Horsepower Farm

Hey everyone, welcome back to my blog. Today we are going to do something a little different. I’d like to start interviewing people that I know and that I come across along the way and share their stories. I will be sharing what they do, how they got in to cars, where it all started and what exciting things they are working on now and will be in the future.

For my first one, I interviewed my friend Rick Serino. Rick has been a car enthusiast since he was a child. For him, it started with Matchbox Cars. He had “all” of them, and they were all categorized. I asked if he had any pictures, but cameras were a luxury when he was a kid.

We moved on to his first car, which was a 1976 Mercury Capri. For those who are unfamiliar, like I was, it was basically Mercury’s version of Ford’s Mustang. This was when Rick first started messing with Stereo Systems. His dad was an electronics teacher, so he got him into electronics at a very young age. He had access to tons of electronics that were broken when he was growing up, which allowed him to mess around a lot. He would take things apart and put them back together. “Like the Professor on Gilligan’s Island.” He would mess around with everything from speakers to lights. Hang them on his wall and wire them all together. Every ‘toy’ he had was taken apart and made his own. He attributes his talents and knowledge of how things work to his father. Without him, he wouldn’t know how to make the art he does today.

We chatted about Cruising Downtown 2019. For those unfamiliar with that event, just over a thousand car owners and a couple thousand car enthusiasts gather on Elm St. in Downtown Manchester, NH for one of the biggest car shows in the state. Rick set up shop with his welded art and collection of cars for the show.

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Mostly everything sold, except for just a few larger items. He went on to explain that the dismantling of electronics transferred to the dismantling of the electronics in cars. He always had an appreciation for the mechanics of them, but never quite knew what to do until his late twenties. At that point, he had the money to start buying stuff and messing around with them. After his first Mercury Capri, he owned a Subaru, and from there he got a Capri 5.0. This was his first muscle car, which he changed the exhaust, corroborator, wheels tires, and put his own big stereo in it. “Shit you can afford when you’re in your twenties. Rick then joined the military, sold the Capri 5.0 and bought a 1977 Camaro when he was out in Indiana. He pulled the motor, transmission, added nitrous, a new exhaust, wheels and tires, took out the back seats and put in a stereo. It had about 26 speakers from what he remembers.

One of the cars that Rick had bought was a Red and Black Chrysler 300

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The stereo was built by Traffic Jams, had Air ride and everything else. The car was unfortunately totaled when someone pulled out in front him while driving. Unfortunately, there was nothing that could have been done. One of his cars that I best remember him for is an old Ford Truck. He originally picked it up in 2001 and it was black with yellow and orange flames. It is now white with black and tan flames and looks bad. He built the transmission, drive train and rearend of that car, gutted the interior. Recently he blew the motor and put a whole new transmission and motor in, among a long list of other things. “Built from the ground up.”

He most recent project is his 1930 Ford

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Rick has about 6 spaces at his house for cars and then a few more at a shop up the road where someone helps him with his projects. I moved on to his MINI, as he did own one. Which was the reason that I had originally met him. I asked what made him get a MINI. His response was that he always wanted one, “car guy stuff.” He went on to say that every car guy wants one, and he doesn’t care who they are or what they say. In Rick’s opinion, the little compact British car is just missing 150HP, which is easily attained. From there, the little machines are unstoppable. His MINI had nothing too crazy done to it, exhaust, cold air intake, wheels, tires and of course, an updated stereo.

I asked Rick what was the most fun car he owned, and his response was the MINI Cooper. He raced it, met a bunch of people and went all kinds of places. The MINI community really is a force to be reckoned with. However, he followed with it’s not the most powerful or the most exhilarating, but definitely the most fun he’s had. The most powerful car he’s owned is his truck.

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I then asked what was the worst car he owned, and his response was his Subaru. They are fun, but the particular one he owned was nothing special.

He’s done a lot of car projects over the years, and the one that he has( and is) enjoying the most is his 1930 Ford. He just bought the body of that car and has been building it from the ground up. A “tin can.” He took the engine, transmission, tires and rims, brake system, and electronics from the Chrysler 300 (shown above) that he crashed and dropped the shell of the Ford right over it all. The challenges with this project now is just finding the time to work on it and the man power to help.

Rick has a full time job, along with the building of other people’s car that he does, and all the welding work that he does on the side.Welding art has always been something that he’s done, but he never really sold it. After his accident, he messed around with it and was posting stuff on Facebook. People were always asking how much his pieces were and they eventually grew in to people asking for custom orders. Before the Christmas of 2018, he had about 20 orders stacked up. It’s worked out though, and he has continued to create things. Here”s a few things that he has created.

