December 4, 2020

The Car History of Alex Beloff III

A PARTS RUNNER FROM ONE OF THE LARGEST COMPANIES IN THE TOLEDO AREA WAS VISITING WITH OUR PARTS MANAGER AT ED SCHMIDT PONTIAC.  HE SAID, IS ALEX BELOFF HERE TODAY?  PARTS MANAGER SAID, I DON’T THINK HE EVER GOES HOME.  I THINK HE SLEEPS HERE.  HE SAID, ALEX I HAVE GOT A CAR FOR YOU.  I KNOW WHERE THERE IS A 1966 PONTIAC CATALINA CONVERTIBLE IN A BARN WITH SO MUCH BIRD POOP AND DIRT ALL OVER IT, IT’S HARD TO TELL WHAT COLOR IT IS.  THE GUY’S A FRIEND OF MINE AND I ASKED HIM, DOES THAT PIECE OF JUNK RUN?  HE SAID,

LET ME OPEN THE HOOD.  HE SAID TO ME, I COULDN’T BELIEVE MY EYES – NOT POSSIBLE.  THERE WAS A GORGEOUS 421 TRI-POWER WITH THE CORRECT GTO AIR BREATHERS, 356 HP, TURBO HYDRAMATIC.  THE ENGINE COMPARTMENT AND THE ENGINE WAS ALMOST SHOW QUALITY.

THE GUY SLIDE BEHIND THE WHEEL, BRUSHED OFF SOME OF THE HAY, TURNED THE KEY AND IT JUST SHOOK WITH POWER.  IT RAN GREAT.  HE HAD PURCHASED IT NEW AND STARTS IT AT LEAST ONCE A WEEK, PUTS IT IN DRIVE, REVERSE AND PARK TO GET IT GOOD AND HOT THEN SHUTS IT OFF.  THE OWNER SAID, YOU WILL NOTICE THERE IS NO 421 EMBLEMS ON THE FENDERS.  I GOT SO TIRED OF PEOPLE CHALLENGING ME FOR A DRAG RACE OR SOME FLIMSY STORY ABOUT HOW THEIR CAR COULD BEAT MY CAR.  IN MY WORDS, YOU PULL UP TO A 421 TRI-POWER 356 HP TURBO HYDRAMATIC AND A CATALINA FRAME TO SQUARE OFF IN A DRAG RACE AND YOU WILL LOSE.

THE OWNER OF THE CAR HAD NOTICED THAT OVER THE YEARS THE BUILD UP OF BARN RESIDUE GAVE THE CAR AN UNFLATTERING APPEARANCE OF A NEGLECTED PIECE OF CRAP.  PEOPLE QUIT EVEN ASKING ABOUT IT.  THE OWNER SAID, WHEN I CAN FIND SOMEONE WHO CAN APPRECIATE WHAT I HAVE GOT HERE, NO PRETENDERS, WHO IS KNOWLEDGEABLE AND WITH THE RESOURCES, THEY ARE GOING TO OWN IT.  I WENT TO SEE THE CAR.  THE ANTICIPATION WAS OVERWHELMING.  EVER HEAR OF LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT.  THIS IS IT.  THERE WERE NO EXAGGERATIONS.  I KNEW THAT THE ENTIRE DRIVE TRAIN INCLUDING THE DUAL EXHAUST WOULD BOLT RIGHT UP TO MY 1965 2+2.  THE 1965 389 2 BBL TURBO HYDROMATIC SINGLE EXHAUST WOULD NOT ONLY BOLT UP TO THE 1966 BUT WOULD CERTAINLY BE MORE APPROPRIATE.

IN MY DAD’S DRIVEWAY IN TOLEDO WITH A GARDEN HOSE AND ALL APPROPRIATE CLEANING EQUIPMENT, I STARTED.  MY DAD IS PUFFING ON A NEWLY LITE ELVERSO CIGAR ON A FOLDING CHAIR SAYING, SANDY THIS IS THE WORST ONE EVER.  THIS IS REALLY ROUGH.  I USED AN ENTIRE CONTAINER OF COMET CLEANSER ON THE WHITE CONVERTIBLE TOP AND IT WAS GORGEOUS.  THANK GOODNESS THE BACK WINDOW WAS STANDARD WITH GLASS STARTING IN 1965.  THE INTERIOR WAS SURPRISINGLY NICE AND WAS METALLIC GREEN TO HARMONIZE WITH THE DARK METALLIC GREEN EXTERIOR LACQUER.  I KNEW IN MY MIND IF I WAS TO GET ALL MY MONEY BACK AND END UP WITH 421 POWER DRIVE TRAIN AND THE 1965 2+2, THIS CATALINA CONVERTIBLE WOULD HAVE TO BE STANDING TALL.  WITH THE BELOFF TOUCH, IT WAS, AND I DID.  THE WEATHER WAS PERFECT TOP DOW HAPPY DAYS.  I EASILY SOLD IT WITH THE 389 2 BBL V-8 AND TURBO HYDRAMATIC.  AND . . . GOT THE 421 TRI-POWER DRIVE TRAIN FOR FREE THANKS TO THIS DONOR 1966 CATALINA CONVERTIBLE.

THERE WAS A YOUNG MAN AT ED SCHMIDT PONTIAC USED CARS THAT WAS THE BEST GEAR HEAD TO THIS POINT I HAD EVER SEEN.  HE LEFT IN FRONT OF THE DEALERSHIP ONE DAY IN A VODERO GREEN 1969 GTO COUPE FOUR SPEED.  I WAS TOLD AS A SMALL CROWN GATHERED ON THE SHOWROOM PATIO, WATCH THIS.  BEFORE HE WAS OUT OF SIGHT, HE GOT SERIOUS RUBBER IN ALL FOUR GEARS.  YOU GOT TO BE YOUNG TO SHIFT THAT FAST.  HE VOLUNTEERED IF I WOULD HELP WITH $250 IN CASH IN HIS IMPRESSIVE 2.5 CAR GARAGE TO SWAP THE ENGINES AND TRANSMISSIONS FROM THE CONVERTIBLE TO MY 1965 2+2 #93.  AS WE LISTENED TO BOSTON THROUGH HUGE SPEAKERS IN THE GARAGE, IT WAS AN EXCITING TIME AS CROWDS OF GOOD FRIENDS GATHERED AROUND.

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