Sunday, February 3, 2019

My 2018 - Car Shows - Classic Cars - New Friends

Over the past 6 years of living in Colorado, I think I had one of the best "Car Show" years in 2018. So many big things happened last year for me.

I met a guy named James McGraw. If you haven't heard this name before, which it is highly likely you may or may not have heard of him. To you, he is just a guy I met this last year. To me and to so many others in Colorado, he is the guy that lives in Monument who went on to the show America's Got Talent a few years ago with the Yellow Designs Stunt Team. 

I'm sure you are asking, "Why is this important?" Well, when I was introduced to him at my wife's show in Monument, we started talking about cars. He owns a Vinyl and Window Tint shop in Colorado Springs called Touch of Shade. I thought, hey, that's pretty cool. He likes cars. Then he started telling me he owned a 1959 Ford Fairlane (Pictured Below) and an all original Lincoln Continental.

1959 Ford Fairlane

Touch of Shade at Old Colorado City - 08-19-2018

Now, here is the where it gets fun for me. After he realizes I am into cars as much as I am, I begin telling him that I'm the President and Founder of the Aaron Kaufman Fan Club and that I am a car blogger called Sgt. Car Man. We have an instant bond and begin talking cars and car shows. Since he runs a business, he usually has some challenges with getting all of his cars to the shows he attends. So he asks me if I would be willing to drive one of his cars. Of course I want to! Are you kidding me!? An opportunity to get behind the wheel of a classic car. So, he asks, will you drive my 1964 Ford Econoline. The one pictured above and the one below.

I end up driving this sucker starting around 5 am. He tells me as I pull into the drive way...the automatic transmission shift is literally a nats ass type of a shift. One small nudge and you are in reverse, even more of a nudge and you are in Neutral, then another slight nudge and you are in drive. The driveline of this thing is outrageous. Every moment I drove this thing, I thought something was going to break. Thank goodness nothing happened. In fact, it was one of the smoothest rides I have ever driven. I learned a lot about the "art" it takes to drive a classic like this. We get so spoiled with cars today, it's amazing how far we have come with technology in mechanics. 

So this is just the beginning to my adventures with James McGraw. It gets a lot more exciting as the rest of the year goes on. I couldn't be happier to have met such a cool guy. I'll share more of my stories from last year over the course of the next few weeks. Trying to get this page back up and running again. 

Be sure to leave a comment below! Stay tuned for more! 

Thursday, August 31, 2017

My Review of Discovery Channel's New T.V. Show: Garage Rehab

I beat myself up almost every day. I heard about this show debuting on the Discovery Channel. I distinctly remember, driving through Dallas, TX over a year ago, seeing different garages and realizing each of them had the same issues. Junk every where, disorganized, using parts and systems not for the right jobs just to make ends meet. The potential was out there. If there was a show or an investor who would do Garage Rehab the same way Jon Taffer does with Bar Rescue, there would be a real market for that out there.

Then, I saw a call out on the Discovery channel. They were looking for new T.V. show ideas. So, I decided I would write in my idea. I'll be completely honest, the only thing I remember is going to the website, typing up my idea, hitting the submit button and that was it. I cannot say whether or not my idea actually went through because I don't remember ever seeing an email confirmation. Something that showed up and says, thank you for your submission. To be perfectly honest, I remember having the idea, and saying I was going to submit it...but after that...I really don't even know if I actually did or not. My wife to this day swears that I did because I had a conversation with her about it. So, who knows if I did, I can't remember, but I feel as if I did. The only thing I can say is...I'm stoked the network decided on creating a show around this premise and putting in the one man who knows the business and the money, Richard Rawlings.

So now that I have essentially made a fool of myself, I finally got the gumption to actually watch the show. I had several mixed feelings about it at first. Is Richard Rawlings really the right guy to put on the screen and do this job? Will he be able to keep this a show longer than a year? Is he going to venture out to other states and cities? Detroit? St. Louis? Bowling Green? L.A.? I originally thought it was going to fail quickly because of Richard being the front man. He has no real wrench time that I know of. I read his book and it was all about making money, buying...flipping...and selling cars for profit...repeat. Then it was him wanting to jump in and race. This guy was living his legacy and he didn't even know it then. I will say, after seeing the show, I realized he was the PERFECT personality for this. He has the style, over 16 years of Gas Monkey Garage and countless other years of experience knowing how successful business deals turn out.

