tools at our disposal, Gary happened to have a Boy Scout knife in his
pocket (like a Swiss Army knife of today). The guys use to tease him
about that knife because not to many people carried them. He used the
screwdriver tip on the knife and removed the distributor cap. He felt
around with his hands (remember it was dark by now) only to find that
the rotor was broken. The brass contact on the top of the rotor has
molded plastic on both sides of it and one of the pieces of plastic
broke off. How did that happen? Well here's the deal.
When I put the car together I mounted
the coil on the firewall, which was close to the distributor. When I
grabbed second gear, the motor torqued over enough
(moved) and hit the coil,
which lifted the distributor cap enough to get in the way of the
spinning rotor. The rotor ended up hitting the inside of the distributor
cap breaking the piece of plastic causing the engine to fire at all the
wrong times, hence the term “cross fire”.
straightened the brass contact the best he could and then put the cap back
on. The engine fired right up and we were back in business. I couldn’t
believe that he diagnosed and fixed my car that night with only a
pocketknife. That was truly amazing.
Playing in the garage
like a garage is one place that you can escape to. As soon as you step
inside them, the whole world is just different. It might be the
different smells, the different look or the fact that competition starts
here. A lot of guys build engines in them, to which they find out how
fast they can go. Some guys might make projects out of wood that might
be a little better than there neighbors project. Whatever it might be,
testosterone reeks from most of them and Gary’s garage had plenty of
One day I
went over to Gary’s house and he had a new ping-pong table. Now a lot
of people don’t know this but Gary was a very good ping pong player.
When guys would come over and see his table sitting there, they wanted
to get in on some action too.
playing for hours over there and also playing a bunch of different guys
over the years. It got so bad that Gary would roll his racecar outside
in the rain so we could play. Now that’s a true sports nut right
One time I
was playing this guy and the game was very close. I ended up winning him
and he told Gary and I that the only reason he lost, was because he
didn’t have his ping-pong shoes on. Now I’ve heard a lot of excuses
in my time, but this one was pretty good. That's
all Gary needed because he would raze this guy every chance he'd get for
years to come.
Test driving m
seem to just fly by and while raising my kids, I didn’t drive my
Camaro very much. In 1999, Gary called me one day to ask if I wanted to
sell my Camaro to which I asked, who wants to buy it? He said that he
wanted it. I couldn’t believe it. He said that he hasn’t had a hot
rod for a few years and that he wanted one again (you know…the itch).
wanted to test drive it and I told him that I needed to put a battery in
it first (you know hot rods, batteries don’t last very long if you
don’t drive them). Once that was taken care of, we were ready to go
for a drive. As we left my house, he said that the car ran great but he
also told me something else. Gary said,
“I never told you this before but you did a great job when you
built your car”. Right then and there, the whole world was right to
me. Those words that Gary told me meant so much that it’s hard to put
them into words. It had been over 20 years since I finished that car but that
didn’t matter because “God” told me I did a great job.
I ended up
selling my car to him that day and I couldn’t think of a better person
to sell it than Gary. He enjoyed the car for a year and a half till he sold it to Larry, (a
guy he went to school with). Larry still owns the car
today and that’s the guy my wife and I go to car shows with. I guess
Gary knew that whomever he sold the car to, would have to be a person
that would take care of it, and Larry was the right choice. Thanks go
out to both Gary and Larry!