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President’s Column For December 2013
As I mentioned last month, eBay is the way to buy things these days, especially rare or hard to find vintage things. But
not only is it a way to buy things but it is also a way to SELL things. I’m both a SELLER and a BUYER on eBay, and
have been one for well over 12 years.
First let’s talk pitfalls as a Buyer: As a Buyer you are going to see many different approaches to the way a Seller lists his
or her items. Some Sellers give lots of info, with lots of photos. On the other extreme, some Sellers say very little and
may have only one photo. I tend to stay away from these types of “low information” Sellers because I think its sloppy
salesmanship. And perhaps they are trying to hide something negative about what they are selling. Folks like this have
a tendency to gloss over problems and think a crack or scratch on an item is no big deal. If YOU don’t care, that’s ok,
you might want to take the chance, but not on an expensive item. I have been stung too many times by a Seller who
didn’t show the bad side of his item he was selling, or tell the truth about the actual condition.
A Buyer needs to do a bit of research before jumping into bidding on an item. Take the time to look at what others are
charging for the same item. Under SEARCH OPTIONS there is a way to look at COMPLETED AUCTIONS. Try that
too. I find that when buying an item, I like to feel comfortable with the Seller. I get a sense of how honest they are by
several things. One is the number of POSITIVE FEEDBACKS they have. A low number makes me worry, even though I
realize every Seller has to start somewhere. I also feel better the more descriptive the Seller is about the Auction and
the item being sold. I like clarity about the condition of the item and shipping details.
This brings up an issue that concerns both Buyers and Sellers, and that is SHIPPING & HANDLING FEES. Every Buyer
thinks that the cost should be very low, but that’s unreasonable. You have to have a feel for what is fair. As a Seller I’m
being hit constantly with how expensive it is to ship anything these days. A 12 lb item can cost $20 to ship within
California but $40-$50 to ship to the east coast. Dimensions of the boxed item can affect the cost dramatically. One
inch larger in one dimension can put the boxed item into a higher priced category, so be very careful when choosing a
box to ship with.
Pitfalls as a Seller: Well, you just read the biggest issue we have as a Seller, SHIPPING FEES. Seems 50% of the time
I get screwed when I estimate costs. Recently I sold an item for $4 plus $4 S&H, but it cost me $6 to ship. Do the math.
It pays to do research on how much others are charging for similar items. Another issue is packing your sold items. I
use recycled “popcorn” and bubble wrap for all my sales. Buying these things is expensive too. I have a storage shed
full of old boxes I can use for future sales, but it seems I’m always needing another box to fit an oddball item I’m selling.
Another important thing to remember as a Seller is to be 100% accurate in your description. Take very good photos, the
more the merrier. This takes a lot of time I know, but you will make sales where others won’t. As I mentioned, Buyers
will feel more comfortable buying from you. One thing you want to avoid is NEGATIVE FEEDBACK. Most Sellers bend
over backwards to pamper their Buyers and avoid it. EBay does not allow Sellers to give strong Negative Feedbacks on
Buyers, however Buyers can give Sellers very negative and detailed Feedbacks. Not fair, but an issue to deal with.
This is just a small sampling of my thoughts on the pitfalls of using eBay. We can continue this subject at an upcoming
Club Meeting if you’d like. The world of eBay, is a great place if you can avoid it’s pitfalls.
