The Jalopy Journal
Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by J.Ukrop, Nov 9, 2018.
J.Ukrop submitted a new blog post:
Oil & Change
Continue reading the Original Blog Post
Something I posted back in 2013:
I've worn many hats in my life, some with titles a bit more lofty, but these days when someone asks what I do I just say "Mechanic". Depending on who's asking, reactions can run from admiration to condemnation.
My home's garage is on a street with a fair amount of foot traffic, school, bus stop, nice grass median for dog walking. Sometimes I work with the doors open, sometimes closed depending on the weather and the job at hand.
So the other day the doors are open, I'm under my rod screwing around when a nicely dressed middle aged man walks by, peering in as most do. No big deal. About 20 minutes later he walks by in the other direction, this time I'm standing there, filthy, with a tire in my hand. And he's REALLY looking in. So I walk outside and say "Something I can help you with?" He says "Oh, I'm sorry, I just always notice you on my walks, working in your shop with such vigor. You obviously love what you do. I admire it so much, I just wish I had the talent to do what you do. I wish I had an old car and the ability to fix it up. It seems so satisfying, so relaxing, just you and your automobile". I laughed and jokingly replied "Well I wish I was a doctor". Then HE laughed, and replied "I AM a doctor!". He went on to describe his day filled with dealing with patient problems, then going home at night and carrying those problems with him to bed. It was a great conversation, and needles to say I felt quite uplifted as I headed back into my shop, tire still in hand. He put his hand out to shake mine, I said my hands are dirty, he said he didn't care and shook it anyway.
I think we have all been there working on the rod and reminiscing. Thanks for the post. Made me start reminiscing back as a kid when Dad was dirt racing and building hot rods. Good times.
Two things that the average guy who takes his car to the quicky oil change place will never get to experience. The first, falling asleep under the car on a warm Summer's evening while changing the oil!.....And second, that completely visceral feeling you get when that warm oil runs down your arm like it wasn't supposed to do!
Or, after forgetting to put the drain plug back in and pouring 5 qts of brand new oil right through to the drain pan, the thrill of trying to slide the now full-to-the-top drain pan out from under the car (notice the pan shudder and resultant waves over the edge), and then the attempts at stability while you pick it up to pour it into wherever you put your old (and now half new) oil. DOH!! That was 50 years ago. Never again. But I have never yet let anyone change oil for me. Lotta cars, lotta changes.
I don’t touch the everyday drivers. Not even an oil change.
But to go in the garage to work on the old ones....change oil, adjust a carb, tune up, or just work in any little item needed changed is very rewarding.
Takes me back to the days, working and learning on my everyday 1960-70 driver small blocks, y blocks and in lines.
Simpler times then along with the excitement in learning how everything ticked.
Great read J Ukrop.
I'm so, so thankful that I grew up in an era where car maintenance was done by the average guy (not just hot-rodders) on the block and wasn't something to be frowned upon.
My Dad taught me so much about life as we worked together on the family cars and house.
These types of experiences are so lacking in todays society and that lack has helped foster the us vs. them mentality that has overtaken.
While we can't roll back time, we certainly can take charge of passing on these experiences.
Just finished "spending-the-day" ....."work'in" on my old hot rod(66 Mustang...yeah-yeah, I know) Something I have done for the last 55 years. (Although...I feel like its not as much fun as it usta was.)
Can still "see" my old Dad with his greasy coveralls on and his Lucky Strike nearly burning his lips. Lotta lessons learned and smiles given back then(not all about cars).
Gosh that man was brilliant !!
Thankful the "do-it-for-yourself...if you want it done right" lessons rubbed off on my boy...who just finished rebuilding the top end on his old F-250.
PS..........Just can't get use to working with gloves on!! How bout ya'll?!!
Great post and thread.Brings back more that a few memories.Thanks Joey.
Good luck.have fun.Be safe.
Same here, just can't work with gloves on! Whenever I have tried, I end up taking them off in frustration and go about the job that needs to get done.
