Booster Masthead

Restoration Blvd.
April 2002

Columnist — Allen Wright

Spring Cruising and Changing Oil

Spring is here and the car cruising season begins.

Actually, it began the weekend of March 15th in Bakersfield. K&N Filters sponsored the March Meet Drag Races, Car Show and Swap Meet. Over 400 1972-and-older hot rods, customs, and cruisers attended.

Saturday the 16th was the big day at Famoso Raceway and the place was packed. We drove up Friday and spent two wonderful nights at the Easy 8 in Bakersfield. By the way, two nights of tri-tip and beer really does your digestive system a lot of good.

K&N Filters had a large trailer at the drag strip and appeared to sell a lot of air filters direct to the customer. K&N Filters are not a cheap filter but they appear to have a good marketing plan. I have one on the 1963 Plymouth and someday will clean and recharge it.

Changing an oil filter is fairly easy and changing oil is very simple. Why are so many people using quick lubes these days? I have some observations about the potential attraction for these businesses. At the quick lube you can sit around and enjoy the scenery: the opposite sex. Or you can sit around and drink latte and read the newspaper.

What happened to the real men and women who changed their own oil? There are some of us still around but our numbers are decreasing. I change my oil on all my cars myself and I have for over 40 years. I get a good feeling about this simple task and over the years have probably saved a ton of cash. Most people like to save money on things but changing oil on their vehicle is foreign to them.

Possibly they have had a bad experience. I've had a few bad experiences myself. Here are some I remember that have happened to me: driving over the oil drain pan full of used oil. Dropping the used oil filter, causing an oil spill. Failure to tighten the oil filter and leaking down the road. Spilling the oil on the way to the recycling center. None of these were pleasant events but, as with everything, you learn.

Along with fewer people changing their own oil is the difficulty of finding basic equipment. Right now I am looking for an eight quart oil drain pan. In some auto parts retailers around here, oil drain pans simply are not available. Maybe Tupperware has something I can use.

I was reading that the number one modification youths make on vehicles today is the stereo. In my youth, we changed transmissions, did engine work, and other major stuff. The best we had for music was the AM radio.

Another modification I notice the youth doing is the installation of large-faced tachometers, many with shift lights. Please! How lazy can you get? Look at the tach, listen to the engine, and shift! You don't need a light to tell you your engine is at 6,000 RPM.

From my observations, I believe there is hope for the future of car restorations. They call themselves Classics and they are young hot-rodders. They dress in 50's and 60's clothing and they act the part. These young people are snapping up classic cars and doing a far better job than we used to do. Clean body lines. Simple transmission set-ups. These Classic drivers are well educated and articulate and look at the old car as a vehicle to take them back to a simpler time.

Back to cruising this Spring and Summer. It has come to the attention of forward thinking retailers that it is good to have cruisers in their area. Every weekend there are several including Goodguys, Donut Derelicts (every Saturday morning) in Huntington Beach, the Main Street Cruise (every Friday night) in Garden Grove, Fuddruckers in Pasadena or Lakewood on Saturday. Plus there are the Pomona and Long Beach car shows and swap meets thrown in on the weekends. And that's just in the Los Angeles area.

If you like old cars, there is always something to do in the Spring. Like anything else, companies that support the cruises and car events get more business. K&N and the Goodguys proved that in Bakersfield in mid-March.

Originally published in the April 2002 issue of Automotive Booster Magazine.
Copyright April 2002 by KAL Publications Inc.

Covering the California auto parts aftermarket since 1928.