Posts Tagged ‘hot rod’

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.

 

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

Mid Life Crisis…It’s just a Cosmo thing

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

Mid life crisis in men does not exist. That’s right, and I am not afraid to shout it out. The so called “mid life crisis” was made up by some pissed off woman who probably worked or wrote for Cosmopolitan magazine. So for those of you Regular guys who don’t know what the term pertains to here is a quick synopsis.

As we age, probably somewhere between 40 and 55, (hence the “mid life”),we “supposedly” go through a depressed state in our lives where we begin to search our selves in hopes of regaining a portion of our youth (remember this part because it will come up again later). In that search we almost always find a younger woman, a sports car or motorcycle, and some times one or more tattoos . Yes, we all know someone like this. The “crisis” part of this happens when we find the younger woman. The “crisis”, as I see it, is a result of an affair with this younger woman or an ensuing divorce that is the result of the affair with this younger woman. Okay, so that’s the short and to the point, quick overview.

My take on this is very different. Yes I do agree that we begin to search ourselves somewhere at this age level, but that is where my agreeing ends. It is my belief, that most men have basically the same wants, urges, desires, and needs that we somehow all acquire at a very young age. This “thing” that we are born with is why women tend to think of us as boys, dirty old men, pigs, immature, and maybe even a little selfish. This isn’t something we ask for but is inherently passed along from generation to generation.

This unexplainable gene that none of us know how or why it’s there, keeps us searching from our youth, for the same things in life. It is the thing that makes us want or desire things like women, big screen televisions, fast cars, sports,etc. It’s partly those desires that we are taught to control from our earliest days and all through life, because as we are told, we will never get a good woman to marry us if we don’t. In our childhood we fight the good fight to be who we are but usually in the end we give in and conform to what women think we should be. We give up the things that make us who we are to marry, support a wife, help raise the children, put them through college, and see them off into their own lives. But all along as we do what we are supposed to do, we continue to fight the urges to be who we are.

Thinking back, we all wanted or for some of us, owned, a car that defined who we thought we were. Maybe it was a 1970 Chevelle Super Sport or one of those “screaming chicken on the hood” Trans Ams from the seventies, but now we have to drive a mini van or if we get lucky we get an SUV. But down deep we all look at those two door BMW’s or that new Corvette and dream about what we would feel like if we were driving that car instead. We remember how those cars made us feel when we were young and miss those days past. Or the better example I like to give is the one I like to call my “convertible wife”. Think back to when you would pick up your girl friend for a date and have the top down or the t-tops off, windows open and cassette tape blasting and she would jump into the car singing and laughing and ready for the night of her life. Now lets take a ride in our time machine and fast forward to today. You and your wife have a Saturday afternoon to yourself and you just finished washing and waxing that new convertible that you finally, after all these years, found a way to make your own.You make plans with her to go to a friends house for a beer and some laughs. You hop in the car and turn up the tunes and anxiously await her arrival. She approaches the car and screams for you to “lower the damn radio will ya’ ” and proceeds to get in. Upon take off, she reminds you to put the top up because she “just did her hair” and the “wind will be too much”.  POP!!! HISSSSSS!!! That is the sound of a feel good moment being sucked away from a middle aged  Regular guy. The excitement that once was is now gone because we can not be who we really are.

The thing is, middle age shouldn’t be a “crisis” for men, but should be a celebration. Middle age is an opportunity for us to get back the things in our past life that made us who we are today. By middle age hopefully our kids have grown and so has our disposable income. It is our chance to return to our youth and celebrate what was so good in our lives when it was just that, OUR life. This does not imply that we do not appreciate all the good that has come from our marriage and family but that at this point in our life we can have a little of our own space back. This is one reason why classic cars from the sixties and seventies are so popular today. It is guys like you and me, in mid life, who are trying to get back a piece of our youth that we cherished so much. It reminds us of how simple things were then. When we didn’t have so much responsibility and everything was about what made US happy.

Hooking up with that younger woman isn’t really so much about her age as it is about her attitude. Go back to the story about the “convertible wife” That same woman was probably  that young girl at one time in her life, carefree then, but since changed. Women will argue with me about this all the time. They try to use the excuse that they “grew up” and so should we.

I say is that  “grow up” or “grow old”? There is an old saying that I once heard that makes me understand more and more why relationships sometimes don’t work out. It goes like this. “Men marry women hoping they won’t change, and women marry men hoping they will”. This is probably truer than any other single thing in a marriage between a man and a woman. This is especially true when a child is brought into the fold. Something about a woman changes almost overnight when she gives birth and becomes a mom. It is almost like a woman has two different personalities during her life. Somehow motherhood robs them of the carefree approach to life that they had before giving birth.

I ride a motorcycle with a great group of guys I call my friends. There are five of us that ride once a week, every week.  We spend one night a week together and sometimes the subject of  relationships come up.  The one thing that remains constant through all the talk, jokes and sarcasm, is that we love our wives. The other common thread we share is that our wives don’t understand or appreciate who we are. Especially when it pertains to sex but mostly when it comes to just listening to what we want from our relationships and our life. The story of the “convertible wife” always rings true to the group of men I am part of. They all agree that women change more than men do. They all feel that one of the main reasons a man would cheat is because his wife stopped being who she was when they met. That “younger girl” who they are looking for, should really be their wife. They still want to experience that carefree attitude they shared when they first met and they want to share it with the person they love. Married life has become too complicated and we all just want to make it simple again. You know,  just get up and go!

To say that men are experience a “mid life crisis” is totally absurd. We are just looking to get back a part of our life that we gave up to be the responsible husbands and /or fathers that we are today. It’s just men trying to be who we really are. Trying to express ourselves in a way that seems stupid or irresponsible to women but just ordinary to us. This isn’t a “crisis” that we are experiencing just a rebirth of a part of the person we used to be. There isn’t anything wrong with this other than some women not accepting that we are who we are and we will never change. This should be embraced by women because those of you who married us, fell in love with us back when we were who we were. Maybe it’s time to try to understand why we are this way, rather than try to change us into something that we don’t want to be. We are different and there is nothing wrong with that. We can not be like women and it’s really not a bad thing. After all, you have enough girlfriends already…..

Just one mans opinion..

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