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Bryan G

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  1. My wife likes to name them; when we met I had an old Impala so since then she tries to come up with an animal to match each one. Some are a stretch. Our daily driver, a silver pickup, is the Fox. An old red & white GMC van? She came up with the Panda (red panda?) My old yellow IH pickup became the Canary, while the tan Packard I had was the Hare. I briefly had a beater '50 Cadillac that we just called Miss Daisy. My plain-Jane black '51 Ford got the name Orca based on color and the fin on the hood ornament. Now I have a grayish blue '49 Chrysler; I volunteered "Babe, the Blue Ox" but she says it can't be a fictional animal...I haven't found anything that color that fits. Might have to change colors!
  2. This is just the type of project I love; I've had a series of cars from that era that just needed to be awoken after a long slumber. Loads of fun to play mechanic, research, learn all about the car, and watch it slowly come back to life. Glad this one found a great home; I had a '50 Series 61 briefly that had been allowed to become a beater. Quite sad to see. Several cars I've ended up with were purchased by someone who thought they'd make a great daily driver and then they got parked and went down hill. You're preventing such a fate!
  3. My father, almost to his dying day, dreamt of making the big money on an old car. It never happened. In the end he always ended up taking a bath. The difference between me and him is, I never really expected to make a dime, and I've not been disappointed. I look at every vehicle I've owned as a life chapter, a learning experience more valuable than a college course. The last car I sold? I paid buy-here/pay-here Kia money for that Packard, had it 2 years, sold it at a loss. Oh, but the stuff I learned, and I can still close my eyes and feel myself lifting that right foot and that car dropping into overdrive as that smooth, quiet 288 loafed along... My most recent project? I started keeping a spreadsheet of expenses but don't think I'll update it; should just delete the file. Because it doesn't matter. The experience has been so fulfilling. It's just another old 40s sedan, a "driver", but the work I've done with my two hands, the research and what it taught me, have changed me, improved me, as has every car or truck that came before. I don't know what the next project will be, or when, but expect it will be bought as cheap as I can manage and when I go to sell? I'll hope for the best, and if I'm upside down that deficit will be marked in an account I label "entertainment/self-improvement". Oh, and a close relative as a 190SL that has gone from weekend cruiser to barn-find in the time I've known him. I have hinted at him to sell, and sell NOW.
  4. Lots of small snippets of riding in vintage cars and trucks float around in my mind, but overall I guess the most memorable trip would be: 2 men, 2 women and 4 kids packed in a '77 Buick Century wagon, silver blue and reliable as rain just like a Buick should be. We drove up Saturday morning from our home at the center of Maryland's Eastern Shore to spend the day at Six Flags Great Adventure in the middle of New Jersey, and had a great time. The adults had things all planned out: we would stay until the park closed, then drive down to Cape May and catch the ferry across to Lewes, DE and an easy trip across the Delmarva peninsula to our home. I can picture Mom & "Miss Brenda" thinking how romantic that trip across the Delaware Bay would be. Sometime after midnight "Mr. Tommy" steered our car toward the ferry terminal, to be greeted by the sign letting him know the last boat of the night left at midnight. NO PROBLEM! Just grab a hotel room...in the middle of the summer...in a resort town...for 2 families...at zero dark thirty. Lots of No Vacancy signs. I remember us stopping in front of some flophouse looking place on a side street; Dad and Tommy went in and came out a few minutes later laughing. Apparently they were asked how many were in the party; upon answering the clerk told them he didn't have enough girls for everyone! After that, a blur. Somehow I migrated from center front seat to the 2nd row. I awoke at what must have been about 2am, we were parked along the shoulder on a dark stretch of rural road. It seems the men needed to relieve themselves, but then came some excitement as a car sped down a nearby side road. It was that moment they noticed the fence with the razor wire. They'd chosen to stop in front of a prison, in the middle of the night. There was no pursuit, which would have really made for a great story... Around dawn I awoke again and we were sitting in a McDonalds parking lot in Delaware. When we finally hit home I hit the bed, awakening in time for supper. After that, our vacations were planned a bit differently!
