In 1989 I met the woman of my dreams in the parking lot of an apartment complex, where we both lived at the time, while I was putting a fiberglass 56 Speedster Porsche body onto a rolling chassis. I have to assume that she must have known what she was getting herself into given the circumstances of our first meeting. As time has gone on, her love for classic cars has grown at about the same rate as it has for me. That’s why she wasn’t too surprised when I announced to her on our 22nd wedding anniversary that my gift to her would be a “long haul” entry into the 2012 Hot Rod Magazine Power Tour—after all, flowers are so passé! Aren’t they honey????
The 2012 Hot Rod Magazine Tour is celebrating its own 18th anniversary this year. Coined as a rolling tribute to the performance car and the ultimate gearhead road trip, the tour will span 7 days commencing in the Motor City of Detroit and concluding in Arlington, Texas. The tour welcomes all makes and models of hot rods, street rods, custom trucks, sport compacts and street machines. Our plan is to make the trip in Mary’s customized 1963 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88 convertible. Our back up plan is to drive our 1972 Datsun 240z.
I originally bought the Olds because I thought it would be fun to have a big convertible to throw the family (4 kids and the wife) in for weekend cruises. As we started on the metal work, my wife Mary and Mike picked out the incredible 3-stage Rattlesnake PPG paint. At that point I lost control of the project and it somehow “became” Mary’s car—which is fine by me since she has been so gracious as to put up with my classic car fever for all of these years.
Currently, we are building a bagged air ride chassis for the Oldsmobile along with a LS style engine and 4L60E transmission. When she’s complete we’ll lift the body off the current chassis and install it on the new one. The original engine just isn’t up to the trip. The end result will be an awesome custom for us to show and enjoy, but we aren’t sure she will be finished in time for the trip, which starts on June 2nd.
The Datsun 240Z I bought as a daily driver because I was tired of having cars that weren’t running. My original plan was to drive it until my 1966 Mustang was completed (now in year five). So much for that idea because now we’ve managed to pull it completely apart, install camber plates for an upgraded suspension, and we’ve just fitted a 2011 Camaro all aluminum 310 hp V6 complete with 6 speed transmission. Oh and it’s now painted 2010 Camaro Orange. Our hopes are to have one of these cars ready in time. Huge gallery of the 240 Z build in progress here.
This will be the 2nd traveling tour for Rattlesnake and I, and Mary’s first. Last year Mike Karbowski and I did the 2011 AutoWeek America Adventure in the Olds. It was more of a rally and we drove from Tacoma, Washington to Las Vegas, Nevada and arrived at the opening of the 2011 SEMA Show. Mike and I survived the road trip and so did our relationship. This trip begs the questions, “Will Mary and I make it to see year 23???” I don’t think we have anything to worry about. If we can make it through 4 kids and a car shop, we can make a silly 7 day road trip. Love you, Mary, and Happy Anniversary!!
Stay tuned because we will be posting details about the cars progress and once we get on the road we will be Facebooking and Tweeting out little butts off!