Posts Tagged ‘cars’

Old Guys Rule!

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

I am now at a time in my life when hanging out with 70 year old men is more of the norm, than hanging with 30 year old men. It happens quickly, seamlessly and more strangely, as a welcome change.

I used to joke to my wife about how old men are more friendly and approachable than old women. Men always seem happier and more apt to strike up a conversation whereas women seem to busy and preoccupied with hair and nails. Well maybe not just hair and nails but it’s something that is on their minds.  I believe it goes back to how men never really change even as they age. We actually become more like we were when we were young the older we get.

I’ve begun to seek out older guys. They always have something interesting to talk about and I always learn something from them. Old guys now have time for hobbies so many of them go back to collecting cars as  pastime. Sports are always on the table and if you are a diehard fan it doesn’t get better than to talk to a someone from the 40’s or 50’s. To hear them talk about a life we can only imagine. A simpler time when radio broadcasts were as groundbreaking an event as streaming video is today.  Their colorful recap of the past is especially amazing since they only had their ears to rely on for a picture of what was happening.

I love cars. I really love the old ones especially because they remind me of my past.  Yesterday, I took a motorcycle ride on a beautiful fall day, to seek out a 1969 Camaro that is for sale in my town. Lo and behold I found myself in a scene from one of today’s car reality shows. I arrive and as I ride down a long driveway, I am waved on by a woman who I would later meet as one of the owners of the Camaro. As I continue along, I see a huge garage, a fifty foot monster lined with doors, just behind the house I am passing, and in front is an older man directing me where to park.

In my head I am thinking that this is going to be an experience that one hears about like urban legends. As I dismount I can’t help but to laugh to myself because I am approaching a part of automobile heaven. Then I think this could go one of two ways. This man could be a really cool car guy or he could be a real pompous ass who just loves to show off his toys. Luck today, would shine as strong as the sun on me for he was a cool car guy.

Now here is why old guys rule. This gentleman and I spoke for over an hour and a half about everything from how he grew up to how he acquired the 25 or so cars and motorcycles that we toured through that day. Each car and bike had a very detailed history that he was very eager to share with me. The part that pulls me in every time is the passion you can sense when they talk about their life and how it has intertwined with their vehicles over all these years. Walking through all the cars, batteries, lifts, tools and parts you can’t help but think this man is a hoarder so we joke about all the unfinished projects that he knows will never get done. At some point I felt myself being drawn into this mans life. I envisioned spending my days off from work, helping him pull parts and shine up the cars and organize his garage which he definitely can’t do on his own any longer. Being 76 yrs old, he made it clear that he’s run out of steam and lost his motivation to see anything from start to finish. I told him he needed someone to get his juices flowing again. Not wanting to spook him, I held back volunteering to get my hands dirty after just meeting him but I will most surely return another day to drop that idea on him. Being that he has a son that doesn’t share his interest in cars, he needs someone to reignite that spark.  I couldn’t help but to tell him how cool I thought it was that he could just come out here everyday, crank his radio up and hang out in that huge man cave of a garage he has. He laughed and agreed that it was the best part of his day to just go out there and hang around in the mess he’s accumulated for some 30 years.

When I was younger, my friends and I would gather in someones garage, work on our cars  and play music, laugh and break each others chops for hours, all with out a care in the world. Now as I have reached the other end of my lifeline, I can see why men find their way back to the garage. There is something very nostalgic about old age and cars that makes it one of life’s more enjoyable moments. Men don’t change. We take breaks now and then to raise children, stress over our jobs and try to find ways to make our wives happy. But that old car guy is  in there somewhere, just waiting for his moment to go back in time and do the things he loved.  The things that helped to shape his life and made him the person he is today. Old Guys do rule!!!!

Just one man’s opinion..

The Regular Guy

Rust and grime, dust and time

Friday, August 17th, 2012

Time takes it’s toll on old cars. Dirt and road grime build up over the years as does rust which is always the biggest demon when restoring an old car. There’s only two ways to deal with rust and that’s cut it out or sand it off.

Although no one wants rust and grime, its pretty cool to see the changes that take place when cleaning up the parts that are in need. Scraping off dirt and old oil to reveal the part beneath it to later prime and paint. It is too damn expensive to pay for new parts when old ones are still good but only need cleaning or paint. Paying someone to do the work is also an option but again do you want to spend money on things like that when you still need new wheels and tires? Save the money for the good stuff. Check out the picture on the left. Rust removed and ready for paint, while the picture on the right shows the parts primed, painted and ready to be put back into the cars chassis.

