Now that I am back on The Rock I can take a step back, ponder and tell you the story behind Shimmer.
Back in January…I asked Daddy Cool if he wanted to do anything special to celebrate his upcoming 50th birthday, which is in August of this year. He kept on saying no, that his 50th year on earth was no big deal. But I kept on pressing (or nagging, depending on how you look at it). So he came up with, ”Maybe we can look into getting me a car built in 1968. I really like the Ford Mustangs from that year”.
So we had a plan and we started looking, meaning, Daddy Cool looked on-line while I called Customs Canada and the SAAQ( La Société d’Assurances Automobile du Québec, a.k.a. the DMV), to see if we could put plates on a 1968 car and what was the procedure. The SAAQ explained that the car needed to be in pristine condition, no rust and that I would have to get it inspected by a SAAQ garage, and if the vehicle was imported from the States, I needed the title, signed by previous owner, the customs form which is called a Formulaire 1, or F1 and Daddy Cool’s passport and driver’s license. Customs Canada instructed me to ensure there was NO RUST on the car and that I needed to get inspected by an American inspector to make sure the car was okay and that I would need to use a Customs broker. Equipped with all that info, we started to look at the end of March.
We looked in Canada but could not find one that we liked and that was in ”Pristine” condition so we went South of the border and zoned in on the Southern states of Texas, Arizona and California in order to ensure the car had NO RUST, since that seems to be a big issue with both provincial and federal level of governments in Canada.
At the end of April, we found this one in Dallas, Texas at http://www.streetsideclassics.com and started negotiating the purchase.
After some back and forth on the price we agreed on a number we could live with and started the process of sending it North.
Street Side Classics was very helpful. They recommended a local independent car inspector and a transport company. Due to some storms and a sick wife (so many stories there that I will not bore you with), it took a couple weeks for the car to get inspected and for us to get a report for insurance purposes. When we finally obtained the report, I sent it to our insurer in Montreal who then informed me that he also needed the car to be evaluated by a GAA (Groupement des Assureurs Automobiles) approved evaluator in Quebec, but I will get back to them later.
The shipment company put me in touch with the customs broker and after a lot of emails, phone calls, paper exchange via more emails AND payment, car was being shipped from Dallas. I requested many times to have the car arrive on Monday May 28th, so I could deal with it AFTER Thing 1’s marathon but of course, Thing 1 received a phone call on May 23rd saying the car was in a truck in Ottawa and en route for Montreal and could she be there for reception. They even brought it into the garage at their condo and Thing 1 covered it with one of the special covers I had made to order and had shipped to her.
I arrived in Montreal Thursday May 24th, looked at the car but did no deal with it until Monday, the day of the CAA inspection and this is when this car put my patience to the test.
The guy who brought the car into the garage the previous Wednesday night had told Thing 1 that the battery was not holding the charge and that I would have to get a boost and drive for an hour to charge up the battery. With that info in mind and my inspection appointment at 1:15 pm, Monday morning I had the car boosted by CAA and off I went for a joy ride through the streets of Montreal. Let me tell you, you get a lot of looks, thumbs up and whistles when you are driving this car with the window down. After an hour I stopped to fill up because I was running low on gas. After I filled up the car wouldn’t start again. Some guys who were admiring it helped me push it into a parking bay and I met another car enthusiast who helped me start it so I could take it to the inspection center. When I got there and I could not start the car on my own, Bob the inspector said, ”I won’t waste your time inspecting this. First you need to go get a new battery. I know a guy in ville LaSalle, Roger, he can do this for you.” So we called, Roger had a battery for a 1968 Ford Mustang and off I went with the car on a CAA flatbed to get a new battery. When I arrived at Roger’s shop more car enthusiast came out of the woodwork to look at the car. The bodyshop guys couldn’t believe the condition of it. They were under the hood, took video and pictures and asked me if I was going to show it at some car shows. I’m like, ”First I need it to pass inspection and then get license plates for it!”
Everybody was taking pictures.
I got a new battery and was able to drive back to our condo and get a parking tag for our new “old” car to sit in our underground garage.
