(Words and Photos by Scott Liggett) – When Brian texted me just before Christmas to send in some of my favorite pics that I took over the last year, I was a bit worried because I didn’t take a bunch of pics in 2012. At least, I didn’t go to a bunch of car shows and races this year like many of the other contributors here. Mostly, the pics I had were of my road trips and of my wrenching on my cars. Halfway through this year, I changed up to a better camera in hopes it would make me look like a better photographer. My old and extremely abused Nikon L100 served me well shooting more 14,000 pics even after I ran it over with my friend’s ’68 Cougar. Thanks to Charles Wickam, I am now sporting something a bit better.
Like a couple of photographers, I am starting a bit earlier than January 2012. For me, it was October 2011 when I got my first vest as an actual photojournalist at the California Hot Rod Reunion. It was my chance to see and show if I could actually take a picture at a big time race. I also learned how to be able to see after inhaling the fumes of nitro burning cars blowing by me while I stood at the 60 ft mark on the track. Below are some of my favorites of the more than 900 pictures I took over two days.
My road trip journals seem to popular for some unknown reason. Maybe it’s watching some idiot drive a 40 plus old car more than 1000 miles in a weekend and some how make it back home. I took my ’73 Monte Carlo on three road trips in four months. Mostly, it was to visit family in Northern California. I try to find new places to go and routes to drive each way on these trips. The two pics below came about when I was looking at my California Thomas Guide and saw this green blob that said Sequoia National Forest. So, I drove 173 miles out of my way to go look at big trees. This was bouncing my Monte Carlo over mostly logging trails following a map a Park Ranger gave me that looked like it was drawn by an elementary school kid. I even managed to get myself into one picture.
In between driving the Monte Carlo all over California I tried to figure out why it was burning oil. The engine ran great, but still it used oil. It seemed to bring a lot of ideas from readers trying to help out. One was the old trick of cleaning off the carbon inside the engine by dripping Seafoam into the engine while it was running. The pic below was me single-handedly causing global warming in Southern California after the Seafoam had set for an hour. My neighbors thought, and hoped, my car caught on fire.
In April, I join ed up on Car Craft’s Anti-Tour. On the way up to the meeting point in Camarillo, I took the scenic route along the famous Pacific Coast Highway at just after sunrise. This shot was near Thornhill Broome Beach at the northern end of Malibu. One of the few places where the highway is literally right next to the sand.
After buying the camera from Charles, my first attempt at using it was climbing on the roof of an office building so I could take pictures of the space shuttle Endeavor being flown into Los Angeles on the back of it’s special 747. It’s now a museum exhibit. It was once in a lifetime chance and the powers at be sure gave us plenty of visuals. This is one of the shots I got as it came into land at the airport escorted by two NASA F-18′s. Very cool.
On one of my other road trips this past summer I cruised around the Sacramento River Delta’s many tributaries and sloughs looking for a WWII PT boat that I saw almost 20 years ago. I am still searching for that boat, but I did find this little sail boat on this trip. It was on the shore of the Sacramento River just south of Rio Vista.
This pic was just me playing around with a half assed mock up of a pair of T-70 turbos I bought this past spring. My reason for it being here is that this shot got me excited about all the fun and power I would have in my ’65 Impala SS when these are in and running. I haven’t been this excited about my car in a long, long time.
I finally got my butt to a car show this year, hitting three in one weekend. First was Bob’s Big Boy weekly Friday night cruise. I hadn’t been there all year and needed to scratch that itch.
And lastly, this shot was taken the day after Christmas as I drove home from northern California visiting family for the holidays. I discovered that Hwy 25 between Hollister and Coalinga is 45 miles of twisty, lonely road that I got busy trying out my new suspension goodies on. Besides, the view along that road is spectacular. Much better than staring at the ass end of a semi on I-5.