Thursday, July 3, 2014

American Muscle, Detroit Gold & Saying Goodbye

My family made a very difficult decision a few weeks ago to say goodbye to a long-cherished 'family member'.
Daisy has been in my family since 1965, when she was purchased new by my eldest aunt in New York in 1966. She is a 1965 Ford Galaxie 500 convertible.

 She lived in California for many years and she is the vehicle that I first saw the original Muppet Movie in at a San Diego drive-in during the summer of 1979 with my cousin Ernie Scholz- we were six years old at the time.
She came to live with my dad in Texas about a dozen years ago, as we wanted her to remain in the family.
My dad and I have worked on her carburetor, washed her, waxed her and enjoyed long drives in her. She was intended to be an early inheritance at some point, as she held many fond memories and is a gorgeous piece of industrial art.
Several months ago, my dad asked me if I was ready for my inheritance and could I make the necessary accommodations for her. We discussed options back and forth and Katrina and I decided that our present lifestyle was not the most suitable situation for maintaining a classic car and that the storage and maintenance expense would be significant and would likely require us to go back to a more traditional lifestyle that we no longer desire and possibly couldn't afford comfortably long-term.
We shared our concerns with Dad, who was very supportive and understanding and we decided to pursue other options for Daisy.

This week, Daisy joined the extensive Gullo Ford Family Museum collection, where she will be on display for the enjoyment of many for decades to come. If you ever have a chance to visit the collection, please say hello to her from us. It's not often that a family heirloom finds its way to a museum in your lifetime.
As sad as it is to see Daisy go, we know she is well cared for and loved.
'Hippie Van' now takes the lead as the patriarchal vehicle in the Holt family as he enters his fortieth year and possibly the half-a-million mile mark one day soon. He has not been driven much in the last fifteen years and his newly rebuilt engine and transmission should help to change that very soon.

In the meantime, I am keeping up the family tradition with Molly (Jeep), as she prepares to celebrate her 25th year this July. My dad and I drove to my hometown of Cocoa Beach, Florida on July 14th, 1990 to pick her up. I was seventeen.

I am reminded in writing this that many of my fondest memories with my dad revolve around these and other vehicles. His passion for collecting and maintaining his very own 'pieces of industrial art' have always been a part of our relationship, and washing the cars every Saturday was a childhood ritual that I will never forget. He taught me how to change my own oil and tires, lube a chassis and gap a spark plug.
 He knows the answer to any and every mechanical question there is to ask about any internal combustion or nuclear powered engine ever manufactured.  He can look at four square inches of a fender, bumper or tail fin and tell you the year make and model of any car built after 1950. He owns every issue of Car and Driver and Motor Trend since 1969. He has one hobby and one passion and he’s dedicated a lifetime to honing his expertise because he is simply overcome with curiosity about all things automotive.
We bought my first car before I was even old enough for a driving permit- a neglected '78 T-bird that had sat for years in a field in Virginia. We spent two years rebuilding the engine (using the onion skin manual that my dad ordered from Ford for $100) and polishing off the oxidation until she shone. I owned that T-bird for fourteen years and more than 260,000 miles. She drove from Texas to Alabama, Oklahoma, all over Florida and the southeast, and she towed my worldly possessions from Alabama to Utah as I fled an abusive relationship and a case of bronchitis so severe that my dad ended up driving me from Houston to Salt Lake City at a moment’s notice while I slept fitfully and heavily medicated most of the way.

My own Detroit fascination is homage to him and a continuing tribute to the amazing man who has skillfully shaped and continues to influence my life today. 

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