At the moment, I am standing in the garage, my fingers are covered in gross, and my car is completely beat up. None of these conditions are permanent. Despite a lack of windows so severe as to be almost total, my Fiat shows promise. Over the next year, if all goes according to plan, this vehicle will be restored to functionality and eventually to some semblance of beauty. My intention here is to show you, the as yet hypothetical audience, the process. I will regale you with occasional pictures, horror stories, and success stories. Del found this car in a warehouse near downtown Wauwatosa. It was this beat up at that time as well, though from a distance it looked as if it were still presentable. As I got closer, the flaws became more evident. The first thing that was visible was the body damage, extensive denting and chipping of paint. The closer you got, the worse it looked. There are still puncture marks in the front left quarter panel. I later learned that it had been abused by a number of rogue children. At the time, I didn't know this, and had no way of knowing this. All I knew was that it was getting late, and it was time to move on. We took down a bit of information, not expecting to follow through on it. It wasn't until a couple of days later. that I became curious about the car once again and discovered that the owner of the car was also the owner of the warehouse that it was parked behind. He showed us the car, and showed us the engine. We learned the year and model, along with a number of other things, including the extent of the damage. It wasn't just superficial body damage, the engine was hurting too. Smashed distributor cap, battered radiator, parts that I couldn't even identify were broken. Still, the core of the engine was intact. We initially thought that it was a V8 engine. It wasn't. It was a twin overhead cam. Indeed, much of the engine was in better condition than you would expect. The same could not be said for the upholstery. The interior had been brutalized. Not only had a year of outdoor living converted the car into its own little nature preserve, but glass, cigarette butts, and the windshield littered the floor. On that occasion, we weren't ready to buy it yet, but we were ready to pull some stuff out of it, if only out of sympathy. I personally extracted what may have been a bird's nest. We left with the owner's phone number, and promised to return later when we knew whether we would be able to buy it. When I found myself contemplating colors, I had to at least try. A series of phone calls and about a week passed, and the car was mine. This left us with one major hurdle: getting it home. Since we had no engine, we were forced to tow it. Since we had no tow bar, my father took up the role of steering. Since the brake line did not work, we were forced to use the emergency brake. Fortunately, it is not a large car. This meant that we were able to push it into the garage once we had it in the driveway. Despite some odd looks from our neighbors, we managed the task, and got the garage closed behind it. Our battered lady was finally home. In the couple of weeks since then, a few steps have been taken. Driver, passenger, and back seats have been extracted, and are now lying on the garage floor. Radiator and radiator fluid have been taken to parts unknown, and the radiator returned, sans fluid, dents and holes still present. Debris, detritus, and general crap were removed from the interior. Nestled in and among the detritus were several humorous objects. I swear this car has a sense of humor. There was scratch remover in the trunk, an oil filter in the interior, the rear view mirror sat smashed and useless on the passenger seat, several bottles of automotive oil (used) sat in the back, and the glove box cover (in all of its faded wooden glory) sat in the passenger seat foot well. I am determined to keep the funnier of these items in the glove box. Perhaps I shall also keep a rubber duck in here. There's nothing quite like a rubber duck to remind you that we're all pretty ridiculous in the end. In a project like this, it's best to stay humble. Hopefully, this car won't humble me too much. But seeing how temperamental she is, I have my doubts.
May the blessings of Asphalta go with you, and your parking spots always be open.