  5. I used to do a lot of work with a guy who worked on 70's-80s Mercedes. We were talking one day, maybe I asked him about the distinctive smell, and he told me the seats were stuffed with horse hair.
  6. Maybe the manager of one of those truck stops wants to make a quick $200?
  7. This brings up fond memories of two trucks: an old fellow in the neighborhood had one painted gray which he drove daily until cancer got him in the mid-90s. His widow sold it to a neighbor who promptly stuck it in his backyard and threw a blue tarp over it. And it's still there And back in '90 I had a '78 stepside Ford painted that same color. If I could have kept it running I'd still be driving it today.
  8. There was an effort to require all new buildings in our rural county to have sprinkler systems but it met with fierce opposition as the cost would have added so much, especially since most areas are on wells. But, oh, when it's needed. I've seen some modern commercial properties on city water burn to the ground and scratched my head as to why they didn't have sprinklers. One was a Family Dollar store, kids playing with Bic lighters and rubbing alcohol or some such and that whole place went up. I learned the value of a lightning rod just a few weeks ago. My wife & I were driving along during a brutal storm when, right in front of us, a church steeple was struck. Even caught it on the dash cam! I don't know if they suffered an electrical issues but as we drove by that rod on top that I never noticed before? Standing proud. Certainly a devastating fire here, much like losing some family members. A fellow I know lost several vehicles to a fire and one of them had been his fathers. He was a tough guy but he shed a tear when he walked up.
  9. A memorable one I'd forgotten about: there was an old man who went around picking up aluminum cans; into the early 80s he drove a 50s Jeep pickup. At some point the fuel pump had given out so he had bolted a fuel tank to the roof and used gravity. I believe he eventually had enough money saved up from cans that he bought something new (but a lot less memorable.) (There was another old fellow, a real hard worker, who would come around buying junk radiators. He lived in the country and just kept piling them up. Around '97 or so he sold the pile and had enough to buy a plain-Jane F150.) Dad hunted on the property of a farmer who won a new GMC in a carnival raffle around '76. He drove it until there was almost nothing left...then won a new Dakota in another raffle! In elementary school someone, I think a lunch lady, drove a Corvair (this was c.1980). I don't recall ever seeing another growing up. A rather staid teacher drove a burnt orange 240Z, later replaced with a white 280z. This was then replaced with a plain-Jane white Dodge 4x4 pickup, which I never could figure out. There was a band teacher who came a couple days a week and always parked right up next to the back door; we had to walk right past it to get to the playground. The car? An early 50s Chevrolet Deluxe. I was in love with that car, and it really planted a seed with me.
  10. That old electronics cleaner that Glenn described is the good stuff, with real Freon propellant and some other stuff they won't put in cans anymore! I've been tracing gremlins in my 49 Chrysler recently; a wrong bulb can also mess up those circuits. The left footwell light, if the same as mine, is an old-style dual-element headlight bulb (1110 as I recall). A single element bulb in there will cause a back feed when the door is opened and both lamps will blink (as I learned.) A lot of these parts just benefit from being used.
  11. Do a Google search for a particular classic car for sale, say, "1949 Super Six Coupe" and by the time you get to about page 3 or 4 it seems to be an endless series of websites you've never heard of, the ones Flivverking described. Every time I've listed something for sale I've received texts, emails or phone calls from such characters. One guy I talked to seemed like a regular guy; in his case he was looking for $65 to list it on his site, a lot better deal if you insist on tossing some money away! I wonder, too, about certain dealers I see listed on some of the popular sites and the dealer is in Michigan or Indiana but he car is always listed as being in New Mexico or Arkansas and still in possession of the owner.
