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THE CHAMP

PART 2 of Last Month's "HOT COCOA" Feature

by Aaron Tritschler

My father’s name was Jules Tritschler. He passed away just 3 days after Christmas 2021. He had been fighting for his life with Covid in the Veterans hospital here in Tucson, Arizona, for 67 very long days. My father was a huge car guy. After serving 8 years in the Air Force it was his time to go on his new journey. 

He opened a salvage yard named Arizona Desert Specialties in 1984 in Tucson, just 3 years after I was born. It grew to 10 acres over time, with just about every muscle car and truck you could imagine. I remember as a young kid watching him rebuild classic cars in the garage while also cutting quarter panels off salvaged cars to save another one that was in need. 

My father and I had a very tight bond. While attending the University of Arizona my father asked for help at his salvage yard and that was the beginning of a life long partnership. I sold the project cars and trucks while he was busy hunting down the next cool vehicle to bring home to the yard. It was always a blast going with him on these buying trips or get aways. Especially when we would find a rare car like a GTO Judge, Hemi Cuda, or a Super Sport Camaro. 

My father taught me all his knowledge of how to treat people, how to hunt cars, and what it takes in life to be successful. After working for my dad for 9 years, I had my one and only child, Austin. He was a blessing beyond belief, and his grandparents welcomed him with joy. Austin would spend a lot of time at a very young age, often coming with me to work. He especially liked playing with carburetors and engine parts while dad and grandpa worked. Fast forward some years, and now you have the three of us all together working on classics. 

Around 2015 I fell in love with C10 trucks, after many years of owning muscle cars. I owned several and my dad was fascinated at the amount of time and work I would put into these machines to bring them back to life. One of our favorite things to do together was to get the stance and wheels just right. We both agreed that this is truly what makes a car or truck. 

The 1987 R10 came into my life unexpectedly. My dad and my son both loved the truck. We spent countless hours working on it together. Polishing its glistening billet wheels and near flawless single stage paint. Countless hours were spent in the garage talking about life while working on the truck. My Dad and I would take it for test drives around town, or just to go cruising together, as this was one our most favorite things to do. I didn’t know that in October of 2021 that would be our final ride in the ‘87 R10 together, as he went into the hospital just a week after our last cruise. 

Dad, my son, and I were known as the “3 Amigos”. We all had love and passion for The Champ (the ‘87), which got its nickname for going on a streak and winning several shows in a short time and all that it was entered in. Most recently the Goodguys southwest nationals, Rodders Days, and The Reunion show to name a few. Unfortunately, I was going to these shows without my Dad as he was in the hospital. Every show The Champ won I dedicated the trophies and plaques to Dad, hoping he would wake up to see them. 

Unfortunately, that didn’t get to happen, as he had a turn for the worse in December, and passed away. My son and I took the truck to his services. It was shining bright that day in January and I know he was smiling down on us, knowing that he was a part of this special bond that Austin and I will carry on with the truck. We miss him dearly and not a day goes by that we don’t think about him. We will be dedicating all the awards the truck wins to him in his honor. He instilled in us the love my son and I have for cars and trucks. We miss you Dad! 

I would like to shout out to the C/10 Club Tucson, as they have been there for me throughout my hard times. They are true family. I would like to thank Phillip Barrentine and Christopher Nocella for their support and friendship. I would like to thank Mike Quigley for helping me dial in The Champs suspension just right and putting his magic touch on the paint before shows. I would like to thank Dania Miranda for giving me the strength and support in my goals. I would like to thank my family and friends for having my back. Lastly, I would like to thank my son Austin for being my copilot and my strength. I love you kiddo. 

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