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Old 03-10-2013, 12:06 PM
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How did you get your start and what do you do?

Hi guys and gals. I just got done watching the video below and got to thinking how I got my start in life. My father was a mechanic for the Navy and later one worked as a mechanic for a Ford dealership. As a youngster I wanted to be a mechanic like my Dad (or a Jet Pilot). I can remember building my first "car" when I was about five or six. I grew up in San Francisco with lots of hills. Wood from some demolition close by, a axle and wheels we had and baby buggy wheels I found. Rope steering and off I went. Biggest problem I can remember was the front wheels falling off because the "spikes" I used to hold the front wheels didn't quite do the trick. Thinking back I'll bet my inspiration came from old " Little Rascals" episodes. Next came bicycles and then working with my "Old Man" on the family car. Lawn mower engines, a buddy's 1/4 midget, , cars and high school. Did my first brake job when I was 11. When I was 11 or 12 I went with my Father to work on Saturdays at the Ford dealership. At that time the shop was only open from Monday to Friday. The Old Man picked up extra money coming in on Saturdays. After I graduated from high school I asked and got a job at that Dealership. I hadn't told my parents that I was going to try to get a job where my Dad work and when the service manager spoke to my Dad and said "Did you know your kid is up front asking for a job?" The Old Man said" Well don't give him to me!" So I started in am another dept. I was making $375/month, 44hr/weeks. After I was there for a few years I got drafted into the Army. Basic training and then the Army said " You were a mechanic before you came in ,that's what we'll have you do" So I went directly into a motor pool right out of basic. Ended up running my own motor pool in Korea and then home safe and sound. Back to Ford and then the dealer folded. Next job at a Pontiac dealership and learned about working for "commission"
Lot's of money! I remember making $1000/month and my father couldn't believe it! Independents came next and I learned the only difference between Fords, Chevy's and everything else was the color of the car. I specialized in air conditioning. Air conditioning and transmissions were the two field that were still " magic" to the average mechanic. That and electrical. There for ten years and made a move to where I live now. Had my own shop for a while and retired from it.
I think it all started with The Little Rascals.

How did you get started?

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Old 03-10-2013, 12:22 PM
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I lived and grew up next to the most capable people in the world. The rest is a blurr.
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Old 03-10-2013, 01:44 PM
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I got my start by getting fired, after that I became a "consultant"
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Old 03-10-2013, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by spinn View Post
I lived and grew up next to the most capable people in the world. The rest is a blurr.
So what do you do and how did you get involved with automobiles?
BB
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Old 03-10-2013, 01:54 PM
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Well, my dad has always had his own shop working on anything with an engine and doing collision repairs. So naturally I'd come home from school, change clothes and run to the shop to get dirty with my dad. It has always been a passion of mine. I still have my public job at EMS as a paramedic, but we work 24 hour shifts with 48 hours off, so I still have plenty of time to run the shop.

Kelly
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Old 03-10-2013, 01:55 PM
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I got my start by getting fired, after that I became a "consultant"
So what your story and how did you get involved with automobles?

BB
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Old 03-10-2013, 02:00 PM
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My brother was my biggest influence, him and a neighbor who had hotrods all over his yard all the time. But my brother built me mini bikes and I helped so I had a number of partially or completely home built mini bikes by the time I was 12 or so. By the time I saw American Graffiti (first run here guys) I was HOOKED and I went out to the yard and shaved the emblems off a 50 Dodge we had out there. I bought my 48 Chevy pickup with paper route money a week before turning 16 and had chopped the top (well started it at least) a few months later. When I was 17 I got my first job at the rod shop owned by that neighbor who had the rods in his yard. I worked there for a while after school then when I graduated I had a full time job waiting for me doing used car repair at my sisters "bodyshop" and I started a week out of highschool. I say "Bodyshop" because it was actually a barn, we are talking dirt floor barn that when it rained you had to strategically park the cars all over to miss the leaks and it literally would have a stream coming thru on hard raining days. You could hear the cattle hitting the wall as they were eating on the other side, you get my drift. Anyway, I worked there for about a year then went out in to the auto body world as a painter full time. The screw driver set below was the very first professional type tool I ever bought, of the Snap On truck at that bodyshop after I left my sisters barn..er..shop in 1978.

Brian

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Old 03-10-2013, 02:54 PM
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how did you get your start

Grew up with my grandfather, helping him with all his antique cars. Got my 72 Nova when I was 15, promptly blew the motor in it...asked my grandfather for help...he handed me a Motors manual. He said the best way to learn was to "do it yourself". He made me think my way through it! It only took me 2 months to get it running! LOL. I was addicted to building and understanding performance engines ever since. I've tried to kick the habit, but I'm too addicted. Went on to build many cars with my father...best times of my life. I now have a year old grandchild that I hope will share my love and passion for musclecars and hotrods. Its a great way to build a bond...and a car. I'm sure everyone shares similar memories.
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Old 03-10-2013, 03:22 PM
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I was started on door hinges at 6.

