Archive for the ‘Antique trucks’ Category

Busy couple of weeks here, getting the winters dust off the Spartan, rebuilding the Diamond T’s brakes, and incidental aggravating things like a new battery in the wagon and a shorted fuel management module in the lawn mower.  

So, the work is done, we’re waiting for the weekend with our Tin Can Tourists friends!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from Cool McCool’s Garage, where we don’t just wear green, we DRIVE it!

I have been stressing about whether I ‘ll have the Spartan done for this summer,  feeling frustrated that I can’t seem to get anything done.  Then, it occurred to me, as I drove the GMC to the hardware store, that I DO get things done, it’s just that some of the things I do are silly and and take up too much time, and that I may underestimate the time and expense a project will gobble up.

A case in point, and one of the reasons the Thunderbird  and Rivera aren’t  done, and that my Hot Rod Fund is now empty, is my ’76 GMC dually.  This thing has eaten up spare time, project money, more time, and more money, than I care to think about.

It started 4 years ago when I sold my rusty ’00 Silverado, and decided to unearth the GMC from the barn at my dad’s where I’d abandoned it 20 years ago.  We bought the truck, with a 23’ Diamond REO camper on the extended frame when I was selling cars in ’83.  Some guy traded it in on an Escort, and I bought it.  We camped in it, my folks drove it to Florida, but we stopped using it in the mid 90’s, and it had been driven in the barn and forgotten about.  I needed a pickup, to haul stuff in, pull things with, and here was one, all I had to do was dust it off and go

Easy, right?

When I got it out, it started on 20 year old gas, although it ran pretty poorly and smelled awful.  The camper came off, the frame was shortened, I bought a box from Texas, a new hood, patched up the cab corners and shot a unifying coat of Arctic White enamel.

This summer,  after three years of abuse, it got 6 new 16″ tires, new wheels, stainless hubcaps, a new stainless exhaust, and a 3.75:1 rear end to replace the 4.56’s (in a futile attempt to help the abysmal fuel consumption).  The 454, with 22,000 miles runs like a watch, the transmission (after a new governor gear) shifts crisply, I’ve got a plow for winter and camper for summer, so I should be all set for a hauling needs for another 2 or 3 decades.

Maybe now I’m done spending money, and it’ll last another 2 or three decades…


In the Cadillac building, a beautiful recreation of the Cadillac approved Art Deco dealership building design from the late 30’s.

Since my hip replacement a little over a week ago I’ve been going over to the Gilmore museum every day for a walk.  I’ve graduated to being able to use a cane, rather than walker, which is good,  although it does make me rather sore later on.  Going through the museum at my forced slow pace enables me to notice things I’d normally breeze right on buy.  My visit yesterday was focused on the Model A museum.  I admit I’m not very enthused about Model A’s, particularly in stock form, but the versatility and adaptability of this humble depression era car is amazing.  From family transportation, to marine, medium duty truck, and even aircraft, the reliable little Model A kept America moving during the tough 30’s, into the 40’s and 50’s, and continues today as restored and hot-rodded little Fords are still going strong.

A break in the still open “Blue Moon Diner” was a welcome stop for a root beer float.  The museum was very busy, but I managed to belly up the much counter and get an empty stool to enjoy my float.

Stay tuned for more hip replacement recovery, rehab and fun.  I’m hoping to be able in the next couple weeks to be able to a little light work on the Spartan trailer project.  For now I still need to use a cane or walker, but as rapidly as this seems to be progressing I should be back at it, at least in a limited way, pretty soon.

Thanks for visiting, see you next time!

I’ve spent the past two days on the Del-Ray and GMC pickup. New tires on the truck, fender wells and exposed frame sandblasted and painted. Camper cleaned, birch paneling oiled and polished, counters and backsplash scrubbed, stove cleaned, floor scrubbed. We need to make the curtains and wash the windows, but it’s close to getting a big “DONE” stamp!