Happy trails! - Jerry Mull, LACCC president
Jerry Mull – LACCC President GOD BLESS OUR TROOPS AND THEIR FAMILIES email@example.com
God Bless America, her troops, and her military families. Jerry Mull LACCC President
President’s Column For May - June 2013
For the past 35 months, my 1955 210 Delray Club Coupe has been sitting patiently in the garage waiting to be re-awakened. After Janet’s Memorial Service I parked it there, and only started it occasionally. Now I’ve been asked to use the car in a friend’s niece’s Wedding in Santa Barbara, so I have decided to make the effort to get it running. 35 months ago I took out the old gas and put in 3 gallons of 100 octane AV gas, so the gas was still good. I pulled all four cars out of the garage so Icould place the Delray in a better spot. It literally started on the first crank, but after warming up and backing up about 20 feet, it started missing. I shut-off the engine and replaced all the 8 spark plugs with fresh AC Delco R45’s. The old ones looked black but not horrible. As I pulled off the last spark plug wire, passenger side rear, I found the problem: The spark plug wire right angle connector was toast, completely ruined inside with rust and a cracked rubber boot. I replaced the wire with a fresh one from Pep Boys, and she started up ok. Once on the street it became apparent that theRochester 4GV 4bbl carburetor needs a rebuild. I purchased two kits, one from Alan Mest and one from eBay. Between the two kits they should solve the problem. More next month…
Happy trails! - Jerry Mull, LACCC president
Jerry Mull – LACCC President GOD BLESS OUR TROOPS AND THEIR FAMILIES firstname.lastname@example.org
President’s Column For March 2013
LACCC Celebrates 25 Years!
The first meeting of the new Classic Chevy Club Chapter called “L.A. Classic Chevys” or more formally as “The Los Angeles Classic Chevy Club” was held on Saturday March 19th, 1988. Fiftyseven ’55-’56-’57 Chevy enthusiasts met to initiate a new local Chapter of Classic Chevy International (CCI, which is now Eckler’s Chevy Classics). After one hour of chit chatting and looking over the beautiful Chevys in the TRW parking lot, the group convened in the cool air conditioned TRW FORUM for a 90 minute meeting. Various ideas were presented by Chapter founders Jerry Mull and Jay Nesbit. After some coaxing, most Board positions were filled. Jerry Mull – President; Jay Nesbit – Vice President; Greg Moxley – Secretary; Janet Mull – Membership Secretary; Martine Crowell – Treasurer and Mike Barrett – Sargeant At Arms. It was agreed that Elections and Membership Renewals would take place at or around April 15th each year. Jim Crowell offered to do the Club Newsletter. A fresh set of repro door sill plates donated by Harold Drake Restorations was raffled off to raise money for the Club’s new Treasury. Nick Baer walked away the winner. Nick remarked “It’ll be the best thing on my ’57 BelAir Hardtop!” Attendees came from all over L.A. County, some as far away as Temple City, Norwalk and Cerritos. Harold Drake, Fritz Cornejo and Russ Nordstrom were there, as were Rick Coleman and George Weaver. Did I miss anyone? (Please share your stories of that day with us!) The meeting was adjourned at 5:30 pm and after all was said and done, 25 persons had become Charter Members in this new and growing Club. At 6 pm a majority of the group caravanned their Classic Chevys over to the now defunct Hawthorne Pizza Hut on El Segundo Blvd. A great time was had by all and many new friendships were made. After all, that’s what our Chapter is about: great people having fun with the best cars Chevrolet ever built, the Classic ’55-’56-’57 Chevys!
Happy trails! - Jerry Mull, LACCC president
At the July 8th Club Meeting we discussed how we could get more
finance the Club, cut back on our reliance on monthly Raffles to make ends meet and
save money on the printing & postage of the monthly CLASSIC HOTLINE. Several
ideas were suggested and a few will be instituted immediately. Here they are:
1) Raelyn Morgan has resigned from her task of Raffle
Cepeida will take over the monthly Raffles at least until next year. Raffle prizes
will primarily be Gift Cards to places like Target, Olive Garden, or Pep Boys. As
always your donations of car related items are always welcome.
2) The Classic Hotline will be emailed to all Club Members with
on file. Newsletter format will be Word 2003 or PDF (PDF preferred). Please
make sure you can handle either of these two formats.
3) Yearly dues will be raised from $25 to $35 effective April
4) Emails and Facebook will be used to notify members of
5) We are going to try to have at least one event per month
where we take the
cars out for a cruise and end up at a restaurant.
6) Newsletter will grow in page count because of the simplicity
of emailing rather
than printing & mailing. We are hoping that at least 50%-75% of our members
can receive emails with attachments, which should save us money.
