Sunday, February 24, 2013


You did what? You gotta be kiddin' me.

Yesterday afternoon was the kind of afternoon where you see the sun melting the snow and you get a little burst of energy to work outside and get a few things crossed off your to-do list because you're suddenly filled with happiness and Vitamin D for the first time in 3 months. My to-do list was simple: I wanted to get home from work, and fire Oscar up and move him out to help prevent those flat spots on the lovely chop suey Nanco bias ply tires and let him warm up and charge the battery back up a bit. December was the last time I got to run everything up to temperature so it was time. After a few whiffs of gas and a little choke, the Stovebolt came to life without a problem.I backed him out of the garage so it wouldn't fill up with fumes. BIG MISTAKE.

My next move? Get in the '76 C20 truck and move it up our sloped driveway...with freshly melted snow still under the tires. While I know that key fact now, in my haste to 'play with cars' I conveniently forgot about that as I fired the truck up, put the selector into DRIVE and released the parking brake. With my foot firmly on the brake pedal, the truck slid backwards on the snow and right into Oscar with a loud THUD. I looked in the rearview mirror and saw Oscar had moved and was now a few inches south of where he was before.

Remember when I mentioned that I moved Oscar out of the garage so there were no exhaust fumes to worry about? Well, I moved him too close to the truck and the melting snow / ice was under the truck's rear wheels, which of course had zero traction. This sounds complex, but I assure you it was a big dumb mistake and I'm still kicking myself for not moving the truck FIRST, or just leaving the whole damn thing alone until the weather was nicer.

The end result? The truck slid into Oscar, the rear bumper slid over the center bumper guard and 'kissed' the trunk handle causing the decklid to dimple. See for yourself...

Doesn't look that bad, right?  Here's a closer look with the trunk handle and license bracket assembly removed...

66 years without an accident and I'm the guy who does this.

Its not pretty. Our neighbor, Josh came over quickly and helped me separate the two vehicles and probably wondered what the hell I was doing. (I'm an idiot). He calmly talked about pounding the dents out since these old cars have real metal in them. (Thanks Josh for not laughing at me!) After getting upset and wanting to heave my Subway sandwich I ate just before this episode started, I  worked on it for a little bit and tried to 'press' most of the dents out from the backside without any body tools. I was careful not to create new dents. This is what it looks like now...

The top is still dimpled, and the bottom area has a few ripples but is passable.

And that's where it sits. I made a crude slide hammer out of a 4 inch long #10 bolt and locknut and washers and got the center to pop back more, but the thing keeps oil-canning back inward. The trunk metal is a lot thinner in that area than I ever knew. I wish it would stay in place, but apparently I need to get the old book on "Keys to Metal Bumping" and learn what processes are to correct stupidity. The more I work it, the more the original paint cracks and wants to flake off. I'm aware of that, too and I'd rather have a few dents than a trunk with flaky paint.

So that's how my Saturday was. I'm currently seeking advice on how to fix this the right way, or looking for leads on a good used decklid. In the mean time, you'll find me at my workbench straightening out my trunk latch mechanism and hydrating with Mexico's finest. I think we'll get through this eventually.

Last Night's Dinner
 Happy motoring...or something like that. Next time I'll just remember how crappy our sloped 1-lane driveway is & leave well enough alone until Spring.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

5 Reasons Why Buddy Repperton Was Cool

Last week my brother Gordon & I talked about the 1983 John Carpenter film Christine, an adaptation of the Stephen King horror story about the 1958 Plymouth that has an evil, life-like soul and kills people it doesn't like. A classic piece of American literature, for sure. Gordon apparently had it arrive via Netflix and by coincidence it also happened to be on AMC Sunday afternoon where I watched most of it. I forgot how much I liked the villain in the film, Buddy Repperton. Having read the story back in the day, the film version was a little different. For those who haven't seen this movie or read the novel, in the beginning of the film, Buddy beats up a mousey little classmate named Arnold Cunningham one day during high school shop class. Arnold then goes out, buys an old Plymouth Fury Hardtop possessed by a murderous spirit, fixes it up to showroom condition and promptly kills Buddy Repperton and his gang. The end.

You're supposed to hate Buddy Repperton and all that his kind stand for. They're the kids from shop class with dirty hands & grease under their fingernails. The punks with long hair, leather biker jackets, and no morals. They drink liquor and listen to the Rolling Stones and don't fear authority. Its clear halfway through the story that Buddy is one of the lowest forms of human life because he did something that nobody should ever do to a fellow man: he messed with his car.

But here I am, 30 years later with the feeling that Buddy was actually a role model. Sure, he was thuggish and probably needed some Oxy face wash, but deep down all guys want to be Buddy least for about 20 minutes. Here are my top 5 reasons why Buddy Repperton was cool.

1. He had mad knife skills. 

2. He drove a 1967 Camaro with tinted windows and a good stereo.

3. He frequently enjoyed fits of road rage.

4. He swung a sledge hammer like John Henry.

5. He went out like a viking warrior. 

Watch the movie Christine again, and tell me you don't feel the same way about Buddy Repperton. Who knows, you may just find yourself admiring his personality traits a whole lot more than Arnie's by the time the credits roll.