Ha! Falling asleep under the car. Done that! Dad and I bought my 36 Plymouth when I was 14. Never admitted it but I remember lying in the summer grass under that coupe, exploring the wonders of what did what and dozing off. Somewhere there is a picture of just my legs sticking out. What a great feeling!
Win or lose, you have to admit you feel like you’ve accomplished something when you come into the kitchen with dirt beneath your nails, a couple skinned knuckles and a cold dinner waiting on the table.
Or, immediately recognizing the burnt smoke upon coming into the kitchen that "somebody" forgot Stouffers Lasagna was in the oven while kicking ass on that brake job. $&@ing charcoal.
.............They make my hands sweat and if it's a particularly hot day, they make the rest of me sweat.
Joey, you've done it again! Like a good sermon, your stories stir the emotions and memories of your readers. Thanks again, Carp.
That's bad and also as bad......the seal ring on the removed oil filter doesn't come off with the filter and you spin on the new filter, refill the oil, fire it up and watch 5 quarts drain out!
..............Been there, done that........I admit sheepishly.
Ok but how about having it happen twice!
How about not paying attention and using the correct filter, except for the fact that the seal ring is too big?
It happened to... eh... a friend of mine today.
Great read Joey. I work at a automotive shop, but change my oil at home at my shop on the coupe and DD. Just feel more relaxed and comfy doing my cars, trucks right here. Time well spent in my shop or driveway, a great place to be.
..........Just once...........so far!
I’m judging my time with cars in my ability to change my oil. When I can’t do it myself ....I’m done.....take me to scrape yard and give the cars away... Mark
Just changed the oil on my wife's daily this morning. I have six cars and haven't paid someone to change my oil for over 40 years. When my daughter is home from college, she loves to do it for me.
How bout........(not an oil change ) but.....changing a radiator hose and forget "that screwdriver" under the hood.
Fired-it-up and.........yep! Fan slings screwdriver into radiator!! Went ahead and replaced lower hose...since I had to replace the radiator too!
blowby: That's a wonderful story.
The grass looks greener and then you have to mow it. (Don't know what that means but,
it just came to mind.)
Which reminds me that I have three rigs that need oil changes right now.
Pricing it out some times I could probably have it done just as cheap at the oil change place two miles away in town as I do it but I am picky about what filters I use and what oil I use.
On the falling asleep under a rig, My cat and I seem to be able to take pretty good naps under my dualie laying on a large sheet of cardboard out in the yard. I'm convinced that his ambition in life is to be the official shop cat.
Years ago I figured out the way to not forget tools under the hood. I used an old yard sale TV tray for a long time even moving it from one shop I worked in another until a coworker decided that it could hold up a cylinder head when I wasn't at work. All the tools I was using got laid on it rather than under the hood and then carried tray and all back to the tool box.
I like this idea!!!.....I’ve got a bunch of old cookie sheets I use as drip pans and to soak parts in cleaner.....maybe bolt a magnet to one and stick to the top of the cleaner......Mark
Nice story about the trials and tribulations of a simple task of oil changes and crawling under our cars. Back in those 1958-60 days, we had our family Thanksgiving Dinner planned out from our mom’s all-day cooking. It was a tradition, like most families do on this holiday. We had to hang out at home all day helping as much as teenage boys can help. (not much, except for lifting that giant turkey in and out of the oven…)
So, we had a lot of car stuff planned out during this time. Actually, it was an excuse to work on cars instead of helping our mom cook and get the house ready. The concrete pad in front of the garage was handy, as it was just steps back into the kitchen with those great smells coming out of the screen door. Changing plugs, rear axle gears, tuning, replacing things, etc, were all part of that backyard scenario.
I was known for taking long naps as a teenager. So, after doing stuff out in the garage, I would take those classic naps before the dinner was served. Reading lothiandon1940‘s description gave me a chuckle. That scene played out more times than I can remember. Not only did crawling under the cars on jack stands a common thing, but when I started surfing all morning long, I still had to change oil when I got home.
