You Oughtta be shot. (a short story)

CarMichael Angelo

clearly, I’ve got something going on in that hole
15 Year Member
Nov 29, 1999
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Yeah, I heard that. Just one of the very few negative comments I was able to overhear as the sea of humanity streamed by my car at the World of Wheels auto show this past weekend.

I’m still trying to find a reason for all of the hard work that goes into building one of our cars.

I spend months on end freezing one day, sweating my balls off the next, the build commanding almost a full year of 40 hour weeks. Every car I build, I assure myself (and my wife) that this one will be different. This time it’s gonna be a faster race car, A different take on this, even a completely unorthodox approach on that, and that will be the difference I‘m looking for. Regardless of the original plan however, I usually end up somewhat in a post partum depression after the new “baby” is born. I end up wondering why I don’t have the hard on for the car I thought I thought I was gonna have.
There has only ever been one car that I considered marrying,….my 69 mach1. The car that I ended up being the 2nd, 4th, and 6th owner of…… The Thundercolt.
But that was 30 years ago,…. A human female has since replaced the Mach1 as the “object of my desire”.

I’ve had both race cars, and street cars, and while all of them were nice, I’ve never considered any of them show worthy. I have always had a standard for what I think is “show worthy”. The fact that several of us here have cars that fall into that category, is the standard that I hold my car up against. Woefully, despite my best hopes, my paint, and finish bodywork hold me back from being on par.

Nonetheless, I’m not completely trashing my accomplishments, and after being to this show several times as a spectator, I know that my car is still “good enough” to consider putting it in the show. I know that the obvious body modifications will allow the casual observer to excuse the less than stellar paint job. I know that the wheels, tires, and interior will keep the discriminating eye of the beholder in the “beauty” mode long enough to move on to the next car in line.

A month ago, I make the decision to enter the show. I fill out my application, print off a couple of pics from last year, (required, so as to determine the vehicles’ “show worthiness”), stroke off a check for the $50.00 dollar entry fee, and put it in the mail box. I am informed by email about a week later that they have received my application, and will be notified in a later email if my vehicle was indeed accepted to the auspicious occasion known by all men as the World of Wheels.

Within a week of that, I’m “congratulated" by the WoW acceptance committee that my vehicle has indeed been accepted by the esteemed panel for placement:

The letter goes on to inform me of my time and place for move-in, and sets forth the display regulations requiring that each vehicle must have a floor covering equal to the space allocated (10’x20’) w/ an appropriate crowd control barrier surrounding the display.

I was waiting for this letter before investing any additional money, but now that I had it, set off to the local Home Depot to buy my indoor/outdoor carpet, and my PVC pipe crowd control barrier.

Estimated total expenditure:……100.00.

I get my first reality check when after pricing the cheapest grey carpet at .50 a sq ft.,…the carpet alone was gonna be 100.00. The 1.250 PVC barrier painted silver, another $70.00. My 100.00 dollar budget?….Shot to hell by the flooring and the “stay back” barrier I gotta have in order to show my car.

Bottom line, $170.00 in a buncha crap I’ll probably never use again,….. essentially, I’m p issing away my future lines and condenser for the future A/C system I have yet to install,….all so I can have a bunch of yea hoos tell me they like my car over a 3 day span. It’s at this point that I am seriously considering NOT even doing this.
I look for the next several days trying to find a better solution to the problem,…I contact the convention center guest services, and ask them if this junk can be rented. “yes sir, the carpet will cost you $130.00,…and the stanchions and chains will be another $95.00.” The nice lady explained.

“Why that’s $225.00! I about yelled. “Do I have to have that stuff to display my car?” “Yes sir, I.S.C.A. rules mandate that every vehicle on display have a floor covering, and appropriate crowd control to “rope off” the vehicle.” She answered back.

“What is it that you are concerned about?. I asked “Oil?”. “Cause I will get a runner for under the center of the car, and 4 tiles to place under each tire if that is the problem”.
“No sir, the rule is to maintain the integrity of the show, it’s all about your personalized display,... if you cannot afford the necessary minimum requirements, then be sure to inform us in time to fill your place in the event you choose to pull out of the show”.
I hang up the phone.
Great! Including the non-refundable $50.00 entry fee, I’m gonna throw away over $200.00 if I do this thing.

