Saturday, July 23, 2011

I got a letter from Brian that is funny, and he's let me share with all of you

Once I discovered your blog, I went to the first post in 2006 and worked forward. You do post a lot! But I likey the car porn. About 3/4 through 2008 I discovered I've been overlooking posts.

So after I finish 2008 I'll restart at 2006. Yeah! More car porn to drool over.

Here's a story which illustrates how naive I am regarding this hobby.

I have a 1966 Mustang convertible that I want to hotrod. I paid $8,500 for decent shape project car. I've enjoyed puttin around town for the past few years.

I love the early Stangs, but they handle like crap, the stock 70hp I-6 is toooo sloooow, and the convertible frame is too weak to handle decent power.  So I want to channel the body over a Morrison chassis, drop in an injected 351W, and get instant modern coilover disk brake goodness. I've restored an early Stang back to stock and taken a welding class or two, but I've never tackled extreme mods.

So on a whim, I email the owner of a California hot rod shop who has an awesome web site... 

Their web site is much nicer now. Back then, it looked like a small Mom-n-Pop outfit. But their project photos were awesome.  So the owner personally responds to my email. He is a very nice guy. He covers the major challenges in such an extreme mod, and then asks why I haven't contacted two builders in my area that he knows personally.

Well at that time, I never heard of Ridler Awards.

I've heard of Barris, Gene Winfield, Von Dutch, Boyd, and a few others, but I'm not really up on the modern hotrod scene. Turns out the owner of HR&CS has a couple of Riddlers to his credit. How many people have the cajones to customize a 300 SL roadster?  Or a perfect Chrysler 300 B?

So the "guys he knows" in my area are Bobby Alloway (about 4 hours away in Knoxville, TN) and Bob Johnson (about 2 hours away in Gadsden, AL).

Never heard of them. But since I'm within easy driving to both shops, I'm really excited and think my project may be achievable. I decide to email both and descibe my project. I want them to do the floors and fab, and I'll finish the rest to save money.

No really. I did.

Needless to say, Alloway never responded. About a year later, I learned who he was and what kind of money he plays with. Big face-palm moment for me.

 I expect my naive email was a big joke around his shop. How embarrassing.

But get this, Bob Johnson actually called me. We talked for about 20 minutes. What a nice dude. Way too expensive for me of course. I had no concept. This guy builds cars valued at more than my whole house, much less the half I still owe on the mortgage.

So nowadays I figure I'll cut and weld everything myself. If I screw it up, I'll just part out what's left and take up a less expensive hobby like crystal meth or heroin.


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