Thursday, November 26, 2009

The CNG GTO Tanks are installed!!

Its been a long and busy month. We turned the GTO over to Steve at Phoenix Energy to professionally mount the tanks and video tape the whole thing so you can see how its done.
The video turned out perfect. We have it posted up now on youtube. Please click the link below and see part one. Dont forget to see part two for the final cranking and running of the GTO.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Goat Fink in Color

Check out the website to see Goat Fink in full color now! Just one step closer to color tshirts to promote our Route 66 trip. Mark has set up a Twitter account for our project this weekend and its located at The status of the car is that Monday with be 3 weeks at Phoenix energy. They are waiting on a tank bracket to come in. In addition they are working on a bag to put around the tank valve as a safety feature to prevent gas from escaping into the trunk of the GTO. Work continues on the Route 66 Alliance to locate filling stations and already Twitter has yielded some contacts that may help in Arizona.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

CNG Tank Installation

Mark has delivered the GTO to Phoenix Energy to have the Luxfer Tanks installed safely and professionally. Steve Bouchillon will be doing the work and he has a long history of CNG work with the City of Birmingham. The major work ahead of Steve is the fabrication of the double tank brackets, mounting to the trunk area of the car, and connecting to the plumbing going towards the front of the car. As soon as pictures are available of the tank setup we will be posting them.

As you know the tank mounting is the last part of the conversion that will allow the GTO to travel freely around town. And smoke the tires!!!

The Route 66 Alliance

Jim Conkle. Google that name and you will find out that Jim is Mr. Route 66. Jim graciously agreed to meet with me and Mark. I was overwhelmed at the passion Jim has for Route 66. Jim and all of his friends have formed Route 66 Alliance a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization to coordinate the efforts nationally and internationally to preserve Route 66. Jim instantly befriended us and has all of the information that a couple of knuckleheads need to make a successful trip across the historical Route 66. Jim knows the road, the hot spots, the history, and even the brassier tree. We feel like we have made a new friend for life with Jim. He has made important introductions to some very influential people across the country and we are excited, hopeful and extremely appreciative about his trust in us and the openess with which our ideas were received. One of the ideas discussed was to open this trip up to ALL of the alternative fuels available out there. The trip would be amazing with representatives of the electric car, hydrogen car, solar car, and every other alternative fuel source you could imagine. It was so exciting I could hardly sleep thinking about all the brilliant people that could participate in our vision.

Week in California!!

The CNG GTO is moving so fast I cannot even keep up with it. Last week Mark and I flew to California to move our project forward a huge step. The next step of the conversion was to go to Luxfer Gas Cylinder Manufacturing in Riverside CA to pick up our tanks. We got a full tour of the plant from John Carrigan who was awsome to spend the time with us. THANKS JOHN!! Mark returned the next morning to pickup our two brand new tanks complete with valves. The testing facility is top notch and I will give you a report about the plant when I have more time.

We also visited with Paul Mader of AFV Fleet Service and got a tour of his fleet conversion business. Paul was awsome to meet with and we went to lunch and listened to his years of knowledge in the business. Paul has taken a personal interest in our project and his expertise in so many areas is invaluable. Thanks Paul Mader. (Paul has a CNG Crown Vic that has a 400+ mile range, awsome) He gave us some really great ideas about refueling on the Route 66 trip using tube trailers.

Thats all fantastic news but there is more!! Read on the next post!

Thursday, October 8, 2009


I am extremely happy to report to everyone that the GTO is OFFICIALLY running on CNG!!!
Check the website and look at the video tab to see actual video of the GTO running powered by a temporary tank of CNG. Its sounds awsome. The tank filler valve issued was worked out by Mark and he got a tank full and hooked it up. After a thorough pressure test all the way to the end of the system he had the green light to crank it up. It cranked right up without any problems. The idle became more stable as the engine warmed up and the hot water began to circulate on the first stage regulator. Its just amazing to see it run and you have to keep looking at the plumbing to realize its NOT running on gasoline any more. The gasoline tank has been removed from the car completely. When you look underneath the rear all you see is that beautiful GTO differential cover. Thanks Mark and Joseph for all of your hard work!! What a dream come true!!!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

GTO Crank Update

This is a quick update about the efforts to crank the GTO for the first time on Saturday.
The CNG tank valve was missing a plug that was necessary to cap off an outlet properly.
So rather than take a chance on doing something potentially dangerous with off the shelf parts we waited until Mark can go Monday and get the proper fittings. Just a quick update that the video of the CNG GTO has not been filmed yet. Stay Tuned!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Twas the Night before GTO Cranking

