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Cars > patrick37’s Garage > Blog



By patrick37

So, who has been to any of the big shows this Summer? Back in the '80s, I used to attend at least one Car Craft show per year, somewhere in the country. My very first show ever was the 1981 CC NorCal Nats in Sacramento. I drove my '66 Coronet 500 with my then-girlfriend from Tacoma, WA and diverted up to Lake Tahoe in the process, so it was a pretty good trip. Gas then was a whopping $1.34/gallon (adjusted for 2008 inflation, equal to $3.55 today!). On the little money I was making then (and equally small obligations!), I made that trip without any problems, even thought the damn steering box crapped out on me near Placerville!

Every year after that, up to 1987, I went to at least one CC Nats event, somewhere! Mostly, it was either DuQuoin or Springfield, Illinois, and they were all a great deal of fun!

Nowadays, it just isn't the same. Gas is over four bucks, got lots and lots of obligations, and the Coronet has a puking trans front seal. I was really hoping to do part of the Hot Rod cruise, but that didn't happen. This year has been really strange. We have an election in which neither candidate is worth electing as President. Prices of everything are going apesh!t. I've got four projects that I just don't have much enthusiasm about. Even parting out cars has become a chore, rather than something fun, because no one wants to spend any money, and shipping costs have got out of hand!

But, you know what? I still go out and enjoy my cars that are running, even if they have to run $4.00 gas. May not be able to do the long road-trip shows like in the '80s, but I'm still going to enjoy my rides before the bastards in power try to take them away from me!

Enjoy your day.


By patrick37

I like to trade stuff, especially vehicles. Maybe that is why I never seem to really get anywhere with my myriad collection of project vehicles! That Dodge Town Panel I got last week? I've already got that sold to another Motortopian! My '48 Ford sedan? I've got it traded for a '48 Chevy coupe in Texas that I need to go and get very soon! My '65 F250? Sold (hopefully) to a guy in Texas, who is trying to scrounge a trailer to come and get this truck!

I traded a 383 Chrysler engine with tranny to a friend last month for a '77 Cordoba with a running 400 4-bbl, but it has a bad trans front seal, so it's a dead soldier until I fix the seal! See what I mean?

I'm really hoping the Chevy coupe is what the pictures I've seen of it, show it to be! I'm wanting to put a Chevy 261 or a GMC 270 Six in it, just to be different from all the SBC rods out there. Plus, the Sixes may not win drag races, but they sound so friggin' cool with headers and 2-into-1 exhausts with Smithy's and big resonators! I've got a Mopar 8-3/4" rear to go under it, plus I think I've got a front disc brake conversion lined up for it, as well! I have a cool set of '64 Olds 442 red bucket seats for it, some S-W gauges I've had laying around, a pair of 15"x6" TT-D wheels and a pair or 15"x7" steelies for it, and stereo gear that has never been installed.

Or, I might just trade the car off on something else, who knows!!!

Road trip...

By patrick37

I picked up another damn project today! This is a 1963 Dodge Town Panel truck...I know, you are asking yourself "WTF is a Dodge Town Panel?" It's a panel truck (also available as a Town Wagon; a windowed Suburban-style wagon) that retained the old Power Giant styling from 1955 to 1966, while the pickups went to the new Sweptline style in 1961.

The trip- to get the Townie started by asking over on the HAMB and a couple of other forums if anyone had a car or truck that needed hauling to anywhere between Oklahoma City and Corpus Christi. One of the HAMB guys wanted me to go to Tulsa to pick up a very rusty Triumph Spitfire parts car, and bring it to CC with me, where he’d pick it up and I’d pick the panel up at the same place where the panel was – easy for everybody involved…right!

