Send out some emails, hit up Facebook, gather up the camera gear, spend half of the day in the office and then hit the road to catch a flight out of San Diego, California to the second largest state in the union; Texas. This time, however, I wasn’t flying solo. I had a flight companion from our ever-growing video department to accompany and document our work at Late Model Engines to cover our 500-inch LS build.
Two flights later we landed in Houston, Texas. It was late and we were hungry but we hit the road instead in our rental. We had decided that finding our hotel room would take priority over our severely empty stomachs.
The freeway was empty and it only enticed us to ring out the rentals guts. After some coaxing on the accelerator pedal and 6-miles later, we hit 80 mph. Check that one off the list. It was all fun and games until we hit the toll roads. Coming from the west coast, toll roads are like seeing a White Castle burger joint.
Confusing, yes but certainly something we could figure out. Apparently, this wasn’t the only toll booth. We found an ATM, pulled some cash and made our way back to the road. Forty-dollars in toll booth fees later, we landed to our hotel room.
Our Chevy Cruz was a trooper. Although, it was a little disappointing to find out it wouldn't rev past 4,000 rpm in Park.
From the outside, we couldn’t have been more happy to get there. Once inside, we were both debating whether or not to sleep in the car. With blood spatters on the floor it looked like more of a meth-den than an actual, livable hotel room.
Of course we weren’t in Texas for a vacation. Humidity was already up to into the mid-80 percentile. Yeah, it was going to be a miserable day of shooting and filming. We were up for it. We were powerTV employees and nothing was going to prevent us from getting the shot. We had a date with the dyno.
After getting lost a couple times, we finally arrived at Late Model Engines (LME). Putting a face to a name, we met up with owner, Bryan Neelan. We took a quick tour of his operation and before we knew it, Aaron and I were in top-gear, blasting away with our camera gear, shooting and filming interviews. The dyno day was in full swing and we were in the midst of working out a tuning issue on our project 502ci LSx engine. In today’s world, 700HP is still impressive but totally achievable with the right components.
However, this was engine was destined for the street. Throw in the idea of daily-driving an engine of this magnitude and the whole equation has changed. Luckily, LME is no joke in the world of late-model powerplants. They’re on top of their game and proved it.
Aaron Hodgkins was professional as ever, grabbing up lots of shots of all the new parts we had in store for the 500-inch LS build for one of our very own in-house project vehicles.
If you weren’t aware, the dyno is not just for getting horsepower and torque numbers. It’s a calibrated tool for testing and gathering data. While tuning the EFI program we began to progressively load the engine. Gradually, the engine rpm increased and before we realized it, the headers were glowing bright red.
Seeing my opportunity to get the shot, I killed the lights and ran into the dyno cell while the engine was screaming away at 6,000rpm. I thought my lens was going to vibrate apart, the heat from the headers were burning my face. I quickly set the exposure and timer. Viola!
I’ve spent a lot of time in and around engine dyno cells. Never have I been in a dyno cell with the engine running at near max rpm under load. It was the highlight of my day and it’s one I’ll never forget.
It’s one of the moments in your life when you quickly realize this is why you do what you do. It’s what this hobby is all about. Who knows, this image may be the start of someone’s dream. Who knows what sort of inspiration one picture can create. Pictures really are worth 1,000 words. Can you remember reading about cars when you were growing up?
At times, this job can be a complete nightmare. It’s late nights, countless hours on the computer or behind the lens. In all honestly, you begin to regret and rethink your job and why you do what you do. Every once in a while though, you get slapped in the face with a bit of focused energy. It’s a sudden bit of clarity. I love what I do and knowing that our published content could be inspiring the next generation of Chevy enthusiasts is a blast of motivation.