***This is from a few weeks ago. Just got back from getting plates at the DMV, figured it would be a good time to post this here.
Friday morning started for me around 4am. Woke up and got ready, picked up my friend Keith at his shop around 4:45, and headed to Detroit. Darla dropped us off at DTW to catch our flight to Vermont via Philly. Once in Vermont we'd drive back my recently purchased '54 F100.
The cool thing about this old Ford is that it's not powered by a SBC, it doesn't have a Volaire front clip, there aren't old license plates masquerading as floor pans or firewalls, and there's no hacked in new stereo...its mid fifties soul is pretty much intact. Straight 6 and 3 on the tree. Body had work done to it long ago and is a bit rough, but not too shabby. Definitely looks like it had the life of a work truck. But the important stuff is all rebuilt or new....shocks, tires, brakes, carb, wiring harness, steering shaft, ect. We knew it was kinda crazy, but figured the 700 mile(plus) jaunt home would be ok if we took it easy.
That DTW to PHL flight never happened, at least for us. Pretty much exactly as Keith had predicted, the first leg was delayed, which would have cost us our connection. US Airways could only tell us we'd then have a 6-7 hour wait for the next flight to Burlington, which wasn't all that appealing. So Keith said "you wanna just drive?"
I cancelled the tickets and we took a cab back to his shop. Keith's shop Ice Nine Customs does a bit of everything, including(but not limited to) a lot of work on late model Mustangs. So he contacted one of his friends at Ford to see if we could steal something for a quick weekend road trip to acquire another Ford. They obliged...
This '13 Boss 302 is pretty impressive. For a "track" car, it handles the highways and byways with ease. Even the Recaros are surprisingly comfortable. Baffles opened, the exhaust note hints at the business it's 444hp forged motor is capable of. Airport delays behind us, we set off east.
We stayed on the beaten path most of the way, but headed into the Adirondacks as we passed Rome, NY. Scenic is an understatement, and the twisting roads rolling alongside rivers, up,around,and down mountains, were chewed up hastily by the Boss. Darkness fell at some point in those hills, and soon enough it was closing in on midnight and we were crossing the bridge into Vermont.
Peter was the seller of the truck, and it didn't taking much convincing from him to talk us into staying the night. It had been a long day, and we were both beat.
He had left the doors to his shop open and the lights on so the first thing I saw when we pulled up was my new girl.
Checking out the truck, it became evident rather quickly that it wasn't sitting in any ordinary shop. There was an Acura NSX to the right. A fresh-from-completing-the-Mille-Miglia 1950 Ferrari 166 sitting behind it. A vintage Porsche engine sitting to the left of that, Ferrari carbs on a work bench in the corner, and a crumpled up fender off a '64 250 GTO hanging from the wall. "Would you like the grand tour?", Peter asked...
Suddenly we weren't so tired. I'm no expert on exotic or vintage cars, but I know cool stuff when I see it. Jaguar E-types, Porsches, Ferraris, a Ford GT, Maseratii Ghibli, ect., ect....and that was just in the first room.
"Let's go downstairs". Yes sir.
More of the same. That is, more of awesome. A beautiful Hudson convertible, a Ford Deluxe, Fiat Abarth 750, '64 Vette, Austin Healy 3000MKIII, Maserati GT, more Porsches, a Jawa motorbike, the '51 Ferrari 212 Export. He told us about that last car, about how his son Eben recreated the body from pictures in 4 months during it's last extensive restoration. Truly a rolling sculpture. Then heading upstairs again we walked through the engine shop where a quad overhead cam Maserati mill sat, along with a v8 Ferrari.
Now it's time for bed. We'll close the deal in the morning, and head back east with the Boss and the F100.
We got up Saturday morning and headed out to the garage, where Peter was waiting for us. I don't like to pry too much, but I would have kicked myself forever if I didn't ask his permission to take a few crappy pics with my iPhone. He more than obliged, and we went through the tour again, taking even a bit more time this time. And, of course, there was more to see. We toured the body/fab/paint shop that was next door to the barn. An older Ferrari GTC and Maserati convertible sat in mid restoration sheet metal in the midst of all the metal working gear you'd ever need. A couple of domestic muscle cars sat staged near the paint booth.