The next morning I had the GAA guy show up and look at the car. Remember, I need his report in order to get insurance in Quebec. He took pictures, went gaga over the car and 15 minutes later I paid him $225 (cash only), and he told me he would send me a report overnight. So now we are Tuesday lunch time and Thing 2 and I drive to CAA inspection garage in order to get this car inspected. Bob who sent me the day before to see Roger about a battery said I could go back for an inspection at 1 pm. Thing 2 and I we’re leaving for the cottage after this inspection.
About 20 minutes in the inspection, Bob comes out and says, “we have to stop because there is a problem.” My thoughts in my head, What NOW?”
Someone in Texas was dyslexic and had inverted the 01 on the VIN # to read 8F10C139239. Bob said, for all we know, this car is hot and we can’t proceed. You need to get a new title from Texas and a new F1 because you have the same VIN # on your customs form so you will have to go to Canadian customs in Old Montreal and ask for a new F1 form before you can come back and we proceed. Oh and by the way, there is a new Disc break kit and I will have to send pictures to a CAA engineer and he will have to look at this and give me his okay to move forward.”
I went back home, called Dallas, explained my situation. They were very apologetic and said they would send a new title with the correct VIN # overnight by FEDEX. I had to leave for the cottage, I was meeting all bunch of people to do things so I just put a cover on the car in or parking bay and left it there to deal with it on Friday.
We received the new title on Wednesday night and Friday morning I went back to customs and after telling my sad story to the customs agent, she went into an office and made me a new F1 form. In the meantime, the car got insured and we could drive it legally in Quebec even though it had Texas plates until June 26th. Bob at CAA could not inspect the car until Monday morning at 8:30 am. Peter arrived Friday night and Saturday morning, he and Thing 2 drove the car to the cottage and had a blast. This is when the name Shimmer came about. With its gold color, these two readers of some fantasy series came up with ”Shimmer”. The car is named after some woman who is a hero in one of the many book series Daddy Cool and Thing 2 discuss all the time.
Monday morning we left Shimmer at CAA and they kept her overnight. Tuesday, I had to take Shimmer back to my new favorite mechanic, Roger, for some minor adjustments. While Daddy Cool and Thing 2 were watching Deadpool 2, I got the minor adjustments done and the car was finally approved. WOOHOO!!!! ( I got excited too quickly)
Wednesday morning we were at the SAAQ bright and early and the mission was getting Shimmer plated! After they found Daddy Cool’s file in their system, the SAAQ reactivated his file. They looked at all the paperwork, we had everything, well, we thought we did.
The license plate was sitting there, the SAAQ attendant is typing away and then she looks up and asks us, “How much does the car weigh?” Thoughts in my head, “WTF!!!” Polite response, ”Don’t know, it’s not on the inspection papers?” Nope. While she phoned her supervisor, Daddy Cool looked for the weight on Google. The head office of the SAAQ will not accept something from the internet. We have to go get the car weighed. Thoughts in my head ”ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?” Polite response (with fake smile), ”Where do we go for this?” She did not know. Nobody knew. So I phoned Roger who was not there since it was his birthday. So now I know that Roger my favorite mechanic celebrates his birthday on June 6th (DDay). I then phoned Bob at CAA and he said,”Really they need that info? We don’t have a scale here but you can go to DJL construction on St. Patrick street”.
I am going to finish this post by saying we went and got it weighed, paid another $20 and went back to the SAAQ with the weight certificate and finally got Shimmer some plates. Thank goodness she is in Pristine condition.
That night we were at U2 concert and I kid you not, who walks in to sit right in front of us with is wife, ROGER THE MECHANIC! He was there for his birthday. I introduced him to Daddy Cool, we discussed Shimmer and now on top of having a fun car to drive around the country and get thumbs up and whistled at, we have a GREAT MECHANIC.
And now that I have gone through this process, Daddy Cool and I are even for the Marathon Du Médoc!
Daddy Cool driving Shimmer inn Bromont.
Thing 1 looking great when going out for dinner in Westmount.