Hunt Valley Horsepower

It’s been most of a year since I rode over to the big mall off Shawan Road; I was excited to see the temperature this morning already in the low 50s. I suited up in the Snoopy Hat (TM), scarf, heavy gloves and lined leather jacket for the 30-mile run out there and then started Bridget up. We’d gone around the block a couple weeks back, but mostly she’s been dormant all winter.

On Thursday night I stretched out underneath her to loosen, then tighten up the bolts holding the  driver’s side valve cover. I’d been getting some really unpleasant burning smell which I took to be a very slight leak on that side–which I knew had to be on that side because on that side any leak will drip on the catalytic converter.

I also took the rad cap off and loosened all the bleeder screws, lowest to highest, to make sure there wasn’t any air under them. There wasn’t.

So I hoped I was in pretty ship enough shape for the Hunt Valley run.

On the ride out I noticed a couple of troubling things. The right turn signal is out again (dang!) and the rear view mirror now swivels so easily I had to practically keep one hand on it to see what was coming up behind me.

Other than that–and the usual trouble getting into 3rd gear (gotta adjust the shifter just a leeetle beet more)–she ran nice. Good oil pressure, temps between 180 and 200 the whole way with little or no needle bobbling. Even the volts gauge stayed above 13. She did stall once on the way back. Weird the way that Wheel O’ Death sort of almost works–but not always. May check the wiring there and/or the distance from the transducer to the blades.

Hunt Valley Horsepower puts on central Maryland’s premier “cars and coffee” show, with a great assortment of classics, rods, customs and exotics. I wished I could have been there last week, when he had his annual anniversary show with thousands of cars, but with company coming at noon I did not feel I had the time. I told Will this as I came in and he said it was just as well–it was too busy last week to find a parking place, he said. Also, it rained.

I got there early and put in next to this Cobra, which was in a line of Vettes, old and new, making a sort of fiberglass procession. IMG_5430

Then this green Healey came in . . .IMG_5429

–completing the transition from fiberglass V8, to fiberglass “British” to British.

A bunch of guys came to ask about Bridget and nobody knew she was a fake until I told them. Then another humbling moment: I went to show one guy Bridget’s “trunk” in the front, and the hood would not pop!

The emergency pull was NG too.

This is heart-stopping because if that latch fails, the only way to get in there is with a saw. And get in, one must: the fuel cap is under the hood.

We got it open, but it’s not good. I set the emergency pull for the ride home and when we got back it still did not work until I pressed down on the top of the latch and pulled the wire. This is now a First Priority Fix.

Looking around the parking lot my eye was drawn to this amazing old truck.


The owner got it on ebay; said the seller was going into assisted living. Prettys sure that paint job was done circa 1968. The effect was made with Saran Wrap. IMG_5434Why, yes, that IS pleated leather gracing the truck’s exterior.

The new owner says he had to go through it: the transport company destroed the old transmission, the engine needed work, the chrome needed chrome, and the interior was replaced–including with some diamond-pleated stuff to match what’s on the outside. It looks steller, and it’s a total time capsule.

There was a time, 35-40 years back, when half the cars at any show were painted in this style (and painted! Those pinstripes are all paint). Nowadays, never. Too much of this sort of thing was, frankly, too much. But too much on this one truck is absolutely just enough!

Speaking of trucks, look at this 1957 El Camino!


The reason you hardly ever see these is because Chevrolet did not begin making the El Camino until 1959.

IMG_5436 IMG_5437This is a one-off welded work of art built from a ’57 Chevy four-door wagon. It is spectacular. Mostly all stock, too, says the owner, right down to the 265 cubic-inch small block.  The only substantial change (aside from the radical cosmetic surgery) was the swap in of a four-speed stick for the original three on the tree.

All in all, a mellow morning. I need to find some time to spend with the high-dollar guys. There were many, many Porsches in attendance, a couple of those V-10 Audis and several of the usual Ferraris.


Best sticker was this Narwhal made after the now-famous song. And now that’s stuck in your head.


Had to get out of there early. Karen needed me to get the truck out to the dump, to leave a load of twigs and pick up a nice bed full of . . .

IMG_5439Compost! Cuz we haz truck!


About stuntmidget

I'm a poor mechanic and general wisenheimer. I love old cars and the stories behind them, true or not.
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