When I was 13 or 14 we had moved and the new neighbor there was always working on his cars in the driveway. I spent all my time over there and he allowed me to clean parts and tools just like a modern day Tom Sawyer. If he wanted a tool I would run in his house and down into the basement where his toolbox was and run back with it. I remember him compressing valve springs on the bench by leaning on two hammer handles while my smaller fingers fished out the keepers. I remember breaking a thermostat housing once by over tightening the bolt. He said it was his fault because the gasket he made was too small of a bolt hole and some of the gasket got in the hole and caused it. One weekend he was getting a wrecker motor for his '62 Pontiac and it showed up during the week and was in a small trailer. I saw that it was completely covered in caked on grease and oil. He knew I was interested in motors and asked if I wanted to clean it for him while he worked overtime Saturday. I was up and out there by 7:00 and there was some wire brushes, rags and paint scrapers and best of all an old set of GM coveralls from where he worked. They even had a worn GM crest on the front and Jim's name on them. I worked all morning stopping only for lunch and ate my sandwich outside because I refused to take those coveralls off. I was still working when Jim got home and I remember how surprised he was that I was still working on it. I was there when friends helped him put that motor in. Helped him rebuild the carb and set the valve lash and was always watching and learning. Over the years I helped him with his Valiant and Vee-Dub. Changed clutches and water pumps, filed points, clean and gaped plugs and we even rebuilt the 283 in his early C-10 truck. By now I had my license and high school was over. I needed a car for work an bought my dad's '64 slant six Dodge and with all that I learned from Jim, replaced the clutch myself. (twice) Modified the intake to fit a 318 2bbl and fit a dual exhaust to it.
When I knew nothing but had an interest in cars I was fortunate to have someone there to encourage me, show me things that would have taken forever to learn by trial and error. He taught me what would work and what wouldn't and I got to drive the fruits of our labors. There is nothing like putting inert parts together and having it pull you down the road where ever you point it.
Ratsun is a place where I can pay back what was given to me..
Atom agrees with me completely, he learns the same way. He doesn't know as much, but we should all have the same access to information. It takes time and effort to learn, and I hope I can teach what I have figured out with people who want to pay attention.