Archive for the ‘Real Hot Rods’ Category

DSC02091 (1024x768)You, faithful reader, may have noticed that it’s been awhile since there’s been an update here at “Cool McCool’s Garage”, and you’re right.  It HAS been awhile, almost a month.  There’s been lots of activity here, lot’s of new stuff, some of the old is gone, and there’s been some well deserved R & R.   We’re feeling a little guilty about not keeping up, so we’ll try to catch up with  a little recap of the past few weeks activities…

The second weekend of August found the staff of “Cool McCool’s Garage” at the third “Relix Riot” at the Gilmore Car Museum right in our own back yard.  In addition to seeing all our friends, some of the coolest traditional hot rods and customs in the mid-west, we were surprized and thrilled to have the ’51 Pontiac Tin Woody chosen as “Coolest Surf Wagon”.  It’s not a “judged” show, the awards are chosen by the guys in the Relix car club on the basis of what they think is cool.  That they picked our work-horse wagon, hauling the Spartan, really means a lot.  Plus, a totally cool vintage board, complete with shark-bit marks, was the trophy, a great addition to the shop wall!  It really means a lot, thanks guys.

Here’s a little snap-shot of some of the other great cars there this year…

The weather was perfect, the cars are first-rate.  There’s huge competition for attendance at the show, as the Woodward Cruise is the same weekend, but to have the chance to hang with our friends from the Relix, camping on the grounds, seeing over 300 seriously cool hot rods at the Gilmore sure beats being stuck in traffic on Woodward, paying $50 to park, don’t you think?

From the Riot, we went directly to the state park at Gun Lake for two weeks.  This was a “working” vacation, as we, the staff here at “Cool McCool’s” had to all go back and forth to our day jobs.  That didn’t mean we didn’t have a great time.  Being there mid-week meant that we had 3 or 4 days of an almost deserted campground before it started to fill up for the Holiday (Labor Day) weekend crowd.  We did some “chill’n and grill’n”, enjoyed cocktail hour daily (sometimes starting at noon or before!).   We had the Chris Craft out, had some great moonlight rides, did some skiing and wake-surfing, and just idling around the lake-shore.  We were also treated to the company of our  friends Kirk and Donnell of “Crafty B” fame, joining us in there newly polished Airstream Land Yacht.  It was two weeks of fun, family and friends, and left little time for keeping up the web-site.

Here are some pics of the two-week stay.  We’re sure you’ll see why we had no time, or inclination, to set down at the keyboard!

So, this gets us up to Labor Day, and the need to get back to the real world.  We’ve been working hard having fun, and in fact just spent this past weekend camping at the Fort Custer State Park in Augusta.  The Spartan is unpacked, and awaiting a thorough clean up before we head over to Milford for the Tin Can Tourist Fall Meet at Milford in two weeks.  Meanwhile, the Nats North is next weekend in Kalamazoo, and there’s big news about the Cool McCool’s Garage stable of cars to report, but we’ll save that for another days news.

Meanwhile, the shop watch-dog Ari, is on duty, and there’s work to be done.  Stay tuned!

So, why DO I spend all this time, effort, money and energy on cars, searching for and acquiring things?  This answers the question for me.

I was working on Kim’s treadmill, which is (for now) in the garage, between the two doors.  This yard sale bargain today ate the rear roller, and we found one ebay for 29 bucks.  That, and a belt are  on the way, and while working on it, I stopped for a moment, looked around and snapped these picks.  

It’s pretty cool, I think, to have all this stuff, and even cooler to have built it all, including the  garage it’s all in, myself. 

Life is good.

Is that my Grandpa with Kim?

All those days spent polishing the trailer, putting new air shocks on the car, hours spent scrounging thrift stores for the perfect get up are over, and another great May weekend with the TCT is nothing but a  memory.
Kim and I had, again, another great weekend thanks to the hard work of Forrest and Jeri Bone, their son Terry and his wife Michelle, who again hosted what has to be the  best vintage trailer gathering in the country.
We rolled in Thursday evening about 5:30, a little late for the chili cook off, but not too late to visit and have a cocktail with some of our old friends already there.  We got the trailer up on the pad without sinking into the mud, unlike our friends Kirk and Beth a couple of spots down, who had to get a 4WD to pull their car out and park the trailer.
Friday we spent catching up with friends, and making new ones.  There were many new people there this year, and the variety of campers there was amazing.   Everybody has a story to tell about their trailer, and I really enjoyed meeting some of the new people, and hearing their tales.  Here are a few…

Is that DeNiro with Marilyn?

