I’m a 70’s child, which apparently makes me a member of Generation X. I’ve never liked being defined or labeled by others but less so by my own self. For someone who’s not shy about making a fool of herself to get a laugh among friends and is sometimes too fast to express an opinion with in-laws, a public show of any sort of affiliation, belief system, or political leaning was not my thing. I don’t know that I ever felt educated or confident enough about one particular subject to defend myself when challenged about what I was projecting. But why did I feel that I would become a target of an interrogation based on what my fucking t-shirt said? Because I thought people cared more than they really did. As a kid, I hated going to school after Momma cut my bangs too short. She would say, “Not everyone is waiting to see what Janet Chambers looks like today!” I remember being at once comforted, but then like, “wait…why not?”
What a relief to grow up and find out that you are not the center of the universe.
So when it comes to choosing a car to fix up with Pop, I feel a complete freedom to find something that is just right, that ‘speaks’ to me and makes me happy. It is true that for some, a car can be one of the most obvious, outwardly ways of defining yourself. Old dudes do it with their little penis cars. City kids with their high pitched mufflers on their way to go Tokyo drifting or whatever and old hippies living in their VWs for instance. Country folk have their Chevy pickups with gun racks and Calvin & Hobbes praying to an American flag at half mast (or peeing on a Ford logo, both very strong statements.)
Me, I just want to ‘ride, ride like the wind, to be free again’ so I am embracing the time frame I was born in and am looking for a late 60’s early 70’s car. Looked at Ford Falcons and Fairlanes but wanted something less boxy, which pushed me more towards the muscle cars that I love. Looked at GTOs and Chevelles but these were bigger cars than I wanted, heavy cars over 3,000 pounds. Camaros were easy to find as project cars, but pricier than I wanted.I’m looking at Chevy Novas and late 60’s Firebirds. I like the power of a V8 but Pop thinks we could also have fun souping up a slant 6. This has me looking at Dodge and Plymouth. The slant 6 was standard on the first Dodge Darts and then the Demon was introduced in 1971. It had a pointier front end which was one of the things I took issue with on the Bird so that is out. The Demon was Dodge’s response to the popular Plymouth Duster. Now, this is a car I like the look of. The ’72 Duster had a V8 but was only a tad over 3K pounds and shorter. Short I like because I still need to get this thing up my steep driveway when all is said and done.
I saw this Duster in my neighborhood. It had been sitting on the street so long it had a parking ticket. I left a message on the car asking the owner if they would consider selling it, but have heard nothing. It does look pretty ‘done’ though.
I found a ’75 Duster on Craig’s List and Mike and I went to check it out. I was VERY excited and kept seeing ‘signs’ along the way there that I was sure were guiding me to the car of my dreams. We passed Chambers road, my maiden name, and another street named Kentucky, where I would be working on the car with Pop. I saw a feather hanging from a dream catcher on someone’s review mirror, which the Navajo shaman I had recently visited said I would. (I know, just go with it.) I took a lot of pics of the car to talk over with Pop later and got a chance to test drive it.
Sounds a bit rough, but my heart still pounded when I revved it. Came with lots of extra parts, solid body I thought, in my price range…it was looking good. Talked to Pop later and it was a no go. Too much rust, liner gone, extensive body work, etc. Shit! Throughout the coming weeks, I would send him links to cars and get responses from him:
1972 Ford Maverick: “I’m afraid that one is just too rough. That would be a body off restoration which is more than we really want to handle.”
1971 Chevy Chevelle: “Basically the same engine, trans and body style as the Bird and much rougher shape. 3k would be out of the question.”
1968 Chevy Chevelle: “That is rough. Body work on that order I am afraid is beyond us.”
1972 Chevy Nova: “That car is basically done. Very masculine, fast and a 4 door.”
1969 Mercury Cougar: “We really don’t want a fabric type roof although the Bird started out that way. I don’t think you would be happy with a cougar as they were a pretty big car and parts would be difficult to find.”
Getting closer but neither of the following led to anything:
1975 Plymouth Duster: “I’m impressed with the slant six and all the chrome. I can’t tell but looks like a lot of rust in the quarters, fenders and door bottoms. Also I can’t tell if that is a white vinyl top or not, if it’s in good condition I suppose that’s okay.”
Another Duster: “I like the red 1975 the best. Although it says it’s a V6 I don’t find they made one with a V6, it’s probably a slant six which would make it even a better deal.”
I’ll continue looking online but Pop says we’ll probably find our car sitting by the side of the road in a little town somewhere. He and Momma travel a lot in their camper and are always on the look out. Besides, Pop’s leery about the online sales world. He has discovered that he was now officially the ‘target’ of target marketing.
So the search continues. The right car will come along at the right time, I know that. I’m having a blast looking.
And by the way, I’m currently wearing a Rolling Stones t-shirt, can’t stand Donald Trump, am a pro-choice female business owner who prays to Mother Earth but I don’t have any tattoos. A permanent symbol of personal expression forever imprinted on my body? Not quite there yet.