This is an irresistable moment. On Saturday October 3rd, the CNG tank will be filled a small amount and carefully placed in the GTO trunk. The fuel line will be attached. The hand valve will be slowly opened. The lines will be checked and double checked for any leaks. The emergency cutoff valve located under the car will be opened. More checks. The hi-pressure guage on the Stage One regulator will swing up to read the tank pressure. The pressure will make it all the way to the tri-carb setup. Then that magic moment will occur when the ignition key is twisted to the crank position. Will it start? Will it run? Everything is completely hooked up. The tension is as high as it has been since the project started. Tomorrow is a huge day. I cant wait to write the next post to let you know how it turns out.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

GTO Conversion

Saturday was a productive day. Mark worked on the car from early morning to late evening. He fabricated two brackets to hold components for the CNG conversion. The first component was an "L" shaped bracket to hold the regulator. It worked good but may need some stiffening. The second bracket held the diaphram/manifold assembly. It worked perfectly. I showed up in time to try and help on the installation of a few items. The regulator was mounted already when I got there. I helped mount the diaphram/manifold assembly. We put the ends on the 150psi lines and connected the regulator to diaphram/manifold. It all looks just like it belongs in the car from the factory. Mark has the three carbs mounted on the intake manifold. We worked on the linkage and got the middle carb connected to the throttle linkage. Its working very well thanks to an extension piece Mark fabricated. Next project is to connect the other two carbs to the progressive linkage. This will require another piece from IMPCO which is on the way, along with a coupling nut to hook the fuel line to the regulator. Mark had plans to route heater hose to the regulator to prevent freezing during the CNG decompression phase. Sorry this is too technical.
More coming later.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

GTO TriCarb - CNG Carbs

So much has happened this week its hard to imagine how it can all be recapped. The major news is that the IMPCO tricarb setup has arrived. The excitement level is almost unbearable. Technically we have every single piece that we need to get the GTO running on Compressed Natural Gas, and the temptation is to rush ahead and just DO IT. But we are savoring the moment and have an equal desire to get this done right. That means a couple of planned upgrades "just to make it look good". In addition, we slowed down and made a video yesterday, and Master Editor Mark stayed up till 2 am editing the masterpiece. It really turned out well. Check out the video page of the website. The first night was spent identifying the parts of the kit and how it fit together. Of course a regulator nut, bracket and schematic were missing from the kit, but we felt good about realizing the parts were missing. They are on the way. The modifications we are already planning on are a much improved and professionally machined manifold to split the Natural Gas lines into three feeds for the tri carbs.
We found some polishing on the cast aluminum carb "bells" would make them shine like new chrome. We like the thoughts of using braided steel lines to the carbs instead of the rubber hoses sent with the kit. I stopped by the shop today and Mark was filming a second installment of the installation sequence which involved removing the gasoline carbs and placing the new CNG carbs for fitment. They looked sweet and you would never know the difference. I am so happy we slowed down and videoed this for everyone so you could see there is no real magic to it. We are most of all concerned with safety and have multiple experts providing us guidance and advice from years in the business. I feel sure before the weekend we will see the second video posted. Thats all for now. Thanks for reading. Drop us an email.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Why? This week Mark and I have been asking why. Why aren’t we already using CNG (compressed natural gas) After you learn all about it it’s the obvious solution.

It’s the cleanest energy available meeting the stringent 2010 EPA emissions standards already.
Natural Gas is a US product which would create jobs for us.
Any gasoline powered car can be converted to run on CNG.
It would reduce our dependence of foreign oil and save our soldiers from stabilizing the Mideast.

So we both are struggling with understanding why we didn’t go this way. The common excuses are as follows:
We have been spoiled by cheap foreign oil. So it would cost more in the short term and no one wants to spend more even though it’s best for our future.
The big oil companies have millions of dollars of capital infrastructure at risk and would not be interested in oil and gasoline industry going away.
The automakers didn’t see a demand for CNG cars. Ford did manufacture CNG autos, but stopped because it apparently wasn’t profitable during the 90’s.
The general public is waiting on the electric car. Or they expect a gasoline/electric hybrid.
There are not any CNG filling stations available.

The actual truth is:
CNG is cheaper per gallon than gasoline.
Gasoline stations are installing alternative fuel solutions for the first time now and are being rightfully encouraged by the grant conversion money and CNG fuel refunds.
Ford (Focus and Fusion) and Honda are making CNG powered new vehicles available.
Businesses are using CNG to go GREEN.

