Dads are often who we turn to for car help. Whether they helped you through your first repair, gave you advice while car shopping, or just wanted an excuse to spend time with you in the garage, we know fathers play a big role in the sentimentality of cars. In our miniseries “Car memories with dad,” we’ll share stories about and interviews with some car-loving dads leading up to Father’s Day.This series originally ran in June 2019.
I vaguely remember shyly checking out and sitting in my dad’s friend’s Corvettes as a little girl with my sisters. I’m sure I thought they were cool or fun, but undoubtedly didn’t understand or appreciate all of the work and passion that went into those cars behind the scenes.
As a car-guy, I frequently find myself staring at project cars on eBay. Typing certain words into the search box like “barn find” or “convertible parts car” is a great way to look at interesting vehicles that you wish you could hide in your yard. Another favorite eBay search method is to hop in the cars & trucks area, hit the “buy it now only” tab, and then sort by price – lowest to highest. This is where the heavy hitters are. The cars that nobody wants. The real dumpiest of dumps. The cars that are barely recognizable as cars. The ones that appear to have been submerged in the ocean, and squished through a meat grinder. Yeah, the cars that I really like looking at.
Amazingly, this little gem of a vehicle popped up the other day. It’s a ’74 Vega for 325 bucks (OMG ! BUY IT NOW!) And it looks quite decent! I don’t even think it has been under water yet! Now, maybe it is the super vibrant photography clouding my judgement, but this thing looks like an absolute steal. Here is what the seller has to say:
“We are selling this Vega for our client. The car has been in their family and in New Mexico for at least 20 years. It has not been driven for quite some time as the father died and at the time non of the kids wanted to drive a Vega, really?”
I know right? What is wrong with the youth of today anyway? Honestly, why haven’t you bought this Vega yet!?
You may remember my 1964 Chevy Impala project from a while ago. Unfortunately, it hasn’t changed a whole lot in the past several months because of “life” combined with horrible New England winter. Luckily, now that it is above freezing outside sometimes, I’m starting to mess around with it again. Sweet right? Yea I think so too. Most recently, I decided to tackle a small project that has been bothering me for about 10 years. I call it “The stupid exploded muffler.”
This muffler story begins about 13-14 years ago when I reinstalled the straight 6 back into the rolling 64 Impala convertible chassis that I had just rebuilt. As you can imagine, I needed a new exhaust system to attach to my fancy painted engine (it was fancy at the time – now it looks terrible again). So, I went to my local auto part store and spent about $120 on a whole new exhaust system, including the muffler. Since then, the car has probably traveled … oh… maybe 3 total miles under its own power. Every inch of that was with a crappy carburetor, idling around my driveway. AKA – worst idea ever. Letting a car sit is the meanest thing that you can do to it, and this car really did some serious sit time. It’s just not good for the car, or any part attached to a car, especially the carburetor.
As you can tell from the pictures, at some point raw fuel built up in the muffler, and it ignited with the force of one thousand squirrels. The muffler ballooned enough to rattle on the floor pan with every rotation of the six’s crankshaft. That noise will drive a person crazy. The muffler explosion also tore the muffler open slightly in 1 area, but I welded it back up years ago just to keep it sealed. Now, many years later, I have rebuilt the carburetor, and it was finally time to replace the stupid exploded muffler.
Notice the wrinkles, the thickness difference, and awesomeness that is my stupid exploded muffler.
Two weeks ago, I repaired the rear section of the “new” roof on the 1972 Nova project. This past weekend, I focused on the front passenger A-pillar, because like the rear, it was also trash. I began by cutting the rotted metal out with the cut off wheel. I then bent a piece of steel at a 90 degree angle with a hammer & vice. From there, I shrank the metal, which caused it to beautifully curve. Then it was just a matter of MIG welding it to the existing roof and a-pillar, and grinding it smooth. Once I am totally happy with it, I’ll soak the inside of it with some type of coating to prevent rust. After all, that’s what got us here in the first place.
Also – If you are enjoying this build, hating this build, have a question, or want to just shoot the breeze with us, leave a comment below. Without comments, we never know if this sort of topic is loved or hated!
Cutting the roof off of a car can be a little intimidating, but sometimes you have no choice. In my case, my friend’s 1972 Nova had a vinyl roof for its entire life, which rotted out the steel beneath it quite nicely. With the wheel houses repaired, and both quarter panels finally welded on, I decided to tackle the haggard looking roof skin next. Read More
One vehicle that is often underrated, and almost unnoticed in traffic is the Trailblazer SS. They came with 6.0L LS2’s under the hood that pushed nearly 400 horsepower through the AWD drivetrain. In stock form these things are sick. Stuff a supercharger under the hood of one, and you have yourself a gigantic load of fun, especially in a large empty parking lot.
Oh and by the way, these run low 14 second second quarter mile times in stock form, and 11’s at 120mph with this supercharger strapped on. I would link to the video, but it’s got some questionable language in it, so…I’ll let you hunt that one down yourself.