Saturday, December 27, 2008

Twas the night before Carlisle

Twas the night before Carlisle and all through the shop,
Not a Mopar was stirring, not even a Dart.

The car keys were hung on their peg hooks with care,
In hopes Clif Winters soon would be there.

The tools were packed all snug in their chest,
After going non-stop for a month, they needed a rest.

And momma in her nightgown and I in my cap,
were watching re-runs of “Pinks”, to restless to nap.

When out in the road there were tires a squealin’,
I sprang from my bed to see what was peelin’.

Away to the garage door I flew like a flash,
Pulling open the door and knocking over the trash.

The full moon shone bright on the dew covered lawn,
and glinting off chrome, early before dawn.

When what to my wondering eyes should appear?
But an early A body with a resonator and 8 cylinders.

With a little race driver that was so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be Veep Clif!

More rapid than chevys his coursers they came,
And he whistled and shouted and called them by name.

Now Polara and Coronet, now Valiant and ‘Cuda,
On Charger, On Challenger, On Demon and Daytona!

Watch the top of the race tree, Pre-stage lights so tall.
Now race away! Race away! Race away all!

I ran back behind my Barracuda and hid,
as Veep Clif stopped in the driveway with a skid.

He was dressed all in denim from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were covered with brake fluid and dirt.

A bundle of parts he had flung on his back,
And he looked like vendor from a swap meet at that.

Into my garage he came, a right jolly old tech,
He popped open my hood to give things a check.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
He tuned her up good, and then turned with a jerk.

And laying a key in the ignition he did,
It fired right up and idled, then closed the engine bay lid.

He sprang to his ride, to the throttle gave a kick,
And down the road he blasted, rowing his Hurst 4 speed stick.

But I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight,
Happy Carlisle to all, and to all a happy cruise night!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Chrysler and GM in merger talks!?

I for one would not want to see the publicity photos of the 2009 Camaro coming down the same assembly line as the 2009 Challenger. Possibly on the same platform! It’s just too horrid a thought. Perhaps these merger talks are a very bad Halloween joke/nightmare being played on the car world. The thought of a Hemi in a GMC Denali, or any other GM vehicle for that matter, really, really depresses me.

How would this affect us older Mopar lovers? Well, I’ve always been one of those “Glass half full” kind of guys who tries to see the silver lining in things so here’s my take on the up side of this possible merger.

More Licensed Reproduction Parts.

GM has a pretty good program for producing or licensing good quality aftermarket reproduction pieces for their hobbyist’s vehicles.

In the GM camp, there are many aftermarket companies producing GM certified replacement parts at reasonable prices. If, and it’s a big if, GM and Chrysler were to merge, it would make good business sense that the licensing of Mopar Reproduction parts follow the same model as how existing GM parts are certified.

The trouble Dave Layson got into over the summer brought to light that there are some “Gaps” in Chrysler’s Reproduction Parts supply plan. Not to re-hash the “Laysons Incident” and not knowing both sides of the story, but what if Chrysler was charging outrageous fees to license their products? Could this be why Laysons never really pursued licensing the many good quality products they were making? Is it poor execution on Chrysler’s part?

As much as I would to hate to see a merger happen, the outcome for those in the hobby looking for genuine parts could be huge. There would be licensed Mopar Reproduction parts available, hopefully at a reasonable price, for all levels of the hobby and there would be no fear of sub-standard or non-licensed parts bringing down the value of restored vehicles.

The better scenario is Chrysler and GM don't merge and Ma Mopar steps it up in the reproduction parts business.

I know times are tough for businesses large and small and this merger is just that, business. But Ma Mopar being owned by GM just seems wrong. I guess the other good thing that would come out of this possible merger, other than better reproduction parts, would be the small consolation that Chrysler would at least be owned by an American company.

Friday, July 11, 2008

My Car Arrived at Carlisle!

Hello EVBC'ers,
My 1966 Barracuda made the 5 1/2 hour trip with no issues. Unless you count the fact that it took 7 1/2 hours to get here.

It all started in the garage. The car was packed, we were ready to go and it would not start. I smelled gas and thought I flooded it. I unpacked the trunk, pulled out the tool box, put the fender cover on the car and removed the front 2 plugs on the left side. The plugs were dry.

OK, I thought. I put them back in, put on the wires, pumped the bejeuzzes out of the throttle and cranked it. She started right up. That's what I get for letting it sit for three days without starting her up.

So we re-loaded the car and off we went. at 5:00 pm. on a major highway. Heading west. Whose bright idea was that!

We hit rush hour traffic in multiple construction zones with the sun in my face through a pitted windshield. Yeah, fun!

At 8:00 pm we pulled off the highway for a bite to eat and let the car cool off and to top off the tank. 45 min later we were back on the road but it wasn't long before we hit more evening road work. and more and more night construction. First it was the left lane, then the right lane.

Then the left lane, but this time they had half of the right lane blocked off too so we were riding half in the lane, half in the breakdown lane right on those "Don't you dare fall asleep at the wheel" rumble strips. At this point my arms hurt and were going numb.

We finally closed in on the exit we needed to take to get to my Aunt and Uncle's house where we are staying for the weekend. We pull off, turn right at the end of the ramp, left on the road we need and then yet again the road fairies threw us another curve ball. "Road Closed" WTF!

OK turn around, get back on the highway, go to the next exit, stop, pull the Blackberry out and check the maps to make sure I was going in the right direction. We finally pulled in the driveway at 12:30 am and promptly went to sleep. Man that was fun! (sarcasm).

Anyway, we got up, fired up the car and headed into Carlisle where the traffic was light, the humidity was low, cruised to the fairgrounds and finally fulfilled a 14 year dream!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Price of Gas!

