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Muscle Car Talk: Are You A Muscle Car Expert?

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By Mark Weisseg

I hope you see the broken valve spring in the picture. So many guys and gals call themselves experts in our industry it makes me ill. Just because you owned a ’72 Pontiac LeMans does not make you an expert. I am not an expert. I am just a guy who spent his entire adult life in our industry. I spun wrenches, I managed people, I hired, fired, I cleaned up, I stacked thousands of tires, worked in extreme hot and cold, went to work sick, came home sicker, and a bunch more.

There were also great times and really bad times which all adds up to a lifelong car knowledge. Let me tell you about a couple of good times. We had these important customers to please, so to impress them we rented a King Air plane. About six of us piled into it and flew to Charlotte, NC. What did we do? We went on the Richard Petty “King” driving experience. Then, we played golf and flew home the next evening.
Once, we took about the same amount of people and flew to Memphis. We played golf again, toured a plant we had there and then went to Graceland in the daytime and Beale street at night. The next day we flew home in a terrible thunderstorm. Once we piled on the King Air and flew to Michigan. Again, two rounds of golf, the Richard Petty experience, strip club at night along with a huge steak dinner and wine set up. Next day, fly home. I won a trip to Hawaii once based on performance. Seven days in another world. I sat at a table once with Roger Penske, Bobby Rahal and Mario Andretti. Those were the good times.

The bad times were working six days a week, 10-12 hours a day for 13 years. Being held at gun point, being threatened by customers, called a liar and much worse. Would I change anything? Yes. But none of this makes me an expert. It makes me a lover of our industry and now hobby. I made tons of friends along the way and saw some things I hope I never see again.

I am convinced now however that everyone needs to work in retail for two years. It will give you much insight into the average guy and you will have to learn to take the rough with the smooth.

So arguably, no one’s a complete expert. We are all on the learning curve that never stops when it comes to our beloved automobiles.
So keep on learning about your cars and what makes them tick.
Maybe car knowledge and skill should be like the martial art world. There is no complete expert, just levels of skill and experience.
Who wouldn’t like to be called a black belt in Plymouth Road Runners or a seventh Dan in Chevelles?

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