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Past Rides

This was my first 'hot rod' - a Schwinn Apple Krate. The Lemon Peeler belonged to my younger brother. They had sat in my families barn for over 20 years when my Dad decided to restore them. They came out great and the pictures don't do them justice.

This was my first ride - a 1947 Chevy half ton pickup. Five window cab, with an unsynchronized 4 speed (low granny first). It came with the original 216 inch 6 cylinder, but I swapped in an early '60's 235 incher. I installed a Fenton dual one barrel intake with a pair of Rochester carbs, and a Fenton cast dual exhaust manifold. I also put a Mallory dual point distributor plate in it.

I had chrome reverse 6 lug rims with Baby Moons, and I had the painted grill (perfect shape, a rarity) re chromed. The bench seat was done in hobnail velour. The original gauges still worked, but the lever action shocks never did. The wiring was crumbling and shot and I learned how to rewire a car the hard way. I did the bodywork myself but never got it out of primer.

I drove it my first three semesters of college, from May of '81 to Jan. of '83, until I went to school out of state. I knew the truck wouldn't make it (too much broke on it all the time) so my Dad and I started looking for a better vehicle.


During the summer of '83 my Dad found this Nova on his mail route. The guy had intended to make a drag car and had stripped all the interior and glass out of the car then promptly lost interest. So, for $200 I picked up a '74 Nova SS sans motor and tranny. The SS decals had been painted over, but the itty bitty factory in-dash tach was there, along with the 4 speed console gauges, similar to the first gen camaro setup. It also had bucket seats instead of the normal bench seat.

Being a mailman, Dad had connections all over town. We picked up a fresh 327 short block that had all the machine work done but never assembled. It was .030 over, and had a new .390/.410 300hp 327 cam along with it. Someone had an old set of heads that turned out to be a set of 291 camel humps with a fresh rebuild, and we got a points distributor from a Vette from somewhere. A saginaw 4 speed and shifter out of a Vega was pressed into duty. For a while I ran a huge truck 2 barrel carb, then later picked up a cast iron Vette manifold and a Carter AFB for it.

I have to note that I lost most of the photos of this car in my many moves back and forth from college. The first three pictures above are from this web site, and short of the silver stripes that were on mine, this looks like my old Nova, down to the 14" rims. The second row of pictures is all I have left.

So, I drove this car back and forth to college from Jan '84 to March of '85 when I wrecked it in an ice storm halfway back to school. I had to leave the car at my uncles in Kansas City while I took the last bus out to school before they closed the highways. My Dad later drove up and hauled it back home. I was crushed. So, in the summer of '85, I went searching for my next ride.


I pulled the 327 from the Nova and sold the body and the Saginaw with it since I had to mount the Vega shifter to the floorboard. I found this black '75 sitting behind a body shop with no title. Another $200 and I had it home. Dad's connections came into play again and he got a court issued title for me. I bought a TH350 from a guy who claimed it was in good shape (it wasn't, it leaked like a sieve). So, I slapped the 327, headers and glasspacks from the Nova into it and drove it to school.

Either that summer or the summer of '86 I put in a tilt column and steering wheel out of a Trans Am, along with the 1-1/4" front swaybar and 13/16" rear swaybar. I also installed a set of Z28 gauges and picked up some Z28 rims. I had had Trans Am snowflakes on the Nova but two of those rims shattered in the wreck. The paint was dead and would fade as quickly as you polished it out. The second picture is of me and my girlfriend Caroline on the day of my graduation in '87 (six years of college!).

Behind the car is a unique one wheeled trailer that we found somewhere. The front brackets bolted perfectly to the rear bumper of the Camaro and held it rigid while the one wheel would swivel when turning. Came in handy since the Camaro didn't quite have the trunk space of the Nova.

So, in the fall of '87 I put my clothes, a clock radio, and my computer into the camaro and moved to my first job in Dallas. After about a year, I got a call from my Dad.


A guy he knew was wanting to get rid of an '87 Trans Am. I drove up to Missouri in the Camaro, parked it in the barn, and drove back to Dallas in the TA. With the 305 inch TPI motor, it rated at 205 hp and 285 torque. Not a barn burner, but it was snappy enough and great to drive. Considering it had power everything and actually was a turn key car, I thought I was in the big time.

I had that car for six years. During that time I married Caroline in '89, and our first son, Benjamin, was born in the fall of '93. After one Christmas trip with the baby and all the paraphernalia that babies require, I knew the TA needed to go. So, in May of '94, we sold the TA and bought our Jeep Cherokee, which we still own today. It was our first honest 'new' car. We also had a 4 door Tempo that Caroline drove.

After the Jeep was paid off in five years, I bought the '99 Formula which I still drive today. That was also about the time of the birth of Matthew, our second son. We've just bought a Pontiac Montana mini-van to replace the Jeep, but haven't been able to bring ourselves to sell the old Jeep just yet.

We built our house in '96, and after a couple years we went back up to Missouri and pulled the old Camaro out of the barn. After a couple of weekend trips to work on getting it road worthy with new brakes and shocks, I drove it back down the 400 miles to Dallas in the pouring rain, holding my breath the whole time while Carol and the kids followed. But we all made it home!