Richard Rawlings just oozes cool when he is around. The best part is he tells it how it is. While it may seem like a joke for a brief minute, he gets straight to the point, he identifies the weaknesses, assesses the risks and takes action. If the risk is too great, he either backs out or does what no sane man would do, buys in and hopes for the best. Thankfully, much like gambling, you have to bet big to win big. That is definitely what he is doing with these rehabs. I'm happy to see he is putting his time, money and resources into taking potential businesses, flipping them and giving the average trade skill hard working American citizen hope, ambition, empowerment and a taste of success that will keep them living longer and happier. Richard said it perfectly, it takes "ambition, drive, and know how..." to really be successful in a business that will quite literally never depreciate. Unless we get some wack job politicians that ban the use of fossil fuels altogether and ultimately says cars are illegal...but I highly doubt that will happen in either of our lifetimes.

Garage Rehab should give shop owners across America a glimmer of hope, if they can get his attention, provide the right foundation for potential success, Richard will be there to invest and turn it around to make money back. I truly hope this show lasts a few seasons. I truly hope shop owners see the show and reach out to Richard and his team of experts to change their livelihoods and put trades back on the market for this younger generation to consider as an opportunity for success.

Personally, I would love to see Richard go the extra step in the future with the employees. On S1E2, he had the young guy in the shop, which said he wasn't very skilled. I would love to see him invest in the personnel, send them off to a Welding Shop for a few weeks, or a Metal fabrication shop. Possibly even donate scholarship money to a specific school to help improve the knowledge and skill of employees. Knowledge is power...empowerment by a leader equates to success. Knowledge equates to confidence in the ability to strive toward success and reduce stress. Success equates to quality of work and quality work turns into a positive reputation. Develops a story, improves the legacy, and builds a foundation among people which will echo in time. Of course, to put it plainly, Success also equates to dollar bills...the green...the money.

I truly admire Richard's ambition for this show, and it definitely sheds a different light on his personality. Great job at Discovery Channel for bringing this show on, giving Americans who truly work hard some hope and putting the perfect person in charge of a job like this.

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed my review. Be sure to follow me on Instagram @sgtcarman! You can find me on Twitter from time to time as well!

Take a look at the last episode where Richard tests the capability of the shop employees.
 Can this shop even perform the basics?

Sunday, August 20, 2017

My Jeep Wrangler YJ Project

A couple of years ago, When my wife and I moved to CO, my father in law told me about how he left everything behind in Colorado. He had to make a decision, which also meant he left his family too. When he left in 2005, he parked his 1988 Jeep Wrangler YJ at a friend's house in Bennett Colorado. They moved it to a barn, hoping he would come back for it someday. After years of never having enough money to fix the repairs needed to get it driving again, it sat and never moved from where it was left last. The mice had there way with it. Mice had essentially turned it into their own fornicating domain.

The main reason it was left, he thought the clutch bit the dust. He could never get the $250.00 for the parts or the money to pay for the repairs. So I decided after several conversations, I would take on the task of at least getting the Jeep back in the possession of family. I said I would take on the repairs myself if he wanted me too, since I wanted something to work on anyway. I ultimately wanted to get it running again for him. Once I got it in my possession, the truth became very clear. It was going to take a lot more than a clutch to replace to make it road worthy again.

Somehow the fuel tank got punctured. 

The soft top has unique designs from train and snow drying out the top and cracking. 

Thankfully, a key was left in the ignition

Interior definitely needs a deep cleaning.

Sunburn windows

Remnants of my father in law's belongings. 

Tires have good tread but are terribly dry rotted.

Engine bay covered in years of filth.

Chrome looks great!

Tattered and torn from mice making a nest out of the material

Typical barn find filth inside.

Since I have taken on the project, I replaced some major components. I put on a new Clutch Master Cylinder since it was bone dry and even after fluids I couldnt get it to hold. You can find all of the work I do on my DRIVN page:

I have also replaced some dry rotted fuel lines and learned the fuel pump was shot. 

I will update this blog as I get more involved. At the moment I am out of commission because I had surgery on my left shoulder. But, ill be back in business soon enough! 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Building My Brand

It's been a busy few months. Since October of last year, my Wife has given birth to another baby girl, which now makes 3 girls for me, I left for Officer Training School in March and graduated in May, My family moved from Colorado Springs to Commerce City (my wife was 9 months pregnant and moved our entire house and unpacked it all by herself while I was at training), now I have left home again to attend another set of training from June to October. With that said, I have gone from being a Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) to a Commissioned Officer in the United States Air Force. So what does that mean? Well, when I started the blog, I was a Staff Sergeant and then I was promoted to Technical Sergeant, so Sergeant Car Man was the appropriate thing to name my Blog. I decided to take a leap, trade in my stripes for bars and now I'm a Lieutenant, So now it throws off the name of the Blog a little. Which leads me to a conversation I have had a few times. Should I change the name altogether or stick with Sgt. Car Man because I have already established the Brand?

I have basically answered my own question so far. I want to keep the name the same. I started this as a way for me to build something that would show my love for the military, my passion for cars and my hobby of writing. It's already recognized by a lot of people and some pretty regular people who are on T.V. have also seen the name and have reacted to posts I have shared. If I changed it now, I would potentially confuse people who currently follow me and I could lose some followers. I served 11 years in the Air Force so far, and every minute of that time I was an Enlisted member and reached the rank of Technical Sergeant. I feel like my prior enlisted experience still legitimizes my name and ultimately created the foundation for the future of Sgt. Car Man. I think it just makes my story that much more interesting and hopefully I can create a legacy and a new era within the Automotive Enthusiasts industry.

CHEERS!! To the future of Sgt. Car Man and to the Followers who support me on this adventure!

#sgtcarman, #buildingmybrand, #militarylife, #USAF, #unitedstatesairforce, #sergeant, #lieutenant, #colorado, #ihopeimadetherightdecision

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Cutlass Salon Time Capsule


Over the past few days, Mr. Michael Bullock has been sharing portions of his story about the 1977 Olds Cutlass he ultimately inherited from his grandfather. I know this man is humble, mainly because of how he originally approached me via email about how he wasn't looking for sympathy for the trials he has faced over the years. The only thing he wants done, is to make sure the story is told about his grandparents, and the love he has for their Cutlass. 

What can I say, that's a gentleman in my book. Also, that shows an appreciation for family, which I think doesn't really come until later on in life. At least, when I was younger, I always enjoyed spending time with my family. I definitely loved going to my grandparents house when I was a kid. I got to go home to Kentucky and hang out at my grandparents house, good home southern cooking by my grandmother early in the morning, the house was just filled with smells of bacon, eggs, gravy, fresh brewed coffee, toast...while also waking up to the fresh morning country air...listening to my Aunts, Uncles, Mom, Dad, Grandma and Grandpa calmly talking about the days before, then and now. 

But enough about my family, I feel that same kind of compassion for my grandparents in his way of explaining his story about his grandfather. They traded in a 74 Chevrolet in 1977 and bought the Cutlass brand new, at a whopping $7,028. After his grandfather purchased this car, he kept every living receipt on this car, from wiper blades to tires. 

It was a much different time in 1977, the average annual income was $15k, average rent was $240 per month, the cost of gas was a cool $0.65 per gallon. The new Cutlass Salon was considered an "upscale Euro-style luxury/sports sedan" and included upgraded suspension, radial tires, reclining bucket seats and dimmer switch. Of course, what really matters is what these sleeper ponies came with under the hood, all Cutlass models came standard with a 180-horsepower 350 cu in Rocket V8. Absolutely necessary to take advantage of every ounce of that 65 cent gasoline. 

