Archive for the 'Envy' Category

In appreciation of Never-Seez – 67Vette continued

Friday, March 26th, 2010
Chaz's garage space

Chaz's garage space

Never-Seez is the third pillar of the mechanics Trinity.  A Bigger Hammer (Father), Duct Tape (Son), and Never-Seez (Holy Ghost).  The bigger hammer breaks what’s stuck, duct tape fixes what’s broke, and Never-Seez (a waterproof, non-hardening, rust inhibiting lubricant) insures you never do that again.

Car manufacturers would never use Never-Seez.  It would raise the cost of a new car and reduce the cost of repairs – a no brainier for them.  But for those of us who like to work on our own cars, we would never reassemble a repair without the liberal use of Never-Seez on every fastener we lay a wrench to.  Have you ever tried to change your own flat tire and discovered that even when you stand on the lug wrench it won’t come loose?  Yep, no Never-Seez.  OK, you don’t like to fool with your own car.  Have you ever assembled your kid’s swing set and then had to use a hacksaw to disassemble it when they left for college?  Yep, no Never-Seez.

There have been books written about bigger hammers and duct tape, but not to my knowledge about Never-Seez.  Well ok, maybe you have never browsed that section of Amazon.com, but trust me this is a significant gap.  Remind me of this thought when the Vette is finished, but meanwhile don’t tell Henry Petroski – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Petroski .

So where does this thought train take us with the Corvette?

My first step in starting the Corvette is to make sure it will turn over.  Since it hasn’t run in more than 10 years, it’s likely that the pistons may be a bit frozen in place.  So, I am treating the engine with another automotive wonder drug,WD40.  I plan on a liberal soaking of the cylinder walls with WD40, while I attend to other items in the fuel and ignition system.  Yesterday I removed the spark plugs for the WD40 treatment.  Now I know you have all been waiting for this, but NO SKINNED KNUCKLES!  Never-Seez certainly did the job on those spark plugs.  Bigger Hammer, Duct Tape, Never-Seez, Amen.

No engine compartment is ugly, but this comes close.  But cosmetics are later

No engine compartment is ugly, but this comes close. But cosmetics come later

The Hudson of Coincidence, a Doug Adams experience

Saturday, May 16th, 2009

My current photographic project —  http://chazimages.com/current-projects.php — is putting more meat on the bones of my Automotive Art Forms  http://chazimages.com/sculpture.php.  These classic cars are beautiful to look at, but they also all have interesting and unique histories.  That entails more research on new entries and sharing of that history along with the images.

 

So, just the other day, I was working in the garage when one of the neighborhood walkers stopped to chat.  I knew he was a kindred spirit when he identified as a Corvette Stingray the shrouded shape in the shadows of my garage.  He further validated his credentials when he listed some of his former rides (my favorite, a Fiat 500!)  My current neighborhood has not seemed as “car aware” as my last.  Cars here seem to be more like appliances or status symbols; where as, back in the old neighborhood a lot of the Saturday afternoon socializing revolved around cars and garages.   But now, a ray of hope!  I  don’t know if I will ever find a garage buddy to share beers and wrenches again (unless Peter Egan moves into the neighborhood), but at least I know there is “car talk” to be had.

 

Ray (the neighbor walker) was full of information about local car shows and other interesting automotive resources.  And most remarkably and coincidentally, he is the source of the “Hudson of Coincidence”.  He sent me a link to a You Tube automotive subculture http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FB6apYb5mJI&feature=email , “TheOriginalWheelsTV.  Chuck Derer, the producer, has recorded interviews with numerous car fans and made them available on You Tube.  They are at least as interesting as those by Jay Leno on Jay Leno’s Garage, but without the annoying lead in commercials.

 

The “Hudson of Coincidence” occurred when I viewed the You Tube clip on the Hudson Italia.  What an interesting, unique, and rare car.  And it so happens that I was at the time struggling with an image from an AACA (Antique Automobile Club of America) show of a couple of years ago.

Wouldn’t yah know it, it’s a Hudson Italia.  True to the You Tube clip, it’s in the original, and only factory color, Cream.  This is a very rare car; only 26 were built, and only 5 are known to exist today.  Luck would have it that I now have seen 2 of the 5.  There you have it; a lucky conversation, a fellow enthusiast, a cool new link, progress on my Automotive Art Form histories.

Garage Envy — the best of times?

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

Even in these difficult economic times it’s hard to look at the current crop of automotive magazines and not conclude that it may be the best of times for an enthusiast with Garage Envy.

