In my dream, I was hearing loud explosions, and then a massive amount of water spraying. I opened my eyes, and although it was completely dark, the spraying water was not just a dream….. it was real.
On December 13, 2018 Jesse James wrote a post on Instagram where he talked about the evil anti-work entity called “The Couch”. Jesse told how the couch was invented by Jay Wellington in 1895, and that all couches possess a demonic gravitational pull. “If your ass is within 3 feet, you’re screwed”, he wrote. You’ll sit down and won’t get up until it’s too late to get anything else done. Jesse was 100% right.
I was at a place in my life where I spent 70-80 hours a week at my business, but no matter what time I came home, it seemed like I was drawn to the couch like a fly to dog Sh!$ and would fall asleep watching TV. I had just committed everything to my lifelong passion / hobby and created a unique car business. I had just begun my social media push and was juggling many different things at once. The couch seemed to pull me in and stop my production every single night I came home.
As I’m always searching for advise and insight from different sources and people I respect or admire, this little post struck me right between the eyes. I realized it was time for a big change. To save money, I got rid of the nice apartment, and moved into the cheapest place I could find. It wasn’t in the best part of town, but the price was right. The place was in a basement, small, and still dirty from the last people who were there. The smell of stale cat urine greeted me every time I opened the door. I cleaned only the areas that I thought I’d come into contact with, and I only moved my bed, my work clothes, and the minimum amount of dishes I needed to heat a few things in the micro wave. Everything else was boxed, shrink wrapped and put in storage. I dedicated myself to my work, and growing my business. No more couch, and no more television. There was no need to go home unless it was for sleep. Every night when I open the door, and that smell hits me….. I swear three times, “I hate this place, I hate this place, I hate this place”. And then in the morning as I open my eyes, I’m once again reminded that there is really no reason to be there, and I rush to get back to work.
At 50 years old, habits die hard. I’ve never been lazy or unmotivated. But I now realize that for many years, I could have done more. The couch was partly holding me back. I was really just starting Angry Auto Goup a year ago, and although it still has a long ways to go before I consider it a success, I know I would not be where I am today if I had gone home and watched TV from the couch for the last year.
But how did Jesse James actually save my life? This is where things get interesting. On Sunday, November 17th 2019, I came home from the shop at about 11:30 pm. As usual I made my regular “I hate this place” statements and went straight to bed. At about 1:30am I was in the middle of a dream and seemed to hear loud explosions, and then a massive amount of water spraying. I opened my eyes, and although it was completely dark, the spraying water was not just a dream….. it was real.
I rushed out to the kitchen / living room area to find water spraying from a burst water pipe in the kitchen wall. I ran out of my apartment, and down the hallway where I found a water shut off valve in the buildings laundry room.
Next, I called my landlord to tell him about the pipe, and the water that had flooded my kitchen. As I was leaving a message for him, I began noticing holes in other walls, and as I was becoming more aware of what I was looking at, I noticed there was a pattern to the holes and quickly realized they had to be from bullets. There were bullet holes everywhere. The kitchen, dinning area, living room, and one even made it into my bedroom. I now figured out the water line near the sink had taken a direct hit.
Within minutes the police were there, and began a night long crime scene investigation. It seems as if someone fired eighteen shots at the building, with 14 coming through my kitchen window area, and then traveling across the apartment and lodging in the living room wall. This would be the exact living room wall and location where I would have put my wonderful couch. You see, until December 2018, I would have been laying on that couch watching TV or asleep. If I had been laying on that couch I would have had three of those bullets go though me, or at best, through a good couch. But since I had my couch in storage, we were both saved from the stray bullets.
I can’t continue to think about the “What if’s” of the situation. But I do know, that if I had not read that post almost a year earlier, there would be a good chance of having one less cool car guy on this earth.
Of course there are no suspects, but there is speculation that the intended target lived above me. I’m not sure about that, but whatever the case, I’m still here. I believe God has a plan for our lives, and mine doesn’t end here.
