Renovators are Born, not Made

As those that follow my little adventure know, I’ve been sidelined for several months now with some gravity induced injuries. Because of this I have time on my hands…lots of time. To keep me occupied, I have been going through boxes and boxes of old photographs.

Looking back through these old photos I realized that I was a born renovator.

As a child I took every clock, watch or anything else that had screws apart. I couldn’t get it back together – but I sure could get it apart.

My first car.

Back when I was young getting your first car was a big deal. Not a car you borrowed from your parents, but a car you picked out and paid for – you had ownership. If you were a guy in 1972 you would probably think this was pretty cool.

article-72caroftheyear-page1and2But what would yours truly pick?

ford41930 Model A Ford

Just look at that baby! Now she didn’t look this bad when I found her. I just can’t seem to find the picture that showed she did indeed come with fenders and a back door. This was a shot a week later – the back door sort of fell off – something about no hinges. For the record, it’s a 1930 Model A Town Sedan. Just think of the possibilities!

This optimism translates to home renovations. You know who you are. You walk into a house and you see the potential – your spouse sees leaky ceilings, dilapidated floors and basically a train wreck with a roof. You see a house that will one day grace the pages of Architectural Digest.  You are born with this optimism – it’s genetic. You can’t help it.

If you had the forethought to renovate a car – knowing in the future, some 40 years later you would renovate a home – you would buy a car that needed not only a mechanic, but a carpenter as well.

ford8Like this car – it’s fate I tell you.

ford3And the inside would have floors made of wood as well.

ford1So I got to work, like any 18 year old would do. Notice the new wood roof and door parts – and new wood floorboards too. This was the last project I got to work on with my dad. His father was a pattern maker for the Murray Body company – one of two companies that provided Ford with the Town Sedan bodies for these cars.

ford2Of course being me it had to be a frame off restoration.

ford5Now any teenager would make this into a hot rod – no doubt about it. But just look at that 4 cylinder flat head powerhouse!

ford7But not me – I’ll make it 100% stock.  Here you see all of the drum brake parts – everything brand new or machined from scratch. Oh, and if you happen to have a Model A and you need your brakes adjusted – stop by – I still have my brake wrench.

ford6Here’s a breathtaking view of some running board brackets.

ford frontThings going back together. The radiator shell was stainless steel.

ford9My mom always said I would never get it back together – she must have been remembering my take-apart-a-watch years. But 4 years later it was ready to roll.

ford10Here it is all done with super fancy wheels, cowl lights and a top speed of 60 mph.

But, like any renovator – once you reach the finish line it’s time to move on. So I sold the old girl a year later and got this pair.

tr6 corvette1Because that’s what a normal 21 year old would want.

Once a renovator – always a renovator.


12 thoughts on “Renovators are Born, not Made

  1. Cool – and, interestingly, my husband’s first car was a 1930 Model A. Hiss renovations on that one didn’t compare to yours, but he followed that with a ’53 MGTD that he renovated then sold to pay for part of his law school in California in 1973.

  2. I got this fix-it/renovator gene from my father. It was latent, and is not fully developed yet, but I am learning new things every day. So far my list includes the washer, the dryer, the dishwasher, my kitchen center (mixer plus), the broken kitchen drawer, and recently, the replacement of the leaking shower diverter. It is a wonderful and exhilarating feeling to be able to say, “I fixed that!”

    Curt, your first car was awesome! How much longer til your leg heals and you are back in action?

    • Hi Lynda – See? I told you this is genetic! It is really a great feeling to ‘fix it yourself’. I still have a ways to go on the health thing. It was a little more than broken bones – so it’ll be some time yet. Thanks for asking – I’ll be back, you can bet on that.

  3. What an awesome Model A! Do you ever regret that you sold it? Wouldn’t you love to have it now? I once bought a 46 Chevy Fleetline, not because I wanted to do a restoration, but because I couldn’t resist having a rolling piece of history. I refused to turn it into a street rod. It was painfully stock, except for a new paint job and chrome. I also owned a 69 Jaguar XK-E that was lovely, even stalled on the side of the road … which was often. Sometimes I look back and just shake my head at the follies of my youth. 🙂

    • Hi D’Arcy – sorry for the late reply – I must have missed this. I think about her from time to time. But I really didn’t like driving it that much. But it was pretty to look at. Wow, a 46 Fleetline! If it was a 2 door it would be very rare today. The XK-E was beautiful. My brother and I missed buying a ’64 by 15 minutes years ago – now that’s a car I regret not getting, even if it would be broken down on the roadside most of the time. Those follies of our youth are what make us who were are today – for better or worse.

  4. Curt! I totally agree with you. My husband and I often debate the topic ‘could anyone renovate a house?’ I say no – it takes a special kind of person. He thinks anyone can do it. Maybe that’s because he was born with the ability and assumes everyone else was too. Like you, he spent years fixing up old cars, but I didn’t make the association between the two until now. Thanks for the post!!

    • I think guys like your husband and myself think anybody can do it. But I’ve helped some friends working on their homes and you’re right – some can’t and shouldn’t, as they are a danger to themselves and others. You and my wife are so lucky! (Just don’t ask my wife when will we move in to the new home).

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