Thursday, May 22, 2014

FranktoidTM No. 13 - A Real Barn Find

There has been a lot of talk recently about barn finds. It seems like all of a sudden rare cars are popping up like weeds in a field. They are being "discovered" just about everywhere - lurking in derelict barns, mired in rat infested garages, and buried deep in the woods. Most of the stories that I have read seem almost like fiction, or maybe reader inspired fantasy. At the very least I'm sure that some of the writers took generous liberties with their facts and stretched the truth like freshly made taffy. It's getting where it is hard to distinguish between what is real and what is scripted.

Every once in awhile we get thrown a bone here at the Amberlight Garage. This bone came through a friend of a friend, so the story is technically third hand, but it is legit according to my sources and brought to you first by Frank's Classic Car Blog. What makes this barn find so great is that it was actually discovered in a barn. Why someone would park a 1969 428 Cobra Jet Mach 1 Mustang in a dirt floor barn I have no idea but that's where it was discovered.

Clearly this is the best item in this pole barn.

You couldn't actually see much of the car from the outside. It took a sharp eye to spot this diamond in the rough as this photo will attest.

 The new owner came prepared with wheels that hold air, a trailer, and most importantly, help.

Here they are getting ready to roll the Mach 1 outside for the first time in years.

After a lot of preparation and work, the Mustang was ready to be rolled up on the trailer.

Finally free of the death grip of it's wooden tomb, the Mach 1 is loaded on a trailer to be transported to the new owner's home.

Another classic car saved! Now why can't I find something like this? Maybe it's time to go on another barnquest.

Friday, February 28, 2014

It’s Only a Cat

Today was not a good day for me. Today my cat passed away. I have had the pleasure of my cat’s company for 15 years now, which is quite a long time for a feline. I know, it’s only a cat. My cat has been with me through thick and thin and always stayed by my side, but it’s only a cat. Over the years I have heard coworkers talk about their dogs and others that recall sadly the day they had lost one. Sad indeed, but no less pain then if you lost your cat, which has been your constant companion and friend, but it’s only a cat, right? Almost everyone I know would be genuinely sad if I told them a dog had died. Mention that a cat has died and you usually get the typical response - it’s only a cat... 

Did you know that cats are more self-sufficient then dogs? When you go on vacation, you usually would hire a dog sitter or have someone take care of your dog. Not so for cats. As long as they have food, water, and a litter box, they are good to go. They don’t need you, you need them, but I know, it’s only a cat. Dogs need you, they depend on you, and some even wine for you. Cats could care less but somehow they know when you need them, and then they are there, your furry companion for life. But it’s only a cat, right?

Today, as I was standing in the veterinarian’s office, I couldn’t help but notice all the dog pictures on the walls. Most of them were tributes to pets that had passed away. Sad indeed, but no less pain then the loss of a cat, my cat, my buddy, my furry companion. I guess I just don't get some folks attitude towards our feline friends, especially from the ones who own other pets. To each their own, but the bias was apparent even in the vet's office. More than likely because... it’s only a cat.

A lot of people own dogs and really care about them. I know how they feel even though I only have cats. A pet is a pet. Cat or dog, the pain is all too real when your animal dies. So to all the people out there who think or say “it’s only a cat”, think again! Just because “it’s only a cat” doesn’t mean that the pain of losing them is any less, or the love for them is any less than that for another pet, be it a dog, horse, or any other animal that the good Lord has given us. It’s not only a cat, it’s my cat, and I will miss her.
April 26,1999 - Feb 28,2014

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Ode To The Red Rocker

Rock music, rum, and fast cars. If you put these three things together it sounds like a recipe for trouble, right? Well, maybe to some folks out there, but to me it equals none other then the Red Rocker himself, Sammy Hagar. What can be said about Sammy that hasn't already been said or written? From a personal prospective, growing up listening to his music and going to an untold amount of his concerts, I feel I can contribute a gear heads rendition, if you will, of a tribute to him.

Although I have never met the man personally, I did have the pleasure of meeting his son Aaron in Lake Tahoe, California. If I am ever lucky enough to meet him I imagine our conversation would primarily be about his cars, as that is my area of expertise. Of course I really dig his music, but the guy is a fellow gear head, so to me that's where the connection is. Aside from cars, did you know that the former lead singer of Van Halen is equally passionate about cooking? One of his close friends is the famous chef Emeril Lagasse. The men have been friends for years and Lagasse even cooked at Hagar's wedding.

Tequila use to be Sammy's forte, but after he sold his part of the Cabo Wabo Tequila Company, he turned his attention to another type of alcohol. Enter Sammy's Beach Bar Rum, which is made in Hawaii. It's so pure you can do shots like you do with tequila. I'm sure this will be featured on the menu at his Cabo Wabo restaurants, which he still owns. Cars, restaurants, bars, a best selling autobiography, and a rum business. Clearly Hagar's plate is full, but he still finds time for his family, his music, and whatever else is next. He is not "driving 55", but actually more at full speed! If Sammy keeps this up, he will soon be known as "the most interesting man in the world". Rock on Sammy, rock on.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Can't Get It Right

A while back I received a really nice message from a person complimenting me on one of my blogs and also my writing style. Positive words are always appreciated and one good turn deserves another, even if it is a little late in coming. Of course it helps if that "turn" is a catchy song and a cool video. I don't know why Brooklyn James hasn't become a major star yet, as it looks and sounds like she has what it takes, but I'll let my readers be the judge. Check out her music video of Can't Get It Right which features a Chevy Nova SS and a '70 Chevelle Super Sport. Be sure to listen at the end as the Chevelle makes it's own music...