I want to personally thank Jesse James for that piece of advice that prompted me to make a change in my life. It’s helped me concentrate more on my business and surely kept me from getting killed by sleeping on my couch. Thanks Jesse. Thanks for giving everyone a glimpse into your life.
Check out the pictures of the outside vs. inside of my kitchen window. The wall where my couch would have sat. (shown after the police cut holes to remove evidence). And lastly that shot straight through the water line.
Back in January, I saw a message from a friend that there was a car advertised a few hours away, and it was a “Good Buy”. So of course I looked it up and sure enough, it was a 1953 Dodge Coronet, two door….. with a Hemi mated to a Gyro-Matic transmission. Now understand that just because it says it has something doesn’t mean it’s actually true, and for all I knew it could be just pieces of a Hemi. But I called the seller, and he indicated that everything was there, but didn’t know anything about the condition. He bought the car from a farmers field with the intention of using it as a derby car. Things didn’t work out for the derby, so he put it up for sale. That’s where I came in. After a short conversation, I bought the car based on a couple pictures, and put a check in the mail right away.
A couple weeks later I made the four hour drive to pick it up. At first it wasn’t much to look at, but then I opened the hood, and there before me was what looked like a complete Dodge Hemi. It had the air cleaner on it, and was covered in thick oily grease and grime, which is just the way they need to be. On the advise of Kenney Rodgers, where he says, “You never count your money, while you’re sitting at the table, there’ll be time enough fer count’n…. when the deal’ns done.”, I already knew this was no time to be drooling, and looking too closely while the seller was still standing there, so I quickly loaded up and headed for home, as there would be plenty of time to look things over later, on my own time.
We pulled the car in the shop right away, and quickly found a lot of rust in the floors, and decided that this one was a good candidate for a parts car. That means we carefully take every singe piece off the car and tag it, photograph it, price it, and put it on a shelf in the warehouse. We then put the parts on line in the parts section of our website for the whole world to see. There is a process to this, and that meant it would take a few more days to get to the point where we could really investigate the motor more.
Soon enough, we found that the motor was froze up tight from many years of sitting, and we found signs that mice had been working their way in through a radiator hose. We pulled all the plugs out and filled the cylinders with oil. Then we slowly applied pressure to turn the motor over. After a while, it broke loose and turned just a bit. Over the next few days it moved just a little more each day until it finally turned over all the way. It still took some time to get it to turn over smoothly, but eventually we had something we could work with. We cleaned out all the signs of mice, and cleaned up the points. A good friend who is old enough to remember these motors when they were new came over to help us out. He helped us trouble shoot one more issue with the points and then, amazingly, she fired right up. My heart skipped three beats, but my faithful pacemaker kicked in and I never even noticed. This was better than cool. This car was rescued from a field, and from a derby to now be running, and the parts will now go to other cars to get them running and looking good too. It’s experiences like this that bring us to work every day, and this is what we love to do.
Be sure to watch the video link at the bottom where we started to motor. It ran really good, and even added a nice smell to the shop that’s still lingering today…….
A million thoughts raced through my mind for the whole drive. Would the truck really be there? Could it be bought? Was this really happening? This story began three days ago. You know how some stories are remarkable, and some journeys are epic? Even as I write this, I’m still struggling to contain my excitement.
The story begins when a potential client called my office in North Dakota with an inquiry about some parts he needed for a very rare truck. I was traveling, and received a message to call a customer concerning something about doors for an International truck.
I was in a seminar at the time, and called a few minutes later. I told the gentleman who answered the phone that I was currently in Arizona and was not sure what I could do. He quickly asked, “Where in Arizona”? I replied that I was at the Barrett-Jackson auction, and he snapped back that he was also at the Barrett-Jackson auction. Continuing, he asked where I was, “Exactly”. When I replied, he said, “That’s exactly where I AM TOO!!!”. He proceeded to wave his hand and we were standing no more than fifty feet apart.