The big auctions have done well so far this year, the autoshows have produced a reasonable outpouring of technically interesting new cars, and the car magazines are giving plenty more pages to desirable collector cars.  Autoweek has “Escape Roads” and the “Market”. Automobile has “Upshift”,  Road and Track has “Peter Egan” (a classic himself),  Vintage Motorsport has  “Racing Across the Block”, and of course Hemmings Motor News is cover to cover (more than 500 pages) classics.

 

There are plenty of classic cars surfacing these days.  But then again maybe that is a sign of the difficult times, with the owners in need of cash more than a dream ride.  However you look at it, there is currently plenty out there to look at and develop Envy for.  Problem is, some of them are actually beginning to look affordable.  Quick, put a lock on my bank account!

 

While your unfulfilled lust is threatening your bank account you should look at http://chazimages.com/sculpture.php if you want to satisify it without spending your next mortgage payment.

Washington DC Autoshow and Henrick Fisker

Saturday, February 7th, 2009

 

Henrick Fisker and the Karma

Henrick Fisker and the Karma

If Barack Obama can say, “I screwed up”, so can I.  A couple of missives ago, I lamented the boringness of being green.  Basically I felt that “green” cars were technically interesting but boring from a driving excitement point of view.   The Fisker automobiles http://karma.fiskerautomotive.com/ may change that opinion quickly.  The models displayed at the Washington Autoshow certainly created the aura of driving excitement just sitting on the display floor.  These are totally sexy looking automobiles, and if all of Henrick Fisker’s enthusiasm and charm translates into driving excitement, we have a great start on a green revolution that will light the fire of any “Garage Envy” fan.

 

 

 

I was totally impressed that Fisker himself was on the floor of the Convention Center and willing to talk to all who visited about the features of his great looking cars.  If he can actually deliver these cars for the $88K that he is quoting it will be one hell of a deal.  The fit and finish of the models on the floor (a Karma sedan and a Sunset convertible) was first rate.  Fisker stated that he penned the exterior design.  The interiors were excellent as well.  Fisker out sources all of the components and will do the assembly of the early models in Finland.  He claims that this manufacturing method is what allows him to price it at $88K and also has enabled him to get the car to market so quickly.  Fisker is developing his own US dealer network – about 40 dealers.  Very interesting car and manufacturer, I can’t wait to read some driving impressions.

 

There were many other green production and concept cars at the show and their presentations were very interesting.  There were lots of cutaways, component displays, and talking heads to inundate one with information about green options.

 

From a Garage Envy point of view, one had to look hard for interesting driver’s cars.  Many of the exotic car manufacturers like Ferrari and Lamborghini were not there and manufacturers really had toned down the performance models in their lines.  For example GM lined up their Corvette Z1 with all of the rest of their Corvette models and didn’t even highlight it.  I would have thought they would have put it on a rotating dais.  Guess they were afraid of a congressman blasting them for misusing taxpayer bailout funds.

 

My bottom line is that the autoshow in your neighborhood is worth going to this year.

 

 

Car Collector silly season

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

How can this Garage Envy blogger resist tuning in to at least a few minutes of a Barrett- Jackson, or a Russo Steele auto auction?  He can’t.  This is Garage Envy in full bloom.  These enthusiasts are living out each or our fantasy’s  of owning a piece of our own automotive past.

 

Car auctions go on all year long, but without major racing series events to distract me, now seems to be the time that I pay most attention to auctions.  I was first dismayed to see the continuing trend of emphasis on American  muscle cars in the broadcast auctions.  If you read the collector rags, the full gamut of cars are changing hands, but muscle cars are apparently what draw the TV audience.  It’s really awesome to watch the prices some of these cars are pulling down this season; there seems to be no recession in the car collector  community.

One thing I am having trouble sorting out is that many of these cars are too nice.  They get pushed onto the auction block with gloved hands, doors and hoods are gently opened and closed, polishing cloths are always at hand.  These cars are “garage queens”.   They deserve to be driven.  Maybe only gently and on sunny days, but they need to be out there burning up some miles.  Preferably at yours or my hand.  That’s why Jay Leno’s brand of collectorship is at the core of Garage Envy’s  focus; his cars get driven.

I have a personal prescription for the “too nice to be driven” restorers, emulate the ancient Navajo rug maker strategy of allowing a small mistake to remain in the finished work.  That way the result isn’t too perfect to use.  My own  Navajo experience at restoration included an Austin Healey with a “perfect” paint job that had a rocker panel rust breakout shortly after completion and a Karman Ghia that nicked the door jam when being backed out of the paint garage.   Believe me, those restorations rolled up plenty of miles after completion; probably aided by their lack of perfection.

