Automotive Department

    I'm a college boy, a bookworm, now a doctor, for God's Sake.  First and foremost, though, I'm a gearhead.  I did my first V-8 work (head gasket job) at the tender age of eleven, having already dismantled and discarded many things I found less interesting.  Actually, I'm still a little like that today- anything boring tends to get wrecked and left behind.  People included!  First engine/trans rebuild I did was my grandma's 1965 Mustang 289; I was 14 and had to test-drive it a lot before I gave it back...part of the reason my high-school nickname was Skid.  I've still got a couple blue dacron shop-shirts with little oval embroidered namepatches that say 'Skid'.  That was a looooooooong time ago...

      I live in the United States, the biggest 'car-country' in the world.  Even better, I live in Los Angeles, the biggest 'car-city' in America.  In L.A., everybody drives everywhere.  I drive to the grocery store a block away, swear to god, unless I'm only getting a sixer or two.  What better place to be a gearhead?
    In L.A., you are what you drive.  Young collegiate daddy's-moneys in 3-series Bimmers.  Daddy himself in a Boxster or a Mondial.  Soccer moms in minivans and Cherokees. Slacker in an old Rambler, definitely works in a record store.  Right on!  The young hipsters drive cool barges from the late fifties or sixties, unrestored and defiant in their shoddy state of repair.  So far, it looks like cars from the seventies will never be cool to anyone...maybe there IS a god.  
      Crenshaw- '64  gold-flake Impala on 13-inch Daytona wires, trunk full of batteries & pumps, naked Gloria Estefan airbrushed on the deck lid.  Hyundai Excel dropped onto the bumpstops, tinted & Kandy-painted, stock seats screwed right to the floor pan so your shoulder is right at the bottom of the window, stuffed with 20 speakers & 2,000 watts, all playing shitty music real loud, and daring you to look over.
   Sunny days bring out the play cars (we get about 350 sunny days a year). Middle-agers tooling in restored E-type Jags and MGAs.  Republican action-movie heroes in Hummers...fifty-somethings driving store-bought Hiboys and Merc customs like they couldn't afford in high school; success is the sweetest revenge indeed.  Porn producer in a Lamborghini (porn starlet in a halfway house...).  Mid-life crisis car?  Still the Corvette, no contest- driven mostly by 50-year-old gold-chain guys with something to prove, or the aging trophy-wives of swarthy general contractors.  That one's the same nationwide, as far as I can tell.  
      I'll write something else about cars when I think of it.  I'm currently planning the ground-up restification of a 1964 Lincoln Continental, so I'll try to write something about that long long-term project soon. In the meantime, there's another essay onsite about the significance of Kustom Kars as an American art form.

Kustom Kar Essay and Links
My Next Garage Project
Front Door