Tuesday, November 22, 2011


A couple of years ago, the economy hit me like a Tsunami and washed me out into the street. I had to jettison all non-life supporting baggage, such as my almost finished race car project and the hot rod I’d been building/driving/racing for 25 years. The emotional hit left me reeling, but I took some solace in knowing I wasn’t alone. Like so many others, I’d set myself up for the reality-slap by living beyond my means. I got off easy, compared to most. While still existing way below poverty level, my quality of life is actually much better now. But I do miss my toys.

So when my pal Gary told me he was moving to a new shop and selling off some stuff he’d rather not move, I attended his sale with my party hat on. Yeah, the event stirred up those old emotions, but I clung to the present moment and stayed there all day. It was fun catching up with old friends and kicking tires. I found myself wishing you could’ve been there. Here’s the next best thing:

Before I even got out of the car, I sensed a much lighter vibe at this sale than at my last one.

               Jamie Ford’s fresh-built Deuce set the standard for visual stimulation.

A bunch of guys muttering about parts interchange with hands in pockets. These are my people!

Gary’s latest personal project: A ’34 tudor, dragged off of Jamie Ford’s acreage, after Jamie had his way with it. Why the For Sale signs, Gary? "I figured I’d throw it out there and see what’s meant to be. Who knows?" Definitely priced right, but no bites, with the southern Oregon economy hanging from the noose.

This ‘fixer upper’ Y-block was planned for another project, but found itself looking for a new home on sale day. Nobody had signed the adoption papers by the time I left.

I’m coming out, right here: I have a cast aluminum fetish. There, I said it. Despite the sickness, I drove away, cast-free. My blue moon discipline always surprises me.

This is the automotive equivalent to full contact chess: The Swap Meet price negotiation. I observed this particular exchange for well over an hour. Exhausting. In the end, Gary (at right) held his ground and was rewarded with storing this steering column until the next sale. And the respect of his peers, of course.

I’m scheduled to drive a bellytank lakester at Bonneville next year. Talk about a reality slap! I’m supposed to fit into one of these with a full firesuit and helmet on? Time to start dieting! First thing tomorrow…

Some of Gary’s neighbors took advantage of the situation. The little Buick Special pegged my Dreamometer. If you didn’t know, these came factory stock with the 215" aluminum engine, now standard issue in the Rover.

This ’55 cackled in, fresh from Chris Darland’s shop. Chris followed up in his Pontiac powered street/strip ’33 Plymouth coupe, but I couldn’t get a bead on it with my Olympus. Oh, the heartbreak of the solitary hunter…

Before I knew it, the shadows extended and my BFF’s Jamie and Linda Ford were hightailing it for home. A quick goodbye and they vanished. Same here. See ya! And thanks for another fun day, Gary. Hope you made some room and money!

Next time: Rat Wagons! The next hot trend? Stay tuned…