In last weeks episode, you’ll remember the ’34 was up on wheels, hood and grill shell aligned, body mounts made, steering box in, and the 283 fired for the first time.  Now, it’s all apart, separated into big automotive chunks, getting all the previously tacked together, mocked up chassis welded up.   

The next time it goes together the chassis will be painted and complete, the 283 will be detailed and wearing two fours, not the single Holley it has now, and the body will be wearing a coat of shiney —— paint.  

It’ll be a busy winter at Cool McCool’s Garage!

I

ImageUploadedByH.A.M.B.1480430128.406726.jpgimageuploadedbyh-a-m-b-1479159604-372035

There are a myriad of thankless, frustrating chores to do when building a car, that go un-notced and unappreciated by most, but I think I’m through with the most aggravating of them.  The steering box, which eluded my efforts yesterday to place on the frame and not have it occupy the same spot as the exhaust header and engine mount, I figured out today.  It was tempting to start ordering new parts, but I went out this morning with a new outlook and got it mounted under the engine mount, below and just forward of the exhaust dump, and where the drag link and tie rod are parallel, as they should be.

gnrs_2009_116

I ordered the lovely finned aluminum backing plates with Lincoln self adjusting and self actuating internals from Wilson Welding (thanks Bronson Battle Creek for the bonus that paid for that!), they’ll look killer with the Buick brake drums I already have.  There are some needed trinket parts on the way too from Mac’s Garage,  and I have to bend the steering arms down for clearance due to the dropped axle, but that’s the extent, as far as I can see, of the fabrication/modification I have yet to do before I blow it completely apart.

I’ve decided on color for the body and interior, so the next phase is final welding and finishing of the chassis, then prep it and the body for paint.  The top bows are mounted, lowered into the body 2″ to match the chopped windshield, the weathered Haartz canvas will be trimmed at the bottom edge to meed the body at the belt line the way it should.  The door gaps have been (roughly) fitted, the hood and radiator gaps fitted, and I think I can duplicate the shimming, twisting, tweaking and twisting that got them as close as they are.  The engine and trans are out, I hope to have a couple buddies come over Thursday (my 62nd birthday!) and lift the body off the frame so work on the frame can commence.

Having a ’34 highboy roadster has been a dream of mine for almost 40 years, hopefully by next spring a car very similar to the one gracing the cover of this issue of “Rodders Journal” will roll out of my garage. It’s a long road, but I’m getting there…

12278781_10208632693317401_6682828544109353726_n

14992032_10211784729436334_2160630791604988979_nI’ve been working on the ’34, spending the past three days getting the hood and grill shell aligned.  I’m calling it a success, I believe I’ve gotten the fit as close as it can be, given the vagaries of ancient, inaccurate stampings, vaguely close reproduction parts, and my limited patience for this type of fussy work.   I have to say, getting the car assembled, even in this “mock-up” phase for alignment and placement of minor stuff like brake pedal and steering column and steering box makes me pretty happy, and fired up about the project.

The hood and grill shell initially fit so poorly I didn’t think I’d ever be able to get them even close, but the end result is better than I expected.  The hood is a reproduction from Rootlieb, the grill shell is an old reproduction from some unknown maker, probably Argentinian, where up through the ’60’s and ’70’s, old Fords were kept going, and crude replacement parts were available.  I ended up having to make some slits in the top of the grill shell and pulling the sides in with a winch strap, the resulting fit is surprisingly good.

15056392_10211781044704218_4245638796764424910_n

imageuploadedbyh-a-m-b-1479159604-372035

The car also setting up on wheels for the first time in years, although I found some of the stuff I got with it, namely the beautiful Buick aluminum brake drums, may not be useable due to wear, but we’ll see.  I’m a little concerned too about the stance, the rear is lower than I planned (perhaps I flattened that ’40 rear crossmember too much) and the front looks too high, despite the dropped axle and reversed eye spring.  Not helping the goofy stance are the 14″ wheels and tires on the rear and 16’s up front, I’m going to have to get the right size rollers to see where I really am before I get much further.

Next up, I have to make mounts for the (original) top bows, and finish up the notch in the firewall for the Chevy 283’s distributor.  There’s a little more glass work to do on the body, one of the doors has a corner nubbed off, and the splash aprons need to have a little added to the bottom to fit the hood the way I want (see the above photo).  All in all, it’s not much, I want to get those chores done before it gets cold.  Then, it all comes apart for final welding of the frame and chassis components, then prep for paint, wiring, fuel and brake lines.

Tempting to leave the body in the black epoxy primer over the original purple paint, squirt the same stuff on the chassis and hood and call it done, but I have other plans, which I’m not going to reveal until it’s done.

Stay tuned!

I think I’ll get a chair so I can set out here and soak it all in.  But, where would I put it?

Our fall vacation in Northern Michigan has been found to have been totally rigged!  From start to finish, from Tahquamenon Falls to wineries and restaurants around Traverse  City, it was nothing but sleeping in, great fall colors, great food, great wine, and great friends.  We slept in, ate bacon and eggs, drank champagne with smoked whitefish pate and apple pie with dinner.  Not one whit given for responsibilities of work, the election, or bills to pay.

And it was good.

So far, we can’t complain. 

This last weekend was the second outing for the Spartan, and again it exceeds our expectations.  We went to Yankee Springs State Park just 15 miles from us for their “Harvest Festival”, were joined by our grandson Milo, and had a wonderful time.  Next week, we hit the road to Northern Michigan for a color tour and fall vacation.  We’re looking forward to it, and to many more trips and family vacations.

Here’s a few photos of last weekends fun: