Chris Flannery lives in the Virden area and is a passionate enthusiast when it comes to finding and fixing the older 1970s cars.
“When I’m in a demolition derby, I find them to be a tough car and the parts all interchange with lots of the models,” says Flannery. “They are not as specific as other cars.”
He says he prefers them to other classics, and feels they handle well on the roads, even though they are a big boat of a car. He adds that he uses the same two or three engines and transmissions when he runs in the derbies, and does what he needs to do to get them moving around again.
Flannery says he sometimes has to fix the brakes and replace the tires to get them ready. He did find a car that he cleaned up, repaired and got road-worthy by just changing the wheels and tires, just for eye appeal.
“I have been looking for a two-door version of the same car I cleaned up,” says Flannery. “It seems like they might be hard to find.” Flannery feels these makes and models may have been crushed over the years at junkyards simply because they are big heavy cars and would be good for that kind of scrap steel.
After a smash up, occasionally he is able to repair a used demolition car depending on the severity of damage. Sometimes it takes just a few hours of work to get it running again, but most of the time they are junkyard bound.
In order for the cars to stay “stock” when in a derby, the motors must be in the front.
Flannery says he normally enters four to six derbies a year.
“Fixing these old cars takes a lot of time and I get a lot of help from friends and family. I have about twenty cars in my yard right now and it’s kind of grown into a collection.” He admits that half the fun is finding them and collecting them.
Flannery uses a truck trailer and winch to load the 1970s cars he finds and the good thing about it is, he has enough other cars to salvage parts off of to get them up and running.