Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


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…

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Posted: January 5, 2018 in Hot Rod, Uncategorized
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It’s a relatively balmy 8.5 degrees F here today, which may seem cold to my warm weather friends, but if we keep in mind thats 3 X as warm as it was last night when I came in from the shop, it seems better.  The shop air temp warmed up pretty quickly to 50 degrees, but the floor, the tools, equipment and 4 cars remained a chilly 20 something, which made working not very pleasant, although it was acceptable with a sweatshirt and insulated boots.

Anyway, I got the headlights DONE!  I’m happy, and slightly impressed, with the job I did on the wiring harness.  Everything worked first time, the lights are very bright, the turn signals work (amazing), and I really like the amber glow of the park lights and turn signals.


The headlights are ’36 Chevy commercial housings, I added a base for Halogen bulbs, and a socket for 1157 park/turn bulbs.  The silvering on the reflectors polished up beautifully with a bit of Wrights Silver Cream, and the hole I initially drilled in the bottom of the left light was easily fixed with a stip of Gorilla tape to the rear, and a small circle of HVAC aluminum tape on the sticky side of the Gorilla tape in the hole.  Invisible behind the lens.  Which very proudly proclaims “Chevrolet” at the top, and “Tilt-Ray” on the bottom.

Just a little hint as to what lurks under the hood.


Forgive the dust on the car, look past the clutter, do what I do and just let this soak in.  It’s been a little over a year with this ’34, it’s gone from a pile of mis-matched reproduction and ancient, cast off parts to a roller, that’s wiring and upholstery away from being a car.  It looks exactly as I imagined when I started, which sort of amazes me every time I look at it.

And I go out to the garage and just look at it a LOT.


I won’t re-hash the build step by step, that’s already done here.  Suffice to say that I’ve learned a lot, gotten frustrated, done a lot of steps over, and put a lot of other stuff on the back burner to get this car to this point.  It’s a 40 year long fantasy fulfilled, that of having a ’34 Roadster.

I must say, I’m rather proud of myself.

I’m at the point now where I can imagine Kim and taking an evening cruise in the summer,  color touring on a crisp autumn afternoon, and a cross country trip with the rumble seat loaded with luggage.  Vague fantasy just a couple years ago, now just a few months of tinkering away.  Not that we couldn’t do all these things with the ’48 Pontiac convertible we’d had for 40 years that got sold to finance this, we did, and could have kept on doing those things with that car, but fate intervened and the “next project” beckoned.

imageOur friends Brandon and Liz from the vintage trailer group we belong to had tried (rather relentlessly) to convince us to part with the ’51 Pontiac wagon, but we weren’t ready to let it go.  They even came over to the house to try to convince us to sell it to them, but seeing the convertible in the garage, unused for three years, asked if we’d part with it.  We hadn’t considered selling it, and when we considered the pros and cons of keeping it, and doing the things I thought it would take to make me happy with the car, versus parting with it, having some extra garage space, and the chance to move on, it seemed like the right thing to do.

Brandon has done all things that I wanted to do to the car, it’s rewarding to see it used and enjoyed, as opposed to it gathering dust under a car cover.  I had “built” the car several times, there had been 4 different engines under the hood, several paint jobs, 3 interiors, and I wasn’t enthused about starting over with it again.

Sort of a “been there, done that” kind of thing.

IMG_7188.JPGSo, we’ve moved on.  I’m still using the T’bird as a work bench, storage shelf, and coffee table, and the Riviera hasn’t been touched for almost 2 years.  That’s OK.  Retirement is just around the corner4, and I’ll need some things to do.  The “heavy lifting” and big expenses are all done on both of them, it’s down to body work, paint and interior for both, the things I really like to do, so I think I’m set for activities to keep me busy, and have a pretty interesting collection of cars. when they’re completed.


So, this is where I am.  I’ve been invited to show the roadster at the Detroit “Auto-Rama” at Cobo hall in February, I should be able to get the interior and have the car wired for that.  It’s flattering to be asked, and would make a good debut, so that is a reasonable and realistic goal.

Now, I just have to stop going out to the shop, sitting in a lawn chair by the T’bird and staring at ’34.  Time’s a wasting!





