It's a lot easier to restore an old car when you have a little help from your friends.
As Karen Gatlin reports, there's a team effort underway in Genesee County to restore a 1934 Plymouth Coupe. The man leading the charge is none other than Al Hatch, the organizer of the Back to the Bricks car cruise in Flint.
"The radiator shell wasn't squared up and we couldn't get the hood to line up properly," Hatch said.
Hatch is determined to get this '34 Plymouth on the bricks in August, and it's not even his. It's owned by Jim Aseltine, a friend of about 50 years.
"See how much work he'll do to get one more car down to Back to the Bricks?" Aseltine asked with a smile.
Some days, Hatch rounds up a crew of a half dozen to work on Jim's car. Today, his lone helper is Leonard Hammermeister, who arrived in his 1931 Ford Victoria.
"They don't take any money. They just work for food," Aseltine said.
Aseltine says every one of his cars has a story. He dated the woman who was to become his wife in a 1951 Buick Riviera, and the 1934 Plymouth under restoration also brings back family memories. His wife's grandfather had one just like it when she was growing up.
Speaking of his wife, Aseltine has a photo of her by that '51 Riviera. They started dating when Jim returned from military service in Korea and have now been married 55 years.
"I'm a horse person, he's cars. But we knew it before we were married," Faith Aseltine quipped.
Jim has been collecting cars since he was 17. His current holdings include a 1941 Buick Sedanette built in Flint, a 1937 Lincoln Zephyr, a '59 Buick Electra 225, a '73 Buick Boat Tail Riviera and a 1948 International pickup. He's fortunate he can turn to the family business, Extreme Precision Screw Products, founded in Flint in 1943, for some restoration help.
"This is what would be considered a screw machine part. It is made out of stainless steel and it's a replica of the locking mechanism that goes into all automobiles to lock or unlock the door," Aseltine explained. "Mine was missing on this car, so we just manufactured it in our plant. We can make pretty much any mechanical part on this car."
Aseltine has owned this '34 Plymouth for 20 years. He's rebuilt the engine and redone the interior, but he's never driven it. That will happen when Hatch and friends finish their work and the hood is a perfect fit.
Watch for Jim Aseltine's '34 Plymouth the third week in August in downtown Flint.
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