And I Said: Yes

Let me explain about what I said “Yes” to.

I am a long-time member of the Early Ford V8 club (EFV8). When I graduated from college in 1954 and got commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Air Force, I finally had sufficient income to buy a car. I got a loan for $500, and I bought a 1940 Ford Business Coupe. It was a mild hot rod, and I really enjoyed driving that car. I ended up having to sell it when I got orders to report to Denver and the Lowry technical training school for armament systems. (What did I learn? How to drop bombs among other useful information.)

The love of that 1940 hot rod got stuck in my brain. When my post military occupations took me back to Denver, I met Walt Jantz, who was my neighbor, and learned about the EFV8 club. The club’s purpose is the restoration of the old flathead Fords built between 1932 and 1953. Walt was a spark plug in the club and kept needling me, so I got his help to buy another 1940 Ford Business Coupe. With that credential in my garage, I joined the EFV8 club and met several really nice people who became the social focus for my wife Sara and me. Over the years, I became increasingly active in the club and did my best to help it succeed by volunteering to serve on the Board of Directors. That meant conducting seminars, scheduling tours and organizing car shows, as well as improving the way the club operated.

I skirted the club charter by making my 1940 Ford a hot rod rather than restoring it to original. Good news – that was tolerated. I did complete a successful restoration of a very rare 1940 Lincoln Continental convertible, so that counts on the plus side for restoration effort. This got me infected with the car collector disease, which once implanted cannot be cured. That led to my restorations of the very powerful Chrysler 300s and my current restomod of a 1962 Pontiac Catalina. The 1940 Ford became my engineering exercise in designing a modern fuel injection system for the venerable flathead. I did a rather outrageous assembly of a blown, fuel injected, crank triggered coil on plug flathead. I considered that to be my “old age crisis.” My “mid-life crisis” was spent on Corvette restorations.

Here I am an ancient relic of a hot rodder at age 90 who still drives a 1940 Ford hot rod and belongs to the EVF8 club. I sit back and let the members younger than me (which is everybody else in the club) do the work of running the club. My main contribution now is to drive Patti Jantz, who is a neighbor, a board member and Walt’s widow, to the monthly club meetings so she can report on all the infirmities among club members. I thought that in not too many years down the road the club would evaporate due to the biological expiration of the membership, but I see new, younger blood joining the club, so survival is possible.

One of the traditional and favorite activities of the club is the April Garage Tour. Three club members volunteer to open their garage for inspection by other club members. They get to see finished cars as well as works in progress. The garages tend to be in close proximity to each other so members can drive their old Fords and get lost as is per standard procedure for club driving events. After the last garage is visited, the final stop on the tour is a restaurant where we overload the staff with our orders. This tour always has good participation because the weather is typically great, and family members can join the entourage. When the convoy arrives, the neighborhood looks like a street scene from the 1940s.

I recently got a call from Abe Jones, the past club President, who asked if I would volunteer my garage for the tour. I felt that I was a poor choice as I do not have any current old Ford restoration projects to inspect, but Abe said that’s ok. However, that was not my only concern. I do a lot of active mechanical work in my garage, and I have enough tools and machinery to completely disassemble an old car and put most of it back together again. In other words, it is not a show garage. All the tools, car parts, and cars are arranged in random order, and the cement floor will never rust due to all the soaked-in lubricant on it. Every level surface is fully engaged, and the window blinds quit working ten years ago. In addition, there is the matter of the five foot deep service pit that could be fatal to an unsuspecting swan diver. I know the other garages will be sweet and clean, so I at least need to make an effort to straighten up my garage if I am going to have visitors.

Looking around my garage, I came to the realization that it may be easier to solve the national debt payback than make my garage orderly. I also have to consider that once everything is put away, I will not be able to find half the stuff I need as I will forget where it is.

One thought is to ask Patti to bring down the 1937 Ford and 1937 pickup that Walt restored and park them in place of my daily transportation. It goes without saying that I will have drinks and cookies as a distraction.


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