Jul 16, 2011

Habitat for Humanity

Aunt Dee is an honorary aunt but let’s not split hairs here. Anyone into cars as much as I am (or half as much as I am) must be related somehow! 

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Dee and the LT1 "Survivor" she donated to the National Corvette Museum.
 Perhaps my favorite old Vette. Love those chrome bumpers and the pin striped hood.

Dee is moving into a new home and we all know that the garage gets the short-end of the stick when moving. And, that’s just wrong!  We should remember that the cars are getting a new home too and that’s pretty damn important.  So this is my own version of Habitat for Humanity… for cars.

I offered my services, not to hang pictures or to stack boxes.  Please.  I offered my services to get the *really* important stuff in order.  The cars.

But first a tour of the grounds
This one building is actually 3 different garages.  Oh and there’s another one-car garage located on the property as well, so your lawn mower doesn’t’ get grass on or near your cars. 
This is the back of the garage.  What you see pictured here is where the daily drivers go.  Currently used for storage after the move (but I’m assured that eventually this will be parking for cars). l will not be addressing this area during my visit.  The main garage is above and has a staircase inside, as well as a driveway too of course.  Cars hate stairs.
I guess you could call this the side garage, or “staging” garage?  A place to park two cars while the engine and tires cool down.  Or perhaps it’s where they drip dry before parking in the main garage.   If you lacked imagination you could park daily drivers here too.  Regardless, this is not why I’m here to visit either.
This is the main Big Garage entrance.  At first glance you might think this photo is overexposed, but this picture was actually  taken at night.  Divine intervention makes it look this bright day and night.  Hallelujah. Amen.
The main Big Garage area is larger than my current home.  Really.  The barn door is not an ideal entrance, but I think we can find a way to deal. Note the walls are all made of wood, so we can hang vintage signs, banners or shelves easily.
Nothing too fancy here: Flexi-Tile hammers together and any single tile can be removed if damaged.  Many other systems make single-tile removal difficult.   I’m hoping this rubber tile will form a fairly tight seal, or we may lay plastic underneath.
Each garage has heat, but not A/C.   You can’t have everything I guess.

Speed Channel?
Here lies two good reasons to run to the garage.  The “honey do” list can be quite long when moving into a new place especially when my mother *and* my wife are writing it. The thought of spending the day hanging pictures for these lovely ladies pales in comparison to the fun that awaits in the garage.
People keep saying things while unpacking that disturb me.  Things like:  “there will be plenty of room in the garage for that.”  I’m trying not to let it get to me, but if they’re referring to yet another porcelain figurine, I might lose it.  

Day 2   Back to the garage, where it’s safe
Mind you, it’s 110 degrees in here. But this is still the safest place on the property.  So, I spend some time in the Big Garage to meditate and let the gods of fossil fuel guide me.  I’m a very spiritual man.
Like most men, I prefer not to read instructions.  It was hard to ignore the instruction since they were in each box. Accidentally glancing at the instructions after opening the 7th box of tile I noticed some good reasons to work from the middle of the room instead of the corner like I had begun.  Damn, had to start over.
They recommended measuring to find the middle of the garage.  But no tape measure was large enough for this baby.  I laid tile across the room and divided by 2 instead.  Pretty smart eh? 
you expected a progressive time-lapse slide show didn't you.  nope.

This is not another “how-to” article so don’t expect to learn how to tile your garage.  But here are some comments it you are interested in Flexi-Tile brand.
  • Good: They cut with a carpenters knife or scissors.
  • Good: The soft rubber lets them lay over surface irregularities
  • Good: They snap together and sound like bubble wrap, big fun!
  • Good: You can pull up a tile in the middle without removing tile all the way from the edge of the room.  Unlike many other brands.
  • Bad:  If you plan on turning your car on hot days the tile will pull up and that sucks.  Luckily you can snap it back in easily.
  • Bad: Lot variation gave us a few tiles that didn’t match well in color.  I removed them and used the extra tile we had in abundance.
Now to fetch the cars!  They are currently spread about in various garages and storage facilities.  My mission, and half the reason I came out to help, is to retrieve them.  All of them.
New Corvette C6 6-Speed Convertible. Basic transportation. I might have needed this for a few errands. Okay, maybe I could have consolidated some of my trips, but nobody knew. Damn, new Vettes are fast! 
I borrowed this Red one for a longer trip under the guise of needing to write a blog about it. 
Backup Corvette C6 Convertible with automatic.  Being new to this area of Pennsylvania, having an automatic helped me concentrate on my navigation, rather than shifting.  Besides, these cars are so bloody fast you aren't loosing any performance.    If I ever go to war and lose a leg, I’m gonna get one of these automatic transmission thingies. 

I nearly died in this ‘65 Pontiac 428ci 4-speed GTO.   Battery issues left me parked on the side of the road for 45 minutes until my new battery arrived.  The problem is that it was 110 degrees and I had no shade. 

Wheelspin is where this GTO really shines.  It can burn rubber with the best of them. I'd like to see this big block hook up a bit more with some drag radials.  The hot cam, long tube headers and Flowmasters combine to make it sound pretty sinister.  People turn around when you go past.
Concourse quality ‘55 T-Bird.  You should look at the other photos in my earlier blog (I just added more photos because its for sale :  View)  I've never seen an old car this new looking.  It is a very special car, and I'm told the yellow color is pretty rare too.  
If all 1970 Oldsmobile 442s are equal then this one is much more equal.  Driving this car explains why big blocks are a big deal.  It is really fun! 