Will you help us by sending us your email address? Please send
them to me at:
REMINDER: Our buddy Bob Logan created a FACEBOOK page for
LACCC. If you have a
FACEBOOK account, please do a search for LOS ANGELES CLASSIC CHEVY CLUB and
“LIKE” it so that you can stay connected. Thank you Bobby! Be sure to add a comment
and a photo of your car.
Thank you Raelyn for your dedicated work all these many years on the Raffles. Those
Raffles kept the Club afloat. Don’t worry, we will still have fun Raffles at the Christmas Party
LACCC Is 24 Years Old!
The first meeting of the L.A. Classic Chevy Club was held in March of 1988. Interestingly 57 people were in attendance that fateful day. Our first meeting was held in the main Cafeteria of TRW, in Redondo Beach. By the end of that meeting we had 21 members as I recall and an elected Board. President: Jerry Mull; VP: Jay Nesbit; Membership Secretary: Janet Mull; Secretary: Greg Moxley; Treasurer: Martine Crowell; Sergeant at Arms: Mike Barrett.
And so it began… Since we started the Club in March, we decided to make April 15th our renewal date. That’s a date that is hard to forget, right? Ugh! Sorry to say, it is that time again, Tax Time and LACCC Membership Renewal time.
We have kept the dues at $25 for many years. To make running the Club financially feasible at that low price we reduced the page count of the Newsletter and we rely heavily on our monthly Club Meeting Raffle to bring in much needed additional income (thank you Raelyn and others who participate in the Raffle!). We will continue to keep our dues low, to encourage each of you to renew your Membership.
Please take the time to fill out and mail in the attached LACCC Membership Application. Xerox copies are OK. Feel free to pass on to others with an interest in Tri-Five Chevys. We can always use some new members!
Is Your Classic’s Battery Tied Down?
My friend Christina purchased a very nice 1956 Oldsmobile Super 88 Holiday 4-door hardtop. A restored original car, probably in a solid #3 condition. She bought it about 40 milesfrom her home, and it had a few issues like a noisy lifter/rocker assembly, broken speedometer cable, non-working radio & clock, cracked back-up lenses, etc. At the recommendation of a friend she took it to a shop nearby where she bought the car to get these things fixed.
He had the car for 2 1/2 months, which was outrageous in itself. When she went to get the car, I wasn't with her, another friend was. Apparently no one looked under the hood as I would have spotted this in one second. The Shop had removed her old battery to charge it, so they put a used Group 24 battery lying around the shop in its place. They did NOT tie the battery down. So when she drove it home and took a slow left U-turn, the battery fell out of the battery tray and into the moving fan, then into the radiator. The engine stopped instantly. Luckily no battery leakage, just a badly leaking radiator. The tow truck took over 2 hours to get there, adding to the aggravation.
Since it was an emergency on a Saturday, and none of my contacts were available, she took it to her friend's acquaintance’s Shop for the repairs. She asked her friend and the Shop guy to completely replace the radiator core. No patch jobs. She knew it would be about $400, but she wanted to make it right and send the negligent Shop owner the bill. Well this bone head local Shop decided they wanted the car out of their Shop asap, so they just soldered up the gapping hole and charged her $250 or so. She was furious to see that they had basically done a bubble gum repair and not what she requested. Soon her and I are taking the car to a reputable Shop to make it like it was before the incident.
She was so very lucky that the battery case didn't crack open and that there was no fire from all the sparks. The fan blade chopped up the negative battery terminal, cable and case, but no leakage. The fan blade is bent and requires a new replacement. In reality someone could have been badly injured or even killed if circumstances were slightly different.
Just last night I saw a 1958 Chevy Pickup that had its 12V battery sitting on the firewall tray without a hold down. I have seen this so often it's almost epidemic. PLEASE TIE DOWN YOUR CAR OR TRUCKSBATTERY. Use a bungee cord or whatever, but secure it today! Correct Battery hold down brackets and "J" bolts are readily available online thru Parts Suppliers like Eckler’s Chevy Classics or Danchuk. There is no excuse!
LACCC PRESIDENT’S COLUMN FOR DEC. 2011
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!