I had been hounding my wife for weeks to put the finger on one of her suppliers since she was in the office furnishings business to get me some carpet tiles ( of which I would need 72 of). Her answer was always the same,….I can’t help you, I don’t know anybody that just happens to have enough “samples” in their rented storage space to completely cover the floor under your damn car.What do you want me to do? S hit some?
But it wasn’t until I started to threaten to not do it, and just stay home this weekend, that she suddenly had the epiphany to check w/ the warehouse of one of her dealers where the reply to her inquiry was “Sure! We gotta whole pallet of the things just sitting back there!”.

I looked at my wife after she informed that she had managed to find the necessary floor covering, and right before thanking her, I asked if she had eaten some Rayon and Polyester the night before.

Now that I had free carpet, the $60-70.00 the rest of the display was gonna cost just became “disposable,” and I set out to build the PVC surround I had already planned for.

I arrived at the civic center at 10AM,Thursday morning, and pulled my car into one of the two 100,00 sq ft. areas that were dedicated for the show. They had me place my car driver side out, between a full tilt show car 40’ Ford in front, a “rat rod” Vdub behind me, a stock “ daily driver” 1965 step side Chevy pick up on the passenger side, and a $200,000 shop built, restomod 1969 Camaro on the other.

Perfect! I was right next to about 300k worth of show cars and ancillary displays, and me w/ my borrowed carpet tile, and 69 dollar painted PVC crowd control.

mustangbuild001.jpg


One thing is very obvious however,…there are quite a few cars sitting on bare pavement, or w/ the most minimalist runners under the two outermost tires, w/ nothing underneath beyond that. Was I p issed?,….naww it was too late for that, I was there, I had my carpet, and my crowd control barrier and it was on. All in all,...I had done all I could do.

THE SHOW
After getting it in, and as the show starts, it immediately sinks in, that you have now “chosen” to stand on your feet, on hard pavement for the grand total of 22 hours. You find out that the show coordinators frown upon placing a folding chair in your display so on day one, you stand around as hundreds of onlookers stream by. The vast majority do just that. You can tell by the wardrobe who will, and who will not even offer a casual glance.
If dude and his girlfriend are wearing matching Dale Earnhart Jr. baseball caps and Bowtie sweatshirts, forget it. On the other hand, if there is a blue oval on the hat,….chances are good he’ll stop. If he's wearing a mustang jacket,..... be prepared to talk awhile.
Pictures! Why people take pictures of other peoples’ cars has always amazed me. For those that really didn’t stop to talk, they definitely took a picture. There were camera phone pics, and digital camera pics taken like it was the Grammys. .. Even little kids w/ their little Sponge Bob digital cameras were taking pictures of what mommy and daddy were taking pictures of. And everybody trying to take a picture actually ended up taking a picture of the guy that blatantly walked in front of them just as the shutter was snapped.
I’ve come to realize that the fun part of being in the show was the constant ego stroke. If I was a dog, my tongue would be draggin’ from all of the itches behind my ear, and pats on the head I got during the three days.
I’ve also come to realize that it’s just as fun to look at the people that are looking at your car. I sat in my "frowned upon" folding chai,r as I tried to determine how to class the specators.

I put them into 4 groups:

1 Normal. this by far was the largest group, probably making up between 70-80% of the attendees.
2. Slightly below normal. This percentage made up 15-20 % of the attendees
3. Below normal. This percentage was somewhere in the 3-5%, but mostly stayed “in flux” and changed w/ the time of day.
4 The hills have eyes. This percentage was constantly changing, but was mostly between 1 and 3%. But again, depending on the time of day, traded places w/ number 3 on more than one occasion.