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I asked him where he gets all the stuff for his creations and he said he’s been collecting stuff for 20 years. People drop off things here and there, but mostly it’s been collecting. Rick keeps himself busy, although sometimes he wants a break. Money is money, and you can’t say no to thousands of dollars. Plus, its still a lot of fun.

In the future, Rick would like to host an event at his place, which really would be attainable. He wants to be able to never leave his house and make money, which in a way, he’s already half way there. He’s living the dream.

So follow him on Instagram, @horsepower_n_goats and on Facebook, Horsepower Farm. And he also loves Tool, which was playing in the background of our interview.

Thanks Rick!

Flip Flops and Big Blocks

It’s been a while blog world. I have had a busy summer filled with car shows, events, new friends, new jobs just life in general. Since I was last here, I have continued to conquer autocross and Louisa won a few car shows. But perhaps the biggest adventure of all was a trip to Pontiac, Michigan this past weekend.

Some of you may have heard of Woodward Ave, some may not. I was one of the people who had not. For those who don’t know, Woodward Avenue is the heart of Pontiac Michigan. It is said that this was where the first ticket for street racing. This happened in March of 1895. The road first saw big spoked wheels and wagons. But in the 50s cars changed into something more reliable and became something we used to get from point A to point B. This 13 mile stretch naturally attracted a lot of people. Drive in diners started to pop up all along the road. Unlike today, a lot of these places were family owned. Coupled with the long wide stretch of road and automotive lovers in the surrounding area, it has taken its place in car history.

When spending some time with my boyfriend at the shop where he works he mentioned the event ‘Roadkill Nights’ that was happening the coming weekend (August 9th and 10th) in Pontiac, Michigan. He said he wanted to road trip out there. Famous last words of mine, I said, ‘let’s do it’. The following week consisted of getting his Caprice road ready and a little more safe for us to travel in. We looked at the route, 11 hours, 685 miles, not too bad! Then we realized that was going through Canada which we couldn’t do. So instead it was 13 hours and 764 miles. Meh, still not bad.

Monday August 5th

I was sitting at work dying for it to be the weekend so we could head out. We decided it would be best to leave Thursday night in the early morning so we could get there Friday evening and have a little time to explore.

Thursday August 8th, 12:45AM

My alarm went off after only getting 3 hours of sleep. I was still pumped though and ready to go. We packed up really quick, loaded the car and were ready to go. I was in charge of the route. It was dark, quiet. It was 1AM. No one was around. We headed out towards Keene and hit a long stretch of road in Vermont, Route 9 (more to come on this road later). We stopped at some rest stops along the way, I slept through a lot of the morning driving. We stopped for breakfast in Weedsport, New York at a place called Cook’s Village Diner. Small, a lot of locals.

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It was good! Bacon makes any day better. We continued on in to Pennsylvania Welcome Center, took a quick break and hung out in the grass. You could see out into the distance forever. The day was beautiful.

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We stopped again in Erie, Pennsylvania at a place called Tasty Bowl for lunch. I had broccoli, rice  and chicken and tried sushi for the first time. (Yes, it was indeed, Tasty.)

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Driving definitely takes a lot out of you, or in my case, being a passenger takes a lot out of you. We stopped again in Avon Ohio for some nuggies at Wendy’s and a trip to Goodwill. Thrift shopping is fun, don’t knock it til you try it! By he time we left it was about 3:30PM. We had a little less than 4 hours to go until we would reach the hotel.

At 7:00 PM we finally reached destination number one Courtyard by Marriott. We checked in and it was definitely time for a shower and a nap. The schedule events for Friday were done, but we went cruising around anyways. There were some cool cars still out and about rolling through the streets of Pontiac. We went to a place called Moose Preserve Bar & Grill for some dinner and drinks. It had been a long 20 hours. But we made it. The fun begins tomorrow.

Saturday August 10th 7:00 AM

For someone who was only able to sleep for like 5 hours in the past 30, I was feeling pretty good. It was likely because I was just so excited to get started on the day. We had picked out breakfast the night before so we could just get up and go. We decided on a place called Kerby’s Koney Island. It was ironically right across the street from the place we went to the night before. The inside was cute, it looked it had been there for a while. We sat at the little counter across from the open kitchen. Staff was friendly, and you could tell that they had worked together for a long time. Requests were met with curiosity for their own personal cooking and carried out wonderfully. I’d come back again.

Next it was off to Woodward Ave for the main event. There were several lots off site that we needed to be shuttled to the event from. The shuttles were old schoolhouses, and I emphasize the word old. I’m more of a nervous person than not, I freak out on the T in Boston when it goes over a bump, this was something else. ANYWAYS when we arrived and got off the bus (and even little before that) we could hear the screeching of tires burning rubber. My boyfriend turned to me and asked if those were tires, I laughed and said “hell yea, I think so.”

First up, we needed to check in with MotorTrend, a subscription service to various car videos, builds, drag racing, you name it. Being a subscriber gave you access to the MotorTrend Lounge which was out of the sun, had free snacks and drinks and gave you one free beer (to start at noon). There were also a number of people who would be there throughout the day that you could meet and have sign stuff and chat with. The out of the sun part was the best to me. They also gave you a fastpass to the Dodge Thrill Rides, which was where all the tire screeching was coming from. In one section there were Dodge Chargers and Challengers drifting around course taking people for thrill rides. Our fastpass was for 2:30-3:00, so we had to wait a little bit.

First up was the concourse, the section set aside for people who registered and wanted to show their car. Most of them were Dodges, and rightfully so I suppose, but there was a lot of other cool stuff to see as well.

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Like this Prowler and Viper sitting pretty side by side

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77ish Trans Am

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72 Camaro

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70s Challenger

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Early 70s Corvette

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05 Charger

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67-68 Ford Mustang

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A mixture of things

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CJ 7

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My boyfriend and a sexy cop lady

We attempted to watch some drag racing, but unless you were in the VIP section or managed to score a seat high up in the bleachers you didn’t have much luck seeing anything. We wanted to get a glimpse of the starting line, but that turned out to be pretty difficult. So we checked out some merch, I bought a t-shirt and some stickers (of course). The day was winding down. It was just about 2:30 and time for the thrill rides. When we walked to that area, the line was so long we didn’t see the end. Someone in passing said that the wait was three hours long. Hundreds of people wee standing there. But only a handful were in the fastpass line. Thank goodness. The speaker keeping the crowd entertained had a great voice. He was talking to a kid who was in line, telling him about how they burn through thousands of tires a year, just regular tires too. They are allowed to come, make a mess of wherever they’re at and then go, no clean up required. I would guess there is someone else to do that? But who knows.

It was finally our turn to go. I started to get really nervous. Uncontrollable  laughter ensued. Queue ridiculous high pitched screeching as the Charger we where in took off and whipped around the cones. Here’s a video inside the car, and some photos I took outside.

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This was the ending of a ridiculously fun time. Here is the video of our time at the event.

We had seen all that we could and it was time to start the long journey back home. We took the famous 8 mile road back out. But there was one place I needed to stop before I left…

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Years ago I used to watch a show called Hardcore Pawn. One of those cheesy pawn shop reality shows. I hadn’t thought about the show in years, but when I was wondering what else we could do or see while we were in Detroit, this place popped in to my head. And you can bet your ass we visited.

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Maybe this isn’t cool to some people, but it was wicked cool to see. I had never been someplace that I had watched on TV. Inside was smaller than what TV made it look like, but still cool to see none the less. The owner, Les Gold, was even in the back behind the counter and I got to catch a glimpse. I was trying not to freak out, as this was just an everyday pawn shop for everyone else there. I had my fill and we left. A quick trip to Starbucks and we were back on the road.

Man, that 13 hour car ride did not seem so exciting since now we were leaving instead of going. But I was happy that we would be returning back home to the familiars of New Hampshire. It’s cool to watch how highways and scenes change from one state to the next, until you’re back where you know.

8 hours in to our excursion home, we stopped at Niagra Falls, the New York side. I know, I know, “its better on the canadian side,” but again, we couldn’t go through Canada. It was just about 6:30AM when we got there, so it was quiet, not many people were around It was the perfect opportunity to get some videos and some photos before the crowd rush came in. By the time that we reached the actual scenic view, the crowds were already starting to roll in. I did manage to grab few pictures before that though.

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Breathtaking is the only way I can describe it really. I hadn’t seen anything like it before. The view of the Canadian side was nice, and I will definitely be back again to see the opposite view. Heres a quick video of us walking around, there really arent words to describe it, so I’ll show you instead.

We stopped for some yummy breakfast,

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and we were back on our way home. We still had 7 hours to go.

When we finally hit Vermont, we were feeling good. Roads looked more familiar. The air was fresh. Route 9 awaited us again, and this time, not in the dark. This last video is of Route 9 through Vermont, our last stretch to home.

The experience was amazing. A last minute road trip I would not have wanted to take with anyone else. More adventures await us in the future.

Motor on.

Conquering Autocross and the Kanc

What’s up everyone? It’s been a while since I posted last. It’s been a hectic couple months and I have a feeling that things may finally be turning around. Anyways, this past weekend was long and busy and so much fun. Two events, two days and loads of memories to share.

