Sunday, October 14, 2007

Old Machinery.

Building a TearDrop camper is a little like stepping back in time. These things were all the rage back in the thirties and forties. The originals were four foot by eight foot rigs with room for a bed and a small kitchen in the rear that was accessed from outside. View one here for a better idea. They come in all different sizes now-a-days but the general idea is the same. Make a small camper that's easy to tow, gives good comfort and protection from the elements and wildlife, is simple and easy to maintain and can go were the jumbo sized RV's simply can't go. Building these is something I'm enjoying because its creating something out of nothing but most importantly... I enjoy the heck out of it. It is old machine meets new machine.

Perhaps its because of my Fathers like of old machinery that I love the old machines too. My first encounter with old machinery was my fathers 1937 Cord convertible. I was just a tike of around three or four when I was messing around in our basement garage and climbed into the drivers seat of the old relic. It sat in a dark corner with only a scattering of daylight shining through a dusty window. Cobwebs abounded down there. The door handle operated as smooth as silk and even though the suicide door was heavy, swung open with such ease it didn't take much effort on my part. Climbing in and sitting at the wheel the door closed all by itself with a solid clunk of the latch. I sat there pretending to drive twisting and pulling on the steering wheel. Of course I played with all the switches and levers as well. I kept pushing the little starter button in the dash; if it had tried to start I'd of crapped my pants. Tiring of all this imaginary driving I tried to get out but didn't know how. I waled and waled until my father came in for some reason and heard me. Only the outside door handle worked and he gave it a turn to free his panic stricken son.
Even after that experience, I still loved that old car and would even play in it from time to time now that I knew how to get back out.
It was my fathers dream to get that car restored and make it road worthy again and over the years he did get some things fixed such as the vapor locking problem. But his big dream was to get it done up right ... someday. There was a family of hungry mouths to feed and a mortgage, and car payments and a business to run so it all had to wait.

My whole life that car was with us, Sitting around waiting for someday to come. It saw all of us kids from birth to graduation then marriage and raising our families. The time just never was right for the restoration to begin. Even after sitting for years that old car would crank up with only an hour of dads draining the sediment bowls and dropping a battery in it. Then it would sit for several more years. It was my fathers one constant dream my whole life and it never did materialise. Finally just a few short years ago he sold it to some fellow out California way who sent a special antique car hauler to fetch it. Funny thing to me, dad drove that car all the way from California to Georgia when he got out of the Navy only to have it wind up back there.

My 1948 Harley Panhead is my cord I guess. It sits out in my little shop in pieces waiting for someday when monies right and all the stars and planets line up just so. Be patient and some day will come.

Today while I was out I passed by located in Gibsonville North Carolina. These guys love old machines too only they have the resources to do something about it. Seems a few years back one of them wanted an old sea plane and finally found one. Only the guy didn't want to sell it but rather all the old parts inventory he had. So, these guys bought the parts and found some planes to restore. Their passion has grown into a business and they are working on building new sea planes as well. I'd love to work there restoring those old aircraft from a bygone era. There is just something for me about bringing old stuff back to life. Nothing like taking a machine that everyone says will never run again and making it do just that.

I've had two years of body and paint training and have a small engine degree but for some reason never have been able to work in that sort of industry. So my TearDrop venture is filling my void of someday and hopefully will build into a nice side income so I can have that Panhead back on the road to.

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