the TOASTER, a 1972 Barth

was found on ebay, located in southern California just south of temecula. the seller originally listed it as a 1977 with a ford engine and later it changed to a 72 with a chevy 350. getting good information was not an easy task.

seller provided us two new batteries and a new water pump. they said they thought it would easily make the trip to temecula where I could easily find a pro wrench to install that WP.

we got about a mile up the road and the rattling WP quickly became very loud and the temp quickly shot up. I pulled over as the steam started to come from below.

I called my wife back in Santa Cruz. a quick Internet search yielded a 24 hr roadside wrench. but they were all booked up until 7 in the morning. luckily the chase vehicle was towing my teardrop camper. we made haste for the temecula valley wine country where we camped for the night.

in the morning we sped back to the toaster where we had breakfast while the pro wrench became black from the grease. he emerged from underneath several times and moaned, "this is not easy". but he worked steadily and twisted in several awkward positions and finally at 11:30 he was done. that was $350 well spent.

the kids had no idea of the stress the whole thing was causing me. they were loving the toaster and they just figured we were camping there on the side of the road while the wrench fixed the engine. they jumped squealed and ran around the inside.

my wife really wanted us home ASAP and did not want us to need to return once again. so my idea of just dropping it at the nearest mechanic became a plan for us to get on the road and drive as far as we can. so we drove and we drove...


we stopped every few hours and we avoided the LA area and hwy 5. our journey took us up to an elevation of over 4 thousand feet. the dash mounted altimeter gave me something to look at while we climbed up at 40 mph. I was surely not the slowest vehicle up and the shoulder was littered with cars and trucks that had overheated. we just kept on keepin' on. we then drove through the Mojave area and saw some giant Joshua trees.

we got cold refreshments near the James Dean memorial by where he crashed his little bastard porsche. Toaster's starter decided to take a break at this location. I crawled under and whacked the side and found a loose ground strap. it started right up after that. from there the trip was easy and we soon found ourselves on hwy 1 and a short drive up to Santa Cruz.

the gamble on the 72 barth has ended well. I'll take it to a local trusted wrench just to get the mechanicals freshened. I've got two giant three ring notebooks to read. the original owners kept extensive notes on their equipment and the trips they made in it.


I plan to polish it up all shiny in airstream fashion. then you'll surely see why we call it the toaster, that and it was a bit toasty driving through Bakersfield. outside temp was 103 degrees but the engine temp never exceeded halfway. oil pressure also stayed a constant 45 on the road and 25 at idle.