Precipitating the change was the every 90 minute interval of the Texas Bikini Team. The Texas Bikini Team was made up of about 7 hotties that would come out and strut around, throwing “souvenirs” to the testosterone fueled crowd. When the show ended, the flood gates opened, and 100 desperados would surge down my aisle, most of the time carrying a half empty plastic cup of 6.50 Bud light. Sometimes, it would be an entire family. So I’d get Buford, His best friend Bubba, Buford’s wife, Raylene, and their sticky little kid , Trey. It was always Trey, who’d test the integrity of my PVC crowd barrier, all while Buford would ask questions and ignore him, until Raylene would yank sticky little Buford the 3rd back out in the main aisle and smack the p iss out of him. Then we’d continue talking while Trey wailed as a result of the ass pop Raylene just handed out.

Then I got the Drunk woman that actually walked between the cars so she could get my attention and mouth the words “ I love your car”. When I asked for her pardon, to be sure she wasn’t professing an attraction to me personally, she approached w/ her two tattoo’d male companions ( also drunk) to tell me out loud that “she loved my car” Whew! She asked “what the name of the car was?” , I told her I just called it “the red car” “The Red Car?” “You should name it something sultry and sexy like Jezebel!” I told her I just might do that.

I’m standing up at the front on another day, and a loud ass woman w/ her husband comes along and says that “somebody oughtta be shot for doing that to a classic“. Naturally, this pricked up my attention smartly, and I started paying close attention to her scowling gaze as she walked along the car. When she got to the sign at the front of the car stating that it was an 89 coupe, she says to her husband “Ohh , it’s one of those fox bodies!” By now she’s close enough for me to engage her in conversation, and I ask her “ does the fact that it’s an 89 get me a pardon from the firing squad?” She said “I thought that you had blended an 89 car into a 68 body, and was gonna string you up.” She also goes on to say that she was a 60’s Mustang fanatic, and just couldn’t endorse messing up such a beautiful car.
She didn’t say anything more, Didn’t give me a reprieve, probably stood me up against a wall in her head and shot me just the same. She just scowled away. I thought to myself, “A 60’s Mustang fanatic alright, couldn’t tell that the car was an 89 w/ 68 stuff added, and thought that for whatever reason in hell, I tried to stick 89 panels on a 68. Go back to Mustang fanatic body year recognition school, home girl.

It was funny to watch the car guy husbands try to point out the car guy “cool factors” on each of the cars to their less than interested girl friends and wives.

I had the guy that had the 2008 Saturn Vue ask me what he needed to do to make his paint shine like mine,… I thought ”Other than sell it, buy a fox mustang and paint it red?”…. I decided to tell him about a clay bar instead.

Sunday finally came. The show ran from noon till 7:00 w/ awards handed out at 5:00.
The Birmingham show has a trophy based judging alternative to the full blown I.S.C.A. system for street driven cars. The underside, and trunk are not judged, and typical wear and tear wasn’t deducted for paint damaged by rock chips. I of course entered the car in that competition. They classed my car in a category they called “Mild Hard top”. I had no idea what I was up against, but it didn’t really matter because I expected nothing anyway. We all gathered around the main stage at 5:00 and watched the stage crew load cart after cart of trophies and plaques onto a folding table. There were so many damn trophies I swore everybody was gonna get one.
The festivities started and speaker after speaker got up and droaned on about this or that, all while assuring us that they’d have us out of there by 7:00. They handed out so many trophies they just called a batch of names for each class, i.e. Custom convertible,: Third runner up (blah), 2nd runner up (blah blah), 1st runner up (blah blah blah), and the winner. They all came up at once and got their respective trophies and 3rd, 2nd, and 1st runner up step child plaques .

When the dust settled and they had given away about a bazillion plaques and trophies, The ratty V dub had won best foreign rat rod, the Chevy P/U beside me: Best un-restored 60’s pick up, The street rod in front won something as well, and the $200,000 Camaro on the other side won 3 or 4.

Immediately after the awards ceremony ended, the mad dash to get out of there began. I had moved my van closer all day as spots along the street started opening, so that by 7:00, my truck was across the street. I started by breaking down my PVC barrier and taping it together in three bundles that I gathered under both arms and walked out to the van. The return trip, one bundle of the carpet tiles on a two wheeler, the second trip caught the rest. I was out of there in 20 minutes after they gave us the go signal, glad to be going home.

