Staff Picks: Our Favorite Car Stories and Their Owners

Jun 10, 2019

Of course, old cars are cool, but it’s the stories behind them that make them even better. We asked Team Valvoline to share their favorite classic rides and their stories with us, and it’s safe to say they did not disappoint. Thanks to these four, living the MaxLife never looked so good. 

Bernie H. — ’11 Jeep Rubicon

Bernie bought his wife a red Jeep Rubicon in 2011. He took it straight from the dealership to San Jose, California, to be modified. After checking off a long list of modifications ranging from a HighLift jack to neoprene seat covers, he topped it off with Valvoline and headed for the mountains.

Bernie and his wife retired in the Sierra Mountains where the Jeep has allowed them to see some of the most beautiful parts of the country. Before retiring, Bernie’s wife drove it daily to her job at the company that manufactured the Bradley Fighting Vehicle among many others. She takes great pride in the jeep and keeping our military men and women safe.

Chris O. — ’79 Dodge Aspen

This Aspen was purchased by Chris’s great aunt who gave the car to her son as a gift. He drove it daily for years until the transmission blew, then he parked it and never got the chance to get it fixed. The car sat for a while before it was given to Chris’s grandfather who was a mechanic. He installed a rebuilt 904 transmission in it and used it as the family car for about 30 years until Grandma decided it was time to get a new vehicle.

The Aspen was handed down to Chris. He does all the maintenance on it and uses Valvoline High Mileage with a new frame filter every 3,000 miles. Chris is working on a plan to get it painted this year once he rebuilds the front-end suspension and steering.

Damon W. — ’68 Volkswagen Bug

Herbie is Damon’s pride and joy, and he spent most of 2018 building it. He has always been a fan of the Volkswagen, but never got to finish the two replicas he started in the past few years. The last one he started building was in 2008. He ended up trading it for a different car and his grandmother got upset when he got rid of it. When she passed away in 2010, Damon made a personal commitment to her to build another, finish it, and keep it.

He started by buying a 1968 Volkswagen Bug from a friend in 2011. After working on it for some time, life got in the way, and Damon had to sell it. In a turn of events, Damon was able to buy the car back in 2018 and sprung for a full paint job. He added graphics, a red metal flake steering wheel, and bucket seats, then he reupholstered the rear seat to match.

Damon loves Herbie, and his favorite thing to do is drive it through town. “The look on people’s faces is the best,” he says. “Makes me happy.” There are still lots of memories to be made with Herbie, including several car shows in the upcoming season.

David G. — ’86 Pontiac Fiero GT

Back in the day, David just needed a vehicle to get to him work, so he bought his Pontiac from a family friend for $800. When he first got it, the car had issues starting the engine—If you shut the engine off once it was warm, it would take an hour or so to start back up unless you used just the right amount of starter fluid. Getting gas was another issue. David decided to invest more in the car to address the issues, spoiling it as he fell more in love with it.

After four years with the car, David is still working on fixing it. It’s his project car and a work in progress, but he tries to take it to as many car shows as he can. Although it may not have a lot of horsepower, she works hard. To David, it’s a truck. The flat surface in the back is his equivalent of a truck bed. He’s hauled a motorcycle, a couch, fishing equipment, and much more in the back. David has even used it to help friends and family with towing.

David continues to add to the Pontiac with things like axles, mounts, small sensors, and a CB radio.

All cool, old rides only get better with time. These were just a few that caught our eye and came with a story. Got a story to share? Tag us in a post featuring your car using the hashtag #LiveTheMaxlife.

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Tags: Culture