Himos Summermeet 29.6-1.7.2001
The Trip there (you might want to ignore the rant and skip straight to the pics...)
It was in mid June i decided to attend this meet that's about 3 hour drive from my hometown of Pori. My Hornet was buzzing along quite nicely and everything seemed to work just fine, so there was no real reason not to drive my car to Himos Summermeet. I had read of the event in the most recognized Finnish US car mag V8 Magazine and basically they had had nothing negative to say of the event, so I was very excited about the trip about two weeks in advance. I checked everything with Juha Makkonen, and he confirmed that there was room in Jouni & Irmeli Lipponen's cabin but from the start I had thought to go for the full experience and bring along a tent and sleep in sleepingbags. Afterall I'm young and the cold doesn't quite itch my bones like it does some of you readers'.
Everything was going my way and we had a good plan that 'Us AMCers' were gonna meet up in Tampere FHRA's headquarters at noon and cruise to Himos together. Well that was the plan at least. Two days before the trip my car suddenly decided to empty it's battery, apparently for no reason (yea right) it just wouldn't go, not even with jumper cables, leaving me in the middle of Pori feeling quite thankful for friends who can bail me out in these situations. Well we towed the car home to my garage and since it was around midnight and I had work in the following morning, I went to sleep after checking that nothing was gonna burn during my sleep (talk about restless sleep that night!)...Next morning I got up early, went to work, and left early to check up on my car. This was when I realized the battery had shortcircuited itself for some strange reason (manufacturing fault?) and I felt quite satisfied that it hadn't blown up like some batterys do when this happens... Well, didn't let this get my sprits down, becouse I had a 'spare' battery in my 232 Hornet which I could use, but first I had to check that there weren't any other damage. Thankfully I found none, and a few hours later the car was running again, took it for a test spin and stopped by a grocery store. Went to the store, got back to the car and nothing. It wouldn't start.
I was feeling QUITE frustrated at this point, thinking that the car had emptied my very cool "AM - American Motors CLEAR POWER" repro battery which I had been saving for the 232 Hornet. Got out my electric meters, and realized the battery was still good, actually it was fully charged so the problem was elsewhere. I started looking for leads, and got tired of the crowd that had gathered (I just LOVE people coming over to point at different stuff, like the wipermotor 'Say, this solenoid here is your problem right here, see!!")and towed the car home again. Took my time measuring voltages all around the engineroom (i'm definately not an electrician) and after couple hours pinpointed the problem to the resistance wire (or lack there of) that's supposed to make sure there's enough juice to use the spark plugs when the starter is engaged. (in finnish: etuvastuspiuha hajalla). It was getting dark and I was getting tired of wires so my friend Mikko Nummela came up with a temporal solution. We'd route a wire from the 'battery +' to the 'coil +' during starting and that would temporarily fix the problem (and henceforth allowing me to attend the Summermeet). Like this problem wasn't enought for 'the day before', while looking for the solution we also encountered another problem. The distributor wasn't gonna work much longer. The plate which hold the points & condensator inside the distributor cap was loose, actually it rattled around quite happily when the engine was turned thus changing the point gap as it wanted. This was what propably caused my fuel consumption to rise above the 'pain limit' a few weeks before. Well if I had been doing all the work on my own I would have given up already, but Mikko wasn't gonna just give it up that easy. We took out the dist and drilled a hole in the dist base and used a long screw to pin down the point-plate and disconnected the vacuum-advance (since it wasn't operational anyway). Re-installed the distributor in it's place, adjusted the timing a bit (no vacuum advance) and voilá, it was running quite well again. The only problem that we couldn't fix was that the car wouldn't start if the gas pedal wasn't floored all the way down, we thought this to be a timing/dist/some freak problem, but since it seemed to be working anyway (the engine did run great once it started up) I decided that the car was roadworthy and got everything ready for the trip tomorrow. It was friday, but I didn't wanna risk it so I just went to bed early and hoped everything would work out ok tomorrow.
