Friday, May 27, 2011

The Last of The Yellow Swarm

Those are correct year signal lights (all amber) they just look white with the 4 ways going

What I’m about to tell you is the god’s honest truth.

I’ve kind of rubbed up against it but never really talked about it openly but I should as it’s an important part of the car’s history. When the TR6 was stored in the “TR6 room” from 1994 until 2007 – the room, which after tearing down a wall, adding light and heat became the work area for most of the project; it was taken over by mice.

I hate even admitting it now but those foul little bastards had their way with the car for 13 years. It was a trade off I guess for warm, dry storage but that’s what happened. That’s why you see no more of the interior from the car being used again than the seats. Even the seat rails are going to be replaced.

I even had a bold little bastard move back into the glove box (old glove box) this past winter – between getting the car back from BC and it going for paint – do you believe that?

Mice leave a smell – you don’t have to tell me – I’ve been on the frontlines of this for awhile. When I started this car where there wasn't mice sign there was dirt. There was dirt everywhere on this car. Most of the dirt ended up in my ear. I mean every time I stuck my head under that car I came up with an ear of dirt.

Almost every car guy worth his salt has dealt with mice at one time or another. I actually had a mummified mouse corpse fall out of the rusty rocker onto my face back when I was working on those. You get to the point where it just becomes common place.

Here’s the part you may not believe – the part that is a little bit fantastical but very much true.

First some background: before we moved to the acreage we lived a small town called Blackfalds and during most of our time there (82-93) the TR6 sat in the backyard behind our house. The TR6 was last registered in '81 but it didn't show up at the house in Blackfalds until '86. Somewhere in thos lost years it aquired that thin layer of overspray that coated the entire car.

When it came to our yard in Blackfalds it was back there along with a Steyr-Puch Haflinger (if you don't know what a Haflinger is you should google it or look on Youtube - they're pretty cool), a pea green Volvo 164 and a homemade lawn tractor. All the kids loved playing at our house.

I can't find any pictures of that side of the yard from that time. I think my mom refused to document the caryard behind her house hoping that it would eventually vanish from memory.

You could crawl around on the Haflinger and the tractor but you didn’t mess around with TR6 or the Volvo. If you did you could expect the wrath of Bruce. Although – we did once knock out a piece of flat glass from the Haflinger windshield and that got pretty wrathful.

Being me and having always been the guy who can’t leave things alone – especially things that I’ve been explicitly told to leave alone – I messed with the TR6 from time to time.

One time, dad opened the hood and showed us kids the engine to try to abide our curiosity. After I saw how he did it I had it open almost 4 times a year. I had the top down only once – and it looked so cool – but my mom had to help me close it again as I couldn’t quite get it to latch. Mom was a peace-keeper and would become a helpful, yet hostile, co-conspirator in getting things back to the way dad had left them if it meant a quiet dinner table.

But mostly when messing with the TR6 I would just sit in it. What I remember most is that, back then – before the mice – is that it had this smell. It was a bit of a musty smell and must of had something to do with the wool underlay and the convertible top. It was a great smell but until recently I had forgotten about that smell. After the mice had got to it for awhile that smell was gone and it was replaced by mouse stench. The only reason I started to think about that smell again is that I started to smell it again.

This past weekend while working on the front bumper, front signal lights and installing the tranny cover a familiar smell started to drift into my nose. I can’t tell you why this is happening. I haven’t installed any soft materials that would contain the smell. There is no rationale for it, I can’t explain it but it’s the same smell.

This is too cheesy to make up and I think it’s really kind of cool. I think it's a sign that we are truely in what I have deemed "The Year of the Cat" - in honor of Al Stewart and the birth year of this car.

More than just the smell with the front bumper and signal lights installed I can see the cars personality starting to comeback. Many guys remove the bumperettes from this year of six but I can't bring myself to do it. That's the face I grew up with. It's the face I know and love.

The TR6 had a great past week and weekend as, like I said, I got the front bumper installed and the signal lights frames painted and installed. I also fixed a missing marker light in the back and got the backup lights going. The TR6 now has all it's external lighting in working order short of the headlights.

I attribute most of my success to being hung over on Sunday. We had guests down from Red Deer to meet Hayden and I spearheaded the charge to make copius amounts of rye disappear. It was great to have everyone here and as an added bonus my niece Kessie took her first steps at our house Saturday evening - that was pretty awsome.

I think being hung over balances out my ADD as I have had some highly effective days hung over. I ended up doing 8 hours in the garage on Sunday.

I have the windshield to body seal and rubber for the windshield coming from TRF this week. I'm hoping to get a windshield locally (Mick maybe?) as I would hate to crate one in but we'll see.

Stay tuned...

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