Saturday, April 30, 2005

New Addition to Hooptyrides Fleet! 1978 Kawasaki KD 100 M! SOLD!

Like Steve McQueen! What an awesome hill climber.

The alleged history from the prior owners, "We had it rebuilt and then it just rotted in the garage!" Nothing to be proud of, but there it is. Inaction.

This little motorcycle would be a super pit bike, great for camping, an excellent ghost town explorer and a life saving contingency plan for when you break down in your four wheeler. All in one $175 motorcycle! It might run!

The gas hose has shrunk from the petcock to the engine. The choke operates, the fuel shut-off pet cock seems to work, the gas tank looks a little rusty dusty inside, the seat is for all intents and purposes gone. It seems to be very complete and I have the pink slip! Tires definitely need to be replaced, but boy is the chrome going to shine up nice. Price these Kawasakis on ebay and you will see that this one is practically free.

100cc's of pure chewing satisfaction! 100cc's to the ends of the earth and back! 100cc's and you can change your life.

Rambler Not Purchased!

The lowly Honda in its natural habitat. Hooptyrides readers will be stunned to learn I did not buy the Rambler station wagon seen in the background. The prior owners were selling all the toys of their previously vibrant life. The Honda, Kawasaki, the boat, this terrifically awful and unrelentingly nerdy Rambler and the sand rail in the garage. Naturally, I asked if they happened to have any wheels for the sand rail, as I had visions of Hallibrand spindle mounts, but they had already been snatched by the nephew.

When I was a young man in junior high school, a Honda 250 SX ATC three-wheeler like this was the absolute zenith of desire. Now, for a few dollars and some elbow grease, you can be the complete person you have always wanted to be. Check out the excellent for the full gorey details and especially check out the scanned manual for this very motorbike.

Newest Hooptyride! 1985 Honda 250 SX! $SOLD!

SOLD! And it might run! The previous owners said that it had run 6 months ago, but I don't believe them. The gas tank is rusty and gas drips out. Not great, admittedly, but there are at least two replacement gas tanks on ebay right now.

Electric start!
Needs tires!
Needs battery!
I don't have key but have already bypassed!
Good compression! Looks sharp!
Needs fenders and incidentals!
Seems very original!

I am selling cheap as I have a few other projects going. I cleaned it up and it could use another couple hours of cleaning. Ideally, brittle fenders and seat should be replaced. This is going to require the same nursing back to health that the Puch required. It didn't take much to get the Puch back on the road - just addressing the fuel system.

Holy Hillclimbers!

When I was assembling my front yard, I wanted a gradual rolling hill to suggest my house was over a mountain range and insulated from the street. With a mere shovel I constructed this ridiculous bump in the lawn and nearly every time I walk by my own house, I laugh at it's complete lack of consequence. That was until I pushed these two mean machines into place.

Back when I was a kid, I remember Steve arguing with Ron that his friendship was not sincere. That maybe, Ron was really just interested in Steve's Honda ATC and, perhaps, only kept up appearances to be able to ride around until the streetlights came on. There are certainly worse reasons to pretend to like somebody. For $225, you can stop being a liar and tell them what you really think.

Perhaps you have been tempted to get an old car or even one of the magnificent Hooptyrides featured here. And nobody could blame you as it is the one true path. The joys of mechanics and the cajoling of engines back to life is life's truest pleasure. To be able to coax an engine back to a coughing, sputtering, backfiring machine is truly exciting. When it happens at 2 AM, it is nearly ecstatic and forces you to sit down with a scotch and giggle endlessly. Yes, I will make a bulk purchase discount available to true optimists.

Monday, April 25, 2005

New Addition to Hooptyrides Fleet!

Not the first automobile that I have purchased at a garage sale though probably the most ambitious.

The area rug on the roof is not included in the sale, the inclusion of the blue tarp is questionable, but the 1930/31 Model A pickup truck cab cradling cart is included.

This purchase immediately preceeded Coop's purchase of a not dissimilar pile of vintage tin. I would call his Phaeton a bucket of bolts, but we actually had to buy bolts to get it to its current near road-ready state. Besides our passion for automobiles, Coop and I share an uncommon (and wallet emptying) optimism.

To Coop's credit, his new purchase is ensconced in his shop while mine is still spread over a 6750 square foot Desert Tortoise Preserve/tract home. If you were to map each Model A/T component that I purchased on the parcel map, it would look an awful lot like a nighttime sky star map. Clusters here and there, but nearly completely fucking random. I wouldn't be surprised if there are parts in the toilet tank.

1965 Ford Country Squire Archeology

Attention has been turned to the interior of the Country Squire but do not assume that the exterior, running gear, or even the Country Squire ice chest have been completed or neglected. When you have literally one thousand projects, you need to chip away at the edges every day.