The 442 is the centerpiece of Dee's collection, but that doesn't mean she doesn't drive it.  She does.  It is 100% stock and is really well sorted out.  It has tons of power and is very fast for such a heavy car. Condition is beyond excellent.
No collection would be complete without a 20 foot long Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz.  People who remember them when new trip over their walkers trying to catch me and talk.  Turning now, “ Right full rudder!”

‘33 LaSalle tribute car.  Not a kit, but a manufactured "tribute" car custom built in Brazil from fiberglass.  This is the only one in the USA.  If you want to buy it, I’ll arrange an introduction. 

Once the cars arrived I took all those little posters and clocks that car people accumulate and put them on the walls… found some cabinets for everything else and voilĂ ! 

A job well done.

My suffering was great.  The heat was nearly unbearable.  I got a splinter at one point and could have cut myself really badly with that carpenter’s knife.  Did I mention the pool on the property was really far away?  Despite all this adversity and danger, I fought through it  for the betterment of American Iron.  Rest well my friends, in your new home.

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Dee at the Barrett Jackson Auction.  That's my nose on the right.

Other pics are below.


Jul 9, 2011

Coming soon.

1,700 little 12"x12"grey squares.  and some Tylenol

Jumping on a plane this week to help build a floor for "Aunt Dee's" cars.   An altruistic endeavor it is not.  I'm hoping to take'em for a spin around the block. 

Jul 6, 2011

Northwest Historic

Spotting special cars is fun.  No interesting (or even uninteresting) sports car ever passed by without me mentioning it.  I’m sure others find this a very charming trait. 

I found myself passing by the Northwest Historic Vintage Auto Races.  When I say “passing by”  I mean it was only about an hour out of my way.

I figure the guys out racing that day aren’t the only car guys.  The spectators must be car guys too, after all who else would pay $25 bucks to get in and $10 for a hot dog? 

Porsche attendance at the track just makes sense.  After all, these cars are very direct descendants from race cars and the owners bought them for that reason.  I find the sighting of a older Porsche in great condition much more special than a new car in new condition.   It’s also easier to imagine myself affording it.  

The only 964 I saw. Window down and V1 on the windshield. I hope it stayed there.

Yes, it was in the parking lot.

I like the company this 911 keeps

Notable wheel polishing.
While not a mid engine car, the 944 had weight distribution sorted out very well.  Rear mounted transmissions weren’t the genius innovation of Chevrolet you know.  These cars rule track events and are cheap enough to actually own.  Not to mention they really don’t look that old

Yeah, I know the Boxster is a great car, here’s a picture. Now shut up.

Okay, perhaps this one wasn’t in the parking lot.
 This old Ferrari was parked in the Porsche section.   (that’s a joke)

The Ultimate Driving Machine was also well represented.  Perhaps not as sexy as a Porsche but you won’t complain when you’re behind the wheel.  You can get a lot of value in a used BMW.  I miss every BMW I’ve ever had. 

I read in Maxim magazine you can get a 12 cylinder version for around $25K, I get all my car advice from Maxim.

Quick enough and unquestionably superior handling, with less gizmos.
 Look close and see the Dinan badge. M3’s are so easy to drive fast,
 handling was engineered  rather than programmed.

BMW’s names for these coupes are getting tougher to remember.  Z4- M-roadster coupe??? 
Also not spotted but appreciated is the Z3 version of this car, a personal favorite of mine.

Boxer engines are cool in anything.  Even motorcycles.

A lot of good things began here.

Okay, so maybe Ural is a sore spot for the Germans. So what.


You’d have to pay $25 to see this one.

 The local Alfa guys race, a lot.  So the event had plenty of them, the parking lot did not.  Just a little taste of Italy was found in the parking lot.   The rarity of these cars is what makes seeing them so fun.   Ferraris are rare of too, but realistically I just don’t fantasize about owning a Ferrari.


I tossed in this Lancia to see if anyone is paying attention.

Track photo, but I couldn't resist.

Lotus’  Elise is a damn sexy little car, but having a dealer in the area has saturated my pallet.  Many more were present. Just when the prices have fallen to very reasonable Lotus started offering all sorts of cooler versions which is great marketing.   About the same storage capacity as my motorcycle and less comfortable, I’m afraid my back isn’t up to an Elise.  But renting one for some track school it a great idea for a blog.

Renta racer.  and you don't have to go to the airport either.


Elise parked in the dark shade. Love the earlier turbo 4 cylinder versions of this car.
They still stir my adrenal gland when I see one on the road. Some say the quality is
lacking, like my brother. He broke a door handle off at the dealership 25 years ago.

Ford ruled the big bore events at the track, so you’d expect a lot of Mustangs in the lot.  I walked passed a few GTs on my way to view the many different, hotter versions of the Mustang. Fords are offered in so many performance packages.  The muscle car brutality of a hot Ford is hard to beat.  Been there and done that, but it's still good.
This particular replica/kit is so old it's likely a classic in its own right.
Strangley absent were original 5.0 Saleen Mustangs.  Where are you guys?
Below are the two coolest Fords on the track. 
Okay, so it was worth the $25 for the entry fee for sure.  But I did enjoy seeing so many real-world sports cars for free too.  After all, most of us got our start speeding on public roads didn’t we?

Honorable mentions from on, off and around the track:



more photos will come soon, when I load them from the camera.

It is the 4th of July weekend after all.