Summer Slow Down

Summer Slow Down

Every summer, I try to make my way home. These days, that means a half-day flight and a car ride from the Detroit airport back to my parents’ house in Novi, Michigan. I’ve written about my hometown (and our next-door neighbors, Northville) plenty of times here on the Jalopy Journal, but as I sit here on a warm summer afternoon with the windows open wide, I can’t think of anything else that I would rather be focusing on.

There’s a lot to love about summer in the Midwest, from the hot days and warm nights to the roadside burger stands and abundance of opportunities to swim. Whenever I’m home, I make sure to put as many miles as I possibly can on my mom’s 1961 GMC pickup. It’s perfect for running the errands, hitting garage sales, and cruising anywhere the road leads us.

Early in my trip, I started diving deeper into local Northville hot rod history. I have a piece in the works about my neighbor the Ridler winner, but I was also intrigued by “Skai High”—an E/Stock 1960 Bel Air backed by the local Gulf station. The station still exists, and the car does too, now in the hands of H.A.M.B.er Skai High.

On a trip to downtown Plymouth, I stumbled upon this 1941 Cadillac parked on a side street. Judging by the heat coming off the engine compartment and the unmistakable old car smell, I must have just missed the owner by a few minutes.

Even though I’m far away from my A-V8 project, I’m always thinking of ways that I can keep things rolling. As I prepare to drill the holes in the frame to mount the body, I realized that I needed a heavy-duty drill. Well, on a rainy weekday morning, I made my way to Dearborn to pick up a Signal 1/2-inch drill off Facebook Marketplace. Manufactured in Menominee, Michigan, in the 1950s, it should be the perfect tool for the job.

By the time you read this my bags will be packed, and I’ll be ready to fly back to San Francisco. And as I make my way across the country, I’ll be dreaming about my summer slowdown. I’m already looking forward to next year.

Joey Ukrop

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