: Goes around, comes around
01-29-06, 07:56 PM
Okay, storytelling time kids.
Think about your best car story. Everybody has one, or in my case, several. Post 'em here, and share!
In the fall of 1974, I was about to turn 16. My friend and I rode our bikes all over town scoping out all the cars for sale. Poking out from a dilapidated garage we spotted the grille of a 1959 Chevrolet, painted a curious blue color and obviously without an engine. The guy who owned it was a drunk - he told us he'd sell it for $100. For two jobless 15 year old boys it might as well have been a million. But we dreamed...
A few months later we learned that a local junk dealer had bought the car and had dropped a 327 with a four speed into it. He just found out his wife was pregnant (again!) and needed to dump it quick. I had a 1964 Fairlane that needed lots of work in my back yard. He offered to trade the Fairlane and $100 bucks for the '59 Chevy. My dad lent me the cash, and the guy delivered the '59 on Christmas day. I was in bowtie heaven.
Then a shock. My oldest brother, who had been my idol because he drag raced cars in the late 60s, stopped by the house one day to see my ride. His jaw just about dropped to the floor. "Holy shit," he said. "This is our old drag car!" He stayed with me the whole afternoon, pointing out the history of the car. Here's where we cut the fenderwells for headers. Here's where the straight axle bolted to the frame. Here's where the flywheel came off and sawed through the floorboard and the frame. He got misty eyed a couple of times.
That week, he called his former drag racing partner and told him about the old '59. It just so happened that this guy was coming back to Michigan from Kentucky in a few weeks to attend a class reunion. My brother invited him over to see the old ride. He refused. They had sunk their heart, soul, and most of their college money into that car. It would be just too emotional. "The only time I want to see that Chevy is on a dark country road some night, passing me doing about 90, and shifting into 4th."
You can guess what happened next. When Steve got back to Michigan, my brother invited him out for dinner. My brother's house was at the end of a long, dark, straight, flat, paved country road. We parked the '59 behind a gas station and waited for Steve's Nova to pass by. Then we started after him. From about 1/2 mile back, I wound the old 327 to the redline. Just as we roared by him, I glanced at the speedometer - 96 mph - then I slammed the clutch and shifted into 4th. Those cat-eye taillights was all he could see.
When he pulled in behind us in my brother's driveway, tears were streaming down his face. He never forgot that sight, or the rush it gave him; and even though it happened 30 years ago, he still talks about it every time I see him.
I drove the '59 for about six months - it was my first actual driver. After me it went through a succession of owners, eventually ending up in the hands of a drug dealer who tried to outrun the cops. He launched it over an embankment doing better than 100. When it landed, the car split right in two, precisely where the frame had been sawn in half by the flyweel on a hot night at Martin Dragway in 1967. It went to the crusher, but there are at least three old farts who cannot think about that car, and that night on a dark country road, without breaking into a smile.
01-29-06, 08:05 PM
Great story!! :)
I hope I have a car like that, that I get really sentimental about!!
First car I owned was a 77 SDV. It was my first time in the USA and I was there with 2 other Dutch students doing our internship at a company in Costa Mesa, CA. We needed a ride and since we saw this oportunity to finally drive a big ol' american sled we looked for something big. We saw some pretty nasty cars in our budget, but we found this 77 SDV in the auto trader for sale by some guy from San Clemente. He was willing to drive up to Costa Mesa and meet up at a 711 when he heared we were asking what bus to take to San Clemente. We made the deal for $1200 on the parking lot. We were in heaven as we been doing everything by foot for 2 weeks. Including shopping, dragging paper bags for 3 miles.
Anyway, the car looked great even though it was a tan colored car with tan vinyl roof and tan leather. It just wouldn't go faster than 70 and it used quite some oil. We just had the freezeplugs changed. I been washing the car in and out and hand polishing it. Neighbours gave me props for taking so good care of it. I ordered the CHEASY licenseplates for it, but it got crashed 2 weeks later. Standing in line for traffic light some lady in a red Dodge Caravan ran into us without breaking. The car looked like a big tan banana with the trunk all bend to the ground and the nose crushed in. Two cars in front of me were also damaged and we were left with a whiplash. I stood there with the crying lady next to me looking at the car that I just polished saying "well, ...shit happens...". Even the lady laughed.
The insurance provided us the money to buy another tan 77 SDV. What are the odds. Anyway, i could easily put the custom license plates on this Cadi then...
So this next 77 SDV took us all over California. We took it to San Francisco, Palm springs, San Diego, halfway to Las Vegas. It was our daily driver to work and shopping. And it took us down town LA to clubs and events.
