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‘Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz?’

By Steve Stricker

With Christmas approaching and Thanksgiving in a week and a half, I find myself extremely thankful (too much to list) but grieving over cars I have had to sell (1957 Chevrolet Belair, 1964 Chevy Super Sport, 1972 BMW 2002tii, 1972 240 Z Datsun, 1946 Willy’s wagon, 1956 Willy’s Jeep, 1947 Ford pickup, 1972 Chevy Blazer, 1987 Saab 900 SPG turbo, 2001 Porsche Boxster S, 2006 BMW 330i and my mom’s 1965 Pontiac Grand Prix).

But am thankful to still have my 1971 MGB/GT (first new car), tucked safely away in my garage awaiting a gestalt from my brain and/or money to fix a bloody hell SU/choke linkage problem. And although I have owned a Porsche (sorry Janis), I have never owned a Mercedes and want one, especially a 1964 “Pagoda Top” 230SL manual shift.

My driveway and garage are full of projects that for now I love and am content with — my MG, 1996 Volvo 850 rare 5-speed wagon (on-going project), 1964 Land Rover Series 88 IIA and 2012 KIA Soul (second new car) purchased the day before Thanksgiving in 2011.

But there are other cars on my list that I want such as a Volkswagen 24 window bus, air-cooled 911, 914 Targa, Citroen CV2, spit window VW bug, ’57 Chevy Nomad, 1972 Volvo P1800ES, 1983 Mini Morris Cooper Classic, 1964 TR4, Smart fortwo Brabus convertible, Nash-Healey, DB5/DB4 Aston Martin, 1973 Fiat 500 ragtop and 1974 Alfa Romeo 2000 GTV — all manual shift.

Because of a host of stuff dumped on my plate this year, my goal of getting the IIA running by Christmas has been hampered, but I’m so close I can taste the eggnog, I have the parts (for now), the garage is organized, my heart fixed, my energy is back and I am out of excuses!

Last week I received a box of IIA goodies from my friends Ike Goss and Jason Dunsmore of Pangolin 4×4 in Springfield, OR specializing in new and used classic Land Rover parts, who I stumbled across pursuing parts from literally all over the world, and they have become my go-to guys because they drive and work on these classic Landy’s, have all the parts I need, plus their experience and friendship has been extremely valuable to me.

To get the Landy running and driving (help Holy Spirit), I will install new brake and clutch master cylinders (old ones off by first removing the bloomin’ wing), slave cylinder, wheel cylinders, hoses, bleed the system, and replace the cleaned and lined petrol tank.

Then (short list) change the oil, transmission and differential fluids with new crush washers on the drain plugs, check the dash lights and gauges, rebuild the wiper motors, and with work I have already done such as making a driver seat back to give me more leg room, redoing a shift linkage mess and repairing the emergency brake, cleaned fuel system from tank to carb including crud from the glass manual fuel pump, new petrol lines and filters, and with the new plugs should be good to go as the engine purrs like Jag … that cat.

Speaking of Jag and being thankful, over the last few months, thanks to this wee black cat with beautiful glow-in-the-dark yellow eyes who chose to adopt me, and although the learning curve has been severe by never having a cat before, he has softened and chipped away at the crust on my now battery-operated heart, and along with prayer and introspection, I have slowly begun to emerge from under my rock and comfort zone.

Happy Thanksgiving, Go Car Projects, Go Cat People, Go Rebels — Beat State!

Steve Stricker has a Ph.D. from Ole Miss, is owned & trained by that cat Jag, and can be reached at sstricke@olemiss.edu.