I went to a local muffler shop the other day and got two 10′ sticks of 2″ exhaust tubing, and had them bend a 90 degree in one end of each.  I also bought two steel pack “resonators”, some chrome exhaust tips, and handful of clamps and hangers.

I hung the tubing temporarily under the car after welding the header flanges on, and fired it up.  It was evident that mufflers were going to be redundant, so, the car now has straight pipes.  I like the way it cackles under throttle, it’s pretty mellow going down the road, and, best of all, I did it myself.  I did put a little “bow” in the pipes by putting a 2×4 between the pipes and the frame in the center, and jacking the back up until the pipes hit the gas tank.

Now, on to the top.

…or so says Neil Young.  Kim has been asking me to fix the (tiny) rust blisters on the ’51 Pontiac wagons fenders for a couple seasons, since she got a Celebrity Choice pick at Autorama in Detroit with it last month, I figured I’d better get it done.

Of course, it was way worse than it looked at the surface.  Here’s how I fixed it:

img_4077img_4063-1
So, I made some new fender skirts while I was at it…

img_4261img_4257
And the doors were rusty too…


Now it’s ready for primer and paint.

Seriously?  It’s April 4!  This is not roadster weather!  28685851_10216425438251154_8388987590613026421_nActually, I don’t mind, because I’m not finished up yet anyway.  We have driven the car a couple of times, it has 20 miles on the odometer, enough to find a couple of little bugs that I’ve taken care of (the shifter selector shaft seal, and a radiator hose that wasn’t quite tight enough, which I fixed, but now the gas gauge isn’t working), and I still need to get the canvas on the top made and get it licensed, but, there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

28576339_10216407729968458_5737247408847131065_n

I had “Fly’n Brian” painted on the tail pan at “Motorama” at Cobo Hall, in a tribute to the cars original name, “Flying Flathead”,  where we debut the car. I’m very happy with that, although the casual observer won’t know the story.  I also got the set of steel ’49 Chevy wheels blasted and painted,  ad the wide whites (seen in the first photo) mounted, and I have to say I like that look.  It actually drives pretty well with the bias ply tires too, so, I think we’ll like it both ways.  The little 283 boils the skinny bias plus all the way through second, which it won’t do with the big, sticky radials.  Fun.

28468709_10216332675932154_3946276551140649998_n

We drove it to the Gilmore Car Museum before Cobo on a sunny March day, and I’ve driven my grandson Milo around the yard a few times.  He approves, and we’re looking forward to a summer of fun with this little roadster.

It’s gonna be a blast!

29694459_10211149046498424_3459442564557407764_n

img_4186.jpg

29789912_10216663014670416_7929033990538135304_n

27858557_10216240459586803_3952936189920213161_n

I’m “done” enough at this point to call it good, at least to take it to Detroit for the “AutoRama” in two weeks.  The interior is indeed finished, with the exception of hooking up the turn signal indicator light in the dash, and a couple of screws in the carpet to hold it in place.

You can see the black knobs for the safety latches.  Those were ordered from Summit a day and half a go.  Super fast shipping, and they’re pretty nice quality, certainly nicer than the barrel bolts I had bought at the hardware store…

27867397_10216240460106816_4347238288699030027_n

Yesterday I had cut and bound the carpeting, which is just an indoor/outdoor area rug I ordered from Home Depot.  It’s all synthetic, no backer, and I used bubble wrap “Reflectix” insulation rather than jute padding under it.  It should be very forgiving weatherize, and the chocolate color compliments the saddle interior.  And, it was $18.00.

Winning.

27752009_10216240690832584_264322075344497230_n

28166655_10216240690592578_1439144216708945599_n

In addition to the upholstery, I re-chromed (again) the rusty but repaired windshield frame, and got that installed, complete with the newly cut down glass.  I’m not particularly happy with the gasket, it’s so loose in the slot in the frame that I had to glue it in with some silicone, but it seems to be staying put.  I trimmed a little against the posts so the windshield frame snuggles right in between the posts perfectly.

From Home Depot I also bought a 4×8 sheet of white “FRP” plastic to make the trunk panels from, if I have time next week I’ll get the trunk upholstered and carpeted too, but if I don’t get to it, we’ll leave the trunk closed.  It’ll be a nice bonus if it’s done (I’m sure I will), but it’s not a priority at this point.

