It still lives on!

Back in 2004, I bought a car from a (now former) friend of mine. The car was claimed to be one thing and seemed to have supporting paperwork to that claim. I ended up picking the paperwork apart and writing an article showing what I had found. In 2008 I sold the car, for the same amount that I bought if for, in the same pieces & boxes that I had bought it in, to another Mopar guy that I know. He put the car back together, using as many of the original parts as possible.

By chance, I saw the car for sale at the Hot August Nights car corral in Reno, Nevada back in 2017. One major flaw pops out in the first picture – it has a “Charger” emblem on the C pillar; the original car would have had a “Special Edition” emblem.

Note the text “Rebodied during restoration“.

It was sold at Barret-Jackson for $84,700 on Jan 20, 2019.

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What is “time”?

Most would think that time” is defined as “The measurement of natural existence from the past, to the present, and into the future“. It is expressed in terms of “years” which are counted by the number of times the earth orbits around the sun. Multiples of a year include “decade” (10), “century” (100), “millennium” (1000), and more. Fractions of a year include “month” (1/12), “day” (1/365), hours, minutes, seconds, etc. All of these measurements are relative to the earth (and everything on it) traveling around the sun. The Earth’s orbit is a constant that can be used to measure everything else against it.

Maps - The Earth's orbit around the Sun - Diercke International Atlas

The speed of light in a vacuum, commonly denoted c, is a universal physical constant, important in many areas of physics. Its exact value is defined as 299792458 meters per second (approximately 300000 kilometers/second, or 186000 miles/second). Notice that the speed of light incorporates a time measurement (“per second”) that is dependent on the Earth’s orbit.

A “light-year” is defined as: “The distance that light travels in a vacuum in one Julian year (365.25 days)”. It is a unit of length used to express astronomical distances and measures about 5.88 trillion miles. Because it includes the word “year”, the term “light-year” may be misinterpreted as a unit of time.

Will a vacuum affect how the speed of light travels? - Quora

But what happens if you’re not traveling around the sun? What if you are in a space ship, traveling through the galaxy, away from the Earth? The “time” you spend traveling is no longer connected to the one constant that you have previously measured everything by. Sure, “time” still moves in a forward direction and the human body continues to age, but does it age at the same pace as everyone else who is still lapping around the Sun? And how would you measure your “age” if you don’t have the Earth’s orbit as a frame of reference? Does your body “age” differently if you are traveling at different speeds?

What is the Speed of Light? - Universe Today
Quote If You Are In Spaceship That Is Traveling At The Speed Of ...

The human body has a natural “clock” called the Circadian Rhythm, which is an internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle and repeats roughly every 24 hours. How does space travel affect the human body and it’s natural rhythm? If your body is not exposed to the cyclical change of traveling around the sun, would your Circadian rhythm change? Would the aging process slow down or possibly stop entirely?

Circadian Sleep Disorders Network

Every living thing has a certain “lifetime”. Cells in the human body are replaced through a process of “body rejuvenation”. Different cells are replaced at different rates, but overall it takes between 7 – 10 years to replace every cell with a new one. But it’s not a perfect process and your cells do decay over time. If we could stop this decay, the human body would last forever and “time” as we currently know it would be irrelevant.

Live Forever Young: Researchers Rejuvenate Old Human Senescent Cells

Sometimes “time” seems to slow down, like if you are in a car accident. I can tell you first hand that this is true. When I was 19, I was involved in a terrible car accident and while it was happening, everything seemed to move in slow motion. This change in how you perceive time is caused by a heightened sense of awareness through the inputs to your brain. Basically, your brain starts paying more attention to what it is seeing, hearing, smelling, and feeling.

No photo description available.

With this current pandemic and people having to “shelter in place”, those of us who are still going to work have less work to perform. With nothing to do, time seems to drag on ever so slowly. Conversely, if you are busy with tasks, especially tasks that you don’t mind performing, time seems to speed up and the day can whiz by quite quickly.

It’s been said that time speeds up as you get older. This is because your frame of reference is greater. For example, if you tell a 4 year old child to wait until next Christmas for a present, that length of time is 1/4th their entire life. That’s a long time! However if you tell the same thing to a person who is in their 50’s, it a much smaller portion of their life. That fraction of their time will pass quickly.