IMG_4881 The Del-Ray tuck camper is officially DONE! Well, Kim is going to make curtains , but it’s “campable” now. New cushions , new water system , bathroom re-skinned, toilet working , new mattress, fridge checked, windows and roof re-sealed and caulked. The GMC, designated beast of burden has new dually hubcaps, there’s a complete new stainless exhaust waiting to go under it, so other than the steer horns going on and plow frame coming off, it’s ready to go. We’re ready for adventure!

The crew here at Cool McCool’s Garage has had a VERY busy October, but we haven’t gotten anything done on either the Riviera or the T’bird. Instead, we’ve been camping, soaking up art in Grand Rapids at “Art Prize”, and took a trip to Las Vegas to visit our son Craig and his family. He and Kathleen recently got engaged, and we are excited to have our family grow!

While we were with Craig and his family, we drove to Burbank California, and visited our niece Meghan and her husband Ron, and got to meet their daughter Maren. She’s beautiful, and we got to hold a baby! As luck would have it, their home is only a mile from two great hot rod shops, “Hollywood Hot Rods”, and “Old Crow Speed”, so Craig and I took a few minutes and got great tours at both shops. Sadly, for me anyway, the ’59 T’bird under construction at Hollywood Hot Rods, inspired by the same artwork by Eric Black that got me to chop the top and cut up the quarter panels on mine, was out for paint, so I didn’t get to see that.

We’re back home, and today got some long overdue fall household maintenance chores taken care of, and I fired up the motor home chassis, pulled it around to the garage and stripped it of some wiring and am going to (finally) pull the 454 and Turbo 400 tomorrow at the shop at my dad’s place. It’ll be good to have that thing gone, I’m planning scrapping the chassis to help generate some cash to replenish the Hot Rod Fund, which was depleted with the purchase of the 5.3 LS motor and 4L60E trans we just picked up for the ’63 Riviera.

There are plenty of warm sunny days ahead (I hope) this fall before snow flies and the woodshed is full, so we’re ready now to get back at the T’bird, get started on the Riviera, and keep busy during the winter months. It’s gonna be a busy winter!

Stay tuned!

On the road to Milford and the Tin Can Tourists Fall Gathering, late in September.

On the road to Milford and the Tin Can Tourists Fall Gathering, late in September.


Joe Dirt meets Dog the Bounty Hunter.

Joe Dirt meets Dog the Bounty Hunter.


I picked up this hot chick!

I picked up this hot chick!


My favorite from "Art Prize"

My favorite from “Art Prize”


Bellagio in LV, where we got a private VIP tour to the cupola!

Bellagio in LV, where we got a private VIP tour to the cupola!


Hot Rod heaven.

Hot Rod heaven.

Of course, we found a brewpub, this one in Boulder City,  a favorite of ours when we're out there.

Of course, we found a brewpub, this one in Boulder City, a favorite of ours when we’re out there.


Old Crow belly tanker.  These guys have the coolest stuff...

Old Crow belly tanker. These guys have the coolest stuff…

Our beautiful great niece, Maren.

Our beautiful great-niece, Maren.


Craig and Kathleen, at Getty's Center in Hollywood.

Craig and Kathleen, at Getty’s Center in Hollywood.


The Rivieras new power plant!  5.3 LS and 4L60.

The Rivera’s new power plant! 5.3 LS and 4L60.


The Riviera, patiently waiting for it's new heart.

The Riviera, patiently waiting for its new heart.

Faithful readers will remember that for reasons known only to myself and an excess of disposable income, last summer I bought a mid 60’s “Del-Ray” truck camper.  Why, I have  hard time explaining, but it certainly looks neat in the back of my GMC dually, and it might actually get used someday.

