Great magazine. I've been reading it for years. A while back you requested our busted-knuckles type of story, so I wanted to share my story from 40 years ago. When I was a senior in high school standing in the parking lot during a fire drill, parked right in front of me was my friend Bob Wilson's '64 four-door Valiant slant-six, known to all as the Duster. Being the rascal I can be, I figured it would be OK to switch a couple plug wires. Back to class we go. Bob worked at the local Gulf station and I worked at the local Sunoco. On my lunch break I would run down to the Gulf station to see how the better half was being treated. You can imagine my surprise walking in to find the Duster sitting in the bay with the cylinder head off. Apparently, after limping it back to work on it, he decided that the Duster needed a valve job. To this day, we still laugh to tears about that prank. Bob and I are still friends after all these years and still laugh about old times.
There was a second part to this story, when about a year later Bob was able to exact revenge. As hilarious as it was, the outcome isn't exactly appropriate for print. That said, thanks for writing in, Tom. It's always good to hear stories from gearhead buddies.
I am a huge fan of your magazine, and I usually read it 10 times over till I soak it all in. In "Pick Your First Project Car" (July '09) I think that the price range for the G-bodies is a little high. My family has had wonderful luck snagging very cheap G-bodies. My mom had an '86 Pontiac Grand Prix that was yellow with a half-tan top and T-tops, which never leaked. She bought the car for $75 with 85,000 original miles and delivered mail in it for five years. Underneath the hood was a 4.3L V-6 that had 315,000 miles until I totaled it in an ice storm.
My first car was an '80 Buick Regal, as plain Jane as could be. I scored it for $100, and it had only 60,000 original miles and zero rust. The car was owned by a preacher's wife so she only drove it to the grocery store and church. Currently it has a blown transmission and is waiting on a 350 stroker.
Lastly, my daily driver is an '83 Chevy Monte Carlo that I picked up recently for $700 with 93,000 original miles. It has a little surface rust on the hood, roof, and trunk, but I'm planning to repaint it gray over the summer. For wheels, I picked up a set of Corvette Rallys with P235/60R15 tires up front and P255/60R15 out back for just $200-these are all original GM wheels! Powering the Monte is a 305ci small-block with an aluminum intake, chrome valve covers, and a Quadrajet four-barrel carb.
Besides the three cars I've listed, my family has scored six G-bodies during my life. All of them together cost under $4,000, but most of them were also six-cylinder cars. I really appreciate your time, and I'm looking forward to my next issue.
During my first stint at our sister publication Car Craft magazine, I purchased a really straight V-8 -powered '78 Malibu for $750. I still can't believe how cheap it was and wish I would have held onto that car. Good deals are definitely out there, but you definitely have to make a valiant effort to find them.
I just wanted to say thank you. The coveted CHP plates arrived a couple days ago. I'm planning to send you a work-in-progress picture of my '69 El Camino SS in the near future.
Glad you received them, John! I'll admit we get backed up at times, but we eventually get the plates out. Those of you who write in about how to get plates, all you have to do is respond to our questions through email and be sure to include your address. Here's another chance to get your hands on a CHP plate: We're running low on Busted Knuckles adventures. Send in your story, and if we print it you can expect a plate shortly, along with a few other goodies we like to toss in.
Hello, my name is Amie. Your teammate Vince is my cousin-in-law. I just wanted to let you know that I will be at the race this year, and I am hyped to see the car in the mag. I bought pit passes and will have my camera in hand 90 percent of the time.
Our first 24 Hours of LeMons outing is coming up in two weeks. By the time you read this, we'll have completed it. And knowing me, I'll probably will have put you to work. Thanks for the support!
Got something to say? We'll make you famous and put your letter here. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
What's Your Ideal EL Camino?
Members of the forum at El Camino Central (elcaminocentral.com) weigh in.
A red '59 Elky 283 four-barrel, three on the tree with overdrive! Just like the first one I had back when I got married!
- Papa Johns 77
Bone stock LS6 with a four-speed.
- Camino LS6
I dream of a '59 with a 502.
Get her dipped in a bright yellow with black racing strips and have the 350 engine worked up tough enough to get about a 4-foot launch.- PS
Meguiar's Top 12 Car Care Myths
Ever wonder what's true and what's myth? Car care expert Meguiar's sorts fact from fiction here with 12 of the most debated car care myths-everything from dishwasher soap to wax protection.
1. Dishwashing detergent is safe to wash your car with.
Absolutely not! With repeated use, dishwashing detergents remove everything from your paint finish, including waxes, silicones, and polymers. For best results, use a pH-balanced car wash product with conditioners specifically formulated to enhance the appearance and protection of automotive paint finishes, such as Meguiar's Gold Class Car Wash.
2. Washing and cleaning are the same.
While they sound similar, they are vastly different procedures. A car wash removes loose contaminants from your finish like dust, road grime, and fresh bird droppings. On the other hand, paint cleaners and clay bars such as ScratchX 2.0 and Meguiar's Smooth Surface Clay Kit remove stubborn stains, blemishes, and bonded contaminants like paint overspray and tree sap mist that won't flush off with washing.
3. If a car looks shiny, cleaning can be skipped.
Not until you complete a thorough physical and visual evaluation of your paint finish can you determine that your car is clean. The surface should be as smooth as glass. If it isn't, you will feel bonded contaminants that can be easily removed with a clay bar, allowing easier application and wipe-off of polishes and waxes with dazzling results.
