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Cars > jrdeleon1’s Garage > Blog


Twists of Fate

By jrdeleon1

Originally posted on my Tumblr (

Sometimes I think the Universe is working against me, teasing me.

I bought the Chevelle last September and was jazzed to work on it. But, on the way home, the steering wheel popped off…while driving on the freeway (recounted in my blog entry on September 26th). I remained calm and placed it back on the column and got home safe.

However, after doing a little research, I found out there weren’t many reproduction parts for Third Generation Chevelles.

“Okay,” I told myself,”This is not a setback.”

Then, the Pontiac showed up on Craigslist no more than a week and a half after I bought the Chevelle.

“Why did such an awesome car have to go for sale after I already bought a car,” I asked the Universe.

Lacking impulse control, I went after it.

Then, the Universe told the previous owner to waffle about selling it. This prompted me to look at another car (1969 Buick Skylark). However, that deal fell through. It worked out in the end (the Pontiac, that is)…until after money exchanged hands.

The. Car. Would. Not. Start. I mean seriously! Really? I had just driven it half an hour before I paid the previous owner.

The Universe pointed a cosmically cruel finger at me and laughed. With it’s far reaching powers, it struck down my stupid neutral safety switch.

But it got fixed. And I drove it for about a week. Due to some foresight (or, in hindsight, stupidity), I parked her in the garage next to the Chevelle and decided to wait till late winter/early spring to start working on both cars.

But, that lil ol’ Universe had other plans for me!

After a few months of sitting, I felt it was time to start the cars and let them run for a bit.

The Chevelle, my poor neglected child, started right up. She revealed herself to be bulletproof. I was pleased.

Then, my wife and I decided to film a video walkaround of the Pontiac. I started filming. My wife tried to start the car. She cranked, but did not start.

I felt the Universe’s dark plans coursing through this new setback.

Oh, well. These things happen.

These cars aren’t called projects for no reason.

In the end, I bought a new Silverado. Which, of course has nothing to do with the above entry.

Twists of fate. That’s it.

1971 Chevelle

By jrdeleon1

This was originally posted on my Tumblr (

My first car was a 1971 Chevelle. It was a beater that my Uncle Pol gave me. The grill was missing, there was significant rust damage all over the body. The floor pan on the driver’s side was gone, replaced by a piece of plywood. There was unfinished Bondo patched here and there. It only had a Straight Six engine.

But, I’ll tell you something: I loved that car.

It was my first. It was my gateway to freedom. It was driving down 237 West with no traffic, windows rolled down, sunset gleaming red/orange/yellow behind me, heading home to Milpitas. It was getting myself to Mark’s Books on East Calaveras without having to ask my dad for a ride. It was driving down to San Jose to meet my prom date’s family.

Sure, it wasn’t sexy or exciting. It wasn’t shiny or impressive. But, it was my first car.

I loved that car.

She had a few choice nicknames when I owned her. I called her the “Battle Wagon”. My high school buddies called it “The Bomber”. Later on, it became “****-Mobile” and “Endless Frustration”.

The Chevelle was breaking down. My dad and I weren’t gear heads. Trying to maintain it’s drive-ability was getting more and more difficult. We replaced the starter twice (later finding out that Chevelle’s had frequent problems with the starter). The wind shield wipers stopped working when I was driving home in the rain. The list of things to fix started piling up. She was starting to show her age. The luster of owning my first car had dimmed to owning a piece of broken down ****.

I had started to forget why I loved that car.

Eventually, I decided to give it up. I was embarrassed driving her around. I was young and eager to impress pretty girls. I gave her back to my Uncle Pol and never saw her again. I bought an 86 Accord LXi with a moonroof and nice wheels. I was caught up in the superficial. I never looked back.

I had totally forgotten why I loved that car.

This was before eBay. This was before the Internet opened up opportunities to find replacement parts, before learning how easy it was to find car clubs and online communities that would’ve guided me in her restoration, before the Chevelle became a sought after prize. If I knew then what I know now, I would’ve held on to her. I would’ve been patient. I would’ve saved my money, bought replacement part after cherished replacement part, and learned to bring her back to her original glory.

That was fourteen years ago. My memories of her, my 1971 Chevelle, are not as vivid as they used to be. And, though I regret letting her go, I now remember why I loved her.

She was my first. She was my gateway to freedom. She was driving me down 237 West with no traffic, windows rolled down, sunset gleaming red/orange/yellow behind me, heading home to Milpitas. She was getting me to Mark’s Books on East Calaveras without having to ask my dad for a ride. She was driving me down to San Jose to meet my prom date’s family.

She was my constant companion for three years.

I loved my first car.

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