Sadly this week has been very difficult, our dog Pudgy was not doing to well, and yesterday we had to put him down.
It has been a hard week, but I'm back on the case.
RIP Pudgy Brutt, you had a good 15 years of life, and we will miss you.
My mother has a little camper in Wisconsin where we vacation on weekends, that is why many of my finds are from the Southern Wisconsin region. Well while on vacation up there, we had a large fight and I decided to go for a drive.
I knew of a few cars sitting North West of our campground, so I headed that way, first. It was a beautiful day to just drive and clear your head.
Driving through the countryside, I didn't really expect to find anything that cool, or interesting. Maybe I would find an old truck, or Camaro. I wasn't ready to find a Mopar family in the middle of nowhere.
I come over a hill and there in the driveway is a 1964 Plymouth. All decked out, looking really good. So I hit the brakes and pull into the driveway just in front of the Plymouth. I get out and started talking with an older gentleman there. He was the father, and the Plymouth was the Sons car, but they had others lying around.
The son came out and we began talking about cars and Mopars. I was telling them about my adventures and the recent Hot Rod Power Tour I had just attended. The interesting part was that they had actually read the Power Tour blog I had up while doing the tour.
The two of them began showing me the rest of their projects, they had a 72 Duster out front they were working on, they had a Mopar in the garage, but I cannot remember exactly what now. However, out back they had an old Dodge in the back garage, along with a sweet old school Suburban I believe.
We chatted for a while more, and I told them I had more to explore. So I said my goodbyes and continued on my way. I kept exploring the area for another hour or so, and then headed south to the Janesville area.
Heading into Janesville, I remember seeing a 78 Aspen R/T on Craig list for sale. I called the number and arranged a meeting to view the car.
I made my way through Janesville to the Aspen. It looked good from 20 feet, but upon closer inspection, it needed a lot of work. There wasn't a straight piece of metal on the whole car. It ran, but everything leaked. So I passed on the car and continued on my little adventure.
I made my way through Janesville, I believe it was west. I found a little parts store on the outskirts of Janesville that I decided to stop at. I find if you are nice to the people that work in the town, that they will lead you to good finds.
Chatting with the guys there was a lot of fun. I missed the general car chatting of Napa. We talked about everything from Mavericks to Mopars. I spent over an hour just chatting away with these guys I never met before.
After the car talk, they gave me a few good leads, and I parted company. They gave me the direction of a GTO sitting in someone driveway for a while.
I finally found where the car was supposed to be, but instead there was a Nova in the driveway. The same time I pull up, the owner pulls up. I get out of the Caprice and begin chatting with him about the parts store guys and the GTO. In addition, he told me he just moved it behind the garage to protect it. And it wasn't a GTO, but a LeMans with GTO sheet metal.
He shows me through the garage, where he was building a nice old truck, and out back, behind the garage was the LeMans. It was rough, everything had rust and bondo. It was a very big project, and I knew I would pass on it, but I had Pontiac friends that could have been. So I took down the information on the car.
I stayed there for a while, chatting with the guys. Talking about cars, women, adventures we had had in our lives. It was a lot of fun, and I could spend hours just chatting away, but I had to start heading home. I knew I was not going to return to the Camper, and daylight was growing dim.
So I headed back to Chicago, the day started out horrible, but throughout the day, meeting new people, finding cool old cars, it turned out to be a day I will never forget.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Sadly this week has been very difficult, our dog Pudgy was not doing to well, and yesterday we had to put him down.
Posted by Ryan Brutt at 3/22/2009 08:30:00 PM
Sunday, March 15, 2009
After leaving the Dart, I made the decision to head into Downtown Rockford again. I had not been there in a year, and I thought it would be nice to drive around a bit and admire the architecture
I made my way through the side street of the area making my way to the main road into Rockford. I saw an old Chrysler Boat, not something you see very often.
Getting to the main road wasn't too hard, just took a while with the rough roads and the shot suspension of my truck. Nevertheless, I made it with only a few bumps and made a left, heading to downtown.
Driving down the main street of Rockford towards downtown, it was depressing to see the rundown factories and homes.
I was almost to the downtown when I noticed a used car lot on one side of the street. It had only two cars, a 67 Plymouth Satellite and a Chevy Impala.