  12. Let's see, what was up and down the dirt road we lived on in the seventies? Dad had owned a '66 Impala SS with a built 396/4 spd. that he drag raced. He pledged that if he lost a race he'd trade it in; the next owner totaled it within a week. Dad, growing up, traded into a '68 C-10 with a six. When I came along he'd traded into a new '72 El Camino, butternut yellow with a black vinyl top. Mom had a white Torino that Dad painted baby blue as a surprise; the joke was on him as she hated that color. He noticed that they didn't hold up well in bad wrecks so he jumped at a deal to buy a nearly new '73 Grand Marquis Brougham, probably the best family car we owned. It was burnt orange but he couldn't help himself and eventually painted it white. Later there would be a mid-70s Country Squire and a Ford Courier in the driveway, along with a '66 Impala SS convertible that looked nice but Dad would never drive because the transmission was on its last legs. My grandfather, just down the road, had a 67 or so C-10 stepside with a six/3 spd. Fond memories of me standing on the seat between him and my father as they drove around. Later he traded up to another six/3 spd Chevy, c.1976. After my grandmother died he remarried; she had a '72 Impala 2dr that was as pretty as you've seen. When she likewise passed away he didn't want to fool around getting a title so sold it for scrap. The neighbors to the south tended to have an eclectic mix, ranging from a 70s Chevy van to a 70s Wagoneer, an IH pickup and a '66 F-100 4wd. The plumber across the street had a fleet of late model Chevy trucks and always a late model Monte Carlo. When the kids got their licenses the oldest nearly ran me over in his primer-red Camaro; the girl had a Mustang II as I recall. There was an old man up the road with a mint green Hornet. One day he failed at making a U-turn and backed into the deep ditch in our front yard. Fun to watch. The farmer on the other side of us had an F-100 identical to the one Uncle Jess drove on the Dukes of Hazzard. There was a guy down at the end of the road who died before I got to know him; he had 3 2-door garages, all full of something special but I don't know what! I only remember his first generation Bronco. An older lady had a 75ish Impala; another old farmer had a 69 Delta 88 that was his pride and joy, but so rusted out when he died that the family junked it. My aunt around the bend had a Monte Carlo while my uncle had an El Camino.
  13. Some of the Mopars around that time frame have the starter relay grounded through the armature so that they couldn't be cranked while the engine is running. As it was explained to me, this also serves to automatically polarize the generator.
  14. I started collecting old radios and TV sets when I was a teenager. I don't know, I just always liked them and gradually I learned how to make most of them work. They can often be had very cheap, especially "distressed" examples, and especially at auctions. Essentially I began operating a mission for homeless electronics...and none ever left. Whatever space I had available became filled. Once I totally ran out of space I stopped, but as soon as more space became available I bought again. At the peak I probably had 600-700 radios and 120 TV sets. Many I bought simply on the theory that if I didn't, nobody else would (great logic, eh?) I had them stacked like cordwood in the attic and a 10x20 shed packed so tight the doors would barely close. And then... One day a switch went off. It helped that the small business I owned was failing thanks to the Great Recession. I started selling stuff and found I obtained as much joy from seeing it go as I had in acquiring it. I still have a collection but it's much more manageable, and I'm still working on getting rid of inventory. It's a slipper slope. My wife feels I'm much worse than I would admit. It can happen with all sorts of things. I've seen it with old books, 8-track tapes, wringer washing machines, one guy I know spends thousands a month on old advertising pieces. He does sell some but much of it seems to go in a black hole. I'm not sure that I've seen it with cars and trucks firsthand although there have been some "collections" locally that I feel bordered on hoards. With vehicles I'd say if it isn't seeing use for years at a time, or isn't in active restoration (as in something actually being done to it at least every month or two), and you have several that fit this description, there might be cause for a raised eyebrow.
  15. Quite a rare piece; I'd be very happy if it were to stay exactly like it is right now. Glad to hear it found someone who cares about it.
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