Sunday, May 21, 2017

Don't you ever get sick and tired of messing around with cars?

Famous cartoon by Bill Mauldin.
I will just remind you that this act was carried out as a display of mercy. 

Well, that's a complicated question. A lot depends upon who's asking, and why. Non car people would probably wonder why so much effort and energy is expended on something that they view as a necessary appliance. I can understand that. I don't spend my time cleaning and shining my stove or refrigerator. This computer that I'm using right now, never gets a thought unless I have some problem and can't write my blogpost.  My cell phone is a ten dollar burner that I picked up on sale at Walgreens. I'm not following the path of development of the latest Samsung or I phone. Flat screen TV? Don't need one, I've got a great looking Hitachi rear projection model. Don't like wasting my time watching television anyway.

I have absolutely no interest in Sports. I don't attend any games in person, don't watch any games on television, don't follow any team in the paper or magazines. Couldn't care less. Fishing? That's why they invented the Fillet O'Fish at McDonalds. My kids are grown up. I really don't have any close friends anymore. That saves me a lot a time socializing. Besides my Wife keeps me plenty busy with her activities. I do like the idea of travel, especially if I can drive there. Currently I'm not very interested in taking a cruise anywhere. Oh, I have plenty to do around the house, and I'm getting started again. I just don't care as much about the house as I used to. Deferred maintenance may not be my friend, but it is a constant companion.

 Obviously I don't have much interest in what others consider to be important or vital.

So I have some free time to fill up with a hobby. Cars is it. Used to be motorcycles.

There are many degrees of involvement. My hobby cars also usually function as my family cars. They do form my stable of usable family cars.

Taking care of your transportation car is one thing. You have to keep the car in good shape since you depend on it. You can minimize these expenditures by updating your fleet when necessary.

Seeking out avenues of automotive masochism is another thing. I must admit that I enjoy looking through the Craig's List listing of "project cars". As I posted last week, there are a lot of cars that can be cleaned and fixed up a bit and (hopefully) be enjoyed for a couple of years. There aren't many that truly deserve  the hassles and expense of a full restoration. That Jaguar XJ6 I detailed last post is a good example.

Luckily, I still enjoy turning a spanner once in a while. Now, I like having plenty of proper tools and equipment, a garage to work in, and no pressing deadline like having to drive the thing to work on Monday. It can still be a satisfying experience.

The good old days of yore. real or not.

Why can't I ever leave well enough alone? If I have a saving grace, it's that I'm not the kind of guy to be endlessly modifying a car. Changing out suspension parts, modifying the motor, etc. If I feel like making changes I will usually just make the change to another car!

Why can't I ever be satisfied? I will admit that I probably won't ever be satisfied with the ownership of any particular car. I just showed my Wife a CL listing on a beautiful Aston Martin DB7 coupe. I told her "Take a look at my dream car." She replied, "Yeah for now! You wouldn't keep that thing forever." Of course she was right, but that doesn't mean that I wouldn't enjoy it for awhile. I figure, One Wife, Many Cars!

Will there ever come a day that I'm done with cars? Well I think that like most, I will always need a car for transportation. I'm already at the stage where I have to cut back on any heroic marathon mechanical work sessions. A lower priced new car, or a late model used model can deliver a lot of usable dependable transportation value with minimum fiddling. I could always keep one "fun" hobby  car for myself.

I did close out the chapter of motorcycles in my life. I didn't see that ever happening, but I had to weigh the pros and cons. I just didn't want to risk the possibility of a disabling injury. I didn't want to chance becoming a burden to my Wife, at least unnecessarily. There were many that know me that couldn't believe it. Motorcycles had been a huge part of my life for over thirty five years.

It sounds bad, but I really don't miss riding motorcycles. I might like to build up a custom bike, but last time I messed around with an old Virago, I found it hard to get too excited by something I didn't plan on using. But I wouldn't count it out.

Last week I went to the Santa Cruz flea market and I ended up buying a whole box of Street Rod magazines. Rod Action, Street Rodder, Rod and Custom, 1001 Rodding Ideas and more. I found a couple of issues that went back to my High School days. I got the entire box with over a hundred issues for 5.00. Not a bad deal, I've paid as much as a dollar an issue at times. My Wife asked why I bought those, because I profess not to have any more interest in hot rodding. Again that is true. I never had a thirty something Ford or even a '57 Chevy. At the time that Chevy was cheap I was looking at other things, motorcycles mostly.

It was just a trip down Memory Lane. I was a car loving kid hungry for information and adventure. There was a wealth of low buck, do it yourself info in these mags in the '70s and into the beginning of the '80s. Then they transformed into a showcase of high dollar builds and expensive pre fabricated "kit" parts. Some of this is a benefit as they are usually well engineered and safer. As with many things the prices on cars of this type rose higher and higher until they were unattainable to the average hobbyist.

My feelings about vintage cars has changed with time. I almost hate to say this, but I almost can't see the point of building a hot rod or fixing up a vintage car. Especially at Today's prices. That is pretty much my attitude towards vintage Muscle and Pony cars. There are still a couple of 70's Muscle cars that I would like to own, but would I rather have a '70 Mach One or a late model Jaguar XKR or even that black Aston Martin?

Maybe I'm just a cranky old man. Probably a lot of that is true. I used to harshly judge those fussy old guys that wouldn't mess with junk, would rather buy a finished car or have it have it custom built for them. They started preferred higher end cars, I couldn't understand that at the time. It makes a lot more sense to me now.

Maybe I'm ready for a new Corvette?

Nah, Not yet!

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