Reverse Engineering

Tony Valainis

There's a YouTube video of Castle firing up the 183 in his garage while Terry watches (embedded below). The two of them look almost blase. The clip lasts barely a minute, yet it's mesmerizing. The camera pans around the engine, cradled between steel frame rails, revealing Harry Miller's signature synthesis of engineering necessity and aesthetic grace. At idle, it sounds like a V-8 with a hot cam. But then Castle jerks the throttle cable and the needle spins around the tach -- he tried seventeen of them before finding one he liked -- and you can't help but wonder what this car sounded like screaming around the wood banks of Beverly Hills and hammering over the bricks at Indy.

After the video was shot, the sleek bodywork was completed by Denny Jamison of Automotive HammerArt in Indianapolis (forming some aluminum panels over wooden bucks built by Terry and his wife, Karen). Painted royal blue, the car ran nearly forty laps last summer at the Milwaukee Mile as part of the annual Miller Meet, and it's scheduled to return this summer. As I gaze at the car in Castle's garage, I realize it's almost exactly the same age that he is. And you know what? Both of them are still going pretty strong.

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