Saturday, December 30, 2006

2006 Indianapolis Auto Show

Yesterday, I went with my wife's Uncle and my son to the 2006 Indianapolis Auto Show. The event was both exciting and a bit frustrating. On one hand, the new Chevrolet Camaro concept car was very cool! However, I was disappointed that Dodge did not have a Challenger concept at the show. I was also disappointed in the general lack of exciting products and product changes for the coming year. Granted, the auto-consumer has a lot of choices with lots of models and more foreign automakers like Kia, Mini, etc., however, there doesn't seem to be a lot of creative styling in the industry today. Every car looks like someone else's car. Not many breath-taking designs.

Camaro Concept

Some highlights included:
  • Chrysler-Diemler is considering re-entering the Jeep name plate into the truck market. The Jeep Gladiator concept was on display...sort of a Jeep wrangler with a truck bed.

  • Chrysler also had the Chrysler Imperial concept on display. Sort of a Bentley-want-to-be/Mafia car. Appears to be built on the 300 C/Magnum platform.

  • Although I'm not a Ford guy, I was impressed with the Saleen Mustangs on display. The metallic orange Mustang had a completely glass top!

I've been told that my links to photo albums do not work. Until I figure out what's going on with them, I thought I would upload several pictures from the Auto Show directly to this posting.

15 Passenger Van

A couple summers ago, a friend of mine called me from Kentucky. Apparently, she had went to an auction at Northern Kentucky University. She owns a lab and was interested in some lab equipment that they were getting rid of. While she was there, they saw several university vehicles that no one had bid on. They were interested in a late model Caprice for their business, but couldn't resist the "fun" in placing the minimum bid on a few other vehicles.

Needless to say, they ended up with a car, a truck, and a fifteen passenger Dodge van. She called wondering if I would be interested in the van, since I had told her about a project I was working on at my Middle School. She thought I might be able to use the van to haul around students.

To make a long story short, she donated the van to my "cause". Her husband drove it up from Kentucky a few weeks later when they were visiting family in the area. The van was in "decent" shape for a 1985, but the university had removed ALL the passenger seats. The van had basically been used by university maintenance as a work van.

The day after I drove it home, I got on eBay and typed in "1985 Dodge 15 passenger van". To my amazement, the first item that came up on the list was a "like new" set of seats for a 1985 15 passenger Dodge van!!!! The seats were located in Nashville, Tenn. No one had bid on the seats, so I placed a minimum bid of $50.00. Again...I was amazed that no one else bid on the seats, and at the end of the auction, I was the winner!

My dad and I made a "one tank trip" to Nashville, Tenn. the following Saturday. Basically, we drove to Nashville, loaded the seats in his truck, ate lunch, and headed for home.

The story behind the seats was an interesting one. A couple of "college-aged" guys had bought a 15 passenger Dodge van to make a mobile recording studio (only in Nashville, huh?). They had gutted the van, taking out all the seats, stacking them in the garage behind their home.

Since receiving the van, I've installed the seats and had the van tuned up. I've used the van several times, but still haven't decided how to paint it. Below is a picture of a few ideas I had one night while messing around with a photo editting program.

The Shay

I have a friend that is a real "horse trader". Every time I stop by his house he has a new "toy" or two. Cars, tractors, pinball machines, gas pumps, who knows what he will have next or how long he will hang on to it before the next trade. One of the cars that he has had for a few years is a Shay A. Shay's are a fiberglass Model A reproduction produced in the early 1980's. The cars were built on a pinto chassis with a 4-cylinder engine. They were sold through Ford dealerships.

During the summer, I like to borrow the Shay and take it out. I've taken my wife out on our anniversary. I've also taken our three oldest children for rides. Last year, I took the Shay to a couple of cruise-ins.

The car handles well and rides smoothly at highway speeds. (Something that can not be said for an original Model A).

These pictures were taken a couple of years ago during one such "borrowing". I parked the car in front of my garage so that I could take some pictures of it with the Wayne 70 Texaco gas pump I had recently restored. The pump was purchased on eBay and was in terrible shape when I got it (see photo).
The Shay is a great car to drive. The kids love to ride in the rumble seat with the top down. My friend spends winters in Florida and trailers the Shay on the trip every year. He says that the "retired folk" get a kick out of seeing him tour around in it.

Friday, December 29, 2006

The one that "got away"...twice!

A 1951 CHEVROLET COUPE!!! A rat rodders dream car! This car sat about a mile and a half away at my neighbor's house for several years. When we first moved here, my neighbor's son drove this car to school. I would see it several times throughout the week going up and down our road with several class-jacket wearing boys inside. After his son graduated and went into the service, the car sat beside the garage facing the "elements" and time. I inquired about the car several times, but my neighbor said his son did not want to sell it. A couple of summers ago, I stopped by and asked about it again. This time, my neighbor said that his son had called and told him if anyone was interested, that he should sell. I looked at it on two separate occasions and told him that I was interested, but needed to "convince the wife". During my spousal negotiations, the car came up missing!!!