Perception of Time vs. Age - Cheezburger - Funny Memes | Funny ...

So what is the overall lesson to be learned from this post? We all have a limited amount of time available, so use that time wisely; for each moment will never come back around to you. Inside every old person is a younger person wondering “Where did the time go?

Why it feels like time speeds up as you get older | indy100
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Words have meanings

If you use the wrong words or use them in the wrong way, other people will misinterpret what you are trying to convey. Not only do the words you use convey different meanings, HOW those words are used (tone & inflection), and your body language can also change the way your message is received.

This has a new, robust design” … This one word is so over-used today. What *exactly* does “robust” mean when talking about truck transmissions? Or pastries? Or anything else? Everyone needs to STOP using this word.

Yes, I know“…  Do you, really?? Claiming to “know” something implies that you understand those words and would abide by the rules that apply to the situation that this knowledge imparts to you. And if you were doing that, I would not have asked if you knew what you were doing. If you honestly “know” something, then you should be able to explain it back to me. If you can’t, then you are just parroting those words.

It’s a global pandemic” …. The word “pandemic” means an “epidemic” that affects all people (pan), but it could also mean “panic” + “epidemic”; which certainly seems fitting for what we have today. If the government would please stop using this word, they would help slow or stop the PANIC portion.

The other day at work, I ordered some parts for a job I was working on, and on the form where it said “Needed by”, I put ASAP. Today I checked on the ETA for those parts and my parts guy said they were coming by UPS ground. After talking to my boss about this problem, I was informed that the parts guy does not consider “ASAP” to be a ‘date’, thus he deemed them to be not important. Are. You. Fucking. Shittin’. Me? I hate playing word salad games, but if that’s what it’s come down to, then that’s the game we’ll play.

If you read through my posts, you might notice that I’m an “anti-capitalist“. And it’s amazing how many people will get all wound up over this term and what I say, simply because they think I’m against commerce, which is completely untrue. The difference between these two terms and what they mean is like night and day. Commerce can survive without capitalism; but capitalism can not survive without commerce; in fact it depends on it. Capitalism depends on gullibility (of those who provide the labor to keep the machine of capitalism moving), jealousy (making the workers think they need to be as good as their neighbors), advertising (to make you want stuff that you don’t really need) and ignorance (workers not understanding how the system really operates), and cognitive dissonance (workers defending the very same system that is working against them).

So choose your words wisely and be prepared to defend them, because you know I will.

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Are you “essential”?

This pandemic has brought abut a new term to our daily language: “Essential workers”.

But who exactly is an “Essential worker”? The state of California issued a long list of who they consider to be an “essential worker”, yet there are some odd businesses that remain open, claiming to be essential. Liquor stores, self-serve auto junkyards, and on-line “return items sales” companies come to mind. And what about the stock market? It seems to be going as well as can be expected, but if everyone is “working from home”, then why do we still have the physical building for the NYSE?

And who is NOT an “essential worker”? Hair & nail salons, churches (can I get an amen!?!), furniture stores, stuff like that, right?

Auto repair shops are essential, but auto sales is not. Casinos are not essential, but their restaurants and gas aisles are. Go figure.

Police officers say “Blue lives matter”, African-Americans say “Black lives matter”, while pro-lifers say “ALL lives matter”. But capitalists would say that EVERYONE matters and is essential, because the only way this machine keeps moving is if we all keep it moving. And if the economy stops, how are they going to siphon money off the top?

What percentage of the population can see through the latest ruse? Are those same people labelled as “essential” so they can be kept at work, just busy enough to not see the big picture? Meanwhile, the non-essential folks are quietly culled off and their deaths are blamed on covid-19? Does the good doctor have his hands in the cure? Someone is going to make a buck and it’s not you or I…..

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MORE Body Shop Jobs

Here is part 2 of the continuing adventure that is body work….

Alan G’s ’70 GTX – had been restored many years before, but not finished. I got it running, fixed some small stuff, and painted the hood stripes back on. Later I helped the owner sell it through Ebay to a buyer in Germany.

Chris’ Wabbit – My middle step-son wanted to go SCCA Autocrossing, so he picked up this project car that had some previously “repaired” damage, which needed to be “refixed” to make it right. I sectioned the left front corner, then I painted it the original shade of orange. We could only find one supplier for that shade (Omni), and as I was spraying it, the odor could only be described as “dog poop on your shoes”. Thankfully the odor went away as the base coat was covered up with clear.

