For years, automobile owners of different makes and models have been able to find out what options, standard equipment and packages their vehicles originally came with from the factory through the help of equipment codes, usually located on a decal or a slip of paper somewhere on or in the vehicle. Some owners have had the ability to take those codes and figure out how many vehicles were made just like that one in a given model year. This has been very common practice with Corvette owners as well as other muscle cars from the 60′s and 70′s. With the recent popularity of auto auctions on TV, you may have heard terms like “1 of 10 in this color”, “1 of 13 with this engine” or other similar expressions relating to equipment options. Knowing how many or how few of a particular vehicle were built can play a critical role in its value. Since their introduction, the GMC Syclone (1991) and GMC Typhoon (1992 & 1993) have had a bit of a mystery behind them, especially the Typhoons when it came to knowing how many of a particular color existed. Many people have spent thousands of hours tracking down, recording and documenting trucks that were known to exist, it was through this research that a general idea of color popularity was obtained. However the unknown trucks, the ones that were purchased and put into storage, the ones that were wrecked or stolen or parted out years ago, never to be seen again, are the ones that have limited the true numbers to be calculated.
June 1st 2000, that was the day it became mine, #180 of 2200 built in 1993. Over the past 11 years, there have been many ups and downs and like most Syclone and Typhoon owners, it’s been a love/hate relationship. I have a closet full of trophies, plaques and awards dating from 2000 to about 2005, but that’s where it stops. After that, things just seemed to take a turn for the worse, problem after problem seemed to pile up and it seemed to be a losing battle.
Work has finally picked up on the Eclipse. After taking a month to locate and purchase the correct transmission, everything has been going steady since then. Today is the first day I’ve actually gotten to drive the car since purchasing it, although I still have a bunch of work left to do until I’ll be happy with it and deem it ready to sell, it was still nice to take it for a spin.
On March 16th, 2011 at approximately 5:30pm EST, the Jetta hit 300,000 miles. What a milestone, I wish I could take credit for it but most of those miles were put on by the previous owner. The engine is 100% original with only normal maintenance done to it, as well as the rest of the car with exception to the transmission, which was rebuilt at 231,542 miles, then replaced with a 5-Speed manual by me at 296,173 miles. The 5-speed I installed had 228,280 miles on it at the time of installation, so it’s a little “younger” in terms of wear and tear, but not that far behind.
What is a “cartifact” you may ask? Why it’s an artifact found in a car of course! Foreign items, things that are not supposed to be in the vehicle, can sometimes shed light on the history of a vehicle, the validity of a seller’s story or both. Such is the case with my ’52 Cadillac. Upon its purchase, I asked the seller what history he knew about the vehicle. I already knew he had owned it for about 6 years and during that time he did various repairs to the car, all of which were mechanical. I was told by the seller that previous to his purchase, the car sat in a garage in New Hampshire since the early 1960′s. The seller had some expired documentation dating from when he purchased it 6 years earlier from the state of New Hampshire. It was unfortunate that he had let it expire before obtaining the new paperwork for the vehicle, this would prove to be an aggravating task for me to resolve as its new owner.
Over the past 15 months, I’ve researched many topics as they correspond to the restoration of my ’52 Cadillac. One of these topics happens to be one that I’ve always had some interest in as an automotive enthusiast, that would be old license plates. Naturally, my search started with the question, “What did the plates look like in 1952?”, a quick internet search brought up good amount of information, visuals of the plates, including some of the specialty plates and what specific letters meant on the plates. This was something I had never realized before, so it was quite interesting to find out that apparently the beginning letters do mean something on our license plates, at least they used to.