My hopes are for a grass roots demand for CNG cars and infrastructure to develop to fix our problem of foreign oil dependence. The government has done its part by putting in policy to encourage CNG filling stations thru grants and CNG subsidies. The Natural Gas Companies have the product and are finding more reserves too. We are only missing the American people who are brave enough to step up and engage this solution. We can fix our problems now! We don’t have to wait on anything. We can start the new jobs immediately with conversion, infrastructure construction and new auto manufacturing. Can I count on you?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Monster Art Goat Fink

Now to the fun part. You remember that Mark commissioned an artist in New Zealand to create our mascot Goat Fink. Well today we got the artist proofs. I wont spoil the surprise but he sent four concept sketches as proofs. One of the proofs NAILED what we had envisioned. The 66 GTO is at the perfect angle to see the unique grille and the smokin CragarSS mags. The tricarb setup looks awsome protruding thru the hood. But the best part is GoatFink. He is awsome and full of personality and attitude. He has that crazy look in his eyes. All of the nuiances are there that we envisioned. The CNG tanks strapped to his back. The CNG regulator on his wrist of the hand that he is using to shift that huge shifter. The oil-derrick buster tattoo. The Route 66 tag on the front of the GTO. The whole imagery is one of tire smoking, flame belching, gear jamming fun. I cant wait to put this on a Tshirt. Its so cool, it may be the only shirt I wear for the next year until the trip is complete. Go Goat Fink.

Route 66 filling stations

The one thing that has been bothering me the most is the unresolved questions about how many CNG filling facilities are along Route 66. I started a spreadsheet but it didn't satisify that need to see it on a map. Mark asked if we could have a map graphic that showed our filling stations. I got on Google maps and after just a short while I was amazed at what I could generate. I mapped the route from Chicago to Santa Monica. Mark pointed me to research he did at the Department of Energy's website that has a searchable listing of CNG stations both public and private. As I searched it became apparent that really all the way from Chicago to Amarillo Texas that there were filling stations no further than 300 miles apart. The southwest has some large gaps. Fortunately Clean Energy Company has fuel in New Mexico. And when we get to California we can get CNG to make it to the coast. So I was estatic to realize that there are only two long hauls that do not have fuel. The GTO projected range is 300 miles. I was afraid that we were going to face ten or more spots and I am so relieved. For the first time I feel like this trip can become a reality.

Progress on the Tanks Update

I have been wanting to send an update but there are so many good things going on this past week that its really been hard to decide whats most important. The most productive advance is that Mark is working with a really motivated tank supplier now. He is full of great ideas and Mark is setting up a meeting. We have figured that we may need to work three tanks into the GTO trunk to have sufficient range to make the legs between filling stations. Two big tanks in the floor of the trunk and one smaller tank under the package tray between the wheel wells. If our calculations are correct we hope to have an approximate range of 300-325 miles. More on what that will get us later. So I will consider this the tank status update for now so everyone knows what we hope to accomplish.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Reflections on the Goal

At the end of the second week I took a fresh look back at the web page and this blog. What if I were new coming to visit the site. I feel like a years worth of knowledge and work is lost in the shuffle. During the presidential election campaign T. Boone Pickens woke me up with his campaign to free us from our dependence on foreign oil. I was so mad at the price of gas topping $4.00 a gallon, I made an internal silent pledge to never let that happen to me again. I did something immediately. I had the Summer of Honda. (Summer of 2008) I commuted to work every day on my 1971 Honda SL 100 that gets 95 MPG. It felt really great. But with the fall, the cold, and the rain my Summer of Honda slowly came to a halt. I miss riding that motorcycle bad. It was not the long term solution I needed. Mark and I talked about CNG and I think we both had dreams of immediately freeing ourselves from gasoline, and imagined filling up at home daily using a small compressor. What a liberating idea. It became a dream to chase for me. Mark did tons of research on CNG conversion kits. He ordered me a kit to convert my Land Rover Discovery II. All of this transpired over 6 months or so and when gasoline dropped it took some of the urgency for the conversion out. But the dream never died. It smoldered in the background waiting for that opportunity to return. The CNG conference held by Alabama Clean Cities Coalition reignited that dream and all of the work from a year ago is paying off now. I hope this clarifies a little of the history for my involvement and gives any readers a full picture of why we think we can do this. Its not a blip on the radar, its a year long process in the making.