So I stand by waiting for a call from any of those successful auction bidders.  If they want a bit of that perfection to be rubbed off of their “garage queen”, I’m their man.

Less than "perfect" Austin Healey

Less than “perfect” Austin Healey

 

Ferrari and a ho, ho, ho

Monday, December 29th, 2008

I am contemplating the end of the year and yet another Christmas morning lacking that giftbow topped Ferrari parked in front of my door.  All of us gear heads must have some fantasy of that sort that creeps into our car dreams.  The one facilitated by imagining a previously unknown rich uncle who has watched our development from afar and finally decided that we are worthy of a very special gift as a reward for our hours, days, or perhaps even months of “being good” in anticipation of the big day.  We all likely out grow Santa, but I bet I’m not the only one who has not out grown that gift wish.

 

The “gift wish” can probably be viewed as just another form of Garage Envy.  So what better thought to prompt my beginning of the lay out of my  “personal favorites” list.  You may recall (or if you wish, search the archives and read it) that I divide my favorites into three categories: retro, runner, and racer.  I thought I would “envy” some retro’s today, since that plays directly into my Ferrari fantasy.

 

Any twelve cylinder Ferrari would make my retro list.  The sound of one at speed is orgasmic and even at idle they make wonderful mechanical noises.  I lost a noticeable bit of my hearing cozying up to race versions of these machines at Sebring. Maybe, I should just settle for a sound track.  A 250 GTO would probably be my first pick and not coincidentally I have included one in my Automotive Sculptures Gallery at http://www.chazimages.com/automotive-art-gallery.php. Might as well wish big, as these rare beauties go for well into the 8 figures.

 

A Lamborghini Miura has always been at the very top of my retro list.  And it is just for the pure beauty of its form.  I have yet to catch one during my photography expeditions in a pose that warrants entry into the Sculpture gallery.  But this auto paparazzi will eventually catch it.  The Miura was one of the first, if not the first, mid-engine sports cars, and it’s radical design caused a sensation in 1966.  Coincidentally, in 1966 Raquel Welch stared in the movie “One Million Years B.C.  The movie was crap, but the resulting classic poster hung in my bedroom along with a Miura poster for many of my bachelor years.  One on the wall and one on the ceiling over my bed; I’ll let you guess which was where.

 

I’ll end with a more practical/affordable favorite, the Series 1, Jaguar XKE coupe.  A truly passionate enthusiast could probably get a nice driver for the price of a new car.  The first models had the best lines and even had clear headlight covers to further smooth the look.  I never understood why the convertible sold better.  I saw the really sexy lines of the coupe overcoming the coolness factor of the convertible.  The clamshell hood opened to display an equally beautiful straight six engine.  Lots of complex mechanicals and bright metal surfaces, and an engine that your could actually see; none of those styled plastic covers that obscure the engines of today.  After I finish restoring my “67 Vette, the XKE may be my first retro purchase.

 

My list is long and continues to grow, but these three would keep me happy driving, wrenching, and polishing for a very long time.

 

Happy New Year everyone.  

Garage Envy — The doors are open!

Monday, October 27th, 2008

If I ever had the opportunity to live life large, I would live it exactly the way Jay Leno has. I would buy a very large garage (for starters, something about the size of a Wal-Mart) and I would fill it with as many interesting cars as I could get my hands on. Then I would fill the spaces between the bumpers with automotive artifacts: tools, models, pictures, books, engines, hubcaps, etc. This would not be a museum. Like Jay, I would drive the cars at every opportunity and I would handle and read the artifacts. Everything about cars speaks of action and more often than not, fast action. What better way to live life large.

So what is an ordinary gearhead like you or me to do with only the resources of an average human? Well, we can own a little and dream a lot. So hear goes; Garage Envy will be all about maximizing the little bit we can own and writing about the whole lot we wish we had. Not all that bad, as there are lots of ways to enjoy the things we can’t have. Can’t drive a Ferrari, watch one race. Can’t own a Type 35 Bugatti, visit one in a museum or own a poster or model of one. Never rebuilt an engine, start with your lawn mower. Want to share automotive interests and experiences, read and respond to Garage Envy.

For some, cars are about getting from place to place, for the rest of us cars are the journey, an empty garage is a place to fill. “Let’s motor”, (yes, I do own a Mini).