William T Gholson loves cars as much has loves his hometown,
His love for both his town and anything automotive shows in his fifteen-year
career as a car parts distributor in San
Antonio. He has worked on cars his whole life,
starting with a 1965 Ford Falcon he bought from his neighbors during his junior
year in high school. It took him six months to rebuild the engine from scratch
and give it a new paint job. When the car was nearly as good as new, he started
driving it. He drove it for the next twelve years and even proposed to his wife
Jean in the front seat. William T Gholson still remembers the Falcon fondly.
Ford produced the model from 1960 to 1970. Collectors are most taken with the
1963 model through the 1965 model, but Gholson, “didn’t know that at the time.”
For William T Gholson, his work restoring cars isn’t about
making money from collectors; it’s about the simple pleasure of coaxing a
previously dead engine to life with his bare hands. He still has mementos from
that first Falcon, which he sold in 1988: a few hubcaps and an old license
Gholson hasn’t given up restoring cars. He is currently at work on a 1966 MGB roadster that he hopes to restore to racing standards soon, and plans to take his wife Jean on a long road trip around the country. In fifteen years in the auto parts distribution business, he says he relishes any opportunity to share his love of cars with his town and his family.
He says that he has learned a thing or two about cars during his years in the business, and the even more years that he has spent around cars and car mechanics. “And if I’ve learned one thing, it’s that a new car is built to last about five minutes longer than the warranty is valid for. I’m not kidding.”
Be that as it may, cars wearing out keeps him in business, and William T Gholson is happy for that. He specializes in vehicle drivetrains, that series of parts and mechanisms that transfers power from the engine to the wheels. “The exact definition of a drivetrain is going to vary a little, mechanic to mechanic or engineer to engineer,” says William T Gholson. “But that’s the essence of it: the parts that transfer energy to the wheels.”
The basic components of the drivetrain, he goes on, include the vehicle’s clutch or torque converter, its transmission, the driveshaft, the universal, the differential, and the center differential. “Or if you’re talking about a four wheel or all wheel drive car, then the center differential or transfer case.”
William T Gholson says that when it comes to warranties, the terms “drivetrain” and “powertrain” are not interchangeable. A powertrain, he says, means the entire drivetrain including the engine. “A warranty will often says you’ve got a fifty thousand mile powertrain warranty and a hundred thousand mile drivetrain warranty. So if the engine blows up after fifty thousand miles, you’ll be stuck with the bill.”
William T Gholson - That ’65 Ford Falcon
William T Gholson loves just about everything that has to do with cars. He has been in the car parts distribution business for more than fifteen years, and is currently rebuilding and restoring an MGB roadster. He says that he wants to take it on a long road trip around the country after the work is done, and even enter it into a race one of these days.
Rebuilding and restoring automobiles is nothing new to William T Gholson. His very first car was a 1965 Ford Falcon that he bought from one of his neighbors when he was a junior in high school. “It needed a lot of work,” he says. “It was already ten years old, maybe eleven, and the guy I bought it from ran it pretty rough. He didn’t take very good care of it.” Over a period of about six months, he rebuilt the engine and gave it a new paint job until it was almost as good as new; he drove the car for the next twelve years.
That 1965 Ford Falcon has a special place in the memory of William T Gholson. “I proposed to Jean in that car,” he says, referring to his wife of more than twenty years. As he knows, the Ford Motor Company produced the Falcon from the 1960 through 1970 model years. “The 1963 through 1965 models are the ones that collectors are most interested in,” he says. “Of course, I didn’t know that at the time.”
William T Gholson sold his 1965 Falcon in 1988. “I still miss that car,” he says. “All I have left are a bunch of photographs.” And then he smiles mischievously. “And a couple of hubcaps. And an old license plate.”