4. Clay bars should only be used by professionals.
If you have ever played with Silly Putty, you can use a clay bar. The bar will grab and gently remove all bonded contaminants, leaving the surface silky-smooth.
5. Waxing can remove swirl marks.
Swirl marks are scratches, and the only way to remove a scratch from paint finish is to reduce the thickness of the paint down to the bottom of the scratch. Micro-fine, hairline scratches can often be removed by hand using a nonabrasive paint cleaner or products such as Ultimate Compound or SwirlX. Moderate scratches may require Meguiar's Dual Action Polisher. Deeper swirl marks caused by the improper use of rotary buffers and rubbing compounds may well require professional color sanding and buffing.
6. There is no difference between polishing and waxing.
The sole purpose of polishing is to create a brilliant high gloss. Polishing removes a microscopic layer of paint and creates a fresh, glistening surface, but does nothing to protect paint. Waxing a car protects the finish from the elements by coating it with waxes, polymers, resins, and silicones. Meguiar's NXT Generation Tech Wax 2.0 provides superior protection with its blend of rich nutrients and tough polymers. Waxing not makes a dull surface shiny, but protects your freshly polished paint.
7. Machine polishers damage paint.
Even novices can quickly master a dual-action polisher or orbital buffer without risk of burning the paint finish. However, rotary buffers, which operate at much higher rpm, are best left to professionals.
8. Diapers, T-shirts, and flannel make good cleaning cloths.
Always use 100-percent cotton terrycloth towels like Meguiar's Soft Buff Terry Towel, or premium microfiber towels like the Meguiar's Supreme Shine Microfiber. These eliminate uncertainty and reduce the time and effort required for wipe-downs.
9. Wax can be guaranteed to protect up to a year.
There is no integrity in guaranteeing the protective time because every car is different, and so are the environments in which different cars are kept.
10. Paste wax offers greater protection than liquid wax.
There are now liquid and paste car waxes on the market that offer equal ease of use and performance. Two examples are Meguiar's NXT Generation Tech Wax 2.0 Liquid and NXT Generation Tech Wax 2.0 Paste, both of which redefine quality and performance with their next-generation water-repelling "hydrophobic polymer" technology.
11. Lighting a hood on fire without damaging the paint finish proves the protective qualities of a car wax.
Regardless of whether the paint finish is protected with some magic formulation or not, it will be unaffected by flaming alcohol. The moment the flame goes out, if you place your hand directly where the flame was you will discover that the surface is barely warm. This stunt is simply a demonstration of physics.
12. Once a car is waxed, regularly protecting the paint finish is unnecessary.
The best long-term protection for your vehicle is to remove contaminants with a mist-and-wipe product, such as Ultimate Quik Detailer, before they have time to bond to the paint finish.
Summit Racing Goes Social
Never be left in the dark again. Summit has three options where you can find information and updates. Through Twitter, Facebook, and Hub Garage, Summit Racing can provide the most-up-to-date info. News of special offers, new products, blog entries, videos, and vehicle projects can be fetched. These social networking outlets will keep Summit at your fingertips and provides a more targeted audience with gearheads. Jeff Winters, Summit's chief marketing officer, said, "Our presence on Twitter, Facebook, and Hub Garage gives us another outlet to interact with this community." Check out the three links below to stay up to date. You can even receive them on your mobile phone.
Car was 20 hours old, driver got rear-ended by a kid with no insurance...and no driver's license...-Octane5GO, 5thgen.org
We tried tracking down the source of the story, but came up empty-handed. Talk about a rather unfortunate event! However, the consensus seems to be that the new Camaro handled the impact rather well. Could this have been the first casualty?
Rooster Call, by Sean Haggai
Well, I did it. I made the jump. No, I didn't run off and get married, as much as Henry D. was hoping for that with dreams of hounding me forever. I did, however, move into a new place amid a struggling economy and a not-so-great housing market. I saw an opportunity up for grabs, and I went for it. I was in need of a change for the better.
When they say it's all about location, location, location, they really mean it. Sherman Oaks is the place to be. Not only am I a bit closer to the ocean air of the Pacific, but I've shaved 20 miles off my commute and about an hour off my drive time, and I have fewer fill-ups. If you are familiar with the 405 Freeway, otherwise known as a parking lot here in L.A., then you'll know what I'm talking about-sorry, Henry.
I think it's a bit cooler here also. Must be the ocean breeze? Not only do I have a bank in walking distance, but I also have a theater, two supermarkets, a mall, and even a Best Buy electronics store, not to mention great Ventura Boulevard eateries.
Aside from the elephants who dwell directly above me and who migrate from one side of their place to the other by jumping instead of walking, and the unrelenting intermittent squeak from the building's air conditioning system, all is well. I even discovered that another tenant who is above me is a famous hip-hop artist. Although I have yet to talk to him aside from a "man-wave," I did some research and his name is Smooth B. You might not be too familiar with late '80s, early '90s hip-hop, but he comes from the group Nice & Smooth. They had four gold records during that time. It actually feels kind of cool to know I've got a hip-hop icon as my neighbor. Their most notable song was "Sometimes I Rhyme Slow, Sometimes I Rhyme Quick." The funny part is I've heard the song a billion times on the radio but never knew who it really was.
As of yet, I don't regret the move. The area is great, and the new place is quiet. Plus, with two high-def LCD TVs pumping 1080p resolution and a nice summer breeze, I am really enjoying the decision to finally sit and relax. [Ed. note-It's only a matter of time, buddy.