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admin 09.12.2015

1988 Ford Thunderbird (Matchbox)This is a formerly common Matchbox 1987-88 Thunderbird Turbo Coupe, painted and distressed to more closely match my first car in its current state.
1990 Ford Aerostar "AeroBarge" aka "T-4" (Hot Wheels)Not just another custom Aerostar model, this one was actually made first! The "custom" paint job was courtesy me calling my dad's bluff on his patented El Cheapo Approach To Rust Repair. Lest you be forming any opinions, you should know that not only did all three Lucio Children have their turn branding character into the poor van, my dad even fender-bent it, not once, twice!
The model is the same Hotwheels casting, painted first in a similar gold color, then later to match the 1995+ "Aerobarge" livery. Lucio Brothers Racing NASCAR teamI once had the bug - hard, and made a handful of custom-painted cars for such.
Demolition Derby carsThe Santa Fe Speedway Tournament of Destruction bashed and seared untold numbers of cherished memories deep into my heart. Angstmobile ModelAfter getting my in-laws' derelict 1975 Lincoln Mark IV repaired and on the road again in 2008, I wanted a model to honor the occasion. The Tomicas are usually found in a sapphire blue with a white roof; Yatming and Zylmex are usually gold. Having run across this page at random from a google image search for "custom Aerostar," the modelwork as well as the story of the fabled Aerobarge warmed my Aerostar lover's heart. I had fallen in love on sight back in '86 - "what a cute little darling!" - except for the '86-'88 silver grille, which Ford brilliantly upgraded for '89 [and removed the fender badges for an even cleaner look].

And the Black Pariah was nimble, responsive and a great highway cruiser; everybody who rode in her [and the VERY few who got to drive her] were a-swoon over that van.
I had my share of boo-boos - the first being when my 14-year accident-free record was broken by an idiot tourist in a rented Camry [which I've hated those things ever since] and the 2nd worst a right-front smash into the left rear of a '91 Crown Vic, an avoidance maneuver that didn't quite make it.
Herpa Models is ranked #1 in ho scale model railroad vehicles, followed by Woodland Scenics, Classic Metal Works, Walthers Accessories, and 54 other manufacturers.
I have 6 Hot Wheels minis in my collection that used to ride on my dashboard, anchored with Velcro [only one is "customized," that I colored black with red "stripes" fashioned of peelaway stick-on lettering].
For some reason while I'd be balling that jack, minding my own business, guys in Acurases and Lexuses and Mercedeses occasionally wanted to duke it out - with a van! To this day I curse Ford's name for dumping the best-looking and toughest minivan on the road and replacing it with that dreary and inferior "Windstar" [dopey name for a dopey ride] instead of improving the Aerostar [lightyears better name and design]. The middle 2 turned around to face the rear bed; vivid imaginations should be able to guess to what recreational uses that arrangement got put for 8 years and 142,000 miles! I'd go Oh Okay, and proceed to leave them in the dust - not by virtue of outrunning them but outmaneuvering them, which a couple of times they ended up getting pulled over! Other than for ordinary maintenance work [and a few occasions of accident damage], the Fixit Shop wasn't her 2nd home. I was delightedly surprised Christmas Eve '93 to discover the Pariah had a hightop twin passing by on SB I-95; the top, a ladder on one of the rear doors and NO running boards [plus the boring stock wheels which I had replaced almost immediately with deep dish "spirals"] were the only differences. Why it never occurred to me until recently to get another one and try to approximate my lamented Pariah I'll never know, but that's what I hope to get done this year.

Then once again I can make like the song says and go "cruisin' up & down that road" in tribute to both my van and her younger sister, the tough-as-nails Aerobarge! The fuel pump developed something of a whine but never failed, which was the only operational peculiarity other than sometimes at startup the engine immediately raced at high revs [like up to around 3000] before gradually settling down, about half a minute all told.
They're not with us anymore to fill up with gas and hit the blacktop, but clearly they'll always have a place in our hearts. I never tapped the pedal to interrupt that or asked about it, since otherwise she ran just fine, and actually enjoyed that odd quirk which the 5 other people I knew who had Aerostars didn't have. Unfortunately both the digital dash display from '92-'97 and the dash design itself are somewhat lacking in both information and a flat place to put my minis on, but that's the way things don't go sometimes. And again in our defense, we did try and spice up the ghetto paint repair with a bit of unique stylistic flair which - I kid you not - was later seen copied by another gold Aerostar in the Chicago area! Plus, with the digital dash set at kims instead of mph, that actually afforded me 9 mph top speed more than the 85-mph limit at which the engine started stumbling; 151 kims = 94 mph, which my poodle amazed me by sticking his head out the window at that speed!

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