Hey Guys! Looks like I've been picked for the Car of the Month for March. This may seem familiar to some of you because I completely and blatantly cheated.
I totally forgot that I was up this month (even with Tom reminding me!
) and I haven't had much time with work being so busy, so I copied what I wrote for the LROM over on the wagon forum.
Sorry if you've seen it before, and if it seems more wagon-centric, but that's the audience it was written for. I'll try to add a few new things to this though on the quick read-through before I hit the ol' send button... Thanks for choosing me!
I've always been a gearhead at heart. Always been a Chevy guy, too. I would always draw cars, thinking I was going to design them for GM when I grew up. I must have made over 1000 1/24th scale mode kits in my lifetime, too! I couldn't wait to drive when I was a kid, and got my license as soon as I was able!
I've had, at last count, 70-something vehicles in my lifetime. Yes, you read that right, SEVENTY! Heh heh. And they were all drivers. I've had some junk, and some nice ones, but I always enjoyed them and always turned my own wrenches. It's part of the fun. I've had more than a dozen F-bodies from all generations (including a 68 327/Muncie that I completely restored), a few trucks, a Hyundai, a Fast & Furiuos'd 93 Probe 10 years before that movie came out (glad I snapped out of THAT phase real quick!), a kick-ass lifted K5 Jimmy, an Rx7, a 280z, an Aspen, a tercel, even a Miata... And that's just the tip of the iceberg! I never have felt quite right
if I didn't have 2 or 3 cars in the driveway...
So how did this whole big four door/wagon thing start for me? And when? Well, I have to be honest and say I was never a fan of wagons, at ALL, until recently. I always liked coupes and hatchbacks, and never considered a 4 door or a wagon as cool. But then, about 10 years ago, I was goofing off in the parking lot after work with a few of the people from the office and I ended up blowing out the ACL in my clutch leg. At the time I was driving an 96 Z28 with a T56. I couldn't drive it anymore, nor would I be able to in the near future, so I sold it. But what could take its place?
My line of searching was simple. V8, RWD, American, Automatic. Something I could get in and out of easily with my bum leg. That's when I found the Impala SS. It strikes me now as odd that I had never remembered seeing one before I started my quest. Weird. But anyways, that's when I realized that the cop cars had the same drivetrain. So I set out to get a recently retired cop car. Now remember, this is just as the internet was starting up, and I had just purchased my first Pentium machine, so I hadn't even found the impala online communities yet. I ended up buying a two-year old ex NYSP trooper car. I paid way too much for it and got hosed on the deal by a guy in Chester, NH that made a living on selling retired cop cars. Big Blue was gorgeous. Dark Sapphire Blue (still one of my favorite B colors!) with a blue cop interior. Cop shocks, cop engine... (lol) It was JUST retired, well maintained and only had like 96K miles on her. I bought it, drove it, loved it. I swapped out the tranny when it blew. I did some routine maintance. I swapped in a RMS limited set of seats. The car was pimp. The water pump started to leak, I got sick of it and traded it in on a truck becuase of a stupid 30 dollar part. Moran. Man, I miss that car!
I didn't need that truck, after all. So as I was still missing Big Blue, I set out to find a suitable B replacement. In this time, I had found NAISSO and then the ISSF. I was a better informed shopper this time around. Though no B fit the bill. I ended up trading the truck in on this:
That car lasted a long while with me. I did A LOT to that car. It made me famous. It's why I'm a pretty big deal around here. Probably even ended my first marraige... But anyways, I did a LOT of shit to that one! Many sets of rims and tires, interior stuff, stereos and more than my share of clutches. When I sold "Elephant Running" she had transformed into a built-motored, T56'd, dubbed, ghost-flamed street terror. And I was famous. And I would NEVER. EVER do a T56 swap again.
During my ownership of the Elephant, I decided it was too nice to drive through the winters and needed a decent beater. That's when I discovered wagons. I bought the Fat Wagon and my life was forever changed. She was ugly, but I loved her!
I got to try my hand at the wonderful, undiscovered world of spraypainting.
I loved that car, even with the anemic 305. I did the caddy intake and a 2.5" exhaust, rattlecan paint, and a set of silver and black bonnies (that are now actually in Chris P's -SWT SS- car), and a few other odds and ends.
I loved that car; it's utility, the way the L03 sounded with that exhaust. The whole deal. She just rocked. There's just something
about the TBI cars that makes them sound so much better than the LT1 cars, dunno what it is, but it's there. Someone even stole it once, but I got it back and rebuilt her the best I could. But in the end, the call of the LT1 was too strong. Too bad the douche I sold it to, one of my wife's good friends, decided to drive it drunk one night. At least she was able to walk away from the head on encounter with the pole at 40+... I did it again.
During my ownership of the Fatwagon, I came to my senses and unloaded that 93 Camaro
that I thought would replace the Caddy. It didn't. Not even close. I had to get back in the game, so I bought a 95 DCM Impala SS.
I still have it. It got that T56 swap I would never, ever do again. Oh, and it's got a built motor and custom paint and a whole bunch of other crap.
But that's not a wagon, so I won't bore you with the details...
Which brings us to the beginning of my heater core issues in Roadmasters... The Fatwoody. The first one I bought from Fred down in Waterloo. She was a DCM woody with ruby cloth.
I fixed the paint with some more rattlecans and put pergo wood floors in the back and did a set of BMW lights. I just drove it. It was a winter car/parts hauler. A winter car that despite whatever I did, wouldn't have heat. So I sold it to a guy in Texas who didn't need heat...
Then what? I sold it for a lowly, rusted out caprice wagon. A HAUNTED caprice wagon. Named her Morticia.
I had a lot of fun with that car too. Namely I painted it AT the 2K7 Issca Nats in St Louis, in the parking lot, with rattlecans. I had the biggest POS at the show, and I think it's one of the most remembered.
That car was great. And I would still be driving it if we hadn't tried to get my wife into a B-wagon.
Which brings us to the Marshmallow. I bought it for my wife and she gave it a shot, but it just wasn't fancy enough for her. So when she wanted something else, I had to make a decision on which wagon to sell, and this one was such a nice, clean, southern car from Fred, that I just had to keep it. It's, in all honesty, too nice for what I'm going to do to it, but that's ok by me. We bought it at WF08! I went with one wagon and came back with TWO! While she was driving it, we just did a set of Cragars to set it apart.
Then I inherited it and the mods began.
But don't let me fool you, she still gets used like a wagon should be!
And I have lots of plans for her, too. I think I'm going to sell the SS and put the monster motor and wheels and tires from it on the Marshmallow. Maybe, we'll see. But I've got an SS rear with 4.10's and a dunch of other crap all squirrelled away for it. I may throw T56 in her, too... Who knows? My mods have only just begun!
So it looks like you'll have to deal with me for quite a while longer.
Hope you enjoyed my story and feel free to ask any questions or make snide remarks...! It's because of these cars that I've done a LOT of travelling, raced in points series and met a bunch of cool people that some of which I now call my closest friends. That's another thing about these cars, the awesome community of people who come along with them. I think that that is the best thing I ever got from owning one of these. Thanks for listening.