Chris reassembled the car and has been campaigning it regularly since then.

Keith’s Volvo – This car was a former friend’s project. Even though we don’t speak any more, I’m still darn proud of the job I did.

Fred’s ’49 Studebaker truck (the 2nd time) – Fred’s youngest son got to drive the truck all through high school and all seemed right in the world. Then a short time after graduating, he and some friends were out running around and somehow took out a fire hydrant. Most people thought the truck was totaled, but somehow I was able to pull it all back into shape.

Joel’s ’68 Charger R/T – I met Joel on-line through a Mopar web page. He had some basic questions and wanted help fixing up his car, so I stopped by his house and gave it an honest look-over. With my guidance, he started to sand the car down, but realized he was in over his head. So I took on the car, did some rust repair and wrapped up the body work. When the time came to paint it, I rented paint booth for a day.

Richard’s ’70 Challenger convertible (yet again) – So a few years had gone by and Richard and I both agreed, his car needed to be finished, come hell or high water. It had sustained a little damage in storage, so one task of the reassembly was to re-spray the paint, yet again.

IMT service truck – The company I work for does repairs on big trucks. Most of the time it’s mechanical work, engine repairs, computer diagnostics; but once in a while we will get some body work. This one is my current one.

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Body Shop Jobs

Doing body work was not my original specialty. I picked up most of what I know by watching “old-timers” in action. I’ve converted most of what I learned into practical experience by working on my own cars as well as my friend’s cars. When I applied for the ASE certification as a Master Body & Fenderman, they accepted my personal jobs as my 2 years experience.

The test of a good bodyman is the quality of his work. Not only must he make the car safe and correct for operation, a good bodyman should NOT leave any tell-tale signs that he was there. Here are some modest examples:

Pat’s Toyota – Ever seen the damage that the front lug nuts on an 18 wheeler can do to a 1/4 panel? Yeah, fixed that.

’69 Charger from the ranch – When I first moved to Sacramento, we rented an old farm house that also included several other buildings. Inside the “shop” was a ’69 Charger that the previous renter had started doing body work on for the car’s owner. Since I was taking over that shop, the owner stopped by to retrieve his car. I asked him where he was going to take it and who was going to complete the work, and he truthfully did not know. So I offered to finish the job and that’s how I got my first side job in NoCal….

Kevin B’s ’70 Charger – My buddy got a screaming deal on this Charger R/T shell. He wanted me to fix the rust damage, so I started on the back end. Then he changed his mind and sold the car.

Fred’s daughter’s ’99 Toyota – Fred’s daughter mashed up her daily driver. The estimate to fix it was about $6K, but since she had loaned her car to a girl she knew (who was the driver in this accident), her insurance would not cover it. Fred started to take it apart, but quickly found himself beyond his skill set. Originally I wanted the car as a daily driver for my wife, so I bought it as-is for $1,000. I fixed the car with about $800 in parts. When it was completed, Fred asked if he could buy it back because his daughter did not have another car yet. I agreed, so Fred gave me my money back, plus paid me for the parts and I charged another $1,000 for labor. Her insurance company could not believe the car was fixed (correctly) for that price, so they required her to have it inspected by them. The car passed the inspection, her insurance was reinstated, then a few weeks later, she got rear-ended. I declined working on it that time.

Richard’s ’70 Challenger convertible – This car was one that I worked on for my friend Richard, on and off, for what had to have been at least a decade. An original slant 6 car, it had been wrecked and half-assed repaired when Richard bought it. Lots of rust underneath, especially in the rocker areas. It came with me during several moves from one house to another.

Then the time came to finally paint it. We opted for an “affordable” brand of paint, but that back fired in a way I had never seen before, nor since. The paint was thick, rubbery and had no shine. The paint supplier was nice enough to refund my money for the paint, mostly because I brought it all back to him, in a garbage bag.

So I stripped all the paint back off, prepped it again, and got some better paint. I thought a gallon would be enough to do the car, but I ran a little short when I got to the inside of the trunk. I went back to the paint store and guess what – that shade of yellow has 5 different pigments, 3 of those were on the federal no-lead list, and they had been used up mixing the first gallon. So the last quart was a custom hand-mix that took an entire day to perfect.

