Tuesday, March 23, 2010

old cars live on...

The Internet is a wondrous place. You can pay your bills, order a new pair of shoes, find the latest news clips, watch favorite TV shows and order Chinese food without ever leaving your chair.

Plus with all the search engines you can customize your browsing experience to fit your wants and needs.

My morning routine wakes me earlier than the rest of the house. I let out the dogs, feed the cat, make some coffee and then sit down to my computers and check out what happened overnight whilst I slept. I use Yahoo as a browser. I've tried some others, but revert back to what I like and know best. On My Yahoo page I've got all the information right there on one page that catches me up on what I want to catch up on. Leaving out some of the stuff I'm not so interested in.

The other morning as I scrolled down to read more about the damn health bill, a second volcano erupting in Iceland, Google withdrawing from China, grave robbers stealing the Archbishops remains and Jesse James erratic driving to lose the paparazzi; I finally get to some of the interesting 'fluff stuff' I've requested as well.

I like to see what the BBC and the New York Times have to say. Not that those items are 'fluff', but I like reading their views on the news. I like to see the mug shots posted on Smoking Gun and weird/odd news bites, the word of the day and the 'How To' of the Day. It's the last one that had me rubbing mine eyes to see if I read the headline correctly.

Ummmm. Really? Really?

I understand Retro. I get it that people are attracted to kitsch. Perhaps the people at Wiki found this to be a little tongue in cheek? Make a few people laugh this morning? Exactly how does this pertain to the majority of the readers. There can't be more than a handful of the Michigan rust buckets left are there?

So I did a search to see. Presently there are only fourteen 1997 Buick Skylarks being sold nationwide. There are approximately only 100 or so still around. And lucky you, you can buy one today for less than $1000! And if you do, you will now, by reading this article complete with pictures, be able to change the serpentine belt. That will save you a bunch.

I appreciate old cars. Growing up I drove several. I used to own a Fiat Sport Spider that I would inevitably run out of gas because the gas gauge no longer worked. To replace it, I'd have to have the gas tank dropped, opened and then resealed. A rather pricey venture for a 16 year old. So instead I carried around a Bell Jar borrowed from my mothers canning supplies filled with gasoline. Whenever the engine would start to sputter, I'd pull over, dump some gas into the carburetor and it'd get me to the nearest gas station...no problems. Much more pocket cash friendly as well.

I bought a new car my senior year in high school and donated my Fiat to the school. It had become the school mascot. You know the spirit rocks many schools have out in front? My car had been in need of paint, so one day before a football game we spray painted it. And subsequently every game after that when I'd go out to the parking lot, my car would have something new painted on it. It was fun. Graffiti at it's best.

My new car wasn't new, but new to me. A Datsun 1970 240Z. Orange with black headlamps. It was hot. Or at least I thought so. I drove that all the way through college. What then was an old car, turned into a classic car. I ended up selling it for more than I originally paid for it. Life is good.

That car saw some interesting life experiences. Isiah Thomas used to borrow it when I attended Indiana University. He was a freshman as well, but had no car. The girl who lived next door to me was a friend of his, so they'd borrow my car. I'd get tickets to the games and he'd fill it up with gas. He'd always forget to pull the drivers seat forward though. I'd get in and feel like a little kid trying to reach the pedals.

I used to get speeding tickets in that car. It was fast, but many times it wasn't my fault. I really wasn't speeding. Due to it's color, it had higher visibility than other cars. So if a police officer clocked someone over the speed limit, they just assumed it was me. I fought it in court several times. And won, thank you very much. But it was a hassle just the same.

But the cars speed did get me into racing. I used to race it on the weekends up at GingerMan Raceway in Michigan. They have time trial courses, so only one car is allowed on the track at one time. My parents were opposed to the entire racing thing, but if I wasn't in any immediate danger of crashing into other cars, or they into me...well, they tolerated my insistance to drive.


I was dating a guy at the time whose family was into racing, all kinds of racing. On one date he took me up to the track and I just somehow got involved with it myself. It was loads of fun. And I was good at it. I had a feel for the car and a knack for the course. I even won a little prize money for my efforts. But he turned out to be not as fun as the racing...so that ended my career as a race car driver.

My daughter loves old cars as well. On one visit up to my brothers home in Michigan we visited the Woodward Dream Cruise. One weekend a year all the old cars come out to cruise the boulevard. It's quite a sight indeed. A vertible feast for the old car lovers eyes. Parking lots full of every year of Corvette, sidewalks lined with hot rods and classic cars. Monster trucks and cutome built cars...even people on chasis turned into bicycles. If it has wheels, it's on the boulevard. There are food booths set up selling their wares and people just hanging out with coolers sitting on the lawn chairs clapping for the people driving by.

