Way back in 2008 is when Studie finally got road-going for the first time – just 24 hours before I would jump inside and drive alone across the desert from LA to Vegas to take her to our to our first car show, Viva Las Vegas. I went entirely alone that year. I didn’t have car friends, I wasn’t from the car world – it was just my car and I off on our first of many grand automotive adventures.


Me at Viva Las Vegas with Studie in 2008

That wasn’t my first time at Viva, just the first time with a car (which adds SO much fun!) I grew up in Las Vegas and got hooked on swing dancing while traveling to check out colleges. During those years (I’m totally dating myself,) Viva was a newly formed and much smaller event. I remember dipping over to the Gold Coast and walking to the top of the parking garage where all the old cars parked before there was an official car show. Although I was a long way from having a classic car of my own, I loved looking at them. Now in it’s 19th year, Viva Las Vegas is an institution. People come from all over the world to converge on the city of sin for a long weekend each April for the best in rockabilly music, fashion, partying, and of course cars.

5.VLV Car Trip 2011 Driving

Ethan driving Stude for the first time en route to VLV ’11.

Which brings me to “Operation Viva.” The past two years I’ve gone to Viva without my car, a couple years before that my car club traveled there together. That was the first year Ethan went along (and the first time I let him drive Studie) while we were still only dating. He and I have never actually been to a car show with both of our cars running. Sure, there was the co-project of ours, the mad rush to get Falcon ready for Mooneyes which we drove there together. But my Studebaker and his 1957 Ford are our “real” cars. With my “Operation Stude” work truly coming to completion and his ’57 Ford project newly brought over to our shop from it’s long-standing position parked in a driveway, we’ve decided to commit to “Operation Viva” and get both cars ready and road-going in time to both drive to Viva Las Vegas 19, April 14-17th.

We’ve booked the hotel room, bought the full weekender VLV tickets, and registered for the car show… this is happening! The deadline gives us procrastinators a good swift kick in the ass to get into gear and get stuff done. Here’s what’s on both of our to-do lists:

Kristin’s 1955 Studebaker


  • Change transmission
  • Fix carb linkage
  • Change cam
  • Final tuning
  • Fix brake lights

Ethan’s 1957 Ford


  • Remove engine
  • Gasket and finish building 5.0 Ford engine
  • Insert new wiring harness
  • Insert and connect engine
  • Paint and re-attach front fenders (possibly paint car)
  • Check brake system and fix as needed

I’m sure there’s some additional tasks belonging on both these lists, especially Ethan’s! Think we can get it done in time??? We’re sure going to try! And hopefully I’ll have a little extra time to sew a couple of outfits and perfect hairstyling of my new middy cut… because wardrobe planning and primping is an essential ingredient for any vintage gal headed to Viva!

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Who else is going to VLV16?!? Leave a comment and don’t forget to include what you’ll be driving!

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