I recently decided to purchase a used car, something older that was easy to work on and parts were not outrageous. An older Ford Mustang seemed to be just the ticket and it seems they have grown quite popular, how much I would soon learn.
I ended up setting my sights on a Fox-body Mustang. These mustangs were produced from 1979 until 1993 and I have to be honest, I was not a huge fan of them back in the day. That has obviously changed and I really like the coupe version.
I ended up finding a very solid candidate in a 1991 coupe and made the purchase, not knowing or realizing another member of my household would go absolutely crazy for the car. My 9 year old son virtually overnight turned into a little hot rod gear head!
I had no idea this would be a side effect. I was just looking for a decent older car to drive back and forth to work, little did I know the future would become a little more complex than that. That boy has been learning to turn wrenches and is gaining quite the hot rod vernacular!
This first photo is not a staged photo op. It captures a young hot rod aficionado in his natural element. We were reassembling the belt driven accessories at the front of the engine after completing some much needed updates and maintenance.
We swapped in a completely new steering set with a new 15 to 1 ratio rack and pinion, new power steering pump, new tie rods(inner and outer), and all new hoses. We also chose this time to remove the old AC system in its entirety and replace it with a new R134 system. We also put on some bran new Bassani exhaust that obtained a Cam Carter seal of approval with the proclamation that, “Daddy, it’s a little quieter than before, but now it just sounds mean!” (mean, not sure where he picked up that hot rod vernacular, but it was a proud Dad moment for sure!)
My son likes helping out and working on the car so much that I included his name on the title and he is effectually the co-owner. It would end up going to him anyhow, so why not.
He enjoys the car so much that it amazes him and makes him happy when other people do too. We were at Breadco the other afternoon grabbing some dinner and watched a young boy lead his mother in the opposite direction of where they were parked to go over and do a full circle around the Mustang. The young man seemed to be taking in every bit of the car as he circled it while peering in to take in the interior. He seemed to be excitedly talking to his mother, presumably in regards to the car.
I told Cam Carter that evening that the Iron Spike Model Train Museum was having a car show the following weekend. He proclaimed excitedly that we had to go and we HAD to take the Mustang. I had a suspicion this is what he would say. We have been taking him to the model train museum since he was around 2 years old and he has the same excited amazement each time. It is one of his favorite places!
I asked him if he wanted to just drive the car or if he wanted to display it. He replied with, “why don’t we show it?”. I explained to him that it wasn’t quite a show car and needed lots of work still, so he pondered this for a few minutes and said, “okay, let’s just display it for fun, but you know I really like the Mustang and so does everyone else!”
The morning of the show came and brought with it a slight change of plans. Apparently my young 9 year old had continued to contemplate the Iron Spike car show and proclaimed, “We need to just show the car. I like the car and so does everyone else. I don’t care if it doesn’t win, but I think it might do okay and it will be fun.”
The entry fee to display for the benefit car show was $15 and to enter for the show was $20. I thought what’s an extra $5 to go to a great organization for kids, both young and old, so I handed him $20. I told him to think about it and when we got there we would do whatever he chose.
We left the house, not getting a mile down the road and he proclaimed, “Daddy, we are gonna show it. It may not win, but I think it will do something good.” Okay son.
We arrived at the show, chose a parking spot next to a really sweet Mercury Cougar, and proceeded to the registration desk. I started filling out the paperwork and asked him one more time just to confirm, he got a big smile on his face, and said, “we are showing it!”
I filled out the paperwork, putting his name down as the owner, and told him, “Okay, the registration is complete, now you have to pay this man your entry fee” and he quickly pulled out the twenty dollar bill and handed it over with a sly smile. We then proceeded back to the car to put our registration card in the window as required and he said one more time, “I think we did the right thing, it may not win, but it will do something at least.”
Not only was I in for a huge surprise, but so was he!
As all the participants gathered around for the trophy presentation, and awards, I could tell he was getting a little anxious. It came time for our class and the way the format for trophy awards were announced started with 3rd place for each class and ending with 1st place Best in Class.
They announced the 2nd place winner, which was a really nice 90’s era Corvette, and I looked over to see his reaction. Cam Carter just kinda shrugged with a look of “well we tried”. Then I heard “car 38” and that was our car number and I quickly turned to see that he hadn’t yet realized that, but then they said “Owner, Cam Wood” he turned and looked at me with his eyes wide open, along with his mouth, as his jaw dropped!
He just stood there for a moment and I said, “Cam Carter that’s you” and he proceeded to walk up to get his trophy with a look of amazement and disbelief. This changed later as he proceeded to inform me, “see daddy, I told you even though you thought it wasn’t really ready it would do just fine!”
He held that trophy the whole way home with a smile on his face. A memory I suspect that will never fade for him, or me…. 😉