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An old man wandered into my driveway today.

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by uglysteve, Jul 16, 2013.

  1. Me and my buddy Bryan have been working on our cars out in my driveway every monday and tuesday this year since probably early Feb. We've had a few people wander by and say "hey cool cars" or something to that effect, but today something special happened. An old man came waddling into the driveway and introduced himself. His name is Merle. He says "i see you boys working on cars every week and wanted to introduce myself." He asks the usual "what year is it? hows it run? what are you doing to it?" and we tell him all our plans and all that. Then he pauses for a bit, stares off into the distance, and starts telling stories about a '55 chevy he had when he was young. Apparently he had a hopped up 401 nailhead in it and loved to race. He says "i loved when i was going so fast and i couldn't feel the steering anymore because the front wheels weren't touching the ground" "we didn't care about aerodynamics back then! you know how boxy that 55 chevy is! we just wanted to go fast!" I could tell that we were in a way helping him re-live his days as a hot rodder. I loved hearing him talk about his old cars and I really hope he comes back around. If he doesn't i'll go wander over to his place and try to get more stories out of him. I'm sure he can show us young guns a thing or two.

    Anyways, no real point to the story. Just nice to meet an old hot rodder in the neighborhood. Made my day and I thought I'd share. :D
  2. well done for giving him some time , he might appreciate a lap around the block in the passengers seat of one of your rides too .

  3. I'm sure he would! i see him doing laps around the neighborhood on a little motorcycle sometimes. i don't think he ever goes anywhere he just cruises around the circle. definitely going to try and get to know him better.
  4. mart3406
    Joined: May 31, 2009
    Posts: 3,055

    from Canada

    And he can probably give you a few tips
    and teach you a few tricks too. Be good
    to him...and pick his brain.


  5. Dago 88
    Joined: Mar 4, 2006
    Posts: 2,049

    Dago 88

    Did you happen to inquire what he may have in his garage. :) Or I'd bet he would have some cool old photos, for when you get to know him a bit better.
  6. The generation that's telling these stories is getting less everyday. Take it all in while you can. I bet he's still 18-20 years old in his head when he's telling the stories.
  7. Ya know...there are only 2 streets in and out of our neighborhood. So I drive by his place most days on my way to work. His garage is only halfway open, if it's open at all. I'm usually pretty good at peeking in garages and spying a cool car. Maybe he's got something stashed away in the back!
  8. D.N.D.
    Joined: Aug 15, 2012
    Posts: 1,385

    Member Emeritus

    Hi Steve

    I can relate to your new friend as I ran my B/Gas 37' in my avitor pic from 64' to 68'

    Hard to believe it was almost 50 yrs ago , and i'am 72 now and those were great days racing a Gasser

    Think about my first ride in the car right in front of my house, the front end was off and could not tell how the front tires were doing

    Well it picked the tires up and drifed to the left some, backed off and got in it again got to the corner and waited for my tow car

    Next day at San Fernando drags ran 11.85 on a 11.84 record and took home the trophy too, what a great day that was

    Remember it like it was yesterday when I let the clutch out it sure got my blood going as it was 2 seconds quicker then I had gone before and 15 mph faster

    G Don
  9. snaptwo
    Joined: Apr 25, 2011
    Posts: 696


    I welcome all ages and genders , still learning at 73. I hope I'm traditional e'nuf !
  10. Jimbo17
    Joined: Aug 19, 2008
    Posts: 3,789


    Cool story and sometimes you can learn a great deal from people who also share a love for old cars and hot rods.

    I have friends who race a car in local stock car races and one day when they were working on there car a guy walked into their shop and started talking to them about the race car.

    He then said maybe some Saturday night I could come with you to the track and help out a little.

    Next thing I know I got a phone call from my friends asking me if I ever heard of a guy named Jumping Jack Johnson!!!!!!!!!!!

    The guy is a legend in the Northeast and has won 100's of feature races and track championships and when I explained to them who he was they could not believe that he just waked into their shop here in Florida where he spends his winters.

    True story so remember you never know who is walking into your driveway.

