Life’s a beach, or, maybe it’s just my driveway…

Posted: April 22, 2010 in Hot Rod
Tags: , ,

After a month of nothing happening on the Diamond T pickup, I got started yesterday with the sandblasting, the first step in the painting process.  I rolled it outside, the first time it’s been out of the garage in almost 2 years, and began blasting the frame and cab.  Normally, I have a project outside as much as practical, as I like working outdoors, but this has been garage bound ever since I rolled it to get it out of the weather.   It’s been inside ever since.  Time to get out in the light!

I like to be able to stand back and get a perspective of the proportions, especially with a project like this, where I’ve built 2/3 of the body.  It’s hard in the shop, impossible actually, to get far enough away from it to see if it looks “right”.  I spent so much time getting the dimensions and shape of the box to get the look I wanted, and then the rear fenders and running board, all done inside, right up close.  Happily, when I pushed it outside and stood back, even without the front sheet metal on, the proportions and overall look are just right.

I was surprised how well the really scaly, rusty front crossmember, cannibalized from the G20 Chevy van I bought as a donor (and then abandoned the engine/trans for the “new” 6.0 LS engine) cleaned up.  It looks pretty good, and will be ready to paint with just a little more clean up.  Plan at this point is red frame with black on the suspension pieces, using implement enamel from Tractor Supply.

The firewall and cowl will be painted with this same material, as well as the undersides of the fenders, hood and grill shell, in an effort to save a little $$.  I’ll use the same color, but in basecoat/clearcoat, on the exterior.  The less expensive enamel is a little more forgiving for suspension and underbody parts as it’s less brittle and doesn’t chip and scratch as easily.  Did I mention it’s a little less $$ too?

I was disappointed to find some pinholes in the driver’s door and lower cowl after blasting them.  There weren’t even any blisters in the paint, so I’m glad I chose blasting as the medium to strip the cab. 

So, now I have to figure out how to, by myself, pull the box off for access to the rear of the chassis, and to finish up the welds on the box framework.  I think I can hang it from the ceiling at one end, and pick up the rear with the cherry picker, then roll the truck out from under it.  Once that’s off, the entire floor of the cab is removable, and I can blast the whole chassis, and floor, with the truck together and on its wheels.  That’ll be easy.  The cab floor is also the seat base, which is adjustable to by moving the entire floor forward or back, it locates on pins at each side of the cabs sill, and locating holes in the floor/seat base.  When the seat is moved forward, the floor moves away from the back wall of the cab, leaving a gap the entire width of the cab!  That must have been nice on a hot day on dirt roads!

For now tho, I’m happy to have made this little progress.  The work is going pretty fast, and other than the little rust issue on the door, no surprises.  It looks good, and will be ready for body work and paint pretty quickly.  The box looks GREAT, the lines and proportions are just what I was going for.  It’s nice when a plan comes together.

In other news, today I’m picking up the brake drums and shoes for the new rear axle under the wagon, and will get the brakes rebuilt.  The driveshaft is at Lane Floria’s shop getting a new rear yoke to mate to the axle, which should be done this week.  That can then go back together, as it’s going to be towing the trailer to Milford the third weekend in May for the TCT Spring Meet.  I’m confident it’ll be a HUGE improvement in the car’s performance and driveability.

Also have to get the ’36’s front seats finished up for next weekends “Conqueror’s Car Show” in Lansing.    The backs hadn’t been padded nor upholstered, and I’m working at that.  Made some sculpted foam backs, and now have to cut and stitch the leather cover, and mount it to the aluminum seat back with some lift the dot snaps.  It’s MUCH more comfortable.  I’m kind of conflicted about having to agree to display the car there, as it’s taking up the entire weekend, which is also Kim’s birthday.  I’m sure going to a three-day car show is just what she wanted for her birthday!  Well, she seemed enthusiastic about going.  I’m sure we’ll find something fun to do in Lansing other than hang out at the Lansing Center at the car show. 

More later…

  1. kkulesza says:

    Very McCool! I had an epiphany reading your blog. It seems that life’s rewards are in creating something. You create “hot rods”, Craig creates music, and I’m in the process or re-creating myself. And even better we all get to blog about it, thanks to technology! Great blog…I actually understood most of this one too. 😉

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