Well, here we are again. It’s that hectic time of year we call “The Holiday Season”. Folks are out there shopping and fighting the crowds. Me, I’m ordering things via the Internet or buying Gift Cards. So much easier and not much chance of being Pepper Sprayed.
Our annual Christmas Holiday Party is scheduled for Saturday, December 10th. We will be holding it at the same room as last year, at the Torrance Marie Callender’s. See flyer on page 6 for details. I hope you are planning on joining us this year!
As always, please bring at least one unwrapped toy for a boy or girl, ages 6 thru 16. This year a Charity Representative named Charmaine Doty will be joining us for dinner and will be taking the toys we collect directly to kids in the Lawndale Counsel PTA Christmas Tree Program. Charmaine is the Christmas Basket Chairperson. Thank you Rick & Nancy Misensol for arranging this Charity this year.
I should mention that the Charity is also accepting new or lightly used coats, jackets and sweaters this Christmas season. Charmaine can be contacted at 1-310-970-2100 or 1-310-644-8390. EIN: 23-7038346 is their Charity ID for those who are interested.
For our Annual Raffle that Raelyn Morgan is putting together, we are asking all of you to please bring one $20+ valued item to the Party. It can be for a male or a female. Raelyn has collected a few items on her own so this should be a fun Raffle as always.
LACCC PRESIDENT’S COLUMN FOR NOV. 2011
New Meeting Location 11-13-2011
As most of you know who have attended our Club Meetings this past year, we have been trying to find a new location to hold our Meetings that fits our Club’s needs. We require space to handle any potential attendees, space to set-up our projector to show our slideshows and a large secure parking lot. It also would be nice to have food nearby. I think we have found the location: the Automobile Driving Museum (ADM).
One thing many of you DON’T know is that our Club is one of 12 Clubs that are officially sponsored by the ADM. One of the benefits is having Club Meetings on site. We finally decided to ask the Executive Director, Jeff Walker, and the reply was “Yes!”
We will probably be floating around between Buildings 600 and 610 for awhile because of other ADM events and remodeling of the southern most 600 Building. However I am told we will be at the 600 Building this month.
One of the cool benefits of meeting at the ADM is that there is food within walking distance, and several just a few blocks away. Most notably, Sizzler, El Polo Loco, Subway, Chili Verde, Petit Café, Quiznos, Starbucks, The Habit and IHOP.
ADM’s address: 610 Lairport Street, El Segundo, CA 90245
LACCC PRESIDENT’S COLUMN FOR JULY 2011
Keeping Your Insurance Up To Date
If you are like me, you probably regard your annual vintage car Insurance Renewal as a nuisance. Just more money to shell out once a year, and it always seems to be due at a bad time.
But it is something you need to keep an eye on. The problem is that the stated value you placed on your car may be totally out of date. I know that happened to me. We had been just paying the bill each year and not looking at the value. When I did finally look, it was ridiculously low. The Insurance Company would only allow me to move the value up $10,000 over the phone without a proper Appraisal. Then just a 5% increase per year is allowed without an Appraisal.
So what I have decided to do is get a professional Appraisal of all my old cars. My good friends in the Classic Chevys Of SoCal (The Valley Club) had a recent event where a bunch of their members had their cars appraised all at the same time by a fellow named Bob Petricca. Bob gave them the special rate of $125 per car. That includes a formal “book” on your car, with photos and a printed Appraisal.
Last Saturday I took my Nomad up to a monthly gathering of Valley Hot Rodders and car nuts like me, called KOFFEE & KIX. Bob met me there in his ’57 Nomad, and took all sorts of photos of my ’55 Nomad and looked everywhere (Bob also owns a restored ’55 V8 Corvette). No estimate yet, but I didn’t want one. I wanted him to go back home and do some research before giving me a number. I want something that my Insurance Company can’t deny should there be a claim.
I’m proposing that we do a similar event at my Garage and some of you bring out your cars for an appraisal too. “Koffee & Kix” at my Garage. Could be a fun event and we will all get the discounted group rate of $125. Need not get your car appraised, just attend for fun. What do you think? Let me know if you are interested.
