Car Show

carshow1280Tim wasn’t good with math, or any of the other classical subjects in school. When it came to shop class, it was a whole different story. He seemed to be able to make or fix just about anything with his hands that didn’t have electronics in it. Even those things he understood what the electronics did, he just couldn’t grasp milliamps, resistance, and all those other terms that went with the territory. It wasn’t that he was stupid, he just had “attention deficit disorder” (ADD). They tried lots of different drugs, but they only helped a little bit. Even then it didn’t last too long.

His younger sister Anne, was a whiz at everything to do with school. She made it look effortless. Just about the only thing Anne ever got in trouble for was “helping” her brother with his schoolwork. Tim’s teachers seemed to know psychically where his work left off, and hers started. That frustrated her, because she had his penmanship, vocabulary, and writing style down to a science. She loved her brother, and even though she was younger, felt it was her job to look out for him.

Anne was always pushing Tim to apply for special grants, and take advantage of the extra tutoring services that were available for people with ADD or AD/HD, which is Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder. Tim fell mostly in the first category, but sometimes the difference between the two were very subtle. Tim knew that Anne had his best interest in mind when she pushed him, but she just couldn’t understand the fear that he felt when a test was about to be given. She couldn’t understand that no matter how much he studied, or even if someone tutored him, if it wasn’t continually interesting, he wasn’t going to retain it.

Tim did think his IQ probably wasn’t as high as his sisters’ or parents for that matter, but it didn’t bother him. He made the mistake of telling them that one time, and you would have thought he took the Lord’s name in vain, the way everybody reacted. The thing was that he was happy when he worked on cars, motorcycles, go-carts, lawn mowers, and anything with engines. He didn’t know compression ratios, but he could tell when an engine was purring like kitten. It didn’t take a whole lot to make Tim happy. For all of their intelligence, and college schooling, it seemed that others were always in a rush, stressed out, and were never really happy. They seemed unable to just accept happy as a state of mind. So he quietly thought to himself that he was really the lucky one.

Anne did tell him something once, that kept him thinking for a long long time. She said if you want to be a millionaire, then make something someone will pay a million dollars for, or make something that a million people will pay a dollar for. Tim liked making things, and that seemed like a reasonable way to look at making a lot of money. He came to Anne with numerous things that he thought a million people might pay a dollar for, but she rained on his parade. She started talking about marketing and distribution, and how to let a million people know about his product, and for that matter, she asked, “How are you going to make a million of these?”

It became obvious that he wasn’t going to win an arguement with his sister on how to make, advertise and distribute a million anythings. So at the back of his shop, his spare time and almost all of his money went into what he hoped would be his ticket to success.

Far from the current 100 foot record length for a car, held by Jay Ohrburg for his Limousine, at first glance Tim’s 25 foot creation looked like a contender. Rich people wanted one of a kind things, that had lots of class. That was Tim’s vision for something that would sell for a million dollars. His pride and joy was an old Harley-Davidson Knucklehead motorcycle from the days before electronics ruined them. He bought the rear end of a totalled Ferrari, and married the two together. Like a chauffer driven vehicle, the carcycle could be driven from the front motorcycle half of the vehicle. If you didn’t want to bother the chauffer, you could operate the vehicle from the rear Ferrari seating compartment. Either way, you were powered by the 74 cubic inch, Harley engine from the post 1947 Knucklehead series.

The single wheel in the front made it easier to turn than a car of that length, but it still took a wide turning radius. The real beauty of the whole vehicle was that it had no electronics. Secondly, there was no plastic used anywhere in the car other than the cover on the tail lights. It wasn’t until he had finished every last bit of the project did he show it to his family. First was his sister of course. Her almost instant outburst of laughter had Tim worried he had spent all his time and money on something stupid, but she assured him that the opposite was really the case. It is just that she would never have thought of it.

She realized that it was so unique that the marketing was already done, by taking it to custom car shows, and the articles that would generate. Mixing the gee whiz styling of the Ferrari with the coolness factor of the Harley, was a stroke of genius. She couldn’t fully understand the draw of it being totally without electronics, but took her brothers word that it would be an advantage. She even agreed to go along to the important car shows and get in a short little dress and high heels to show off her brother’s invention. As much of a feminist as Anne was, Tim was floored by her offer, but quickly accepted.

She never did stop looking out for him.