Delivered the car back to Richard and it sat for another number of years before any assembly progress was made. But that’s another story….

The Duck-ota – This was one of my personal cars. CLICK HERE to read about it.

Fred’s ’49 Studebaker truck (the first time) – Fred built this truck mostly from scrap while he tinkered at Elk Grove Auto Dismantling. The engine, trans, front subframe and differential were from a ’74 Camaro. While Fred & family went to Hawaii for a week’s vacation, I decided to give it some color.

Cuda Bob’s ’65 Barracuda – Bob had owned this car since it was 6 months old, and they had both been through the wringer over the years. It was looking quite sad, so the time came for a complete overhaul.

Mike’s ’70 Dart Swinger – This car had been decent looking, though it had been repainted many years ago.

It had been someone else’s parts car when Mike S. bought it. A legit 340 car, but it was Root Beer Brown and had been hit in the right rear corner. A quick trip to the frame shop, then some panel work. I got it into primer and painted the jambs but Mike wanted the outside painted in a booth; so that’s how he picked it up.

Mike would later send me some pics of the car completed. He said he had overpaid for the rest of the work. C’est la vie, right….?

Tony’s ’66 Lemans – I did this car for the son-in-law of the owner of Sacramento Raceway. It needed one 1/4 panel, some light rust repair and body work, plus he wanted the tail light panel swapped out for one from a GTO. He also wanted a big honkin’ hood scoop and the car painted in House of Colors Apple Green.

Don’s ’69 Charger R/T – This car that was disassembled by another shop, then they went out of business. A mutual friend had told the owner “If there’s one person in the world that can reassemble that Rubik’s cube you call a car, it’s Bill“. I drove out to San Jose, looked at the car, then e-mailed the owner that night with an estimate to fix all of the rust, do the body work and paint it. He simply replied “When can you start?“. A luck would have it, I was just finishing up the previous project, so that weekend he brought the car over.

After finishing the body work, the owner asked if I could do the reassembly of the car. I said I could, but there was no way to give a “flat rate”; it would just have to be time & materials.

Chris G’s ’70 Challenger – This was another friend-of-a-friend’s car. He was in he Marines and was getting ready to ship overseas for about a year. Our mutual friend was already building a new engine for this car, so I suggested I do the body work while he was out on deployment. Needless to say, he had a nice surprise when he returned.

10 years later, I get a message out of the blue, saying the car still looks great and turns heads everywhere it goes.

Curtis C’s Harley Gas Tank – One of my co-workers had a Harley gas tank that was damaged. I offered to fix it for him and even though it was tougher than it looked, it still came out OK. I made a jig to hold the tank while I tried to pull the dent out. I ended up cutting out the dent, straightening it, then welding it back on.

I painted it and this was one of the first “Reflections of a Part-Time Painter” images that I took.

Chris G’s ’65 VW Notchback – My middle step-son bought this car with several layers of “school bus yellow” over top of the original color, that can only be described as “an industrial shade of something grey-ish”. It needed only minor body work and after it was done, I gave him the keys and said “Happy birthday”.

Lots of good reflections on this one too…..

Chris F’s Cobra kit car – Another co-worker had a Cobra kit car that he had completed all of the mechanical work, but did not know anything about body work. He was actually driving it around as a rough, as-cast shell. And that’s where I came in. He picked a “Midnight Blue” that I honestly thought was black until the day I rolled it out into the sun shine.

Mike A’s ’70 Duster – This was a very nice car to begin with. Mike took it to the local shows, as well as the local race track; and it got everyone’s attention wherever it went. He said the body was a good “20 footer” and he wanted it to be better. I replaced the tail lamp panel (previous accident), made the scoop functional, cleaned up the rest of the body, then primed it. Mike had it painted elsewhere.

Tom S’s ’71 Barracuda – Tom bought this car as a complete, running, driving car; then immediately started taking it apart. The shop that he was using gave up, and that’s when a mutual friend of ours suggested I look at the car. I told Tom that I was willing and able, but this was no small task. It had some rust showing and after it came back from the sand blaster, there were gaping holes in the body, thus I nick-named the car “Swiss Cheese”. The rust repair & body work took 12 months and over 200 hours just in welding. The car had previously been sectioned from the firewall forward, along with one replacement door, the decklid and both 1/4 panels. I ended up replacing all 5 of the floor boards, 2 cross members, the tail light panel, the right rear frame rail, the rear window filler panel, and numerous other small patches. I actually built my rotisserie specifically to fit this car in my garage. I finished the body work and gave the car back, ready to go into a paint booth. It would take another 2 years before it was painted. Then Tom started asking if I could od the assembly. of the car, with a few “minor changes” to the drivetrain. But that’s another story….