Bob’s website: www.caldreamcars.net
LACCC PRESIDENT’S COLUMN FOR FEBRUARY 2011
THE BASICS – Volume I
Those of us who have been “in the Hobby” for a long time, tend to forget how overwhelming all of this “old car stuff” can be. This month’s column is written for those who are new to the Car Collecting Hobby. Below are some suggestions and ideas I have distilled for your consideration. They are based on my nearly 47 years of hands-on involvement in the Hobby. I hope they are of some help:
1) Don’t buy any car unless you get yourself educated on prices first. Read Hemming’s Motor News and the Old Cars Report Price Guide, both readily available at major booksellers such as D.Dalton, Barnes & Noble, Crown Books, and some Grocery Chains. Join an international organization like Eckler’s Chevy Classics for the “Big Picture” and a local Club like ours for the nitty-gritty information, like the best Paint Shops or where to go to get chrome plating. Local Clubs can also be a great source of new friends to steer you in the right direction.
2) Have an experienced Club member go with you to look at cars you are interested in. He or she will recognize the “Good Deals” in a heartbeat, and alert you quickly of the many “Lemons” you will find.
3) Don’t buy the first car you see. Don’t inspect at a car at night. Worse yet, in a rain storm. I made that mistake once!
4) Checkout the prices to restore before tackling any “Project Car”. Overly optimistic low-ball appraisals of the cost and time involved will quickly fade away as you start the job. It ALWAYS takes longer and costs more than one would imagine. By the way, unless you are a miracle worker, most complete restorations take about 3 years and at least $10K to $15K. It is not unheard of to spend $40K or more on a car valued at no more than $25K max. It is easy to go overboard if you are not careful!
5) Beware of the “Exploded Car Factor”. A disassembled car will take at least TWO car spaces, maybe more.
6) Buy the BEST car you can afford. I cannot stress this one enough. Let someone else take the loss of all the uncompensated free time it takes to put together a nice car. It is probably wise, to avoid project cars that will need all new floor metal, major bodywork or missing many parts, as your first “Collector Car”. Enthusiasm can blind you to the tremendous amount of effort that goes into putting together a presentable and reliable old car.
7) It’s always easier to take something apart than it is to put it together. I learned that one when I was six!
8) Know your limits. Can I really devote an hour a day or most likely much more to this 3 year project? Can I afford to spend $2000+ on a new interior, $4000+ on paint/bodywork or $3000+ for an engine rebuild? Can I do bodywork or should I have it done? Am I willing to get dirty and do all the tedious hand labor it will require? Do I have the patience it will take? Does my spouse and family have the patience it will take?
9) Once you buy your “Dream Car”, create a plan. Only you can answer this one: How much can I REALLY afford? (AKA “Your Budget”) Does the car really NEED a complete restoration, or is a cosmetic restoration sufficient? How far do I go? Remove the front-clip only, or remove the body off the frame? No matter what some folks say, total frame-off restorations are not always the best solution. I have seen many over-enthusiastic new hobbyists, completely tear a car apart, alienate their family, lose interest and end up selling the car in boxes for a song. Believe me, this is not a good scenario!
10) Keep organized. As you take the car apart, label everything in plastic bags or boxes. Take photos along the way. Keep your receipts. You will be amazed how quickly the money will flow, even on the petty things.
11) To modify or not to modify. This is another question only you can answer. Some folks want their cars bone-stock original, right down to the last cotter key. Others want a 454 V8 with “tubbed” rear wheel wells and 20” wide tires. Most folks tastes are somewhere in between. They might want the stock look, with a mildly modified 350 V8/350 Turbo-Hydromatic transmission, and custom wheels. Or they might want a stock car with a few upgrades, like air conditioning and a CD Player. It’s up to you, afterall it’s your car. Build it the way YOU like it.
Why Own A Tri-Five Chevy?
Last month I wrote about buying a ’55-’56-’57 Chevy during these trying economic times. In actuality my column applied to buying any vintage vehicle. This month’s column is an explanation, why you should own a Tri-Five Chevy versus another model.
