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History Tales of my first four cars.

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Baron, Dec 27, 2016.

  1. Baron
    Joined: Aug 13, 2004
    Posts: 3,566

    Baron
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Part one.
    In 1968 I bought my 1st 55 Chevy ,2dr post car , for $15.00. Six cylinder, Power Slide transmission and the car had sat in a driveway for well over a year, so the motor was stuck. Removed the plugs and soaked it with good old Mystery oil for weeks. In the meantime, it gave me time to remove the front bumper, remove the and screw in some spring spacers in the front springs and get some red paint on the lower control arms and any of the chassis that was now visible with the bumper removed.
    A pair of used Cragar SS Mags for the front , and I was styling.
    Finally got the motor the turn over and I remember taking it for the first ride. Drove it up the road about a mile and turned around and headed back home and it was like driving into a fog bank from the trail of smoke it had left. I figured there was no way it would clear up, but a few more rides and it did, but used more oil than gas ,so it was time to find a motor. I bought a 61 Chevy wagon with a 301 in it from a guy up the street. Pulled the motors from both car( in the dirt driveway, using a tripod and chain fall) and than back and forth to Bill Shawno's junk yard to find the correct motor mounts, exhaust manifolds that fit, etc. That became a three month ordeal at best, between going to school( a junior at the time) and pumping gas at the local Jenny Station , the money for the parts was pretty scarce. Here is a pic of 16 year old me and my first 55 Chevy. To be continued. :) Me and my first car March 1968.jpg
     
  2. To Cool Baron!!! MORE!!!
     
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  3. jimdillon
    Joined: Dec 6, 2005
    Posts: 3,119

    jimdillon
    Member

    Good memories I am sure Baron. Good looking car for sure. I thought the other day that I enjoyed some of my old muscle cars and such I bought used moreso than any of the new cars or trucks I have bought lately. Once you "fixed" them up they were as good as any new car to me anyways.
     
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  4. Marty Strode
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 6,003

    Marty Strode
    Member

    Good stuff Baron ! We had to be resourceful in those days, money was scarce.
     
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  5. I love stories about when we started our adventures in hot rods. Everybody had to start somewhere with something. I find it entertaining as well as interesting. Please continue Baron.:D
     
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  6. low budget
    Joined: Nov 15, 2006
    Posts: 5,564

    low budget
    Member
    from Central Ky

    $15 dollars:D, I bet you never dreamed it would ever be worth $15,000 or more if it were still in as good of condition as it probably was:)
     
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  7. RMONTY
    Joined: Jan 7, 2016
    Posts: 2,222

    RMONTY
    Member

    Cool beans!
     
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  8. hoop
    Joined: Mar 21, 2007
    Posts: 608

    hoop
    Member

    Great story Baron. Can hardly wait for the next one.
     
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  9. loudbang
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
    Posts: 37,612

    loudbang
    Member

    AWESOME good start now keep them coming.
     
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  10. NashRodMan
    Joined: Jul 8, 2004
    Posts: 1,700

    NashRodMan
    Member

    Cool story. I remember those days of working in the driveway. At least you had a fireplace to keep you warm in the driveway. LOL
     
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  11. Baron
    Joined: Aug 13, 2004
    Posts: 3,566