There are the pristine old school cars. And then there are the cars and trucks there just for the party. Like the Hum-V complete with hot tub deck off the back, it's passengers lounging in the water, drinking margaritas as they cruise Woodward.

Believe me, it is a sight to behold. People watching at it's best. It's happening this year on August 21st if you care to go. It's fun. Just bring lots of water and some good walking shoes. Oh, and we brought number cards last year to rate the cars as they passed. That rewarded us with quite a few 'honks' from the Ah-Oooh-Ga horns.

My daughter has informed me that she'd like a 1953 Ford F-150. "Cherry red, please." , when she is able to drive. Who would've known? But then, she digs the old 1923 Royal 10 typewriter I brought home from my parents house. She seems to spend more time pecking away at that than playing on the Wii.

I would imagine changing the serpentine belt on the Ford may be similar to that of the Buick. I may just print out that kitsch-y little article after all. You just never know. I may actually need this information sometime in the future.

And now I wonder what the 'How to' is today? I haven't checked all the news yet.

Oh...'How to Make Hardtack'. Yummy. Now that's just what I need, the knowledge how to make dried up, grub filled Civil War crackers.

Thanks to Yahoo and Wiki...my life is complete.



  1. Funny how certain events in our lives can be tied to what we were driving at the time. I think I could write an autobio about how my life related to my car of the moment.

  2. I loved the 240Z's. What a sexy little car. I had the 280ZX and I loved it. Funny, I tended to loan it out a lot as well. But then again it was too fun to drive to just let it sit there. Share the love I spose. Don't clip the article, changing the sepentine belt on the buick is a bit different from the truck. It is a good lookin truck tho. She has good taste.

  3. I've always been fascinated by how people think about their cars. Ranging all the way from "love affairs" to "it gets me from A to B and back".

    I belong to the latter category. I bought my first car when I was 24 (I think it was a Fiat), it worked. I sold it when I moved to Sweden and there I had a company car (VW something), it worked. When I moved jobs and had to hand in the keys for the company car I didn't own a car for a year or so...

    My wife noticed a bright yellow Ford Mustang when we went shopping for a second car a few years back. So that was pretty much a done deal, although she didn't dare to drive it initially...

    There's only one preference I have about cars: it HAS to be a manual, automatics SUCK!

    Oh and iGoogle is way better than My Yahoo ;)

  4. Say now, A girl who both knows how to work on cars and isn't afraid to knock back a couple of stouts from time to time. Excellent!

  5. You were brave to trust a Fiat to get you anywhere. ;-)

    I recognize that 240Z picture. Classic. Rear wheels steered by the devil, I am told.

    We have cruise-ins all the time in the jungle. It's the old farts' entertainment. Me, I'd like an old Willys jeep, or an old M35A2 deuce-and-a-half 6x6 truck. Go anywhere in those things.

    You learned some good skills. Sounds like your daughter has too.

  6. We have a love affair with cars. They have to be black and they have to be BMW's. We have 3 and washing and polishing them is almost romantic. My best friend has an old Nissan that he has never washed or cleaned in 20 years. And he smokes in it. He's funny! (And he thinks we are strange.)

  7. @ Janice - Most events throughout my life I could tell you what kind of car I was driving at the time. Strange, but SO true!

    @ Simply Suthern - She DOES have good taste. Extrememly. And sophisticated taste too. Especially for an 11 year old. Yikes... :-)

    @ Eric - Almost ALL my cars have been manual. I remember when I took my driving test for my license the instructor deducted a point for my taking the hand off the wheel while turning. I HAD to! It's a manual, I had to either shift, or stall! (Go figure. I argued that case as well. And yes, I won that one too.) HeeHee.

    @KFred - I'm glad to keep showing you what a perfect female specimen I am. :-)

    @ Marvin - I've got my eye on an old TR6 to tool around in for the summer. Love those. Maybe I want it because my brother had one and wouldn't let me drive it. I also am in love with the Hewson Rocket. If I ever see one, I think I'll have to buy it, or at least try to. But a Willys Jeep? Classic. Thanks for the compliment. I'll let her know as well! :-)

    @ Linda - I had a black BMW. It was gorgeous. I've always had black cars, until this last one...which is odd. For me, at least to have bought something other than black. It's white, the exact oppostie of the black which is even weirder, but for some reason this particular car looks better in the white, than it does in black. But I know what you mean...nothing like a shiny black car. Yum.


  8. Many years down the line from now, I would love to get an older car. Just a weekend runabout; something clunky and metallic which guzzles gas. We'll see how it goes, I guess..

  9. I love me some old American Muscle. Any and all. It doesn't matter which make or model, just so long as then engine roars to life.

