Thursday, June 5, 2014

Talking "Car"

"The Busted Wrench Garage is not a business, it's a passion" (

The introduction to the Busted Wrench could not be more descriptive of the work going on here.

The name seems to indicate that "car" is the language of the staff, and from the outside the building says: "Work In Progress."
A sign by the entrance confirms this. "We're OPEN, but I'm in back. Call --- ---- and I'll let you in."
After a brief sizing-up greeting, the owner/curator decided that I was from another land and was not fluent in "car." He urged me to "look around" and then retired to what I would later see was the garage part of the exhibit area.
1970 Chevelle 454

"The Busted Wrench was founded in 2008 by John Hans, a life-long motor vehicle enthusiast. Classic cars, motorcycles, and even boats are displayed in a 6,000 square foot exhibit hall" ( museums/info/21646).
1976 Spitfire 1500
The Busted Wrench does not have the appearance of a showroom for highly polished restored classic cars. Instead, it has the appearance of a waiting room for cars either awaiting minor surgery or hoping for someone to take them out for a drive.
Rolls Royce

The Rolls Royce seemed like a wealthy dowager patiently waiting for the children's play time to end.
1930 Shay, a replica of a 1930 Model A Ford

The cars were parked very close together so that photographs could not be taken from a variety of angles. But for those who spoke "car," the arrangement made for lingering around a particular model and discussing horsepower, engine size, and transmission attributes.

1955 Ford Fairlane

Several of the cars were of the vintage that most visitors could talk about them as being "my first car" or "this was a car that you could work on to make it special."
1959 Desoto Fireflite

I had the feeling that the back room (or garage) was the real fun place in the Busted Wrench. This was not a place for "hooking the car up to the diagnostic computer" or "replacing a chip." This was a place for grease and an array of tools.
1965 Shelby Cobra 427

But as I stood in front of the two '65 Shelby Cobras, I could imagine beginning a conversation with another car talker with: "Remember when going from zero to 100 and braking to zero in 25 seconds was a big deal?
"What's a big deal today? Twenty seconds?"
"Forget twenty seconds."

"How about 18 seconds?"
"Not too bad, but the Cobra can do better."
1965 Shelby Cobra 427

"How much better, wise guy?"
"How about maybe 14.5 seconds? Get that, 14.5 seconds to accelerate to 100 miles an hour and then stop again. Until something better comes along, that may have to stand as some sort of high water mark in performance for cars that are readily available to the general public. That figure, mind you, is obtainable by the average Cobra driver with the regular 8.15 x 15 Goodyear Blue Dot street tires. Cobra test driver Ken Miles has done the job in as little as 13.8 seconds, and who knows how much improvement could be made with racing tires that would nullify some of the tremendous wheel spin?"*

But reality set in when I stopped at the gift shop to admire some of the signs.
"Nice signs."
"They're reproductions."

*Car and Driver, November, 1965 (