Pininfarina

Spring Break 2016

I would like to first and foremost apologize for neglecting my readers. I finally have time to write a column. I’ve been very busy with the business and life in general, but this week I have plenty of time. This month we’re covering the infamous Italian Pinna Farina design house. The reason being we’re on our annual Spring Break vacation to Florida. We’ve been coming to the Clearwater-Indian Rocks Beach along the Gulf Coast for many years. I’m trying to think about what car related story I can write about this iconic designer, I’m drawing a blank. I can’t help but keep thinking about the times when I lived in this area. So here we go, when I was in my late teens-early 20’s I lived in the area. I have fond memories of Florida. Some of them auto related. I had a small, very small paint and body shop just minutes from Clearwater Beach. I spent many a day at the beach instead of working. During that time I had my 1960 Austin Healey Sprite and a 1972 Ford XLT Ranger pickup truck I spent many an evening rebuilding.

During my time in Florida from early 1977 through 1981 I went to The 12 hours of Sebring three times, The Daytona 500 three times, Bike week once and Spring
Break in Fort Lauderdale once, tons of rock concerts and the beach every chance I got. Things you do when you’re in your 20’s. I don’t know when I found time to work. I also spent many an evening cruising Gulf Boulevard between Clearwater and St. Pete Beaches in my Sprite with the top down looking for what else of course girls, things you do when you’re in your 20’s! The Sprite got way more attention than I did. Probably because it was much cuter than I and it didn’t say really dumb things to girls that 20 year old boys say when they’re in their 20s. If only I knew then what I know now in my 50’s, things might have been different. Life is somewhat cruel, when you’re young and in your 20’s with a six pack under your shirt and a full head of hair your brain hasn’t developed completely. When you’re in your 50’s you’re much wiser, you’re also fatter and wrinkled with not so much hair, and our brains are fully developed. The body is now on the back side of life’s curve. What’s up with that? Then of course there’s phase three of life, “The Golden Years”, I care not to think about.

Back to the truck story. I got it for free and it moved me to Florida from NJ. When I got there I started the rebuild. It took me nearly 5 years to put that truck back on the road. I did everything from building the big block 390 engine with a three quarter cam and hooker headers. I also customizing the body with flared fenders, two tone black and gold paint. Then I added a tilt steering column from a 1967 Lincoln Continental, and louvered fenders. I also installed a hole shot torque converter in the C6 transmission and a shift kit. It had a factory installed limited slip differential. I then installed 8 inch wagon wheel mags with a pretty hefty offset and BF Goodrich TA radial mud tires. The truck had an awesome stance with plenty of torque. It was my version of a muscle car. It seems as soon as I finished it I used the truck to escape Florida and head back to New Jersey to start the next chapter in my life.

Until next time check your oil often and keep the shiny side up.