Reason One: The Tri-Five Chevys have been popular since they were new. Seems everyone has owned one in their lifetime, or have a close friend or relative who did. The Tri-Five Chevys will always have value because of the nostalgic memories attached to them. It’s been my experience that the Public loves seeing a Tri-five Chevy, and instantly recognize what they are. Even the young kids like them!
Reason Two: The Tri-Five Chevys are considered some of the easiest cars to restore because of the quantity of the reproduction parts that are being made. There are also many books on restoring them, including Service Bulletins, Shop Manuals and Assembly Manuals, all readily available. Lot’s of build information, makes their restoration much easier than trying to restore most other vintage cars out there. I would venture to say that the top five cars that are easiest to restore are a Ford Model T, a Ford Model A, a Tri-Five Chevy, a Ford Mustang and a VW Bug.
Reason Three: The Tri-Five Chevys are very User Friendly. Even in their stock form they are comfortable to ride in, steer well and have good brakes. They are easy to get in and out of, easy to work on and have great ergonomics. With the large wraparound glass windows visibility is excellent. They have lots of back seat room and a large trunk. Controls are easy to figure out and easy to reach. Lots of head, hip and leg room. Personally I like the bench seats, centrally located glove box and vent windows.
Reason Four: They are very easy to upgrade. Later Chevy V8’s drop in with no major modifications required. You can buy kits to install disc brakes, power steering and add air conditioning. You can very easily, with money and time, upgrade the car to be just as comfortable as the late model car in your driveway. There are even chassis available that you can mount the car’s body onto, that will give you modern Corvette type handling characteristics. Amazing!
Looks like you chose wisely!
LACCC PRESIDENT’S COLUMN FOR NOVEMBER 2009
Daytona Beach Dream Cruise
My good friend Faith Granger was made an offer she couldn’t refuse: bring her soon to be released film Deuce Of Spades to the second annual Daytona Beach Dream Cruise for a test screening and the organizers would promote the film with t-shirt and souvenir sales. Cool! Only thing, Faith doesn’t like flying, and she didn’t want the pre-release version of the DVD floating around unsupervised. So guess who volunteered to fly back and show the film? Yep, her crazy friend, me. On Friday October 23rd I flew off in a United Airlines’ 757 to Orlando, Florida. I arrived at about 6 pm and rented a Hertz 2010 Pontiac G6 for the 96 mile drive to Daytona Beach. Thank goodness for my iPhone’s GPS, as it guided me directly to my Hotel. Once I arrived, I connected up with the Dream Cruise coordinator Lea Lenz-Dunham and family. I got to see the Friday night venue which was a large area right on the beach full of cool cars and next to a lovingly restored 1930’s Band Shell with Bands playing. They showed a 1957 vintage film of Daytona Beach NASCAR racing on a large screen. Big crowds, and a venue you’ll never see in Los Angeles. We got to know each other over dinner at Ruby Tuesdays, where another Cruise-In was going on. Lea and her family are the type of wonderful folks that once you meet them, you feel like you’ve known them forever.
The next morning, Saturday October 24th, I met Lea, John and son RJ at one of the primary venues, a huge parking lot surrounding a local Mall. Tons of cars, were cruising several venues all day. Over 1,600 cars were registered. All cars got a free 8” x 10” photo of their car. No registration fees of any kind. Every venue was free. Trophies were sponsored by local restaurants, speed shops and shopping centers. A pretty unique concept, very similar I hear to the Woodward Avenue Dream Cruise held in Detroit each year.
That evening, at about 7:30 pm we showed the film to about 500-600 Hot Rodders and their families. The location was The Aquarium Restaurant, located right on the water, overlooking a beautiful harbor full of boats. A large grassy area (90’ x 500’), between the water and the parking lot full of cool cars, was overflowing with people in lawn chairs, viewing the inflated 12’ x 20’ rear projection screen. During the showing I sent text messages to Faith letting her know blow-by-blow what was happening. Crowd reactions, laughter, comments, etc. Meanwhile Faith was with her ’32 Deuce at El Mirage Dry Lake for a French car magazine photo shoot. Amazing what today’s technology can allow us to do! The audience was very attentive to the 160 minute film, which in itself is amazing. They were riveted to the intriguing storyline. At the end: big applause!! Faith and I were both thrilled!
