These are my ruminations on life, design, and the pursuit of happiness…

Unemployment Benefits

So those of you who know me and mine know that my husband has been out of work since May. This being Thanksgiving week, I thought I would put a positive spin on a bad situation, and share with you what good has come out of this forced “time off”.

Project 1: Olie Olds

We are a bit of a car family. (That’s a bit of an understatement) My husbands recent car “favorite” is his 1956 Oldsmobile 88 convertible. We found it in Michigan through Hemmings Motor News and had it shipped here to California. It had a few dents, and some bubbling of the paint from rust in spots, but wasn’t half bad.

It originally was an all black color scheme, but somewhere along the way had been painted black and white. The interior also had been poorly and incorrectly redone, but it drove, it was cool, and we had fun in it for several years, always knowing Dave would eventually get around to it’s restoration. We had accumulated most of the necessary tools while he was still employed, he had the talent, and then suddenly had the time!

First he did all the body work, rust repair, and replaced the doors. Sanded. Sanded. Sanded.

Then primer, (more sanding) and paint, all of which he accomplished in the driveway. (Told you he has talent!)

Then it was off to the upholstery shop for new carpet, interior, and top.

Thanks to a tip from a friend we found a great shop to do the work, at a fraction of what some other shops were asking.

So now “Olie Olds” is looking beautiful, but sadly I didn’t even get a good finish shot of him before he was garaged for the winter so Dave could move on to…

Project 2: My Dream Car

So being that he is “car inclined” Dave has subscribed to Collectible Automobile magazine on and off over the years. Way back in August of 1993, (I know this because the issue is for sale on ebay right now) they did a feature on the Austin Atlantic. I saw it. I was smitten.

The Austin A90 Atlantic was a British car produced by the Austin Motor Company, and was designed specifically for the American market. Unfortunately it didn’t take hold in the states, and only about 350 of the 7981 produced were sold here between 1959 and 1952. (350! Thats it!)

Well, I never really thought I’d have one, or even see one for sale. In about 2002, we did see one for sale, and fairly close too, within driving distance anyway, but at that time we were just getting ready to start our house remodel. We tend to be wildly impractical at times, but even we thought it would be a bad idea to spend the money on a car when we had a house waiting for a second story.
(And yes, this is reminding me I need to get back to blogging about our house remodel someday.)
Dave wouldn’t even take me to go see it, because “If we see it we won’t be able NOT to buy it.”

Forward to about October of 2007, when another A90 surfaced on ebay. By then the house was more or less done, and a new project seemed like a fine idea.

We had her shipped from her former home in Fargo, North Dakota, and by November she was here!

In this photo you can see the beautiful lines of the car that I fell in love with. And notice the cool flying A’s on the fenders!

Speaking of fenders, they had to be removed to get at all the rust the car was unfortunately full of.

Rust was ground back, and in some cases cut away completely. Dave made patches, sometimes making cardboard templates first to insure proper fit.

Somehow he found a neighbor who had been itching to buy a welder, and didn’t mind if we used it first.

(Don’t you love neighbors like that?)

So this is where the project stands currently. Dave is still out back everyday keeping his sanity by throwing energy at the car, looking for jobs when the sun goes down.
And I’m still finding plenty to be thankful for!


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    gabrielle said...

    The power of our thoughts are amazing. The Cars look great! I’d take the convertible out on this sunny day for a drive by the beach! I’m sure glad, he’s putting his energy into something he loves to do! What’s better then that?

    November 26, 2009 at 7:49 am
    cat said...

    Wendy, the cars look amazing!

    Forget finding a new job. Dave should just open up his own shop.

    When one door closes, another one (a car shop?) opens.

    And then he can restore my future classic car.


    December 5, 2009 at 11:33 pm
    linda said...

    Olie Olds looks fantastic!
    I didn’t get to see it before it went into hibernation!

    December 23, 2009 at 8:24 am