Michael Bullock always wanted this car when he was younger. He remembers his grandfather being a great story teller and always making people laugh. I'm sure he had a heart of gold, and probably filled with a lot of southern charm. He shared a story of his grandfather, who was 82 at the time, when he was in Rock Hill, SC on his way home to Chester, SC. It's about a 30 minute drive between the two locations today. His grandfather had made a wrong turn on Interstate 77 heading towards Charlotte, NC when he was pulled over by a State Trooper doing 82. The State Trooper asked "Why are you speeding sir?" and his grandfather responded with "I'm lost and I was trying to get away from all these crazy drivers out here." The trooper was laughing so hard he said "Mr. Campbell, I have not laughed this hard in a long time." and the trooper kindly showed Mr. Campbell the way home without writing a ticket. 

For 36 years, Mr. Campbell worked third shift at a sock factory in Chester, SC until he retired at the young age of 65. Soon after his wild chase down Interstate 77, he was placed in a nursing home and eventually passed away in 2011. Michael says that Mr. Campbell was an excellent storyteller and a writer, about life and family with a Christian theme. 

Micheal Bullock now lives in Gainesville, GA, retired in 2013 with his wife and kids. Where his gentlemanship and his humbleness comes from is what he shared with me about his personal challenges. While he doesn't let his disabilities get the best of him, by staying active as much as he physically can, at the early age of 23, he had already underwent a fusion of L4, L5 and S1 vertabrae, two major back surgeries, three knee surgeries and a left shoulder surgery. I personally had no words to really express myself once he told me that. All I could think to myself is, Wow, to be so young, and to have so much work done has got to be a challenge. 

In 2011, he was diagnosed with remitting MS and fibromyalgia. He suffered from slurred speech, memory loss such as forgetting his childrens' name, and loosing train of thought during conversation. Along with this, comes with family challenges. 

I'm going to keep to his request to not dwell on his challenges and stick to the passion of the car. I met Mr. Bullock through the Chip Foose Fan Club web page. He shared photo's of the 77 Cutlass in hopes that maybe Mr. Chip Foose would see his car. I absolutely love how much Chip Foose gives faith in people. How much impact this man can have when it comes to family heirlooms like Michael Bullock's grandfather's 77 Cutlass. This gives me hope that people hold on to dreams, and important memories of family all because of the car that made them smile as a kid, the car that stories were told about by his grandfather that helps ease his mind while he lives through his challenges. When he looks at his own children and knows that one day, he will share the same stories to them, and i'm sure they will one day speak of them to their friends and family. Literally a time capsule of his family. 

As Michael Bullock always says when he signs his emails to me...

God Bless,

Chuck Ruffin

a.k.a. Sgt. Car Man

Be sure to check out my pages:

Join my Carspotting Group:

#chipfoosefanclub, #chipfoose, #overhaulin, #oldsmobile, #cutlass, #disability, #dreamcar, #sgtcarman, #southcarolina, #family, #christian, #humble, #cars, #oldsmobile

Monday, October 19, 2015

A Disability and a Dream Car


Imagine, you are 17 years old, enjoying life as you see it in the mid 80's, realizing that one day, when you turn 18, Adulthood begins. Freedom is just around the corner, the decisions you make have more meaning, have more to do with becoming completely independent. Now, you have the opportunity to sign up for the service, or put your name in the Selective Service, you can buy smokes, basically move out and have your own place. It's every young adult’s dream, to finally be an independent teenager. Who knows what is next, what are you going to do? Go to College? Move out of state? Cruise the countryside? The world is yours. 

But then, one day, all of that changes. You are riding your motorcycle and you get into a tragic accident. WHAM! You shatter your T5 vertebrae in your spine, now you are a paraplegic from the Chest down. That's what happened to a good friend, Tim Graves, in 1987.

If you don't know what that is, here is what I could find on:

Thoracic vertebrae are located in the mid-back.

Thoracic Nerves (T1 – T5)

·         Corresponding nerves affect muscles, upper chest, mid-back and abdominal muscles.
·         Arm and hand function is usually normal.
·         Injuries usually affect the trunk and legs (also known as paraplegia).
·         Most likely use a manual wheelchair
·         Can learn to drive a modified car
·         Can stand in a standing frame, while others may walk with braces

You would think that being paralyzed would be difficult enough. Especially being so young, all of those great opportunities you dreamed of are now not as easy to accomplish. Being handicapped in the 80's is much different than it is now. More organizations exist for disabilities, better technology to help with getting people around in life, and vehicles are much easier to drive today than they ever have been. 

