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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. It's good to take a few minutes out and give a fellow enthusiast your time.
    Good on ya man!

    I remember being a kid and always hanging around the neighborhood "garages" checking out what the guys were working on. It's a bit weird now though. Only the older guys stop by to chew the fat about my projects.
  2. verde742
    Joined: Aug 11, 2010
    Posts: 5,697

    1. a veteran died today

    When I was 14, bot my first, made friends with older kids with cars, now they are all gone but two of us. More friends in the cemetery, than out on the streets. Small town situation..
  3. GirchyGirchy
    Joined: Mar 17, 2011
    Posts: 232

    from Central IN

    There's an older guy near me I always tell myself I should go strike up a conversation with - has a super nice Hudson in the garage along with an old '62 Caddy convertible, '48 Buick, Kaiser Dragon, another Hudson, a couple of old Chevy pickups, plus some others I can't quiet see. EVERY time my wife and I ride by, he's in his garage in the backyard, messing around.
  4. incogneto
    Joined: Nov 25, 2012
    Posts: 26

    from Australia

    Great story.
    I guess we all owe it to these greybeards as they are the inspiration for this hobby of ours. And with that comes our need to respect and record their memories. To honor their experiences, to befriend them and allow them to continue to inspire us.
    I listen to many an old timer during the course of my work and personal life.
    I am the better for it.
  5. Ragtop
    Joined: Nov 17, 2001
    Posts: 1,260


    Good stuff - thanx for posting and thanx for showing respect for the old fella.
  6. Nailhead Brooklyn
    Joined: Jul 31, 2012
    Posts: 567

    Nailhead Brooklyn

    I love all the old stories, I could sit around and listen for hours, I can also appreciate the old WWII stories, I'm a history day that generation will be gone and we'll all lose out, but thankfully my generation will be able to hear the stories directly from their mouths...
  7. In my town there is a kinda eccentric guy. We are good friends. He has a huge hoard with volumes of mopar cars & parts. He is 12 years older than me. His name Is J D Haygood. Anyway he used to race a 392 hemi powered rail dragster back in the day. His picture was on the front of Hot Rod magazine in the early sixties. You can never tell just who has done what. Dont be decieved by appearances.
  8. buckd
    Joined: Nov 29, 2008
    Posts: 335


    That's one of the interesting things that happens on the HAMB. You read thread after thread and respond and interject your experience and or point of view not knowing that who you're responding to may be an old dude thats got 30 or 40 builds under his belt or a young up and comer with a little smarts and ego, but love for the CARS is the common thread. BUCKD
  9. mart3406
    Joined: May 31, 2009
    Posts: 3,055

    from Canada

    Something for all you HAMB "young
    " - ie -all those under 30 - to think
    about ...those of you who get lucky
    enough to make it through to "old age",
    will, someday, if you’re really fortunate,
    be that old guy, wandering into some
    future "young punk kid hot-rodders''
    driveway and reminiscing about the
    "bad ass" set of wheels that you had,
    'back in the day' ....way back around
    2013!!! Something to seriously. ponder.

  10. metalman
    Joined: Dec 30, 2006
    Posts: 3,284


    I have a similar story but a little background first. For the last 30 years or so I've been collecting "little books" plus other early hot rod mags. I realized every artical on a car from these parts was written by a guy named Harry Kinney and I always wondered who he was, no one including old timers knew him well or where he went.
    Last year this older couple (80's) was walking by my shop on their way to the store. They stopped, turned around and came in. Said he saw the shop sign was just curious what we did. When he spotted my collection of little books on display he quirked "hey, I've written articals in some of those". Sure enough it was Harry Kinney, turned out he has lived in the same house 2 blocks from me for the last 50+years. He's now a regular visitor and yeah, he has good stories.
  11. Ricci32
    Joined: Jul 30, 2010
    Posts: 416


    Jimbo jack johnson is the real deal he has won everthing eastern dirt modified racing has to offer over the last 40 years. Sad to say his health is in decline but a true living legend.
  12. Rickybop
    Joined: May 23, 2008
    Posts: 7,184

    from Michigan

    Can I share this?

