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Made an enemy today


#1

I drove my 1966 Chevelle SS396/375/4 speed car to a local car cruise. It was a Friday evening and I was in the mood for relaxing. Nothin relaxes me more than being surrounded by the sights, sounds, and smells of something automotive on a warm summer evening. I parked beside an outstanding 1970 Chevelle LS 6. Now my car is no slouch and has won many trophies but I know a well done restoration when I see one. I parked and the owner got up from his chair and walked to me and proudly proclaimed “this LS is my car”. I said you should be proud of it, it’s a nice car while I went about wiping the newly acquired road dust from my car. He then proclaimed his car was “numbers matching”. Now my Chevelle is not numbers matching but that is not important to to me. I admire the effort some one puts into making a car numbers matching, especially if it involves months or years of searching for the correct parts but numbers matching means nothing to me because we all know that the right data plate can be purchased to make your 1966 Whatever be anything you want it to be. But I digress. After the gentleman saw that I wasn’t as impressed with his numbers matching boast as much as I was with how the car presented itself he proceeded to inform me that his car was worth $100,000.00. I looked him straight in the eye and I flat out said “that does not impress me either”. He had struck that one nerve in me that says enough is enough. I truly do appreciate the effort anyone puts into their car…numbers matching or otherwise. I really have nothing against the LS6 owner but apparently he does not share my feelings. I made an enemy today.


#2

LOL…I wasn’t there, but maybe “enemy” is a little harsh? Maybe just angry or disappointed you didn’t genuflect?
Regardless, pretty much agree with your outlook on such things. And most of us have met such people at some gathering. I can certainly empathize. My personal tender “nerve” is when someone insists about bragging on their engine horsepower (especially while comparing it to a lesser engine in someone else’s car ) but not about the car’s actual performance.


#3

Since I have friends that are also friends with Mr. LS6 I have been told many times that he still considers me the south end of a north bound horse. I’d say that may qualify as an enemy…lol. I still bear the man no ill will. And I’m sorry if he was offended. If he’d have just said “thanks” things would have been okay. But once he started bragging. Someday remind me to tell the story of the guy that asked me what I thought of his exhaust system on his new Mustang. Apparently “sounds like a fart pipe to me” was not the answer he was looking for…lol. If you don’t want an honest answer don’t ask me then.


#4

All types of people in every hobby - just chuckle and enjoy his pompous attitude and write it off realizing you are truly the better man…


#5

LOL Tommy been there done that in spades,driving a vintage Corvette that is a numbers match but I have changed out steering gear (steeroids)to rack and added electronic aftermarket ignition as well as a more efficient and better flowing intake and carb i take it on the chin often from Corvette purist and other car enthusiasts, we enjoy driving the car as much as possible and it now handles like a new car yea its not original 100% it shows well but for us its our weekend cruiser.Rob R


#6

I feel you. I think I have made an enemy as well. There is a guy on one of the other forums who was lamenting the state of the car hobby and talking about kids these days not appreciating old cars in one breath and then talking about how he likes to “move up” when it comes to cars and how he had a 68 Mustang back in the day and how he drives Boxster Spyder now and how new cars are so much better than the classics. When I pointed out that I would much rather drive an old car and how the old cars are cool and classic and his Porsche, while being a perfectly nice car, was just an other used car he was butt hurt that I was not suitably impressed.


#7

I would never argue that new cars are not better than our old iron. Of course they are. A new Mustang with the V-6 turns the same quarter mile times as a '66 Chevelle SS396/375hp while running the air conditioner at the same time. And getting better fuel mileage to boot. The “old car” hobby is fluid because of time. Back in 1967 when I was 18 a 40 year old car was a 1927 Ford. Today an 18 year old celebrates his birthday this year and his 40 year old car is a 1978. That’s a “new car” to me. However today’s 18 year old is growing up with imports that are modified by tuners just like the muscle cars were in my day. So the “old car” hobby survives but with a different set of players. In time our beloved 1950-60 cars will be gone replaced by the cars that today’s youth grew up with. Just like today a few 30’s and 40’s cars still find their way to car shows parked among the 50’s and 60’s, soon to be 70’s, muscle. 40 years from now while the youth of today are approaching 60 years of age a few muscle cars will be parked among their tuner cars and the youth of 2058 will have their own “new cars” to restore in their future. But like you I would still rather drive my old cars. In fact I checked the mileage of the new to me 1956 Mercury I bought recently. In 7 weeks I actually put over 1,000 miles on that car. I have 3 newer cars available but I did not put 1,000 miles total on those three cars in the same time period!


