For as long as I can remember, I have been a car enthusiast. This is due largely to my father who came up in the days of '57 Chevy's and drive ins. I remember as a kid cleaning his work car, a VW bug with a brillo pad trying to get the white residue off of it from his week of work at the factory. I remember pulling out the carpets and changing the oil and looking through Hot VW magazines for ideas. Fast forward to now, I'm still exploring beneath the hood, along with cleaning my car and sitting under the tree admiring the design. Like Valentino said, "I can't help it I just love beautiful things."
A few months ago, my brother Donovan and I installed some speakers and bought an amp to power the old Becker radio that came with the car. I had cleaned the car, waxed it, conditioned the seats and vacuumed the carpet ready for a Sunday cruise. We hit the interstate and are flying along, surfing for good songs on the radio when out of nowhere a young girl in a VW bug pulls out in front of us. I swerve to the left, then back to the right where I had to plunge on the brakes or hit the VW. I didn't hit her, but my car started to pull to the right and I had a feeling some trauma had happened to the old beauty.
When we got out of the car, we noticed the Lower Control arm was broken. I was fuming, it was a beautiful day and the Saints were going to be on and here I was calling a wrecker. I quickly pulled myself together as my brother assured me, that we'll be able to fix it. I guess I realized too that it was better than a wreck.
Thanks to the family business and a place to store my car, we were set to do the necessary repairs. When life hands you lemons, make lemonade! Old cars teach us patience and to take a step back and have some appreciation for the simple things. We were under the car after having jacked it up to get to the control arm and it began to get dark as my uncle Lloyd walked up with a work light. He got under there with us and then my dad crawled under and began telling stories of changing transmissions under the tree. My mind went adrift thinking of the beautiful moment this old car was bringing all of us. There was no TV or computers involved, just elbow grease, some stories and a lot of curiosity in German engineering.
I tend to think that I can learn anything but this job was way over my head. My brother was a fearless animal on this job. We had screws and brake fluid lines and air suspension parts everywhere. All I could think of is remembering how to put it all back together. We finally got the part off of it and brought it into our machine shop. My dad and brother put a plan together and brought it to the welding dept. and in a matter of a few hours it was ready for installation. Under the car, we were wondering why more people didn't drive these well made cars. It was probably because we are programmed to not touch our cars now. They have taken the soul out of driving. What a bonding real life experience for me and my brother, dad, and uncle.
Noone could imagine the feeling we had when we got behind the wheel and cranked the car up and put it in drive and hit the road. A month of learning the art of patience and communication. Searching for parts, looking at my beauty jacked up on her side was a life lesson. My shop class was soul craft!