On Sunday, October 25th, I continued to help mann the Deuce Of Spades Booth, selling advance sale DVDs and talking about the film. Lots of great conversations as the film does stir old memories of the Fifties. But I did get a chance to see some of the 1,600 cars that attended. There were a small number of tri-five Chevys, which I enjoyed seeing. It is amazing to notice how many quality Hot Rods and Customs there are in Florida. Most are owned by well-off retirees from the east coast States, so there was a collection of the best of the best. The custom 1949-1954 Mercs were a highlight. The quality was up there with the best on the west coast.
At about 5 pm I bid farewell to my new friends and drove 3 hours across the State to Tampa. My iPhone GPS was 100% right, but I did get lost twice. I accidently got on Interstate 95 heading to Miami. One thing about Florida, if you get on the wrong highway, it can take 12-15 miles to find another offramp. Very frustrating! I stayed two nights with my Aunt Nona and caught up with old times. And of course I showed her the film!
Tuesday afternoon I drove about 100 miles east to Orlando where I turned in my rental car and flew home. A fun trip where I met hundreds of wonderful people, but as usual I came down with a horrible cough and cold. But I’d do it all over again. Experiences like this are rare indeed.
LACCC PRESIDENT’S COLUMN FOR JULY 2009
UPDATE ONDEUCE OF SPADES
As most of you know I have been busy for the past year working as a volunteer on the full length Independent Hot Rod Film DEUCE OF SPADES. My good friend Faith Granger is the Filmmaker. She is doing about 25 functions on this film, which in itself is amazing. Everything from Script writer, Director, Producer, Camera person, Actress, Song Writer, Musician, Film Editor, Sound Editor, Make-up, Wardrobe, Special Effects, Lighting, etc. It’s been a lot of work, but a lot of fun too. A couple of you have actually been on the Set and your cars are in the film. In my case, all five of my cars are in the film. I appear in about 9 scenes, in the background as various characters. My main part is that of the Detective, where I actually speak 3 lines. Nothing like having a camera in your face at 4 am, and trying to remember what to say and do, with about 6 people watching! After a few takes, I actually did a pretty good job. I was completely surprised when I saw the finished scene. Probably Faith’s editing :>)
As Production Assistant, I’ve been busy getting vintage cars, scouting locations, making props, and working on Set as a Grip, Cameraman and Sound Boom Operator. This can also involve driving to pickup supplies, equipment or organizing things to make the Director’s life easier. She’s one busy gal!
As of now, about 98% of the flashback scenes are done. Just a few little pickup shots and some CG shots need to be completed. As of this moment we have about 15 scenes left to shoot. Most are very brief images on screen, but are important to the storyline. Primarily we are working on the modern era scenes. These are about 20% of the film. We’ve been scouting locations and have them all identified. We are hoping for a last Quarter 2009 release, on DVD.
For details and photos, see Faith’s very interesting FILMMAKER’S BLOG at www.DeuceOfSpadesMovie.com. You can see exactly what we’ve been doing. Be sure to checkout the Teasers and other things at the website too.
The Early Years
Gerry Gill - LACCC Member
My earliest recollection about a specific car was my parent’s 1939 Dodge coupe. Actually this is probably one of the first recollections in my childhood. My dad sold the Dodge and bought a new 1941 Oldsmobile coupe so that memory goes back to no older than three.
I don’t know at which age I really got turned on to cars but it was somewhere around the age of eight or nine. I remember calling and asking for brochures for the 1947 Cadillac and Lincoln cars at nine. I also remember the excitement of the new body styles of the 1948 Cadillac and Oldsmobiles with their full body length fenders and smooth lines.
My dad was a Chevrolet man. His first car was a Chevy coupe back in the twenties. Until the ’39 Dodge, I believe he had only had Chevrolets. Maybe that’s where my loyalty to Chevrolet came from.
