HOT ROD ISLAND
“Welcome to the wonderful world of Mopar!”
It was the third time Blair had said those words as we toiled away under the hood of the wagon, completely drenched in the unseasonal summer showers of late July 2023. The electric gremlins had decided to rear their ugly heads and once again the wagon had start issues. Automotive wiring has never been an endearing avenue of mine and according to his own admission, nor was it Blair’s. But amongst the sea of brown, black, and blue wires, the man seemed to be able to deduce what was going on.
Blair Coleski is an interesting individual. The fellow lives, breathes, and eats classic Mopars so much so, that he’s gotten most of the psychedelic logos and art put out by the Chrysler corporation in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s tattooed on his person. Chrysler Corporation was the unsung hero of the hippie/ psychedelic era. In order to boost sales, the company employed the best engineering and design personnel to create some absolutely drop-dead gorgeous automobiles such as the Plymouth Road Runner, the Barracuda, and the Dodge Charger to name a few.
Hallucinatory paint and graphics packages coupled with enormous powerplants made the beautiful Mopar behemoths gain a cult following which persists to this day. Although Blair has owned quite a few different automobiles from the big three Detroit auto manufacturers, the Mopars remain his personal favourite. His encyclopaedic knowledge about the marquee also spills over into his other hobby of model making, and to date, he has built more than 100 model autos with excruciating attention to detail. “If the part doesn’t exist, I shall make it” is his motto. Every time I hang out with Blair, his mannerisms hint at an unscrupulous past, but he says, “That era is all but over.” Having recently gotten rid of two of his late ‘60s Dodges, Blair's mechanical focus is centred upon making his 318 V8 powered 1980 Chrysler LeBaron turn into a Ford Mustang munching mobile.
“It’s got to be the ignition control module, dude” says Blair, popping his head out from underneath the wagon's long hood, “don’t worry, I have one right here” he quips. I am once again floored by the parts squirreling ability of classic car folks, and sure as heck, the beaming giant is soon walking back towards me with the part in question. “Isla loves your wagon man!” Blair’s daughter has been obsessed with the wagon ever since I pulled up to their house in it. So I deem it only fair to take him and the kids out on an ice cream run.
The unruly Cape Breton weather has cleared up and the wagon’s V8 is once again burbling away to glory. As I drive down to Lick-a-Treat, I can’t help but smile, having heard the bemused squeals of kids who are experiencing the way back seat in a wagon for the very first time. Blairs grinning away right next to me, pleased that his tremendous efforts have proven successful. “I’m glad you got her running again,” I say. He turns to me, and in a low voice, like a druid spilling his ancient wisdom says, “welcome to the wonderful world of Mopar.”