Sunday, August 26, 2012

555 Characters -- Mikey

Mikey Barillaro:  the Man
It would take a novel to describe this spicy Italian.  Born into the world of hot rods, he took onto working with his dad in his shop at an early age.  He and his brother Jimmy, who is also along for the ride, are 3rd generation welders.  Mikey is one of the champions of this event.  His is a master metal worker and as patient as a turtle.  Nothing bothers him unless its something he caused, which is usually just pain in our sides from laughing too much.  Opening his professional hot rod shop and his own garage full of tools, he has taken on the effort to teach so many of us how to weld, grind, and manipulate metal in any way needed to get our machine to roll down the road.  With a smile and rapid wit, he goes far out of his way to help any one of us.  I don't know how he has made so much progress on his own bike, and I wonder if this trip could happen without him. 
He is serious when it comes to hot rods.  He's had this 56 since he was 15... and it didn't look like this when he got it.  He did every bit of the work.  Learning from Mikey is a treat.  The cool thing is that he shows you, but then steps back and lets you do it, even if you burn a hole straight through your project.
 He decided to build everything, starting with 2 bolted plates for a frame.

 His design for the gas tank and shape in general is that of a drag bike.  So the name of his bike became "the Drag Queen."
 This is a duplicate photo, but I couldn't resist. 

 He built his exhaust as a two into one that wraps under the bike, fitting between the frame plates.

Sometimes he gets a little excited.
He likes to do human cannonballs and handstands, which don't always work out. 

 A night at his garage may look something like this. 

He never hesitates to help out.  I did all the welding on my bike minus the first one where Mikey showed me how to do it; however, he did weld up some tricky problems on my gas tank to save on a time-costly mistake (later, I was adding some tank mounts and burned a hole straight through it).

He makes it look easy.

If this was a competition, Mikey would get A LOT of style points.

The Outlaw is teaching him how to time his engine, which is ironic to us that with such experience, even he has some things to learn.  I figured he would have learned that when he was 5, but I guess there's always something new to figure out.

 He joined the two tubes to carry more fuel. He's guesses its about a gallon and a half.

The first gasoline to touch the inside of the tank.
Shortly there after, she came to life.  Another one is alive and hungry for the road.