In the fifties, the weeks before the new cars were displayed were a time of excitement and anticipation. Nobody knew what they were going to look like. There were ads in the paper and billboards talking the cars up but not showing them. Cars were shipped to the dealers all covered up. The windows on the showrooms were totally covered with large rolls of paper, with signs painted on them. I can remember the time that the “all new” 1949 Chevrolet was coming out. Our family went down to the local dealer in West Seattle early in the morning to see them. My heart was pounding as we opened the door of the dealer showroom. WOW! The cars had the body shape of the year earlier Cadillac and Oldsmobiles. They looked gorgeous. We opened doors and looked at the modern dashboard and upholstery. And of course the interior had that new car smell. The doors closed with a solid thunk as if the entire car was carved from a chunk of steel. The hood was broad and bold. Even my parents were excited but not as much as me.
My love of cars progressed rapidly. I could spot the year and make of almost any car when it was a block or two away. Every once in a while I would see a hot rod or a car with the hood and trunk emblems taken off, the car lowered, maybe spotted in primer and with load exhaust. Now, this was in Seattle, not California, so there were not too many like that in the late forties and early fifties. These hot rods and customs were very exciting. In 1948 a family friend started buying Hot Rod magazine and when we went to his parent’s house for dinner or to visit, I would read those magazines. I bought one or two in 1950 but my dad, like many adults at that time, thought that hot rodders were juvenile delinquents or at least bad kids. I tried to show him that Hot Rod magazine was about organized racing, not racing on the street. He kind of accepted that but it didn’t help when we saw two cars racing each other when we were out for a drive. I loved it.
I was also introduced me to Motor Trend, a magazine about new cars but it also featured custom cars, mostly from California. I was in love with these. Cars built by such as the Barris brothers, low, sleek, modified cars with beautiful metallic paint jobs. By 1950 I was buying Motor Trend each month with my “hard earned” twenty-five cents. I ordered the few back issues I didn’t have and my collection was started. I saved the first fifty years, with every early issue being read over and over again. I finally sold that set in the year 2000 but continue to buy Motor Trend today.
I found a balsa wood model of a ’47 Ford convertible in the hobby store. This was probably in 1950 at age 12 and my first attempt at putting it together was only fair. I painted it a metallic gold color. I then bought another model kit of the same car and “customized” it, shaping the front like a ’40 Mercury and making the body smooth all over. This was then carefully painted by brush a maroon color. It looked sharp. I still have that model sitting on my desk.
In grade school and junior high I would walk home by the Hiawatha Garage which consisted of one mechanic and one body man. The body man was a Japanese man named Tosh. I would stop and often watch him work. A quiet man, he rarely talked. Of course in the late forties and early fifties I was too young to have a car or to drive. I was fascinated by body work though and learned much from watching him. Later, he let me help out and eventually work on my car there.
When in grade school, I started taking my small cast zinc cars, smashing them with a hammer and then straightening them out, filing them smooth, and painting them. I did some of these two or three times until the metal started breaking up, then I’d buy more. My start in body work!
One day when I was eleven, my mother’s 47 Chevy wouldn’t start. I called Ed at the Flying A gas station and garage to ask him what to try. He said it sounded like the carburetor float was stuck. He said tap on it lightly with a hammer. Now, I had heard of carburetors but I wasn’t sure just where they were. So I got out some of my Hot Rod comic books and thumbed through them until I saw one that had something in it about carburetors. Then I went out and tapped on the one in the Chevy and low and behold it started up. My first car repair job.
In 1953 I was at Spencer’s drug store looking for the latest Motor Trend, I spotted two small magazines about the size of Reader’s Digest. One was called Rod & Custom, the other Honk! (Later called Car Craft). I couldn’t believe it. Here were two magazines that were devoted totally to hot rods and customs with pictures of cars and how-to-do-it articles. I probably spent most of my allowance buying the three magazines each month. I still have the first nine years of each of those two and believe me they were read over and over and over.
The rest is history. Cars saturated much of my life from then until this day. I’ve had more Corvettes than Tri-fives (5) but the Tri-fives are still near the top of my list with body work and painting my passion.
Condensed from the first two chapters of “The Cars in My Life”