Monday, January 20, 2014

New Year, New Project, New Problems!

I finally managed to get my latest project, a '72 Cutlass, into the Amberlight. It took the threat of some serious rain storms for me to clear out some space for it, plus I didn't want the car sitting out for too long in the elements. Lord knows I have had my share of rusty cars and I didn't need to add any more to this one! Now that the car was safely tucked away in the garage I thought maybe I should come up with a good name for my new whip. I usually like to name my projects to give them some individuality for blogging purposes. My last '72 Cutlass was also yellow and I appropriately called it "Number 1". My brown '71 was "Number 2", so you can see the theme there... Usually a name will pop into my head as I am working on a project and this one did not disappoint me.

One of the first items I decided to tackle, besides putting on some new front tires so I could roll the car, was the battery area of the car and it's associated wiring. What I thought was going to be a simple battery tray replacement turned into a wiring nightmare. It became apparent to me that the reason the front lights, blinkers, or marker lights did not work was because someone had decided to cut and splice, at random, the harness leading to the front of the car. There was one item that seemed to be everywhere in the engine compartment. The more I looked the more I found. My first thought was I must be seeing things but these offending creatures were everywhere! I hate this item more then anything. Actually hate is not the right word here, I loathe them. I know what you're thinking, it must be rats or rodents, right? Wrong! But if you guessed Scotchloks, you would be right. For those of you who are not familiar with Scotchloks, let me show you a picture of one of these little blue devils.
Behold the Scotchlok

Someone at sometime had decided to attempt to re-wire the car for whatever reason and then decided to use Scotchloks to do it! I suppose these devices do have their purpose. In my opinion that purpose would be as a temporary connector, as in a temporary emergency. I am sure a lot of readers have seen these splicing in a trailer connector plug, as that seemed to be the aftermarket industry standard for quite a while. While repairing the wiring harness and eradicating all the Scotchloks the perfect name suddenly popped into my head. As sort of a sick tribute to uninformed, wannabe automotive electricians everywhere, I named the '72 "Scotchlok"! This name is most appropriate, not just because of all the Scotchloks but also due to the fact that the car was originally a very similar shade of blue to them!
This was only a small portion of the little blue devils that I discovered
The wiring harness is now repaired, thanks to a factory wiring diagram, proper soldering, and heat shrink tubing. I also cleaned and painted the battery area and replaced the tray. I'll post more details on the harness repair in an upcoming blog, as it was quite a challenge. For now, Scotchlok is resting comfortably in the Amberlight, minus a bunch of little blue devils of course.
Project "Scotchlok" inside the Amberlight

Thursday, October 24, 2013

FranktoidTM No. 11 - The Missing Link

I knew at a very young age that something was not quite right. I could see that there was a difference between me and other guys my age. In my youth almost all of my friends liked a certain something that I didn't even care about. They would spend countless hours obsessing about it, talking about it, watching it, and even playing it. As I got older they would bet on it, argue about it, fantasize about it, make decisions based on it, purchase items because of it, and even change their life for it. What is this all powerful force I am referring to? Is it a super addictive drug? A hardcore addiction? Is it an extreme fetish? Some folks would think so. The influential corps that I am talking about is none other then sports. That's right, SPORTS!

I really think there is a sports gene and that I was born without it. While my classmates were playing flag football I was reading Popular Hot Rodding and drawing pictures of blown Chrysler Hemis. When the neighbor kids were outside playing baseball I was building models like the S'cool Bus and the Tijuana Taxi. When friends were watching the playoffs on TV, I was watching movies like American Graffiti, Two Lane Blacktop, and The Hollywood Knights. Some guys can rattle off batting averages or yards rushed for almost any given player. I knew engine cylinder firing orders, block codes, and spark plug gaps. My buddies wore jerseys and sweat shirts with their favorite team logo on them. I wore tee shirts with characters drawn by Ed "Big Daddy" Roth. Team jacket? Nope, NASCAR jacket. NFL, NBA, MLB, MLS follower? Nope, SCTA, NHRA, SCCA, NJBA follower.  You see, for every sports reaction, there is a non-sports counter action. But my counter action goes much deeper.

The aforementioned gene completely missed the pool in my case. Not only did I not have any interest in sports, but also fishing, hunting, camping, et al. I have know other guys who liked the car stuff along with the sports and other junk, but I have yet to meet another male who feels the same way I do. I know that there are more of us out there, but we are a rare breed, often referred to in Latin as Exterius Ludis, or "without sports". Consider the following; as I am writing this the World Series is playing out on television. I could not tell you who is winning or for that matter, which teams are even playing! Ditto for the Super Bowl when it rolls around. NBA Finals? You guessed it, clueless. We even speak a different language. Consider these popular sport terms and what they mean to me:

Grand Slam - Breakfast at Dennys
Single - Without a girlfriend
Line Drive - Engine, transmission, and rearend
Home Run - Scoring with the girlfriend
Dribbling - Too much beer in my mouth
Double Dribble - Beer coming out of my mouth and nose
Traveling - Road trip!
Unnecessary Roughness - Crappy body work
False Start - You think the engine is going to start but it doesn't
Illegal Return - Returning a used auto part as a new one
Impeding Progress - Honey do list is preventing you from working on your project car
Technical Penalty - Sounds like a DMV fee to me!

So there you have it, a gear heads take on a very testosterone laden subject. Like Popeye said, "I yam what I yam" and there is no changing me. Motor oil will forever run through my veins and my memory is no where near full. There is plenty of room left on my hard drive for the next automotive adventure. Just think of all the stories yet to come. I don't know about you but I can't wait...