For as long as I can remember I have had some kind of motorized project in the works. Right now I have five projects, two of which I can drive, but are far from being complete, but is a project ever complete? There is always something else that needs to be done or modified. I recall my first major project, I converted a ’65 VW Bug into what we called a dune buggy; today it would probably be called a sand rail. I did have some earlier projects, a riding mower that I bought from a neighbor for $15. The neighbor had bought a new mower and was wanting to get rid of the old one. I removed all the mowing parts of the small yard tractor and made it into something I could drive around the neighborhood. The main use I had for it was I used the small tractor to pull our john boat to the end of our street and launch the boat into the bayou. My older brother had a go kart that my younger brother and I got to play with from time to time. We had fun trying to make it faster. We wore that go kart out, in fact the frame broke in half towards the end of its life.
Today my projects are three cars and two mini bikes. One of the cars and one of the mini bikes are drivable. I love taking these old pieces of machinery out for a drive from time to time. The drivable car is a 1973 VW Super Beetle. I recently replaced the floor pan on the passenger side but I still have a little work to complete the floor. It is fun taking the old Bug out for a drive, it is the most basic a car can be. Everything is manual, even the windows has cranks. When you drive it, you are actually driving a car and not a passenger in a creature comfort machine like most cars are today. The mini bike is a 1974 Honda CT70 Trial Bike. I love taking it out for rides. It is all original except for the air cleaner. When I was young, a lot of my friends had bikes like these but my brothers and I did not. We had our go kart. I always wanted one of these trail bikes and was able to buy two of them a couple of years ago. The other trail bike is in parts, which is the way I bought it. That one is a 1970 Honda CT70H. The H models have a manual clutch with a 4 speed.
My other car projects are a 1978 Corvette and a 1953 Chevy Wagon. The Wagon was my grandfather’s car he used to deliver groceries for his store in Arkansas. He also used it as his fishing car. I recall many trips to Peckerwood Lake near Pine Bluff Arkansas when I was young. In fact the first car I recall riding in is that same 1953 Chevy Wagon. I kept staring at the chrome on the dash. The Wagon is still in all original condition, but is not drivable right now.
I bought the 1978 Corvette in 1985. I drove it as my daily driver for many years. I parked it in 1990 when our son was born because it was in need of restoration. I decided to do a resto-mod instead of restoration. If this particular Corvette was a special model such as a Pace Car or Silver Anniversary Edition I would restore it to factory, but since it was a base L-48 low performance model, I decided to modify it with a Big Block. In 2002 I began the resto-mod on the Corvette. With the help of several friends and family I pulled the body off the frame in May 2002. Throughout the years I bought parts and worked on the Vette, but was not able to make a whole lot of progress since my wife and I had a growing family. I made a new year’s resolution in 2016 to have the body back on the frame by years end. With two months left in the year I am working to meet that goal. I have everything I need to do this, it is a matter of spending time working on the frame.
As I work to meet my goal on the Vette, I take time out to go for drives in the Bug or Trail Bike. Going for these rides reminds me of why I have projects. Being able to drive the Bug to the parts store or just for cruising around town, I love the fact that I was able to breathe new life into the old Bug. Riding the Trail Bike off road near my house reminds me of my youth riding my friend’s bikes. So if you see an old man riding a mini bike, you can be sure he is having a blast recalling times of his youth.