    An old guy wandered into my garage one day too. It was my 92 year old neighbor Lee, who lived two farms down the road. I had told him to come and get me if he ever needed help. My wife and I had lived here for more than 5 years, but Lee never did ask for any help. He was a pretty determined and independant old fella. But one day he stopped by and asked if I could help him get his old tractor running. He wasn't farming anymore, but he still used it to move dirt and stuff around. Sure thing, Lee. Well, it turned into a fairly involved job and took about a had some issues. But we got 'er running good and fixed the hydraulic pump and stuff. He was a happy man. "God bless you, Rick.", he said with tears in his eyes. Kinda got to me.

    I ended up spending a fair part of that summer doing different things for him. His big pole barn was wall-to-wall with junk. I cleaned that up so he wouldn't trip and fall. Ended up spending about a frickin' month on But it had lots of room and looked great when I was done. He and I would sit out there and talk and stuff, and just enjoy each other's company.

    As it was, I had just gotten my CNA license. (Certified Nurse's Aide) Lee's daughter ended up hiring me to take care of Lee and his wife Norma. I ended up staying with them for nearly a year 'til they passed...within 6 weeks of each other. It was the most poignant, sad yet beautiful and fulfilling experience of my life. They were both about the sweetest people I've ever met. Lee taught me a lot about the history of our little town of Capac, and introduced me to a lot of the old locals. Lee got along pretty well...the old hardassed farmer that he was. But Norma had a recent stroke, and it was a little harder for her.

    They knew that I like old cars, though we didn't talk a whole lot about them. Lee did tell me that he got his license in '32. He also told me how he and his friends would share rides in one person's car and all of them would contribute a dime toward the cost of gas. Lol.

    One day, I mentioned to them how there've been many different terms for modified cars...and of course they've changed over the rod, gow job, strip down, etc. I asked them both if they could recall any really old terms they'd heard for modified cars or just cars in general. Lee said "Jitney". "Jitney?", I said. Lee said, " a taxi or a bus."! Norma was often fairly quiet, but all of a sudden, her eyes lit up and she blurted out, "Gas buggy!" Awsome, Norma! Must be one of the oldest terms for a car ever. We all had a good laugh.

    The point is, exactly what this thread is about...making the effort to spend some time with someone older than you...or younger than you...for the benefit to both them and yourself. You won't regret it.

    Here are Lee and Norma a couple of years ago, Christmas morning. Their last.

    Lee opening his new slippers.


    Norma, enjoying her new shawl.


  13. fab32
    Joined: May 14, 2002
    Posts: 13,985

    Member Emeritus

    As I'm fast approaching fossilhood (70) I can relate to much of what has been posted. Had it not been for a couple (actually a few) older guys willing to put up with the constant questions and getting in the way I would have had to learn a lot of hot rodding by trial and error. Like Safriknut I owe a lot to my grandfather who taught me early in my life much about the wonderful world of mechanical "things". He was a born mechanical engineer and could fix anything and most times improve their performance during the repair.

    Joined: Sep 18, 2007
    Posts: 3,617


    What a great story and brought a tear to my eye. How lucky he and his wife were to have you and vise versa. The pictures are great. They were very cute.
  15. boy aint that the truth.:(
  16. Rex_A_Lott
    Joined: Feb 5, 2007
    Posts: 1,019


    How many haicuts have I gotta skip to buy a '32 Ford Pickup...never mind, I aint gonna live that long.:)
  17. Chuck R
    Joined: Dec 23, 2001
    Posts: 1,347

    Chuck R

    I had a neighbor like him, Ed had been into early fords in the 40's and 50' and had an interesting collection of tools and some great photos. One day Ed was hanging out in my garage and told me to follow him over to his house. He had me climb up a ladder to a storage area above his garage and grab the 2 things wrapped in old rags. One was a Thickston 2 carb manifold and the other was an eddie meyer 2 carb unit. Both were very cool. He told me that I should take them home, as he knew his daughter wouldn't want them anyway. He drove a hopped up Ranchero and was very spry for 80. Ed was a great guy and spent a lot of time with my son playing video games and helped him study the driving handbook so he could pass his driver test. He really was a fun part of our hood. Our family really misses Ed, our neighbor and friend for 20 years.

