Monthly Archives: March 2024


Conversations With People We Value #53

I am part of a trio of experienced car enthusiasts that host an adult school class called “Collectible Automobiles as a Passion.” Now, in its twenty-first 9-week semester, it has created an ongoing and expanding community of car enthusiasts for more than a decade. Much like a pebble tossed in a pond, I have found its impact ripples far beyond its own existence.

It has attracted an extraordinary and thoughtful group of men and women of all stripes united in their shared fervor as automobile enthusiasts. Over the life of the class and for the broad spectrum of its many and varied participants one concern has risen above all others. This year the expression of that concern by the class has reached a crescendo that has given birth to a call for action. The concern? As the current population of automobile enthusiasts approach a time when they will begin to age out, to whom will they hand the reins? Who will continue the preservation and promotion of the art, culture, history and joy of the classic automobile? The obvious answer lies with the coming generations. At the heart of the expressed concern resides the fear that today’s youth have not been exposed to the experiences and attributes of classic automobile enthusiasm that fired our generation’s passion. Our class in some small way wanted to do something to address this disconnect. I have an idea for my class to consider. The idea is the:

“Collectible Car Fair for Kids and Teens.”

Collectible Car Fair for Kids & Teens


December 12th of 2009 saw the museum celebrating the once fabulously famous cowboy, Roy Rogers, close its doors for the last time. The museum shuttered for lack of enough fans to support it. So it was the end of the trail for “Happy Trails to you.” At a Christie’s auction Nellybelle, Roy’s 1946 Willys Jeep sold for $116,500. Trigger, Roy’s stuffed Golden Palomino stallion, went for $266,500. What could all this possibly have to do with today’s comfortable world of car enthusiasts’ multi-billion dollar passionate pursuit? The answer, plenty.

It serves as a cautionary tale deeply unsettling for those thoughtful enthusiasts peering across a radicalized cultural landscape populated with a seething hatred for fossil fuels, a governmental love affair with electric cars, futurists cheerleading neutered, self-driving transportation, school systems devoid of any education in technical skills in general and auto shop in particular and the cost of “collectible cars” far exceeding the means of today’s younger generation. Case in point I bought my six year old 1961 Corvette in 1967 for $1,300. Today a six-year old Corvette tips the money scales at around $60,000.

Once unthinkable but, today, many teenagers exhibit little interest in getting a driver’s license. Presently cultural tides offer a powerful array of currents diverting youthful interest away from classic cars. They cannot afford them. They do not drive them. The digital age has no place for printed car brochures. Few local dealerships exist where a kid can walk unchallenged across a showroom floor to admire a car he or she could not afford. A “stick” is something your dog chases.

Keep in mind that the original Concours d’Elegance (French: competition of elegance) came to life in 17th century France. There wealthy members of the French aristocracy paraded their finely crafted and exquisitely turned-out horse-drawn carriages through the Parisian parks on sunny summer weekends for the purpose of display and competitive judging. Today, outside of tourist centers in large cities, how frequently does one encounter a horse-drawn carriage?  Indeed, times do change. And change includes the avocations supported by the existing culture.

In today’s world, horse-drawn carriages still compete but rarely if ever in public. Save for the Budweiser Clydesdales, the general public has precious little interest and even less understanding of four-in-hand carriage dressage events. These  occur in the cloistered settings of equestrian centers for the well-to-do. Could this be the future that awaits today’s now vibrant collectible car culture? The answer could well be, yes, if viewed in some future society lacking green shoots of interest springing up among those destined to inherit tomorrow. What to do, then, today?

While organizations such as Hagarty have committed significant energy and resources for programs dedicated to cultivating collectible vehicle interest in today’s youth, I believe it is through local grass roots efforts to nurture youthful interest that green shoots will sprout.

I had an idea that brought me to the best source when searching for answers, the local library. There I sought out Dave the Library Director. Dave enjoys a well earned reputation for promoting energetic and creative engagement with the community, especially children. Dave, attentively listened as I pitched my idea for the “Collectible Car Fair for Kids and Teens.