With every used car purchase, the buyer should mentally note that the true purchasing price is actually about $1.50 CHEAPER than the agreed upon price. This is due to the inevitable change that you will find under the seats that is DIRECTLY applied against purchase price. I am even counting that Scope coupon as the Country Squire costs continue to ascend with no clear end in sight. Too bad I can't redeem those Blue Chip Stamps. Happy to see the comb, though. Always nice to have another comb.

Masked like a bandit! For the skeptics that think the 1965 Ford Country Squire is not completely badass, please consider this - the turn signals are behind the grill. So that settles that.

The paint has been wet sanded, the 'wood' trim has been removed, the stainless polished, the bumpers worked over, the wood sides roughed up, a couple coats of primer applied, door handles removed, some unused ex-trim holes were welded shut and the 1965 Ford Country Squire wagon is ready for Jose Lopez to paint it cooler than shit.

Sure, you can buy replacement 3M vinyl siding, but why do that when you know a retired ex-Sign and Scenery Painting Union member that has worked on everything from Tokyo Disneyland to the Bette Midler film 'Bitches'? Later, we realized I misunderstood and he had worked on a film called 'Beaches.'

Station wagon tailgates tend to collect all sorts of material though I was not expecting a mulch pile. This has been cleaned and the mulch has been moved to the garden.

Fifty bucks worth of nothin'!

Though exhilarating to drive a car with non-functioning brakes, I decided to spring for the Mercedes 190b master cylinder rebuild kit. Some highly specific components and absolutely useless instructions add up to an annoying $50 kit. The rebuild went very well but now I have to resolve the passenger front hub in a meaningful way. I had replaced the hub and tie-rod ends but the front passenger wheel still has a nasty shimmey. I mean, in comparsion to no brakes, it is the very model of safety.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Another photo for the upcoming Garage Life article. The anticipation may actually kill me. Photo credit: Peter Linney

With the addition of the perfect lawn chair and a twelve pack of tall boys, the 1965 Ford Country Squire will be absolutely ready for taking the San Fernando Valley on our terms. Not surprisingly, I had this ice chest in the rafters. Also, not surprisingly, it is not the only one I have. Water slide decals are perhaps the quickest way to cool. A delightful, though unremarkable, ice chest is converted to practically the coolest thing in the world in just a few minutes.

Monday, April 18, 2005

There is No Parallel for the Inherent Joy of Putting Like Items in Small Drawers

Some artists are clearly car guys and it comes across in the work. Then, there is the guy that painted this wrecking yard gate in Sun Valley, California. The manifold bolts right to the tops of the valve covers, 6 exhaust ports per side, a couple mystery knobs under that, a timing cover that looks like a bullseye but it is the fuel injector stacks and the black gloved engine hustler that really carry the painting. Also, note that his feet look like some sort of oil slick flipper. I may have to steal the whole gate.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Sloan sends us this ridiculous photo of an absolutely worthless Maserati Quattroporte. As recently confirmed with the Mercedes 190b, cost of purchasing is a mere rounding error in the total cost of ownership. But, the longer I look at it, the more I think it would make an excellent demolition derby car if you dropped a Cadillac 500 engine in there.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Black Gold 1984

The 1961 Mercedes 190b had not run since 1984. With the exception of a single hair-raising ride around the block, today was the first day that the Mercedes was seriously put to the test. I did not get a photo of the Mercedes 190b at the gas station as I was too busy mopping up the giant puddle of gasoline under the car. It appears that in addition to needing a new fan belt, there is also an issue with the flexible hose connecting the filler neck to the tank.

Rather than focus on the length of time that it takes Hooptyrides to complete a project, instead we should direct our attention to the staggering number of projects juggled at any moment. Today, though it appears it was all bowler hat Mercedes related, I actually worked on - and drove - three automobiles.


Good price on prime rib! Making the scene at Genios, using the portico as intended and elicting extremely faint praise from the staff, the Mercedes 190b is a true survivor. Every car I have ever purchased has been a fantastic mistake. Every car has been significantly worse than I originally thought and charming in ways I never imagined. The modest 190b is the very essence of restraint. Let's face facts, I pulled the 190b from the jaws of the crusher. The water pump whirs like a plane about to take off, the master cylinder still requires a few pumps to get it to stop, the roof is gone, the bumpers could hardly be more bent while still being attached, it needs ball joints something terrible, the bondo is cracking off the front fender and you can tell more than should be disclosed by reading the multiple layers of paint as if counting the rings on a tree.

I say I will never buy a car that has been dormant for over twenty years as it is just too god damn much work and money, but I doubt I could say no to this little charmer. I was so happy trying to keep the Mercedes in its lane that I was smiling and waving out the Webasto sunroof at people I don't even like. If it wasn't still so damn terrifying to drive, I would sit on a stack of phone books and poke my head out the roof. With googles. Like Mr. Toad.

From the condition of the Visa sign, I would expect that it has also been in the sun since 1984. Surprising that it doesn't say BankAmericard and, disappointingly, the Carte Blanche and Diners Club International signs are long gone.