My first tool is this oil can.

My first motor vehicle was a 78 Honda express. I still have it in the shed . It is restored.

15-16 I was rebuilding engines. I needed to keep my $250 driver going. I became paramedic long time ago. Cars and people have some common needs. They have to be at the right temp, have the right pressure, breath, if theres a leak you got to fix it, etc.
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Old 03-10-2013, 04:53 PM
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My twin brother and i grew up on a farm and helped my father overhaul farm tractors in the late fifties and sixties. We got our first car, a 1955 ford two door custom line. We went threw 6 or 7 or 8 trannys in about 12 weeks. We got so good at it, we carried a spare tranny in the trunk. That was the days were the old salvage yards were everywere and the trannys cost $5.00. Them old three speed were easy to take out of the old junk cars and put back in. By the way, we solved the problem by using a three speed from a 56 ford that had the 312 y-block motor. Out little 272 motor couldn't tear it up.
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Old 03-10-2013, 05:30 PM
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When I was just an ankle-biter, i remember my grandfather always tooling around in his basement. He was a tech for ford in the flathead 8 days, as well as being a trades instructor, and i was always amazed how he could take a car/tractor/stationary engine, or whatever had caught his interest, that someone else would sentence to the scrap pile, and make it into something useable. As i got into the double digit years, i spent lots of time there. He has a collection of knowledge and machine tools that i found incredible. When i was about 12 he dragged home a R-110 international pickup that, in retrospect, would have been hard pressed to make a parts car for most of the guys here. Over the course of a few years i watched that wreck turn into a running and driving pickup again. Everything from adapting brakes from whatever he had on hand, to lead work, to paint and interior he always did himself. It was about that time i decided that this was the guy i wanted to be. At 15 I got hold of a K-1 binder and over about 7 years did a complete restoration on it. In that time i went to trade school, got 2 licenses, and started a career in motive power. Among many other things. Recently picked up a 30's vintage lathe and have been teaching myself to use it, with the constructive and sometimes critical input of my 80-something year old self taught grandfather. To this day talking to him awes me with the amount of knowledge that the man possesses. If i can gather even half what he has learned in the next 50 years I'd be content. Big shoes to fill, thats for sure.
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Old 03-10-2013, 05:56 PM
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Where i grew up ,Blue ridge mountianns of Ga we didnt have much money but we didnt know it no one did so we didnt feel out ofplace when we had to work on our own vehicles if we wanted to ride.ny hather bought me a saers allstate 250 ,mot running when i was around 12 or so i worked on it got it running something small,i traded it fir an indian cheif with no clutch took a while to save money to get parts ,ny job after school was to help my uncle cut pulp wood 1 load after school 3 loads on saturday $5 per load,we had to worh on chain saw the pulp wood truch ford f 700 the loader and skider ,so i learned early to repair and take care of machineryafter i got old enough to drive after school a 55 ford crown vic my father bought for me. i got a job loading trucks on a dock after school.then started buying my own cars repairing and selling ,made a little money so it led into later opening my own used car lot ,i desided to go racing first drag racing then dirt track You learn Fast how to work Bodt work engines or any thing to do with a car ahrd to get out of your system ,well iguess i havent yet after all these years
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Old 03-10-2013, 06:31 PM
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how it all started

Thanks to everyone posting their story...its great to take a moment and read them all. I am touched by a piece of each and every one of them. Keep them coming guys...maybe some of the youth will read them and be inspired...or at least have a better understanding of our passion and lives. It seems that a great deal of our youth now have a sense of "entitlement" and lack the ability, or drive, to work on the cars. I know there are some great youngsters out there that still love to do the hands on stuff...maybe we'll hear from them too.
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Old 03-10-2013, 07:57 PM
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i was 46 before i even picked up a wrench.
i bought a bone stock 63 willys jeep that needed EVERYTHING rebuilt or replaced.
bought a factory service manual
and tools as i needed them.
i rebuilt that whole rig in 8 months in my gravel driveway during a colorado winter.
that was only 4 years ago.
and i will be learning till i die.
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Old 03-10-2013, 08:36 PM
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Sorry about spelling ,I have 4 grandkids and a Beagle playing in this room,hard to think.LOL ..It is possible some readers dont know what pulp wood is ,,,,it is logs cut in 8 ft lengths,originaly loaded by hand and a pick axe. later we got a cable operated loader.
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