Posts Tagged ‘’34 roadster’

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.


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.




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


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!





21151264_10214775325199359_3743655163660864024_nBuilding a car, or any project, is an overwhelming task if looked at in the whole, but it’s really just the completion of a multitude of little tasks.  When the last task is done, the car is done.  Like eating an elephant, it’s one bite at a time.

This past weeks tasks started with cleaning the shop, throwing away a Herby Curby full of trash and scraps, and taking care of tools.  With that chore done, I set to making spreader bars for the front and rear of the chassis.  The rear was simple, a straight chunk of heavy wall DOM tubing and two oval shaped brackets, but the front was a little more complicated.  Getting the angles cut to give the “V” shape to clear the grill, and drop an appropriate amount was a challenge, but I’m happy with the result.


The plumbing for the car is DONE:  Brake lines, fuel lines, and radiator hoses.  I found preformed hoses and cut them down for both the upper and lower outlets at the local auto parts store.  The transmission cooler lines had me stumped, I tried one entire afternoon to make them from rigid 5/16″ line, finally after ruining one, and ending up with some clumsy looking ones I found that the radiator fittings were 1/8″ pipe, and I still couldn’t hook them up.  I went back and got some some soft copper line I could bend by hand, some rubber trans cooler lines, two brass hose bibs the right size, and got the job done in about 20  minutes.  It looks good too, not like it was made by a blind monkey.


img_2829The seat riser got rebuilt, a clearance bump in the trunk (rumble seat) floor for the differential was made, and I added a couple layers of ‘glass mat and resin to the buggered up corners of the hood apron/splash shields.  The hood and grill shell fit is reasonably close, (REALLY good by ’34 Ford standards!), and I’ve got the ignition wiring done enough to fire it up.  My goal this week is to get the body prepped for paint and in high build primer, and the hood and little parts in color.  It’s tantalizingly close to being a real car!

…and some days the bear bites you.


Yesterday I was planning fitting the brake lines and measuring for the driveshaft.  I got the front brake hoses (’40 Ford) out of their packages, and discovered they don’t fit the wheel cylinders in the Wilson Welding backing plates.  The fittings are too big.  So, scratch that, now I need adaptors, or correct size hoses.

Moving under the car, with trouble light and tape measure in  hand, I set out to measure for the driveshaft.  It was immediately apparent that the driveshaft wouldn’t clear the flat top of the X member at the rear, nor the flat floor.  I had plenty of room with before the body was mounted, but that and the engine settle the suspension enough cause  interference.  So, out came the cut off wheel and the torch, a little floor removed, a little bit off the back of the X member box, and we’re good to go there.

After adding a bit to the back of the cardboard and fiberglass trans tunnel/floor hump I made the the other day.  Good thing I’ve got the rest of the cardboard shipping tube laying around…

Then I moved on to the steering shaft.  I’d bought a double U joint to connect the Vega box to the ’59 T’bird column, and short piece of double D solid shaft to correct for the slight mis-alignment.  Great plan, but, I hadn’t noticed that the column has it’s own flex coupler hidden at the lower end, this gave me 3 U joints, not two, and the shaft flops and binds, so now I need a support bushing to hold the shaft solid between the box and column.

Thinking I’d make a solid fuel line from the pump to the fitting for the carbs, and thinking I could use one of the hose bibs I took off one of the E-carbs, I found that the new fuel line has 3/8″ NPT threads, and I don’t have THAT fitting, so no fuel line connected either.

No problem, add that to the order from Speedway, and I got the box of progressive linkage for the dual quads out of the box from Edelbrock.  Piece of cake right?

Wrong, Edelbrock makes this to fit THIER manifolds, which place the carbs tight together, this old Offy intake has them an inch further apart, making the Edelbrock linkage, nice stainless and brass bits, too short.  So, now I need to get some 3/8″ rod and make new links for that too.

So now, with the car setting on jack stands, a new hole in the floor, and nothing accomplished, I’m waiting for parts.