The actual lot was closed, but the building that the cars were sitting next to was for sale. I called the number on the building and no one answered, but I left a message. I did get a call back by the owner of the cars. He said that the Satellite was a 318 car; it had new brakes and a few other miscellaneous items. It could be driven he said. I passed on this as well, because the price was high, for the work needed to make the car even decent.
I made my way into Downtown Rockford. It was depressing to see these large beautiful buildings, mostly sitting empty. Driving up and down the streets, it seemed like a ghost town. That didn't stop me from enjoying the sites of the town.
The way I entered the main downtown, you go over the Rock River on a large bridge, and exit on another bridge to cross the river. I noticed below the bridge was some railroad tracks, and what looked like an old station, so I had to investigate.
I made my way down to the railroad tracks. The tracks were between the road and the river for most of the time. It then passed an old train station, and then continued down the middle of the street.
I noticed that the train station looked restored, but had picnic tables on the deck, so I assumed it wasn't functional anymore. Then I notice a building that has a small branch line going into the barn. I read the sign and it says "Rockford & Interurban Railway Co." and then "Car Barn".
This seemed like a sign to me. I'm hunting for cars in barns, and I find something labeled "Car Barn" on this hunt? What are the odds? So I walk up next to the car barn and look through the windows, and see something most unexpected.
Sitting in the barn is an interesting old Trolley car. It looked fully restored and operational. I love old trolleys and could not believe my luck. I was able to snap a few pictures through the windows. I could not have been any happier just looking at that old trolley. It brought back allot of memories of going to other Trolley museums around the area.
However, I had to get underway, time was quickly running out and I still wanted to explore a little bit more, so I followed the train tracks down the street for less then a mile when something else surprising appeared in the road, a hovercraft.
I slammed on my brakes and looked left at the frozen river, and there was a group of homemade hovercrafts playing around. So I parked the truck, strolled over to the guys and girl, and chatted with them about their hovercrafts.
They are part of a website, hovercraft.com. They were beginning a little trip down the Rock River. I said how interesting that was, and how cool the fact that they had been home built. They said it was a lot of fun and enjoyed playing with them.
We parted company, and I started back to the highway, but not before hitting one more spot. The 72 Demon I had come looking for the year before. I had heard it has been sitting there for a very long time, and I just wanted to see if it was still sitting in the same spot.
I didn't have my directions I kept on how to get there, but I still found the car without problem, and it had not moved. The Demon looked almost identical to the last time, just with snow covering everything.
On that depressing note, I turned around and headed for home, it was still beautiful out, so the drive home wasn't too bad until I hit traffic around O'Hare. I had a nice day and one heck of an adventure.
Do you know of any Cars in Barns in the midwest? Send me pictures and stories!
Sunday, March 8, 2009
While searching through Craig list the other day for a new daily driver, I discovered a Dodge Dart project car sitting up in Rockford. This really peaked my interest, as I had a blue 68 Dart post car just a few years back. So I emailed the guy who was putting the listing up and arranged a meet up the following weekend.
The timing was perfect, the weather cleared up and the temperature went up just in time for Saturday. I prepared the RamCharger for the long journey; it had not been on a drive that long in a while. So I did the usual routine before a long adventure, check the fluids and top off what needed it, check the air in the tires, make sure that they are all where they are suppose to be.
All lights were green for an adventure, and so I set out to Rockford. It was a beautiful day for a drive and I loved every moment. I take such pleasure in a nice drive, even if most of it was highway driving. I was going somewhere I had not been before (or so I thought) and it just filled me with excitement.
I was nearing the exit to get off the highway and I thought some things had looked familiar. Therefore, I make my way off the highway, and it dawned on me, I HAD been there before, a year before. I was in the same area last year just doing some random exploration in this blog. A Nice Long Day.
Driving through the run down part of Rockford again was depressing, seeing all the dilapidated buildings, closed factories and junk lying around. Nevertheless, I made my way to the owner’s home.
Once there I called him up to tell him I arrived and asked if I was a the correct place, he said I was, but that he was a few blocks away and that he's on his way over, and so I waited.
This old beat up Chevrolet Celebrity pulls up, and these two guys tell me to follow them, that the Dart is somewhere else, and so I follow them. Through the streets of Rockford, I follow, finally ending up at a friend’s house, where the Dart is.
We pull up to the house and I can see the Dart. It is in the driveway, just in front of the old garage. The guys said that they pushed the Dart out because they had motorcycles now and needed to store them inside.