Baron and Teri Leblanc brought the “Starlight Lounge”, a 1955 Pontiac Chieftan motor home.  This thing was found on Craig’s List rotting away in a field with no engine and trans, but that didn’t stop them, no sir.  They could see the late 50’s cool through the dirt and decay.  Baron had a 302 Ford and automatic setting idle, and dropped (GASP!) into the old Pontiac’s engine bay.  Then, they spruced up the dilapidated interior  ’60’s lounge lizard style, and went camping!  Cuba Libre, anyone?

Their first TCT trip was last September’s fall rally, but it won’t be their last.
Phoneix rising.John and Debbie Dingman had planned on bringing their early 60’s Fleetwing to this springs meet after having a great time at last years fall rally, but an arsonist changed their plans.  The trailer was torched in their driveway, and was a total loss along with their truck.  John, a pastor, found that their insurance policy only covered items owned by the church (they live in their church’s parsonage), and the trailer turned out not to be insured.
It’s said that when one door is closed, another is opened, and this turned out to be the case.  They found their Royal Mansion on Craig’s List just three weeks ago, made the deal, and are now happy campers in this spectacular original trailer.  Their truck, a church owned vehicle, was covered,  John and Debbie now have a new insurance agent, along with a new trailer!
Mike Fontana was there with a stunning ’48 Ford coupe, and a ’65 Bee Line.  He bought the trailer from a friend, whose new wife refused travel in the X-wifes camper, so Mike made an offer and the Bee Line found an appreciative new owner.  He lives just down the road in Wixom, and vows that by this fall the coupe (powered by it’s original, but hopped up, Flattie) will be equipped with a hitch to tow the Bee Line.
Steve and Mellisa Reed bought a 1960 Shasta for a hundred dollars, and thought it was a pretty good deal.  The next day, he bought 5 scratch off lottery tickets, and one of them was a hundred-dollar winner, so they figure the trailer cost 5 bucks.  Jackpot!
Chris and Jan O’dell are Milford residents who’ve been coming to the open houses for several years.  This year, they brought their own trailer, a ’66 Bee Line “Wasp”, and towed it with their cherry ’63 Impala.  They also have a ’57 Chevy 2 door post sedan they will probably be sporting a hitch as well!
Glenn and Linda Parrache came all the way from southern PA with their beautiful ’57 Silver Streak Jet.  Glenn incorporated some ’55 Pontiac Silver Streak trim in the interior, along with other “Jet Age” styling cues, to set the beautiful trailer off.  They hope to be back as well.
McCool and the GangFriday night, I was convinced (after a couple of glasses of wine) to serve as the auctioneer for the TCT trailer auction.  The happy (?) new owner was a little discouraged as he thought I was ignoring his bids, but really, Bob Merideth kept immediately out bidding him! Congrats to Brian Lossing for sticking with it, ignoring my admittedly limited auctioneering skills  and getting the winning bid on the little canned ham.
After the auction, “McCool and the Gang”, made their first, and hopefully LAST, TCT appearance.  There is a reason guys don’t usually stand in front of a band and sing, and this is it.  I’d be embarrassed, but, really, Mike Greene made me do it…

Two classy dames ready for a night on the town.

Saturday was the open house, and official “show”.  Kim had fun giving tours of the trailer in her late ’40’s garb.  She said I looked like my Grandpa, but I don’t think he had a goatee.  Lot’s of people dressed in period clothing, from the ’30’s to the 70’s.  We had a ball, and everybody seemed to enjoy it!The suspender gang.

Kids, don't try this at home.

Under the Big Top on Saturday night, Alexander Kensington and that Dangerous Beauty, Charon Henning, entertained with their sideshow act.  Fire eating, sword swallowing and contortion, they make it look like childs play, but don’t try it at home!
In addition, they’re TCT members and had 66 Airstream Safari at the show.  It was great to see them peform again for us.
We’d packed away the awning and lawn chairs before the rain on Saturday night, so we didn’t have wet gear to stow, and got a pretty early start what turned out to be a beautiful Sunday morning.  It’s always sad to leave, but Vicksburg, the Gilmore Red Barns Show, Port Crescent, and the Fall Rally back in Milford are right around the corner.
See you there!