The big decision at this time is how best to title and register the car.  I like to title it as a ’34 Ford, but the cost of a title may be a factor.  Otherwise, an “Assembled” title would work, I’d have to put temporary bumpers and windshield wipers/washer on for that, so we’ll see.

See  you in Detroit in two weeks!

 

Today’s task was to go to AutoZone and spend my Christmas money on transmission fluid, wax, hand buffing compound, tire cleaner, wheel cleaner, fuses, and other miscellaneous stuff.  (Of course I didn’t get a three prong flasher, number one on the list…).  I added 2 quarts of trans fluid, and backed it out of the garage into the (almost) sun.  IMG_3668

It was then that I could see that I wasn’t done buffing and polishing!  The paint is single stage  urethane, and has fully cured, meaning it’s pretty hard.  I wet sanded it with 1200, then 1500, then like 4,000 on my DA, which left a pretty uniform satin finish.  Then I buffed it with 3M Heavy Duty Rubbing compound and wool bonnet, washed the car, and then used a foam pad and 3M machine finish glazing compound.  If I’d done all this when the paint was still soft, lets say within a week of shooting it, it’d have been much, much easier.

IMG_3670

As it was, I had quite a few “hazy” areas, that needed a lot more polishing.  So, out came the buffer, foam pad and glazing compound, and I hit most of the car again.  I also hand rubbed the character lines, door and hood edges, as I didn’t want to cut through the black.  I’d originally planned to intentionally cut through into the red-oxide primer beneath,  to make the paint look old, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do that.

Call me crazy…

Now however, I’m very happy with the results, the paint looks deeper, and has a somewhat “softer” shine, a bit less “plasticky” than the uncut urethane.   I got supplies to detail and spiff the car for its debut at AutoRama in Detroit in one month, like tire dressing, some Meguires liquid wax, spray detailer, wheel cleaner for (very hard to clean wire wheels), Armor-All wipes for the interior and so on.

 

 

IMG_3675

I ordered some little stuff for the interior, some welting, Common Sense snaps for the saddlebag style map pockets in the doors, vinyl tack strip, and metal spring clips to hold the trim panels on, as Kim hates using screws and trim washers.  I don’t mind that, but she is right, it’ll be a more finished look.

So, it’s coming down to the wire.  The car runs GREAT, it looks as good as anything I’ve ver built, it seems to drive OK, at least up and down the drive, the brakes and steering are tight and feel really good.

See you in Detroit!

Coming out.

Posted: January 24, 2018 in Hot Rod
Tags: , ,

It’s out!   A week ago I fired it up and drove it up and down the drive, a short trip but at the time there wasn’t any coolant in it.  I’d had a struggle getting an aftermarket swivel thermostat housing to seal, and ended up using a stock Chevy housing.  I’d already made a two piece upper hose, I just had to trim it a bit and rotate the bottom end to meet the stock housing.  It looks better too.

Yesterday I color sanded and polished the entire car, managing to not ruin the mediocre paint job and turn it into a fairly good paint job.  Now, on to the interior, which I have the (almost) matching saddle color vinyl for the door panels an other trim panels.  My wife had the idea of using waxed cotton duck for the map pockets I planned in the doors, a good idea.  She ordered the material, and it’s here, so we’re making progress.

Looks like “AutoRama” in Detroit in 5 weeks is a go!  The last time I took a roadster to the show using the ’51 wagon as tow vehicle in February they asked me to show the wagon, and brought home a “Best Wagon” award.  26734254_10215900573529864_4846526211666753433_n26731719_10215900573929874_62562354409401805_n26904724_10216018020265959_5778631264168061356_n

wiring

Posted: January 11, 2018 in Uncategorized

Found this blog by a young couple in Florida restoring their Spartan Manor. Great job guys!

mind your manor

This is the area where the credit goes to my brilliant spouse. He studied various wiring diagrams and researched everything we’d need to turn our aluminum box into a functioning home away from home. He was able to teach himself how to wire the entire camper and then actually wire the entire camper in a little over a week.

The first thing we did was sit down and draw a diagram of the camper and talk through where we wanted switches, what kinds of lights we wanted (dimmers or normal, pendant or recessed, etc.) and then made a shopping list. The recessed lights were the first thing we decided we wanted in each room. The difficulty though was that the ceiling space in the camper is very limited compared to what you’d have in a home. So we knew we would need something low profile that didn’t require a bulky…

View original post 652 more words