I start looking over the Dart, and oh boy is it bad. It was a true 1967 Dodge Dart GT. 273 automatic on the floor. Bucket seats, vinyl top... at one time. Now this thing was a wreck. There wasn't a panel on the car that was straight. It was seriously rusted. The Dart needed quarters, fenders, inner fenders, rockers, floor, and roof work. It had a 318 in there that hadn't run ever in the car they said. But it was a real Dart GT. I got down on the ground, basic 7 1/4 rear from the looks of it.
I get to the other side and I hear a "Quack", apparently, they have and attack duck! This duck is the guard of the house, and doesn't like people sniffing around the guys said. I of course wanted to see the duck, and it then tried to bite me. So I left the duck alone after that.
I chatted with the guys about the Dart, trying to learn the history. Apparently, the father got it in trade for some money a person owed him. He began working on the car 15 years ago, then quit and it sat in the garage ever since.
They told me to make them an offer, and I told them that this is a serious project, and I would need some time to think it over properly. I will get back to them that evening.
I left there thinking about the viability of that project and if I could actually handle it. I knew I couldn't, so I called a friend of mine who is into A-body Mopars and let him have first crack at it.
While this might seem to be the end of the adventure, this is only the FIRST HALF... next week, Part Two.
Posted by Ryan Brutt at 3/08/2009 06:28:00 PM
Sunday, March 1, 2009
Finally back online, my old system crashed. I am back up and running with a completely new system. This isn't a long adventure, but a nice one.
I was traveling outside Macomb Illinois when I was out at Western Illinois University, exploring for cars again. I came down a little road I had many times before, and directly in front of me is a flatbed tow truck.
This little street in this small town is made for barely one car, so I had to back up. I look at what is going on, and I see a man, a little boy and what appeared to be the tow truck driver sitting there looking at the car on the back of the truck.
I finally back up enough to see what is sitting on the back of the flatbed, and it is an early Camaro. This definitely peaks my interest. So I backed up and out of the way, and parked. I walked over to admire the car. I talked to the father, asking the guys what was going on. The father told me that it was his car, and it wasn't for sale.
I informed him I wasn't interested in buying the car, just admiring it, and I offered to help. They were all trying to figure out how to get this Camaro off the flatbed, and do a 90 degree turn and get it into their yard, all on flat, dry rotted tires.
I said that my RamCharger has four wheel drive, and huge tow hooks up front, we can do the best we could with the tow truck, then slide it sideways on the road using the RamCharger, and then I could use my truck to pull it back into the yard.
We decided on half of the plan, we had enough car jacks, that once off the truck, we would be able to lift it up, and pivot it enough so I could pull it back into the yard with the RamCharger.
This wasn't a really good plan, things can get bent and damaged, but the father and son were running out of time, and I was all they had (What did they think they were going to do? I don't know. Lucky I showed up.) So we got the car unloaded from the flatbed. Jacked the car up, and the father and I were able to get the car parallel to their home.
While we had the car on some solid ground, we were able to pull off the front and rear tires and at least break everything loose so we could roll the car to an extent. The flatbed was gone, and we were on our own.
I got the RamCharger behind the Camaro and put my tow straps around the rear axle of the car. It was very clean under there surprisingly. And then I started backing straight up, slowly by surely. We had to clear a support wire for a telephone pole, but we were able to work the Camaro back slowly.
After about a half hour, the Camaro was in his front yard. It felt weird putting a car in someone's front yard, instead of pulling it out. But it was coming from barn where it was never worked on, to his front yard where I would hope it would be eventually worked on.
Sitting there in his front yard, drinking a pop, I finally got the scoop on the car. The Camaro was his first car; it was a 67 Z/28. He bought it from a guy in town when he was 17 and began drag racing it. He scrapped the wall one time, and fixed the fender and door, and threw a 68 grille in there. After blowing up the engine, he pushed it into his friend’s barn, and left it there until the day I saw it.
His son had taken an interest in cars, so he was going to start fixing it up with him. I thanked him for the drink, and he thanked me for his help, and that I should stop by anytime. It was at this time that I realized that I hadn't taken a single picture of the whole event, but I was going to earlier, and left my camera on all day. Killing the batteries iI asked if I could take a picture, and he said that it was no problem. So I powered it up with whatever I had left, and snapped one quick picture of it.
I returned over the next year, the car never moved. He threw a tarp over it eventually. But the day I left Macomb, I drove by and there sat the old Camaro, waiting to rise from the rust.