Classic Car Articles
Classic Car Project Nomad #4
I got the call. The Nomad was ready to be picked up. With adrenalin on the rise I gave the go ahead to the towing company, grabbed my digital camera and documents and headed out to Mascot to see if I got lucky. Experience had taught me to beat the towie there and get the paperwork sorted so we could make a clean getaway with a minimum of fuss.
As luck would have it, it was an ugly day and the ominous pitch black clouds looked like they were ready to spew forth torrents of rain at any moment. Going through Alexandria there was flash flooding but amazingly as I swung the car into the car park the sun was out.
It turned out to be the same container terminal that the Corvette arrived at after its trip from LA. Unlike last time, when the Corvette was buried behind a mountain of containers I was surprised to see the Nomad through the covered wire fence right in front of me. A quick bolt through the gate, forget about reception for the time being, and I was face to face with Project Nomad.
It felt like the sky had fallen in. It looked like crap, flat tyres, huge dent in the roof and all the parts that were supposedly shipped with it were nowhere in sight. I felt gutted. Iíd bought a dog, sight unseen. After a quick walk around I headed to the office feeling no better.
They say s**t happens in threes. Next up was the receptionist who was struggling with her third minute on the job. Two questions later I knew I was in trouble. She had no idea on how to operate the computer which happened to be a vital link in getting the car released from the yard. Forty minutes later the towie arrived and she gave me a release form Ė you donít want to know the details but the whole time I just kept thinking stay calm, stay calm.....
My last experience with a towie was not top shelf Ė some people refer to the glass being half empty, his was broken! To my surprise my towie from Bakker Towing in Mona Vale was as refreshing as that first beer after a hard day in the garden. Heíd done this a trillion times before, checked out what he needed to do, sorted out the guys in the yard to move a container so he could back up the flatbed and told me I got lucky. I couldnít see it. He said they only pulled the valves and threw them away when they let the air out of the tyres. I still couldnít see it. He reckoned the cowboys loading the containers often just slash the tyres to let the air out..... First good news I had that day.
The second bit of good news came in the form of the guys in the yard. The container mover remembered when it came in they took all the stuff out of the Nomad and packed it on a couple of pallets to enable Customs to have a good look. He knew where it was and within two minutes was helping us fill the Nomad with all the parts the buyer shipped with it. Things were on the up. Brent, my towie from Bakker knew where we could stop on the way back to my garage to get the tyres inflated so we could roll it in. Even better.
My luck didnít hold for long. Time for number three. From Cleveland Street, just north of Redfern those ugly clouds let go. It was absolutely persisting down! Of course the tailgate didnít close properly, the windows didnít seal on the front doors, the side slider window leaked.... Nothing I could do but take it on the chin and hope all that stuff inside didnít get too wet.
As we stopped on the northern side of Roseville Bridge hill at the service station the sun came out again. The guys there were exceptional; the tyre place attached to the servo fitted valves, pumped the tyres up and refused to charge me for it. The last time that happened was about thirty years ago. For the last five kays to Narrabeen it bucketed again accompanied by a howling north easter. With little fuss, the Nomad slipped straight into the garage and Brent was off on his next job.
After a cuppa I got up the courage to grab a magnet and go and see how bad it really was. I wasnít at all fussed about the mechanicals as they would be replaced but I was kind of hoping for a good body to work with. Knowing all the usual rust spots in tri five Chevys helped and this one on first inspection had most of them. Lower doors, lower front fenders behind the wheel and the pillars all appeared to be carrying lots of bog. The quarters looked OK and would hold the magnet, as did the tailgate and the headlight surrounds. A few hours later, after all the water had run out of it, I checked underneath and inside. How anyone could describe this as rust free is beyond me. Americans must think if the car is full of bog then there is no rust. Come on. There were small dime sized holes through the floor, the rear cargo area had been subjected to Bubba holding a torch doing a real bad and real big patch panel and I could see daylight through a hole in the right side rear wheel well. Bubba also had a go at a few patch panels on the floor but rather than cutting out the old rust areas he just put a plate over the top inside. You know the saying about hessian undies?
I slept on it and thought fresh eyes may lift my spirits. Once I got all the junk out of it, I was able to push the roof up with my hand and the massive dent popped out clean. That was a huge win. I wonít really know how bad it is until it is blasted, but right now I expect a lot more bodywork than I anticipated and the budget is going to get hammered. Until next time...
Words by Mark, owner of Classic Car Gurus