Step Out In An Olds

You’re certain to be the center of attraction… when you step out in an Olds.
For owning an Olds sets you apart as someone special. And naturally so.

Wow, look at that fabulous 1957 Oldsmobile Golden Rocket 88 Holiday Coupé! Cars don’t come in that size any more. Or that color, which is too bad. A Prius or a Smart might only be the size of this car’s hood, but they’d still look awesome in this shade of mint sherbet green. Enjoy the sculptured lines of this car. The tasteful use of chrome. The beautiful floor-to-ceiling, wall-size windows of that Barbie Dream House. And look how happy the party-goers are!

Wait a minute.

What the hell are these people doing? Ms. Britches and I tried to piece it all together. The pretty blonde gal in the lilac dress? She just hit her knee, hard, against that giant, steel car door. But she’s so drunk as to think it’s funny (until that bruise shows up tomorrow). The two men in sportcoats are checking the time, desperate to get their wives home before they drink even more, because these women have to be in good enough shape to make a fresh, delicious pot of coffee in the morning, as well as eggs and bacon and toast. It just won’t do, to have the girls moaning and groaning with hangovers. And how about that amputee hunchback lurching toward the car? She’s… Um she’s… Well, we couldn’t decide what the hell she’s doing.

What do you think?

Make a little birdhouse in your soul

Blue canary in the outlet by the light switch
Who watches over you
Make a little birdhouse in your soul

—TMBG

Back in February, I was visiting a friend who lives up in north Boulder. As we got out of his VW to walk into his condo, I noticed an old car in the community parking lot. I “ooooh”ed over it, and my friend mentioned that nobody knows who owns it, but it had been parked there, unmoving, for nearly 3 years.

Horrors! This car is not living up to its vehicular potential! I skipped over to take a look.

Okay, it’s a Thunderbird. The only style of T-bird I would know on sight is the round-window jobbie that Suzanne Somers (now there’s some trivia for you) drives in American Graffiti. But judging by the body shape on this one, I would guess early-to-mid ’60s. Hmmm… a few dents and dings, as would be expected on a car of any reasonable age, let alone one that’s 40-some-odd years old. A bit of rust. But overall, pretty clean and straight. I peek inside. It is gritty with the fine, dry dirt that is prevalent in the foothills. It gets darn windy up there, so I’ll assume that it blew in through the vents during three years of NoBo dust storms. The interior, or what I can see of it because the back seat is being used as a dusty storage locker, is decent. Peering through the window, I don’t notice any big tears in the upholstery or any obviously missing parts like, say, a dashboard. I do some quick calculations: This car is parked head-in, neatly between the lines. It couldn’t have been towed there that way, so I assume it was driven into position. It wasn’t there last time I visited my friend, but he said it showed up shortly thereafter. That means it’s been there since the summer of 2005. The tags on the license plate, however, expired a couple of years before that. What gives?

I ask my friend to do some sleuthing into who the owner might be. I want to make an offer.

Months pass. I think on and off about the car. My friend makes a couple of casual queries, to no avail. I narrow down the body style to falling into the ’61-’63 “Bullet Bird” category. My friend, who can actually SEE the car, verifies (by the “gills” on the side) that it’s a ’63.

42,806 hardtops were produced for the 1963 model year

The more I think about this car… well, the more I think about it. I assume that, while it most likely was running when it was parked, it doesn’t run now. All of the dust/dirt that has blown into the interior has also blown into the engine compartment. The oil will have become sludge. The battery will be dead. Anything that was merrily floating around in the gas tank is now settled firmly on the bottom. The hoses and belts will be dry and brittle.

390 Special V-8 (300 Horsepower) • 4-Barrel Holley Carburetor/Single Exhaust System

I am not a mechanic. I don’t have any friends who are mechanics. I could use AAA to tow the car… where? Since my favorite guys closed up their shop, I don’t even have mechanics for my own car. Who on Earth would I trust to work on a 45-year-old Ford? I can’t work on it at my place, nor can I park an unregistered vehicle. I have to check state regs, but I’m not sure that I can register a non-running car (Don’t I need an emissions check? Or would it be waived for a car of this age?) That is, if the car even has a title to transfer. I know it did back in 2003-ish, but why hasn’t it been registered since?

All-Transistor AM Radio • MagicAire Heater-Defroster

I believe the color is Patrician Green, which is actually a mid-tone metallic blue with a turquoisey hue. Of course, it might be Acapulco Blue, but not having actually seen the car in many months, and not having swatches in hand to go by, it’s hard for me to tell.

Cruise-O-Matic (Automatic, 3-Speed)

The community in which my friend lives has been under construction in various sections for years, and now the builder wants to finish out one last plot. The plot that the ’bird is parked right in front of. The builder has asked that all cars be removed from that area.

Power Steering • Power Brakes • Swing-Away Steering Wheel

I asked my friend to throw himself in front of any tow trucks that start circling the lot.

Summertime Beckons

West Side Sinners, a local RAB emporium, has recently started carrying a line of enameled outdoor chairs. They are lovely.

My family didn’t have anything of the sort when I was growing up, but we did have a front porch, and a bench swing.

Seeing those chairs brings me back to a time of lazy evenings spent on the front porch, watching cars drive by, and quizzing my dad about each one… “What’s that one, Dad? And that? What about that?” He knew ’em all, year make and model. Every once in a while, he’d be stumped. Usually by something unremarkable and American.

My dad had a two-hour commute home from work each day, so if it was light enough outside for us to watch the cars, it had to be summertime.

Also summerrific, I had my first hunk of watermelon of the season the other night. It was sweet and juicy and delicious. I think I may purée the rest of the giant chunk, and make watermelon-swirl ice cream. Or, at least try.

Note: You can find the Bellaire chair/glider style at Improvements and Walter Drake if you don’t live in the Denver area. Stacks and Stacks seems to have the largest (online) color selection.