Stop and think about this for a minute. You have to agree that this is a great beginning for a truly remarkable story. Needless to say, we quickly sat down and began talking about our passion for cool cars, trucks and tractors. His original call was for some doors that he needs for a rare International truck that he is restoring. That story and any associated journey is still in process and I’ll have to wait to tell that one. Trust me. It might be a good one too. But here is where today’s most incredible story and journey really begin.
As we talked for about forty five minutes, he pulled out his phone to show me a picture. As he scrolled through his pictures, he told me that he needed one last truck to finish out his collection. He told me this had been an ongoing search, and he considered this to be his Holy Grail of trucks. He asked if I’d ever seen an International Sightliner. Not being familiar with that model, I said no, but that didn’t seem strange to me as there are lots of cars or trucks that none of us has seen or heard of. Then I saw it. The unmistakable big white, flat faced International with enough glass to be mistaken for an overgrown aquarium. He then quickly flipped past it to a couple other pictures of ones similar to it, as I said I knew exactly where that truck was. Yes. (Dramatic Pause for effect) The words fell out of my mouth. “I know exactly where that truck is”.
Have you ever felt time stand still. Everything goes quiet. Nothing moves for a second. He slowly turned to look at me, and I saw his mouth moving. He was saying something again about the Holy Grail. I didn’t really think he was suddenly finding religion, but I was beginning to understand that he had been looking for this exact white International, and he was verbally confirming that I knew the exact location of this exact truck. I shrugged and said it was only about two hours drive from where we were sitting. Again, time stood still and everything went quiet. This was almost too much.
Now understand that just because you see a truck on a property over a year ago doesn’t mean that it is still there or for sale or could even be bought for any price. I know this because I personally worked for over four years to buy one of my trucks. After a little more conversation, he asked if I would be willing to take him to the truck a few days later. We made the arrangements and set time aside for a day trip.
Two days later my daughter and I met my client along with his wife and father. We led the way as they followed us. I was as nervous as a teenager on his first date. A million thoughts raced through my mind for the whole drive. I didn’t even know if the truck was there anymore and I might look like an idiot if it wasn’t. Soon enough, we arrived. We were in Jerome, Arizona. A beautifully renovated mining town hanging on the side of a mountain. I first found this place in 1989 and spent an afternoon there on more than one occasion talking about cool trucks and tractors with the original owner. He would never sell anything, and as anyone opened their mouth to ask, he would simply say, “No”, and give them the look. You just knew there was never any reason to ask a second time. He passed away a couple years ago and his family now runs the place. I had heard from someone that a few select items could now be bought, but you never know what that really means.
We paid $5.25 each to enter the Gold King Mine property, and as we stepped out the back door of the gift shop it felt like we were going back in time. It was like another world, hanging on the side of a mountain, surrounded by clouds that were whipping by and spitting small cold rain drops. We were in the middle of a fantasy land for car and truck lovers. We hiked up the first hill to find some great vehicles in buildings, and some more remarkable trucks parked under trees. The enormity if it all was hard to grasp, and then from around the corner of another building we saw it. Large, white and seemingly all alone, the International Sightliner we had come to see. There was no need for words to be spoken for the next few minutes. I took a couple pictures, and thanked the Lord it was still there. A calmness came over me, and I began to relax. Now, there was only one last question. Was it for sale?
We slowly made our way back to the gift shop and after a call, we met with the person who had the answer to our question. We were told that, “Yes, a few select items were for sale”, and that this truck was on that very short list of sale items.
Incredible. What more can be said? I should just end the story there. Unbelievable. Over the next couple hours we were able to make a fair deal, and spent some time looking at everything else on the property in more detail. I’m very happy to say that this International will given a good restoration and will be back on the road again.
I also look forward to adding this to our Customer Projects page as the restoration begins to unfold. Experiences and stories like this are what fuels the passion that burns in my soul. That might sound a little sappy but it’s true. Follow us as we go on even more epic journeys tell many more remarkable stories about the lost, but never forgotten vehicles sitting in fields and barns across America. Also remember that this story isn’t over yet, there’s still one more rare truck that this customer needs, and I might be able to help him.
