Ranche De Tardel: Day 4

Ranche De Tardel: Day 4

I spent the morning doing some work on the computer and didn’t get to the shop until around 9:30. That one hour head start was all Keith needed to get the motor stabbed into the ’36. I jumped in and the two of us swapped in the radiator, hung the sheet metal, and buttoned up all the other little details. By lunch the little old truck was putting around the ranch. Job done.

I spent the rest of the day learning about the intricacies of the Ford top-loader. I took a super nice side-loader apart and then Vern schooled me while putting the guts back into a top loader case. Transmissions still intimidate me a bit, but I feel much more comfortable with this Ford stuff now. If your memory is sharp, you’ll know that’s a good thing.

By mid-afternoon, I was cooked… done. Ya know, I’ve read stories about the ranch for years. For one reason or another, I’ve always thought it was kind of a slow placed joint – hot rod heroes dropping in and out, stories of yesterday being passed around, long chili lunches, etc… I couldn’t have been more wrong.

I have never been in a shop environment quite like the ranch. These guys work their asses off from dawn ’till dusk and while everyone certainly seems to love their work, it’s still just that – work. Hard damn work. I sat around tonight wondering how they do it day in and day out and could only come to one conclusion. The Tardel ranch is full passion and that passion takes a physical sacrifice. All these guys give it up heroically.


It’s time for me to hit the sack. I’m not sure what’s in the cards for tomorrow or if this series will have a part 5 or not. I’m too tired to even think about anything much other than sleeping. Hopefully, I will see some of you at the open house tomorrow or the Hot Rod Revolution on Saturday. They both look to be very special.

Caption: The guest artist tool bag. Every chore I did while at the Ranch was done using the mis-matched and pretty incomplete tool set you see here. Proof that you don’t need fancy tools to build a traditional hot rod.

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