Monday, August 24, 2009

First Week

This past week was the first week of our CNG Route 66 Oddessy and I am amazed at the ground that was covered. The mechanical conversion of the 66 GTO leap ahead with the tank racks, the tricarb setup, serious discussions of CNG tanks and Marks daily efforts to make this dream a reality. Equally impressive progress was made with our communications tools. The web site came together in a snap, the blog is working and easy to find topics, we even had a blast with the first video posted on youtube that was Marks hilarious brainchild. Finally, even new contacts came flowing in the door on the first week. Sam Fleet in Atlanta helped out, plus a host of other new friends like David Knudson with and too many more to list here that have pledged support to our efforts to unite a team along Route 66 for Refueling options. I could not have imagined a more productive first week to kick things off!! Talk to you soon.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Impco Tri Carbs

I spoke with Dave from Carburetion and Turbo Systems today. He says the GTO's carbs are on his bench nearing completion. When I get the first picture of the carbs, I will be sure to post. I can't wait to mount them into the GTO. I am more excited then a kid at Christmas!

You never know who you will meet at a Clean Energy Station

While refueling my van at the Atlanta Clean Energy Station today, as luck would have it, I came across Sam Fleet. Sam is the Pickens Plan State Leader for Georgia. She happened to be at the station doing some public relations work. Sam was curious about The Airport Express shuttle service and its use of natural gas. I shared with her our fuel consumption amounts and the savings we can achieve using CNG in our vans. I also took the time to explain the Route 66 GTO story. I have since found out that she is one of the hardest working volunteers in the Pickens community. We sure could use more people like her. I also had the pleasure of meeting William Engwer from Ace Garage. William is currently designing a prototype single passenger CNG car named Solo. William and his team are targeting 100 mpg for Solo. If you would like more info on Ace Garage and their Solo, you can email them at

Route Mapping Progress

Just a quick note to say that I used and found a really nice travel itinerary as a starting point for a spreadsheet that contains all the cities along Route 66. It also contained a state mileage chart for Route 66 that gave me the miles of road in each state. The itinerary was a ten day trip. If anyone has driven the whole trip with sightseeing stops along the way please comment on an appropriate amount of time to allow in the planning stages for a trip like this. Next step is to obtain the milage to each city and cross match this with our friends providing CNG providers.

For technology fans I am using GoogleDocs so I can share the data online with Mark as well as access from "anywhere in the world".

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Thanks Cotton

Through a company called Greenfield Compression Inc, manufactures of compressors for NGV systems, I got in touch with gentleman named Cotton Crites. He was very helpful in explaining some refueling options for our GTO trip down route 66. He is sending a list of public CNG refueling stations and other possible refueling points. Cotton has also given us some suggestions on refueling the GTO where there aren't any CNG stations. Refueling may be the biggest hurdle in our route 66 journey.

"You mean to tell me!"

This is the exact statement that came out of my passenger's mouth when I explained to her that Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) can fuel the very same engines that gasoline does. The passenger was in near disbelief that she was riding in a van running on the same gas that she cooks with. The next question that she asked was "What are the advantages of using natural gas in a vehicle?" I explained to her that CNG is less harmful to the environment, it costs less, and most importantly, it makes the US more energy independent. Her curiosity had been sparked and she wanted to know how long this technology had been available.
I explained that CNG has been around for decades but do to infrastructure problems, it has not caught on to the general public.

Monday, August 17, 2009

CNG Tank Racks

We met with James Vance at Cherokee Stamping in downtown Birmingham to have the dual tank brackets designed to fit both Airport Express Vans as well as the GTO. They will be custom designed and made of much stronger metal than your typical tank brackets. We have type two tanks with a spun fiberglass coating over the center part of the tank and the brackets will fit over the coating and have a rubber strip liner. Bolts will hold the straps around the tank. The base will have supports for the tank and welds attaching the strap. The supports will be welded to plate that will be bolted to the frame using wellnuts. The plate will be bolted directly into the frame of the vans as well as hopefully the frame underneath the trunk of the GTO. The GTO trunk has plenty of room for a couple of this size CNG tanks. No expected delivery date was established but will keep you posted.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


I set this blog up to report the progress, as it happens, on an attempt to drive the first CNG powered muscle car from end to end of Route 66. The website is up and running at and it will report news and goals.

This blog will contain more in depth discussion of the issues and problems we face making this fun project happen. I already know the trip is a longshot because of the lack of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) availability along the way.

I will use a resource at to locate the existing filling stations and do a spreadsheet to calculate the distances between the longest stretches of highway missing the CNG we need.

My hope is that there are just regular folks out there that may be able to help us on our adventure by reporting CNG filling stations, friendly municipalities that use CNG, and any other possibilities that we should consider in making the trip.