The Beginnings of the Busted Knuckle Garage - Chapter 11
One hit wonder Albert Hammond wrote a popular song in 1973 called "It Never Rains in Southern California". Don't believe it. In picking up from Chapter 10 celebrating my purchased of a Honda 350 Scrambler, it seems that from the 2nd day I owned this bike it began to rain in Biblical proportions. I can't recall if it was 40 days and 40 nights but it rained enough that I was compelled to actually buy a ... car, egads. I set my budget at $300 (this was in 1978 when very nice late 60's GTO's could be had for $700-$1000 all day long). Imagine my joy in finding a 1958 Ford Ranch Wagon for the price of just $25.00. You read that correctly. A nice discount due to the fact that there had been an interior fire that got of hand resulting in plywood seats attached to the original frames. Nothing a pillow couldn't assuage. And it had a very custom dash from the fire as you can imagine. Think of the word stalactite. A stalactite is a type of formation that hangs from the ceiling of caves, hot springs, or manmade structures such as bridges and mines. This is actually what all of the plastic knobs looked like, very nice. And with a Thunderbird V8 under the hood, 3 speed column shift with overdrive, what's not to love.
This was what I affectionately called my "rain car". For the days I was no longer able to ride the Honda, out came this impressive piece of Ford engineering. It wasn't long for the world however. Not too long after taking possession, my "buddy?", had rented a torch to help him complete the work of converting our travel truck (see earlier chapters), the '53 Chevrolet from a straight six to a small block Chevy. He only needed the torch for an hour or so but as I recall he had to pay a daily rate which seem to be of some bother to him. So with his primary job complete, some cheap beer in his circulatory system, he set his sights on my Ranch Wagon while I wrenched the day away at Sears Automotive in La Cumbre Plaza. Apparently he got his money's worth as when I arrived home on the scene, there were plenty of folks gathered around the resulting Ranchero, beer in hand and loud laughter amongst them. I have to admit that I was less than jubilant upon arrival.
Well, coupled with a few mechanical challenges and no longer sporting a roof it was decided that this hybrid of its day would be launched off an unnamed cliff nearby (details not available upon request). Low and behold as you know, many cars have a mind of their own and when it came to the big day of cliff diving, the ol' Ranch Wagon (or Ranchero) refused to start. A clean title was left on the seat, key in the ignition and a sixer of PBR in the back. Sign under the wiper? "Hi, it's your lucky day." Car was gone in the morning.