When we loved rockets

November 23, 2015


The 1956 Oldsmobile Golden Rocket made its debut
at the 1956 General Motors Motorama before it
appeared at other car shows across the country for
many years.

In the 50s, automakers looked to the future by
adding references to the rocket and fighter planes.
Production cars had hood ornaments that looked like
rockets, jets, or gun sights. How things change.

The Golden Rocket was a fiberglass bodied car with
built in bumpers painted gold, styled to look
like a rocket. The interior was blue and gold
leather. It was powered by a 234 cubic inch Rocket
V-8. It was also one of the first vehicles with a
tilt steering wheel.

To get in, the roof panel raised which raised the
bucket seat 3 inches and turned it so when the door
was opened it was easy to enter. Buttons on the
steering column allowed it tilt for easier driver
access and a comfortable driving experience.


The Rocket V-8 produced 275 horsepower and the
car only weighed about 2,500 pounds. Another
feature was that the speedometer was mounted in the
center of the steering wheel. This little two
seater was considered very futuristic and
spectators marveled at the engineering and design.

The current fate of the car is unknown to us, but
if it wasn’t preserved it’s a shame.
Comments are always welcome.

Strange feeling

November 9, 2015


Today started out like any other so I figured since
I made it from bed to the kitchen table it might be
a good day. A friend called with a lunch invite
but my coughing and hacking put a damper on that.
We will do it another day.

Then the mail came and the lone piece of mail that
could be assumed mine was addressed to “Pops”. I
figured I had been called worse and saw no problem
with opening it.

It turned out to be a whiskey ad! That might not
seem so strange to you, but I quit drinking any
alcohol in 1987. The impressive full color mailer
did look like something that would have caught my
attention back in the day.

Addressed to my garage was a flowery worded piece
of prose that promised if I rubbed the insert
against my bottle of whiskey the letters would
transfer to said bottle and brand it as mine.

What got me started down memory lane is that I
used to do business under that name and some of my
regulars are no longer with us. One in particular
was a rich guy who brought his classic cars in to
be worked on and always said “I don’t care what it
cost I want it done right”.

Until he got the bill. Then we’d dicker back and
forth which made me feel I was on Let’s Make a
Deal. He would never pay the quoted price. It got
to be such a regular occurance that I would set
aside extra time for when he’d come to pick up his

I never went broke playing this game and he never
walked away without a smile thinking he had beat me
on the price. We did business this way, between my
construction jobs, for over 20 years. I’ll still
pass on the whiskey. If you partake, please don’t
let me stop you, and have a great day.
Comments are always welcome.


November 7, 2015

With the passing of George Barris our thoughts
have been of others in the custom car business who
became icons through the quality of their builds.
One of our personal favorites is Rob Ida.


When asked why he doesn’t enter the “Battle of the
Builders”, he replied:

I was hired to build a car, I did it to the best of my
ability. My getting a repeat customer is my award. My
client list is short but full of people that I consider
family because we share such a close relationship during
a build. The cars are expensive, but every penny and
more can be found in the car.

The “Battle of the Builders” and other contests are public
displays of “seeking approval” from people that may have a
different perspective than I do.

Like anyone, we all love to get a pat on the back but it
has to be sincere, and not one that could have a political

During the week, Bruce Meyer, Bruce Canepa, Ken Gross, Dan
Webb, Barry Meguiar, Gene Winfield, Tom Vogele, Edsel Ford
II, Craig Metro (director of Design Ford Motor ) and many
others that I consider to hold an opinion that I respect,
came by to spend the proper amount of time to view my work,
listen to my thoughts in building the car and all offered a
gift at the end. Each one left the booth offering some kind
of help.. That is my award.

To get sincere personal accolades from people I respect goes
much further than any trophy. That’s why I do not enter

The Ford Best of Show was not something I entered, but was
chosen very sincerely by the design team at Ford Motor
Company and I couldn’t be more proud of that. They viewed
the car with careful consideration. They aren’t running a
WWE type of program.. I build my car with integrity and
quiet dignity, I chose to show them the same way.

As far as car shows and ” build offs” I’d sooner enter a pie
eating contest because at least in that case, the judges
only have to count empty pie dishes to make the call.

I’m sure I’ll hear more about how I need to enter the
riddler 1000 times, but it’s just not my thing.
Comments are always welcome.

A loss to the car culture

November 5, 2015

We had something else in mind for this post until
we received word that George Barris died. To those
outside the car hobby his name probably isn’t that
familiar, but his creations would be.


