Retirement Hobby: My Old Car is a Metaphor of Myself

by Richard

I had a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Sport Coupe when I was 20yo in 1966. I dreamed of my car having more power and shiny wheels. I sold it when I joined the Army in 1967.

I bought another Chevy just like it in 1999, three years before I retired from my first job. I got it running in time for my son to take him and his 5 friends in it to their senior prom!

My classic car had been with me for 23 years and driven less than 5,000 miles. It sits idle for years at a time, but it's not a money pit.

I like to think I'm rebuilding my car, not restoring it. The original 283/195 horsepower engine is long gone. Its replacement, a 300 horsepower/327 cubic inch lasted a year. I bought a perfect, affordable mid-mannered 400 horsepower/383 cubic inch engine engine on Ebay in Delaware, almost 5,000 miles away. It was placed in my car almost 20 years ago, and has about 3,000 miles running time. I put a Corvette 4-speed transmission and installed disc brakes on my old car, for safety sake. (LOL, many of us remember what it was like to drive 1950s-60s cars with drum brakes!)

I've done 95% of the work on my hobby car, even replacing the transmission by myself. I don't have a lift, so I raise the car and wiggle under it to remove and reinstall the heavy transmission with my bare hands. I last did this 2 years ago, when I was 72 years old. I don't think I'll do that anymore.

I just started up my engine yesterday; the car had been sitting for 2 years. It started with a LOUD metal BANG! every time I got it to run. It sounded like someone was whacking my engine with a large sledge hammer! I was thinking "Broken engine! $5.000 and another year of sitting idle!"

Googling didn't help. After racking my brain for many hours, I realized that a vacuum hose to the engine was plugged. Fixing the hose cured the problem, at zero cost! What a relief!

I'm still working full time, and expect to retire in 4 years. By then, I'll find a reliable mechanic to work on my classic car. I enjoy looking at it, and sitting in it, and driving in the slow lane.

I like working on my classic car. However, I have leprechauns that hide my tools and car parts all the time, testing my grit.

All kinds of problems arise, some big, but mostly small, nothing that breaks the bank. And that's exactly how my wife and my life is like! Drama, but manageable. No major surgeries, no wrecks or accidents.

My wife, my car and I are getting old and showing signs of old age.....but still spunky, lol!

Comments for Retirement Hobby: My Old Car is a Metaphor of Myself

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Thank you
by: Anonymous

Thanks for responding. While working, I have to drive fast to keep up with traffic. My old car is best enjoyed being driven in the slow lane, or in city traffic.

Old Cars, Women, and Watermelon Wine
by: Jeff/Toledo

If this makes you happy then go with it. I too have an old car and it's to some peoples mind, a money pit, but once I drop the top on a Summer day it's all worth it.

Be happy, enjoy life and keep rolling on!

old car
by: Anonymous

Manageable is such a good perspective. Thank you.

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