Saturday, February 18, 2017

The latest stage of human evolution, homo sapiens non erectus.

photo source: blog,

I was having a pretty relaxing morning wasting time, perusing CraigsList. I've discovered the "project car" listings. Hundreds of sad, incomplete, forgotten or abandoned cars that were probably bought with high hopes. Either the buyer was going to fix up their "dream" car, or maybe find a cheap classic, fix it and flip it for a quick buck. Hah! Easier said than done! Lots of these cars are offered up for sale stripped and partially disassembled, Minor rust damage is a lot more minor when it's described by the seller. "Ran when parked", no explanation needed there. This is not to say that there aren't some very good deals to be found listed there.

There can be a lot of satisfaction in just "owning" the car that you've dreamed about. Going out to the garage with a beverage in your hand, squatting down and checking out the car from various visual angles. You can even sit inside, grip the wheel and daydream, as long as the interior is not too disgusting. Maybe you know deep down inside that the chances that this car will ever roll under it's own power are pretty slim. but having it there gives you a point to focus your fantasies around. Besides now you are a (insert favorite dream car here) owner and have an excuse to talk your buddies ears off with your plans. Put that decal in the rear window of your truck! You can read up about the car and become an armchair expert on the marque. You can go to shows and rub elbows with the guys that are displaying their cars, and let them know that you are part of the fraternity.

I've spent a lot of time looking at the listings to see if I can stumble across a car, maybe one that I really haven't thought of for awhile, or never really considered, that can fire up my imagination and desire. What would I like to buy and fix up? I guess that I could look at finished cars listed for sale, instead of the sorrowful hulks listed as project cars, but the high prices commanded by these cars just kind of puts a damper on my fantasies. My rational mind will put the kibosh on those dreams before they even start getting rev'ed up.

Actually Peter Egan was discussing his friend's California winery

You might ask, "Don't you have a bunch of old cars at your house that you should be messing with right now?" That is correct, and I have been making some progress. To steal a line from one of Peter Egan's columns "Es dolce far niente" which he translated from the Italian as "It is sweet to do nothing,"  It's easier to exercise my fingers on the keyboard, than to get my hands dirty in the garage. Sometimes you do need a a little break. Besides it's raining, and cold, and my back kind of hurts. If I ask myself to prioritize, then I know that I've got to finish up the '96 Mustang first, The control arms are in. The package containing the tie rod ends and steering rack boots arrived a couple of weeks ago. I was going to swap the XJS and the '96 Mustang's spots in the garage yesterday. But I dragged my feet and now it's raining. Actually, something important did come up.

 "Somebody" decided that they needed the rear license plate on my truck more than I did. So now I had to spend time on the phone, reporting the theft to the police. I didn't want them showing up at my house, thinking that I had robbed a liquor store, or something even worse! The thief wasn't just looking for the year sticker, which was going to expire next month. They wanted the whole license plate, for their own nefarious reasons. So now I'm safe, my old plate is in the system as stolen. Now I just had to drive down to AAA and get a new set of plates. Luckily, it  only set me back twenty bucks and some time. That's life, and it could have been worse, they could have decided to steal the whole truck!

I think that there will be a break in the weather and I can make the swap a little later this afternoon. Time to get a little dirty. It is sweet to do nothing, but you shouldn't make a habit of it.


 Back about four posts ago I described the process of being buried alive by your project cars. Wouldn't you know it, the sand and gravel has started sliding down the cliff. I started up the XJS to move it out of the garage and the motor started up fine and settled into a smooth idle. I put it into gear and nothing. Darn! I knew the tranny felt looser than ever when I parked it a last month, but now it's given up the ghost it seems. My driveway slopes down to the garage and I didn't relish the idea of trying to push two tons of fine British steel up the slope and maneuver it into parking position by myself. My '96 Mustang has been sitting at the curb meanwhile, and even though I would like to sell it, I guess it can sit there awhile longer. My Wife said that the car gods have spoken; it has been decreed that the transmission in the XJS will have to be done first! She does seem to have a bit of a crush on that XJS, and I know that she would like to see what it feels like to ride in it. I fired up the XJ6 and the squealing belt noise didn't even present itself. I will have to try tightening up the belts a bit and check/mark the vibration damper to verify if it is failing. It took a jump, but the Mustang started up just fine. It is filthy, covered with those annoying little leaves that drop from all those trees on my street, but there are other more troubling concerns.

There has been some very stormy weather and trees in the neighborhood have been losing limbs and a few have fallen over. It was terribly windy this morning. I have been concerned that a limb might fall on one of my cars. Most of them are too old and not worth enough to carry full coverage insurance on. Besides even if they were fully insured they are worth so little that almost any damage would result in them being "totalled" by the insurance company anyway. I was hoping to finish the Mustang and maybe take it to a consignment lot to sell. Hopefully it will not end up with a branch through the top! Or worse, something could happen to my XJ6, hopefully not, I love that car!

I looked out through bedroom window into the backyard and thought that it was odd that some huge bushes had grown up unnoticed until now. Where did they come from? I went outside and could see that one of my trees had fallen over but luckily wasn't tall enough to hit the house. Good thing. Tomorrow I'm off to Harbor Freight (with a coupon!) to pick up some equipment to use for the transmission job. I've also got a good excuse to look for a chain saw! Life goes on.

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