Saturday morning I got up early, packed the car with my girlfriend Anu, and checked that every possible fluid was available along with a lineup of spare parts should something brake during the trip. Also loaded up my tools, took along some food and water for our dog as well and we hit the highway.
We were doing good time, and around 11:15 I checked up on my friends and everything was going well. Around 11:30 I got a call from Juha Makkonen saying that they were in Tampere FHRA's headquarters and there were around 10 cars there ready to go. We were about 15 minutes from Tampere and the cruise to Himos was supposibly gonna leave Tampere at 12:00 sharp, so I wasn't in any worry. 5 minutes passed and Juha called to say that they were leaving allready. I was stuped to why, but since there were so many cars there, and I didn't know more than 2 owners, I couldn't ask the to wait, so I decided to catch up on them on the way there and pushed the pedal down a bit more doing around 90km/h in 80km/h zone and around 120km/h in a 100km/h zone. According to my calculations, and Juha had said that they weren't trying to brake any records, I should have caught up in about 15 minutes, but I didn't. I kept the pace (and then some) for about an hour and when I realized I wasn't gonna catch them I called Juha and he said that they had been doing around 10 over the limit as well, the whole way there. Go figure. Well, I gave up and right then I spotted their cars way down a long hill and everything started looking good again and I sped up some more and just as I was closing in they went over a hill and the Hornet stopped running. Yeah. Now what?
Parked on a bus stop, got out and pop'd the hood and found nothing wrong. Went around the car, looked under. it was wet in the rear, went around, and saw that the gas tank was leaking AGAIN!!! (those of you whom have missed on the fact that I've fixed it around 4 times already). A horrid thought entered my mind. How long had that tank leaked? all the way or just past 2kilometers? Before leaving for the trip I filled the tank to the top, and after a quick check I realized it was empty already and I was getting pissed off. Now those of you whom know me also know that' I'm not very weathly (quite the opposite of wealthy) and I quickly realized that there went all the money I had thought to spend on gas during this trip it only added to my temper.
I took a while, cooled down, fixed the hole in the tank with pine soap (works great btw) and juggled in the spare gas I luckily had in the trunk and connected the battery-coil wire and started it up again, took a while, but it started. This time I drove paintakingly slowly the rest of the trip (about 20 kilometers) and we arrived at Himos. FINALLY.
The Himos Summermeet is yearly arranged by couple Finnish car clubs, like FHRA Tampere, Ford Freak Club of Finland so understandingly most of the cars there were Fords, but the first time even AMCCF was also present at the meet (and will be in the future as well), not in organizing but just enjoying the athmosphere of over a 100 US cars gathering in a nice surroundings. Of the AMCs there, Juha's Rebel was looking good (as usual) and I finally found the time to take a close look at the Lipponen's '67 Rebel too. The cabins were situated near the downhill sking center of Himos and the cabins, let me tell you all internationals here as well, was GREAT! Definately one of the things I can't think of anything bad to say. They were well maintained, clean, comfy, roomy and 'homely' but still, I had made up my mind and decided to sleep outside. Afterall the weather was great, warm and sunny (these pics were taken later on at night, so that's why they're so blurry) so why not try to make the best of it. Anu took the charge of setting up the tent and I helped where I could (cars are easier to work on than tents I guess ;) ) and after we were set up Juha had already fired up the grill and the barbaque was going along quite nicely.
Click here for a rear shot of this very cool daily driver '67 Rebel 4D owned by Jouni Lipponen and click here a peek inside.
After eating the sausages it was time for the 'hill race' (I'll add a few pics later on) which turned out to be quite interesting. The point wasn't to make it to the top with the fastest time, but to make the uphill trip as two times, and the one that had the closest 2 times won. Sounds interesting, but it worked like a charm. And to make it more interesting, the cars that ran the course weren't just beater cars, but some of the best looking show cars at the meet decided to give the gravel-course a try and took part, sand and rocks flying thru the air. Quite cool.
