Under The Hood

A short road trip in a Caprice

A few weeks back, I decided to take my 1985 Caprice Landau coupe on its first long journey since I had its front-end damage repaired.

Before I go any further, I should note that, in all my years of entering several cars in car shows, I’ve only won a single trophy. While judges and spectators may not love my cars, animals sure do. Deer, in particular, love my cars. These beasts always want to get a closer look at my cars, and usually leave a trophy of their own behind after getting up close and personal.

It was one such Caprice-deer introduction that caused the car to be laid up for several years. This 1985 Caprice had actually replaced a similar ’84 Caprice coupe that had been rear-ended the fall before. After owning the ’85 Caprice for only a few months, the deer struck and I left the car mostly parked while I hunted for parts, saved for the body work and found the time to get it all back together.

After four or five years, I finally put the ’85 Caprice back together last fall and figured I’d drive it around this spring to sort out its issues. So in July, I took the car up to watch my friends’ band (Mezzoforte) play near Ladysmith, Wisconsin, for an extended weekend.

The trip wasn’t without its bumps. A rocky road wasn’t kind to the inner front fenders I had recently spent hours sanding and repainting, and a downed birch tree on the long driveway to my friend’s cabin threatened to stop my progress. (They figured the tree had fallen only minutes before I arrived. I’m going to blame the wildlife around the tree.)

After a fun weekend, I figured I’d head over to my parents’ home via Highway 8 in Wisconsin. Because of my vehicles’ interactions with animals, I spend a lot of time watching the ditches. But while cruising down Highway 8, I saw a shadow over the car and slowed the car down. You never know – maybe deer can fly now.

I found out in short order that the shadow wasn’t from a flying deer after all, but a bald eagle flying down to scoop some roadkill from the center line of the highway. Luckily, I had slowed down so I had plenty of time to avoid the eagle, which quickly and efficiently scooped up its next meal, flapped its wings a couple of times and then rose back into the sky. It was quite a sight!
 
Automotively speaking, the trip wasn’t without its fine sights. I spotted a lineup of old cars and trucks at an antique store in Weyerhauser, Wis. Had I had time, I would have stopped to see what kind of automotive treasures, other than the cars themselves, lie within. (pictured below)

I also noticed a 1956 Olds 88 four-door hardtop for sale not too far west of Weyerhauser. It had a $5,600 price tag and just a little rust in the rockers. It, too, is pictured below.

The rest of the trip went by without a problem. I can tell the car needs brakes, and my wallet senses a transmission rebuild in the car’s future. But I didn’t hit another deer. At least not yet.

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