Author Topic: Story of the Week, June 28th, Bubba  (Read 415 times)

Online mhershon

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Story of the Week, June 28th, Bubba
« on: June 28, 2021, 11:15:55 AM »

In July, when my wife Tamar and I visited Bend, Oregon, we met Doug Meyer for a chat over coffee and lunch. Doug owned and operated Dublin Kawasaki (Dublin, California) before moving to Bend to work for Muzzyís.

At Muzzyís, Doug developed products for their retail line and tuned Rickey Gadsonís AMA Prostar Shootout, 500hp turbo ZX-12 drag bike. Doug is a two-decades-plus veteran and record-holder at Bonneville.

The last year or so heís worked in the aircraft industry but heís still riding, still eyeballs-deep in one sort of motorsport or other.

Doug told us he is rebuilding a í66 Corvette. He found a clean, matching-numbers car and decided to do a frame-up, no-compromise restoration. A Corvette is a restorerís dream, he says, because removing the fiberglass body is easy. Making that body pristine and beautiful may not be so easy.

Expecting to have to search far and wide, he found a guy a few hours away in Gresham, Oregon, near Portland, who would prepare and paint the body. The guy, clearly a meticulous craftsman, told Doug how to deliver the body to Gresham for initial prep.

After the prep work, Doug would pick up the body, reinstall it on the chassis and deliver the rolling result to Gresham. Thus the body guy could ensure that the pieces fit precisely, perfectly.

So far, all Dougís work has gone smoothly. When he has reached for a wrench, it has been right where his memory said it was. Never a swearword, never a thrown tool.

In telling Tamar and me about that process, Doug left unsaid what we all know: It doesnít always go that way.

We talked about jobs that donít go that way. We agreed that when it doesnít, you should put the tool youíre holding on your bench, turn and walk out of your garage or shop.

Working on our equipment when we are not 100% present and in the proper frame of mind is not fair to our mechanical consciences, to the machines or their future owners.

Doug said he did, in the course of his work, encounter one stripped fastener; itís a 40-year old car after all. Doug knew then that the car had never fallen into the hands of an inept mechanic Ė or even a capable guy working on the car when he shouldnít have.

Doug says that on the Corvette restoration websites, that guy, the nightmare previous owner, is known as Bubba. Nearly every contributor to the several forums has a Bubba story or many Bubba stories.

Careful, meticulous Corvette owners exist, no doubt. But theyíre not legion. Bubba is legion... Bubba is everywhere.

Bubba, if he canít manage to wiggle his (inappropriate) wrench into place to remove or install a universal joint, cuts access holes in the floor of the car, then glues crude patches in place to cover the holes.

Bubba Motorbiker canít be bothered to find the proper tool. His Leatherman is so much handier. Sadly, he can locate a hex key. With it, he over-tightens small bolts that attach plastic parts to his bike, cracking gorgeous, brutally expensive pieces that were perfect, seconds before.

Bubba buys a breathtaking bike but never adjusts the chain, checks the tire pressures or pays a shop to check the valve clearances. He doesnít adjust his shock and isnít sure how.   

Bubba, it seems to me, is why (in this era of sophisticated, easily maintained bikes) used bikes cost so much less than new ones. Buy a new bike; itís surely Bubba-free. A used one? Maybe itís been owned by our friend Bubba.

As Doug told us stories about his wonderful, painstaking body man and his own relaxed, agony-free mechanical efforts, it occurred to me that Doug Meyer is the Anti-Bubba.

But Doug isnít the ONLY Anti-Bubba. You and I can be Anti-Bubbas too. As Clint so memorably reminded us, we have to know our limits.

I didnít always know mine. Iím confessing - I have been a Bubba. Mea Bubba. Decades ago I worked in a Honda shop in rural Indiana. Mostly I did tune-ups on Hondas, jobs that couldnít get me into trouble.

Once my boss asked me to replace something inside the cases of a Harley-Davidson Sprint, a sweet 250 made for Harley in Italy. I got the engine covers off the lovely little horizontal single and replaced a shifter return spring, if memory serves.

Reassembling the engine, I got impatient and rapped on the stubborn covers with a mallet to guide them together, to ďhelpĒ them fit. Maybe I warped the covers. Maybe, God Forbid, I ruined the cases.

Whatever the result, I wish Iíd never gone near that bike, never had a chance to hurt it.

Had I had the Bubba chat with Doug Meyer long ago, Iíd have done just what he and I agreed to do: Iíd have put the mallet down. Iíd have walked away from the engine, the bench and the room. My co-workers would have congratulated me for doing it.

Most of us will inevitably suffer from the labors of permanent or occasional Bubbas. Let us resolve not to cause any suffering from our own efforts.

Let us vow on our mechanical honor that we will never ever be Bubbas, cross our clumsy hearts.

Offline Chuck in Indiana

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Re: Story of the Week, June 28th, Bubba
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2021, 03:50:37 PM »
Unfortunately, Guzzi has Luigi. (shrug)  :smiley:
Chuck in (Elwood) Indiana/sometimes SoCal
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Re: Story of the Week, June 28th, Bubba
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2021, 03:58:39 PM »
Isn't Luigi Italian for Bubba?  :laugh:

Offline Perazzimx14

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Re: Story of the Week, June 28th, Bubba
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2021, 04:57:49 PM »
Impatience and ham-fistedness do not make a mechanic. Finesses and knowing when to step away does.

Sort of like the old bull young bull story. Old and young bull are standing on a hill looking over a herd of cows below. Young bull looks over to the old bull and say "lets run down there and take us one of those cows"???  The old bull looks over and says "lets walk down and take'em all"!


Wildgoose Chase Moto Guzzi

Re: Story of the Week, June 28th, Bubba
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2021, 04:57:49 PM »

Offline Scout63

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Re: Story of the Week, June 28th, Bubba
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2021, 10:33:49 PM »
I have been Bubba. Every one of my restorations has an imperfection that almost no one sees but that I can point out where I just. didnít. think. Thanks for reminding us Maynard. It needed to be said.
Ben Zehnder - Orleans, MA USA
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