Restoration projects and metal benders.

I have been thinking about this for a good while. What makes a person restore an older car? What drives him/her? How does a normal everyday person decide to rebuild a car they saw in their childhood?

This week I ran into a quasi-relative at a first-year-old’s birthday party for my…Nephew-in-law’s son. Cliff is the child’s father’s uncle, which would make him a great uncle? I’m sure he is. Or is it…well, it doesn’t matter, I’ve played golf with Cliff for over 20 years so he’s considered, a friend, a friend that I never knew that well. I didn’t know, until now, that he is an artist…with metal.

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Cliff also told me something else that he never mentioned to me, that he rebuilt a classic ’56 Chevy B210 into a very nice lookin’ Dream Machine that has some nice power as well. The car used to have a straight 6, but now has a Chevy 350 V8 that has about 300 HP. He also mentioned that he made many parts from scratch; he’s an expert welder and bends metal to his liking.

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This I had to see. So, my kids and I rode out to Cliff’s place in the country. Way out in the country. My 17 year-old daughter, Courtney, and her twin, my son, Chase, was with me and when they saw the car as we drove into the driveway that features a four-car garage, they gasped and their eyes grew large.

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The Chevy is a gorgeous shade of orange, like an Orange Crush. Beautiful. Cliff told us that he carefully, and meticulously painted the car in his garage. I took a peak inside at the interior expecting to see floor shifter and yes, there it was, but it looked different. It was an automatic transmission. Cliff said he didn’t like shifting a lot whenever he’s in a parade or at a cruise-in.

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Cliff’s wife, Joy, invited us inside for a drink and we got surprised again. Cliff is such a good metal bender, that he makes model ships…out of stainless steal. Not small ships, large art sculptures with a lot of detail. I’ll post some pictures. Out back of his house was another surprise; a 30’ deep pond with fish and a diving board. Not a bad lifestyle.

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Cliff wanted us to see his neighbor’s project car, so we hopped in his Chevy and took a short ride with a low rumble. His friend Rocky, lives just a few houses down, but his large barn-like garage told me a lot. The garage door was open and inside was a hot rod made from a ’30 Ford. It was on a lift, but the closer you got, the better it looked. Court and Chase were mesmerized by this…work of art.

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Rocky told us that many parts on the highboy were hand made from stainless steel (I could see Cliff, had a hand in this). Rocky agreed to build the car for a guy named, Jerry Bullock, who is going to give it to his 70 year–old wife. Jerry gave Rocky plenty of money to work with so it would come out spectacular. It’s quite evident that Rocky is another artist. The paint job alone was gorgeous, which included a very detailed paint job on the engine as well. The 350 Chevy Corvette engine was ground down to smoothness so the paint could go one evenly and smoothly. Awesome. Even the bottom of the car was spectacular.

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In the back of the garage was a ’64 Pontiac GTO that needed a lot of work. Cliff mentioned that he needed a body panel so he just made it from scratch. In another room, Rocky converted it into a paint shop. Inside, under wraps, was an old Jaguar that they had just dropped an engine into, but it was a long-term project.

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Metal benders like Cliff and Rocky can turn a piece of metal into art, functional art. They built a real Dream Machine, pretty much from scratch.

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There’s an interesting article about restoring a car that is in much more detail than I can give. Check out this Dream Machine project at:  http://www.chevyhardcore.com/project-cars/project-swinger/project-swinger-the-project-build-wrap-up-for-our-71-nova-part-i/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=project-swinger-the-project-build-wrap-up-for-our-71-nova-part-i

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Rained out cruise-in

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Cruise-ins are so much fun, unless it’s rained out. Nobody shows up. No classic cars. No hot rods. Nada. Zip. Nothing. It was also a bummer.

So, this will be a short blog with some pictures I took from last year’s Woodward Dream Cruise in Detroit and some pictures from last year’s Blue Suede Cruise in Norwalk, Ohio.

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While at a birthday party this weekend I talked to a few people that were relatives of a sister-in-law. They know about my book and one asked about the value of his 1972 Ford F-250 pickup truck. I don’t know, but I do have a lot of friends who know the value of classic cars.

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The problem with determining value of a classic car is that there are many determining factors; Popularity of that model and year, the amount of factory options, the amount of after-market products, the engines size and horsepower, the interior’s condition, exterior’s condition and a whole lot of other stuff. Also, the person doing the appraisal can make a difference.

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I’m going to do some research and come up with a list of classic car sales sources. I know a lot of sites that do this, but I know there are many more. So coming soon to this blog, will be that list.

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Another subject that came up at the birthday party was restoration projects on classic cars. Another relative of a sister-in-law has several cars he is working on and he invited me to stop by. So, another future blog will be about restoration projects and all that it entails.

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So, sorry this is so short today, but I’ve been rained out of this one. The weatherman says it will be nice this weekend, so I will have plenty of time for a couple of cruise-ins checking out all the awesome Dream Machines. Talk to ya next week.

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Roger’s Chevrolet Camaro show

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I wasn’t sure I was going to drive 2 ½ hours to go to a Camaro Show in Trenton, Michigan, but I did. It was beautiful weather and my 17 year-old son, Chase, needed driving time for his license, so I had him drive me. I didn’t have to grit my teeth…much. My hidden reason to go was that I used to live in Trenton for only one year, during my 9th grade of High School. It was a nice chance to show the school to my son.

