BADASS of New England

An automobile club for the enthusiast who enjoys the last of the big GM cars. The rear wheel drive B and D bodys. Chevrolet Impala SS, Caprice, 9C1, Buick Roadmaster, Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser, Cadillac Fleetwood
 
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 I guess I'm the April fool...

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Matt Trakker



Posts : 5075
Join date : 2009-07-30
Age : 35
Location : Reading, MA

PostSubject: I guess I'm the April fool...   Sat Apr 03, 2010 2:43 am

Hey hey hey...
Tom wanted me to do a writeup for this, I've been through a big fiasco car-wise over the last couple days, but better late than never!Very Happy

I wasn't sure which one I should write about, so I decided to give a brief synopsis like Bill C. has about all the B-bodies I've been involved with so far as well as some other roughage in between, and the origins of what got me into cars.
While I've actually owned only five different cars so far in my lifetime, I've always been into them as long as I can remember. I don't know what triggered it, I do remember my first Hot Wheels that my mom bought me (a black Ford Bronco with red, orange and yellow graphics on it). After that almost all of my toys were car related. To be honest, GIJoe guys, video games, wrestling figures and sports equipment never interested me all that much, I just wanted to go explore, ride my bike, and focus on car stuff. I even had the flying Camaro from M.A.S.K. that's in Bill's avatar image, that's where the Matt Trakker screenname came from...hahaha. I was never spoiled with a Power Wheels, which may have been a good thing. Laughing
I was a mildly annoying child who learned to read and talk at a very early age, and would never shut the hell up. Apparently I would walk up and down the street with my parents while people who knew us would try to get me to identify random cars as someone else covered up the emblems, which I would always get correct. (I don't get why people were amazed by it, years later I saw a kid on David Letterman as a guest, and he was about 4 years old, when I had been younger than that doing the same thing...)

My family also had weird cars. The first two cars I remember riding in was an '81 Dodge Omni 024 2-door (kind of like a Shelby Charger, my father had purchased before I was born for MPG reasons) that I constantly got carsick in from staring out the window combined with some strange vinyl/chemical odor in the car from the upholstery that I couldn't stand.

The other was one of these B-bodies, a '67 Pontiac Bonneville 4dr hardtop my mom owned exactly like this car but silver and sans that front hillbilly license plate (there actually was some kind of vanity plate on the front of my mother's car though):





This car was nuts. I don't even know why my mom had this car. It had a face, and it was a face that would give little kids nightmares. It was staring at you, it was scowling at you. It was so weird! At first I kind of thought it was just a strangely designed car, but now I'd like to find one.
I still remember the vent windows up front had a separate crank to open them up, the ignition key was on the dash, the add-on FM radio tacked under the dashboard, the cracked clear plastic section of the steering wheel rim and "ENERGY ABSORBING" being printed on the center, the giant gas and brake pedals, and the vinyl on the seats must have been a foot thick, impossible to rip the seams open. I also remember riding in the back seat of it and not being able to see up over the rear door sill much, usually on the way to the babysitter in Melrose, MA. The babysitter lived up some big hill on a street with all these huge Victorian houses. One day when we were still in the car, for no reason it started rolling down the hill backwards and wouldn't stop. My mom steered the car against the sidewalk and onto someone's grass. Laughing I never forgot that. After a few years my mom stopped driving it and my dad parked it in our backyard. The damn thing sat there until I was in middle school, and by then I had grown up playing in it, pretending to drive it, jumping on the roof and hood with my brothers, pulling the headliner down and getting covered with some nasty brown sound insulation that probably had asbestos in it or something, and god knows what else. It probably could have been fixed up but my father finally junked it. This car essentially ingrained the B-body in my genetic makeup though...
My dad also had a '58 Ford, which we just sold last week:


That was my Dukes of Hazzard big wheel...





This actually "got me into cars", it was old, it was interesting, and it was fun to ride around in. This is another thing that was rotting in my yard pissing off neighbors who drove Toyota Camrys.