At this point Peter said he'd like to take us into town for breakfast. Well, of course that sounded terrific. Would I like to ride with him in THE '51 Ferrari 212? Um. YES.
While the '13 Boss has perhaps my favorite late model muscle car exhaust note, it sounds like an asthmatic kid blowing a kazoo compared to the 2.6L V12 this rare race car was sporting. By now the inability to get the truck shipped sooner and the US Airways delayed flight fiasco seemed to be much, much more of a blessing than a curse. After some eggs, bacon, and Maple toast at a local joint, we made one more stop before heading back the shop. He had another barn, with more stuff, and yes we wanted to check it out!
Peter is a farm boy at heart, and here he had his collection of old Oliver tractors and his old hot rodded Mack dump truck. Inside there was also "Uncle Jesse", a perfectly rugged 70 something Ford farm truck that he had JUST sold, much to Keith's dismay. Sitting outside there was also a self propelled "Ferris Wheel" of Burning Man fame....not something you see every day! In a building connected to that old barn there was even more storage filled with more cars with more stories. I spied a supercharged '37 Cord, one I recognized from a Leno's Garage feature as it's one of Jay's favorite cars. There were several Packards, one was FDR's at one time(even had the holsters for the Secret Service weapons on the inside of the doors) and another was once Jack Benny's. The latter was the only one built with a separate fold down seat in the back; Mrs. Benny couldn't be seen sitting on the same seat with her maid. A beautiful woody Buick wagon, a '64 Galaxy with 98 original miles, and overall just more classic American iron and European style than you could shake a stick at.
Now we made our way back to the shop, and in exchange for our breakfast we helped Peter move around a couple cars so that a client could take his Maserati Ghibli out for a cruise later that morning. More than a fair trade on our part, I think!
And now we dotted our i's and crossed our t's, Peter took me for a quick cruise in the F100 to familiarize me with her, and we set off.
I was leading the way, as the truck wasn't going to be setting any long distance speed records. A few miles outside of town we topped off the tank and filled up an extra 5 gallon jug Peter had provided. The gas gauge wasn't working, and I didn't want to take any chances of running out of gas in the Adirondacks. We crossed the bridge into New York, and the rolling upstate hills once again welcomed us. The old F is a handful, just like it should be. 55mph was pushing it on the back roads, 40-45 was more it's game...and even then it's always two hands on the wheel! For the first 100 miles(give or take a few), it was pretty much smooth sailing.
Then the truck started stalling out. I'd let off the throttle, it would catch up, and we'd get after it again. At first it was sporadic, but as the mile increased it became more and more of an issue. The air cleaner was on backwards, so we flipped that around, thinking maybe the air was pushing some of the oil from the wet filter into the carb and causing problems. Once that didn't fix it, Keith drove it for a bit and concluded that it was definitely a fuel delivery issue. We had already filled the tank again, wondering if maybe it had just gotten too low. Now Keith took apart the filter, and it was full of sediment. He cleaned that out and replaced it, and we set off towards a nearby auto parts store to get a new one and a few back ups. But a few miles after into that journey, it died and wouldn't restart.
Looking at the fuel pump, it was full of sediment too. I talked to Peter, and he said it was not something that had come up when they had the truck. My guess is that as we pushed it through the hills and put a few more miles on it, whatever gunk was in the tank got stirred up and made its way into the system. We weren't about to drop the tank and take apart the pump on the side of the road, so we called a flat bed. Peter stood behind the truck(which is rare these days and something I truly appreciate), and we had it delivered back to Vermont. He's gonna bring it to me the next time he visits Michigan, in July.
So Keith and I grabbed a bite to eat in Utica and then headed west in the Boss. We talked about the still surreal visit with our new friend Peter(who I can't thank enough for his hospitality and for sharing his work with us), possible future collaborations, life in general, music, and how impressed we still were with the Boss 302. And around 3AM we rolled back into Detroit.
MORE PICTURES: F100/BOSS302/RPM Roadtrip