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Featured Member of the Week: Blabajif

Blabajif in a classic JEEP engine

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m 18, currently in my first semester of college and about to join the Air Force. I have always enjoyed working on cars and bikes and just started taking them to shows.

How did you first get interested in this hobby/passion?

My dad really got me interested in cars because he’s always had an interest in them too. He would take me to car shows when I was younger and we’d go to the races all the time.

Blabajif's Mo-Peds

What Rides do you currently own?

I currently own a 1978 Batavus Regency VA II, a 1978 Batavus Starflite VA II, a 1979 Ford Ranchero 500, and my daily driver, a 1991 Jeep Wrangler in a constant state of disrepair.

What do you like most about your Cool Rides?

I like that they aren’t things you get to see very much of anymore, especially around Illinois, smack dab in the middle of the rust belt. I’ve only ever seen two Batavus mopeds and I now both of them. I have only seen a couple of Rancheros, and none of them a 1979, which was the last year they made them. You see a lot of El Caminos, but very few Rancheros.

1978 Batavus Regency

What is the best memory you have with your favorite ride?

I don’t pick favorites. So, here’s my favorites for each of them:

Ranchero – Picking it up for the first time. It was originally my grandfather’s truck, and I still remember when he had it shipped to us from California. I picked it up from the train station with him and my dad 10 years ago.

Starflite – This was my other grandfather’s, and my dad used to give me rides on it when I was young when we’d go and visit.

Regency – The first time I got it running. I had never taken something that came to me not being able to run at all and gotten to make it into something really cool.

Jeep – All of the times driving down the road on a hot summer day with the doors off and the top down. There really is nothing quite like it.

Ranchero

How do you store your ride(s) during infrequent use, and what maintenance tips can you provide for readers?

Both the mopeds are simply stored in a shed behind my house during the winter. They are really extremely low maintenance. I just run the carburetors dry and put them away. The Ranchero just gets parked in the garage and is actually used fairly frequently. My dad uses it to haul a pop up trailer and goes camping with it quite frequently during the spring summer and fall, and we use it to haul firewood and mulch. It isn’t in a really restored pristine condition, so we still very much use it as a work truck. Plus every time my jeep breaks down I end up driving that. And anybody that knows anything about Jeeps, especially old YJ’s, knows that that happens quite frequently. The jeep, like I said earlier, is my daily driver and is always used.

What was the first car you ever owned?

My jeep is my first vehicle. It’s my baby and, for some strange reason, I will not get rid of the rusty, unreliable, hard riding thing.

Jeep Wrangler

What is/was the BEST car ever made?

My all time favorite car would have to be the 1970 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda. If I ever find one that I can afford, I will buy it in an instant.

What is/was the WORST car ever made?

The Oldsmobile Alero.  I joke about how often my jeep is broken, but I have never seen something break down as much as I have seen these things break down, especially in the last model year before Oldsmobile went bankrupt. I don’t know if anybody else has had a different experience with them, but everyone I know that has ever owned one has never been able to keep one running for more than a month at a time. I will continue to bash the name of Alero every single chance I get.

1978 Batavus Starflite VA II
How did you first hear about the Cool Rides Online website?
I was at a show somewhere and I got a card in one of those goody bags they give out when you register.

Is there anything else you’d like the Cool Rides Online members to know about you?

All total, I probably only put $25 into the Regency. That includes the paint job, which is actually only done with a couple cans of Rustoleum and a pair of Halloween themed pantyhose (See descriptions in pictures for full details). I got the bike for free. It hadn’t run in 20+ years, the engine was seized up, and the paint was horrible. I got the whole thing running and looking great in less than two weeks. I look forward to hopefully getting it titled and bringing it to shows next spring.

1979 Ranchero

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