     

 

Picking through the extra parts that came with the car, I found it wasn’t worth cleaning, repairing and recovering the cars original bucket seats. In hind sight, I should have inspected the extra parts more carefully because half of them weren’t worth taking. One call to a local Auto Recyclers netted me new set of buckets and a center console for $140.00.Perfect leather seats from a Mini Cooper which is a definite upgrade from the ’72 Chevelle bucket seats. The console with its cup holders and armrest/storage compartment adds a touch of today’s cockpit conveniences.

Restoring a car takes a lot of patience and time but its also very Zen in that it’s quiet time you spend detailing and thinking usually by yourself and in the end you feel good about the  results and that you accomplished something rewarding.

 

My new girlfriend

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

Last week my new girlfriend greeted me happily as my wife looked on affectionately. A black beauty for sure but no threat to the wife as she is quite comfortable with the new addition to our household. The first day of hopefully a long lasting relationship between myself and my (soon to be, hopefully completed) 1972 Chevelle.

Yes I am heading back to the days of my youth, to again restore a prized possession. Purchasing this new canvas to create a modern day ride with nostalgic looks, I shall undertake a long and meaningful journey to bring this fair maiden back to life. As of now she runs, and hiccups a lot, but fear not I shall prevail.

I would like to share my quest with all who care to watch this car transform into something some would call a “one off’ “    creation. Modern day technology in a ride from the past. What better than yesterdays muscle car looks with today’s comforts and safety. Not one for today’s models, I set out to build what “I ” would want in a car. Stay tuned.

 

Searching for Mr Right

Sunday, May 15th, 2011

It seems to me that there is quite a crowd of women between the ages of 30 and 40 who can not find Mr Right.

Online dating sites brag about the rate people that find love using  their programs, but in real life they seem to fall short of their lofty success reports. Women between the ages of 30 and 40 are finding themselves in limbo when it comes to landing the man of their dreams, especially if they have high standards. More and more I hear how there are so few “good” men out there and that the ones they date always fall short of capturing not just their heart but simply their interest.

Yesterday I stood between four women aged 35 to 50 and listened to them question ones relationship status. This woman being questioned is about to turn 40 and had been through a marriage that went bad. That was 7 years ago and today, she finds herself still looking for Mr Right. Sandy (not her real name) is a great girl who is not only very attractive but intelligent, witty, honest and sincere. She is also very independent and well liked by everyone who knows her. Why then can’t she find what shes looking for? She explained how just recently she met a new guy, who is 40 and without baggage (means no ex wife, no kids) which is rare these days. She also mentioned that he would like children and that is one of the things Sandy is looking for in a man. One of the women stated that at 40, he knows what he wants as opposed to earlier in his life. I laughed aloud when I heard that statement because usually men say they can not figure out women because they are always changing. t Matter of fact, men who are married often state that their wives are no longer the girl they married (see earlier posts for more on this). When I laughed they asked why I had, and I couldn’t help but chime in. I said that men were simple in what they want and that it never changes. Perhaps it’s that women at this age don’t want the same things as they did years ago when we were closer in what we both wanted and expected from each other. I said that men wanted the same things now as we did then. Sex, good food, toys and laughter. Its is really very simple, but for a woman at this age the sex we want is always too much, women don’t have time to cook or don’t know how, the love of cars, motorcycles, sports, and electronics never did anything for woman to begin with, and laughter is childish( ie: the Three Stooges come to mind). A good example might be this: In high school just about every girl wanted the jock boyfriend. He was into all the things I mentioned above and to some extent so was she. She played sports or went to to the games(maybe to meet one of the jocks). She thought his car was “cool” especially if it was a convertible, because then everyone could see her in it. Now, if you look at that guy today, he is still the same but the woman his age considers him “childish” for being the same man today as he was back then. Today the women want the “geek” who back in high school they made fun of or never paid any attention to his attraction to her. He was weird or goofy, skinny or dressed funny. Not COOL. Too bad because now all those great guys are probably the nerds who are married and successful. Oh the jocks are probably married too or they are bald and fat and are now the unattractive ones. One hell of a vicious cycle huh?

So in this day of single girls outnumbering single guys, where does a great girl find her soul mate? That question will probably go without answer forever because as they say “you can’t force love because it happens when you least expect it”.

Just one mans opinion…

The Regular Guy

 

Pick a car, any car….

Friday, June 19th, 2009

Since I was a young boy I liked cars. I have some very vivid memories of my life that are tied to cars. This isn’t so uncommon among Regular Guys and I know this because I have witnessed many men in my life who adored cars.

I understand the love affair we have with cars. There is something that draws us to them. They become an extension of our personality. I don’t know too many people, men and women alike, who don’t believe that a car is a status symbol.

