Reader’s Rides and Stuff

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Pictures taken at the NSRA car show in Baton Rouge, LA on 2/27/16

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Restomod Trucks.  They don’t make them like this anymore.

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These pictures were taken this past weekend in Gulfport, MS at car show for Toys for Tots.  Some cool hot rods.

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Just got back from a weekend in Panama City Beach for the Emerald Coast Cruizin Car Show.  Over 3,000 cars and lots of hot rods.  Here are just a few.  I like the odd and unusual stuff as you can see.  When was the last time you saw a hot rodded 1955 school bus or a Texaco Oil Truck?  This show is definitely worth the trip.

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Rust in peace. A short story by Dick Moody, Florida

“How many years has it been?” I thought. “How long since my motor roared, tires
squealed, the 2×4 barrel carbs open full to suck in 1000 cubic feet per minute, to
make my 283 cubic inches create 280 hp.and throwing all that torque to my rear
wheels and propelling me to over 100 miles an hour on the back roads of Maryland’s
western shore.”

“I’ve been quiet now for over 50 years. I couldn’t think about the silence, sitting here
in this old Southern Maryland barn since I was two years old. Only two? I feel like I’m
half-century old ever since I was parked here, hidden back in the corner of this old
tobacco barn to avoid the repo man, after my owner lost his wife, his house and
worst of all, me.”

“I was born in the late fall of 1956, the earliest of the production of the 1957
Chevrolet Bel Air, two-door hardtop, high-performance, special order model, 283/270
hp, with a four speed, dual point ignition, and a positive traction rear axel. 300 were
built in that month. Only special dealers got them, black, red or white we were only
choices. I began red, very red with custom hubcaps, white walls and a gold Vee on
the hood and trunk. That was the only betrayal of a typical Bel-Air hardtop highperformance
vehicle.”

“I was proud of my owner. He picked me up at the dealer, the only one there like me,
he was so excited as he inspected every inch of my body, even putting me on a lift at
the dealers to discuss my unique frame with a lead mechanic. With him was his
girlfriend, soon to be his wife, who clung to him and hung on his every word. I heard
all the discussion and even learned a bit more about my suspension that the
assembly line guys had not talked about. I thought I knew everything about me!’
“We pulled out of the parking lot with only a quarter tank of gas dealers stingily
provided, but it was the high test (ethyl) required for my high horse power factory
motor. He let the clutch out easily, nursing the last half-inch on the pedal, then push
the accelerator three quarters of the way to the floor in first gear, shifted into second
and my tires squealed again, another squeak into third and the tach hit 4800 RPM .
The new Good Years grabbed the pavement as we hit 90. He eased off the
accelerator and shifted the Borg Warner four-speed into fourth gear. The
speedometer bounced off 100 before he let off. I passed the first test, Mr. Alex
Dundalk’s engineering past the test and made me proud.”

“They sat close together in their bench seat. It was the original interior, black fabric
and red vinyl, with silver piping and buttons. I am an original, advanced in
engineering, design and styling. I am sure to be a collectible classic. The 1955 and
the 1956 Chevys were ground breakers, but me , I had the distinctive fins, scoops on
the hood and an original dashboard with hoods over each of the all important gauges
on the dash. Also, newest in design, the AM/FM radio with pushbuttons for all
stations. Four speakers gave the doo-wop sound like no other car on the market.
The wraparound windshield and the rear window gave total visibility for the driver.
My trunk was huge, more than enough for the bands’ sound equipment, lights and
the owners three saxophones.”

“I always enjoyed the traffic lights, most cars wish to avoid them, but not me. There is
almost always an opportunity to jack rabbit away from the line in front of everyone.
Very few wish to challenge me, even though my owner usually gives a smirk or a
smile to the Fords, Chryslers or Dodges next to us. Very few take our offer, but when
they do, likes of my 283/270 blurs their thinking about a drag race with that ’57 Chevy
Bel Air… Me!”

“My owner polished my aluminum valve covers, added yellow ignition wires, a
chrome generator cover, a stainless steel fan, a high-capacity coil and the coolest of
all, a Corvette two, four barrel air cleaner in polished aluminum with louvered vents
all the way around. The 270 hp logo was emblazoned in red and yellow along side
the crossed checkered flags.”

“All I can think of was classic. Born to be a classic, a rare automobile that is destined
to be the car that will always hold its value, be like new for years. Saved for the next
generation… Me!.”