Lastly, this was our family vehicle after my dad got sick of driving his Omni, and the instilled in me the belief that having an average daily driver that looks like everyone else's is not for me:



My dad drove the hell out of this truck and more or less destroyed it until it hit 225K and he parked the thing. I was actually more of a Ford guy at first because my dad had this truck, but it was really kind of a lemon in spite of it's toughness. It had every option, quad shocks, 351 4bbl, C-6, Ford 9" rearend. The only parts of this truck that didn't eventually rot were the floors, hood, and the frame. The headliner fell on us, the rear main seal blew and leaked like a sieve. There is even an oil stain in the picture. It had rust spots starting when this picture was taken in 1988, it was three years old! Still, it was cool, this was in a time where people basically didn't have sport utility vehicles or trucks for daily drivers, all my friends thought it was awesome, I learned to drive in it well before I was legally able to get a license, we took a lot of crazy trips in it pulling a 28" Coachmen camper that was definitely exceeding the tow ratings for a Bronco. Once we pulled the stupid camper up to the top of Cathedral Ledge in NH because my father made a mistake and couldn't turn around on the road with it. Thank god there was a circle at the top! I learned about road rage in this truck one night at the Topsfield Fair when we were waiting in line to leave the parking area, which was jammed. While we're sitting there, some guy in a Mercedes S-class flies past about 40 cars and decided to put the front corner of his in front my dad's truck. My father let off the brakes and let the truck roll right into his fender, completely ruining it as well as the marker light. The guy lost his mind and gets out of his car yelling and screaming at us, my dad called the cops, the cops blamed the guy in the Benz. Laughing
My dad also took us 4-wheeling in the woods a few times, mainly Lynn Woods Reservation, which was littered with burned S10 Blazers, Jeep Gladiator pickups, and 1977 Malibu wagons. Everywhere you looked there was some family in a K5 Blazer or a Jeep driving around in there, no one cared.
I remember we drove across an earthen dam that was 2/3 as wide as the track of the truck's wheels once, and another time helped these 80s hair band butt-rock dudes get the stuck gate open so they could leave. They had blond mullets and ripped stonewash tapered jeans with dirty white CONS hightop sneakers, and tried to give my father a bunch of beer for helping them out. Laughing We junked that a couple years ago.

So that's my own personal and verbose background as far as this stuff goes, I'll get to the cars next...


Last edited by Matt Trakker on Sat Apr 03, 2010 10:19 am; edited 1 time in total
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Matt Trakker



Posts : 5075
Join date : 2009-07-30
Age : 35
Location : Reading, MA

PostSubject: Re: I guess I'm the April fool...   Sat Apr 03, 2010 3:40 am

I don't know if I've ever had a "first car". But the first one I was really driving all the time was a RWD C-body.

In 1996 we bought a 1980 Coupe deVille for 500 bucks. It had a 368ci Cadillac engine that needed a valve job, but for some reason my father liked it for what it was and he bought it, along with some old Lincoln Mark VI (Town Car with hideaway headlights basically...) I officially learned to drive in this car and used it for driving lessons, we drove it to Niagara Falls, Hershey PA, all over Maine and NH, everywhere. It was a cool looking car and I really liked it. It had a couple things go wrong so my father was going to just give me the car in exchange for some yard work and stuff when I got my license, it wasn't worth much at the time anyway. However, before that could happen, the car got creamed by a tractor trailer while my dad was pulling in the driveway! The car was totaled and the trunk was pushed into the back seat, yet it still drove fine. Laughing

Looked like this, but navy blue.



After that, I didn't own a vehicle until I bought a 1988 3/4 ton GMC Suburban Sierra Classic. It was a good deal for a truck that spent winters in Florida with a solid body, it was a cool color combo too. I guess this was my official first vehicle. I paid 1600 bucks for it, all of my own money, and I was proud as hell. I am not a member of the Mommy and Daddy foundation, and have little to no respect for people who are, mainly the kids I know who act like it's perfectly normal to have a six thousand dollar motor vehicle tossed at them, and take it for granted. Making the true biggest and most difficult purchase of your life is your own FIRST car. Buying a house is more money from a financial numerical standpoint, but by that time, you're probably well established and making enough money if you're even out looking at them.
Anyway, as you can tell, I did a lot of work to this thing and tried to take care of it. But some of the same spolied Mommy and Daddy foundation pieces of human waste I speak of decided it would be funny to steal this truck, brand new TH400 and all, from my house, and drive it through the front of another house at 4am in Malden. The cops came to my door to inform me that my truck was left running smashed through someone's living room, and I was left with a BS 400 dollar tow-lot fee after I should have been given my truck back, and a 1K dollar deductible as well. Never even got to finish what I wanted to do to it. I wound up selling the truck a couple years after this happened in 2005 for 1000 bucks to a guy in Wakefield who fixed it, but I haven't seen it in a while and don't know what he's done with it.