The basis of my proposal called for activities where “Collectible Automobiles as a Passion” (henceforth referred to as the class) members and library staff would interact with the event’s youthful attendees and explore common interests that would be associated with the collectible car hobby.

His interest piqued, Dave listened intently as I described how the plan called for a special opening of his library during the warm weather on a Sunday when the library would normally be closed. Members of the class would populate the library parking lot with a curated array of their personally owned collectible vehicles. Each owner would be prepared to talk about his or her vehicle. Each owner would have a comprehensive knowledge of their car and, as well, would be conversant about the time period when their car was new to provide an historical perspective. Cars would be arrayed in a manner that offered easy access for children wishing to sit inside and have a parent or friend take a picture.

The class membership reflects a wide variety of professional pursuits including law enforcement, medicine, advertising, automotive technology, finance, education, automotive marketing and promotion, and many more. As well, they possess significant experience in the collectible vehicle hobby with interests including car collecting, racing, concours judging, hands-on restoration experience, art, journalism and collectible car sales. Many members have first-hand experience dealing with giants of the 20th century automotive world such as Carroll Shelby, Donald Healey, Nuccio Bertone, Bob Lutz, Brian Redman, Derek Bell, Nicola Bulgari and Dr. Fred Simeone to name a few.

The following suggestion stirred Dave’s creative juices as I suggested that the event would integrate library activities available to all children. This would include promoting a summer reading program that among other titles would feature books with automotive themes including art, history, driving, racing and travel. Dave commented that his library featured a highly developed “Makerspace” program, it could offer “maker” activities consistent with the event’s automotive theme. I had a good feeling that I might be sensing “buy in” from Dave.

Children interested in learning how to judge a car show could pre-register for a “how to judge” class (Possibly 2 groups broken down by age, 8 to 12 and 13 to 17). They would receive instruction before the event from class members who have judged at national events such as Amelia Concours d’Elegance and the Greenwich Concours d’Elegance. Children completing the training would then judge the cars at the event. All children participating as judges would receive a certificate of recognition.

Children attending the event who exhibit an interest in art and design could sketch any car they wished or create a design of their own. An effort could be made to publish the winner’s(s’) artwork in the local newspaper. Professional automotive artists have been class members over the years and we would seek to have them speak with students sharing their professional insights. Children with a flair for photography could have the opportunity to attend a library event featuring instruction from an experienced automotive photographer. The session could provide guidance on how to take a better photograph of a friend when seated in one of the cars on display whether using a camera or a phone. Dave smiled.

As class membership includes female car enthusiasts, a special effort would be made to address opportunities in the collectible automobile arena for women as well as men.

One of the younger class members recently earned a 4-year degree in automotive restoration technology from McPherson College, the only college in America offering a degree in Automotive Restoration. He possesses a wealth of information and experience to share with any child interested in pursuing a degreed  program.

A final feature, if allowable, would provide for a lottery with five winning tickets drawn. The winning youngsters would then get a ride in the collectible car of their choice.

As an extension of the event, if the local high school expressed interest, our class could use our relationships with institutions such as the NB Center for American Automotive Heritage in Allentown, PA or the Simeone Foundation Museum in Philadelphia, PA on a “Demo Day” when selected display cars come outside for driving demonstrations.

In describing the automobile, world renowned neurosurgeon, car collector and founder of the internationally revered Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum called the automobile, “the greatest gift of the Industrial age.” The automobile’s dynamic, ever changing story fills volumes with accounts of people and events replete with a relentless, no holds barred battle for performance supremacy and market advantage, breathtaking adventure, stunning design, breakthroughs that stand out in the telling of human history, personal tragedy and triumph, and a central role in war, wealth and global financial over the past 150 years. Stories rich with personal drama and historic significance await the children who will attend the Collectible Car Fair.

With the pitch completed, the focus turned to Library Director Dave. “What say you,” I asked.

Dave responded with an enthusiastic “Yes!”

Now, I will return to class bearing an idea that hopefully will be accepted as worthy of the labor necessary to plow a field that will yield green shoots.