#8

Many owners are pure douche bags. I avoid many Cars & Coffee and particular shows for this reason. I bought my fun car for me, not to measure dicks with.


#9

I would agree to a point that new cars have certain advantages to old ones but that is why the car gods invented restomods. All the coolness of a classic with the performance of a new car. Best of both worlds I’d say. This also why I don’t buy any of the performance models like Z/28’s Mach 1’s or 'cudas and such. I like to leave those for the purists. But some cars cross generational gaps and that is why 32 Fords and Tri 5 Chevys are as popular today as they have ever been. There is just something visceral about an old car that transcends generations!


#10

chuckles I like the analogy.


#11

I confess to being old school. While restomods do have an appeal to some I’m not one of them. On the other hand I guess my '37 Chevy street rod with its Camaro subframe with disc brakes and power steering as well as the Camaro rear end could be considered a first generation restomod…lol. I applaud anyone’s choice of car. My only problem, as pointed out by ‘danger 450’, is when an owner wants to say “mine if bigger than yours”.


#12

Tommy if I wasnt retired and growing poorer by the day I would take my ride to a reputable shop and tell the lads to make the body laser straight and the paint and interior flawless pull the frame and everything on it out and scrap it put in new updated frame/susp/engine/tranny/a/c the works on the outside it would appear as a 73 but drive down the road like a 2018 ish Cali here I come, I love the looks but the 45 year old tech is nostalgic but a PITA at times.Rob R


#13

An old school restomod? I like it!


#14

Whenever I acquire a new to me collector car I do several things to address reliability. I change all fluids even if it appears the previous owner had taken care of it. I check the brakes and tires for wear. I see what, in my opinion, needs to be fixed immediately or if it’s something I can leave for a later date. And finally the thing I consider the most important is to install a brand new electrical system. I do not use a “factory” correct harness but instead I use Ron Francis stuff. I am comfortable with their system, having installed 7 of them. The biggest reason I don’t use the “factory” stuff is because I am bonkers about wires exposed running every which way in an engine compartment. While I know a certain amount of exposed wires are inevitable you’d be surprised how much cleaner under the hood looks if wires can be hidden. Since I am not obsessed with being 100% numbers matching, or anything else for that matter, I do my cars my way which is entirely aimed at making my cars as reliable as a new car. All that to address your comment that perhaps only an expensive restomod or a brand new car can make that California trip you mentioned. Two summers ago the wife and I took her 1963 Corvair convertible on our summer getaway to explore the Blue Ridge Parkway and parts of the SE United States. In my opinion the Blue Ridge Parkway should be on everyone’s bucket list and it’s a must the car of choice should be a convertible. That trip took us through Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, and back home to Ohio. 2200 miles on a rebuilt air cooled 6 cylinder. The little car never missed a beat and managed 70mph freeway speeds with ease. Stock suspension, steel wheels, hubcaps, and an automatic transmission. Point is any car may break down at anytime. Just because it’s brand new from the factory or a fresh restoration does not guarantee it will complete any trip. I am not criticizing your desire to have a restomod at all. Just reminding everyone they drove 1930 Model A’s cross country back in the day.


#15

This is why I have stopped going to traditional car shows and go to Cars and Coffee instead (I also don’t like sitting in a lawn chair for hours on end waiting for someone to talk to me about my car). I can’t stand that sort of individual and car shows are the most likely places to run into one.

I’ve also been to enough car shows and auctions that LS6 Chevelles are extremely boring to me, so there’s that. Now if he had a '65 Z16 then I would’ve been impressed.


