Thursday, June 29, 2006

Our Coupe Hui
part one

There are quite a few people around the world in the process of building clones or tributes to the Milner Coupe. When you first start it is a lonely process. References are few. There are the old magazines with twenty to thirty year old grainy pictures, the Coupe is usually mentioned in any book about hot rods, and of course there is the movie. You end up watching American Graffiti so many times that you wear out the tape or DVD pausing and rewinding or fast forwarding to get that one shot that may or may not show you the specific car part you are studying at the moment. You also spend countless hours on the web surfing for pictures of the Coupe that people have posted from car shows. There just aren't that many good detailed photographs.

And you use 'eBay'. Without it, finding the right parts for this rod would be impossible. The parts used to create the Coupe are so varied and sometimes obscure that it seems as if the original builder knew that someday someone would try to copy it and he purposely made it difficult. There is really no good explanation for the way the Coupe was put together. There couldn't have been any grand scheme. It's like that really great soup you made from leftovers once. You somehow got lucky and it was delicious. But no matter how hard you try, you can never re-create it. It's kismet. All these weird parts thrown together and...magic! The Coupe!

When you are searching for Coupe parts on eBay, it doesn't take long to realize that you are often bidding against the same group of people. Contact is made one way or the other and that's when you find out that there is a slew of folks trying to do the same thing you are. At first you are really happy to talk to someone about your common interest. But eventually you realize that Coupe knowledge is a form of currency. And the fewer people that know a certain fact make that bit of knowledge that much more valuable. You find that you have to trade but you try to keep your stock high so you can keep the flow of information coming in. And like any economy, you have your barrons, and you have your crooks.