Beating the Winter Blues

Colinheadshot-newBy Colin Date

Well, old man winter is knocking on the door – in most parts of the country anyway. As I’m writing this, I’m reminded that I live in a pretty decent part of the USA, where winter is virtually non-existent. Central Florida can be downright nasty during the summer months, but come mid-October, the weather here can’t be beat. So attending local car shows and being able to work on cars this time of year is a great privilege. Before you start with the hate emails, know that I’ve only lived here for the last 5 years. Before that, I lived in the mountains of southern Oregon. I know what long, cold winters are! I remember venturing into our unheated garage only on sunny days to work on my old Buick Skylark, or my wife’s Ford Galaxie. Even then, after an hour or so, the cold overcame the joy of turning the wrenches. Back in those days, come wintertime, I found other ways to satisfy my old car hobby itch…

The Cam Kings, a local car club based out of Grants Pass, OR, is a group of older guys who get together every few weeks or so to just hang out and talk cars. A few of the members owned heated garages, so actually working on the classics was a welcomed option. It was always great to get together with that crew when the Rogue Valley froze up!

It’s funny how a car nut naturally adapts to the inclement winter months. I remember many a time actually taking parts off my car and bringing them inside the house, much to the chagrin of my wife. “Don’t worry honey, those door panels won’t live in our dining room much longer.” I specifically recall tearing the instrument cluster out of my Buick to restore the gauges. I don’t know how, but doing the bench work on our dining room table seemed like a good idea at the time. I think it was the satin black overspray that left a nice dusty coat on the table and chairs that sunk me on that one.

Even as I learned to be extra careful about protecting our furniture and carpets, I couldn’t hide the telltale paint fumes for the life of me. And using a rattle can outside when it’s 30F isn’t a good plan either. What’s a guy to do? I look back on those days fondly now. I may have tested my wife’s patience one too many times, but I (selfishly) was able to keep my classic car hobby alive throughout the winter months. The first warm days of spring were always a relief, especially for her!

How about you? Now that the temps are dropping, what will you do to keep the old car flame burning? Pull the cover off your classic every couple of weeks and admire her? Work on her until you can’t feel your fingers anymore? Or are you one of the fortunate ones who live in a year-round moderate climate, or just happen to have a heated shop? I’d love to hear how you handle the cold. Shoot me an email: colin.date@ecklers.net

Well, this is it. This December issue of Chevy Classics is officially a tribute issue to “60 Years of the ’55 Chevy”. We’ve got some interesting stuff here too – feature cars kick off with Pete Daniele’s “Candied Classic” ’55 Two-Ten – a modified car with just the right amount of modern touches. Next up is a drop-dead gorgeous ’55 Bel Air. This car has been restored to stock condition (with the exception of a couple of small safety items). We’re proud to use this Bel Air in our tribute issue! Our third ’55 feature car is gracing our cover – nothing like Torch Red paint and Ridler wheels to set off a Tri-5. This smokin’ hot Two-Ten takes our poster position this month as well!

Other cool ’55 stories include coverage of this past summer’s Tri-5 Nationals in Bowling Green, KY, a tech story on removing and replacing a roof skin, and a Pros in the Know about the 265 V8 – the engine that started it all.

We do have a couple of non-’55 items for you. How about a lightly-modified ’69 Camaro RS for our F-Body fans? Check out this sweet machine on page 32. We’ve also got a story on a die-cast car collection starting on page 35. It includes most Chevrolet models, including Tri-5s!

It’s too soon to reveal the winners of last month’s “Guess the turkeys” contest. As of this writing, we’ve only had one correct guess (hint: look carefully, they’re hidden pretty well) Keep looking, there’s $25 at stake for the first three winners.

And, since this is our December issue, on behalf of Chevy Classics, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!

Colin