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Discussion Starter #1
This is kind of long, so I'll try to get to the point quickly. Earlier this week I got an e-mail from a young member of this board. He's attending college here in town and was looking for a Cobra owner to talk to. He's dreaming of owning his own. Of course, I'm happy to meet and talk with new car people. As it turns out, we have other things in common as well. But I digress.

So he and his friend stop by this afternoon. We spend time in the garage looking and talking. We fire the motor up and make some fumes. We talk some more. Would have gone for a drive, but too much ice and sand on the roadways for that. Before you know it, two hours had gone by.

My young friend, Ryan, made a very astute observation. He pointed out that car people are more than willing to share everything. Their garages, their tools, and their ideas. We give away free ideas and free advice like it was, well, free! Nothing is a big secret. We're more than willing to share the knowledge we've learned, and pass on the neat little tricks we've discovered. We feel good when other builders "steal" our ideas. Isn't that strange?

Hats off to you, Ryan. You're smarter than you think you are.
 

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Over Engineerer
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Cool story boB. There are a few teenage boys (younger than Ryan) in the hood who like to come around when the shop doors are open. If a person is really interested in what I'm doing, I'll stop and talk as long as they want. I know that not everyone is a "car guy" so I don't mind answering the same questions over and over. But I have a low tolerance for Posers - you can tell in 10 seconds whether a guy knows what he’s talking about or not.
 

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I agree with you entirely! I have had a few experiances similar to this myself. Congrats on the new friendship!

-SGC
 

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I had a guy stop by a few weekends ago, as well while I was in the garage working. Two hours later, he left, well informed. Seems he wants to build one, too. Turns out he's the mayor of a city in south central Missouri; he was in town for the day and wanted to stop by.

Good stuff.
 

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I think it's because we have all been there, wondering how to fix something, do a task, find the right tool and etc. It's also great to feel that you've helped in some way.
 

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Absolutely!!!!!!!!!


I owned a Corvette for many years that I named Thumper. Actually I owned him for about 25 years. I raced it - showed it - street drove it - this car was a true extension of "me".. There was a kid that used to buzz me in my driveway and shop like he was a gnat. Matter of fact - until I learned his name, that's what I called him... He hung around whenever my shop door was open and used to bug me with questions and his observations and his dreams.. He was about 11-12 when he first started hanging around and I finally moved away to Texas and left him behind (he had been my pal for about 3 years then).. Well, as things progressed - I moved back from Texas about 12 years later.. Thumper had undergone a bunch of changes including a new paint job, but he still sported his distinctive John Greenwood / Ralph Eckler's Can-Am body..

I'd been back for about a year and one day I'm out in the shop with the door open. This guy pulls a big 4x4 into the driveway across the alley and he hops out and goes into the house. A few minutes later I hear a "Holy CATS!!!!!" and this guy comes walking over.. He looks at the car and he looks at me and says "This is Thumper isn't it?" I look at him a little stink-eyed and said - ah, why yes it is... He smiled as big as Texas and said "You gotta remember me! I'm Mark - well GNAT! Remember???"
No joke..

Here Mark was all grown up and had kids of his own..
Mark went on to tell me that by getting him hooked on cars he never had a chance to get into drugs / booze and other trouble like some of his friends. He said he was always too broke!


Mark continued to drop by from time to time to see what I was doing. His sister lived across the alley from me so it was a pretty easy stop for him. He worked as a full time mechanic at a local garage and built quite a reputation for being one of the sharpest wrenches in the area.
Mark told me one day that if I ever thought about selling Thumper that he would pay whatever I wanted whenever I wanted it.. I thought about that and filed it away for a time. A couple of years later - I was building myself another racecar since I had to retire Thumper since I was no longer blowing a $150 69 Vette rear end, I was blowing a $1500 Classic Corvette rear end.. Thumper had sat essentially unused for about 5 years.. It pained me to have to see that car just sitting there.. Mark stopped by one afternoon and it just came over me - Mark, You still interested in buying Thumper? His eyes got as big as beach balls.. Huge smile on his face.. I went and bought a new battery for him and primed the fuel and oil systems and he lit right up.. Of course we sent at least a million exhaust system spiders to their fiery deaths - but no matter... Whoomah!!!! :D

Thumper spent that night at Mark's house in his garage. I would even be willing to bet that he slept in it..

It's a car-guy sort of thing... I sold that car to Mark for probably 25% of what I could have gotten it for - but the car has got a home with someone that truly loves it. Mark told me that he would never sell Thumper and if anything ever happened that would change that - he would give it back to me...

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Keep working with those driveway Gnats guys.. You never know what will happen, but you can be assured that it will probably be a GOOD thing...

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Bob - Thanks for this thread. Talk about making a guy feel good!
 

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Randy you actually have me in tears , because I was one of those Gnats, BUT I could never afford the cars that the guy behind us owned, (even today)

I was always across there and probably always getting in his way. He was rebuilding a 1935 Squire (very few links on the Internet) one of only 7 cars built, it had (has) a 1100 cc super charged Ananzi 4 cylinder. Good for over 110mph.

He also had an Austin Martin DB4 , which was wicked fast as well.

Sadly he died young while I was away in the military and his family sold off the cars for a song , I later heard that the Squire had been resold for 6x it's value and do not know where it is today.

A pic of the missing 7th car as sold last year. Each car was hand built and his had a racing body on it, but with similar lines as this Van Den Plus
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Yes, that's the guy. Real nice kid, very excited anout FFR's.
 

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Who says us car guys don't have a sensitive side. I think we all have a duty to pass our "artform" on to another generation - it pays dividends for both of us. boB, way to go! Ryan, see you on the road in your own FFR.
 

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Zulu - I was a Gnat myself when I was a kid... The guys at the local service station were generally pretty nice - a couple were real dinks.

Be nice to the Gnats!


Way to go Bob!

BTW - I've picked up another Gnat from down the block.. I can see it in his eyes already!
 
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