Now we were blessed with the visit of a french lady student. Oh man was she naive! She room mated with us and she shared some costs on the car so she could use it too. She had some typical french road attitude and soon the tickets came in. She never used the turn signal and she would swerve from lane to lane or even drive over the middle the lanemarker for some distance. We just let her drive so she wouldn't bitch all the time, but boy was I sweating my pants! We had a good laugh about it though. I was just not too happy about the parking damage she came back with... After we had a good look we also told her it was illegal to sunbath topless on the beach in California. hahaha
When we went back to Holland we left her the car. Finally she managed to land it on the side of the 405 freeway, cuz she forgot to put oil in it. She sold it with my license plates on it...
From the law suit of the accident I bought an apple red 64 CDV from some guy living in a trailer north from San Diego. Only mishap was a rear axle bearing that was grinding heavily and the interior was pretty worn out. So I had that one taken in to be replaced. I also bought a Green 70 Eldorado from someone in LA, near Hollywood Boulevard. Had some minor parking damage to the left door and the main brake cyllinder needed to be replaced.
Then my flight school called in that I needed to attend earlier. So I flew back to Holland leaving the two cars at a friends house.Well, in the street... He promised he would take them to the shipping company when the CDV would be released from the workshop. He never did and never contacted me about the cars being towed away after being ticketed 3 times at street sweeping. So I lost those...
Then I moved to Tucson Arizona for flight school. Still heartbroken from my loss I checked the online auto trader for a 70 Eldorado and found one in Stockton, CA. The next day I flew in at Tucson I flew to Oakland and took a cab to Stockton with a class friend of mine. I bought the car after the first owner and his wife treated us with some coffee and cake. He was very pleased he could sell the car to someone who would take care of it as he has alway been very proud of the car. He called it a pretty dandy car (Later I sent his son some pictures of the car when it was over in Holland).
I drove it over San Francisco and the 101 Freeway to LA and on to Tucson. I visited friends and some sceneries and we slept in the car until the car made it to Tucson. I found out the AC didn't work anymore and the speakers were dried out. I replaced the main brake cyllinder and made the left quarter window work again (just a lose bolt). I also replaced the rear brakes and all the shocks and some minor interior switches and stuff me and this friend found on the local scrap yards.
I took the Eldo all over Arizona and the Grand Canyon and even to Las Vegas to celebrate Y2K with my class. Then it started leaking oil from two of the valves and starting became a problem. I decided to have the engine overhauled which cost me a rib. I also changed the exhaused to dual out and a Camaro straight through. People cave me a lot of props even calling out in the street when I drove by and I made friends at workshops. Felt REALLY great to have that car as a daily driver!
I drag raced it against a 90's Riviera at Ryan Airfield but was no match against a pumped up Nova at a traffic light driving to the airfield. Hahaha
And boy was that a chick magnet driving that car in my flight suit and pilot goggles!
I am very happy I managed to ship that car to Holland. I drive it when the sun is out and I drove for two weddings and a girls stag party now. That's great too: having your Cadi loaded with hyped up girls!
01-30-06, 12:01 PM
Nice stories guys. I hope to have one like that someday.
At 10 or 11, by dads truck was down, so he got a company truck. 1988 Silverado, Custom trucks of Texas build, blue fading to black paint with awesome decals on the paint. The interior had big captians chairs and was overall the most comfortable truck I had ever rode in. The truck was very well done and quite expensive new, until some wrecked it, repaired it, and sent it to work. I absolutly LOVED the truck and wanted it to be mine someday.
4 years later, I had my learners permit and I was looking for a car. My dad says that the awesome blue Chevy truck I always wanted was sitting at a job site and not being used. My mom and dad knew the owner of the company quite well, so they asked him if he wanted to sell it. He tried to tell us that it was a POS, but I still wanted it. $500 bucks and it was mine. A complete hunk of junk, 276,000 miles, needed motor work, and a MAJOR detailing, but it was MINE. I got everything fixed on it and drove it for 3 years and 25,000 miles. Alas, gas prices and frequent break downs forced me to sell it and get my Seville. I still see it occasonally and it does crack me up a little bit. It was the best car I have ever had the pleasure of driving.
Thats about the best that I have got. I was very sentimental about the old hunk of junk, in a "Millenium Falcon" sort of way.
Back in the mid 80's my dad had a '79 Toyota Cressida Wagon. My dad always bought up an old car to drive it till it died. This was the biggest car so far and me and my 2 brothers loved it! We often were offered to clean and polish the car for some extra pocket money. This Cressida still had those chrome bumpers and many details, so there was lots to polish. It was converted to propane, so it had this hughe gastank in the rear. But it still provided a lot of space in the back for us to lie down at long trips. The propane conversion also caused starting problems at cold weather. I remember my dad and mom talking to the car and petting the dash when trying to start it while we were in the back blowing clowds.