Barris was 89 when he died last night. George Barris
created some of the most iconic and popular cars to ever
grace the blacktop. Barris built the Hirohata Merc,
the Ala Kart, the Munster Coach, Drag-U-La, the
Batmobile, the Wagon Queen Family Truckster, the
Monkee Mobile, KITT, the General Lee, and the Back
to the Future DeLorean to name a few.

He was an integral part of Kustom Kulture and
introduced the average American to the custom car
culture. His cars were featured in TV shows like
The Munsters, Batman, Mannix, The Banana Splits
Adventure Hour, the Beverly Hillbillies, The
Bugaloos, Bearcats!, Banacek, Starsky and Hutch,
the Dukes of Hazzard, Knight Rider, and more.

Our condolences to the family. He will be missed.
Comments are always welcome.


October 31, 2015


I had intended to do a post but as happens, life
got in the way. The day started out like any other
but after the errands were run, and the groceries
put away, the day slipped by.

It got to the point I wanted to dig the paper out
of the recycle bin to see if I missed my obituary.
And it all started when a friend stopped by for a
pot of coffee and a chat.

Before we knew it hours had slipped by, the coffee
pot was smoking from overuse, and if somebody had
bugged the kitchen we could have been arrested if
it wasn’t for the statute of limitations. At some
point my friend again asked if I had a picture of
my yellow coupe. I don’t.

From there he named off former vehicles of mine
he remembered and the walk down memory lane was
enjoyable. That friend had just left when the
doorbell rang again and I opened the door to find
another friend on the doorstep.

So we talked. Once again time slipped away and
before I knew it the wife was getting ready to go
work. So I watched a little TV and realized it was
9 pm and I hadn’t had lunch yet. Pizza rectified
the hunger but also dulled the mind.

I traveled back to a time I was a young, skinny
redneck kid waxing a yellow coupe and using chrome
polish on three air cleaners to get my ride ready
for a cruise with an ear to ear grin. People would
often comment that they had seen my cruising around,
grinning like I’d won the jackpot and wonder why.

Most of us have a hobby that makes us happy mine
just happens to be playing with cars. We hope you
have one that can put a smile on your face while
others are frowning.
Comments are always welcome.

Trouble in paradise

October 26, 2015


Here on the east coast of Iowa people are
collectively shaking their heads about recent
unrelated incidents. We’ll explain.

It all started the other day when one bank was
robbed and there was an attempted robbery at yet
another bank. Then came news of a fatality caused
by street racing, which was followed by shots being
fired in a building that also housed the Marine
Corps recruiting station, then the death of a
shooter in a different location.

We have heard no updates concerning the bank
robberies but the investigation is ongoing. We do
believe when people get desparate bank robberies

Although reports of several shots fired inside an
office we are happy to say that nobody got shot.
Police don’t know if the shooter who committed
suicide is connected to the shooting near the
recruiting office and we won’t speculate.

After the street racing incident, which took place
on busy street around 4 pm and killed an innocent
woman in another vehicle, our Alderman got face
time on TV. His answer?

Make downtown all two-way streets and lower the
speed limit! If it wasn’t right before the city
elections it would be laughable.

Is there something in our drinking water? Did
these people just go crazier than an outhouse rat
at the same time? Was it the news that the WHO now
says bacon causes cancer? We don’t pretend to know
and refuse to speculate.

Thank you Davenport and Bettendorf police for your
fast response.
Comments are always welcome.

Amazing things

October 22, 2015

It has often been said that necessity is the
mother of invention. As long as there is a need,
somebody will be toiling on a solution. And in some
instances it is amazing.

Ever heard of the ogo? This group has mixed
electronics, battery technology, and an innovative
intuitive hands free control system to introduce
the latest in wheelchair technology.

The following really opened our eyes. The 2nd
edition of 7 Things you never knew existed is a
mix of technology that you may not know about. The
last one is something else.

We like a Coca-Cola once in a while and although
it isn’t really amazing, this video shows 5 Crazy
Facts about Coca-Cola.

Then there is the automotive industry who is no
stranger to technology. If you haven’t seen it,
here are the TOP 4 cars changing the world now.

Then we’ll close with the Future Green Technology
Top Picks 2015. After a short commercial that you
can opt out of after a few seconds, this video
begins with the Aire Mask. This device converts
breathing into renewable electrical power. Sort of
a charge your phone while you nap thing.

We can hardly wait to what comes next.
Comments are always welcome.


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