Saturday, February 13, 2010

1953 Ford

One of my best friends in high school, Bruce Garrison, and I decided to buy an old car together.  Some old guy in Camdenton had an old '53 Ford coupe with a flathead V8 in it and "three on the tree" manual transmission.  As I remember, we both ponied up $25 apiece to purchase this car that had not been tagged in years.  We had to drive it through town and were worried about getting stopped by Camdenton's finest.  The flathead only ran on a few cylinders so we took it to Shorecrest to work on it.  My Dad, Carl was thoroughly disappointed in my decision to participate in this costly venture.

Since we had already spent a great deal of money on this car, we decided to tune it up by putting in a variety of discarded boat motor spark plugs in each of the spark plug holes in an attempt to improve the performance.  We may have picked up another cylinder or two but I don't think it ever ran on more than six or seven cylinders at a time.

Bruce and I decided to share the old Ford by exchanging it every week or two.  I had it the first session and then Bruce took it home for a while.  It was actually quite a while and the next time I saw the car, it was after Bruce had taken a torch to the body and cut off the roof to make it a convertible.  He had also ran it headfirst into a tree so the body style had been altered yet again.  When Bruce ran it into the tree, the radiator had gotten pushed back into the fan so my contribution to its repair was a can of "Bars Leak" to patch up the holes and that worked for as long as we had the car.

It was my turn again and I brought it back to Shorecrest.  Up above the resort, there was a little "flat" in the road where it turned to the right and to the left was our resort's dump.  That's right.  All the trash generated at Shorecrest was dumped in a small ravine up the hill and over a ridge.  That was my daily job at the resort but that is a story for another post.

One day, I was tearing up the hill in the old Ford just past the turn off to the dump and all of a sudden, the Ford screeched to a halt.  The shifter on the steering column flipped up and was where neutral should have been.  There I sat in the middle of the road, clutch in, transmission locked, and six or seven cylinders exploding.  I was half way up this steep hill, wildly throwing the shift lever in all directions while dumping the clutch and flooring the gas peddle.  The Ford would just sit there shaking and whipping up dust while the engine revved with the transmission in no particular gear but locked up tighter than a drum.  I remember sitting there wondering what to do and how Dad would react to a beat up old junker blocking the road to the resort.  I did the only thing I knew to do and continued throwing the shifter while flooring the gas and dumping the clutch.  Finally, the car rocketed backward in reverse.  Fortunately, there were no cars coming up the hill so in a split second, I had to make a decision.  Decision made, I continued to back up and instead of reversing all the way down the hill to Shorecrest, I shot up the small side trail to the dump.  Fortunately, I got it parked out of the way and out of site of the patrons who would be coming down the hill to spend their vacation at the resort.

That old car sat there until sometime after my folks sold the resort and moved to Texas.  When I went back to Shorecrest 30 years later, the car was gone, the dump cleaned up and the trail to the dump had been paved.  In fact, I think there was a house sitting where the old Ford had been laid to rest many years before.

All in all, us buying that old car was my first venture into investments.  Not bad for a first try.

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