You know that feeling that hits you in the pit of your stomach when have to do something you know you really don’t want to do. If you put it off, it will just grow a little every day. This is the feeling I’ve had for a couple weeks, and I finally made the decision to list one of my cherished possessions for sale. I know that much worse things can happen, but for a guy who has collected some of the coolest and rarest trucks it hurts to see a special one go. As you can probably guess, we decided to offer up the Big Chevy you see pictured here.
I bought this truck a couple years ago, and had grand plans of building her into the Big, Heavy Hauling Show Stopper that she deserves to be. In essence returning her to her former glory. Someone now has the chance to buy her, and fulfill my vision. I’m sure this truck will be running for many years to come.
In 1959, Chevrolet made numerous changes to everything from piston and valve specs in the engines to adding many options to the cabs.
There were three options for larger trucks, which would be known as the Apache, Viking, and then the largest being the Spartan.
There were three trim packages in the cabs which came as Standard, Deluxe, and Custom.
The variations and combinations between all of these are endless, but I think this truck has some of the best.
This Spartan came as an LCF (Low Cab Forward) version, which shortened the nose and increased visibility. This one also came with a Custom cab, which was the highest option available. The Custom Cab came standard with an all new checker board pattern fabric on the door panels, chrome metal knobs throughout the dash, and could be ordered with options like a cigar lighter, and an under dash AC unit, which I think was just a glorified evaporative cooler. The Custom Cabs are easily distinguished by the bright and shinny stainless trim around the outside of the windows and doors. This cab also had a big back window. If you step back and look, you’ll see that this cab is almost wrapped in solid glass. There’s not much for blind spots here.
One more cool piece of trivia: If you ever see one of these coming down the road and you spot that big wide “V” under the Bowtie in the center of the hood. That means the truck you’re looking at is sporting one of two V8 engines for the 1959 Model. The straight six options were little torque monsters, but what could be better than possibly having a 348 V8.
This truck not only got the job done, but it looked good doing it. I believe this truck shows pride of ownership, and the original owner stood tall when he was with his truck.
This truck might look out of place today, with the tall cab, and short nose. But in 1959, trucks like these moved America. They are a rare sight today, and most people have never seen one on the road, much less all fixed up at a show. Every vehicle has a story, and I’m glad I could be a part of this one.
She’s available for sale today. But don’t hesitate if you’re interested. This one will not be here long. We keep looking forward to the next Awesome truck and the next fun story.
Over the years, mail has been delivered using a number of different vehicles. I’m sure the first popular motorized vehicle was the Ford Model T, and everyone knows the different versions of the Jeep that have traveled the city streets across America. But rural mail delivery is a little different. You know the saying, “Neither Rain or Snow…..”? Well, rural delivery can also include mud, high water, steep hills, ruts and so on. Mail gets delivered to the country folks the same as in the city. Every day, no matter what the condition. After making this statement, I do remember a winter in the late seventies when we were snowed in at our farm for about a week at a time, and the only thing that opened up the road was a large snow blower mounted on an even larger John Deer tractor. But that’s another story, and lets just assume that rural mail gets delivered every day, no matter what the conditions, even where we are in North Dakota.
As you also probably know, the first rural roads that cars had to navigate were not really meant for high speed travel. Cars needed to be light and agile, with high clearance for the ruts that developed. In the winter, there were no snow plows clearing the way, and no weather alerts for cold fronts sweeping down from the Arctic.
People came up with ingenious ways of solving everyday challenges, and delivering mail to the country presented many challenges. The Model T was a very versatile little car that was light and nimble. It had a fairly high clearance, and its’ tall skinny tires were not much different than wagon wheels, and made their way through deep mud and ruts much like the wagons had before them. Ford, and probably many aftermarket companies designed tracks, skis, and all kinds of other modifications to help them get through mud and snow. Compared to the next generations of cars that came after them, these cars must have seemed primitive. But they got the job done.
