Featured Member of the Week: Ron6771

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m a native of Iowa – now 69 years old – and have been a car addict all my life.  I am an engineer by training – worked for John Deere for 37 years – and have been doing some consulting for equipment manufacturers since my retirement from full time work 10 years ago.  My part-time status has finally given me time to do a couple of restorations.  The El Camino is my second in terms of major effort.  Now I try to balance some summer golf, winter skiing, some travel with my wife, work on my cars, and a little bit of work that helps pay for the hobbies.

1971 El Camino

How did you first get interested in this hobby/passion?

I’ve read all kinds of car magazines since I was 12 years old – the car tests in Popular Mechanics were a favorite.  I was always anxious and excited to see the new models as a teenager and beyond.  In 1984 I finally had saved a few dollars and bought a 65 Mustang fastback that was in good enough condition to be a decent driver, but I got started repairing it and improving it as time and money permitted.  A good friend who has done some excellent restorations always shared what he was doing with me, and I started going to cruise-ins with him, then car shows he was attending.   After retirement from full-time work I came across a 67 Mustang fastback – the car I’ve always thought was one of the best looking ever made.  It was in poor mechanical shape.  As a 390 cid car, it had been used on the drag strip for a while and a couple of prior owners had made some hap-hazard modifications. However, it was a California car, and the body was pretty sound, so I thought now that I had a little more free time it would be fun to fix it up.  I started slow but ended up doing a complete restoration — It turned out pretty well, and I started taking it to cruise-ins and car shows.  I got hooked on seeing the old cars and talking to other car buffs.  In short, there wasn’t a single event – just a long process.

1971 El Camino

What Rides do you currently own?

I still have the 65 Mustang fastback – and the 67 Mustang GTA – and the 71 El Camino as collector cars.  My daily driver is a 2010 Mustang GT – and my wife’s is a Grand Cherokee.

El Camino Engine

What do you like most about your Cool Rides?

I’ve really enjoyed taking something old and making it look good as new (or maybe better).  The cruise-ins and car shows are still lots of fun for me – meeting and talking to the people have become a big part of the experience.

1971 El Camino

What is the best memory you have with your favorite ride?

While driving is fun, one of the most interesting experiences with the El Camino was the guy who came back four times to get more looks of the car at a local car show.  Finally, he said, “Why don’t we make a deal on your car?  I’ll trade you my two Harley-Davidsons, my two Wave Runners, and my boat for your El Camino.”  I said, “probably not.”  He said, “How about if I throw in my house?”

1971 El Camino

How do you store your ride(s) during infrequent use, and what maintenance tips can you provide for readers?

Our house has a 3-car garage.  I finally built a second 2-car garage in 2005.  Everything is stored inside.

El Camino Wheel

What was the first car you ever owned?

1957 Ford Fairlane 500.

1971 El Camino

What is/was the BEST car ever made?

The 67 Mustang fastback is still my favorite for looks.  Best is probably in the eye of the beholder, but my 2010 Mustang GT is a darned good (and fun) car.

El Camino Interior

What is/was the WORST car ever made?

The Pontiac Aztek and the AMC Pacer probably vie for the ugliest ever made.  As for personal experience, we had a 1981 Pontiac Grand Prix that was a real lemon – it was probably back at the dealership for repairs more often than all of the other cars we have owned put together.  (And with the only V-8 available in 1981, it was a real dog.)

El Camino Exhaust

How did you first hear about the Cool Rides Online website?

I believe there was a card (like a post card) in the goody bag given at one of the car shows we attended this year.

El Camino

Is there anything else you’d like the Cool Rides Online members to know about you?

Might be worth noting that I found the El Camino parked behind a building at a junk yard near Des Moines when I was still looking for a couple of parts for my 67 Mustang.  The owner had gone off the road and tipped it over in a country road ditch in a snow bank.  It had dents all over, including the top.  However, after working on my Mustang, I decided it was likely necessary to fix everything anyway, so it seemed logical to start with something that I could pick up really cheap.

Finally, I’ve made a lot of modifications to the El Camino, but tried not to change the basic lines and design of the car too much.

1971 El Camino