Oh yeah,….did I get anything out of the deal?………..well,…yeah.

1st place.

mustangbuild011.jpg


Did I mention that I love my car?
 
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Ozz

I think I have a problem here.
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Jul 27, 2001
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Congrats, if you said you spent a good part of the 22 hours at the show typing this up as it went along, I'd believe you. It'd be a good way to pass the time anyway. I've considered doing shows like that but I think I'd want to kill somebody after 1 day.

I think your PVC stantions look good! I've seen people make some funky setups using old car parts welded together for the posts, and string/lights/similar items to tie it all together. Yours, from afar at least, looks close enough to the actual metal setups that cost much more.
 

NIKwoaC

中國製造
10 Year Member
Oct 31, 2006
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Screw that bitch that said you should be shot! People need to get off their high horses and realize that a hot rod is a hot rod and it only gets that way by being modified.

Congrats, Mike!
 

mustangman9812

Active Member
Jan 14, 2004
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Great job on the trophy and great writeup. I think being different in a good way is always the best to see at shows but alot of people dont see it that way, thats what i like about you car. If i would have been at the show i would have stopped and stared for about 39min and tried to figure out how you got everything to line up, ect then think of all the man hours you have put into it. Congrats i know it was a headache but worth it!
 

txstang84

15 Year Member
May 21, 2005
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Good on ya Mike-Congratulations! Just think about what that poor bugger has to deal with the other 23hrs and 55 mins a day...

While you can't please everyone, at least there were enough folks to dig what you did-even if it is one helluva departure from the norm.
 

90stang5speed

Member
Jan 19, 2009
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A well deserved win to say the least Mike. For the rest of the guys here, I was at the show and the car looks even more impressive in person than in the pics Mike posts here. Congrats on the win & trophy.
 

GameCock5.0

Active Member
Jan 14, 2012
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Awesome story man. And absolutely beautiful car. That has to be THE best looking fox i've seen to date. I'm a huge fan of Fox's as well as the late 60's models and this is the perfect blend of both worlds. Well deserved trophy for a great looking fox
 

CarMichael Angelo

clearly, I’ve got something going on in that hole
15 Year Member
Nov 29, 1999
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Birmingham, al
m.imdb.com
Thanks again you guys. As always I really appreciate the support. I'm glad you enjoyed the read. To answer Ozz, yes, I did write a large portion of the story as it happened. While it didn't seem as funny at the time, the Buford/Raylene/Trey thing had me laughing out loud as I retold it, writing from behind the car, sitting in my chair in the booth. I had fun at the event, I only heard the one negative comment, ( and I was equally obnoxious to her) so I didn't feel the need to punch anybody. I'd probably do it again.

I neglected to make my point though. I finally found a car I'm passionate about again. I can't wait to get in it to drive it somewhere again. To get there, required a learning curve that the several cars that came before ended up teaching me.

A car is meant to be driven. They are more fun to drive when they're fast, but the line between fast, and too fast narrows the fun. Sacrificing comfort in exchange for more speed, interior solitude, in exchange for lightweight, The drone of a flowmaster instead of being able to hear Maroon 5, or 3 doors down, being able to roll the windows up in July, and being able to afford to put gas in it to drive are my criteria that makes the car fun.

Owning a fun Mustang doesn't automatically require that it be the opposite.

Don't believe me?,....Get into a 2012 5.0. It's fast,(enough) it's solid,(no squeaks or rattles) it's quiet,( yet you can still hear the exhaust, AND 3 doors down) AND it's cool.( both inside and out).

The difference for me between my car and the new one above, is the lack of a 500.00 a month car payment.
 

RacEoHolic330

I like to dress like a pretty girl
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Mar 4, 2003
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Seriously Mike, if anyone has a single bad thing to say about your car it would be because they have never welded, cut metal, grinded metal, shaped metal, applied body filler, sanded body filler, or worked on a 2V engine. They would be the types to think that anything other than a $200k professional restoration is a POS hackjob. I'm glad you're happy with the outcome (you should be).

BTW, what's with the super fancy people barrier in the lower left-hand corner of your picture? Did somebody really build that for the show?