Fun, Fun, Fun
By John A. Dodds
Nobody has taken my T-bird away yet, but that time might be fast approaching. It's hard to believe that it's been about 17 and a half years since I drove that car home from Koons Ford in Falls Church. And it's still running. Well, sort of. I drove it up to Pennsylvania several weeks ago and left it at a small gas station near my sister's house to get a diagnosis. The theory is that it would be cheaper to have it fixed up there. I don't have a picture of the car, at least not one I'd like to put on the web. The car we're talking about is a 1987 Thunderbird turbo coupe like the one pictured at right. Except my car is silver. Actually, it was silver. Over the years, it has faded to a light primer gray.
Life is not fair. Last Saturday was a great day to go trail running. I didn't get to go. Instead, I went to a junkyard in Maryland looking for spare parts for my car. While others in the VHTRC are spending a gazillion dollars on new luxury SUVs, I have to scrounge around a junkyard looking for spare parts. I could go back to Koons Ford except that a number of parts are no longer in the Ford distribution system.
High maintenance. At a restaurant recently, my daughter (age 10) asked me what "maintenance" meant. I told her it meant "fix up" like maintenance on a house or on a car. She looked confused, so I asked her to use the word in a sentence. She said that the man sitting at the next table said some woman was "high maintenance." I told her that meant that the woman wanted to have someone pay a lot of attention to her. It applies to men as well. A good example of high maintenance is Bob Phillips. Last summer after Bighorn, several of us were walking down the main street in Cody, Wyoming on our way to dinner. When we came to the Harley Davidson store, Tom told us to go on ahead as he wanted to go in the store. I asked him what he was looking for, and he said he wanted to get a shot glass for Bob from the local Harley club. And so he did. Apparently, collecting Harley shot glasses is some kind of cool thing to do.
Not to be outdone, when five of us were driving back to Phoenix from the Grand Canyon last month, I had Ken Hubbard pull off I-40 in Belmont, AZ so we could go to the Harley store. I bought both Tom and Bob shot glasses. So, if you ever go over to their houses, I want you to admire their shot glass collections. I must admit that we had to park out back of the store in Belmont because it just isn't (I should say "ain't") the right thing to do to drive up to a Harley place in a minivan.
Field of dreams. I went to the junkyard near Smithsburg, MD because I had called in advance looking for a 1987 T-bird. I was surprised when I was told they had just gotten one in. It seems that the car had an electrical short that kept draining the battery, and the owner didn't want to spend any more money on the car. That was just one of the problems with my car. I thought I'd go take a look at it since it wasn't at the junkyard because it was in a wreck. I don't know about you, but I've never been to a junkyard before. This one had cars for about as far as you can see. Here's a picture of just part of the place.
Junk. I don't know why I was so surprised, but the cars there were pure junk. Most of them were stripped and were just silent hulks. I wondered why they all weren't loaded into the "crusher" instead of just some of them.
Some favorites. Despite being full of junk cars, the place is actually organized. The Fords were out back and to the right. They had a fair number of T-birds but, for some reason, they couldn't find the car they had told me about. I took a liking to the old T-bird pictured at right with the tree growing out of the engine compartment. This was a car that had taken control and was bound and determined it wasn't going anywhere. I call it the Tree Bird.
Have you ever gone into a store, say a grocery store, and what you want is on the top shelf and you can't reach it. For example, there is the last box of Cap'n Crunch cereal near the back of the top shelf. I can barely touch it and when I do, it goes back even farther. Now it's sitting way back there smirking at me. From then on, it doesn't matter how much time it takes or what I have to do, it is now a personal quest to get that box of cereal, even it means climbing up on the shelves. In like vein, I spotted a 1987 T-bird on the top shelf, so to speak (see picture at left). I was spared the indignity of trying to climb up there because it was a standard T-bird and not a turbo coupe like I have.
The body style of my car was made only in 1987 and 1988. Either year would do. Imagine my surprise when at the top of a hill, I found a 1988 turbo coupe. Like all the other cars, it had been mostly stripped. But as luck would have it, of the thousands of cars out there, this one had a "girlie" magazine in it. Not sure what that says about people who own T-birds. Just so you'll know I'm not making all this up, check out the picture to the right.
VHTRC has it wrong? I know you're asking yourselves: what does all this have to do about running? Let me tell you. I know many of you have been quite concerned that SONRAP has raised precious few funds over the years. Having spent some time at that junkyard in Maryland, I have a different view of things now. We shouldn't try to restore the car in the Do Loop. It would cost way too much money, and the car would lose its character. No, what we need to do is have the club buy a whole slew of junk cars and line the Do Loop with them. Not only will the trail be more scenic, it will save time and money because we won't have to mark the trail with blue ribbons since we could just follow the cars.
Pimp My Ride. In Frisco not too long ago, Kerry, Tim and I watched a television show called "Pimp My Ride." (We could only watch it for a little while because Kerry had to watch 37 re-runs of "Law & Order.") Anyway, it's like extreme make over for cars. If you would all like to write to the show and nominate my car, please do so. I'm tired of going to junkyards.