That you can take something that doesn’t work and get it working — that’s pretty gratifying.
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Eugene Richter was on his way to rescue and restore a massive classic pipe organ when he decided this was it: today would be the day he’d seek out factory rear swaybars to help his Chrysler Town & Country better manage heavy cargo.
“I was headed to another auto parts place I’ve been going to for 20 years,” Richter said. “Driving by, I saw your sign. I hoped to see if I could find a swaybar — I had no idea I’d actually get it today. And now, here I am underneath this van.”
Richter’s dad owned some old ’70s Dodges, and from the age of five, he was always around to help keep them running. His mom would find him underneath the car — “Those things leaked like a sieve,” Richter recalled — and that’s where he first found his love of putting parts in a car and making it work again. How, then, did he graduate to room-sized music instruments?
“One day, somebody said, ‘I’ve got an old electronic organ, wanna take it?'” Richter said. “Then, I went to an organ recital and really liked what the guy played. It just kinda went from there. I have a full-size organ console in my basement now: that’s a virtual organ run by a computer. It actually plays the pipe sounds. I’ve collected several organs — some of them I just take for the amplifiers and speakers. Some, I’ve just taken parts. I have quite the parts collection.”
Home Yard: Pull-A-Part of Cleveland.
Today’s Project: I’m going to be using this van to move a pipe organ. I’ll be towing a big trailer. I drove my sister’s and noticed it drove much better with a swaybar. I thought, “If I can pick one up for $50, it would be worth it.” Here, it’s going to be way less.
Why Pull-A-Part: Other yards always take the parts out, and you pay for it. They just go out with a torch and cut the entire frame part out. Then, you have to put it in your vice at home and tear it apart anyway. This setup, I think, is really cool.
Quite honestly, I’ve always wanted to climb around a junkyard, but never had the opportunity. So I find myself here wrestling parts out of the car to fix it myself.
Favorite Car: Probably this van, actually. It’s so versatile. You can fill it up almost full with drywall. I’ve put a basketball hoop in it. It’s just been a great car. I’ve put about $2000 into it over the years, which I think is great.