basis are not generally considered to be significant polluters. Their pollution is so insignificant, it doesn't even play into the equation. In contrast, poorly-maintained daily-driven clunkers like the kind encountered by Hunkins on his commute home emit a staggering amount of pollution for their numbers. Yet late-model cars (such as fuel-injected Camaros or Mustangs) by comparison, get unfairly targeted by nonsensical visual inspection laws.

The Sema Action Network & YouThe editor has a bad day ("California, Home of the Double Standard," Jan. 2004), but rather than blame suburban sprawl, or the legal concept of grandfathering, or even possibly himself for living two hour's drive from his job, he concocts a fantasy about a 'liberal-in-a-limousine' laughing maniacally and sticking it to the little guy. It's an easy sell, but not an accurate one. Driving is great. I drive, you drive, we all drive. There you have it: all of us driving on the road.

Perhaps I am the only reader of Popular Hot Rodding whose love of talk radio is insufficient to allow me to presume that all my problems are caused by Hollywood actors. If not, then you do a disservice to the magazine and its readers by misrepresenting complex issues. I thought this magazine was about cool cars (like Gerry Utsuki's Falcon, and the A/FX fantasy Mustang, and Strope's '70 Newport, man those are sweet rides)."Spud" ZatopekVia the Internet