Since the development of the automobile just barely lags our development as a nation, the automobile pretty much defines our lives, there has been a running joke about America’s priorities.
The day that couldn’t wait to be able to vote is long gone now we can’t wait for time to drive.
We will drive if the destination is only a few miles away in case the weather doesn’t seem to fit us, actually you kinda have to drive since it’s practically impossible to walk anywhere because pretty much everything built within the past 100 years is automobile scale.
We don’t have to get tired. We can just look around where we live and we can clearly see our priorities. We will sacrifice the looks of our most expensive investments, our houses, by erecting imposing shrines for our cars. But, the biggest irony is, we won’t park them in there but we’ll let our valuable cars sit on the driveway in the cold and wet for the privilege of packing those giant, blighted rooms with worthless old junk.
Pat Stauner can testify. “I had many new and nice vehicles over the years that sat outside so this car could keep its spot in the garage” he stated.
Judging by the way things are now, it’s justified.
Until a few years ago his now LS-swapped 1965 Malibu was hardly more enviable than the plastic Christmas trees, tattered couches, and last season’s fashions that most people pack their garages with.
But his car story has to say something kinder about the priorities of us car people.
Today this sounds so cheap but 3,500 that his boss at the gas station wanted for his ’65 Malibu to a kid in 1981 that was plain robbery.
To secure the deal he leveraged a motorcycle and money he borrowed from his older brother.
“After I bought the car, I knew I had to have a 427,” he adds.
He got that too a year later on a pump-jockey’s salary. Actually Pat was so dedicated to his Chevelle that he gave a warning to the cops that were eating at the dinner next to the station that he’d have to drive by with open headers because the mufflers he ordered didn’t come in on time.
“‘I’ll give you a five-minute head start,’” he recalled one saying. “When I backed it out of the shop, he just shook his head and went back to eating.” Still, Pat took the long way home. “Nothing sounds like a big-block with open headers.”
But something funny happened over the years, Pat grew up, having the resources to make his love look like the car in his head, he asked his car-building neighbor, Korey Huenink, when he could take on another project. “I told him I’d be ready after he tore it down,” Korey said. “I just didn’t expect him to show up with it the next day!”