Most men can’t wait to get behind the wheel of a car. How many of us had our fathers put us in the drivers seat in an empty parking lot to show us how to operate the gas and brake. Was that one of the best experiences I ever shared with my father? You know damn well it was.It’s like an unwritten code among fathers that they have to pass their love for cars onto their sons. I can recall asking my father how he drives the car. I watched for years until that day when I could finally see out the windshield with out propping up on the dash pad. That was the day I would sit behind the wheel and give it a go. Turns out, driving that car was  just as easy as he made it look.

I don’t have a son, but I did my best to pass that moment on to my daughter. And it made her day!  She couldn’t stop talking about how she rolled the car and hit the brake so hard we all jerked forward. It took her a few times but she finally figured out that the brakes are very sensitive. Probably a memory, not so unlike mine, that she will remember forever.

Most of today’s cars just don’t impress me much. Growing up right after the Muscle Car days spoiled me. Seeing all that Detroit steel rolling down the street, cruising the boulevard, made me appreciate all the different body styles and models from the big three cars companies. Even though I favored Chevy’s, I still admired some of the classic lines that separated each car company from the other. All that chrome and power, was hard not to like.

If someone five years ago asked me to pick any car I wanted, I would have had a hard time doing so. Everything looked and sounded the same. All that old Detroit metal was now Japanese molded plastic. Honda’s, Nissan’s, and Toyota’s were everywhere and Detroit’s finest were no longer a reliable option. All that chrome that was once the envy of every foreign car company was now just a piece of history. America’s cars were now just also ran’s in an industry where they were once leaders. So I couldn’t pick a car that stood out in my mind as one that would be a part of my personality. Heck I still haven’t gotten the Muscle Car thing out of my blood so how can I drive a plastic shoebox.

Today there is a glimmer of hope for all of us Regular Guys. The big three have pulled up their pants, put on their thinking caps and came up with some old fashioned Detroit muscle. Don’t kid yourself, its the same guys who wanted or owned these cars back in the sixties and seventies that are buying them today. Just check out the Challenger, Mustang and now the new Camaro.  For years my friends and I would say that Detroit should take the old body styles and use todays technologies to build some exciting cars. All those old body styles that went by the wayside when we had to become more aerodynamic. I hated those stupid wind tunnel commercials because I knew the great looking body styles were going to disappear. Bringing back the old body style idea wasn’t so far off after all. And now, they’re back baby and even better than before. Just as fast and three times as safe and comfortable.

So today if someone asks me to pick a car, any car….I would have a tough time deciding. Not like five years ago, but now, because I have some really great cars to pick from.

The Regular Guy

Atlantic City Collector Car Auction

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

By the looks and sound of it,  I guess the economy has affected the Collector Car circuit. As I do each year, yesterday my good friend Willie and I attended the Collector Car Auction in Atlantic City, and not to my surprise, a lot of cars just passed over the block in vain.  If you needed to sell your car then you better not have had a reserve price on it because you were taking it back home with you. I watched about fifty cars roll through and none of them sold with a reserve tag. As a matter of fact, most just rolled past and went back to the corral to be looked at once more. The few that sold were reserve removed or no reserve cars.

1969camaross

1969 Camaro SS

We did however, see a1969 SS Camaro that was fitted with ( I believe) an L78  Big Block, one 0f only 311 made, sell for $135,000. Now I can really appreciate the ’69 Camaro, especially after owning three of them. I did in fact own two 1969  Z-28 ‘s, one whose sale provided the funds to purchase my home and the second, sold some 10 years ago, brought me $12,500. At the time I was elated with the amount I received since I had $6500 into it. That guy worked me for three days before finally giving in and handing over the funds. I bet he either sold it for a big gain or is sitting on a pretty good investment as I write this. I have often been tempted to call him to ask him what he did with the car. It was a nice one too! It had all the good options like deluxe interior, wood grain dash, wood wheel, tilt steering, power brakes and steering. heavy sway bars and the cowl hood. The car was pretty cool and I miss that ride.

Funny thing about cars like that. I have bought, built and/or  sold eight cars since high school. Always the Chevy guy, I favored Camaros and Chevelles. They rewarded me for all my efforts every time I sold them. That’s the thing with these cars. You have to use your head when you buy one. I always look at it as if I were going to build one. If the price to buy one is about the same as the cost to build one, well hey, you gotta choose the buy option. Building one these days is a costly and usually, a long endeavor and can easily run you more than you might get in return at the time you choose to sell it.

Getting back to the auction, I saw quite a few cars sell for less than they would cost to build. And I also saw some  offers turned down at prices I just can not fathom. I have driven these Muscle Cars since my days in high school and they still drive and handle the same now as they did some 3o years earlier. That is why I can not believe that people are turning down tens of thousands of dollars for these same cars. How much money do they think they are worth? And why would anyone pay that much for a car that doesn’t compare in quality, modern techno advances and the speed of today’s cars. Yes, I did say speed. Today’s cars run as fast or faster and are sooooo smooth riding compared to yester years models. So why then do we still ogle and drool over the older models? We do it because it reminds us of our youth. It reminds us of a simpler time in our life. It reminds us of hanging out with our buddies and talking cars. It makes us feel good. That is why every time I sell one of my cars I always buy another one within a couple of years.  Yeah I guess I can see why some guys are willing to spend so much on these rides. I bet a lot of them couldn’t afford one when we were younger or later in life, their families came first and now they have the extra cash to overspend on a dream from their childhood.

I am one of the lucky ones. I owned my dream car not once but twice in my life and I would love to have one more shot at a third. This time I want to build it myself like I did with my first Z-28 over twenty years ago. This time I will build it with today’s improved drive trains, brakes and suspensions. After all that is what Chrysler has done so successfully with the Challenger. Man that car is really cool. I almost like it as much as the older version. If it were a ‘Cuda I would be very tempted to own one and give up my dream of building a third.

So where is the market going with these cars? I guess if the economy stays like this we will see a lot more cars at very affordable prices. Its like anything else that people collect. You have to get in at the right time and sell when you DON”T have to sell. It’s a neat way to have your cake and eat it, but you just have to do it the right way!

The Regular Guy

Go Fast

Monday, January 19th, 2009

vette-3My dad had some cool cars. In my early years I can’t remember much detail but I do know now that the cars he owned then are pretty hot items now.  like I said I can’t remember details but the first one I know was a Covair. Back then they were a hot item. Now they are really rare and highly collectible. Those cars were labeled death traps by Ralph Nader because the rear engines didn’t hold up too well to impact from behind in an accident. They only made them for a few years but he did have one.

The second one didn’t last too long either. I think it was a 1963 maybe 1964 Chevy Impala.  That Aquamarine Blue color with Blue interior. Probably a 327 engine, definitely bucket seats. That car was stolen one night which I assume didn’t make him too happy. I think the next one was a Pontiac Grand Prix. Not too shabby with that big 400 cu engine.  The last one I recall would be the 1972 Buick Rivera. He called it the Batmobile because of that rear window. I just saw one in a Jason Statham movie last week that was a Rust color and hopped up. Made me want to search eBay for one and do it up with the new tech stuff available today.

Me being the Regular Guy that I am,  began my love affair with cars real early.  My very first impressionable car was a 1969 Camaro. I knew right away I wanted one of those. I remember the striped hood and the sound that it made as it passed me. It was probably a Z/28 as I would find out later. Lucky guy that I am, I found, owned and restored two of them. It was quite a thing to get my hands on the car I always wanted, not once but twice.  Those two cars were unlike any other ones I have owned. The engines were pretty amazing. Little 302 engine could really push some ponies. They were said to have 290 horses but felt more like 350 or so. Not too good on low rpms but get them up high and they revved forever. Such a cool sound from that engine. I loved those cars, but they always needed fine tuning and were pretty shitty on gas. They did look good though and they did real well on resale. Made good profits on both, but wish I still had that second one today. Sold it for 12 grand in the late 90’s but could have gotten a hell of a lot more if I held it just a few years more.  Still the great memories live on.

Don’t tell me the Regular Guy doesn’t love his cars. Just look at how advertisers sell cars. Very sexy ads I would say, especially the foreign models. Growing up everyone of my friends had great rides. I bet they wish they had them back now. Lets see, ’70 Roadrunner, ’70 454 SS Chevelle, ’64 Vette, ’69 SS 396 Chevelle, ’70 Nova, and even the later model Trans Ams were sweet.  A Lot of Muscle Cars back then that sold for $2500 in primo condition. We used to think that was so much money. I guess it was when you were in High School and earning a couple of bucks washing pots and pans at Perkins.

Today I still have that love of fast cars, especially the old Muscle Cars. I drive a ’73 Vette now that isn’t quite my favorite but is a really clean and smooth running example. Always did like my Chevy’s though.  I can’t seem to break the habit and reach out for another brand.  I might be tempted though as some of the old body styles of the lesser models are starting to look real attractive at lower prices. The thing is guys like Chip Foose are taking cars that I never would have looked at, like the Ford Fairlane and turning them into great looking rides. Time to trade in that Vette and build something unique to me. You gotta admit that those old rides look and run really good with today’s modern engines, wheels, brakes, air conditioning and such added to them. The great styles and body lines with today’s technology is a can’t miss deal.

Let me hear about some of your past and present rides. Later!

The Regular Guy