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By the time we got to the Chevy dealership at noon, the place was packed with Camaro fans and Camaros. The cruise-in was dubbed, ‘The 6th annual Rodger’s Chevrolet Camaro Show,’ and it was sponsored by the, Detroit 5th gen Camaro Club. I was surprised this many people were here at a Chevy store because this was in the middle of Ford country, way downriver from Detroit. Ford’s massive Woodhaven assembly plant is a stone’s throw and it sure looked like a lot of Fords were driving by.

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The dealership had a lot of gorgeous new Camaros intermingled with the Camaro club’s classic Chevys on display and the crowd loved it. We were checking out a ’69 Camaro SS convertible when, VROOOM!!! A Camaro started up with a roar and everybody ran toward the sound of power.

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It was a Camaro with a big block V-8 Yenko engine and a large hood scoop sucking in air. The deep-angry-loud revving shook the ground and reverberated right through your body. This Camaro was drag-strip ready and the girl that got to start the car was in shock how loud it was inside the car, even while wearing ear protectors. When it shut down, a huge silence occurred, but only momentarily as the crowd gave up a rousing cheer.

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Something caught my eye; a Camaro with flip-up doors like some Ferrari’s have. Nobody was there to answer my questions if it was from an after-market company or just an individual with a talent for sculpting metal. Definitely, cool.

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A guy sitting next to his classic ’68 Old 442 convertible responded to a guy complaining his car wasn’t a Camaro, “Go play in someone else’s yard.” He awkwardly walked away, apparently looking for another yard. Goes to show, you just can’t please everybody and there’s always a grumpy person in every crowd.

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There were probably about 100 cars in the show and it was fun to see some of the old designs and paint jobs Camaros had over the years. It seemed most of the cars were SS models, but a few V6s were just as nice looking. In a way, it was like Mustang Alley at the Woodward Dream Cruise, woodwarddreamcruise.com, only with Camaros. Of course, Mustang alley featured close to a thousand Mustangs, but this was nice seeing these American, iconic classics.

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There were free hotdogs, drinks, trophies, raffles, door prizes, music, photo booth, as well as plenty of friendly and not pushy salespeople around, just in case you wanted to check out a new car. There were also several after-market companies hawking their ability to boost your Dream Machine’s speed.

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All-in-all, a good time and worth the drive. Pictures cannot compare to actually being there, seeing and touching. America has always had a love affair with cars and classic cars run even deeper to the heart. In Motor City, this is very true and has been like that since Henry Ford started the very first assembly plant here. It’s the stuff that Dream Machines are made of… (yeah, I stole it from Sam Spade).

Also- check out my Facebook page at:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dream-Machines/560475744012570

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Cars & Coffee cruise-in at Lingenfelter Performance Engineering

Every town has them. They gather like birds in the park on a statue. Cruise-ins. Cruise-ins for classic cars and hot rods. Going to your local ‘cruise-in’ to either park your Dream Machine or gawk at them, is a great pastime. You get to see some very cool classic cars and hot rods, as well as meet some interesting people that have similar interests. Just don’t be shy.

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Most cruise-ins I go to usually are on certain nights of the week or maybe a Saturday or Sunday afternoon at a drive-in, diner, dive, restaurant, sports bar, or even a large parking lot. Not this one. It happens every Saturday morning from 8am to 10am at the ‘North Engine build facility’ of Lingenfelter Performance Engineering at 47451 Avante, at Beck Rd. in Wixom, Michigan.

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This was the kickoff event for the summer, except spring hasn’t sprang out of there yet and it was a cold and rainy morning. Despite that, a good crowd showed up with lots of hot iron. I say ‘hot’ because on closer examination under the hood, a lot of these muscle machines were sporting a Lingenfelter Supercharger. Hmmm.

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My daughter, Courtney and I went inside for some coffee. Inside, there were a couple of gorgeous cars displayed that had…Lingenfelter Superchargers. Hmmm. I was anxious to see the main engine building room, but my friend Ken Lingenfelter, the host of the cruise-in, said it was closed today because, “there’s some super secret ‘future’ stuff going on back there now.” Hmmmm.

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My immediate thought went to a ‘Flux Capacitor.’ Then again, that’s from the movie, ‘Back to the Future.’ ‘Dilithiam Crystals?’ No, that’s ‘Star Trek.’ Apparently, they are doing some hanky-panky with superchargers to do what? Increase the warp speed, of course.

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Ken said he goes to a lot of drag strips to test his motors and to show spectators what they can do with cars that come right out of the new car showroom. I asked him if he’ll be at the ‘Blue Suede Cruise at Summit Motorsports Park Dragway in Norwalk, Ohio in July. “Oh, yeah.” I don’t know how he keeps up his schedule of going to racetracks and cruises. Norwalk is by Sandusky, Ohio, home of Cedar Point, where they have the ride, ‘Top Thrill Dragster,’ Courtney’s favorite ride. I want to go too!

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We finally found the black gold: great tasting coffee and a ton of donuts of all shapes and sizes from Tim Hortons. That took the edge off the cold 50 degrees and a light drizzle back outside. More cars and people showed up and the two hours went quickly. If you’re looking to put more muscle into your Dream Machine, be it new or not-so-new, a supercharger will give you more…speed. For your Dream Machine, give Ken a call at Lingenfelter Performance Engineering, http://www.lingenfelter.com. Or, on Saturday mornings, stop by and gawk and drool all you want.

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