lipstick-red interior. Urey pressed down harder on the gas pedal, and
his classic car pushed 60 mph.
The wind played havoc with Urey's hair, because the car's
windshield is just a low piece of plexiglass.
On side streets, pedestrians gave Urey the thumbs-up sign, and
drivers decelerated to get a good look at the two-seater.
"It gets lots of attention," said Urey, who has homes in Costa
Mesa and South Carolina. "I hear people hooting and hollering all the
Before the car was completed, Urey was greeted mostly by perplexed
looks. Few thought he could manage to build from scratch a car that
looks and drives much like a 1930s Indy racing car.
Urey was determined to do it his way. He wanted to keep the car
historically accurate -- from the aluminum dashboard to the removable
One neighbor knew Urey could do it.
"There are different forms of intelligence," said Costa Mesa
resident Teresa Patterson. "This guy is a genius. To watch it go from
old car parts to a working car has been so much fun."
Urey, 62, used to be a stock car racer and has built cars for
driving on dirt. But he had never attempted to build a road car.
Patterson and other neighbors watched as Urey spent countless
hours in his garage, crafting car parts and bolting them into place.
"It blows people's minds that I did this with the few tools I have
here," he said, pointing to a small arsenal of gadgets.
A photo montage displayed in the garage shows the entire building
process -- from the time he set the frame in place to the final
stages, when he pasted an Indianapolis Motor Speedway gold emblem on
About three months ago, he took the 250-horsepower car out on the
road for the first time. In one detail, he found that it is not
historically accurate: While racecars in the 1930s topped out at
about 115 mph, Urey said his vehicle can reach about 140 mph.
Urey said he put about $10,000 into the car and still needs to add
a few finishing touches. He wouldn't speculate on the car's value
because he has no plans to sell it.
He'd rather just take his racer on the road.
A week after Labor Day, he and his longtime girlfriend will set
out on a four-day cross-country trip from Costa Mesa to Pennsylvania,
where Urey was born.
He said the car held up fine on a recent ride on the San Diego
Still, Urey said he is prepared for a bumpy cross-country ride.
On a quick highway trip between Harbor Boulevard and the Corona
del Mar Freeway, the car rocked and he felt every undulation of the
The seats are low to the ground, and the sound of Urey revving the
motor is nearly deafening.
One thing is evident: Urey won't let go of his ear-to-ear grin.
And why should he? He has created the car of his dreams and is
sure to see plenty of gawkers on his road trip.
Not that he takes much credit.
"The good Lord just gave me this talent," Urey said.