Around the same time I had gotten the Suburban, my father and I went halfsies on this toilet, a 74 Impala "Sport Coupe":





Those pictures were taken in 2002, when the car was still in decent shape. We didn't pay a lot for it, and drove it all over the place, but the car had filler and rot issues starting due to a botched restoration back in the 80s or something. At some point the car was getting raggedy so I gave my father some cash and planned on fixing it up. Regardless, no one else had one, and everyone would recognize you driving it, people loved the car. No one ever said the color was ugly, and in the direct sunlight it was actually a pretty color, bright green with gold metallic in it. I want to get another one and paint it that color. My friends and I had a lot of fun riding around in it and doing stupid stuff.


That was when I had put Firestone FR721s (no longer made, I think I got some of the last ones) on the car because of the wider whitewall, unfortunately it's suddenly a PITA to even find regular whitewalls!

At some point I grabbed four 2wd truck rally wheels with rings, centers, and BFGs on them for 60 bucks (!!!) from craigslist, washed them off, and put them on the car, along with cargo coils in the back:






Over the years though the car just kept getting worse, and I couldn't keep up. One day in summer 2007 I was messing around in the trunk and a huge section of the floor the size of a basketball crumbled, all I could see was a framerail, an exhaust pipe, and the green grass under the car. Laughing
I went into the house dejected and defeated, sat at my computer, for absolutely no reason went to the Maine craigslist site, and typed in "Impala". The FIRST car in the list that popped up, oddly enough, was another rare 74 Impala Sport Coupe with 46K original miles on it. I immediately knew that was a sign, and after thinking about it overnight and the next morning, decided I had to ride up and see the thing.

To be continued (I'm falling asleep and trying not to go off on ADD tangents...)


Last edited by Matt Trakker on Sat Apr 03, 2010 10:21 am; edited 1 time in total
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toomanytoyz
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Posts : 6870
Join date : 2009-01-20
Age : 40
Location : East Hampstead, NH USA

PostSubject: Re: I guess I'm the April fool...   Sat Apr 03, 2010 8:16 am

Cool story so far, Matt! Smile And don't let anyone tell you that green is ugly! I LOVE that color! All the old, weird, cool, factory colors, actually... Can't wait to hear the rest of the tale.

(Is it bad that I've had 5 cars since you've been in the club?) Wink

Also, there's a white, 2 door fastback version of that Bonneville/Catalina 2 minutes away from my work for sale. I even saw it moving under it's own power last week! The only reason I haven't stopped to look at it is is because I KNOW, without a doubt, that it would be in my driveway RIGHT NOW! Smile (and I'd probably be divorced)

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PostSubject: Re: I guess I'm the April fool...   Sat Apr 03, 2010 8:33 am

And then. Very Happy


Great story Matt. My first car was a 69 Catalina 2 door when I was 13. I had big plans for it. It went to the junk yard when I was 15, as it was a beyond rotted, and the motor was toast. Sad

I love the green Impala. It reminds me of a color Hotwheels used to use on some of their cars.

Don't worry about the ADD. You have to have some kind of acronym to be in this group. Razz
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Tomz9C1



Posts : 1486
Join date : 2009-01-21
Age : 53
Location : Rumford, Maine

PostSubject: Re: I guess I'm the April fool...   Sat Apr 03, 2010 9:03 am

[quote="Matt Trakker"]
I was a mildly annoying child who learned to read and talk at a very early age, and would never shut the hell up. quote]

You don't say.
lol just kidding Matt. It would take me all day to write all that up. Thanks for sharing
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Matt Trakker



Posts : 5075
Join date : 2009-07-30
Age : 35
Location : Reading, MA

PostSubject: Re: I guess I'm the April fool...   Sat Apr 03, 2010 11:01 am

Laughing

I'm glad you guys are entertained by my novel!