After work on Friday, my boys and I drove the 110 miles up the turnpike to Tulsa to get the Spitfire. To say this was a rusty hull would be a gross understatement! NO floors, period! Just the remains of the outer frame rails, along with the latched doors and the intact driveline were the only things holding this car together! It was a burn-out, so the interior; or what was left of it, was gone. The front and rear of the car, plus the doors, were intact. The tires were rotted off the rims, and the rear axle was locked up! Thank God for electric winches! I drug that thing up onto my trailer, and it ended up sitting sideways! I strapped it down and proceeded back to OKC. Rusted remains of this thing were littering I-44 as I was driving down the highway! I got the rig home and surveyed the car. I was very concerned that the car would literally fall apart before I could get it to the coast! I snugged the car down with straps and chains, and got ready for Saturday’s trip – 610 miles of road fun with the youngest son!

The first 200 miles were reasonably uneventful. The car wasn’t shedding rust anymore, and it was looking good. Got to a town north of Waco called West, Texas where we stopped for a burger and to check on the Triumph. The flip hood had separated from the cowl nearly five inches! Holy Crap! I looked inside the car and the frame was starting to separate the car into two parts! Only the doors and the drive shaft kept the car from coming completely apart! My long strap was not long enough to run under the car and keep the two halves together, so I found a Tractor Supply Company store and got a 40’ cargo strap and strapped the car front to back, wrapping the strap completely around the car longitudinally. It sure as hell wasn’t going anywhere now!

Then, the notoriously bad Austin traffic, where I’m pretty sure the local Wally World issues the driver licenses in lieu of the Republic of Texas! On to Corpus! Oh, wait, we see smoke on the horizon. Range fire, maybe? Nope…a Ford Exploder caught fire on the side of I-37 and burnt to a crisp. The Texas DPS and the local fire department were just getting ready to put the truck, and the resulting five-acre grass fire, out as we were driving by. My son got some good pics!

Once in CC, we off-loaded the car onto another trailer that Joe brought with. He bought this and another, much better, Triumph on ebay about a year and a half ago. The burnout has a lot of good, hard-to-find parts on it, despite its advanced decomposition! It took him about a half-hour to get it strapped securely. The panel truck had several yellow jacket nests in the engine compartment, which I dispatched with a can of defrost liquid – works great when you don’t have a can of wasp spray! I got my trailer lined up and got the panel winched up and secured. It’s a little more dented than I’d hoped, but it was worth the trip to pick it up…despite nearly five bucks a %^@)*!-ing gallon for Diesel!

My son had never seen the ocean, so we stopped and got our feet wet at the beach, then went to see the USS Lexington war museum across the bay. Hung around a little, then headed out again on I-37 towards San Antonio.
We hit the thunderstorm from Hell about halfway back to SA, where the wind picked up to over 60 knots and rain poured like mad! We stopped at a Valero to fill up and get off the highway for a few minutes. I had just finished pumping fuel when all of the power went out! Seeing as there was a tornado warning for that area at that moment, and having survived an F-4 tornado hit, I was more than a little apprehensive at that point! Well, the lights flickered on and the wind died way down, so we hit the road once again. We stayed on base in billeting in San Antonio…nice thing about being retired military! Nice, cheap beds are just one thing!

Next day – hit the Country Kitchen and then press on home! The Sunday portion was pretty boring, really! Apart from a jackass in a new Mustang cutting me off in a construction zone with one lane, then stopping in front of me! I damn near ran his ass over, and let him know about his stupidity, too! Why do people think that a pickup with a truck and trailer on it can stop in the same distance as their damn car?
So, that was my weekend. The plans for the panel are to give it to my younger son for his birthday in July! He took a liking to it immediately upon seeing it, so I believe it’ll be his.

Enjoy the day!


