Tires Optional - A good book for a good cause.
Looking for an interesting read this weekend? Classic Car loves this automotive autobiography written by life long classic car enthusiast Rick Reale. It's a great recount of Rick's many cars - the good, the bad and the just downright dodgy. From his first experience with cars in the fifties right up until today, you will be amused by Rick's recount of the numerous cars he has owned and their stories. The book is written with each different make as a chapter, from Buick, Cadillac and Chevrolet all the way to Studbaker and Packard, you will enjoy every second of his automotive antics.
Purchasing this book will also help Rick raise much needed funds for the cancer charities he supports. For each book sold, 50% of the profit will go to either the St Jude's Children's Research Hospital or the Cancer Council Relay for Life. You can purchase "Tires Optional" via Amazon , or visit Rick's Facebook fan page to learn more about the book.
Here's just a taste of the book, from the CHEVROLET chapter. Thanks for the good laughs Rick, we really enjoyed your book at the ClassicCar office.
These experiences began at age four. Mom, my brother, and I were walking out of church one Sunday morning when Dad met us in a brand-new Chevy Fleetmaster convertible. I remember Mom’s words to Dad: “You JERK!” I’m sure they were tempered, as we were still on the church steps. He did spend more than he could afford when it came to cars.
At age six or seven, I remember the smell of smoldering leather as I burned the Ballantine Ale three-ring logo sign into the Chevy’s door panels using the car’s cigar lighter. I was lucky Dad didn’t do the same thing to my butt. I was the baby, and spoiled. At ten, although I couldn’t depress the clutch pedal and see through the windshield at the same time, I was allowed to try to drive in an open field. Adrenaline again! Shortly thereafter, the ’48 was traded for the famous previously discussed ’55 Buick.
The next Chevy, also previously mentioned, was the 1931 pickup. Then there was a really nice ’51 two-door with dual exhaust pipes and glasspacks, a ’55 convertible, ’67 and ’72 wagons, and many Suburbans -- a ’79, an ’80, and a new 2009 Silverado. I liked the wagons a lot; maybe that’s why I’ve also owned seven Suburbans.
One lucky tire story is about the 1967 BelAire wagon. It was a nice clean car with an original 396 factory big block. At the same time I also had a 1951 Daimler Special Sports. It was an English convertible with a custom “Barker Body.” Only about 650 were made between 1950 and 1952.
Anyway, I sold it to a man a thousand miles away. I had no money, so I agreed to deliver the car just to make the deal happen, after he sent a $500 deposit. I used the money to rent a trailer and finance the trip.
My wife, three toddlers, and my eighty-year-old old dad set out with me in the wagon, pulling the trailer and car. Around 10:00 p.m. and about 150 miles into the trip, I stopped for fuel. As I was gassing up, the attendant asked me how far I was going.
I said, “About another 900 miles.”
He replied matter-of-factly, “That’s a stretch.”
I said, “What do you mean?”
He said, “I don’t think the tube popping out the side of your right rear tire will last another 9 feet, let alone 900 miles.”
I’d say needing gas right then was a bit of luck. I changed the tire and proceeded with no spare. I think over the years I could have been a poster child for the phrase “Go with God.”
Reaching our destination, I unloaded the car and went into the buyer’s house to get the balance. I had about $10, and the sole of one of my shoes had half fallen off. Mind you, this was a really nice home. The owner also had a 1935 Lincoln convertible bought new by Clark Gable. It was Saturday evening and he gave me a check! Not wanting him to know I was broke, I left. I made it to my brother’s house about 200 miles away. The next day I inspected the car and the rear tires were shot as a result of the trailer not tracking properly. I stayed a few days, was able to cash the $1500 check, and bought two new tires. When I got back home they were also shot, even towing the empty trailer.
The ’72 wagon was also a good story. One day, my neighbor Patsy stopped me and said, “Rick, buy my sister’s car.” Of course I said okay, sight unseen. It was a ’72 Kingswood that I used for work for about five years. When my daughter finished college, she said she wanted to drive cross-country to California for her first job with Mattel as a toy designer. I let her take the twenty-three-year-old Kingswood. She called me from Ohio saying, “Dad, the car won’t start.” Right then I really questioned my judgment.
Having no inkling as to the problem, I blurted out, “Jiggle the battery cable.”
A bit later she called and said, “We’re on our way.” Never another problem.
Being a parent of four driving teenagers may be the ultimate test for remaining calm. It seems “Going with God” -- or at least with Saint Christopher -- has been hereditary.
That Kingswood’s factory green color caused the children to affectionately nickname it the “boogerwagon.” Although it served Melissa well, she would have no part of using it anymore.
“Dad, a young professional girl in LA driving a giant old wagon? I don’t think so.” I told her she could be a trendsetter. I didn’t even get a reply on that one. My wife and I visited her after a while. After it had been sitting in the basement of her parking garage for a year, I bought a battery for the Kingswood and it fired right up, and ran better than ever. I suggested driving it back cross-country. I figured it would be a fun adventure. Riiiiiiiiiiiight. My wife was visibly upset just at the thought. I advertised the Kingswood and probably could have sold ten of them. I got more than the $500 I had paid six years earlier. The buyer was really happy, and it was off to a good home.
All my Chevy Suburbans have been good, including the one that got demolished in a my-fault accident. One evening I made an improper turn, and although I was going very slow, a crash happened. Both vehicles were demolished. Thank heaven no very serious injuries occurred. I was never so grateful as I was that night. I also became acutely aware that anything at all that affects one’s reaction time -- be it alcohol, medication, drugs, even sleep deprivation -- could mean someone’s life, or the lives of others.
Lastly on the Chevy scene is a 2009 half-ton Silverado I got as a result of the “Cash for Clunkers” program. I bet most of the people who were against the program just didn’t qualify. I feel the four billion spent did a lot of good and was a pittance compared to the Chrysler and GM bailout money squandered.