Well, Tim's challenges were not over. As all American men do, we dream of having a family one day; finding that special someone and marrying her to spend the rest of your life with, someone you connect with. Tim found that with his soon to be wife he met in 2010. Two years later, he was able to go to the Philippines and meet her and her family. It was a time for him to finally be more than happy. 
This is the time where his dream of getting back in his 1983 Oldsmobile Cutlass starts to become a challenge. On his trip back home, he was transitioning to his wheel chair and ended up getting his rear end stuck on the brakes. With paraplegic’s, this type of event, where it could cause any bruising on a body part that doesn’t regularly move, can be devastating and turn in to a much worse injury. He initially didn’t see any immediate bruising, but a few days later it developed. He had to complete his journey back to the United States, which comes with an 18 hour flight. Sitting down that long, his bruise slowly blistered, then burst open, turning in to a deep tissue wound under a pressure sore she size of a softball.

Over time, the wound began to heal, and it shrunk in size, but the healing stopped and now it was time to seek medical attention. The surgeon’s decided to do a muscle flap surgery which ultimately made him completely bed ridden. Plus he had to stay off of his rear end in order for the stitches to not break and for the surgery to heal properly. I think this kind of commitment would even be a challenge to someone who isn’t paralyzed from the chest down, let alone, someone who solely relies on his upper body to move the rest of him.

While he inevitably faced an uncomfortable and stressful time healing and being completely bed ridden, he was also dealing with lawyers to help get his newly found love to the U.S. He spent most of his time on video chat with her while his lawyers looked for ways to get her a legal Visa to travel so they can finally be married. Thankfully, some mild luck finally fell into place, they found a way to get her a K1 Visa, meaning she could come to the U.S. but in order for her to stay; she would have to get married to him within 90 days, or face deportation back to the Philippines. His wound has still yet to heal, the visa went through in October 2013, and then, by December 19, 2013 they got married.

From reading the story he shared with me, it seemed that this is where things started to look up for him. He was married to someone he loved, and finally had someone he could spend quality time with.  Of course, life still has its daily challenges, and responsibilities. He lives in Southampton, PA and in 2013 there was a lot of snow that came down that year. While transitioning from bed to his wheel chair, he tore 2 tendons in his left rotator cuff, now even limiting his abilities even further. Not only does he have to still heal from his wound on his rear end, but now his shoulder damaged, and doctors cannot perform surgery on his shoulder while his wound is not healed due to risk of serious infection that could be life threatening.

While his daily challenges are quite the obvious, it makes me personally never want to complain about having a hard day ever again. I find myself with daily life struggles just like every other American…never enough money, how am I going to afford anything between paychecks, my vehicles need maintenance that are beyond the savings or income I have, my daughters are sick, my wife is sick, work is really pressuring me to finish these projects on time, what if I miss my deadlines, I’m going to be late to a meeting, do I have any time for myself.

Which brings me to the story of his 1983 Oldsmobile Cutlass, he purchased the car in 1991 all stock with hand controls. In 1991, he worked in a machine shop, spending most of his money on modifying his car. The Cutlass has a 468ci BBO, UMI tubular adjustable upper and lower control arms front and rear, QA1 coilovers up front, all new exhaust system 3" , 50 series Flowmasters, X pipe, Electric cut offs, Hooker Super comp headers, Phoenix th350 2500 stall, 3.42 rear, 12 bolt posi, Procar bucket seats, B&M Hammer shifter  all auto-meter guages, grant steering wheel and many more modifications. Needless to say, this thing is a beast, just waiting to be unleashed to the open road again.

Unfortunately, with his permanently damaged shoulder he cannot transfer in or out of the Cutlass because it sits 6 inches lower than his wheelchair. He jokes to me in his email that there isn’t a wheelchair that has a 6 inch lowering kit, maybe this is something that some wild machinist or car enthusiast will work on someday…a lowering kit for wheelchairs to help with disabled to get in and out of their lowered cars. Ultimately, what he would love for it to have is a suspension system high enough so he can use a transfer board to get in and out without any help.

