Saturday, November 19, 2005

Howzit Bruddah

Letter to fellow Coupe builder - 2004 (never sent)

Howzit Bruddah!

As we make progress with our Deuces, existing conditions on the body or frame that at one time we were going to accept as good and usable, become victims of the Graffiti curse..."Must be riiiightttt. Must be riiiiighttttt".

Like moths heading toward a lamp, we look toward the light of the perfect Milner Coupe and get caught up in what? Bankruptcy? No, that's not right. We get caught up in the nirvana of the American Graffiti experience. Hoping, no demanding, that each nut and bolt be authentic to the time period and character of our favorite film.
For myself, I think the entire process is slightly skewed by the fact that we originally purchased a car that we thought was mostly finished. Trying to recover from the gaffe of that wholly singular purchase, with each part, or dent, or stupid modification we address. We debate and argue, and then ultimately decide that we may as well do it right. Just as we've always done with all the other cars we have restored or created. But with the other cars, we always started from scratch or not far from it.

We now look forward to the time when we can shake our heads and laugh about the time we slowly built our FrankenMilner monster one piece at a time until ultimately we had replaced every single piece of the original car. That's not fair. We are actually using the cowl and that section of sheet metal that sits just under the quarter window. And the water pump. But that's it. Everything else is new or newly acquired. And are we done. No. We still need the brain of the creature. The component that guides our creation toward it's ultimate glory. The Holey (nine to be exact) Grail. So rare we whisper it's description. Describing it because we don't know exactly what the hell it is. Chrome, three spoke, big little medium holes, black handle, obscure center piece....

As I write this whining pathetic brain belch to a good friend I've never met, I am shivering from the cold turkey withdrawal from my eBay jones. I gulp my heavily rummed diet coke and try not to think of the minutes that are passing. Other coupe builders are scanning the endless pages of that online pimp. A kid from Kansas always minutes ahead. Gleaning the good stuff and then offering it up later like a Harlem pusher. I thought I had it under control until today. I had been watching the mail for weeks. Waiting for a set of recently purchased NOS cheater slicks. 14" cheater slicks! New! But 30+ years old! I came home from work, glanced over at the porch... There they were! I cleaned what little dust was on them. Sprayed and buffed them with Maguire's Hot Shot. They were beautiful. Still soft and pliable. I was about to load them in my truck when I stopped. I thought, "If I mount these, they won't be new anymore. " Maybe I should only use them for show. "But then I'll need ANOTHER pair. "Yeah...that's it.......

Well, that's when I started to drink my friend.
And think. it. Finish the fu**er. Be done. Have fun. Aren't hot rods always about cruisin' and picking up girls anyway? If I don't get a grip, I'm gonna end up with one of those old man trailer queens I always sneer at at the shows. Hell, I've heard the original looks like sh*t. No matter how I finish it now, I'm miles ahead.
Who am I kidding? I'll write you tomorrow with a question about the front end. stock springs or Posies? Or something like that.
Keep the faith,
Your Compatriot in Anguish