Thursday, December 17, 2009

CPotD #18 (The Eternal Optimist)

I went searching for a quote that would best sum up the dangers of optimism, and I found this one attributed to Winston Churchill. “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” Well, the car in this CPotD came with plenty of difficulties and opportunities.

From this picture and others I took at the time, this car appeared to be a viable candidate for roadification (see Pertinent Definitions on the sidebar). However, and you can quote me on this, Bondo covers a multitude of sins.

A $100 deal creatively nicknamed Redvair, this Corvair came to me about in June of ‘05 through a fellow car-nut at my place of employ. This co-worker had been witnessing the wasting away of a couple old cars at the hand of a neighbor of his. This neighbor owned a 50s vintage Packard and this Corvair. Both cars were offered to me, but I didn’t have a garage long enough for the Packard (or a wallet thick enough for that matter). I did have the cash and desire to obtain another Corvair. At the time, I was working on Heidi and Brianna was driving the white 4-door which was rusting away beyond saving. So I was looking for another project that, once completed, could become a daily driver, and this one seemed to fit the bill.

I did give it a serious look through, but being the optimist I am, I dismissed slight rust holes and bumpy paint as minor inconveniences that could easily be corrected. After paying the seller and towing it home, Redvair was parked in the driveway and ignored for a few months while work on Heidi was completed. While it sat, Ariel started making noise about how cool it looked, and finally she asked me if Redvair could be her father-daughter project. Up to that point, she’d wanted a VW Beetle and I was grudgingly going to comply with her wish. I was quite thankful when she changed her tune.

With Heidi completed, it was now Redvair’s turn, and time to put Ariel to work. The first thing we did was get the engine running. It actually started up quite easily with new plugs, points, condenser and a borrowed battery. Oh yeah, the fuel was supplied directly from a gas can suspended above the engine compartment. Without a lot of fanfare or clacking valves, Redvair had successfully completed step 1 of its roadification.

Step 2 in my version of roadification is brakes, but we decided to temporarily skip that step and investigate the body issues. With a wire disc on my drill, I picked a suspect spot and carved my way through paint and primer before coming upon Bondo. Through the Bondo I went before coming upon ….. nothing. Most of the metal that had formed this lower front fender and the adjoining floor and firewall had been consumed by rust. The sculptor that had replaced metal with body filler had actually been quite the artist. Unfortunately, Bondo is not designed to be used as a structural member of an automobile with uni-body construction.

This same process of carving and discovering was repeated at rear fender and the front valance before I had a talk with Ariel about the difficulties of this opportunity. “Not to be a pessimist,” I told her, “but there is a much better candidate for roadification than this car.” And there was as Ringo came into our lives less than one month after Jeff, proprietor of the Corvair Ranch, hauled Redvair away.

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