V8 Staff

Back at home some point that semester, my Dad and I came to an agreement that the ‘72 Skylark had to go. The body was still rusting in the garden, but the frame and some of the parts were salvageable. I sold what I could and the body got hauled off to the scrap yard.

That sucked, but I was happy with the Riviera, as it was fun to drive and got lots of attention. I’d go to car shows and cruise nights and nobody would guess what it was, year, make or model, which I thought was cool. Everyone knew Camaros and Mustangs, but this car was different!

In my parents’ garage. Just cleaned with some new bulbs installed, ready for a night out.

A minor tragedy occurred one night as I left Normal, IL and the ISU Campus for a weekend at home. I was still working on the radio station, and I got off at Midnight, and took off for the 150 mile drive back up I-55 when a deer jumped in front of me while I was going about 75 MPH. I hit that one hard, and it peeled back the passenger fender and pointed the headlights to the sky. I didn’t get hurt, as the non-retractable 3-piece shoulder belt held me firm, but all the junk in the car landed on the dash. I didn’t hurt any mechanical parts of the car, so I just drove it home with a bashed up fender. That wasn’t cool.

Jim and I rebuilt the Riv’s front and rear suspension systems over my Christmas break, and the car drove 100% better after that. He did most of the work and I handed him tools and took notes.

The rust was getting worse, and the car looked pretty haggard with the bashed fender, but my plan was to tear the car down over the summer and do a “quick rust fix and repaint” before heading back to school in the fall. After all, I’d never been afraid of deadlines!

I moved back home for the summer, and promptly grenaded the rear axle while driving through town. I wasn’t doing anything aggressive with the car, just cruising along, and *BANG!* It took some searching, but I found a guy selling a 1968 Riv for parts, so I bought the car for $400.00 and swapped the rear axle assemblies and respective drive shafts.

Note the clever use of tree stumps for jack stands… heck, a tree weighs more than a Riv, so what the heck, right? Don’t do this at home, kids.

FYI, ‘70 and ‘68 drive shafts are 2-piece deals, and they don’t interchange, so I had to do both. They also have a carrier bearing and support in the middle of the x-frame, so it’s a little more of a job than just a drive shaft.

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