So long for now!

A picture is worth a thousand words, right?  If that’s true, a thousand words without a picture is sort of wasted, which is what I realize the last post was.  I didn’t show the actual riser I made, so here’s a remedy for that.   The upholstery looks winkled because;

a)  It’s not attached to the seat foam, just laying on it, and;

b) I had to trim the foam a little to narrow the cushion.

  I’ll simply add a little poly batting behind the leather, and pull the cover tight and attatch it to the plywood base I need to add.  Batting will crush when the doors are close, but fill out the cover when the doors are open.  The seat cushion needs a base frame, to hold it in place in the sheet metal pan.  The battery is under the seat, where it was originally, so the cushion has to be “loose” in the frame for access when service is needed.

Here’s a shot showing the Guide turn signal I saved from the ’48 Pontiac…

…and this one showing the really cool Diamond T horn button, which I’ll have my name engraved into.  When ordered new, Diamond T engraved the owners name, after the words, “This Diamond T custom built for…”  Pretty sweet!  Thanks to “Banjeauxbob” from the HAMB!

I amaze myself sometimes…

 This is pretty cool, if I do say so myself.

So, there they are.  I should hang out a shingle and make these things, huh?

I’ve always like engine turning, and try to have some in all my projects.  It’s fun to do, looks good, and people seem to like it.  I’d made a gauge panel for it last winter, but due to a layout error, it didn’t fit the dash properly.   Not thinking, I rolled the bead on the perimeter mark, which made the panel 3/4″ to wide, and the bottom hung of the edge of the dash.  Duh.

So, inspired by my buddies Roadster’s Auburn dash insert, and some photos I took of Auburns and Dusie’s at the Gilmore Museum this past summer, I designed and made some new inserts today.  Like the Diamond T Deluxe cab dash, I made side panels to match the center panel, and did a machine finish on them all.  The bead rolling went much easier than I’d thought, I was able to make a raised bead on the polished stainless, and have nice crisp corners.  I like ’em!

I decided to make the pattern a little bigger than the original one, and used a bigger mandrel to make the swirls.  Hard to get in the corners, but the mounting screws will take up the blank space, and it’s under the deep “eyebrow” of the Auburn-like dash anyway, in the shadow.

The gauge layout will be the same as this, with the speedo and tach on the outside, the four smaller gauges in the center, and the blank area in the middle will have the light switch, wiper control, dummy choke and throttle knobs, and ignition switches.  The new panel is much crisper looking than this one, and I laid the pattern out better.

Ok, forget the gobbeldy-gook and seemingly meaningless symbols and click on the Youtube link to see what Hot Rodding is all about!  (I thought the clip was longer, I’ll do better next time!)


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It’s official.  I am a bad influence on otherwise productive and motivated people.  I have a long, long list of things I have to get done, both on my Diamond T project and things around the homestead, but instead of doing any of those things, I unloaded the ’36 from the trailer and went for a long ride.  Not only did I spend all day goofing off, burning fossil fuel, but I also dragged my buddies Dennis and Matt away from  their work.  Which, in retrospect, wasn’t really that hard!

We hung out at Dennis’ shop, where hopefully he can get the fingerprints and drool I left on the aluminum interior panels of his RPU.  Then lunch at a little diner in town, and cruised around taking pics of our two dissimilar, yet somehow the same, old Fords.  

 Nose to nose.

“Are they kit cars?”

In front of the track at the Ionia fairgrounds.

Worlds coolest leaf rake.

“The Wall”.  Ionia State Prison.  Matt was a little freaked out about pulling the cars onto the grass here, and we all thought it best to shoot and run before we attracted any attention.  Like they’d be hard to spot as prison break get-away cars…

Keep your eyes on the road, and both hands upon the wheel!

It was a GREAT afternoon, many thanks to my friends Dennis and Matt, for playing hookey from  “The Ionia Rod Shop” to enjoy a beautiful November afternoon in two roadsters.   I don’t think we could have spent the day doing ANYTHING more worthwhile or productive!