The 69 Adventure

I have decided to document the tale of my 69 Camaro.  I'm not sure why; it just seems like the thing to do...or maybe what I have to do.   Hopefully I will be able to keep the story current, but I hope it is more than a story about a car; I hope it is a story of my education in auto mechanics, body restoration, and drag racing.  It is not meant as a techie build sheet for the normal hot-rodder; I know better than to even attempt that.  I hope it will become a reminder to me of what I wanted and how I achieved it...but that will be for the last chapter.  

Thanks to:

Steven - who made me fall in love with an 88 convertible and inspired me to get my 91.

Mac - for providing my on-line home, introducing me to ede, Kat, and Jester and patiently filling in many blanks in my knowledge.  When I need a kick in the ass, your sock is always there, whether it be online, on the phone, or under the front end of the 69.  Thanks for having the guts to make the 1st run in the 69 and knowing when I need the strength of two to fight off the tears.    

ede  - who found the 69, offered great hospitality, great advice, his phone number and hasn't called me a dumbass (yet)....

Kat  - who volunteered to be the 'local' mechanic and help me get this car ready for a road trip, which never happened!  Then took on the job of pit crew and hand-holder, and despite not understanding me, supports me anyway!.

PK - who taught me how to race, who will be the 69's first competition, and who always knows when it's better to show me a beer than something on the car (even when I don't know it).

Lightweight aka 69Mustang - everyone needs a Nate.  Nate may not know the workings of an engine inside and out, but Nate's engine lift hauled the old engine out and gently set the new one in.  His welder created a new floor and welded the seats that hold us all safe.  But more importantly, when the part I ordered wasn't right, Nate found it, took his day off to run to Cinnaminson, get it, and deliver it.  Then he cooked everyone here dinner (and Nate doesn't know how to cook!).  The first run at the track, when I was too nervous to take pics, Nate took 2 rolls. Nate does the little shit that means alot - the stuff that we sometimes forget to tell him how much it means to us. 

Shell - who tolerated 'car guys' while studying for the bar exams, who followed the 69 to the track in the wagon and jumped it 9 times, who lent me the "Cadillac taillights" for good luck, and always has a shoulder when I need it! 

Ct Jay - who somehow got caught up in this madnesss after the Ohio Gathering!  Jay fights 4 hours of weekend traffic (each way) to install wiper motors and switches, digs up original harnesses and manuals (for free, no less) and is another who patiently explains how stuff works.       

My sons - who have made me prove time and again that there is nothing you can't do if you want it badly enough and are willing to work for it.  I'm not senile - well not today anyway.

Jester - who I hope will take the opportunityy to race the 69.  If cars and people 'communicate', then these two talk :)  This car is as much Jase's as mine, in spirit. And I hope I make him proud of it.

- who offered to build an engine and ended up building a whole  car

- who made the dream a goal, then a reality.

- who built one hell of a car - you are still surprising me, Jase

- who left a piece of his soul under the hood and a piece of himself in my heart 

The rest of my NE3G family who have been so supportive.

The Cover  

Chapter 1 - The Aquisition

Chapter 2 - First Road Trip

Chapter 3 - Starter Removal

Chapter 4 - Starter Replacement and Sam's Public Rant

Chapter 5 -  Kat Restores Confidence and 69's First Drive  

Chapter 6 - Carb Removal

Chapter 7 - Carb Rebuild and Reinstall

Chapter 8 - Is this Progress?

Chapter 9 - Racing  Against the Cold Weather

Chapter 10 - A Change of Plans

Chapter 11 - The Fun Begins

Chapter 12 - The Engine

Chapter 13 - Making an "Engine Holder" 

Chapter 14 - Easter Break

Chapter 15 - The Bastard Roars 

Chapter 16 - It's Starting to Look Like a Car! 

Chapter 17 - The End of the Partnership

Chapter 18 - Heroic Webmaster Races Bastard

Chapter 19 - Aug 22 MY First Race

Chapter 20 - Aug 27 Managing Expectations

Chapter 21 - Sept 19 Kat tries the suspension setup

Chapter 22 - Sept 20 - Capability 

Chapter 23 - Oct 01 - Solo

Chapter 24 - End of the Season

Chapter 25 - Waking the Sleeping Bastard



April 2003 update: The missing chapters are added, December 2001 -August 2002 (Chapters 10 - 17).  I have strived to make the verbiage as accurate as possible, but hopefully the pictures will tell the story.  Neither words nor pictures can convey the fun, the joy, or the despair during this period.  I also added Chapters 24 & 25 -  now it's up-to-date!   

Sept 2002 update: I haven't updated this in a months. Chapter 9 was all written - the pics just needed to be inserted!  And I found it easier to start up again with the more recent stuff and will work my way tales of the racing are now added; what happened from December 2001 until August 2002 leaves a gaping hole in the story for the reader.  Sorry 'bout that!  But part of me isn't writing this for anyone but me (selfish, I know).   

For it's 1st birthday, Mac created a page of pictures - a chronology of it's evolution ending with one Kat photoshopped of what it MIGHT look like eventually.  I think it makes a good cover!

I created a time slip page and try to at least keep that updated!  And I have not even thought about what this has cost.  Someday I will.  I do have all the receipts.  And there have been numerous requests to know what IS under that hood.  I will get around to that, as well. 

The car is running and racing.  Unfortunately for the car part of the story, it can't be extracted from from the rest of my life without losing something.  Unfortunately for the life story, I'll be writing it with the temperance of 20/20 hindsight - losing the emotion of the moment, but perhaps that is for the best!  The car, now christened the Rat-ass Bastard, is more like a family member - the black sheep of the family, at the moment.  

I've moved my thanks above the Chapters.  As always, people come before things.  For those who are reading this strictly to see how easy it is to get into the 12's (hell, even a wussy old lady can do it!), don't bother.  It's not easy doing it my way - you'd have to be crazy!  And right now, I don't feel it's worth it.  It's not the money; not even the time (which has been enormous and I'm nowhere near done), but the cost in friendship and stress on relationships.  Would I do it again?  Yep - but not the same way.  Of course, I'm not done and I may change my mind.  That IS a woman's perogative!


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