Anyway, I could not believe I found the yellow Impala. The entire time I'd owned the green one, I'd seen maybe one other 74 Impala and it wasn't the sport coupe, it had the different roof style and quarter windows. I had to see what the deal was with this car, so I called the guy from work, he was surprised I was interested in the car, I explained that I had the same exact car in a different color. I went up to the Portland Jetport where this guy worked for FedEx and couldn't believe the condition It needed to be detailed inside but the car was like a time capsule. It drove nice too, although I could tell it needed valve seals, but I didn't care, the body was almost immaculate and I was used to seeing rot everywhere.
Turns out this guy was just flipping the car, he had purchased it via eBay about 2 weeks earlier from a guy in Ware, MA, the car was originally from Springfield. I wanted the car, so I didn't care. I was a little sketched by the whole purchase process but it turned out to be fine.
I gave him some cash to hold it, then went up the next weekend with one of my buddies to pick up the car so he could drive my truck back. During this trip, we noticed my truck was having a hard time going up 95 around Kittery. When I got off the highway I took a look around it but couldn't figure out the problem. Got the car, started driving toward the house of some kid we knew over past Gray, ME, and the truck died. So I'm there with this old yellow Impala that I put the wrong plates on, in a torrential rain storm parked next to a truck that wouldn't drive. It ran but basically wouldn't move, my friend shut the truck off and then it wouldn't start. I whacked the starter and we managed to get it back closer to Route 95 but it wouldn't go past 15 MPH. My friend renewed his AAA policy over the phone in a bunch of lies about having already sent a check out and god knows what else, so we could get the free tow. I had the car towed from Gray to Peabody MA, and it only cost me 60 bucks for the overage on the mileage. Turns out the cat clogged up! Laughing

Anyway, I got the car. This car had been built in Tarrytown NY and shipped up to Springfield, MA to be sold at Beaulieu Chevrolet, which was a big time dealer but is now out of business. The original owner passed away in the early 80s, his wife drove the car sparingly until the early 90s, and the car sat for a few years in a garage. When she passed on in 1998, her grandson inherited the car with about 29K miles on it. Over the next couple of years he added the Rally wheels/BFGs, an Edelbrock intake and a Holley Street Avenger carb, replaced all the rubber hoses and other perishable parts in the car (but not the valve seals) did the brakes, exhaust, etc. The guy eventually ran out of room and couldn't keep it inside anymore, so it went on Fleabay.
When I got the car, it came with a mountain of paperwork including all the vehicle brochures and warranty info, the original bill of sale from the dealer listing the wheel covers, whitewalls, door guards, glaze, and AM radio as options, the original title in it's envelope, the original registrations, vehicle inspection receipts, the people even tallied up how many miles they drove to calculate MPG and wrote it down in little spiral notebooks, sometimes listing the places they were going to, such as "A&P supermarket". Shocked

These were taken shortly after I registered the car and before I really went to town detailing it. Also before all my bumper fillers cracked and fell apart. I had to find better ones online from demo derby guys. I still need to get my replacements painted and installed!















When I got the car it had 235/60s and the rear springs sagged a little. I've since added 255s and cargo coils to it, as well as Bilstein 1104/0929s. I think the rear shocks are too short for the springs and are compressing the closer coils together, making it ride harsh, so I am going to install some KYBs I have sitting around.



For a while I had both Impalas sitting in the yard, but that wasn't every convenient since both were huge. My yard also looks like crap. It had to go. I wound up selling the green one to my friend Gregg because he need a cheap car real quick. Brake line burst when he was test driving it. LOL





He was going to fix up the green one, but wound up just beating the bag out of it as a DD and dumping a bunch of money into it until he couldn't take it anymore and sold it on CL. Almost a year later, I saw an ad on CL down in Brockton for "green 74 impala parts" and KNEW it had to have been my old car. I went down to take a look and see what I could grab for a package deal and found this...








The original color was the code 46 "Bright Green Metallic", but the Janesville factory applied some sort of brown primer to the whole car. My yellow one doesn't have this.




Driver's side was worse!



I really just wanted the three rear-most windows because they're very rare (although I think the back window from a 74-76 4-door hardtop might fit the car, I'm just not sure) and wound up grabbing all of this crap.