When I hear about his want to get in to his muscle car, the first thing that comes to mind is Dan Short, #Fantomworks, on the East Coast, building his Chevelle to support wounded veterans and making it wheel chair accessible with a built in ramp. Now I don’t know, it might be a long shot, but if he can build a car like that, imagine what kind of possibilities would open up for Tim Graves.

Now, living with his wife, and his Parents who are in their 80’s struggling with challenges of their own, his only wish is to be able to finish the car before his parents pass away. I can see why Tim Graves is such a fan of Chip Foose and Overhaulin. Chip Foose puts a lot of beautiful touches to his cars, he is compassionate, and he knows that the effort he puts in to every car he touches will be appreciated by that person for generations to come. If I were Tim Graves, I would long for Chip Foose to come to my rescue as well, so I could at least live decently knowing that my other love in life is complete.

Thanks for reading my story today…If you like what you see, and appreciate what you read, leave a comment below. Share this with your friends, family, and fellow car enthusiasts to spread the word about his story. I know he has a lot more to tell about it, and I’m sure as I get to know him some more, I’ll keep learning about it myself.


Chuck Ruffin

a.k.a. Sgt. Car Man

Be sure to check out my pages:

Join my Carspotting Group:

#chipfoosefanclub, #chipfoose, #overhaulin, #oldsmobile, #cutlass, #disability, #danshort, #fantomworks, #southampton, #pennsylvania, #dreamcar, #sgtcarman

Sunday, October 18, 2015

When Bad Things Happen to Nice People


This one comes to me as a request to help him spread the word about his 2001 Dodge Durango. It's not my usual classic car highlight, or modified car, this one is just a run of the mill standard daily driver. It's just a daily driver, to Jeff Sigman, it is his life, his transportation to help with his needs, it's something that i'm sure he probably feels as if his luck is just running out. Maybe everything is just crashing down on him all at once. 

Jeff owned a 2004 Chevrolet Trailblazer that had the transmission go out on him. I'm sure everyone knows, if you don't have 1. some kind of warranty 2. know how to fix it yourself 3. have the capability, tools, and space to fix it  or 4. the money to buy the replacement parts, and transmission is a deadly cause of a lot of cars. It's the step where you almost have to give up. He didn't though, he gave it a shot to get it fixed, ran great for about 2 more months, then it gave up on him again. Even though he knew the transmission was out, he knew someone needed a vehicle to get around, so he lent it out to someone who drove it for a while, and then the worse thing happened; the engine blew. 

Thankfully, some light was sort of shed at the end of the tunnel for Jeff. A friend of his said he would trade Jeff for a 2001 Dodge Durango. Straight up, no questions asked. He went with the deal, what was he supposed to do? I'm sure his finances were already hurting and this is his friend. His friend had explained to him the Dodge had some knocking noise. His friends have insisted that he needed a new motor. I don't think that is the case just yet, which, i'm crossing my fingers that a little bit of my googling research may help him and his friends find a solution and get this truck running for him. 

I took a look at this YouTube video.

I also read the description of his video, which it seemed to be somewhat accurate. I don't know if these engines are notorious for this sort of issue or not, but he seems pretty adamant this is the issue and not to waste any money on other parts. Here is his description:

This is a 2000 Durango Sport it has the 4.7 engine. The truck had a loud knock so decided to take the engine apart and found a dropped valve seat. This is before getting a new valve seat installed, valve and new lifters. if your engine has a similar noise do not waste your money on new coils, plugs or injectors; these engines are known to drop valve seats. Please be respectful and do not post any rude comments; if you have any questions feel free to comment. Enjoy the video
What I haven't mentioned about Jeff is what kind of person he is. He is just like the rest of us hard working American's. He is 45, disabled and lives in Parkhills, Missouri.

I hope the word gets out a bit about Jeff Sigman and his 2001 Dodge Durango.

If you like what you have read, please visit my other pages that I have out there! Also, if own a project car, have a story you want to share with me, email me at I'll be happy to work with you and write something about you, your car, and your story!