I should have pulled that red carpet entry mat over and tucked it under the front wheels.

Vehicles of Purpose

Just out and about in Burbank. Astute Hooptyrides viewers are no doubt concerned about the lack of moulding on the rear passenger door and will be relieved that it is safely kept in the trunk. I was presenting the Mercedes 190b's best side to the Burbank Fire Department. Sure wish I had the key to the gas door as it is going to look pretty tacky with a screwdriver stuck in there.

Without the headlight surrounds, the roof rack and the sidewood, the 1965 Ford Country Squire looks race ready. Naturally, all these elements will be replaced just as soon as they are freshened. For ages, loyal Hooptyride readers have been looking at the previously lowly Mercedes 190b in this prime parking spot.

Unbelievably fantastic old speed shop decal proves that nothing says fast like a rabid, charging, cigar smoking gorilla with racing stripes on his ass. Won't the neighbors be impressed when I put this on my front door.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Garage Life visits Coop

Clearly, Coop wins the award for coolest helmet painting while I pick up the trophy for most likely to be killed while looking for a simple standard screwdriver.

Photo Credit: Peter Linney

Garage Life visits Hooptyrides

Hooptyrides should have invested in a fisheye lens ages ago as it really creates a sense of space. Peter Linney sent a CD-R of the photos from the Garage Life shoot and it really makes me wish I cleaned up the grease sweep under the compressor. Anticipation of the Garage Life 'Hooptyrides' release is nearly intolerable.

I have seen things in the photos that I forgot I even had. The 3 stoves I had not forgotten about (2 seen here, 1 in the house, as I may be crazy, but I am not a microwaving savage). This past week I secured all the replacement parts required to get the white stove up and out. Though Hooptyride fans are probably excited to see the long overdue O'Keefe and Merritt completed, no one is as excited as I am. I thought a 361 big block would be nice there. Comparatively, the engine would be damn near pocketsize.

Photo Credit: Peter Linney

Tuesday, April 05, 2005


Filthy. And, look at sparkplug wires 7 and 8. The firing order on a Ford ends with cylinder 7 then 8. The 7-8 wires are right next to each other in the loom, greatly increasing the likelihood of crossfiring.

Like La Brea Tar Pits!

When you find this pool of ancient shellacked gasoline, the natural immediate tendency is to reach for the pressure washer. Don't. This little tar pit may contain relics of the ancient world. Pressure washing just moves the grime somewhere else.

It is a miserable job, but once the engine is clean, every other bit of maintenance is so much more pleasant.

Unless the engine is removed, the dreaded rattle can should never be used under the hood. Besides the grease, the Ford Blue overspray on the sparkplugs, bolts, valve cover and heater hoses demanded that I clean the engine.


Clean enough to heat up a can of Dinty Moore. Plus, new plugs, cap, rotor and Pertronix ignition system. Without adjusting the carb, the legendary backfiring has been resolved.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

April Fools

The San Fernando Valley continues to give and give. A nice Pacer with original hubcaps will always catch the eye but a Pacer with a scraggly Charlie Brown freeze-dried April Fool's Day Christmas tree tied to the roof will almost get me into an accident.

Yes, that is a fine looking wagon in the background but it is no longer on the market.


Yes, that is a Santa hat on the passenger seat. I am always threatening eccentric behaviors that I will cloak under the broad excuse of advancing years: Cverly tan with a beer belly the size of a basketball and the density of teak wood. Slippers, a white Captain's hat, gold frame sunglasses missing one lens and an open bathrobe when I go to get more Popov from the grocery. A kimono, a suburban opium habit and an erotic netsuke bolo tie. Dark, dark days ahead.

Luckily, I have an ample supply of Dymo labeling tape.

Impressive dashboard real estate means room for two bottles of glue, a map of San Diego, an empty smiley face Kleenex caddy, a Styx 8-track tape, a Dion 8-track tape, an empty Diet Coke can and an ingenious reuse of a memo organizer as an 8-track holder. A nice tree topper would really dress up that top branch.

With a borscht belt plaid sport coat hung in the rear window, I am still not sure if the entire car was constructed as an elaborate April Fool's prank. It really seems too perfect.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Easter Sunday

From the Department of Fuck-Yeah, I spent Easter with Coop and Kouki Nojima, editor of the extremely impressive Japanese mook, Garage Life (1,2,3). Kouki was shooting Coop's stable of cars at his studio/shop for an upcoming issue of Garage Life and Coop twisted arms until Kouki agreed to check out my garage.

Coop's shop is eat-off-the-floor clean and filled with all the trick shit. My garage is a terrifying foreshadowing of being crushed by my own treasured junk. Fully anticipating Kouki's head shaking wonderment at why Coop suggested such a thing, I humbly stood by as Kouki surveyed my garage.

Kouki declared, "Authentic American garage... This is Garage Life."