The Model A was big step up from the T. It was larger, more dependable, and had a few more creature comforts. The Model A had heat, if you want to call it that. There was an optional exhaust manifold with cast fins on top. There was a cover over it, and as you drove, the air would be drawn through the cover, over the warm fins, and into the car. This can barely be called heat, and you had to be moving to get the air, but it was fantastic for someone in North Dakota.
As the years passed, cars became bigger, faster, and heavier. The roads were improved, but there was no such thing as mass snow removal in the country. It was every man for himself, and the mail carrier was no exception. These guys still needed a light, agile delivery vehicle that had high clearance, but the new vehicles were getting heavier, and lower every year. As time went along, the Model A’s were still being used, and someone started modifying them very specifically for travel in snow or mud on the rural routes of the northern America. The biggest modification involved putting larger wheels and tires on the cars, and fabricating fenders to match. Each one is a little different, depending on the materials available, and the different challenges that had to be overcome. Often, the larger wheels were just welded to the outside of the original Model A wheel. This new stance gave them a distinctive look, and the ability to climb up and over snow drifts, ruts, and through ditches.
This 1931 Model A was used up into the forties, and maybe longer. It’s a great example of using the materials at hand to overcome challenges and get the job done. You can see the larger front wheels are welded around the smaller original rims. The rear end is from a truck, and the large fenders were added. I’d love to know where this car has traveled, and the sights its’ seen. Every vehicle has a story, and how fitting that this old girl is once again sitting in the snow. Someone is going to fix her up and love her like the original owner did many years ago.
Last week, a friend called to say he was going to bring some various things by and see if we had any interest in them. He lives a couple hours away, and about as close to Canada as you can get without being Canadian. From what I understand, he has many acres of vehicles and parts spread out amongst the trees. He’s one of those happy-go-lucky kinda guys who always likes to do a little horse trading.
Without hesitating, I told him to load up some good stuff and come on down for a visit.
He showed up around noon on Friday, with his truck and trailer loaded with several cool items. He hadn’t seen our place since we filled it with parts, so we took him on a little tour, and he rattled off a few things he might be in the market to trade for. So, we unloaded what he brought, and we were able to make a deal that both of us are happy with.
As you can see, he brought us a couple good front clips that fit ’42-’47 Ford trucks, some hoods, fenders and a few other things. One item in particular is really interesting, and we decided to do a little more research to figure it out. My friend seemed to think it was a suicide drivers door from a Hudson Terraplane. Now say that ten times, or better yet find another one. My question is, “How did this rare door end up in the woods near Canada?”
My next questions is, “How could a fella ever figure out which year or model this door came from?” Of course Google is a big help for a lot of things, but pictures alone can’t determine some specifics. But in this case we have a tool that’s better than Google. If you read my posts regularly, then you might remember a few weeks ago I wrote about the Simpl-Filer Box we have that is full of flat glass patterns for most American vehicles produced through 1959? And now the light comes on. We measured the length and width of the glass opening on the door window to determine the block size needed for a pattern. Then we went to our book and looked up Terraplane, which was only produced between 1936 and 1938. We can quickly rule out all trucks, or the station wagon. (Which is a bummer because that would make this incredibly rare) because the block size was smaller than what we had. Then we found that there was only one pattern that was large enough to fit this door. We traced the pattern and sure enough it fit!! Now we can narrow our year to either a ’35, ’36, or ’37, two door, five passenger, Sedan Brougham. We also had a trunk lid that needed a year and model and coincidentally, it looks like it fits a ’36 Terraplane two door Sedan Brougham.
In conclusion: I am going to say that in all likelihood, this door is probably from a still very rare, two door Hudson Terraplane Sedan Brougham. How did it end up laying in the trees in North Dakota near the Canadian border? That’s for someone else to figure out, because every vehicle has a story, and hopefully these pieces will live a long life on another Terraplane. Adventures like this are what keep me awake at night, wake me up in the morning and draw me back to the shop every day, because you never know what might show up at Angry Auto Group.