After the race we went for a walk of the site. It was already dark but people were just starting to get drunk. Sounds funny? Maybe for us, but then again we arrived a day late and these guys already spent one night partying and the following day was slept in of course. The happening itself was a bit 'rowdier' than I had imagined, and many people (it seemed) had just come there to drink and make noise, but then again, when organizing a big event like this, you can't really pick the people whom show up. One thing's for sure though, I've never seen that many mis-treated US cars in my whole life. I understand it's everyone's own matter what they do with their cars, but come on.
There were good looking cars there as well. Click here for rear shot of this very good looking '67 American 4D 220 owned by Sari Rouvinen (AMCCF) from Jyväskylä and click here for a inside shot. In the picture is also a beater '70 Hornet 4d, which was still in decent condition and it's for sale right now for 2500FiM, someone might want to save the car, it had no real visible rust and the engine seemed to work quite well too since it was driven to Himos, and not from around a corner too, I might add.
This was the other 4D 440 American there, it's not actually a club member's car, since the owner tells me he's very active in his local club and has no time to join another one, oh well, he's cool anyway. The car doesn't look much, but it's got it where it counts, or so I hear... ;) Couple other AMCs showed up on the meeting grounds as well, but for some strange reason the pics I took of them didn't appear on any of my films. I'll get some of Juha's pics scanned soon and add them on this page later on.
During the night, a few live bands appeared on stage so there was dancing and enjoyment all thru the night, but since I had developed a severe headache a few hours before, I wasn't feeling like I wanted a hangover in the morning so we hit the sack around 3 AM. Nobody took notice though, and the party went on loudly and annoyingly all thru the night, as I noted before, so we really didn't get any sleep outside. Lesson learned, never go camping in an event of this kind. I guess I should have expected this, but hasn't been a problem in any of our happenings, so it didn't really cross my mind this time ;) I could still bet if I hadn't had a bad headache my feelings about the loud noise and all that would have been a bit different (I'm definately not quiet when I party.. ;) )
Himos is a beautiful place to spend a few warm summer days (just like it's a cool place to ski during the winter) and here's a scenic pic taken by Anu around 4 AM when the party was still going strong all around the meeting grounds. She does have a knack for beautiful scenery doesn't she. ;) (can you spot our dog in the picture?)
On Sunday around noon was supposed to be the 'start of the show' but everyone was still asleep so the friendly organizers moved forward the schedule by a couple hours so everyone could make it to the field with their cars. For some strange reason the Rebel owners decided not to move their cars to the showfield, but I thought 'whatta hell' and played with the wire-start again and drove it to the field (this time I realized the car wouldn't run at all without the wire).
It was quite cool to see so many different cars side by side all in good sport and people walking around the admiring others and smiling at others. The turnout all together was about 60% Ford, but that didn't bother anyone, becouse the Ford Freaks had done a pretty good job arranging the hill-race mentioned earlier.
When I drove my car to the field, there were only 8 others there and I took a place that wasn't crowded and left it there. After a few minutes more cars started showing up and the guy who won the most awards at the show parked his cool kustom Packard right next to my car. This was a good thing for me becouse it attracted a lot of attention and so did my car, just becouse it was right next to it ;)
After the show people started packing up their gear and so did we. Got the tent packed and checked if everything was still working on the Hornet, and even if it didn't run at all without the wire, I managed the route the wire so there wouldn't be any problems with it and thought that 'hey, this might not be such a bad trip afterall' and took it to the road.