  18. whtbaron
    Joined: Sep 12, 2012
    Posts: 573

    from manitoba

    Growing up in the eastern Canadian prairies it was farm equipment, not hotrods or race cars that filled the pastures. My dad is now 86 and tells of a speedster body somebody put on an Essex chassis. His older friend was about 13 and decided to take his brother's new "race car" for a ride. While out in the pasture somebody had closed the gate, and they found out the old mechanical brakes weren't working too well on re-entry. Dad was sitting up on the back of seat on the tail section and he said all he could see was wire and fence posts flying everywhere! Luckily nobody was hurt, and I never did track down that car. Probably got squashed during the war.
  19. mechanic58
    Joined: Mar 21, 2010
    Posts: 681


    Good stories - I have one too. Many years ago when I was young and in the Navy, I was stationed in Hawaii at the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai. Probably some the best duty in the Navy. There was a dragstrip just down the road from the base and of course there was an auto hobby shop on the base, too. For those that don't know - Hawaii is a hotbed of motorheads, always has been apparently. There is a dragstrip on every major island. Anyway, I had several hotrods while I was stationed there, one was a real '66 Chevelle SS. The original drivetrain was long gone. One Saturday morning I was over at the hobby shop with it finishing up the installation of a new 350 I just built. It was a hot one - high comp, big solid lifter cam - probably 450hp. It would rattle windows for Just as I was attempting to start it for the first time, this older fella in a tank top, shorts and flip flops walks into the hobby shop area and starts milling around. He was already drinking a beer He comes over to my stall just as I fired it off for the first time. I was busy getting the timing set, tweaking on the carburetor, etc. It was deathly loud, but he wasn't deterred. He waited for at least 20 mins before I shut it off to start asking questions. We chatted for a good while and he eventually talked me into taking him for a ride in the car. It was a 4-speed car with a 4.56 rearend, so you can imagine how this thing would drive with a 400+hp 350 in it that would snap to 7 grand in an instant. We headed out down the road to the airstrip (on the base) and I rowed it through the gears as hard as I could. He was grinning like a school girl at Christmas. By the time we finally parted ways I think he spent nearly 2hrs with me. We never did exchange names. He didn't ask me mine and I never asked him his. I took my car to the dragstrip later that day and raced all evening. Ran a best of 11.41 at 118.

    Fast forward to Monday afternoon at the hanger - we had quarters at 15:30, the skipper had a special guest that was going to speak to us. Low and behold - here came the old guy from the hobby shop - in his best whites - chocked full of stars. It was Admiral Frank Kelso, then Chief of Naval Operations. No one woulda believed my story, except I did have some credible witnesses that he in fact did go with me - in my Chevelle - and exceeded 100mph on base property in a 35 zone and loved every minute of it. I'll never forget that as long as I live.
  20. Nailhead Brooklyn
    Joined: Jul 31, 2012
    Posts: 567

    Nailhead Brooklyn

    Rickybob that story was awesome...
  21. 50 customcoupe
    Joined: May 8, 2011
    Posts: 412

    50 customcoupe

    Thank you so much for starting this thread and thanks to every one for posting their stories. When you talk with the old man again---please keep us up dated on his stories---his and all of the stories on here are a joy to read. Thanks everyone----Ray...
  22. mashed
    Joined: Oct 15, 2011
    Posts: 1,474

    from 4077th

    Rickybop. Best. Highjack. EVER.
  23. possums34
    Joined: May 31, 2013
    Posts: 4


    thanks for all the good stories most of my close friends are 70 plus and are getting fewer by the year have not meet an elder that does not have a good story to tell this has brung back lots of memories of the ones that have left us now but their stories live on thanks again

