Tender Loving Car showcases Southern California cars--daily drivers rather than show or collector cars--that have been kept in great shape by their owners. This month, we present a his-and-hers take from Jack and Gloria Buzard of Yorba Linda:
His: 1971 Chevy Blazer 4x2
Just last month my Blazer's odometer turned over all threes again--a third of a million miles. I was on Workman Mill Road, passing through Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier. Had a fleeting thought that maybe I'll be buried in the Blazer. Nah, it's too good for that.
Back in 1971, we ordered the Blazer from Hall Chevrolet in La Crescenta, just the way we wanted it: black with black interior and white removable hardtop, custom sport-truck trim, etc. Because fuel prices were threatening to climb, we went for economy: six-cylinder (250 cubic inch), three-on-the-tree transmission, highest-available rear-end ratio (3.07) and two-wheel drive. We had to show the dealer in his own literature that Chevy offered a 4x2 Blazer. (The company didn't when its pioneering sport-utility was introduced in 1969.)
My wife, two young daughters and I flew to St. Louis to pick up the car at the only factory that assembled Blazers. During the flight, I worried that I had specified a wimp. Would the high-geared six actually pull the 3,800-pound truck up tospeed on California onramps? Fortunately, the six has a flat torque curve that gives its all from 1,600 rpm on up. It was great.
A bonus was the all-coil-spring suspension of the 4x2. Compared with the leaf-sprung 4x4, the ride and handling are car-like. And, as SUV drivers have been discovering in droves, the commanding view of the road is superb.
In its 333,333.3 miles, the Blazer has never gone more than 3,000 miles without an oil and filter change. I lube it myself with a hand-operated grease gun. The truck has never had its cylinder head off.
Hers: 1966 Mustang Coupe
Our antique-bronze Mustang was bought new in 1966 by our neighbor in Pasadena, a little old lady named Pat Rhodes. Her trade-in was a 7-year-old Fairlane 500 with only 9,000 miles on it. We purchased that for a few dollars more than Fox Ford was offering in trade. By 1970, Pat had put only 2,800 miles on the Mustang and allowed as how maybe she didn't really need a car. We agreed and took it off her hands.
Now with 175,000 miles, it has new (original color) paint and replacement (parchment) pony upholstery. It's mechanically original, thanks partly to oil and filter changes every 3,000 miles. My husband early on installed grease fittings on the suspension pieces so he could lube them.
I learned to drive in the car, and it became my school bus for transporting our two daughters. They, too, later learned to drive in it. It's mostly a weekend car now, appearing every Sunday in the blue space at Grace Presbyterian Church. I now use a wheelchair, which folds up to just fit behind the driver's seat. (We're glad Henry Ford II insisted on that skosh more rear legroom.)
Our beautiful Mustang still has its gold-and-black California plates. It was built in San Jose, Calif., and has never left the state.
YOUR CAR HERE
You can nominate yourselves and your vehicles for this feature by sending a color photo of the car, along with a brief description (200 words or less), how long you've owned it, what you do to keep it in great shape and how you use it: Daily commuting? Weekend outings? Only on Friday-night dates? Write to Highway 1, Business Section, Los Angeles Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles, CA 90053; via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.