Tuesday, April 03, 2007
Hey what's up Doc?
I guess I'm dating myself but in my mind, not that long ago there used to be a time if I needed a part for the average muscle car all I had to do was make a few phone calls to the local wrecking yards and my job was done. It didn't matter if it was a Chevy, Mopar or Ford and I can't remember how many times I bought high-performance engines out of low-mileage cars for a hundred bucks or so.
When I began this particular build I knew I wanted everything my way or the highway and having built muscle cars and raced professionally since the mid sixties I can safely say I know what I'm doing but those "good old days" are killing me. It's not as if parts are becoming harder to find, it's as if they simply don't exist any more. Heaven knows there are many after-market parts suppliers out there but the facts are the majority of today's "reproduction" parts are for car shows only. Many of the reproduction parts we buy these days will not handle the daily use that they were expected to perform back in the day.
Not long ago I paid over $150 for a brand new window window regulator for a customer's car and within a week it was broken. And to make matters worse, I had to buy not one but THREE of them before I got one that was good. This in not unusual at all and it just goes to prove how well built items we took for granted back then were built.
The bottom line is that a car that needs to stand up to the punishment that will dealt out at this years La Carrera Panamericana will not get the job done if the quality of parts are not scrutinized from top to bottom. NEW IS NOT ALWAYS BETTER. On the other edge of the sword is the fact the car I am building is 42 years old so decisions have to be made. For all of the above reasons and the simple fact the car is completely stripped to the bare bone I have ordered all new stainless steel brake lines, fuel lines and an entire factory new wiring harness from the rear taillights all the way to the front headlights and everything in between. I don't know how many stories I have read about electrical fires at the LCP race and it is just as important that every single piece of wire be perfectly installed so as not to short out as well. In 1973 I bought an entire wire harness out of a 1968 Shelby for $25 if I pulled it out myself. Today that same harness would easily cost a collector $3000. in fair shape.
I am amazed how many "little things" need attention in a 42 year old car... clips, fasteners, pins, brackets and the list goes on. One has to pray our body will not need half as much attention. I remember seeing a bumper sticker in my home town in Oregon many years ago that said, OREGONIANS DON'T TAN.. THEY JUST RUST. I thought it meant people but now I realize they were talking about cars.