1962 Back When Business Was Good, Real Good
By Scott Strenzel, aka Scooter from Scooter’s Garage
Thought I’d toss out another couple of true stories from the 60’s that came to pass as Scooter was growing up. I hope you will enjoy them. Believe it or not, a GM dealership literally could have sold out of all of the cars they could get from the factory!
This happened to the Chevrolet dealership my dad and I worked at in the 1962 model year. The factory used to shut down for a week or two in June to perform the change over to the new models. Then, they all went back to work. They were building the new 1963 models. But thanks to a very good sales year, my dad had sold all of the full size cars he was allowed for the year of 1962, by some time in early May. This meant he could not longer expect any Impala’s, Bel Air’s or Biscayne’s to be showing up on the car hauler. I remember him griping to mom over the dinner table a couple three times when it happened. What he did do that actually was good for my $1.10 an hour job, was to call a few of the bigger dealerships that he was in good with to do a trade. He convinced them to give us full size cars in return for one of our or Chevy ll’s, Corsair’s, or pickup trucks. I was the lot boy, so I’d get to drive the traded car to the other dealership, and then give them an envelope that I assume had all of the paperwork and a check for any difference in the invoices. So I’d get to do my regular work and then take off on Saturday afternoon to run to a dealership to do a trade. Plus, many times, my dad would call the school and get me out early on Fridays, or be late on Mondays so I could make a run to do a trade. It meant extra hours for me, and less school time. Boy, I was a happy camper.
Next up it was about the time in mid-October of 1964 that the new 1965 models came out. I was working and took notice of the car hauler guy unloading a cool, yellow Impala Super Sport. I totally remember the window sticker. It was loaded up and Bob, the service manager, told me it was the owner’s wife’s demo car. Then he quipped. That damn thing is shaking like a couple of the plug wires are off of it. I hope the driver can get it off the truck before it blows up! Just for the fun of it, I’ll throw out the list of option on this shaker Chevy. This would be a really nice one to have restored today if you like Chevrolet’s? OK. It began with the Super Sport options, with a 327 250 HP V-8 automatic, air conditioning, p/s, p/b, p/w. t/w, rare tri-volume horns and imitation plastic wood-look steering wheel, p/seat on the driver’s bucket, tinted all around glass, FM multi-plex radio, black vinyl interior, and 1 inch white wall tires.
Bob and the truck driver talked some. Then the papers got signed. Bob told me to drive it right to his stall, instead of the wash rack. Which was what normally happened so I could give it a good cleaning and waxing? He played with it a while as he told me to sit in the driver’s seat and turn it on and off whenever he said to. After a while, he grabbed a broom and gave a listen to the different areas by the valves and by the plugs. Then, he told me to shut it down and to let it cool off. And a couple hours later, he let me come back and pull all of the plugs. Then he let me help him do a compression check. There was zero compression in one cylinder. I went off to do my regular duties until it was time for me to go home. The next day after school, I drove to work without stopping at the Newsstand for a cherry coke. Wow! No wonder that ‘65 SS shook like a drunken deer. I punched in and Bob hollered at me right away!
Strenzel, you just have to see this! I looked at the engine side he had pulled the head off of. Ok, Bob are you telling me that the piston was broken or the rod was bad, or what? All I saw was a hole where the piston should be in the very front driver’s side cylinder. Strenzel, you’ll never guess! The damn car came through the assembly line with 1.1 tenths of a mile on the odometer with NO ROD OR PISTON whatsoever! Someone that must have been pissed or drunk at the engine plant had, on purpose left that cylinder bare, so to speak. Hell, it didn’t’ knock or rattle. Because, there was nothing to rattle in that part of the engine. The valves, I guess, just ran along because they had to. I’m no engine mechanic, but no wonder the engine shook like heck. Bob threw in a rod and piston and turned in a large bill to the factory to make his boss’s wife’s SS Impala the car it should have been in the beginning.
The garage is shut down, and locked up.
Originally posted on Wednesday, September 19th, 2012 at 10:26 pm
Category: Auto Round-Up News