The Deer-tona – This was my personal car and it was looking pretty sad. CLICK HERE to read the story of that car.

The story of More Body Shop Jobs continues here; but remember, even the best of body men just can’t fix everything……

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My Rotisserie

In 2008, I built a car rotisserie that would fit in my (California standard) 2 car garage. I started with a US Cart Tool rotisserie kit, then I bought 70 feet of square tubing (2x2x1/4″ wall and 2.5×2.5×1/4″ wall) and welded it all together. I can raise & lower the ends using simple winches that I bought from Harbor Freight. The top of each upright has a roller wheel that a friend of mine turned out on his lathe.

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The Wall of Shame

Shit happens. Sometimes it happens in a funny way…… 😉

My buddy, Jared, said his driveshaft was vibrating a little at speeds over 65 MPH. I bet it was!

When will I ever learn not to buy German cars. Damn shame this didn’t happen while the smog-check guy was running the car on the dyno….

How come that new water pump is making a clicking sound? Hmmmm……..

This is the induction coil from my spot welder. I guess when they said “10% duty cycle”, they meant it. I turned it into a 220 volt flame thrower.

I bought a 1978 Dodge pickup with a terrible clanking noise. The previous owner thought it was a bad engine. Had the flex plate bolts been properly tightened, it wouldn’t have needed anything.

Fan from Pick & Pull..  $7.  Hot tank for cleaning parts  $1500.  Not realizing the blades were aluminum… priceless.

Here in the Laboratory, we’ve developed a new type of car paint that also works as a rain slicker. Hope you like “safety yellow”……

I found this driveshaft when I was in high school. Rumor was it came out of a locally built 350 Vega.

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You’d think with a nick-name like “HemiBill” that my garage would be filled with only Mopars, but you’d be wrong. Or maybe it’s me that’s wrong? Either way, here are some of the non-Mopars I’ve owned through the years.

1967 VW Bug – Back when I was a young lad of 20, I bought this ’67 Bug from my best friend, Kevin, for $350, dropped in a $150 stereo, and thrashed it for a while before selling it for $500 when I moved to SoCal.

1974 Super Beetle – I bought this one as a parts car back in 1990 and if I remember correctly, it was only $100 or so. It was originally orange and had factory air conditioning! The engine went in the ’64 Baja Bug and the rest got scrapped out.

1964 Baja Bug – I bought this car with no engine for $140. The baja kit was already installed and it had stock sized tires. I put the engine from the ’74 Super Beetle into it and hand mounted some 10.50×15 tires. Went off-roading with my brother-in-law, Robert, and it performed great. I sold it (for cheap) when my (now ex-)wife decided she was tired of Virginia and wanted to move back west again.

1989 Nissan pickup – My brother-in-law, Robert, had an ’86 Nissan truck that was a fantastic truck, so I got this one thinking I’d have the same truck as his. Nope, not even close. Even though it was identical drivetrain (4 cyl, 5 speed, 4WD), my truck was the single largest pile-of-dung I’ve ever owned. Good riddance!

1968 Baja Bug – Hey, what can I say? I’ve done more off-roading, mud-slinging, and stump-jumping in VWs then any other off-road vehicle. I bought this ’68 Baja Bug in late October 2000 after my son saw it while walking home from school. Oh yeah, it was running on only 2 cylinders. I fixed the motor but a previous owner had made a “targa top” convertible out of the roof and that always bugged me (no pun intended). I parted out another Bug and kept the roof as a replacement. When I moved from Oakhurst back to Herald, I sold this Bug to a guy in Pismo Beach and I included the replacement roof.

1956 VW Bug (oval window) – I bought this one from my friend, Kevin, for $300. Mona and I drove up to Montana and tow-bar’ed it back to California. It was rough and had some title issues, but we got that straightened out. I sold it for cheap when I moved from Oakhurst, to a guy near Disneyland. He was going to make a rat-rod out of it.

