Lynn Stanley headshot

From the
Senior Editor

Lynn Stanley

No Limits


he British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC) calls the Brooklyn Bridge one of the seven wonders of the industrial age. Construction began on the world’s first steel-wire suspension/cable-stay bridge in 1869 and was completed in 1883. The structure boasts more than 14,000 miles of steel cable. Each cable has 19 separate strands each comprising 278 wires. Its granite towers weigh 90,000 tons each.

Because of the amount of steel used in the bridge, it can rise as much as 3 in. during cold weather because metal expands and contracts in response to temperature changes. The longevity of the 5,989 ft.-long span (slightly over 1.1 miles) is credited to redundancies in its support system. Designer and civil engineer Augustus Roebling calculated the structural strength needed to support daily traffic and then designed the bridge to be six times stronger.

In the metalworking industry, we tend to focus on material, performance criteria, fabrication and the technology required to build a product. We don’t often take the time to consider the mettle of the men and women behind these projects. In the case of the Brooklyn Bridge, Augustus Roebling died of tetanus shortly after a ferry crushed his foot against a piling. The job of building the bridge fell to his son, Washington.
Bisi was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy at age 14 and has sinced lived his life at full throttle.
Paralyzed and bedridden due to decompression sickness (“the bends”), Washington directed bridge construction for the next 11 years through his wife, Emily, who served as his liaison and assumed the duties of chief engineer.
In this month’s issue of FFJournal, we take a moment to recognize the indomitable strength of the human spirit. Our cover story follows suspension specialist and Cougar House Garage owner Scott Bisi. He took his experience from solid axle swapping countless 1980s, 1990s and 2000s Toyota Trucks and 4Runners to become the first shop owner to design and prototype a solid axle swap front and rear sheet metal 4-link kit for a 2014 fifth-generation Toyota 4Runner Limited.

The metalwork on the lift kit looks like art, as does the truck he is transforming. Bisi’s dream is to complete the truck he calls Carnage in time to showcase it at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) in November. Bisi also developed his 4-link lift kit into a product line under the brand Cougar House Fab and turned his garage into a full service suspension shop.

It’s a great story, but the part that inspires me is his strength of character, irrepressible sense of humor and quiet gratitude. Bisi was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) at age 14. Since then, Bisi has lived his life at full throttle, refusing to let the rare, progressive disease slow him down. As Ronald Reagan said, “There are no constraints on the human mind, no walls around the human spirit, no barriers to our progress except those we ourselves erect.”