By patrick37

Gas hit four bucks locally for the first time today. I drive a Dodge Cummins pickup on a daily basis, so I've been spending four bucks+ per gallon since the first of May! I drove to Saint Louis, Missouri the middle of May to pick up a bunch of parts I'd bought from a guy up there, for my '80 T&C wagon; stuff like seats, wheels and tires, dash pad and a bunch of little parts. It was just shy of a thousand mile round trip that I did in ONE day! So, saving the money I would've spent for a room and a couple of meals, I just had to buy fuel, food, and pay the State of Oklahoma their stinkin' tolls for I-44 both ways! So, how much did this little soire' cost me? Not including the price of the parts, it ran me $240.00 in JUST fuel ($4.20 @ 17 mpg), plus $24.00 in tolls and $25.00 in chow. Nearly $300.00 to drive round trip to friggin' St. Louis!!! WTF, over?

Now, just four weeks later, Diesel fuel has gone up over seventy cents locally - still over sixty cents higher than regular unleaded! My brother is an OTR independent trucker - one of the few still on the road, hauling parts for two different manufacturers. He told me tonight that since January 1, 2008, over 56,000 trucks are no longer on the road because of fuel costs! That may not sound like a lot, but make no mistake, it IS! In fact, this week, the largest transporter of HAZMAT in the US has went tits-up, idling over 2,000 trucks!!! Imagine a company that you'd think would never lose work like that, closing its doors because of crazy fuel prices! My brother intends to drive as long as he can afford to and the company he is leased to, itself, stays open for business.

Boys and girls, things are not going to get better or cheaper soon. I'm old enough to remember the horrible administration of Jimmy Carter, probably the very worst President ever to serve! I remember 24% home-loan rates, 18% new-car loans, 21% inflation, the "misery index", malaise, and the worst post-Depression economy ever! Unfortunately, neither of our two "choices" for President appear to be any better than the truly despicable Carter.

Always keep in mind that the Government is NOT your friend! You must be able to provide for yourself. "The times, they are are a-changin', folks", and faster than you might realize.

Pray for our great Nation. It can't hurt!


By patrick37

You ever look around and think "Why do I have all of this stuff!"? When I was twenty years old, I could fit everything I owned into the trunk of my '66 Coronet. Fast-forward a bunch of years, and the extra parts i have just for my Coronet, I'd be lucky to put in it! Never mind the ten other vehicles and their associated parts, tools, and assorted automobilia that I've collected over the years! Thank the Lord I have a big-ass shop to stuff my stuff in!

I have a bad habit of picking up project cars. I see the potential in them. My latest, a '77 Cordoba with a 400 and automatic (no Corinthian leather, damn!) has a puking tranny front seal that pisses out fluid as fast as you can put it in when the car is running. Traded a 383 and automatic for the car, and it is tagged and titled! It sits in the shop, waiting for me to spend a day to pull the tranny and put a new seal in it.

The car prior to it is a '48 Ford Deluxe 8 two-door sedan. It's a roller only. My first thought with it was to put that body on a mid-'70s big Bronco frame and running gear and build a mudder or lake truck from it! It, too, sits waiting...

Another one I had to save was a '65 F250 4x2 big-block truck. Actually got it running in May, after owning it for over two years and doing absolutely nothing to it! So it sits, awaiting a brake job and an exhaust to be drivable on the street...

Think that is enough? Oh,no! I also picked up a 1980 Chrysler T&C wagon. Bought it just for the wheels that were on it, but I grew a bit attached to the car. Got the 225 running without problems, so now I have a fairly decent woody wagon that runs; plus with gas getting near four bucks, that little one-barrel 225 would get decent-enough mileage to be a driver!

So. I have four projects, three of which could be put on the road with a weekend's worth of time and a few dollars in parts. Along with that, my wife's Chrysler needs a power steering pump and my Coronet also needs a front seal in the transmission. My Terraplane needs the running boards attached and the paint color-sanded and buffed, too! Too many things going on at one time.

I have what I call "Garage ADD". I'll be working on one car, turn around and look at one of the others and then start working on it,instead of finishing what I was working on in the first place!

Can't afford to actually GO anywhere, so I suppose I'll have my own little "car show" in my shop, every time i go out there...Guess I'll just have to deal with that!

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