“Little did I know my fate.”
“My tires went flat in the first two years, dry rot. The old canvas tarp on my roof hung
down over the windshield, rear window and down the doors. The rough scratchy
material didn’t mix with my highly polished red lacquer finish. Moisture collected on
the graceful curves of my rooftop. The paint started the blister, then revealing the thin
primer underneath. The primer was not waterproof and rust popped through. A little
at first and more over the many years.”

“How many years went by? I can’t count, other than the deterioration of my body
parts. The rubber went first. Much like tires dry rotted, went flat and my belly rested
on the sandy clay soil. Salt from snowy roads had nestled between the boxed frame,
rocker panels and fender flares. Started the rust intrusion from the inside and began
to pop pain into blisters. The pain was excruciating, my beautiful body was being
eaten from the inside. What was happening to me? Will I ever be beautiful again?”
Memories came back to me in my dreams. The drive-in movies, the hot shops drive
through, the Friday night’s sock-hops, parking on a secluded lane. Will I ever enjoy
that again ?”

I was resigned to the banality of my life to rust in peace. Here in a barn, hidden away
in the Maryland farmland long lost to modernity.
“One morning I heard the huge barn doors creak open. That sound was one I had
not heard in over 50 years. Alone, resting and home to mice living in my seat. Entire
families for years. They smelled awful but offered some semblance of company.
More than 50 generations were born, grew, mated, delivered babies and died. At
least I was home to somebody.”

Voices, excited voices, filled the huge interior of the old barn. The ancient wood
boards reverberated with squeals of excitement when a man and three young boys
surrounded me in that lonely corner. They yanked off the now rotted canvas tarp
covering my top and glass. The glare was intense, from the large open doors. I was
embarrassed at the way I looked, rusty, flat in the dirt and in my seat, a real mess
from those damn mice.

They didn’t seem to mind as they peered in the windows and tried the doors. I was
locked up tight by my owner. One of the boys ran out the door and returned with a
longs slim chrome piece of metal with a hook cut in the end. The older man slipped it
so very carefully down between the weatherstripping and the glass on the drivers
door. I let out a large click and my door lock popped up for the first time in 50 years.
It felt so good I wanted to cry. Youngest boy pulled open the door, the stainless steel
bar across the top of the window popped up just as it did so long ago. The little guy
grabbed my steering wheel and pulled himself into the driver seat. I sagged, even
though he was small, my stuffing was almost gone. It didn’t move far with his warm
hands turning left and right, with tires flat and the grease congealed in the steering
box. He got so excited when he discovered the ignition key was in the lock along with
the different trunk key. One was a hexagon the other an oval. He shouted “Look dad,
two dice on the key ring.” I almost expected him to try to start me he was so excited.
“Okay son, pull the hood release and let’s see if there is even an engine.”
My hood popped up with little effort and I heard four simultaneous ‘WOW’s’, look at
that engine.” Even after 50 years my motor still had plenty of admirers.
“Dad, that’s a 283/270 is it not?” “Yes son and it’s also a four-speed, this is a very
rare find kids, I hope I can get a title for her. And,who ever left her, disconnected the
negative battery terminal.”

“I’m not a her, guys, I’m a him!,” I screamed but no one heard.
They opened the trunk, checked the spare, which was the only tire that miraculously
still held air. The mats were like new and no rust was in the trunk. Upon close
inspection the only rust they discovered was where the tarp covered the lacquer
paint.

The small guy was still rooting around inside the car. “Dad it really stinks in here” he
shouted, he was still so excited. “Dad, I unlocked the glove compartment and it’s full
of papers. Look, this is a title, at least it looks like one.”
“Let me see that Son,” he sounded excited to.
“I wish I could tell them the title was signed by my owner and he left the buyer line
empty.”
Attached was a note that read:
“To whom it may concern. My life is finished, I have lost everything I ever cared for
so I might as well lose my treasured ’57. He needs a new owner, so whoever finds
him he’s yours . Free and clear, my insurance paid all my debts, and where I’m going
I won’t need him. “Outlaw” is his name for his inclination the speed at every
opportunity. Enjoy him, care for him and he will always treat you well. Godspeed-0 to
100 in 1320 feet. Signed_____________X, dated December 25th, 1959.

Three boys and their dad were in tears by the time the date was read aloud.
I heard the rollback pull into the barn, then the grinding of the cable as it tugged on
my front crossmember. I didn’t mean to be reluctant, but I did put up quite strain on
the old hauler as I was wenched up the incline.

Off to a new life, a new family and resume to speed, as I was originally built for.
I will never again “Rust in Peace”

The End.