  24. T&A Flathead
    Joined: Apr 28, 2007
    Posts: 1,902

    T&A Flathead

    Excellent thread. Rickybob, your reflection reminded me of my grandparents who passed away a few years ago. Bless you indeed for taking care of them.
    That generation (depression and WWII era) is the greatest of them all, nothing since compares. I will take time to listen to any storey they are willing to share.
    being able to strike up a conversation with an old timer is one of the best things about this hobby we share.
  25. To cool!!!! I always say"I don't care what people think,I KNOW what I've done!!!" Great story! Better cuz it's ta rue! R~R
  26. Rickybop
    Joined: May 23, 2008
    Posts: 7,184

    from Michigan

    I feel honored to be a member of this great community we call the Hamb. And one of the reasons is because I know that most of you, (including the OP of this thread) truly respect and value and appreciate everyone and everything that has come before us. It's gotta be part of the reason we all like the old cars so much. It's more than going fast. It's more than being cool. It's the history too...and the people who made it...and those that have made it possible for us to enjoy the things we do today.
  27. Rickybop
    Joined: May 23, 2008
    Posts: 7,184

    from Michigan

    Shoot Frank. You were nearly fossilized years ago...the day that big-ass garage door fell on you. You're one tough cookie to have made it through that. Glad you did.
  28. Awesome thread! Keep those stories coming!
  29. snaptwo
    Joined: Apr 25, 2011
    Posts: 696


    I was the kid and I worked with a older gent that was a sheer genius in the automotive machine shop. He was from the El Monte area and worked at El Monte Auto Parts then moved to Henderson , NV. In his early days he had built v8 60s for the dirt track circuits that were on the west coast. He whittled a 180* crank out of a piece of steel billet scrap and when conditions were right that thing would spurt a rooster tail with every kick, remember two cylinders at a time. Old Bill had seen a great deal of life and had worn out 3 women or his welcome . He liked his suds and I used to drop by his place on the way home from work and listen to the stories and ask many questions. His eyesight was failing due to cataracts but he could still set up and bore & hone with the best. He help us kids build a 327 in the late 60's, actually a pretty stout little motor , enderle injected, Crower roller, Syverson heads , Forged true 12-1 pistons. Ran the upper 10s in a 2250 lb. C/A corvette. We would drag him out to the old Stardust Raceway on a promise of beers and to give his motor the "SuperTune" . He was very methodical in his efforts and kept a notebook on any changes. "Sounds Mighty Active" he would exclaim and the race was on ! So this was back in '68-9 and I am now the old man at 73 and still try to be "Mighty Active". Thank you Bill Robertson !
  30. Iron Crank
    Joined: Jun 23, 2010
    Posts: 65

    Iron Crank

    A decade ago an older neighbor spied me through the open man cave door clumsily chipping away happily at a forever project.

    He's since been a regular trove of helpful hints, encouragement, a skilled hand, wow pawn shop powerball prize tools, and passion. Says it's history, art, engineering, speed and freedom, all rolled up. Gasoline and open road.

    His vocation and avocation have been motorvation in all forms imaginable, including a fantastic hotrodded WWII plane with Honest to Goodness sliding bubble top door and rough, short field landing abilities. Looks like a fighter with 4 seats.

    If there's an engine he has not built for fun -- excuse me, built and blown -- it sure ain't vintage American, English or German.

    He has long returned to his roots now, and only the good old USA stuff will do. He could craft a flattie, nailhead or early hemi while playing Hot Rod Jepardy for pink slips.

    He's cheerfully grabbing good days and energy, as it comes, without moan, to finish two last great projects. Clear head, steady hand, will take it as it comes. Grinning.

    The big C will return in a bit to close this fine road trip and call it well done.

    All that, and he's making time for this nimrod wannabe with skills worthy of a twelve dollar socket set.

    Great guy, fine company, good friend, big help, tearful tomorrow.

    Life in all its stages, projects in all their stages, are celebration and shared challenge.

    Cheers too all fading 15 year old gearhead speed freaks, and their lucky students and friends.

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