    My daughter wants an "old school" truck - it depends on her mood as to which truck she wants, but no matter what she decides on that day the underlying theme is that is not to be modernized AT ALL.

  10. One of my first cars was a Buick Skylark, but it was an '89. Great post.


  11. Isn't it amazing what you find on the Internet, and what you get from it?

  12. Wow, like mother like daughter; your daughter always sounds like a pistol!!
    My 15 year old wants an old station wagon. The kind I drove in the back of w/o seatbelts as a kid. Kinda funny.

  13. I still have never had a car. And I'm 22. One day though... :)

  14. Love this post! Hubby and I had a 64 Chevy pickup with a short bed and sidesteps. We loved that truck for many many years.

    We went to a car show once and I loved it soo much I still have the photos of my favorite cars/trucks.

  15. What I think is that the credentials of the authors of most of these pieces is often left out....I mean there are so many answers to so many questions and I see a "Google-related mishap" becoming a regular tick box on emergency room admittance sheets!

  16. OMG, you were a racing chick!!!! You are full of surprises. How to Change a Serpentine Belt on a 1997 Buick Skylark.- never know when that info might come in handy for me...NOT! And Boo, she is AWESOME! My brother collect antique cars. He has some really nice ones. I remember when he was about twenty he bought a 57 Chevy and restored it...that was the beginning of his lifelong hobby.

  17. I'm impressed that you raced cars!

    Also, that you drove around with a bottle of gasoline - simple solution but a little dangerous, yes? LOL!

    My first car was a 1965 Buick Syklark. Hey - it got me to school!

  18. I am now obsessed with making Hardtack. And you raced cars?! This posting was exceptionally informative for me.

  19. @ Cat Lady- I was like a teenage Daneka. Ha!

    @GunDiva - Love the old school trucks myself. I look at the International Harvesters every so often, visualising myself making people move the hell out of my way! :-)
    Your daughters got it right! No Neon for her!

    @Renee- I was surprised to learn that Skylark was one of the longest lasting models of all American made cars. Who knew? :-)

    @ Maureen - She is. But a GOOD pistol. :-)

    @ Suzicate- One of my boyfriends in high school drove a 57 chevy. The backseats were big. :-)

    @Pat- Yes, in retrospect carrying gasoline around in the car was a bit dangerous. But we didn't wear seat belts or ride bikes with helmets either. Risk takers!

    @Carlos- It is my job to continually make you wonder who the hell I am. :-)
    The well runs deep.

    Thanks you guys for your comments!


  20. Racing! Wow, that's so cool!

    Myself, I am pretty non-car. But I enjoyed your post, it got me thinking and writing my own retrospective, although the lens I looked through was related to music instead of vehicles.

    Really enjoyed reading about this side of you. :)

  21. What a great "memory" post - that also took me back to my first car. An Oldsmobile Starfire. I nicknamed it the "Flintstone Mobile" because the passenger side was rusted out on the floor and if you lifted the floor mats you could see the road racing by. Love it that yours got a "spirit paint job" your senior year! Too funny! And OMG, Isiah Thomas touched the wheel? He was my favorite Piston when he played for them. Seemed like such a genuine, kind human being.

  22. Hey Nancy! Yep, the internet is for all the things you never even knew you needed. How did we ever get through the day without it? Everything is in there to find, especially if you're not careful. Indigo

  23. drooling at the fact that you had a 240ZX craved that car - as well as the 280 - back in my rollerskating days; one of the hot skate guards drove one :D

  24. You can get lost in the internet and all the useless and not so useless information out there. I remember the old Buick we had growing up and how it got passed down from my sister to brother. By the time I was old enough, the thing had been thrown into the trash heap. I ended up with a little Nissan that now seems like a tin can. Oh the things we entrusted our lives to.

  25. I'm a huge vintage car fan and for a while in the 90's was driving a fully restored 1969 convertible Firebird.

    A lot of play on the wheel, but a fun ride.

    Unfortunately, that is probably the only thing I miss about my ex.

    I'm going to check out the "How To" page on Yahoo since it is my homepage.

  26. Google Chrome all the way!


  27. My grandpa had a '53 Ford. It was black and it was cool! I used to hop up in it when I was a little girl and put my mama's sunglasses on...I was always on my way to the beach in my imagination. When he sold that truck, I cried. The guy who bought it completely restored it and still has it to this day. When I drive to TN, I always look up in that driveway in hopes of seeing the shiny black "cool ride" glimmering in the sun. It was a beloved part of my childhood.

  28. :) This entry made me feel warm and fuzzy inside. :)

    I too, have a lifetime love for classic autos... and even an old jet black Plymouth 4-door from the early 60's is a classic, in my mind.

    I just posted an entry about four classic race cars - it includes a video I'd be flattered if you took a peek at it. :)


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