We had it stored for winter in my Dad’s shop, whose roof a couple of weeks ago partially collapsed from snow load.  In order to clean up and rebuild, I had to get the camper out, and it’s now setting in the back of the GMC,  with the plow on the front and chains on the rear tires for plowing.  As it’s setting in my driveway, and the weather was decent today, I made a trip to Home Depot, spent my Christmas gift card money, and got some vinyl trim to finish up the new ceiling I’d put in last fall.

I’m happy with the results, and while I need to figure out how to finish up the front windows and get a couple more sticks of trim, it looks really nice now.   Still on the “to do list” is the center cushion for the booth, mount and plumb the new water tank and demand pump, and some “Panel Magic” or “Liquid Gold” on the cabinetry and paneling, but it’s useable and looks pretty cool now.

What will we do with it?  Well, a trip up north would be fun towing the Chris Craft, and we certainly could use it for camping and some short trips, but I really haven’t figured out what we’ll do with it once it’s finished.

I’m sure we’ll think of something.

The mighty "Del-Ray" Imperial 90.

The mighty “Del-Ray” Imperial 90.

From the bunk, looking rearward.

From the bunk, looking rearward.

Ceiling trim.

Ceiling trim.

Looking up from the door forward.

Looking up from the door forward.



The dinette.

The dinette.

DSC04853 (1024x768)Every lady likes a sexy new pair of shoes, right?  This one is no different, even if they are a decidedly un-ladylike size 17.   She was wearing a set of hand-me-down Michelon 24575R17’s, and while they had lots of tread life left, they were 6 years old, and kind of wrinkly, run down at the heel, and needing some polish.

A while back, I scored a set of brand new, never mounted BF Goodrich in the same size, load range E, at a yard sale for $200.  Not only was this a complete set, but it was a complete set of 5!  Figuring that was roughly the cost of one tire, I snapped them up, and they’ve been waiting for this moment to be tried on.

Like Cinderella’s slipper, it was a perfect fit, and the princess is now set free!

I was a little uncertain I’d like the rather aggressive tread, more like a work boot sole than a sexy pair of Jimmy Choo’s, but the old girl wears them well.  They look aggressive but not intimidating.  Sort of, “Take me home, big fella, and if you’re lucky, I’ll leave my shoes on”, kind of thing.

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Since I had 5 tires, I made a call to our local wrecking yard, “Go Go Auto Parts”, and scored a matching Dodge 3/4 ton wheel in a polished finish, and had the extra tire mounted up on that.  The beautiful part of this is, that while it’s a hassle to carry a spare in the bed when traveling, the Spartan has the same wheels.  So, one spare fits all.

And, I have to say, it looks pretty bitch’n in the box.

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So, the lady is now completely dressed, and ready for the dance.

Wanna Rumba, anyone?

DSC04508 (1024x768)It’s the Mummy!  No, wait, it’s the Invisible Truck!, No, wait, it’s just the Diamond T swaddled in masking paper to repaint the damage caused by the Lokar neutral safety switch!

After a VERY frustrating morning getting a quart of color (the body shop supply place who mixed the original paint is out of business, nobody now carries that line of paint, the code on the can wasn’t cross-referenced in ANYBODY’S chart, requiring me to go home, pull the tailgate, and have it scanned for color), but I finally started painting about 1:30.

It went really well, or at least, until I got to the clear, when I hung a curtain in the fender.  It’s OK, I laid plenty of clear on top so I’ll be able to sand it out and  buff it (That’ll buff right out…), but otherwise everything looks great.   Perfect match on the color, which, if I’d had the GM truck code I think it’s a 2005-6 color, probably wouldn’t have matched, as the color as scanned met NO existing formula.  I got it now though.

I spoke with the good folks at Hagerty between coats, and a check is in the mail for the damage.  I’m VERY happy with that, and while I’d rather have not had to have done all this extra work, at least it’s covered.

So, Thursday I hope to get it all put back together, and we’ll start driving it.  I can also sand and polish the fender, and get started on the rest.  It’s all going to be OK.

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