For any truck project, strong backing helps

One of my goals has been to acquire an old model, good used cabover tractor - preferably a Kenworth - and then leisurely bring it up to like-new condition.   Over the years, I’ve been able to find such a tractor here and there. However, with everything involved in “conditioning” the cabover, the expense has been beyond the budget of a truck trade magazine editor.   I’ve always been envious of those show truck people and owner operators that are able to get a comp’d seat, or a set of tires, or an air compressor, or a few brake drums, or some body and paint work and so on and so forth.   I just don’t know the “right” people, nor do they know of me.   One person that is well “connected” is Mike Ryan of Mike Ryan Motorsports.   In addition to designing, building and racing the championship Freightliner Century Class S/T race truck at the annual Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, Ryan has made a living as a Hollywood stunt driver and stunt coordinator for more than 25 years.   Recently, Ryan - racing a custom-built Freightliner Cascadia - established a new record at Mt. Washington Climb to the Clouds Hillclimb in Pinkham Notch, NH.   The race organizers say that in addition to being the country’s oldest motorsports event, it is one of the most dangerous. The 7.6-mile serpentine tarmac and gravel road is lined with trees and dramatic drop-offs as it winds its way to the 6,288-foot summit of one of America’s tallest peaks.   Ryan, the first competitor to ever race a heavy duty truck in this event, reached a top speed of 94 mph and completed the course in an impressive 8:02 minutes, establishing a new record.   Ryan worked closely with Freightliner’s engineers to design the truck specifically to tackle hill climb races. It includes an enhanced aerodynamic package and a lighter-weight composite body.   Beside the Climb to the Clouds, Ryan holds six Class 8 records in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb and two at the Queenstown Gold Rush Hill Climb in New Zealand - all of which brings much publicity.   That’s what I reckon I need to help me with my cabover project truck. I need to do something to create some buzz.   Since truck stunts and truck racing are already taken, and Fleet Maintenance’s race truck did not fair well in either of the two pinewood derby races it entered last year, perhaps I could establish a Guinness World Record.   I’m thinking a record for the individual with the most trucking industry logged ball caps or pens might get me some star time.   Better still, maybe I could set a world record for the most times getting into and out of a Class 8 cabover tractor in five minutes.   I welcome your thoughts and ideas.  

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