    Baron
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Work on the 55 Chevy had pretty much came to a stand still due to the winter, snow ,etc. But once springtime came, it as back to work on the 55. School got out in early June, 1969. I made it through 11th grade ok, and went to work for the summer painting houses and still working at the Jenny Station pumping gas Sundays. The 301 motor went it in easily. I put the powerglide out of the 61 wagon that was attached to the motor, but the car was a dog with the automatic. A couple trips the local junk yards, I bought all the clutch linkage, bell housing pressure plate, etc along with a 3 spd tranny. A rebuilt clutch form Spencer's Auto Parts completed the parts needed for the conversion. I quickly found out how weak these transmissions were. I blew so many of these transmissions up, I used to keep a spare one in the trunk( and I learned how to take them apart and salvage enough parts to make one whole again...good learning experience). Where the 55's did not have a rear trans cross-member ( rear mounts bolted to the bell housing), I could swap the transmission in about 1/2 an hour. And I am still pretty quick today at changing u-jts. I used to blow the driveshaft out of the car more times than I care to remember. And you had to do it quick before the cops drove by and they'd see the black rubber marks in the road and you knew they'd figure out what happened. It was later that I finally made a set of traction bars out of a speed limit sign pole. I remember cutting it down with a hack saw and every time a car passed by, I'd jump down the embankment until they passed. Once I finally cut through it I dragged the sign home ( only down the street from my home). Off coarse I'd would have loved to have a set of Lakewood bars( like I saw on the cars at the Drags), but they cost about twice as much as I was making a week . The sign post was 2 inch square ,1/8 wall tubing, and worked just like the "expensive ones". Anyway, that took care of the u-jt breakage problem. Although now, the transmission became the weak link !
    Loved the straight axle look ,but did not have the money or know how to do it. So I bought a set of Moog Pontiac Station wagon front springs which I barely fit in the front of the 55 Chevy. Those along with the C-style upper ball joint spacers, put the front up right where I wanted it to be. A set of extra long home made shackles in the rear along with some Gabriel High Jackers with shock extensions took care of the rear. I never did have it aligned, just eyed it up and it wore out the front tires every other week ! One of the reasons for working Sunday at the garage gave me access to the used tire pile and tire machine ( and once in a while I'd sneak my own car on the lift, hoping my boss didn't stop or drive by!. Also a good source for rear tires. We serviced the Burgess and Mackey Funeral home vehicles, and the hearses ran something like 9.00 - 15s. Drop the pressure down to 20 lbs and almost like having slicks. I certainly could not afford to have the car painted, so I bought cans of spray paint as money would allow, both dark gray and light tan, for my two-tone paint job. Probably took close to a month before the whole car was painted. And I probably paid as much for spay cans as it would have cost to have somebody squirt the car for me. Bought the blue spay on window tint , most likely form JC Whitney. Looked good, but in the damp weather, it would scratch or ripe off. You learned quickly not to touch the windows on damp and dewey days. The 63 3.8 Jaguar my father had had completely rusted out in 6 years( scary when I think about that) and I pirated the leather bucket seats out of it for the 55. Somewhere along the line I also picked up an old shag rug, which I put in the car while installing the seats. I remember dying them black with Rite Dye, with a sponge and a bucket of hot water/black dye. ( I had recently watched Chucky Allen put brand new factory-made
    carpets in his 65 Chevelle SS and new I had to have new carpets in my 55....not quite the same, but better than the worn out ones that were in it.:)
    I sold this 55 Chevy at the end of the summer. I found a nice little 64 Chevy Nova that would be my next adventure. Smaller, lighter car meant I'd have a faster car. And maybe now, I was ready to build my first straight axle car. To be continued, car # 2.
    My first 55 June 1968.jpg first 55 Chevy 1969 a.jpg first 55 Chevy 1969 b.jpg FIL823.JPG
    Who remembers these ? Good for racing maybe, but terrible on the street ! Upper ball joint spacers.jpg
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2016
  12. Thank you for the great story tonight Baron. A budget backyard build story is always more interesting than reading paragraphs about the guy that walked into the local Ford dealer and spec orders a new '17 Mustang with the 60 month payment plan.
     
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  13. Jerrybigbird
    Joined: Oct 10, 2015
    Posts: 178

    Jerrybigbird
    Member
    from Montana

    What about that nova though? Woops wrong forum. Great story tho
     
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  14. Kan Kustom
    Joined: Jul 20, 2009
    Posts: 2,676

    Kan Kustom
    Member

    I bet you wish you had that 55 back. Cool story.
     
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  15. wicarnut
    Joined: Oct 29, 2009
    Posts: 7,776

    wicarnut
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Great story and memories I'm sure. Alot of us mature Hot Rodders started the same way, making something from nothing, worked, did not make much money and it was a positive learning experience for us that would follow through for the rest of our lives. Props for having Foresight on taking Pic's and keeping track of them, myself, had pic's and some got lost through the years, fortunately have some from back in the day. Reading your story, it brings back the memories and the fun that was had and for me, I was asked many times, know what you are doing ? My answer then and through today is, Questionable !, But I'm doing ! Looking forward to read the rest of your adventures.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2017
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