A little progress on the Roadster today.  I trial fitted the windshield posts and frame, after re-tapping the threads for the pivot bolt.  Someone had re-tapped them for 5/16 coarse, the correct pivot studs are 5/16 fine on the w/s end and 3/8 fine for the wing nuts, so I brazed the holes full and re-tapped them.  I need to get new studs, as the threads are booggered up on both of them too, but those are cheap.

The only parts for a ’34 Ford that are cheap…

The w/s frame itself I decided isn’t good enough to have plated.  I found two more pinholes, which I can braze full, The posts, new bronze castings, I buffed, and I sort of like them as is.  Which isn’t correct, but I’m out of funds for chrome, so I’ll run ’em as is, with the w/s frame painted, until I can get the posts chromed and new frame.


After months of watching that on-line auction site, today I spotted a re-chromed, but slightly damaged ’34 grill.  The bottoms of the bars are tweaked, but I think I can straighten them, and since I’m going to paint the bars anyway, it won’t mater if the chrome is damaged in the process.  The chrome on the surround looks really nice.  On a genderless car, the grill shell is the focal point of the whole front of the car, so bad chrome really hurts the whole car.


The dash insert is in, and gauges floating in the holes.  The water temp gauge has the Bourdan tube nipped off, I have a parts store electronic gauge I’ll take t he guts out of and put in the SW housing and face.  I have a fuel gauge, a small one, that I need to figure out where to put, and the ignition and headlight switch have to go somewhere too.

The gas tank is mounted, front and rear spreader bars fitted.  Headlight stands and front shocks mounted too, all with stainless hardware that I buffed up before putting the bolts in.  The headlight buckets are on the stands, I have to polish the reflectors and wire the new Halogen bulb sockets.

Little by little…

Cool McCool sells out.

Posted: October 28, 2017 in New car, Uncategorized
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We’ve done it.  Gone bourgeoisie after an unfortunate traffic shunt totaled Kim’s ’09 Fusion.

Stopped for a school bus (evidently it’s hard to see bright flashing red lights on a big yellow bus) a young girl piled squarely into the back Kim’s car at a brisk clip without slowing down.  Fortunately there was no one ahead of Kim, so she was shoved ahead without being driven into the back of someone else, but her car is shortened by several inches.

The truck that hit her, a newer Chevy half ton 4×4, is probably totaled too, but the cars did what they are supposed to do and soaked up the impact.  No one was injured, and Kim was able to drive the wounded Fusion home.

Yesterday we bought a beautiful 2014 Chrysler 300c AWD.  Yes, it has a Hemi.  Not an SRT, but its  smooth, tomb quiet and faster than anything we’ve owned.  It’s a velvet hammer.

We love it, but I worry we will no longer want to take a rattling, drafty, noisy, rough riding station wagon or old truck across the country.  There is something to this comfort thing…

Back in Black.

Posted: October 25, 2017 in Hot Rod, Uncategorized
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The roadster is now, for the first time in 30 years, one unified color.  I’m thrilled with how it looks, the single stage urethane paint laid down like glass.  I’ll color sand and polish it, in the words of my friend Bill McGuire, to give “that buttery glow”.
The next job, aside from putting it back together without scratching it all up, is to turn the front Ford hubs down to fit the Buick brake drums.  The drums I had were worn, broken fins, I bought one last summer, and will swipe one from the Riviera for now.  

It won’t be long now!

Now the fun job of blocking out the primer.  The car is going to be black, so it has to perfect, even though I’m going to age the finish a bit.  I want it to look like a nice car that’s getting old.  Which it is.

I use a long block with 120 grit, self adhesive paper.  This gets the ripples out, shows low spots and knocks down the high spots.  I didn’t shoot a guide coat on this first coat, I’m taking enough off that there wasn’t a need.  I found a couple areas that need a little  icing, but it was pretty good. After the next coat of high build (I’m using Nason 2K urethane), I’ll dust a coat of red oxide and then use 220 followed by 360, wet.  

It won’t be long before I get color on now, provided I get a break in the weather and walnuts don’t keep bouncing through the shop doors!