I managed to go for about 700meters from Himos and on the first straight piece of road the car just stopped running. I pulled over, added a bit more gasoline, nothing. I was (once again) getting quite mad at this piece of *hit that didn't work... After a few more well chosen words of my own and a few mocking words and laughs from the passing cars, Anu by some miracle managed to calm me down quite easily and I took it easy. Tuukka Uusheimo stopped by the road and came over and had a look at the car with me. A couple other people stopped too, and thanks to them for caring ;) It felt good to have friends again. Me and Tuukka found absolutely nothing wrong with the car, other than the fact that it wasn't getting any gasoline to the carb. I realized that I couldn't fix it on my own, and either the carb was messed up or the fuel pump. Well we were all hungry and wanted a decent meal so I rang up a very good friend of mine Raimo Vuorensivu from Tampere (who's an expert on just about anything concerning Ramblers) and asked for advice while we cruised in Tuukka's American 440 to the nearby city of Jämsä to look for a diner. Well, we found the diner and just when I was giving up on hope (as Raimo diagnosed the problem to the fuel pump by the phone) Raimo decided that he'd get in his daily driver and drive to Himos to help me out. I was amazed, I mean this guy actually came from Tampere to Himos to help me out on my car, just becouse he knew I needed the help, and in addition to this, he was bringing spare parts!!.
So, we took our time (we had about 1.5 hours until Raimo could make it to Himos) eating in the good company of Tuukka and his girlfriend, and after refilling the gas-canisters we returned to the Hornet which sat sadly by the side of the road, still intact though (I was affraid someone might smash a window or such just to annoy me more..). Got out my tools and removed the fuel pump and realized that was the cause of this unscheduled stop. The fuel pump's axle had come loose and since there's no way to re-attach it to the roa that goes into the engine, we started looking for a solution. Right then Raimo showed up in record time (he must have done around 140km/h to make it there that fast) and took one look at the fuel pump and agreed on our diagnosis. He took out his spare fuel pump and some more bad luck. It didn't fit, it was from a six cylinder, but we were still hoping that we could get it to fit using the v8 fuel pump's rod, but noway, so we ignored the idea. By this time I was getting desperate (it was already around 6 PM) and Raimo simply took charge. He called up a few friends to ask where we might find an electric fuel pump in this small town, and after a few calls he found a place that was actually OPEN on a Sunday at 6 PM in the small village of Jämsä. Unbelievable!!! At this time we said our thanks and goodbye's to Tuukka and his girlfriend and wished them a good trip home. Raimo and me got into his euro daily driver and Anu decided to wait in the car while we got the parts (after all it's got bench seats, it was warm, and she was sleepy ;) ). We drove to the SEO gas-station of Jämsä and what a place it was. All that was inside the gas station was full shelves of spare parts to different cars all the way from the '60s to the '80s. The owner didn't even sell soft drinks, becouse "This is not a store, this is a gas& service station!" it was like it was 'back in the '60s!!!. After some 40 minutes of searching his shelves, we acquired the parts we needed, electric fuel pump, wires, connectors, and other stuff and we headed back to the car. Everything was looking good again, and we only had to install the new parts and drive the car home. Yeah right.
Picture tells more than a thousand words, just like this one. It was taken on Tuesday, 4 days after Himos Summermeet about 50 kilometers from Himos when Raimo arranged thru a couple of his friends to rent a trailer and a van to 'drag' the Hornet home. What happened? Sure we got the car running again with the electric pump and all, but when that part of the fuel system was ok, the carburator broke. Yes it broke, something hard that the electric pump sucked out of the gas tank must have finally ruined it, and the car would move for about 500meters and then die down, start right back up again, and die again. It was around 10:30PM when we decided to give up, and Raimo drove me to Tampere and my sister drove from Pori and got me and Anu home around 1AM. Talk about bad luck.
Actually these pics are sort of funny, becouse my car is a DRIVER, meaning it's never, ever been trailered anywhere, I've always driven it and this was the first time it has been on a trailer ever since I bought it. You can propably imagine the stares and questions we got at the 2 stops we made when coming back home... Is it a race car? How fast is it? Cool! etc. ;)
The trip itself, would I go again? If you would have asked me that question around a week from the happening I would have definately answered no, but now... Yes. I think I'd go again. It was such an experience that I wouldn't trade it away for anything (maybe a rebel machine, sc/rambler, sc/360 or a ss/amx though... <grin>) Anyway, better luck next year!
A-V / 17.8.2001