Class: Rust Belt American Junk - GM
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Let me introduce Lurch, my 1927 Chevy one ton cattle truck. I pieced him together in 1995 from the parts of three dead trucks. The chassis (and what's left of the sheet metal) from one truck, the engine and tranny from another, and the bed with a cattle cage from the third.
Being that my middle 'name' is Rustoholic, I like keeping Lurch in a state of arrested disintegration. I repair him mechanically, but I try very hard to keep his original patina and parts intact. Case in point, the front tires date from the middle of the 1930's. Yes, they are 75 years old! See the pics and you'll see what I mean.
Originally, he would have had a complete cab with roof, windshield, and doors, but the wooden body frame rotted away so these parts disappeared. Hmm, a nature-made open touring vehicle! Since he didn't have any seats, I upholstered him using a jean skirt of my wife's for the bench and an old pair of my pants for the seat backs. I put a picture of my least favorite Politician behind the zipper. 😉
Like all old men, he leaks a little. To help keep from messing up the roads, I put Depends under his engine: a cookie sheet and a baking pan to catch the 'drips'. For the more scientific minds out there, he leaks 3/4 teaspoon of oil per mile.
The plywood cows are decorations from a past Black and White Ball in San Francisco. I found them in a junk shop in Berkeley. Happy California cows!
He and I enjoy driving around the SF Bay Area to the delight of the public who cannot believe this hunk of junk is still powering himself around. The longest trip we made was for Halloween in 1996. I drove him to work for the day (102 miles round trip) and I was dressed as a cow. The trip took 3 hours each way, he got 10 mpg, and everyone had an equal opportunity giggle. My manager at the time could not look at me or talk to me that day. She said the costume was too disgusting. 😉
I have since decided that he'd rather ride on the trailer for long distances. I put him on the trailer backwards because he has such a heavy butt and for safe towing, you need more weight on the front of the trailer than the rear. Lurch tells the tale about how I learned this lesson in his Stovebolt Saga. Click on the first link below for the details.
For more info about Lurch (in his own words), follow these links:
Cheers, Dean Rustoholic Meltz
Old and Ugly is Beautiful!!
The Thundercar is real General Motors Rust Belt American Junk: A 1964 Chevrolet Impala Convertible. Rusting away for 55 years.
The 327 V-8 dual Turbo Mufflers are pretty loud, like distant thunder. Here are a couple Thundercar Photos from it's glory days.
Double 500 Car Rally 2002. The Thundercar ran in the 2002 Double 500. A 500KM rally for "$500 cars" organized by the late Martin Swig, on a dare from Jay Lamm. The Double 500 inspired Jay Lamm's 24 hours of Lemons. On Highway One a retread tire came apart. Here we are changing the tire. Butt Turrible!
Golden Gate Bridge 40th birthday photo session 2004. Hella Sweet!
A brace of beautiful booth babes, Carrrrinna, and Lemons Liz, show you The Thundercar.
Check out the beautiful booth babes and The Thundercar in this Butt Turrible video:
Here's my 1976 Opel by Isuzu. I bought it out of Michigan in 2010 with around 76,000 miles on it. It was owned by an enthusiast there and was never driven on the salt; prior to that it was a Texas car.
The Opel by Isuzu is a freakshow in itself; the first year it was marketed as the Opel by Isuzu, in theory a continuation of the semi-popular, German-sourced Opel models sold through Buick dealers. Despite sharing a profile with the Opel Kadett C, the Isuzu-sourced coupe didn't fool anyone, so for 1977 it was joined by a sedan and re-branded as the Buick/Opel by Isuzu. By 1979, it was simply the Buick Opel and then was consigned to history (until the facelifted car came back as the Isuzu I-Mark in 1981...I often wonder if anyone went to trade their Buick Opel on an Isuzu I-Mark and have no idea of the connection until they plonked themselves in the drivers seat to be faced by an almost-identical dashboard and steering wheel!
Given the Buick Opel by Isuzu is, essentially, an Isuzu Gemini with LHD and huge bumpers and also given that Holden built their own, locally-adapted version at Acacia Ridge in Queensland which went on to become Australia's most popular small car for some years, you'd wonder why the hell I'd buy an obscure captive Japanese import from the USA and export it to Australia.
I often tell people it's because it was $45,000 cheaper than a Chevrolet Camaro, but that's only half the truth. The real truth is in the bewildered wonderment that the average Aussie has when I cruise past in a LHD 'Holden Gemini' with huge bumpers. Because of this, it is best savoured either alone or with a child in the passenger seat, lest onlookers think that my 8yo son is driving.
I also bought it because as an Isuzu enthusiast, I also wanted to participate in Adelaide's local American car cruises, enter it in All Japan Day, All American Day, All GM Day...hell I could probably even hit up All Holden Day! I tried to do All Euro Day, but was knocked back...because the same guy runs the Japanese show and thought I was taking the piss. Hey man, it says, "Opel" right there on the side!