With a gallon of gas about to hit the $4.00 per gallon mark in my part of the country it got me to thinking about how it affects me and my Barracuda. I have had this car for over 13 years now and it is finally a usable, drivable, hop-in-at-a-moments-notice-and-go-for-a-cruise, car.

I registered my car to be at the Carlisle All Chrysler Nationals this year for the first time and now I may not be able to go because of the price of gas. I feel so ripped off! I've been looking forward to this trip for years! By July I figure it will cost me about $450 to $500 in gas alone for a 3 day weekend!

Its hard to justify spending that kind of money on a hobby when you need to it to pay for other everyday things like food, electricity and gas for your daily driver to get back and forth to work. I know there are many of you out there who feel the same way. Many of you travel long distances to go to the car show every year because its what we do as car guys and gals.

So whats a person to do? Do we find many people in the same area and rent a car hauler to trailer our cars to the show? I know my car isn't a "trailer queen". Do we swap our V8's for Slant 6 engines? 4 bbl carbs for 2bbls? Do we drop in a de-tuned low hp engine and put the "good motor" on an engine stand?

How about going green? Anyone got an extra fuel cell laying around? Solar? Well hell Yea! Have you seen how big that back window is? Slap some panels in there, add some batteries and were off! We just have to travel during the day, as long as its sunny.

I'm not sure if I would pay to see the "Hurst Hybrid Under Glass" make any 1/4 mile wheels up runs at the drag strip. Somehow it wouldn't be the same.

I'm just a little tweaked about the whole situation. I could air out my political thoughts, rant about this for awhile longer, and it still wouldn't bring the price of gas down to a reasonable level.

Like the rest of you, I have to tighten up on spending and deal with it hoping things will get better soon. Maybe if I'm lucky I can convince the wife to let me use some of the money from our "Stimulus Package" and make the trip anyway.

I dunno. The whole price of gas situation just seems so intolerable. I will be at Carlisle this year. It's just that I may roll up in the wifes Corolla, not my Barracuda.

Sunday, March 30, 2008


A little something I created with photoshop

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Classic Cars and Winter Driving

Some of you don’t know how good you really have it. I am envious of those who live in the warmer states where if you chose could drive your “special ride” year round. I’m sure there are those of you who are envious of us in the northeast where we can drive our cars at least 6 to 8 months of the year. (I’m looking at our Canadian friends).

It’s February in Connecticut and I have been driving my car on the nice weekends just to diagnose various issues. Recently I had replaced the stock 25 year old coil and went for a drive testing the improved performance and trying to figure out where a vibration was that I have. I had just balanced the wheels and pulled out on the road when it started to snow a little. I figured it was just passing flurries as the weather guy wasn’t calling for anything.

As I pulled on the highway for a 1 exit blast, the flurries turned to snow showers. I’m thinking “This Sucks!” as I get the car up to 75, 80 MPH and feel the vibration I was looking for. I get to the off ramp ready for the return trip and the snow got worse.

At this point I have to turn on the wipers and what is the one thing I did not replace yet? Yup, the wiper blades! I took the return trip back at the safer 65 MPH, the snow blowing over the car as I drove. I get the car home safely and as I was pulling into the garage the snow turned to rain.

Right now I’m in “Carlisle” mode. I’m doing whatever I can do to get my car ready to drive to the All-Chrysler Nationals for the first time and good ol’ Mother Nature is playing the spoiler.
So yeah, I’m envious of you who have better weather year round. Enjoy it, relish it and feel for us in the cooler climes that can only look out the window and wait for Spring or even Summer to take the Hot Rod for a weekend blast.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Second coming of the Muscle Car era

Driving to work the other day I found myself letting a new Mustang GT pass, then sped up just to get a look at it. On the way home I drove past a side street and srtetched my neck to get a look at the new Yellow Charger with black stripes come down the road.

With the new Challenger coming out soon as well as the Camaro and other retro projects, it feels good to look around and see some interesting cars on the road, changing the driving landscape from the boring everyday "jelly bean" cars we see day in and day out to an exciting sea of bright colored, high horsepower metal.

I was about six years old at the height of the Muscle Car era and don't remember much, but I'm told that when these cars were new, it was sort of the same attitude we have about todays cars. Normal. Everyday. Same old stuff.

In 1970 my 1966 Barracuda was four years old and two models behind. Fairly run of the mill, not exciting and relagated to daily transportation. It was only as I entered High School that I saw value in these older cars. Oh yea, the 1978 Mustang II was "real cool" and the gaudy 5 mph bumpers on the new Camaro was a real design statement, these cars never got my interest.

Flash forward to 2008. What was old is new again. The styles of the late 60's and early 70's is in vogue and we have more to look at on the highways than the lackluster styles of today. I'm a Mopar guy and the New challenger excites me as does the pictures of the 2008 Barracuda designed by the same company that did the Challenger. Ford has the new Mustang that I feel is so well done that I do a double take whenver I see one. Chevrolet is releasing the Camaro in a remake of the 1969 model, one can only hope they release a Pontiac Firebird as well since their GTO was so ill recieved.

With so much new retro tin rolling the highways and byways soon, I hope to experience what I missed as a child and witness the coming of the modern Muscle Car era.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Hey! The Prez has a blog!

Hey all. I've started this blog as a place for me to spout off about anything I want related to the club, cars or anything else I choose.

I may not always get to the chat room friday nights or read all my email, but at least I have a place to keep you all informed with whats new or on my mind.

So with that said, I hope you will enjoy my blog.

Roger Kizer
President, Founder
The Early Valiant and Barracuda club