  11. peter schmidt
    Joined: Aug 26, 2007
    Posts: 660

    peter schmidt
    from maryland

    people always wonder up my driveway i usually dont mind it i even got a few leads on some cool cars that way. thats how i got my model a the lady walked up and said nice hudson i reconised her and asked her if the car i stoped about months earlier was forsale yet and she said yes i just decided to sell it. the old timers are the best ones to talk to theres a couple old hot rod and custom guys around here i try to stop and talk to whenever i can.
  12. 73super
    Joined: Dec 14, 2007
    Posts: 778


    I appreciate the respect you're showing this guy and the genuine interest. Younger guys today seem to be lacking that and don't realize how fast the time flies. Yesterday I was 25.. today I'm 53. 53! Yes, it goes that fast. Flippin' speeds up the older you get. For a lot of these guys it seemed like just yesterday that they were out there doing their thing with their rides. Listen and learn! Good post! Many thx!
  13. I can appreciate you taking the time to let the old gent relive his exploits with you,I'm in my 60's and I always welcome conversation with the generations that predate me but I also make a attempt in connection to th younger set also.

    Hot Rods & Customs are great for drawing out conversation with others,,those with a storied past or the young guy with a blank canvas and nothing but enthusiasm. HRP
  14. Bobert
    Joined: Feb 21, 2005
    Posts: 820

    Member Emeritus

    "Life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer you get to the end the faster it goes."
  15. ssffnomad
    Joined: Jul 23, 2008
    Posts: 654


    Next thing I know I got a phone call from my friends asking me if I ever heard of a guy named Jumping Jack Johnson!!!!!!!!!!!

    Jack Johnson, the legendary racecar driver from Duanesburg NY has been racing and
    winning since 1967. Racking up well over 400 feature wins, on 33 different racetracks
    throughout the country. He is the all time modified feature winner at both, The Fonda
    Speedway and Albany-Saratoga Speedway. In addition to his impressive win list he has held
    track championships at Fonda Speedway, Albany-Saratoga, Brewerton, Cayuga County,
    Utica-Rome and Rolling Wheels Raceway. Jack has also won several series championships
    stretching from 1972 right through 2004 and is ready to embark on yet another season of
    dirt track modified racing in 2005. He brings almost 40 years of racing experience to the
    company he started back in 1980. Team owners, drivers, sponsors, promoters, officials and
    fans often call upon Jack, due to his extensive knowledge of racecar set-ups, parts,
    accessories, equipment and his life long commitment to the business of motor sports.

    I have seen him twist a Big Block Modified Dirt Car to many wins.
  16. Rex_A_Lott
    Joined: Feb 5, 2007
    Posts: 1,019


    I remember this "Ol - hippie " looking dude telling me a story about his seat covers being made of some curtain material his Pop refused to let in the house, the first time I ever met him....he turned out to be pretty cool after all.:D
  17. oldsjoe
    Joined: May 2, 2011
    Posts: 2,536


    There is no better teacher than experience! Sound's like he has quite a few experience's to share! Take advantage and enjoy the ride! That generation is leaving the hobby at a fast rate! I too hope to have an old Hot Rodder pop in the driveway and share some of his or her life experiences! Sweet post!
  18. At a show once a bloke of over 80 came over and looked at a friend's roadster and said " I remember yanking out the 4 banger out of my model A and putting in a flathead V8- that was in the forties- Geez, it went well!!!"
    Then I realised that these some of these guys have done more, and probably better and faster than a lot of us ever will! I always like to listen and learn from them.
  19. 1954Bill
    Joined: Feb 26, 2009
    Posts: 180

    from Long Beach

    At the mooneyes show this weekend I talked to a 72 old lowrigher. man it was great to talk to him and listen to his storys
  20. Barn Find
    Joined: Feb 2, 2013
    Posts: 2,317

    Barn Find
    from Missouri

    Since I was a little kid at my Dad's knee, I always remember Dad in inviting old guys to tell their stories, especially about old cars. He loved it. They loved it, and I probably have more respect for older generations than most people my age. One story that comes too mind was a gent driving a V12 Auburn racing and beating a 40 Buick eight.
  21. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 28,807


    There used to be a guy here in town who was somewhat partners with another racer in a local gas station in the 60's that had a 401 in a 55 tudor post with a 10% engine set back that was a nasty street racer but would never pass tech even then.

    In the 60's around here if you wanted to make a 55 Chevy fast you pulled the
    Chevy engine out of it and put in a big Buick or Pontiac Engine.