By |2024-03-28T12:07:03+00:00March 28th, 2024|6 Comments

Conversations With People We Value #52

I view him as the poster child representing engineers who do not accept good enough as, well, good enough. I first met Dominick Carluccio a few years back in his capacity as a young engineer assigned to me as my technical liaison for a client. His role called for assisting my creative services agency in developing promotional and educational materials for a company specializing in cutting edge inhalation and particle exposure systems.

His clearly insatiable appetite to achieve mastery of what he already understood well impressed me. To his credit, he did so with a genial, unflappable confidence.

I recently learned that Dom had started his own company, Wurst Käse Engineering. You have got to love the name. I do. For his first product he directed his laser focus on what he considered to be the significant shortcomings of methanol injection systems available in the market.

Meet Dom and his kick-ass methanol injection system.

A sharp engineer’s insights inspires a quantum leap in methanol injection

Kelly and Dominick

Dom’s 2011 2-liter, 4-cylinder Volkswagen GTI came stock with 200 horsepower. Under his stewardship it presently pumps out a shade under 400 horsepower. It will easily plant your eyeballs against the back of your skull. Dom, however, has yet to be satisfied. Nonchalantly, he projects quiet confidence in his ability to extract even more power from his willing German 2-liter 4-banger. Methanol injection placed high on his list of intended upgrades.

An especially attractive upgrade for turbocharged And supercharged engines, methanol injection delivers a finely atomized mist of a water/methanol mixture to an engine’s cylinder fuel charge. The cooling effects of the mixture, lowers the temperature inside the combustion chamber. This reduces the likeliness of detonation (knocking) that can reduce performance, fuel economy and, worse, severely damage a high performance engine. As well, methanol provides the added bonus of increasing a fuel’s octane rating. This pays off with increased horsepower with proper tuning.

Wurst Käse  Water/Methanol Tank

Unfortunately, Dom experienced great dismay upon surveying the quality of the methanol injection systems available in the marketplace. Upon expressing his disappointment to his, then, girlfriend Kelly Moran, her response makes clear why they are about to, now, become man and wife. Kelly says, “’He’s the kind of person that’s always looking to change the world with his inventions and always looking for that kind of outlet. And he loves cars and he’s always trying to make his car the best it possibly can be. When this opportunity came about, he saw the need for a better system in the marketplace. We discussed the opportunity and I said ‘you could do it better.’ Like, there was no doubt in my mind that he could do it.”’

In naming his burgeoning automobile high performance tuner friendly company, Wurst Käse Engineering, Dom displays an elevated sense of humor, a welcome but uncommon attribute among engineers, not unlike finding pearls in oysters.

Wurst Käse Methanol Pump

As a gifted aerosol engineer, Dom possesses years of experience conducting research with applications including filtration, e-cigarettes, cigarette smoke, emissions, and environmental pollutants with particle sizes down to 2.5 nanometers in size. One nanometer equals one billionth of a meter (0.000000001 meter or .00000004 inches). You will not find either on your average ruler.

To be clear, an aerosol exists when tiny particles of a liquid or solid are suspended within a gas. When under pressure aerosols can be released in a fine mist as with a spray room deodorizer or exhaust emissions. Clearly Dom’s comfort in the micro particle aerosol

world uniquely qualified him to explore advanced solutions to aerosol applications like methanol injection.

When Dom’s aerosol engineer experience and tuner-skilled car guy interests collided with his disappointment in available methanol injection systems it produced a perfect storm. An inspired and revolutionary product ensued.

Ever the engineer, Dom says, “When I first started getting into methanol injection and thinking of actually implementing it, I inspected the nozzles of existing systems in regard to their performance and efficiency. I was not impressed.” Dom knew of the extensive research that had been performed on fuel injection nozzles. He says, The key to superior nozzle design is to facilitate creating the most surface area of the fuel being injected.” The logic being that the greater the surface area the more thorough and efficient the resulting combustion. Dom, knew that the best way to achieve that efficiency demanded a really good aerosol generator. In inspecting methanol injection kits on the market, the frequently crude designs surprised him. Dom says, “Not only did we see a lot of big droplets resulting in low use of available surface area but plenty of nozzle designs with all sorts of shortcomings.” Dom found nozzle designs relying on moving parts that could degrade resulting in wasted fluid and corrosion. Upon closer scrutiny Dom found systems relied on old nozzle designs used in home

Wurst Käse Throttle Pipe Injection

heating oil burners with modifications to support methanol injection. Aghast at his findings and confident in his abilities, Dom set about to create and market a superior system.

