J H

Twenty Years Before Facing An American Beast

It was 1986 and I found a muscle car waiting for some TLC. It was a 1972 Buick GS. Car was sitting in a field covered and filled with many years of dust. Friends and family thought I was completely crazy when I towed it home. A few months later, with lots of scrubbing and a new 350 Olds Rocket motor, the car rolled out looking like new. Everyone was shocked! Original paint and interior had not a scratch and tear! It was a dream come true. I was 20 years old and life couldn't get any better......car was my work of art. I knew and respected every nut and bolt in the car. Life was good.....until, just a few weeks after putting the car on the road, I fell asleep and the car accelerated down a country road pushing 130-140 mph before going airborne and hitting a utility pole.

I recall the Doctor telling family to avoid talking or explaining the extent of the car's damage since it was all would ask about. I asked my Dad and remember he was not clear with his response. I asked if there were some dents and he said yes. I said the car can be fixed once I got out of the hospital and he could drive it if I couldn't for parades or car shows! He looked away and said we could deal with that a little later.

I had multiple injuries, pretty serious injuries, including: broken eye socket, broken sternum, bruised heart, and a low vertebrae "explosion" which resulted in spinal cord injury and paralysis. It just didn't sink in until, after a few weeks in the hospital and a few surgeries to connect my upper and lower halves, that my family came in and sat down by my bed. They asked me to think hard about the injuries and could my car have just minor damage. They handed me photos and I couldn't believe the sight of my car. There was nothing left! Frame broke in half, right behind the front seat, rear axle was torn off, motor was found many yards down the road, and the transmission was shattered into pieces. There was nothing left to rebuild. It was a dark and depressing time for me.

Many years passed, 20 years or so, and I had moved on with my new life. Relocated to another state to pursue college and went to work. I continued moving forward but never could forget that Buick GS. Someday, I always thought someday, I would have another chance.

My wife came into the room as I was checking out Buick GS' on the internet. She asked me what was holding me back from getting another one if I want one so bad. Typical "responsible guy" response....we have plenty of other "things" that money could be spent on like house improvements, etc. She said, "Just do it". I sat there that night thinking it over more seriously. The next day, I found the one I wanted and made an offer. Car was transported by semi to a terminal nearby and picked up by a friend with a car hauler. I remember hearing the car, as it was started late at night when the driver arrived, and he backed it out of the car hauler. Both excitement and fear.....could I face this American beast? She was beautiful!

My wife asked me if I had a name for her and I said it came natural. She would be name the same as the first one. She was Christine...yeah, really ironic but true! Car was in need of some mechanical, but otherwise, was in beautiful shape. Pretty much original including motor and transmission. Underside looked like you could eat from it! I had hand-controls added and was ready for my maiden ride. Regardless of the attention the car received, I drove in my own world and without any music playing but the music of the dual exhaust growling along the highway! I kept the car for quite some time and we placed it in a few car shows although the car was for me and I didn't really care if anyone else liked it or not. I finally felt vindicated, although that may not be the right word, and felt more at ease with myself. Christine needed more attention and time than I could provide. It was time to find her a good home. That didn't take long.

I have found through these car gatherings, however, that we are all story-tellers. We carry and share stories behind these beautiful cars and trucks. Guys telling me how their Dad owned the very car the son was driving. How he passed away and the son was sharing the moments they had together. So many stories. Do we own them or do they own us? Hell, don't ask me to answer that! I'm just one of many story-tellers!

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