Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Every Car Has a Story

When I bought my current project vehicle, a '56 Chevy I refer to as "Time Warp", the story I got was that it had been sitting for decades. From the minimal information that I received, it went something like this: original owner passes away, car is left as-is in a garage for decades, nobody in the family wants it, wife finally decided to sell it. I knew it had a back story and I wanted to find out what it was. People make a lot of memories with their cars and they don't always sell them because they want to. Have you ever wondered if your classic ride was somebody's wedding car? Maybe it transported a significant other to the hospital for the birth of their first child? Was it someone's dream car or perhaps their very first vehicle? There are many possibilities but one thing remains constant - they were part of someones life.

I can vividly remember my blue 1969 Chevelle Malibu, almost every detail of it. One constant memory of this car was right after I had installed a radical 396 big block in it. It was during the summer and I had just got the swap completed on a Saturday evening. In my haste to get it on the road I just bolted some mufflers right to the header collectors. This big block sounded loud and wicked! What better way to test it then to go cruising, so that is exactly what I did. My Chevelle also had a pretty decent sound system and I will never forget the song that I had blasting over my stereo when I made the right turn to get into the Gemco parking lot where everyone was hanging out. The song was Working For The Weekend by Loverboy and every time I hear it, it takes me back to that evening. Isn't it funny how music can do that by triggering our memories and transport us back in time? Music and memories go hand in hand, some happy and some sad. Sometimes though, it is just the vehicle that triggers your memories, no song required. Case in point for me was one late summer evening around 1991. I am leaving work at the auto parts store and as I am walking out into the parking lot, I see this beautiful blond that I had recently met sitting on my car's fender waiting for me. Although I did not know it at the time, the gorgeous gal marring my Chevelle's paint finish would soon become my wife.

 I wish I knew more of the story on my '56 Chevy. I did find out that it was the car that the previous owner's daughter had learned to drive a stick shift in. That's always a cool memory for our generation and I am sure she remembers it well. Do you remember what vehicle you learned to operate a clutch in? Mine was a 1967 Datsun pickup. I went to the city dump with my dad and we had just finished unloading our junk out of it. He was sweeping the bed out and asked me to move the truck forward a little bit, while he was standing in the back! I don't know what he was thinking because up to that point I had never operated a clutch before. I think I was like 14 or 15 and I had watched him drive plenty of times (dad was a truck driver) but watching and doing are two completely different things. I remember stalling the engine out a few times before he patiently instructed me on how to slip the clutch. I managed to creep the truck forward without knocking him off of his feet so I guess I was successful. After I turned 16 and got my driver's license he taught me how to drive a big rig. Talk about confusing, my first time behind the wheel was in an old Mack with a Triplex transmission which included a twin stick Brownie box. My father was a master at driving and shifting these mechanical marvels and it is an experience I will never forget. Every car has a story, does yours?

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