As the years rolled by, then it was the afternoon oil change or the Impala’s 4:11 to 4:56 rear gear change over. Many times I was awakened by my brother wondering why I was taking so long without a sound underneath the car. It was of course, a nice long nap on a canvas tarp with a creeper pad as a pillow. It was a case of falling asleep with the ratchet wrench sitting in a small oil pan. The smelly Positraction oil splatters all over me and the canvas tarp were a sight to laugh for hours.
On those days when my mom found me under the car, she would not let me forget that moment at all. The tirade of daily, weekly and yes, monthly conversations about the dangers of drag racing and working on hot rod cars…etc…it was never ending, but funny.
P.S. Thanks for including a great magazine article on Quincy Automotive, Nye Frank, Ed Weddle with Mickey Brown at the wheel. I was fortunate enough to be at Lions Dragstrip during their hot win streak and speed records. It was the later version of the same FED in 1959. This time it was a top mounted 671, not a Potvin style version.
Quincy Automotive Mickey Brown
P.S.S.. Here is a synopsis on the fate of Mickey Brown.
Jnaki said: ↑
Here is an interesting story about one of the top racers at the time. It is about the POND:
Dick Harryman was one of the top Gas Coupe and Sedan builders and racers. His reputation is/was outstanding as one of the best in that class.
“The cool part was about the time Dick Harryman was "IT," when it came to running at San Fernando. (Harryman ran a ’50 Olds Gasser at San Fernando Drag Strip. Harryman was the guy who named San Fernando “the Pond” by saying, “Rather than run other big dragstrips he’d prefer to be a big fish in a small pond,” and Pond stuck.) “He ran a B&M Hydro in his ’50 Gasser Olds. We’d sit on the dirt mound and watch him race. Harryman never had a front bumper on his Olds, for the weight I guess.”
View attachment 4023559
later on: from 296ardun
Dick Harryman stands over the blown Olds in the Brown, Frank, and Harryman Joe Itow-chassied dragster, in the driveway of his house...this car was one of the first, if not the first, to break 150 on gas...later set the gas record of 157mph at San Fernando. Tom Beatty blower drive.
Here is the later version of the record holder from Dick Harryman, Mickey Brown and Nye Frank. Lions Dragstrip 1959
In 1959, Mickey Brown was on a rampage at Lions Dragstrip and other local race tracks. He was the first to go over 150 mph in the ¼ mile. His battles at Long Beach were epic. The most sought after match up was against the Joe Mailliard/Paul Nicolini’s Sidewinder race car. These exciting events all led to the tragic end for Mickey Brown.
Born: July 26, 1937 Died: September 12, 1959 Age: 22
Michael Daryl Brown Lions Drag Strip, Wilmington, California Accident Date: September 12, 1959
Car: Scrima-Adams-Smith Olds-powered dragster
Biographical: Ronnie Scrima and Mort Smith were testing a new short wheelbase (93") dragster at Lions. They had dropped Gene Adams's Oldsmobile engine in the car, but were having a hard time getting it down the track. Mickey Brown had left his own Olds-powered dragster at home and he offered to see if he could drive the car.
About 100 feet from the starting line, he lost control and flipped upside down, suffering fatal injuries because his head got outside the confines of the roll bar. He was transported to Seaside Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. His wife witnessed the crash. Racers remembered him as a kind of wild, but fun-loving kid. He was the first man to go over 150 MPH in a gas dragster.
JNAKI, SEP 4, 2018
I had a friend to do that years ago also! I, I mean he, never made that mistake again.
When I was growing up on the ranch we changed oil on everything from a D-9 Cat to a one cylinder lawn mower. We also fixed our own flats, without a machine. My Dad came through the Depression and learned how to survive without depending on anyone but yourself. A tuff lesson, but one, every person must learn, or will eventually learn.
Today I take my cars to the quick change places, have a friend that owns one. Just easier and cleaner for me, now in my current situation. But I will never forget what my Dad taught me! I made a good living with that knowledge , never much used the college degree my uneducated father insisted I get.
Separate names with a comma.