Well, it's been awhile... quite a while since I got caught up here! I have been trying to edit a few older posts from 2014, as they seem to be in a weird order, but haven't quite figured that out yet... Lil Help?
ANYway, there are newer vans all around and much news! I'll have to get all the pics into one place to post or maybe I can add and edit from the phone!
SOOOOOOO much has happened!
I truly LOVED the old White Ghost and kept her for 11 years altogether, through a trans rebuild debacle and many trips here and there. When we first got her way back in 2003, I was mesmerized by the high quality fit and finish of a Cobra Conversion van, it's dipped varnish trim and became enamored of the High Top version. A quest began for a High Top 1995 or earlier GM based Cobra Conversion van and finally I found one! Ebay!
The backstory: A friend and generally amazing Trust guy (creating, selling & servicing Irrevocable Wyoming Based Asset Management trusts) was doing Conference calls to draw in an audience. I have some web sites doing currency related investment stuff and Ray went on his own some years ago, where I helped get the word out and he did the calls, infomation and so on. We were never partners or finacially connected, but I was paid to help get the word out. His first year was really great and he told me he was going to get his dream ride, a new Mini Cooper! We talked about the various car interests and my great love of the early 1990's GM based Cobra Conversion van came up.I mentioned that I had found one on E-bay, but had missed it.
Long story made short: When the owner responded to an previous inquiry with the information that the buyer had not followed through on the deal, that came up between Ray and I on a subsequent phone call. I had "just" gotten an '89 Chev Mark III that had a rebuilt engine, recent tires (and tired red "panels" over the original white paint) to soothe my damaged ego over the missed Cobra High top.
Ray found that the Cobra was about an hour north of his Kentucky location, bought it and let me know! WOW!
It stayed there getting a frequent start up and a brief drive for several months while I tried to figure out how to let the Mrs know that... another van was coming home! You see, I had also bought a 1985 cargo G-10 Chevrolet van as a parts donor for the rough doors on the White Ghost, but it drove home and was a low mileage survivor showing 73K miles! That mileage was right as I had all the service records and receipts. It had been a one owner a potato chip company van and was really in too good of condition to canabalize. More later on that ride.
Ray called me in Octiober of 2013... he had bought used tires to get the Cobra moved with as the originals were shot, and was having a friend tow it up to me!
Soon after, I had to lose at least one van and the Ghost was the one to go. The miles were getting up around 230,000, the engine was suffering low oil pressure and making a little knock on startup, etc. I sold it to a friend and that worked for me from time to time on a payment plan, scrubbed and shined her up, and she left with her head high! His wife had seen it many times, always full of tools, sometimes materials or workers, but all scrubbed, it looked so good, she actually burst into tears. I had always used tarps or canvas, towels and pads when I carried tools or personell, no smoking, etc... so, she really cleaned up good! It was not to last! Payments were slow, I got maybe 3 in the next six months and when my patience was finally exhausted, I went to see about taking it back. It was a disaster! They had transported their 2 pit bulls around and left them inside while shopping many times. The immaculate interior was trashed! Almost my turn to cry!
The blinds were shredded, the corner of the power 3 panel sofa/bed was ripped and chewed, the carpet likewise, even clawed part of an upholstered wall panel "to death"! There was no repairing all that. There had been some body damage to boot. I was sickened by the poor care and lack of payments. Eventually, he broke down and never told me. The place he coasted into had it hauled to their storage lot, hidden in the country side someplace and demanded $1300 for storage. It died then and there. Probably went to the crusher long ago now. Sad.
The guy still works for me occaisionally, but I'll never really forgive him for that. They eventually got 2 additional pit bulls... can barely pay their bills... but... anyway, I digress. Why do bustouts ALWAYS have to have pit bulls or rotweillers? Writing this, years later, I'm still sad about the fate of the Ghost... wound up just like I feared... trashed, the venting section of one window missing, AC dead and him, driving around with a cigarette hanging... AAAARRRRGGGGHHHHH!
I got some decent pics of the van just before he got it, and I'll dig them up and post soon.
After I got the "new" Cobra High Top, I changed: the radiator which had a crack in one of the water jackets which had been poorly patched. While I had the shrouds off and with an eye to future needs, I changed the water pump, the belt, the idler pulley, the tensioner pulley, the thermostat, the alternator, all the hoses and belts that I could find in the front of the engine bay as well as wires, cap, rotor, plugs, filter & oil, coolant, tires, and so on. The used tires it came up to Missouri on were only ever intended for that use. There was nothing wrong so far as I knew with the rest of the stuff, but better to replace it at my leisure, rather than by the side of the road... in the rain or snow.... in the freezing cold or boiling heat... far from tools, home and help!
Following that, I let the Mrs use it for her daily school lunch duty and girlie drop off stuff while I got her Ford E-150 Debut van ready for the coming winter. That included changing out her seeping radiator as well, brakes, 2 tires, oil & filter, coolant, upper and lower hoses, thermostat, belt, etc.
After driving my prized Cobra High top for a week or more... well, the high top was her new attraction as well. she is so small that she can stand up in the area behind the cockpit and almost all the way back to the sofa.
We found her an Explorer High Top in Summitt white with gold ground effects and after review, I did the Buy it Now thing and we soon headed to Bloomington, IL to recover it. We went up in the Green Giant, hoping they might take it in. He was suspicious that it had troubls, but tested everything and was amazed that I would put so much in parts and work, just to sell it. I explained about the Cobra and wasn't worried about selling it at all. If he couldn't make a fair deal, I was happy to drive it right back home and sell it myself. We left it behind and came home in the 2000 Chevrolet Explorer! For awhile after that, when we would see a "low top" conversion van we would say... "Those poor people!" She didn't think she would like white, but later informed me that it had grown on her and even if we got a brand new one, white would do. She LOVES her van and except for a long trip, will NOT let me drive it at all! What the.... what did I crreate?
I'll dig up the pictures and post some ASAP showing all this stuff. I might have a few on this machine, and if so, I'll get them up.
MUCH more to the stories and goings on! Stay Tuned!