In a wise first step he enlisted his market savvy chemist girlfriend and soon to be wife Kelly. In addition to being a social media digital native, Kelly possessed significant experience in test bench analysis for product assessment.

Together Dom and Kelly embarked on a close to 2-year research journey exploring the fine details of systems presently being sold. Dom says, “We identified the best products currently available and bought their kits. We built a test bench that simulated intake air and how quickly that intake air could decrease in temperature when injecting various amounts of water with different methanol injection kits.” Over the 2-year research period they succeeded in developing a standard for assessing performance and quality and the target specifications for what would become their system. At last the time had arrived to design their own.

Dom says, “All testing was conducted using my Volkswagen GTI as a test mule. Under heavy load, I observed the presence of some knock and pre-ignition. It demonstrated to me that a lot of opportunity existed for a better system.” It became evident that technology he had previously employed in biomedical research offered significant promise for an automotive application. This early work gave birth to the Wurst Käse Engineering tagline, “Science Meets Performance.”

Wurst Käse Direct Port Injection Manifold

Dom says, “One such breakthrough courtesy of our bio-engineering  test bench experience came with regards to determining the right particle size and the right concentration to achieve the best cooling capability with the least amount of liquid injected.” In other words Dom had a tool to research how to maximize the cooling effect while using the least amount of methanol mix. It resulted in a uniquely precise and efficient nozzle design.


Kelly and Dom dedicated two years to developing, refining and perfecting a nozzle that significantly elevates the bar for system efficiency, durability and simplicity. Dom says, “Based on the science we had to create the nozzle that would support our findings.” To start, Dom modeled his concept on SolidWorks 3D CAD design software. Then he and Kelly spent countless hours machining brass prototypes, testing different hole sizes, depths and combinations until they found themselves going in the right direction. With a working prototype completed they sent it to a gifted machinist and placed an order for their prototype in stainless steel. If seeing the first prototype in stainless did not make all the years of work worth it, putting it on the test bench surely did.

Wurst Käse Variable Injection Controller

Dom says, “Our testing confirmed we had designed the best nozzle for optimizing methanol injection based on delivering small particles that cooled most efficiently.” However, with testing it became evident that different solutions and benefits had different types of performance gains.” Achieving the best performance demanded optimizing to deliver the right benefits, for example providing for more fuel, more air or both. Systems on the market with varying droplet size including some very big droplets lack the ability to provide the optimum cooling associated with homogeneous mixture ratio. Far surpassing the competition, Dom’s new methanol injection system possesses the ability to inject on and off very quickly combined with the capability to deliver consistent performance over a wide range of injection pressures. It does so by delivering a charge of consistent water/methanol solution to each of the runners feeding the cylinders. Dom, in thinking outside of the box, harnessed his scientific acumen in bio-technical aerosol engineering to advance automobile performance.

For the serious tuner or the serious car guy, the Wurst Käse methanol injection system delivers:

  • Quicker evaporation and efficient cooling
  • Better homogeneity of sprayed fuel resulting in equal delivery to different cylinders
  • Greater efficiency by delivering the same cooling characteristics while using half the methanol/water mix.
  • Greater cost effectiveness by spending less money on methanol
  • Greater range on the same tank or use of a smaller tank
  • Better atomization at low pressures to make the most of a variable flow system

Now, after almost three years Dom and Kelly stand ready to bring Wurst Käse Engineering’s methanol injection system to market. In reflecting on all that future newlyweds Kelly and Dom put into making the Wurst Käse methanol injection system a reality, Kelly laughs and says, “We have far more planning time in Dom’s system than our wedding, and that’s fine with me.”

Click to view very cool video of Wurst Käse bench testing

By |2024-03-14T17:20:33+00:00March 14th, 2024|Comments Off on Conversations With People We Value #52