Date: Thursday, 22 Jan 1998...click here to see Luke's 2001 update!!
From: Luke & Sandy - Auckland, New Zealand
I just want you all to know that the Kumeu Classic Car and Hot Rod show was a blast. And best of all, my 1960 Imperial LeBaron was the star of the show. They even ran radio ads on Friday for the show that said "featuring a 1960 Chrysler Imperial, one of only 999 made!"
They put us in the "Blast from the Past" shed. This meant basically old weird stuff that hasn't been restored yet.
We were in good company though. A 1950 something Amphicar, those strange convertible numbers with the little fins and twin screws under the rear guard. There was also a very rare Dodge Polara hardtop. The only one in Australasia.
All the Mopar boys stuck well together all weekend partying hard to rock and roll all night and we all slept in the back of our cars. I had the best night's sleep in ages! I'm sure it was the luxury bedding, not all the beer I drank.
The next day we fired up all our 6 finned Mopars and had a rousing round of "formation driving" down on the back field.
I tell you what - by far the most talked about topic during the whole weekend was "the terrible botch job of welding someone did on my rear window surround".
The oxidized Factory lead job does look like a bad weld and it cracked me up listening to these old guys telling younger listeners what a shame it was that this weld had been done and not flattened off. "You can see where the original window would have been". After correcting the first person in the morning I couldn't be bothered telling the rest of the crowd. I don't think I can stand another show with the lead like that now.
The best bit must have been when I fired Her up first and gave the adoring fans joy rides around the show. There was quite a queue forming after a while.
It was very cool and I'm sure what being an Imperialist is all about.
Well it doesn’t look like much for 3 and a half years work does it. But at least everything goes now pretty much as it should have 40 years ago. Plus we’ve had two kids, Pippi and Ted in the mean time so there’s been some distractions.
I’ve done the engine, front and rear suspension and rebuilt the front guards.
There’s a shot here of the kumeu Swap meet where the last shots where taken. The drive up there was the first real run on a brand new engine. Smooth as all the way up running a little hot for my liking but the more I run her the cooler she seems to be running so we’ll see. Most importantly I could cruise along with my RCA Victor blasting out Louis Prima and Carl Perkins with that unmistakable Searchtune sound. I’ve put in nearly every option and insanely tried to get them all going perfectly. The Auto Pilot is like some sort of gizmo strait out of a Dr. Seuss book when you get it apart. My rule is if you can look at it and nut out how it works; it can be fixed, so it is.
That little ‘click’ of the Mirrormatic as someone creeps up from behind on full beam is music to my ears. The hours fiddling with tiny little springs and things have all paid off. Just think of the energy I would have wasted lifting my hand to flick that awkward switch.
Now we don’t quite have ‘mountain fresh kool air’ billowing from those sexy looking vents quite yet, but I assure you everything is lined up. The nos freon sitting there ready to be cracked open just as soon as I’m happy that the engine isn’t going to throw a wobbly. Conversation is temporarily halted if there are any seat adjustments to be made. The 6 way electric chair sounds something like a blender when in full action. Small price to pay for the luxuries ride within the ride in any of the desired 6 ways you should want to go in. The auto high beam dipper works perfectly for any cars coming towards us on the left-hand side of the road. Sadly we drive on the other side of the road here so oncoming motorists do not largely benefit from this feature. But I’m sure after reading this they will understand next time and all will be forgiven.
Next thing is to get onto the body. Fix that pesky lead around the window and beat out some more dents.
Thanks for reading.