Ray’s Story or “Does this sound familiar”?

Ray, Will Shaw and the Salvation Army Captains

A young and dapper Ray

As best I can remember I was making about $1 an hour working at the gas stations back in Richmond Indiana. You know, gassing up the cars, checking the belts, washing the windows …all that stuff. I saved up enough to buy my first car, a 1936 Packard, for $75. Nice car but I soon discovered the block was cracked and I had to get rid of it because it was too expensive for a 16 year old to fix. Got rid of it and spent $50 on a 1936 Ford coupe.

How many cars did I own as a kid? Well, between 16 and 25, when I got out of the Navy and owned a 1954 Corvette, it was 41 cars. I moved on from the Gas station and started working for a used car lot washing the cars. I got $1 per car and it worked out that I could do 5 cars an hour. That meant I was making $5 an hour! Gas was 21 cents per gallon so all was good. It got better when the owner would sell me a car (one of those 41) and I could turn it and make some more money. 

One of those 41 I had in High School was a 1948 Chevy business coupe that had the back seat missing. I’d party into the night and decided along the way to put a mattress on some plywood in the back so I could grab some winks on those party hardy nights. One evening I went to pick up a girl friend for a date. Her Dad, a big dude, answered the door and walked her out to the car. He thought it was cool and wanted to check it out. All was good till he saw the back seat…. Never dated that girl again and made it away safe that night. 

I did have one other “Car Issue” as a kid. You race? I raced. Think of the kids drifting today. The judge didn’t even know what drag racing was when he sentenced me to 3 days in the county jail. Enough said….

Like Mike’s story I had a crazy car-work connection. After the Navy I took up various jobs, one was  selling jewelry. I went to work for a company out of L.A. and was assigned some 80+ stores across the Countryside. I had to drive to my accounts routinely. The company wanted me to look successful so they made me wear new suits all the time and bought me a new Cadillac every two years so I’d look good driving up to my accounts. Rotating  Cadillacs. All good.

I wound up in Grass Valley  many years ago driving a 1975 Datsun 280Z. One day I was driving by “Humpty Dumpty” and noticed some really cool cars. Maybe about 12 of them. Next time I went by there was about 20. In time, I went by stopped in and wound up meeting this guy named Lanny. I’ve been a member for decades now and breakfast grew to 70. It was a pleasure to, like Lanny, serve time as [club] President.

The Roamin Angels are a cool group of people. We love cars. Cars that we drive and take care of. Hands on from every perspective. The Classics make friends. The Classics challenge our brains and hands. The classics help us give back to the community doing Toy Drives, fund raisers and a myriad of supporting events. 

What’s your “Carstory”?  Spend an easy 10 minutes with Mike and share your story. Remember this news gets read by peeps all over the world. If we can encourage a few kids…you know those 50-year-olds….to join us, we all win.

See you on the Trailblazer dinner nights. Tina can share how much she likes driving the 1969 XR7 Cougar and I’ll show you some of my dance instructor moves….WHAT?                         

– as told to Mike H.