Sunday, December 13, 2009

Cars I Have Known III

This morning I have some time (FINALLY!!!) to blog a little. As soon as the rest of the house is awake I need to fire up the wood shop, but for now I have to operate something a little quieter than my table saw.

Way back in 1979 I got a call from a friend of mine. He had just bought a car and wanted me to give him a hand on a few repairs. It was a 1968 Ford Cortina, and it looked like a 3/4 scale model of a '68 Ford Falcon. This being North Dakota 30 years ago, parts were impossible to get. You couldn't even order them at the local parts house, and ALGORE hadn't invented the Internets yet, so this thing was a lot of fun to work on. Every other weekend.

I don't remember all of the things we did, but I do remember that the exhaust pipe rusted away from the header, and we had to basically create a new end for the pipe by laying a weld against the bracket that held the pipe to the header and then grinding it down so it would fit over the header mount.

We worked on this beast every payday weekend for 6 months, and when my Buddy asked me if I wanted to buy it - as he was getting a new car- and I figured I was getting a deal.

I was wrong. I just started spending every other weekend working on my car, instead of his.

When the brake master cylinder died, and I couldn't buy one for any amount of money, I drove the thing for 6 weeks by down shifting into first gear and pulling up on the emergency brake to stop.

What can I say? I was 19 years old for crap's sake!

I will say this; it was fun car to drive. It weighed a little less than a Pinto and had the same engine AND a 4 speed. It cornered like a slot car and because it was about half the size of a real car, I could slip it into parking spots that nobody else could use. And it got about 25-30 MPG, back when that didn't matter.

I finally had a friend offer me yet another car and I sold the Cortina to another airman on base who already had a '66 Cortina. (If you have ever watched Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets, the flying car is a '66 Cortina.) Strange thing was, this guy really didn't seem like a masochist.

But he had to be.

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