#16

I have seen so many variations of the popular collector cars that I too have become somewhat jaded, just like you. But I also enjoy the sight, sounds, smells, and atmosphere of a car gathering of any sort. I do confess to liking the traditional cruise-in better than an organized show and my attendance to cruise-ins shows that. Less drama and pressure and since my area has several cruise-ins within short driving distances every night, I have choices. Getting back to my original post I want to remind everyone that I thought the gentleman had a great car and I said so. A simple thank you on his part would have been sufficient. Once you start bragging then that’s just wrong. I drive what I want because I enjoy it, not because I am out to impress anyone. An update on that Chevelle I had. I traded it for an equally nice 1956 Mercury Monterey two door hardtop because I wanted it. Did I take a loss? Most likely…but I like the Merc. I find it amusing that the Merc is a 45,000 mile survivor in excellent condition so the guy with the LS6 might be impressed now because the Merc is numbers matching…


#17

Tommy,
I wholeheartedly agree!
There are 4 types of people like the one you describe:
1 the jealous guy who doesn’t own a car at all
2 the insecure guy who needs to put down other cars to make his look better
3 the douchebag guy who WANTS everyone to know how much money he spent buying a better optioned car than everyone else
and 4 the clueless guy who has no social skills and in trying to overcome his awkward meet-and-greet abilities unintentionally comes off as a pompous braggart by saying all the wrong things but doesnt mean it to come off that way.
Your car show neighbor definitely sounds like number 3 but could also be a 4 (giving him the benefit of the doubt here).
Now for my personal experience with all of the above.
I had a good friend who owned a 100% original, numbers-matching 69 Camaro, loved the car more than life itself, and proudly DROVE it to local car shows and cruise nights almost every night of the week (weather permitting of course). He sat in a small lawn chair behind it like we all do and listened to people say things good and bad about his baby. Now, I must mention this car was IMMACULATE, and MOST of the time people would compliment it, because it could stand its own against almost every other 1969 you parked next to it depending on who judged it and what criteria was used. If the judge didnt understand the rarity or was purely going on pristine paint he could easily overlook it and move on to one of the dozens of over-restored trailer queens for the trophy. One night, I was parked next to him at our local cruise in, sitting with him behind our cars when I heard a few other car owners and spectators walk by and say something not nice. This happened several times as groups of people would walk by so I asked him why doesn’t he set them straight? He told me “I get that a LOT but I don’t let it bother me, I know what I got and that’s all that matters.” About an hour later a group of guys came by to look it over and each one had a negative comment like how he ruined a perfectly good car by repainting it, replacing the 302 engine with a 350, and adding A/C which NEVER came on a 69 Z/28. Each one pointed out something they found “wrong” with the car as they considered themselves “experts” because each of them owned a “perfect example, show winner…” they bought from the guy who did a 100 point concourse restoration to factory specs so they know what to look for. None of them was the original owner of an original car or did the restoration themselves. They spent a few more minutes under the hood nit-picking incorrect parts far longer than the other passers-by. I could only assume they were hoping my friend would get up to talk so they could point to their cars parked across the lot and brag about how perfect theirs were and how his wasn’t. Tired of the trash talk, I got up and politely stood next to them and said “Do you guys even have the slightest clue as to what you’re looking at?” They looked at me puzzled either because they thought they were going to school me in 69 Camaro knowledge or never thought someone would call them on their comments. You see, what they didn’t know was my friend was Jerry Schmidt, and they were looking at THE “Blue Maxi Z/29 Camaro” which he lovingly cared for since 1971 when he bought it from the original owner. Jerry was a Chevrolet Technician and worked on Camaros since the first one was sold so when he had the opportunity to buy the Blue Maxi he jumped on it. Obviously none of them ever saw the COVER of Car & Driver in July 1969 or the Road Test Article in August 1970 or they would have already had the facts and instead of trying to see who could bash the car the most they would have looked like automotive historians and awed their friends by knowing those “wrong” pieces were RIGHT for THIS car. They could have looked in the trunk and would have seen the magazines and other original documents he had kept, but nobody went to the back as they all seemed more comfortable talking smack from a distance.
Now in their defense, they were correct in pointing out THIS car was not a factory color, but had they looked at the trim tag they would have seen “- -” for the paint code. It probably wouldnt have meant much to them because they would need to know that a “double dash” was for “special paint” cars which you just dont see outside of museums and special collections and none of their cars had it. THIS car was painted Sunoco Blue (the SAME color as Mark Donohue’s race cars) which wasn’t a production option like their cars were. They were correct that the 350 engine wasnt available in a 69 Z/28 but they didnt know THIS was the FIRST PRODUCTION BUILT LT1 engine SPECIALLY delivered by Chevrolet for this car. They also knew that you could not get Air Conditioning in a Z/28 because GM was concerned the high-revving 302 would destroy the compressor, but THIS was installed at the factory. I have personally driven the car to 7,000 RPM and the A/C still blows ice cold to this day. Jerry was an unassuming guy who would rather be polite to someone insulting his car, than “make an enemy” and set then straight, but I felt the need to stand up for him because the whole point we take our cars to events is for others to enjoy them. If people bash others pride-and-joy what is the incentive for those owners to come to the next one? Some people dont understand car show etiquette and since you cant control what others do and say, you either have to ignore, shake your head and pretend to agree with, or put them in their place. Jerry and I were invited to bring our Camaros to the Carlisle Chevrolet Nationals Invitational Display for the 50th Anniversary of the Camaro but sadly he passed away a week before the event. It would have been the biggest show his car had been at, and we were both looking forward to being parked next to each other in the T Building. Jerry always knew he had something special even if the cast majority of car guys didnt, yet he never let negative comments get under his skin or detract him from bring his car out to any show. Casey Maxon from The Historic Vehicle Association also knows when he sees something special, and decided to award the Blue Maxi the “This Car Matters Award” at the event. It was a bittersweet event but I know Jerry was looking down at us smiling and all I could hear is him saying “I know what I got and thats all that matters”.
The moral of the story is you never know who or WHAT you’re parked to, so don’t be “That Guy”.


