I’m Number One!

“Winning is about heart, not just legs.  It’s got to be in the right place.”  –Lance Armstrong

“Winning is about heart, not just legs, and finding the right place for my gigantic, shiny, colorful, and prestigious trophy.”   –Jeff Brown

I want to start this column by thanking all of the little people who helped make this happen.  I’m talking about the guy working behind the counter at the parts store, I’m talking about my wife who helped me get it ready to paint, and I’m talking about my dad who did all of the work that required any sort of skill and knowledge.

Most of all, I want to thank the citizens of Ely, Iowa, who bestowed upon me one of their most magnificent and prestigious awards.  (I’m sure it’s akin to receiving the key to their city.)  Of course, I’m talking about the second place trophy I received at the annual Ely Fall Fest 2012 Car Show. 

YES.  I’m number one!  I’m number one!

Okay, I’m number two.

Well, technically, my car was number two in the Stock Chevy 1960-1973 class.  I went with a friend who drives an original Starsky and Hutch car, and it did well in its class too.  His car is actually a lot nicer than mine, but this column isn’t about him, it’s about me.

I’m number one!  I’m number one!

Okay, I’m number two.

I bought my 1963 Chevy Impala 4-door hardtop way back in the early nineties for $1700.00 because it met all three of my criteria buying any vehicle: 

  1. It was cheap.
  2. It was reliable.
  3. It was cheap.

(I suppose you could add “rusty” to my criteria, but I consider that to be more of a term of endearment than a selling point.)

I guess I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for Chevy Impalas, especially the ones built from 1958-1964.  In fact, I’ve owned four ‘63’s over the years, including the white 2-door hardtop I drove in High School and the red and white convertible I had in my early twenties.  (I curse the day I sold that one.)  What can I say?  I like the body lines of the early Impalas.  I think even the 4-doors like the one I have now are cool looking. 

Interesting Fact:  One day while driving with the windows down, a young guy pulled alongside me, beamed, and said, “I like your car.  It’s ssssssexy.”

Hollywood appreciates 1963 Impalas too.  If you were a fan of the TV show The Wonder Years, the Arnolds drove a ’63 4-door hardtop in the early episodes– just like mine!  In the 1992 movie A Few Good Men, Tom Cruise drove a light blue ’63 4-door Impala.

Another Interesting Fact: Sometimes when I’m driving my Impala, I pretend that I’m Tom Cruise–­­­ not the weird Scientology Tom Cruise of present day, but the cool Tom Cruise of the ‘80’s.      

I’ve put a lot of elbow grease into my car over the years.  I’ve added power steering, power breaks, and a fancy bumper guard to the front.  Not to mention the fact that I’ve taken the whole thing apart, sanded it, painted it, and put it all back together again.  Despite all of this, it’s still hardly a perfect show car, just a fun drive.

This is why I think it’s so cool that I won this award— this gigantic, shiny, colorful, and prestigious trophy.  The only problem is I have to find a place in my house to properly display it.  The ideal spot would be on my mantle above the fireplace, but since I don’t have a mantle or a fireplace, I’ve been trying different areas out. 

As I’ve been carrying it from the living room to the kitchen and from the bedroom to the bathroom, my wife just looks at me and shakes her head.  She thinks all of this attention has gone to my head.   

Not to worry because I know how to handle her.  I just point to the trophy where it clearly states that I’m number one. 

YES.  I’m number one!

Okay, I’m number two.


This picture is from a July car show.

My ’63.