Featured Member of the Week: 442FAST
How did you first get interested in this hobby/passion?
My father liked hot rods. He was a teenager in Visalia California when Ed Iskenderian was there. My dad built a 28 Chevy, full fendered roadster to match Ed’s fenderless dry lakes car. Both were powered by 4 Cyl Chevy engines I think. My dad’s had an Ardun head and two one barrel carbs. He and Ed used to run the El Mirage dry lake flying mile speed contests. Dad said his car ran really fast. He also built a 37 Plymouth Coupe. I have pictures of these cars somewhere. Willy Kendig who invented the Kendig Variable Venturi Carburetor was also from Visalia. That carb eventually lead to the Predator carbs of today. That started my interest but at 13 there was little more than building Revelle and AMT model kits I could do to get involved. I used up a lot of plastic, glue and spray paint. Then Slot Cars came along. My first slot car was a T-bucket roadster that reminded me of my dad’s car. It shattered into a million pieces when it couldn’t make the high banked corner at the local slot car track, flew off the track and hit the concrete wall of the building. What did I know about going around corners? It looked like straight line speed contests were for me. Dad knew the guys who started EMPI Volkswagen performance and took me to their shop to meet them. I was hooked.
When I was 16 I already owned a 53 Chev three window pickup and, shortly, a 57 Chevy Bel Air. The cylinder head was cracked on the 53 and the 57 had no engine. Eventually a 409 found a home in the 57 . The 53, after I fixed it, went mysteriously away. Mom and dad were out of town when I bought my first drivable car. It was a 57 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser convertible. It had a 430 with 2 4bbl carbs and I paid $85 for it. It would only go about 35 mph when I bought it but it ran. I worked pumping gas at an Atlantic Richfield station. Tom Becker, the mechanic there, tuned it up and rebuilt the two WCFB carbs. That Sunday I trophied in M-Stock at Lions Drag Strip in Long Beach. My parents approved me buying the car but had no idea I raced it and would not have approved. I hid the trophy till I could invent a story about how I got it. That was really nearly impossible for a 16 year old. That’s how it all started.
What Rides do you currently own?
My current ride is a 1965 Olds 442. I purchased it in 1992 for $5800. It’s very different now from the way I got it. All my cars have always been drivers. None of them has ever been finished. I was driving the 442 in December in Reno NV when a guy with a Subaru lost control in the snow and knocked the front end off the car. It was ugly but fortunately, the frame was not damaged. It took 8 months to get the car back together. I had built a 400 cu in 69 Olds 442 race motor for a friend who got divorced and never used it. I built the motor in 1979. I bought it back from him, freshened it and stuck it in the car. It sat in my car port incomplete and never started till 2007. Career changes, moves and a bunch of stuff just had to come ahead of the car. I finished putting it together on the floor of my car port that winter. Then, I never used it. A bankruptcy consumed us till 2008 and by then I had lost interest in the car, my career taking all the energy I could muster. I left the car in Reno on consignment for sale and we moved to Palm Coast FL. I had the car shipped down here a year later. This is the place to have a car like this. Lots of great weather and really nice roads. Turns out, I knew how to build a pretty good Olds hot rod. The car drives, runs and handles fantastic. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find a better driving American car produced after 1972. Quiet ride, solid handling and easy to drive. Fast never hurts. I now have about $24K invested in the car over the years.
What do you like most about your Cool Rides?
My Cool Rides have always been an expression of the part of me that loves adventure and speed. Like I said, they’re never done. I can’t even count them all now but I enjoyed every one. They all exhibit, in one way or another, characteristics of me. I am an engine builder by choice so that has always been the fun part of it for me.
What is the best memory you have with your favorite ride?
Wow, this is a hard one. So many memories. Once I was driving my first 1965 Olds 442, I’ve had 7, on a stretch of highway east and north of San Bernarding, California. A guy came up behind me in a 69 Z-28, Hugger Orange, white stripes and all. I was cruising along about 70. He pulled along side and gave me the thumbs up for a race. How could I say no. We spent the next 45 minutes or so mostly side by side except for a few corners, passing other cars or letting oncoming traffic go by, running well over 100 mph. US 395 was mostly two lanes back then. Just outside Lone Pine CA on US 395 a cop caught us. Where did he come from? He pulled us over. It was OK to get out of the car when you got stopped in those days. He told Greg and I; “Why don’t you guys take a little walk in the desert so I can look over your cars”. We did. He did. When he waved us back, he had gone over everything on both cars. Horns, lights, turn signals, brake pedals, tires, the works. He was at it for about ½ hour. He said; “Both of your cars are in excellent condition. I can’t really blame you for having a little fun but keep it down a little from now on. Follow me into Lone Pine and I’ll get you through town.” He throttled up his big Chrysler cop car and ran 100 mph all the way to the first speed limit sign outside of town. That was a memory.
How do you store your ride(s) during infrequent use, and what maintenance tips can you provide for readers?
Never had a trailer queen, never will. My cars are drivers. Infrequent use. Shoot man I live in Florida. Sometimes the wipers on the old Olds can’t keep up and I pull over for a few minutes. Storage, keep it in the driveway and the keys in my pocket. Maintenance? You know what to do.
What was the first car you ever owned?
My dad gave me his 53 Chevy three window pickup with a cracked cylinder head. Said if I could fix it, I could drive it. I fixed it and drove it a little but I have no idea whatever became of it. Perhaps that’s because I had a 57 Chevy Bel Air at the same time.
What is/was the BEST car ever made?
There’s no correct answer for this but I’m sure I owned it at one time or another. For me it is the 65 Olds 442. Not the fastest, not the best brakes but for an all around very nice, well appointed muscle car, you can’t beat it. If you’ve ever seen a 67 442 with the all black OPGI interior completely done, you’ll know exactly what I mean. It’s beautiful.
What is/was the WORST car ever made?
Well it wasn’t American, it was the Yugo!
How did you first hear about the Cool Rides Online website?
I saw a link on Facebook.
Is there anything else you’d like the Cool Rides Online members to know about you?
I love to write and photograph. My web site, www.osgfx.com has motorsports galleries of my photography galore. I have been involved in many forms of motorsports including Unlimited Air Racing, Drag Boat Racing, Motorcycle Racing, Drag Racing, Sand Drag Racing, Off-Road Racing, Hill climbs, and more. I spent 25 years as a professional mechanic/engine builder before I became a graphic artist/designer. I am now retired.
I’m biased. I love to write stories about car adventures and motorsports. In addition to the Forums, I’d like to see a MotorTales area where people can tell the stories that they enjoyed concerning cars and the events surrounding them. I’ll contribute.