Yesterday was eventful, I finally cleared space in my garage to pull my baby back in and start doing some work on it again. I did a little bit of metal work on the right front fender leading edge that was bent over from the headlight being destroyed. I have two little dings in the reveal line around the right rear tire and one tiny little spot on the leading edge of the roof line that was a nice gouge from a rock sometime in the past. Other than those things, the body is in very good condition. I am seeing some depression in the edges of the doors where the hinges are and it is bending the metal – most people would not notice it but I worked in a body shop for a while and learned to “see” the body of the car using the light reflections so it jumps out at me. My next assignment is to strip down the right door of it’s moldings and weather seals. The driver door is already completed. I am removing everything that I can possibly take off without damage. And let me tell you the rear wing is a p-i-t-a. Nissan must have thought these cars were going to do 200 mph. Besides the bolts, there are multiple plastic ball & socket connectors plus about $5 worth of double-sided 3m tape. Between plastic molding tools – A must have for any new car work – and a heat gun set on low – it only took about 90 minutes to separate the wing from the trunk lid. The wing will be painted separately and I will use just the 3m tape and bolts to rejoin it to the trunk lid – the connectors are an absolute over-kill here. I am also looking at replacing the third brake light bulbs with LEDs if I can find something that matches up and is an easy upgrade. They are just about impossible to get too with the wing in place so it would be a good time to make the switch.
On a different note, we have the Indianapolis 500 coming up next month and I happened to run across a picture of Andy Granattelli’s STP Turbine car from 1967. In fact, this Hot Rod magazine pictured below was the first one that I ever bought off the newstand myself at a People’s Drug Store. One of the arguments that we had at school leading up to the race that year was whether the tires would hold up to the turbine power. As it went, a $7.00 seal stopped the car just short of winning the race and the next year they had changed the rules for turbine cars to the point that they were uncompetitive.
So why am I bringing all of this up? Well, I have always been a huge fan of car magazines. They were instrumental in teaching me and opening up an entire new world when I was a kid. From the pages of magazines, I learned how to troubleshoot problems, to give consideration to the vast number of inputs that any single outcome might possibly have – in fact sometimes I wince when somebody says my car is doing “this”, what causes “that”? There is rarely one single answer to that question. But I also found that the troubleshooting skills were invaluable during my 30+ years working at the phone company. They also taught me that I didn’t have to spend a lot of money to accomplish something, that in fact sometimes it was challenging and fun to come up with a way to get the result I wanted, yet do so as cheaply as possible.
Today – most of the car magazines that I have read for years are now gone. Earlier this year a major change occurred in the magazine publishing world and most of the titles simply vanished. And while I understand that more and more people no longer want to actually read, I seriously wonder where the kids of today are going to get their inspiration to try and fix something, to try and make something maybe a little bit different, to try and do something that they thought was impossible for them. I give the car magazines that I read for all of those years a lot of credit for what I know how to do today.