Fun fact; it took about five years to get it on the road here; I had other priorities with life, kids, etc. However, GM launched Opel for the first time in Australia to sell Astras and Insignias, had little success AND went defunct, pulling out completely around a year later.... all in the time I had my Opel off the road.
It's a funny car; the handling is nowhere near on par with an Aussie Gemini and I dont' know why, although the chromed girders that pass as 5mph-compliant bumpers probably don't help. It's got a tonne of sound deadening; woodgrain dash, tacho and other instrumentation, auto and air conditioning, but misses out on Jesus bars (the bars above the windows) and even a trip meter. WTF is with that?
When I bought the car, I hid it from my wife for several months. When she found out, she was super-angry, which upon reflection I can understand. But I told her, "Hey man, you can be angry with me, but don't be angry at the car. The car is cool!" She considered it for a moment and agreed, "Yeah, the car IS actually pretty cool."
Once it got registered, she often drove it to work despite the fact she needed to swipe a card at a boom gate (from the wrong side of the car, remember), she rocked up to a Coffee and Cars in it, then ended up in Street Machine magazine, she got pulled over by the police for talking on her phone when our mate was the one actually driving it into a car show for me (wrong side of the car, again) and all round it presents as now holding a lot of memories of her which I love as she passed away in 2018.
One final thing; it wears North Carolina numberplates because...I bought one from a souvenir shop in Las Vegas, choosing blue-on-white and a six-digit plate starting with S as it most closely reflected our own classic South Australian numberplates, which are available for re-issue.
Once registered, I ordered the same plate number as on the South Carolina plate, successfully procured it and it's now registered with that number. I've not had any problems YET....
Pics include the time it blew a head gasket en route to an obstetrician's appointment while my wife was both pregnant AND had cancer, hence the finger, but also include the Buick Opel by Isuzu's crowning moment; Rust Belt American Junk (I know it's Japanese, but it's USDM) at the inaugural Concours d'Lemons Down Under, presented by the incomparable Alan Galbraith. I treasured the trophy dearly, put it on my lap when I got home, then got out of the car and smashed it to bits on the ground the same day. Yay.
Not sure when my nightmare of racing in the fabulous and glamorous lemons series began. But one day I’m on the back roads of central California. The volume on the cassette player cranked to “Those about to rock” ( AC/DC in case you didn’t know) I see a 1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am sitting on a ranch buried in weeds and bull crap. I bust a dramatic u turn spilling my (insert sponsor plug here) on my lap. I knock on the front door looking like I wet myself. After an awkward introduction I find the owner of the firebird. He walks me to the American legend and there she is, no motor, no transmission, no nose and with flat tires she never looked so fast. I tried to hide my excitement as we came up with a price. With the lemons rule book in mind I was able to negotiate the price down to only 499.99 dollars. Overjoyed to get the wanna be racing car to the track I begin my build. Just like a mullet she’s business in the front with her Montecarlo front end and party in the back with the sexy Pontiac! After three year build she is finally ready to compete in a lemon race. Hopefully she is not as slow as the build. So whenever you gentlemen and cheaters are ready to race let me know. I can’t guarantee I will take the checkered flag but even getting the black flag would be satisfying.
I submit our 1971 GMC Stoner Ambulance used in the C2C Express Cannonball event in 2019. Coast to coast in 36 hours. Found 30 days earlier with no engine or transmission abandoned in a field. Stuffed in a LS from a 2005 Cadillac Escalade and drove to CT from CA and back again in less than 5 days. Yes, they don't make them like they used to.
My virtual entry is my sad, neglected 1984 Pontiac Fiero Indy Pace Car Edition. I picked it up from a friend who had to move out of state and had nowhere to store it. His friend did him a favor and allowed him to park it at his house for over a year and when he confided that he needed to sell it, I confessed that I needed another Fiero like I needed a hole in my head, but offered to help him out and buy it off of him.
GM only made a limited run of 2000 of these in 1984, commemorating the Fiero that paced the 1984 Indianapolis 500 race. The only thing it really shared with that Indy Pace Car was the aero body package as the rest of the car, aside from the decals and special interior, was nothing but an "Iron Duke" powered Fiero in SE trim. This one is extra special as it has the "Performance" 4 speed Muncie manual transaxle.
It runs, but I don't drive it because it has the famous GM tilt steering column wobble. Mostly it sits covered, with a flat tire and with the parts necessary to restore this car piled inside. This includes a non-wobbly steering column which I pulled from my 1985 Pontiac Fiero racecar which now has a fixed steering column, a necessity to avoid headaches at a future race.
The tire only gets aired up when I need to push it out of the way for a more pressing project (mostly another Lemons race car, as I currently have 3.) It's on on the back burner. I'll get to this one eventually, most likely after I retire all the race cars.