  22. Awesome story. I second the suggestion to see if he has any old photos. Learn his history and make sure it isn't lost to time and fading memories.
  23. Blue One
    Joined: Feb 6, 2010
    Posts: 11,017

    Blue One
    from Alberta

    I had a similar experience although I must admit it was a little on the sad side of things.

    I lived in an apartment complex a number of years ago and since I ride a sport touring motorcycle, I was loading up for a trip and an old fellow that also lived in the complex came over to talk bikes.

    He told me about how back in the day he had travelled all over the country on an old Vincent and several Triumphs, BSAs, and Harleys.

    He had a longing in his eyes and told us how he had to give up riding because of medical issues related to age.

    That was the sad part. He had some great stories and it was interesting to hear some of his experiences.

    I think that's the part of getting old that is the worst. Enjoy life now guys, the time will come soon enough where we can no longer enjoy what we do now and we will be the old guy wandering in. :)
  24. How do you think ol' farts like me save money to buy old cars? whats a hair cut cost nowadays? :D HRP
  25. I'll be 68 in a few weeks. You probably consider me as an old man. That's ok I'm still young at heart and play with cars. It's good to see that the "young guns" are picking up the baton and running with it. This will keep our sport alive well into this millennium.
  26. 51 Hemi J
    Joined: Sep 27, 2006
    Posts: 394

    51 Hemi J

    This world needs more folks like you. Good lookin out Brother!
  27. Rickybop
    Joined: May 23, 2008
    Posts: 6,980

    from Michigan

    Good for you. Having respect for people and things that've come before us is commendable.

    I've had the privilege of experiencing friendships with many nice older folks.
    I made up with this little adage.

    Experience and wisdom of age,
    Mixed with energy and enthusiasm of youth,
    And seasoned with mutual respect,
    Is a recipe for satifaction and fulfillment for all involved.
  28. Read the OP and subsequent replies with a little smile on my face and a bit of a tear in my eye. Brought back memories of my grandfather(who raised me)talking about his younger days working for a rich gentleman from Boston as a mechanic on such cars as a Darracq;a DeDion-Bouton,and a Panhard-LeVasseur. He got his first car in 1910(a Steven-Duryea) that was given to him by his boss for doing such good work maintaining his other cars. Remembering him loaning me his tools(he was a prototype machinist in later life)to work on my first car and even giving me a hand and showing me what to do when I got stuck. He was a great man in my eyes and probably most responsible for my fascination with automobiles.
    He was born in 1876 and in his lifetime got to see not only the birth of the automobile but the airplane as well and even lived long enough to see a man go into space(his comment when Yuri Gagarin first orbited the earth was:" Well you know it HAD to be a Russian!").He passed away in 1965 and was still driving right up until a few days before his death.
    And now I am rapidly closing in on my 70th birthday and I realize that I have finally become my grandfather(or a close approximation thereof)and it is my turn to pass on what I learned from him to my children and grandchildren(and my great grandson when he gets older).I just hope I am up to the task.
    My legacy to them is layed out in a book I penned about 20 years ago and keep adding chapters as needed.I also have a thing my wife got me started on a couple years ago.For a Christmas present she bought me a small drawing tablet and numbered each page as a day of the week.She instructed me that I should make an entry into this book every day.It could be something that occurred that day or something I was feeling or maybe a drawing and that would be my legacy to the kids after I had gone. Well I didn't know whether I could do this or not but as of today I am about halfway through the 6th volume and still going strong.
    As a final note:I always endeavor to try and explain how things were when I was growing up to others who take the time to ask.
    In closing I would like to thank the original poster for taking the time to listen to an old man who had something to relate.
  29. Barn Hunter
    Joined: Feb 15, 2012
    Posts: 1,422

    Barn Hunter

    Not too long ago there was a thread with a similar theme and lots of replies were "I'd kick him off my property" or "I'd make sure he saw my gun". This thread should show you that you can size up a true enthusiast in a second...see what you'd have missed if you just gave him the boot?
  30. johnc451
    Joined: Dec 2, 2008
    Posts: 138


    This is a most heartening thread. This morning I was chatting with another HAMBer ( we are both hovering at the 70 mark) and we were commenting how as our peers age out, the history, techniques, details, of the 40's through 60's cars will become more obscure to the upcoming generations and be less appreciated and looked for overall. This thread proves that does not have to happen and that the upcoming generations may very well step up to maintain the history as they develop their own. I do hope this is the case as there is great value to all of it.

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