Sunday, August 3, 2014

Show Car Sunday on hold for the Birthday Roundup!

Since it's my birthday today I thought I'd eschew the standard Show Car Sunday and instead get all nostalgia-y with a post featuring some of the many rides I've had myself over the years. Behold a partial list of my greatest hits!
1963 Volkswagon Beetle in what I believe was Alaska White. This car was great! Bought from a close friend and restored over many years. For the vintage this Beetle was in remarkable original condition. I kept it 6 volt which meant it wouldn't start with the key for the better part of 2 years (push starting it every day) and the headlights were so dim it was like the road was buttered as opposed to lit up. Finally a crazed old Tasmanian mechanic (actually!) who spoke to the cars he worked on and preferred to have them running the entire time he was working on them fixed the voltage regulator. From that point on the lights were bright, the original Blaupunkt radio loud, and it started every time! Lost to an accident when someone ran a stop sign in front of me.
Yes indeed this is a 1974 Cadillac Coupe De Ville in Seafoam Firemist Green! I saw this car parked next to a house and just knocked on the door. The widow who answered the door sold me what was her late husbands Caddy for the cost of the last repair bill which was $285 for brakes! Some spray paint later and I was in business.
The huge 8.2 liter 472 V8 ran fantastic, but myself being 17 I just laid strips with it constantly. Finally this pic is from when I went to get my license plates off of it after blowing the transmission for good on the way back from Massachusetts.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is the one that got away. A 1967 Oldsmobile 442 convertible in Spanish Red with an original Hurst 4-speed manual trans, power windows, AM/FM radio, and a Tic-Toc-Tach (a tachometer with a clock and other gauges all built in).
I delivered a pizza to an auto detail shop in Providence and saw this lurking in the back of the huge garage. When I inquired about it the guy said it hadn't run in 9 years and hadn't been registered in 11. He said I could have it for $1,000, which I agreed to if I could get it running. We started it up within a half-hour and I set about doing the brakes, exhaust, and tune-up to get it on the road.
I drove this thing for years and even got a new top for it. This car is very rare; the 442 was a 1 year only design in '67, and they only built 3,030 total 442 convertibles that year. Of those only 1,000 or so were 4 speeds! It's worth so much now that I'd really rather not talk about it. It's looking good parked in front of my building Dumbo circa 1997.
I have a soft spot in my heart for this little lunchbox! This is a 1988 Ford E-150 van with a straight-6 cylinder engine mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. Rare combo indeed and good for over 20 mpg even loaded down with everything I owned when I used it to move to California. Here she is parked in Oakland with the cheap and dirty paint job I gave it. It still said SNET on the back (Southern New England Telephone). I bought it for $900 and sold it to a guy who took it to Burning Man.
 Alright for those of you who don't really know California is a ridiculous paradise for cars where they never rust and classics are owned by people who just consider them to be normal rides no matter how spectacular. Take a look at this beautiful teal yacht; the 1965 Buick Electra 225 4-door hardtop!
I bought this car off of some rockabilly mechanic dude who kept it running perfect, and indeed it ran flawlessly the entire time I owned it. The original 401 Nailhead motor purred like a kitten and had mountainous torque. You could drive this enormous beast like a little sports car! It was somehow agile, stopped on a dime, and was just as comfortable rolling along at 25mph as it was going 90.
I took these beauty shots to sell the car and it worked; within minutes of posting a Craigslist ad I had negotiated the sale to a guy in Sweden. I drove the Buick to the docks near Alameda where a friend of the new owner handed me an envelope full of cash before removing the skirts and hubcaps to put in the trunk for it's journey to Europe. I love knowing this thing is cruising Stokholm somewhere as I write this!
Well there you have it. I've had plenty of other rides but frankly these are the ones I had images of on my computer. There may be a hiatus over the next few days as I head upstate, but rest assured I'll keep a lookout for country rides on my travels.

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