#18

I know of a guy with a very rare option on his '70 Chevelle. And when I mean rare option I mean like this option was installed on less than 200 Chevelles in 1970. He actually carried a shop manual illustrating how to repair the option and somehow got his hands on a 1970 Chevrolet dealer order form to prove it was an option. I was once a judge at a 1,000 point car show and assigned to judge Corvettes. Wrong thing to do for two reasons. Number one is I do not like Corvettes and number two was I did not know Corvettes because of reason number 1. But the owners helped me by watching and talking to me about their cars. A big no no…I’m a judge. The trophy went to a nice 'Vette whose owner sat in his lawn chair and didn’t bug me.


#19

Excellent point that sometimes its best to sit and wait for a judge to approach you. I am a Guest Judge at a National Event which has a special class for what they call “Celebrity Judges”. Similar to any show with a Judges Choice award, its not points based but its the one that people really want because it allows cars that arent perfect to be in the running and every car has an equal chance to win. We are ENCOURAGED to talk with owners for this award and its a good thing we are! I was walking the showfield with Jerrys brother and nephew looking for a Camaro to give the award and my only criteria for this event was it needed to be a car Jerry would have liked. We found one, and it was pristine (would score 975 or better) so we asked the owner to tell us a little about it. At first he didnt want to be bothered and talked to us from his chair, beer in one hand, cigar in the other, but the more questions we asked, he thought we were interested in buying it and turned into salesman mode. My judges badge was tucked in my shirt from looking at the previous car so he had no clue I was a judge. He told us he bought it as is and only took it to the show to sell it. BTW there is a strict no cars for sale in the showfield policy but he thought he and his car were exempt. Right there I knew I was dealing with “That Guy”. First thing he said was “this is probably the most expensive car on the field and probably more than we could afford.” Strike 1. He went on to say how he doesnt really know or care about the cars history because he only bought it a month earlier as a “quick flip” as he found the seller was in a desperate need for money. Strike 2. The biggest mistake the guy made was he then gave us a price and said if we were interested we better buy now because he was CERTAIN one of the Celebrity Judges was going to give him an award and the price was going up after that. Strike 3 and game over! I guess we didnt look like rich buyers or judges? Imagine the look on his face when I said you have a really beautiful car that Jerry would have absolutely loved and we ALL thought it was beautiful and deserved an award. I shook his hand, thanked him for his time, then pulled my judges badge out of my shirt and politely walked away. Sadly for that idiot, (more sadly for the car) he was exactly the kind of owner that I wrote about in my last post. He knew he had a perfect car and was uber-obnoxious about it, making sure to brag and put others down. Needless to say I gave the award to a nearly identical car just a few spaces away, which was owned by an elderly couple who bought it new and drove it to the show with over 150K on the odometer! They kept a scrap book of pix they took of the car on their 50 year journey with it and although there were 1 or 2 things not perfect, they were the PERFECT owners to get a worthy award! Jerry would have liked it and more importantly would have enjoyed sitting with them at a show together, and thats all that mattered.


#20

you have to work on your comebacks :grinning: like:

very nice, what caused that dent over there?
when I drove up I noticed something hanging from the chassis…
its not like its a Ferrari dude…

:sunglasses::sunglasses::sunglasses: