I am a Hot Rod Driver and envious of Hot Rodders, I mean the real ones with grease under their nails who just last week found an old rusted out car body in a pasture, towed it home, pulled it apart and over the weekend created a shinny new rod.
I love to listen to them talk about their vehicles. I have to admit that while I changed transmissions in my 50 Ford, twenty-two times in the sixties just because the poor things couldn’t hold up to a powerful flathead and large tires that wanted to spin, I never learned much else of the art of mechanicing. So when I go to car shows with the 38 Ford I bought and painted I hate to admit; I did not chop it, I did not install the 350 – 4 barrel carb old school power train and I am sorry I have no idea what kind of a rear end is in it. What I did do myself was push BID NOW with 30 seconds left and bought it on eBay.
In 2009, to celebrate turning 60, I bought a new 1800cc motorcycle to tour the lower 48 on assignment from a motorcycle magazine to write humours travel stories for each state. The morning of day 3 with less than 2000 km on the bike I crashed it. Talk about rebuilding an old wreck, when the doctors were done they had patched my broken neck, crazy glued my shoulder blade back together (really), patched up the holes in my lung, rebuilt my shattered ball and socket and gave me a shinny new set of titanium ribs and titanium collar bone. While I was resting back at home I decided to give up 46 years of biking and find a new way to travel and meet people and thought a Hot Rod might be the answer. I felt it was something I had to do right away before the insurance money for the bike showed up and we spent it foolishly on renovating the kitchen, paying bills or something. So I logged on to eBay.
There she was a hot pink, 38, chopped ford Tudor with a Carson type top, and a 350 Chevy powertrain. The bid was unreserved, there was 8 minutes left and the cost was well below the value of the bike. I called the seller who it turned out was not the owner but a fellow in Humboldt, Iowa who put things on eBay for friends and family. He told me he didn’t know anything about cars but an older couple had owned it over 20 years and drove it to shows all over the US. “It runs, and looks good.” He said confidently, “I don’t know why it is not getting better bids.”
Now when the wife and I married about 25 years ago we made a deal that I would make all major decisions in our marriage and she would make the small ones. The formula has worked out great, although there still has not been a major decision in all that time, but if one pops up I am ready. As selling the business, the house and moving to Kelowna had not been major decisions I was pretty sure that buying a car would be in her domain as well so I got up and hobbled to her office at the other end of the house. As luck would have it she was busy with a client so when I tried to butt in and explain why I needed her immediate attention she just waved me off and said, “Do what ever the hell you want!”
Foolish me, I made the mistake of thinking that was permission to do what ever the hell I wanted, which was bid on the car. In the end all worked out well, or as she often says, if it is not working out that is good, it means you are not at the end yet. I got the car for a good price and it has worked beautifully since. The wife thinks it was all the painkillers that caused me not to follow protocol and once she got a new purple Mercedes convertible all was forgiven but I digress.
As I said in the beginning I am a driver. I drive my car everyday in the summer and have travelled all over Alberta and BC. Two weeks ago I bought an old Boler trailer that I am renovating to match. Year 65 is coming in 2014 so I feel it is time to plan a new venture, this one is to drive Route 66 Chicago to LA, create some more great stories and write another book. The 38 has no windows, no heater and no air so when I told the wife about the plan she said, “Good luck with that! I can meet you in LA, Oklahoma city and Chicago, where we can cruise around together.” Seems the thought of leaving a perfectly good motor home in the driveway to cruise that far in an old car pulling a very small sweat box on wheels is not her idea of an adventure. Don’t get me wrong she is no Barbie, she is going to Europe to walk the Camino trail for a second time this fall and living in Refugio’s but riding in an old car across the desert in late summer just does not appeal to her.