There was also a big fat stain on the roofliner from the former owner who apparently used lots of Posner in his hair. We joked my dad was using to much to which he always excused that it was not from his hair!
One time my mom took us for a long trip to our grandparents. The car was missing a hub cap making another car pull us over. This driver saw a hub cap flying over the road crushing into a windshield of uncoming traffic. My mom pulled over but kept the window open just by a crack. We all three nodded convincingly on the back seat when asked if the car was really already missing a hub cap...
We hated to see it go. The exhaust was falling apart, even after it was patched with gun-gum. And there was also some engine problems that my dad never explained in detail...
01-31-06, 02:18 PM
Back in the early 70's, my friend Steve had an Austin Healy Sprite. This was a tiny, early 60's vintage British sports car that seats none, in a pinch. I think my child has HotWheels bigger than the A-H was. There was this old junkyard about 20 miles north of where I lived, run by a strange fellow named Gene Matlack. Matlack's was full of old busted up ambulances and rusty school buses and grimy black hearses and all sorts of bizarre and curious foreign automobiles that no one else for a hundred miles had, like Citroens and Simcas and Renaults.
Gene had a huge stuffed buffalo head mounted on the wall above his bed, which always impressed me. His right arm hung from his shoulder like a bird's broken wing, because that's exactly what it was. He broke it between the shoulder and elbow in a car accident, and never got it set properly. He also had an Austin Healy that Steve bought as a spare parts car, sight unseen, but Gene said if we'd come up and get it off his lot, he'd take a hundred bucks for it. So one afternoon Steve and I and another friend, Jay, drove up to Matlack's to get the car.
Of course, it wasn't until we got there and looked around that we realized that the Sprite had already been used as a parts car by somebody else, and had no steering wheel and no fenders. We knew we couldn't get it home during the day, but hoped that the cover of darkness would assist our clandestine movement home. After it got dark enough so that you couldn't tell the Sprite had no fenders unless you looked directly at it, we splashed about two gallons of gasoline down the back of the seats while trying to get some in the tank, and set off back home. About three miles from Matlacks, in the middle of god knows where on Route 282 in western Chester County, the car died on us. Totally. Absolutely dead. We pushed it about five hundred yard before coming to our senses and realizing we had 15 miles to go. We'd just have to tow it back home. Normally this wouldn't have been that much of a problem, but it's a bit more of a test to tow a nine-hundred pound car with another nine-hundred pound car, when the latter is stuffed with three stout fellows as well. Especially when you don't have a tow chain. Or a rope. We didn't even have a string tie. All we had were three size 32 belts. Finally one of us had the bright idea of using the seat belts from the broken car to tie it to the good one. We figured seat belts had to be pretty strong, right? The conversation went something like this:
"So, anyone got a wrench or pliers to get the seatbelt bolts out of the floor?"
"Anyone got a knife or anything, to cut them off.?"
"Hey, I got an idea. Why not use the flame from a flare to cut them loose?"
"Hey, good idea, get a flare from the back of my car."
Scratch, Whoosh! The flare lit up like Baghdad under a Scud attack. Steve leaned in and began to work the tip of the flame back and forth across the seatbelt, right above the bolt where it attached to the floor boards. The greasy floor boards. The greasy, gasoline-saturated, plywood floor boards. All of a sudden, it seemed to get really bright in there as the plastic seat cushions burst into flames, and something long and thin came shooting out of the back of the car, clanking onto the pavement. Steve had stayed with it until the very end, finally cutting one seat belt loose and tossing it out over the trunk before abandoning the vehicle. We feverishly tossed dirt, stones, and it seemed, a bunch of wood and dried leaves, on the fire, until it finally died out, and then spent ten minutes stomping on the flare to get it out before we set the woods on fire all around us.
I'm sure the housewife who found three scorched, smelly, and sweaty teenagers at her door that summer night didn't know what to expect when we rang the doorbell, but we managed to convince her that we meant her no harm, and as soon as we told her we'd just come from Gene Matlack's, she said "Say no more. I must get three or four people a month stop by here to call a tow truck after they leave that hellhole."
Steve's brother came up and brought a chain to tow the A-H back home with..I think we cannibalized it pretty well when we finally got to it...
01-31-06, 08:46 PM
Great story Jim! I'm still laughing at the visuals of that one!
02-01-06, 01:06 AM
Great story Jim! I'm still laughing at the visuals of that one!
I got more....