SPYCAR BOOKS

one thriller wouldn't kill you

Operation Spycar: The Fix, Conscious Drives, and Flying the Coupe

photo-32

Part One: The Fix

I’m not dead.

Locked in the trunk of a black Cadillac in a far corner of a Seattle junk yard, the thought came to me as a comfort.  Then and there I decided that to create a Spy Car would be a proper right-of-passage for anyone who traffics in intreague.

Earlier that afternoon, I had asked the junk yard owner if I might buy the Bose speakers out of rear deck of the big black Cadillac. My plan was to install them in the 1972 Volve p1800e coupe I had recently purchased. Turning it into a spy car came to me in the Caddy’s trunk.

One problem: no keys. The battery was dead, so using the power trunk opener was out. I went for the glove box, where the owner’s manual gave up another way into the trunk.

Lifting a panel in one of the back seats, I wriggled though.  Too bad: I then heard a click as the panel fell back into position. I saw only darkness. “How roomy,” I thought to myself, “I can really see, now, why they charge so much…”.  Looking back, I’m glad that I didn’t discover anyone else in there.

Through the cold steel walls of this temporary prison I could hear occasional shouts of workmen stripping cars, and the machine for crushing vehicles — like this one.

It was a summer day, so not long before the air within grew stuffy.  Oddly I felt no panic. Perhaps because deep down, I knew my future to be far different than that of those who get stuck in car trunks.  To reflect upon the many scenes I’ve read and watched of characters in exactly this situation, I became filled with the humor of it. And I began to consider the story worth retelling. Once or twice I had thought of the old Volvo as a sort of spy car. Why not make it official?

Not far away I heard an ascending hydraulic whine, accompanied by a great crumpling and the sound of popping glass.  With a nervous chuckle, I searched in the dark. Finally, I discovered a lever. “Click.”  Quickly I clambered out, looked around to see if anyone had noticed, thinking maybe they’d stuff me back in for being so un-spy!

The decision to build a proper Spycar stuck. I would use the vehicle to show off my forthcoming novel Special Operations, a thriller about workings of the covert agency SEETHROUGH.  In the SPYCAR, I would tour the country from Cape Cod to the California beaches selling books, and learning from readers what this world is all about.

SPYCAR, the world’s fastest independent bookstore.

And me? Somehow I feel more authentic. How many writers of thrillers can say, in truth, that the’ve been locked in the trunk of a black Caddilac — and lived to tell the tale?

Below are a few pictures of the project.

As I found it. The car had been sitting for more than two years. Inside was a bit damp, due to rotted gaskets, which I promptly replaced.

As I found it parked out behind the Volvo shop All Vovo in Seattle. The car had been sitting for more than two years. Inside it, damp, due to a couple of window gaskets, which I later replaced. Otherwise, rust free and mechanically sound. It started right up!

Due to varnish buildup in I pulled the gas tank and had it serviced.

To clean up crud and varnish buildup inside I pulled the gas tank and had it serviced by Greenwood Radiator. Excellent results!

I repainted the interior of the trunk.

After reinstalling the tank I repainted the interior of the trunk.

In order to apply graphics to the tail I removed the Volvo badges, bonded the holes and primed and repainted.

In preparation for SPYCAR graphics, I had to remove the “Volvo” and “P1800e” badges, bondo the holes, and prime and repaint the car’s tail.

The original venal dashboard was cracked, so I stretched new Italian leather over it.

The original vynal dashboard was cracked, so I stretched new Italian leather over it.

The 1972 woodgrain formica instrument panel troubled this ex-carpenter's sensibilities,  so covered it with hand made book paper.

The 1972 woodgrain formica instrument panel troubled this ex-carpenter’s sensibilities, so I covered most of it with hand made book paper. My wife says its too gaudy: Like wearing a smoking jacket to a drug bust.  Am looking for an alternative.  Carbon fiber?

Removed the front seats and installed new ones from a Mercedes SLK, which have heated cushions and blow warm air on one's shoulders. Very spy!

Removed the front seats, honorable veterans of many, many miles.

I installed new seats from a Mercedes SLK, which have a heated cushions and "airscarf,"  which blows warm air on your shoulders. Very spy!

I installed slick new seats from a Mercedes SLK, which have a heated cushions and “airscarf,”
which blows warm air on your shoulders. Very spy!

This switch panel runs the seat adjustments.

This switch panel runs the seat adjustments.

This switch panel runs the seat heaters -- as well as fictitious secret weapons.

This switch panel runs the seat heaters — as well as some secret weapons of fiction-selling.

Installed rear-window retail apparatus, A.K.A. booksforsale under glass. SPYCAR is now, "The world's fastest independent bookstore."

Installed rear-window retail apparatus, A.K.A. booksforsale under glass. SPYCAR is now, “The world’s fastest independent bookstore.”

Hokey hood badge.

Hokey hood badge.

New Shocks

New Shocks

And Springs

And Springs

Daytime Driving Lights. . .

Daytime Driving Lights. . .

Daytime Daytime Driving Lights

Fashioned from Cocktail Shakers (Very  Spy!)

SPYCAR complete, as much as a work in progress will ever be. Next I'll make daytime marker lights from the tops of stainless steel cocktail shakers. But for now, Spyanara!

SPYCAR complete, as much as a work in progress will ever be. Next I’ll make daytime marker lights from the tops of stainless steel cocktail shakers. But for now, Spyanara!

Coming soon Part Two: Conscious Drives

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2 Comments»

  anniesbookstopworcester wrote @

Looking forward to seeing you on your Eastern Seaboard leg of the tour!

  Dan Stearns wrote @

Saw your car today ( while I was leaving work ) parked on Brooklyn Ave NE and NE 40th St. Catchy appearance. Your books sound interesting so I will probably seek them out in near future. Obviously your advertisement works. Wish you well on your venture.


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