The car was demo derbied out in western MA last October. I never bothered to go watch but did see this pic online. Never saw the after shot.



Last edited by Matt Trakker on Wed May 30, 2012 10:52 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Matt Trakker



Posts : 5075
Join date : 2009-07-30
Age : 35
Location : Reading, MA

PostSubject: Re: I guess I'm the April fool...   Sun Apr 04, 2010 2:45 am

Onto the next B-body and then I'll shut up... Laughing

After my Suburban had been stolen in '05, I drove the green Impala for the summer (even though I wasn't supposed to with the antique registration). I found this '93 Blazer on craigslist and grabbed it as I needed a truck and I always liked these 2dr Blazer/Yukon/Tahoes.

This was the first vehicle that really got me into doing little mods and repairs on my own other than basic maintenance. It looked like this when I bought it 5 years ago:



Over the years:










Kid on a motorcycle crashed into me:
























And then...


This happened late last fall. I wanted to (and still want to) fix the truck, but I didn't have time to get it done before the snow was going to fly. I wasn't going to drive the yellow Chevy in the snow and salt because of this BS, so I resorted to craigslist yet again...

I found this '93 Caprice with the 305 and 57K miles on it in Westford, MA. The car was owned by an elderly woman who had rarely driven it in the last five years, it was very dirty but the maintenance was up to date and it drove real nice, I got the car for a song, threw some Dunlop SP60 all-seasons on there, and drove it all winter with Quikrete sand tubes in the trunk, it went great!

I'll spare you all a repeat of the photos I posted when I bought this and posted the thread about it, but here are some highlights:











And, one quick picture as it sits today in a Wal-Mart parking lot with SS grille, wheels, Nitto tires I acquired from Doug (and my mystery non-SS bowtie centercaps, haha):


This car gave me not one problem (other than a seized alternator, easy fix in 5 mins.) until the other day when I had the tires mounted on the wheels. The shop placed a bar from the seat to the brake pedal to hold the wheels while they tightened the lugnuts, the offered to mount them on the car for free so I obliged. Well, there was a weak hard brake line up front on the passenger side. The continuous pressure burst a rotted spot on the line through, unbeknownst to me. As I pulled out onto Route 1, the car decided to roll into the breakdown lane instead of stopping, NO BRAKES! I had to get the car towed and repaired the next day. All because I wanted different wheels. It was for the best though, because if this happened when I was panic braking someplace, I am certain the car would not have been stoppable with the front brakes out of commission like that. It's all fixed now though, and didn't cost me much at all.

It's no LT1 and isn't perfect, but I figure this will be a decent stepping stone to mess around with and hold me over until I get an actual SS or similar car. It's a clean daily driver, I've been getting compliments since I've owned it, which greatly shocked me. In the last two days where I changed the look I'd had a ton more comments as well.

Hope you all felt entertained and didn't fall asleep due to my declaration of B-body admiration! Thanks to Tom for asking me to put my car(s) up for all to see.
This is a great forum and it seems to be getting better by the day, I tell everyone I meet with a B-body to join up on here and get the group even larger. I've already learned a ton! Thanks for having me. Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: I guess I'm the April fool...   Sun Apr 04, 2010 8:26 am

I have to say Matt, this story is a good one. You have really chronicled your cars that you have owned over the years. Wink

I love the Blazer, yellow Impala, and the Catalina. In the pic of the demo derby, the short guy with the black sweater is one of my techs. His name is Wes. Do you know him, or did he just happen to be standing there when you took the pic?
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Matt Trakker



Posts : 5075
Join date : 2009-07-30
Age : 35
Location : Reading, MA

PostSubject: Re: I guess I'm the April fool...   Sun Apr 04, 2010 10:14 am

Thanks! I know I'm a loquacious bastard, sorry but I had to let it all out somewhere...this was actually the condensed version, I don't think I'd ever be able to finish the entire story without going off on multiple tangents with people walking off I as I forget what I had been saying to begin with...Laughing
I actually didn't take that picture, and I totally forget where it came from! I might have found it on that Derby Gear forum one night when I was browsing. I am sure that's my old car though, the guy in the green shirt is the one who had it.

I still need to fix the Blazer, just haven't gotten around to finding a 14sf six lug rear end yet. geek
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