My uncle John, my Dad’s younger brother, is and has always been my hero.
At 16 years old he bought his first automobile, a 1928 Model A Ford roadster for $200. The engine was in the back seat along with a bucket full of engine parts. He put that darned thing together and drove it for 3 years. One night during winter he parked in a puddle and it froze. As he tried to drive off, the tires were torn off!! lol!
He joined the Army at 19 and survived the Omaha Beach landing at Normandy. He loves to tell stories, some tragic and some hilarious. I’ll spare you the tragic ones. In Italy in 1943, he was driving a motorcycle (which he ‘borrowed’) at night when he saw another motorcycle coming the other way so he moved to the right. The other bike also moved so he moved left. So did the other guy! back and forth, back and forth! At the last second my uncle jumped off his motorcycle and…….. It crashed through a storefront window that was reflecting his bike!!! Yeah! He got in trouble. lol! He brought back a bunch of souvenirs including German helmets, boots, firearms and uniforms. He wouldn’t say where he got them!! Ewwww!! Also a K-ration can of Omaha Beach sand.
When he returned home he was shell-shocked. One day he walked into the local drug store (the druggist was 4-F) and the druggist snuck up behind him and popped a blown up paper bag. It took 4 men to pull my uncle off of him!!
He got a job with a local Ford dealership as a ‘body and fender man’. He worked there for 30 years until he decided to open his own shop but this time, restoring old cars and showing them at car shows. He won so many awards that they made him a judge. He once restored a totalled Volkswagon Beetle but put the wrong year front fender on it so that the turn signal was 5” lower on one side. His usual reaction? “EH!! They’ll never notice!” LOL! Another time he fabricated his own ‘frame straightener” and used just a little too much force. The car ended up being longer on one side!!! Only about 6”!!! LOL!
When Ford came out with their adjustable steering wheel, you know… flip the switch and it moves up and down, he had his helper get in to check out the interior and when he grabbed the wheel he said, "John!! You can sell this car!! The steering is all messed up!". My uncle, as usual said, "Eh!! They’ll never notice!". LOL!!
Anyhow, like I said, My Hero and one of the funniest men I know!
I hope you enjoyed this and yes, he still restores cars at 80 something years old.