1965 VW Bug – I honestly don’t remember where I bought this one. I do remember I sold it at Bug-O-Rama one year for $900. Yet another project car that slipped though the sands of time….

1987 BMW 325I – My wife needed a daily driver, so I picked this one up for $800. The seller said his sister had run it through a deep puddle and the engine had ingested some water. It ran, so I changed the oil and we started driving it. One morning when I pulled away from a stop light, the #6 connecting rod decided it had gone through enough heat cycles and wanted some fresh air. Of course it was hot-as-fuck that day! I put a used engine in it and we drove it for about 2 years after that, selling it when we bought the Volvo sedan.

1998 Volvo Sedan – Bought this one from a co-worker for $1500. It was a good daily driver for my wife for a while. We sold it on Craigslist when we bought the Audi.

2002 Audi TT convertible – We bought this from a local dealership mostly on a whim. Our kids had grown and moved out so we didn’t need a 4 door car, and the Volvo sedan was racking up the miles. The Audi only had 80K miles when we bought it in 2010 but we had doubled that by the time we sold it 7 years later. I learned to hate German engineering through this car and some of the insane hoops you have to jump through to perform simple maintenance (and larger repairs).

2000 Volvo V70 wagon – I was looking for a replacement daily driver and this one was in Craigslist for cheap, because it was missing the transmission. The seller had bought 2 cars at an auction with hopes of fixing both of them, but this one was beyond his skill set. I bought it for $400, spent another $200 at Pick & Pull for a trans & drive axles, then I drove it for several years. It broke down on me twice, the first time being a cam seal and the 2nd time being the head gasket. After the 2nd time, I decided enough was enough, so I sold it as-is for $140.

1969 VW Bug – Another car that I bought on a whim, from the guy that lived next door to the shop that I was working at. He had pulled the motor & trans to use in his wife’s Bug, so I bought this for $300. I’ve collected most of the parts to build an engine & trans, just have not gotten around to it yet. It’s currently sitting in my back yard.

2004 Kia Amanti – A friend of mine had put 290,000 miles on this car and was afraid that something big was going to fail on it. I tried to sell it for him, but with that many miles, no one would even look at the car. I bought it for $800, drove it for 2 years, then sold it to the state through an old-clunker-car-buy-back-program, for $1500.

2014 Ford Escape – After the Audi, my wife said she wanted another 4 door SUV, so she could have room for her grand-kids. We bought this car used from Enterprise Car Rental with low miles. Guess what is the one thing that has never been in it?

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1970 Belvidere (FrameBender 2)

Is there anything better than a 1970 B-Body with giant steam rollers on the back? Of course not! I saw this one listed on Ebay and made a bid, mostly on a whim. It was located in Northern Idaho and had been listed a couple of times. I figured it’s location was the main reason why it had not sold yet.

My middle step-son, Chris, and I set out in his 2001 Dodge diesel with a borrowed car trailer one Friday night after work. January weather from Sacramento up through the mountains can be sketchy at times, but the weather report said cold & clear. Chris drove the first leg, stopping for fuel in Winnemucca, Nevada. I took over the driving and Chris nodded off. I had the cruise control set at 60 when (apparently) we hit some black ice. The turbo spooled up and the rear wheels broke loose. It was all I could do to (1) keep the truck within the lanes, and (2) get the damn cruise control turned off. Needless to say, Chris woke up with a jolt and we both were on the verge of needing clean shorts. We drove through the night, arriving in Lewiston, Idaho right on schedule the next morning.


It was a 1970 Belvidere, originally a 318, auto, A/C car, blue with a blue interior. It had been gutted and the rear frame rails had been narrowed, with a narrow rear already installed.

The car came with a builder 440 engine and I had some other parts that I was tossing around, trying to come up with a direction to build.

The car needed 1/4 panels and some floorboard work, so I started digging in.

As luck would have it, I got side-tracked with work and other projects, so this one got pushed aside. I did get the body sand blasted and primed, which made a world of difference, visually.

And then my luck turned for the worse; I was in a financial bind and selling the car was the easiest way to raise some cash. I put it on Ebay along with all of the parts I had collected for it and a buyer from Oklahoma drove out to pick it up. He said he had a Viper drivetrain that he wanted to install in the car, so off it went.

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