Sometimes it’s The Little Things, Part 2

I stopped by Gene’s early this afternoon to see if he wanted go steal hub caps with me.  Lucky for him he wasn’t there.  One of the interesting things about biking the North Carolina back roads is the interesting stuff that sometimes turns-up.  The time to keep your eyes “peeled” is during the winter months after the trees and bushes have shed their leaves.  All of a sudden you can see way back into the woods where during the summer months all you could see were walls of green.  It was probably a couple of years ago that the I first spotted an old truck about 50 feet off the road.  It turned out to be nothing special, and after checking between the seat and the seat back for loose change that might have fallen in the crack (there was none), I turned my attention to the surrounding area.

Less than 50 feet from the truck there was a car.  I wasn’t sure what year it was, but it was an Olds and…wait a sec, I’ll let y’all guess what year you think it is.  Here’s a picture.

At the end of the post I’ll supply the year.  This baby was quite a mess, and after rooting around inside and finding nothing, I noted that the trunk was still locked shut.  Hmmm, that’s promising.  Nearby I found a piece of steel tube and used it as a pry bar to pop the trunk open.  Open to view, the trunk didn’t look to promising either.  There were several full cans of Esso motor oil; man when’s the last time you pulled into an Esso gas station?   There were also a couple of bald tires in there, but nothing else I could see.  Maybe it says something about me, but before I slammed the trunk shut I thought, I wonder if that guy stashed anything under the trunk liner.  I peeled back the left side of the liner, and that’s where I found the guy’s secret stash.  Here’s a look at it.

If you’re having trouble making out the wording, I’ll help you out.  Each says, “Sultan…Thin…Transparent.”  Inside each was a mint condition (ok, not really mint, but unused anyway) condom made by the Akwell Corporation of Dothan, AL.  Wow, what a find!  I can’t believe the guy left these behind.  With those little babies tucked safely into a zip-lock bag, I got back on the bike and headed home.

This month saw me back on the bike again for the first time in 3 months, and because I’ve lost so much of the year I’m taking my rides more at leisure.  I’m not constantly “hammering” down the roads and more apt to stop and explore.  I’ve actually sworn off the odometer, which is mighty tough for an anal retentive guy.  So Thursday as I was passing the spot of woods where I knew the Olds was, I decided to stop and take another look. 

It was a beautiful day, sun streaming through the trees, the smell of the honeysuckle still hanging in the air.  Brushing back tree branches I worked my way back to the Old’s resting spot and began walking around her.  It finally dawned on me that the car still had its hub caps.  Not only were all four still there, but they looked to be in pretty good condition, which considering what the rest of the car looked like, was practically a miracle.  I thought, maybe they weren’t the original equipment, but the internet yields all, so I got back on the bike and headed home to get a little education.  Right away, I found I’d guessed wrong on the date, but missed it by only one year, and then with a little more searching found the hub caps, and sure enough, the one’s on my Old’s were original to the car.  Uh oh, notice how I used the possessive pronoun in the last sentence.

You know, there were rumors back during the idiotic brother’s high school years, that he and his gear-head friends were committing felonious acts involving automobile wheel covers.  Nothing concrete you understand, but some how they were all able to pay for beer and those packs of Lucky Strikes the kept rolled-up in their sleeves.  I’m not kidding; he did carry his cigs that way.  He was proud too of the yellow stains on his fingers from smoking the dang things right down to a nubbin. 

Unfortunately, the IB is off on his annual African safari in search of rare cactus seed and I don’t know, maybe hub caps, so I did not have him to consult on the proper technique for purloining chrome from an unattended vehicle.  So, as I said at the outset I went looking for my other automotive adviser, Gene.  Even if Gene had no prior experience, I was sure he’d have the proper tools; he’s got a tool for everything!  When Gene wasn’t there for me, I decided to go it alone.  Seeing as I was just a rookie, I was surprised at how smoothly the caper went down.  I backed into an old, grass-covered path into the woods right next to the abandoned Olds, hopped out with my crow bar and headed into the woods.  It took no more than 10 minutes and I had those things off the car, in the trunk and I was cruising back into town.  Jim, when you get back and read this, I’ll be interested to know how my technique compares to well, anyway, how does it compare?

As soon as I got home I filled a bucket with soapy water, got out the scrub brushes and washed-off probably 40 years of mud, insects, cobwebs, etc.  Here’s the result:

I ain’t kiddin when I say there is no substitute for nice thick chrome, the kind they put on those cars back in the 50’s.  I didn’t do anything but scrub these, no metal polish, no nuthin.  This is the photo I’m going to use in my Ebay ad, so stay tuned to future posts for, as Paul Harvey used to say…the rest of the story.  What I’m hoping, is that I might get enough for the hub caps to buy a new manifold for the Pony.

A postscript to this little adventure.  I went into the house after scrubbing the hub caps and had reason to take down my underwear.  Yikes!  Running around in there was a deer tick.  You’ve never seen a guy move so fast.  In a flash I was hammering that little devel to death with a sandle.  Then all the clothes out to the garage, jump in the shower, scrub from head to foot, vacuum the car, including the trunk.  Somewhere in there I got dressed in clean clothes.  So, as I said in the last post, watch out for the little things.

This got a bit long-winded, and I apologize to my “tractor heads,” but I promise there will be tractor news in the next post.  I’ve been working a lot in the garage restoring parts and I’ve got some great photos to share.  Gene’s been working on the tractor a bit too out at his place, so I’ll catch you up on all that in the next post.

The Old’s, it’s a 1958, and thanks for reading.

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