Monday, March 30, 2009

Bolt For Bolt Baby!

Along the path of research to build the ultimate Milner Coupe tribute there have been many 'Holy Grail' parts. As we determined the origin of each part and then found that it wasn't hanging in the local Napa store or available in our Speedway catalog, it would spend a short time as the most coveted of Graffiti pieces. The first step in this royal ordination was for all of us builders to fight like Spartans on the eBay battlefield and pay enormous sums of booty thereby christening it as the part to have. It's kingly reign would prove short lived as a hundred gootches across the country would see us morons bidding like lemmings and inevitably the following week a veritable flood of the parts would hit the auction blocks.

For me, the first of these quests was a set of Anson Swing pedals. Of course now everybody knows that they are readily available both as New Old Stock and as a pretty good reproduction. But five years ago when we geniuses had just figured out what they were, oh man were they rare. Or so we thought. Same goes for the steering wheel. At first you'd be willing to sell a kidney for one. Now? Not so much.

Slicks, nerf bars, shifters, gauges, speedos, it was all the same. In an effort to be first you didn't care who you stepped on or how many mortgage payments you might skip, you had to have that part. For God's sake man, it could be the last one in existence!!! Bid! Bid! Bid! It got so bad that friendships were cast aside, alliances broken, marriages put at risk, it didn't matter. It was the Graffiti virus.

And until eBay changed it's layout and policies, it was like Spy vs. Spy. Builders would check what someone was bidding on or sometimes just watching and then try to snake them out of the prize. My favorite story is about the time I thought I had figured out what the horn button was. I was the only bidder. I didn't 'watch' the auction so as not to tip off the other builders who tended to trail us like hyenas following a lion pride. The auction ended and by the time I contacted the seller for delivery, a certain other builder whose initials may or may not include the letters RB, had contacted them to offer a higher amount. I should have been pissed, but really it was all part of the game. Kill or be killed. Okay, I was a little pissed. But mainly because the cap that arrived was twice as big as what we needed.

We still don't know for sure what the horn button is. Others might, but it's not high on the priority list anymore. The gas tank is still a mystery to most. We think we have it but it's an open wound for some. And that's about it. The game is in overtime now and we're about to hear the final whistle. The hunt is basically over. As infuriating as it could be at times, looking back, it was a blast. A pretty good challenge only met with a lot of work and incalculable amounts of time. But now if you want a Graffiti Coupe, you can just go east young man and buy yourself a life size fiberglass replica. It's pretty close too. They've been given all the secrets so the buyers don't have to sweat the details. Instant karma? Nah, just instant pudding. Looks yummy but taste like shit. No soul at all. Getting to the top of Mt. Everest in a helicopter is really nothing to brag about.

Nope. No soul. It's all over now. Stick a fork in it. Turn out the lights, the party's over.

Or is it? You got a set of these shiny diamonds yet? Kar Super 5 bolts! Hold the traction bars on they do. And they are rare! So incredible a find were these that the mere acquisition earned a bruddah membership into 'da Hui. Geev um bra!

I'm sure that the reproduction plans are underway. Or if that's not possible, a grassroots campaign to discredit the part as not original to the movie car. Or even worse yet, a fiberglass version! But all that would be sour grapes. Look close at the Coupe and you can see the old black movie paint has worn off. These may be the hardest parts to find yet. Without them any Graffiti Coupe tribute is a failed shell of a clone. A poser! Why even the Franklin Mint showcased them!!!

We know they don't make them anymore. And for all you know, these may be the last pair in existence!!!

These, my friends, are the Holy Grail!

'da Hui no ka oi

Next week: About Face! It's All About The Elusive Shifter!