Seems rather fitting that I was tasked earlier this summer to take part in the completion of a 1964 Pontiac GTO coupe’s restoration in time for a 50th anniversary show honoring the car that started the muscle car craze.
This factory original Delco AM pushbutton got “the works”. It looks and sounds as good (if not better) then new. It was a pain (but so was the car for the restorer). Worth it? You bet.
Working on vintage equipment certainly presents its challenges. Vintage equipment? Let’s put it this way; 1950s Mixmaster mixer? 1972 Ericofon? 1949 GE clock-radio? 1930s bullet lamps?…You name it, I’ve probably “dealt” with it. I’ve probably tore it down and did a complete rebuild. Maybe rebuilt it again. Full-on restoration. The true beauty comes from integrating these types of items into “today’s” world. The seemingly impossible integration of old and new is really one of the pillars of this site.
Surfing the web while suddenly hearing the bells hammer in a real telephone as an incoming call comes in? Waiting for your breakfast toast made to perfection thanks to cutting edge technology–from 6 decades ago? These are just two examples of what is typically perceived as an impossible situation. An actual, real life contradiction. A paradox you can reach out and touch.
About a million years ago (okay, it was 1997), I had devised (and later marketed) a way to allow vintage AM car radios to play external audio sources–but with a method that was completely reversible appealing to to most particular of classic car owners. With the click of a headphone jack, suddenly the old car world was already set for the not-yet-a-household-term of mp3.
So what’s with all this melding of old and new? It’s a way to enjoy the quality and character of yesteryear today. It’s a way to showcase the evolution of here and now vs. then and was. It’s head-turning and eye-catching. It’s pretty damn cool. It does however, take skill, time and patience. My ideas for retrofitting can go far beyond what the eye can see. Many times developing an idea to improve an existing product (for safety, for reliability, for enjoyment, etc.), goes down to the very core–down to a component level. Taking something vintage and using a modern component, system or process that would have far exceeded the original designers’ or engineers’ glimpse into the future (for later use in the world as we know it now)–I call that Pico Pioneering.