Texas…finally.

I am back from several weeks of traveling and glad to be home. The first few days of being here almost seemed like another hotel, but I’m settling back in. I had been on the road or away from here in the hospital with Dad, except for the week after Dad’s passing, since the third week of January. I returned here on March 27. That much time away from the home and business was a first. Plus, showing 3 cars at once was truly too much. I think two is plenty and will be my max from now on. Thank God for my crew of PAINTHOUSE guys (Bruce, Mike, Tim, Ramon and Craig) and, most importantly, my amazing wife…

We went first to Salt Lake City, then on to Boise, Idaho for their respective ISCA Autorama events (with a detour into Park City, UT, home of the 2002 Winter Olympics, beautiful little town). In case your mind is wandering, NO, the bald guy in some of the pics is NOT my gay lover that I found at a truck stop along the way, just Steve, one of our employees that drove one of the rigs for us; the beautiful lady with the silver hair is Penny, the owner of Blue Belle, the ’55 Tbird. We then followed that with a week in Sun Valley, Idaho at our customer’s home (’55 Tbird owners, the Weiss’s) for the kid’s Spring Break (Jenn and the kids flew up for that week).

Amid that week, one of the cars had previously become damaged in Salt Lake, so I had to beg/borrow/steal a shop in Sun Valley and repair it before I moved on to Omaha, NE for the ISCA Finals after our ‘vacation’. I would go in to the shop and work from about 4 in the morning until 8 or so, then get back to the house we were at before the kids awakened, so they would not know I was mixing our pleasure with some business. They wanted ONE vacation that did not revolve around cars. Somehow  I pulled it off (I think…) and was able to get the front right fender repaired/refinished/polished and ready to go to Omaha by the following Saturday without them being any the wiser. I hope they don’t read this…wait, they’re teenagers, they don’t read. No worries! We had a great time and the Weiss’ home and hospitality was amazing. I am sure you have seen some very nice places, but this house was the most amazing place I’ve ever seen, let alone stayed in. The Big Wood River is running literally 50 yards behind the home and teaming with Rainbow Trout. I plan to fish it on my next trip. We did snow board (after lessons!) and I actually made it down the mountain without falling, once, so I quit while I was ahead! The whole Sun Valley area has become my new favorite place. I will come back, and, just possibly, on a one-way ride…

After the family left for H-town, I then went on to Omaha, NE for the 2012 ISCA finals. We had qualified in Boise with two of the three cars for that exclusive event and decided to go, since I was already on the road. It added about 8 days to the trip for me, but was time well spent. We have had other cars qualify, but had never taken them to the event. This time we took two: the blue ’55 Thunderbird and the blue ’67 GTO. Here is another album from the Omaha show. We ended up with both cars taking 5th out of 9 cars. They give 1st – 4th, then every other car that is in the category (Custom) takes “5th”. No other category (Restored, Rod, Truck or Motorcycle) had 9 entries, some only had one. It was truly an honor to be there, and with two cars that really weren’t show cars, at least from the undercarriage standpoint. Ours are very nice underneath, but not to the quality of a TRUE show car. Our cars are ultimately going to be driven, as they should, so underneath is not usually totally smooth, polished and chrome. It is very nice and sanitary, but still useable. Someday we’ll get the first place award, but the fun is in the build for me, and the response from the fans.

My favorite award to win is People’s Choice, and not many shows have that one for some reason. When they do, we love getting it. It means more to me than any plaque or trophy does. To me, it says that if someone could take any of the cars home with them, they’d take one we built. That is the ultimate compliment to me. Even the judges have told us that out of all the mega-dollar cars at the show, they’d want one of ours in their driveway. I’ll take that any day…

While I was in Sun Valley, Dana Irvin, the ’65 Mustang (Night Mare) owner, her husband Noel (the ’67 GTO Blue Bayou’s owner) and Steve (not my lover), took  the car to Portland, OR (another unexpected twist of events) to attempt to get one more point and qualify for the finals as well. We really wanted to take 3 cars to the finals, but, alas, the Mustang was destined not to go. It was a valiant effort, and the fact that the car got off to a late start this season (two shows behind) was the only reason it didn’t make it to the “big show”. Dana is itching to drive it so getting it home was not a bad thing after all.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…we are continuing our existing projects (’72 leMans Convertible, ’63 Corvette Roadster, ’47 Hudson Truck, ’72 Ferrari, ’32 Ford Sedan, ’32 Ford Roadster, a ’65 Porsche Speedster and two custom Harleys) as we approach some local shows that will be a welcome relief from all the travel. They shows are: Concourse d’Elegance of Texas, The Houston Construction Show and Classy Chassis. We are off again in July to the big Goodguys Nationals in Columbus, OH and possibly some more TV exposure in Nashville (not sure on that one, we shall see).

That’s about all for now. Until next time…

Randy

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