Saturday May 18th, 5:30AM

There is, of course, only one reason why I would be up so early and that is for something car related. Well, this would be my very FIRST Autocross event! I went along with the BMW Car Club of America, and they put on a fantastic event! Everyone is super helpful and friendly. The days leading up consisted of me getting things together that I thought I would need. Snacks, water, chair, helmet, and a variety of other stuff. EVERYTHING, needs to be taken our of your car that is loose, that includes the floor mats (which I did forget, but was reminded thanks to my friend Kathy!). So, the best way that everyone does this is to get a bin, a tote bin. I took to Amazon and found one that I thought was going to fit in the trunk… but it did not. So in to the front seat it went. 60611949_2320341514654384_7733489762098479104_n.jpg

I was excited for the day I was about to have. I had gone to one last year to be an observer and a passenger, and that was awesome too. My friend had told me that its much more stressful to be a passenger than a driver, and she was correct!

This past sessions started with tech inspect and helmet inspection. Your car is checked to make sure that everything is up to par, and helmets are checked to make sure they are within regulations. After that there is a drivers meeting and the Novices get a special walkthrough the course. Seeing it ahead of time and keeping in mind a few tips, I felt ready. I was in Run Group 2, which meant I worked the course first and then ran second. We then broke for lunch and did it all again in the afternoon! I was out on corner 5, and I will admit, that was not my favorite thing. Nothing hard, cone falls down, go and pick it up. Now… I’m not a very active person, so if three cones fall down in a row, its not a fun time. But whatever, its all part of the day. I will focus on the fun stuff.

When I was lined up for my run, it all kind of hit me at once. I was here, I was doing this. CRAP, I WAS DOING THIS. I considered backing out, I really did. I was unsure if I could actually do it. All novices are required to go with an instructor, which is super helpful. My first run was focused on the course, getting around and making sure that I stayed on it. I lucked out, the times were messed up and I got a rerun. So that first one really was a practice run. I’ll shut up now, and show you what I was up to.

What I gathered from this day, is that I need to keep my lines tighter and find the fastest way around, and pay attention to where I’m going next as to not overshoot a turn. There were several runs I did NOT film, where I almost spun out and was slightly off course. All in all, it was a super fun day. Tell me what you think! and if you have any questions, feel free to leave comments! Even though I had such a great day, I was super happy to get back home, take a shower and go to sleep. The next day was going to be just as long!

Sunday May 19, 6:30 AM
Not early, but still early. That extra hour of sleep and copious amounts of sleep the night before definitely helped though. Today was the NEMS Biannual Kanc Cruise to benefit Make a Wish. I had gone on it in October of lat year, which was also a lot of fun. If you are from the New England area, I recommend checking it out and coming along in October. Proceeds go to Make a Wish and it a fun day of driving and friends. Shenanigans, driving, lunch, more shenanigans, more driving, snacks. We all met in the morning and cruised to NHTI in Concord together. Once parked, it’s a waiting game. It’s nice to hang out and catch up with people I don’t see too often though. After that, everyone drives the planned route, or their own, to the lunch spot. After lunch, it’s a free for all up north, where the roads are twisty, and the sky was clear. Here is a short video from the day!

The weekend was long and fun. I would do all again and not change a thing. Until the next adventure, whatever you drive and whatever you do, Motor On!

Louisa’s First Place First

Hello everyone!!

Happy Monday, or in my case, not so happy Monday… It’s already a rough start to the week, but it can only go up from here… right?

Anyways, this past weekend was filled with car events once again. Saturday morning I had to work, so my good friends Steve and Nancy were kind enough to come and pick up Louisa and bring her to the Show of Dreams hosted by British Cars of New Hampshire. The event ran into the afternoon and I was able to make it towards the end. There were so many AMAZING British cars there. Here are a few photos.

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Louisa took home first place in her class, 1960-1969 British Cars. She was up against a few other cars, two of which were other MINIS.

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I am a proud mama.

Sunday AM was also a car day. My humble little show in Salem, New Hampshire at The Coffee Factory started early at 9AM, Southern New Hampshire Cars and Coffee.

I have been trying to get the show to be a little more professional and get myself out there. Up until now, I was just behind the scenes and no one knew it was I, *gasp* a lady, who was organizing the events. To my surprise, most everyone who started to realize it was me, was very supportive of that fact. For that, I am very happy.

My friend and sponsor Carson of Detail New England, helped me out at the show. Walking around, making connections, and manning the tent. It was a really great time! Quite a success, and I am happy with how far the show has come. Here are some photos from the day.

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Saucy! #DNE

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Short blog post this time. This coming weekend though I will be helping out at the SCCA Race at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, NH on Saturday and then Seacoast Cars and Coffee on Sunday. It is going to be one hell of a weekend, but I am very much so looking forward to it. Until next time everyone!

Moto On!