Featured Member of the Week: Green Grabber
Roger is a True Florida Native, born and raised in Panama City Florida, Rogers is the youngest of five children. Growing up Roger learned to work to get the things he wanted, he started working on cars at a young age, Roger’s dad was an auto/diesel mechanic and taught him through the years. At the age of around 14 he was helping to paint heavy equipment, that is one of the reasons why he doesn’t really like the color caterpillar yellow much, also around that age he was spending all night out, not out running the roads or getting into trouble, but he was in the woods, “out there running fox with our deer hounds to keep them in condition for deer season”. Roger learned how to plant a garden, how to tend to a garden and how to enjoy the things they had grown, he can fish, he has won good money by fishing in saltwater tournaments, he also knows how to hunt and track wildlife, “I was taught if you can take it apart you can put it back together so I can work on most anything”.
Roger started in radio in Panama City right out of high school, he began working on an AM and FM station mostly overnights at first until finally he got a prime time slot on the AM side. He has done roofing work, construction both residential and commercial, and worked at the local shipyard where he learned to weld (all kinds, mig, tig etc’). Currently Roger is self employed as a house painter by day, and a DJ/Karaoke host by night, “I still love music and enjoy playing it, my hobbies include guitar (still learning) drums since I was 14 and have 3 sets, and learning or playing just about any musical instrument I can get my hands on, I enjoy tinkering with classic cars as a stress reliever and to clear the mind”.
Roger currently owns a 1972 Ford Maverick Grabber, and technically two 1969.5 Ford Mavericks even though he mentions that his wife has called dibs on them. So what is it about his 72’ Maverick that makes it special?
“It is number 20 that I have had; my very first Maverick I had was a beautiful 1969.5 in a dark green color with a white interior, going to get it tuned up at the Base garage where my dad worked. It was a slightly rainy morning, he was driving his truck and I was in the six cylinder Maverick, we stopped in at an auto parts store to get the tune up supplies, as I pulled in he came over and told me just to continue to the garage and that he would be there when he got the parts. As I pulled back onto the 4 lane divided highway, I guess the rain had made the oil on the roadway slick and my Maverick started to fishtail, next thing I know I am upside down in the center divider! I guess sliding sideways on wet grass then hitting a dry sandy spot did me in, it took 8 construction workers to get me out but the only injury I had was a small scratch on my arm from the AM radio coming out and hitting me. As I crawled out of the car and stood up, I looked and saw my dad who had just gotten out of his truck beside the road and he went weak in the knees just before he noticed me standing up, I yelled I am ok, he was fine then and very happy to see me, after getting the car towed home, we were looking it over and he found a dent about an inch deep in the left side of my otherwise perfect bumper, it had red paint in it, we figured someone had clipped my bumper when I was fishtailing and sent me into the median, we bought another Maverick body from the Junkyard and transferred everything over from the totaled one, that started me on my Maverick ownership over the last 30 something years, my last one (before the Green Grabber I have now) my 1971 Blue Grabber was also totaled, again I came out without injury, just a slight headache!”
So what is next in the agenda? “As you may know if you own a classic car, you are never really “done” with it, there is always something to do to improve the looks or functionality and my Grabber will get both, looking to install a 9 inch Ford Trac-Lok rear end right now, thinking on a new engine soon with what else MORE POWER! And electric windows and an electric trunk popper, maybe a Mustang II front end conversion is down the line some times, who knows, maybe even a Ford Coyote motor and six speed tranny”.
What is one of your favorite memories of your “Cool Ride”? My engine practically putting itself in the third time I swapped it, I had the engine hanging on the cherry picker about a foot above the engine bay, I came in to eat lunch and cool off, when I went back out to the shop, the engine was sitting IN the engine bay, I took a 2 X 4 and pushed it from the front and it dropped down on the mounts and right onto the transmission, I think my Dad had something to do with that, he had passed away two weeks earlier.
Roger’s dream car is a De Tomaso Pantera. His tip for keeping your classic ride in the best condition “ Regular oil and filter changes, keep the fuel fresh, and cleaner and conditioner for the interior, wash and wax on a regular basis, my Grabber gets driven year round here in Florida”.
A few last words for our CRO Members “ Just know that I enjoy seeing all kinds of classic cars being driven and/or restored, I like my Fords, but I like to see your Insert brand here classic also!”