Later, I found out that another neighbor saw that the car had been moved and stopped and asked about it and bought the car on the spot! Over the next 6 months, I would drive by the car's "new home" every day on my way home hoping the garage door was open to keep tabs on the car. The car's new owner took the front and rear end out from under the car and planned to put a new IFS and rearend under the car along with a "hot rodded" V6 with a split manifold in the car. To make a long story short, the guy ended up selling the car because of some financial issues. A friend of mine told me about it, and thought I could get the car for less than I would have paid for it from the first neighbor. The car would be disassembled, but would come with the new drivetrain and front and rearend. I stopped on three occasions at my neighbor's house, but each time, no one came to the door. Before I could make contact with him, I found out he sold the car for $1500.00!

Guess this one wasn't meant to be!

Can you say..."Rat Rod"?

This summer, my wife and I will celebrate our 20th anniversary. The link below contains photographs of a 1939 Plymouth that has been in her aunt's garage longer than I've been in the family. I've asked her aunt "Z" about it several times over the years. The car belonged to my wife's uncle, and I'm told at one time he took it to car shows. The car currently needs a lot of work, but if you "squint your eyes" as you look at the photos, you can almost imagine this car in some "Black Blitz" paint with some wide whites and red steelies....Mexican blanket seat covers would be nice too.

The 1947 Chevrolet Coupe

Several years ago, I was driving down McGalliard in Muncie, Indiana and an old ratty looking 47 Chevy flew by me. As the car passed, I looked into the driver's seat and realized the driver was an old friend of mine from High School that I hadn't seen in years. A few years later, I ran into this friend again and asked about the '47. He told me that he had been doing some work for a local body shop in trade for them to allow him to work on his own car. He had lost interest in the project as well as time and money. At the time of this meeting, he was in a "relationship" with a woman who had a few kids from a previous marriage. He said he planned to sell the home he was living in, all his "worldly possessions" and move in with her in Pendleton, Indiana. I saw the "opportunity". I asked if he was interested in selling the car, and he said that he was. Having a family of my own, and trying to pay back college loans, I knew that I was not in the position to buy it, but I thought that my father might be interested.

To make a long story short, my dad bought the car for $700.00. We had to pick the car up from behind the body shop, then travel to my friends house to get alot of the parts. In true "bachelor" form, he had been using the seats at his kitchen table, the chrome reverse wheels and tires were stacked in his living room, and boxes of misc. parts were scattered throughout the rest of the house.

The following link is to an album that contains several pictures of the car as it appeared the day we brought it home. It also includes some pictures throughout the early restoration. At one point, I added some pictures of other 1947 chevrolets that I had found on the Internet. I also added some "paint scheme" ideas that I had been toying with using a digital editting program. Although still in prime (Dad has been quoted as saying "Real rods don't need no stinkin' paint"), the car is road worthy and has attended a few cruise-ins. One of my favorite pictures in this album is the one I took from the backseat of my father and oldest son as he got his first ride in the car.

I have a few photos I have taken recently, I will try to add them to the album in the near future.

It's a LOOOOOOOONG story...

O.K....I hate to even post a link to this album. Back in 2001, I finally convinced my wife that buying a 1972 C-10 shortbed was a good thing. The plan was to turn it into a "hot-rod" custom...i.e. lowered stance, flat paint, wide whites, steelie wheels. I bought a late model stepside bed that I was going to use on the project as well. After several "eBay" and swap-meet parts purchases, I ended up trading the truck (and a parts '67) to a guy who fixed a $2000 "telephone pole incident" my wife had in her Eagle Talon. It was like loosing a child...A sad day in my life. Hopefully, some day I will be able to get a new project.

Pigeon Forge 2001

In 2001, my wife and kids went down to Pigeon Forge, Tenn. to spend some quality time with my parents and my brother's family. Being car enthusiasts, we had to visit the Muscle Car Museum and the NASCAR grille. The Muscle Car Museum is a "Must See" containing many great examples of fine automobiles from the 50's, 60's, and 70's.

Ivy Tech Car Show 2001

In 2001, my father, son, and I made our annual trip to Richmond, Indiana. The link below contains a dozen or so pictures taken during the event.

Good Guy Nationals at Indianapolis Raceway Park 2000

Another "Must Attend" event. The annual GoodGuy HotRod Nationals at IRP is one of my favorite events. LOTS and LOTS of awesome cars and nostalgic dragracing ALL WEEKEND! Plenty of vendors too! This album contains over 55 pictures taken during our 2000 trip. Enjoy!

Ivy Tech Car Show, Richmond, Indiana 2000

Alright! I know, another out of order post. Here is a link to an old album containg a few pictures taken in 2000 at the annual Ivy Tech Car Show in Richmond, Indiana. This car show has grown over the years and is on our "list" of "Must Attends".

Indy Street Machine Nationals 2001

O.K....I know these links are out of order. I'm trying to get all of my albums linked to this blog site. My father, son, and I like to go to various car shows, cruise-ins, rod runs, etc. These pictures were taken at Indianapolis Raceway Park (I believe the name has since been changed to O'Reilly Raceway Park). Anyhow, this was a great event including drag racing, and many vendors.

2003 Indianapolis Auto Show

This link will take you to a photo album containing photographs taken at the 2003 Indy Auto Show at the Indianapolis Convention Center. I went with several other guys from our church.