I like Ike. You have to. The man has a patent pending on his method for preparing bratwurst.
I spotted not one, but two sets of the fantastic winged taillights of the old Chevys from the street. Certainly a story there. Anyone who has two of the same make, model, and year of a car has a story.
Especially cars that are nearly 50 years old. A brown one and a blue one. ( I didn't know about the green one in the garage.)
Ike seemed a bit wary as I approached in my business-meeting clothes, but said I was welcome to shoot the old girls, both '59s, both Biscaynes, and both for sale, Ike pointed out. His good one is in the garage. After shooting for a while, I asked if I could see it, and there was a long silence. "It's OK", I told him, "Not a problem." Ike is a man who values his privacy. I never even bothered to ask him if I could take a picture of him.
Ike and I bantered while he continued to rake his yard and I took some more pictures, and eventually, he decided that I "looked honest", and showed me into his garage. It's an honor, and I say that without a touch of irony. You should see the place.
Ike's other '59, is what he called a "rat rod". This was a new term to me, but I am beginning to understand the philosophy. True "Hot Rods" are very expensive and most are "trailer queens" - not practical for any kind of actual driving. Rat Rods, on the other hand, are about performance, but also about the ingenuity and mechanical skills of the owner. There is an originality to every one of these machines, and part of the mystique is that they are never finished. After a certain point they are drivable, and drive them, they do. But they always look like they are under construction, because they are.
So, besides the three Biscaynes, Ike has a Model A project going and a beautiful 1940 Chevy pickup, which he says has hauled almost 100,000 ("in the 90's") of his unfortunately-not-cooking-when-I-was-there brats from Ike's up to Green Bay. You could say Ike's a fan. Ike has a Super Bowl party. At which he burns dozens of dead Christmas trees and wooden skids, and 200 or so of his friends gather in what I can only describe as a small stadium in Ike's backyard, most of which he had to cement over to get a permit for the Super Bowl bonfires. There's even a "Press Box", which is a good-sized former tree house left behind by a neighbor, which Ike has placed atop an eight foot stack of wooden palettes interleaved with 2x4s, which he screwed together specifically for this purpose.
I told you you'd like Ike.
For the record, if you're interested in buying the sister Chevys, I can tell you how to find Ike, but he's not interested in parting 'em out. Ike bought 'em both from a woman who had just lost her husband and the "dead man would want 'em on the street."
I have no doubt that Ike will see the Chevy sisters end up with someone who appreciates them.
All words and images copyright 2009 Jeff Blackwell