Saturday, August 22, 2015

If "things" could talk...the Sixties again?

Anyone remember these? 

I do...from the 1960's and '70', teach-in's, protest songs, beach music, with many folks experiencing  summers of fun living at the Pacific Ocean in these vehicles.  No, I didn't own one, and never rode (or lived) in one.  But they were everywhere in the Bay Area, where I lived at the time.  (And contrary to popular belief, that's not where my long hair started...)

Some of these had their back window removed, to make it easier for surfer boys and girls to stow their boards.  This one is on the Delmarva in Maryland, and still has its back window.  But no license plates, so I wonder where it came from?  Who drove it?  Where has it been all these years?  What sights has it seen?

Might even be fun to drive one of these as as an!

Speaking of antique I stopped in at the auto parts store to get some wax and motor oil for mine.  When I arrived (dressed in my women's white tank top, tan 3" inseam shorts,  freshly epilated legs with new sandals, and my purse - plus pink toenails and shiny long fingernails), a fiftysomething guy pulled up in a really pretty Dodge Dart GT, 1969 I think (sorry, not so much into Mopars).

My comment to him: "Really pretty Mopar you have there."  He mumbled something back at me from about 20 feet away, but I'm not at all sure what it was that he said.  For all I know, it could have been "What the h*** do women know about antique cars anyway?"  OK, so no conversation were going to be forthcoming with this guy...  He let me go through the door first, then walked into the store behind me, stood at the door for a minute, looked in his wallet for something.  And then he abruptly as he entered.  His car was obviously the most personable part of THAT family...

I found the wax I needed, but had to summon help to find a quart of conventional organic Pennzoil  for my antique.  The back story on that: seven or eight years ago, a quick-lube place (yes, you'd probably recognize the name) slipped synthetic in my antique unbenownst to me (grabbed the wrong hose when filling it, but later denied it and hadn't charged me extra for it).   Shortly thereafter, a spaghetti strainer would have held almost as much oil as my engine.  I was advised that a lawsuit would most likely had unsatisfactory results, particularly with no paperwork to prove they actually did anything wrong.  Their probable defense would have been - "it's a leaky 40-year-old clunker, and they're trying to pin their problems on us.")  Stop-leak, regular oil changes, and several "engine washings" finally eliminated the leaks, and their visible evidence.  And it's been dry ever since.  But never again will I risk getting synthetic oil into that 130K mile un-rebuilt engine...I even carry my own spare oil in case it's needed on a long tour...not every convenience store gas station stocks old fashioned oil. (Been there, seen that issue.)

In my opinion, with an antique car, the key is:  "know thy repair shop well" and only have them do oil changes.    Using quick-lube places is not worth it.  They often have novices working there, which increases the risk of "accidentally" ending up with the wrong oil, and subsequent leaks.  BTW, my new cars began their life on blended synthetic, and they're perfectly happy using it.   No leaks, no issues.  Thus, my opinion ONLY applies to un-rebuilt, high-mileage antique engines.

Segue back to the present: the clerk at the parts store omitted gender-specific forms of address for me.  Well, at least until he saw my name on the credit card.  Then it was "Is there anything else I can do for you, Ma'am?" "Thank you for shopping at XXX, Ma'am."  And, "Come see us again, Ma'am."

Thanks Mom and Dad!!!  Their "foresight" undoubtedly made this possible.  Though somehow, I can't believe they ever envisioned that their transgender child would be recognized as a woman in her daily life...using that name.  I'm sure that's not quite what they intended!   But I'm certainly not complaining...


  1. Mandy -
    Wouldn't you say that the older cars were built with much more slack (or "wiggle room") than the newer cars? An old engine may expect to have crud stay in the engine, helping seal any gaps. Take a newer "detergent" and synthetic oil designed for cars with much less slack, and it will open gaps allowing oil to drip through the cracks.....

    I remember having to top off the oil on my old cars every thousand miles or so, and carried oil in my car to do this. (My VW Beetle drank oil!) Today, I don't remember seeing any of my cars lose oil - I'm well within spec until schedule oil changes, one of which is scheduled for Monday.


    1. Marian,

      Years of "deposits" being removed by the new type oil is almost certainly what happened. It was an unfortunate issue, but the bright side is that it sharpened my awareness of engine oil (and who changes it.)

      And it pointed out that all service providers are not alike.

      I do wonder about the new oils - what will these new cars run like after 40+ years and a lot of miles, using these many new products? Everybody hypothesizes, but no one really knows for sure. Back in the seventies, my folks never thought their car would still be around, let alone fully driveable, this far into the 21st century (using old technology products.)

      Hope they're still around and not all rotted out inside...


  2. I am not a car expert but I would not be surprised if the gaskets in use today with synthetic oil are very different from the old gaskets of decades ago.

    A good friend of mine had a black 1968 Dodge Dart. Considering the way he drove and the things that he ingested back in the day it is amazing that any of us survived. That old Dart could not be killed. One night he drove it off the road onto thin ice on a pond and the car went through the ice. It was towed out of the pond...the engined started...eventually the car dried out and it never seemed any the worse for wear.

    Of course, we all recall the days of the ol VW microbus that was so nicely memorialized by Arlo Guthrie in ''Alice's Restaurant". On a sad note my son's former boss always wanted on and finally picked on up. Late one night driving back from a family event in Vermont while up on the NY Thruway not far from Syracuse he lost control of the microbus. Everyone suspected that he simply fell asleep. He survived but his wife died in the crash. Good old fun cars but not even remotely crashworthy by today's standards.


    1. The rubber parts in fuel systems today ARE of different materials. Though fuel injection muddies the water a bit since it doesn't use a carburetor, with its many orifices and rubber parts. The ethanol of today begets destroyed fuel systems in older cars. (Pay a high price for gas, and have it wreck your car. Of course if you pay an extra $2 or $3 a gallon around here, you can find ethanol free gas...I only use that for my one big winter fill-up.)

      Too bad my old Buick Reatta wasn't like your friend's Dart. I got it with 160K on the clock, and traded it in with 200K...running like crap, needing lots of repairs.

      As an antique (on a trailer or driven to local shows) a microbus would be fine. Anything more, not so much. But you're right about Alice's Restaurant.


  3. A few years back I picked up a 1992 Porsche 968 with less than 12K miles. The rubber was perfect and the car was in super mint condition. After two years I gave it to my son for his 30th birthday since he is the real car nut in the family. He detailed it and has entered it in a few auto shows with a best showing at 2nd place in the import class. No ethanol ever goes in the car. Mostly he fills it with AMOCO premium white.

  4. Good thing you still have an Amoco station selling white gas. There are none around here. Closest station with ethanol-free is about 25 miles away. If I fill it up there, I burn over 2 gallons just getting it home. And it isn't Amoco brand.

    Last fall, the price was about $2.50 above the cost of using that differential, right now it would probably cost about $5.50 a gallon. I haven't looked lately. That's a once-a-year treat, with gas stabilizer over the summer. My carburetor is new, so that should be OK for a few years. I just have to worry about the fuel pump.

    I hear that premium contains the least ethanol. If true, that would be good! It's all I can use...


    1. My son knows every place he can find ethanol free gas for the old 968.

    2. There are a few places here on the eastern shore with it...mostly for older boats. But I don't pay $5 or $6 a gallon - except for my winter fill each fall.

      Aviation and/or racing fuel would both work and be higher octane (110) at the higher cost, but it's not legal to use on the road (taxes haven't been paid.) And it's dyed a color, thus it's visible if anyone checks. So I don't go that route.

      Guess I'll have to stick with Sta-Bil.