Everyone should have a driveway project

Published 6:05 am Wednesday, December 6, 2023

By Steve Stricker

Tuesday, Nov. 28, watching MECUM Auto Auctions Las Vegas, like Barrett-Jackson, love these as it is so interesting to see the variety of cars, trucks, amazing level of restorations and equally amazing prices!

Being so close to Christmas, it was fun to pretend Santa gave me a blank check to buy a car of my choice and carefully, slowly viewed each car. First requirement, manual transmission. Preferred mostly European, don’t care about horsepower. Very conservative, so prefer all original stock cars and “bought” my car! 

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I’ve been fortunate to own some classic cars, such as my first car in high school passed down from my three older sisters, a beautiful 1957 Chevrolet Belair. I’ve had a 1947 Ford pickup, two 1956 Jeep Speedsters, two 1959 Ford T-Birds, a 1960s Willys Jeep and a 1964 Chevy Super Sport, which I loved but sold before going to Vietnam because I was convinced I wouldn’t come back.

I also had a M151 quarter-ton 4 by 4 truck (Jeep) utility I drove for more than a year in Vietnam. That damn car nearly got me killed a dozen times. I had a 1967 Firebird I hated and traded for new 1971 MGB-GT, which I still have, a 1972 Chevy Blazer, a 2002 Tii BMW, a 2021 Porshe Boxster S, and a 2006 BMW 330i 6 speed. I wish I had all of them back! 

My current cars include a 1964 Land Rover Series IIA, a 1971 MGB-GT (which was my first new car), 1996 Volvo 850 Wagon with a rare 5-speed manual transmission and a second new car, a 2012 KIA Soul+ parked in the garage next to the first.

As said, I am very conservative. I am not an ink guy, but as an accomplished artis I am fascinated to watch Ink TV for its problem solving and execution.  As a car guy, I love to watch all car stuff, including troubleshooting and rebuilding cars and motorcycles. I have a love/hate affair with “Roadkill,” where a car is torn apart and built back, then they do stupid burnouts, which tears the tires apart and destroys the car just rebuilt and they laugh like three 3 year olds! But I totally respect their amazing problem-solving mechanical skills; those same guys laugh as they patiently rebuild cars alongside the road when they break down.

I love original cars (only original once) like my 1971 MGB-GT, Volvo and 1964 Land Rover, but accept the replaced (better) Series III engine and love the Phoenix, Ariz., paint falling off (patina) aluminum body, no rust!  But if I EVER get this classic Brit on the road after hours and hours and years rebuilding, I’m not about to take it on one of those rock crawl things and break it!

Then there’s Texas Metal, where they think it’s cool to destroy original cars like a perfect original rare MGB-GT V8 (idiots), jack up trucks to stupid heights (body), while the differential remains low; duh – will never watch again!

Restoration Garage, “The Guild,” with David Grainger based in Canada is one of my favorites because of the variety of vehicles they work on, mostly exotic imports, and their meticulous back to original restorations. Chasing Classic Cars with Wayne Carini is also high on my watch list because of his quality original restorations from barn finds. Fantom Works with Dan Short based in Norfolk, Va., (my last military assignment) is a realistic automotive show where people like us buy from the internet or bring in long-owned cars to find that they are not what was told or believed, full of rust and other stuff, and they problem solve to fix them correctly – not cheap, but done right.

So go work on your driveway project (me telling me) or get one! Peace Out.

Steve Stricker received his Ph.D. in Counselor Education from Ole Miss. He can be reached at sstricker@olemiss.edu