Posts Tagged ‘cars’

Baby steps, baby steps…

Posted: April 1, 2017 in Hot Rod
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It’s been almost two weeks since  I’ve had a chance to work on the ’34, but I had a couple hours to squeeze in today.  I put the radiator and grill shell on, mocked the hood up and got the panels aligned pretty well.  Had to drill new holes in the radiator mount pads on the frame, pushing the radiator back about half an inch at the bottom, but things line up pretty well.

Now, I can pull the radiator back off, and have the lower hose outlet moved to the passenger side (it’s a brand new Walker radiator that cam with the project, but it’s not set up for a Chevy engine), paint the firewall, and prep the body for paint.  The weather should improve pretty quickly and cooperate with my plan to get the car  painted by the end of April.  I hope…

I got started on the headlight stands, which I’m making from a pair of F100 shock mounts, but was interrupted by my parents furnace quitting and going up their place to try to restart that.  I’m using some ’37 Chevy commercial lights, which are pretty similar to ’36 Ford passenger car lights, with slightly less curved lenses.  They should look pretty good when I get them done.  Just different enough to be noticed, but not so different as to look out of place.

Stay tuned, lots of fun stuff coming up!

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17342997_10213039500804834_3213163995760765948_nWow.  I am so happy right now.  Body is on permanently.  Engine in temporarily, I’ll pull it out to finish and paint the firewall.  Had a moment of “OH NO!”, when setting the engine, as I’d raised the center (flattened) the front crossmember an inch to lower the front, which lead to some initial interference between the crank pulley and the spring U-bolts.  I had room to shove the engine back 1/4″, which let the pulley drop down behind the U-bolts, I’ll have to fill the existing engine mount holes and cut new ones in the frame pads, but there’s plenty of room for that.

Almost done enough to set behind the wheel and make Hot-Rod noises!

A friend on FB suggested that a full width stainless dash might “flow” better than the small center panel, and lots of people, including my wife, thought the two side panels were just too “busy”.  So, back to ALRO steel I went and  had them shear me a 2’x4′ piece of mirror polished stainless (I got extra, in the likely event I screwed up along the way) and I got busy.

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Chip Foose is my hero.

Chip Foose is my hero.

I’ll say it right now, Chip Foose is a hero of mine.  I’ve heard, and read on-line lately, lots of disparaging remarks about his latest creation, the above Impala which took the Ridler award at AutoRama, but I’m not one of those distractors.  This car is a masterpiece, and was in my head all day yesterday while I was in the shop working on my own two customs, Kim’s ’63 Riviera and my long-term ’59 T’bird project.

I don’t have the talent, vision, or admittedly the budget for a car like this, but I take inspiration for my own cars from Chip’s work, and this one spoke to me at a very visceral level.  It’s absolutely stunning.  The proportions are perfect, the car is radically modified but still looks like a Chevy Impala.  Integrated, unified, classic yet modern/  Everything flows, beautifully detailed to a level that boggles my mind.  It’s everything that I like about custom cars, and everything I’d like to be able to do.

I overheard some comments while looking at the car, and read afterwards, comments along the line of “The Ridler is bought, not earned”, “All Foose’s cars look the same.”, “F-ugly.”, and so on.  My thoughts on looking at this (and LOTS of other cars at the show) were more along the “I could do that.”

In that light, while the images of the car are still fresh in my head, I’m going to get out to the shop and try to get the bodywork on my T’bird, and get busy with the Air-Ride system under the Riviera.  Maybe someday a crowd of guys will stand around my car and mutter “It’s all about money”, “He just wrote the checks”, “I hate painted bumpers”, and occasionally, “I could do that.”

Let’s get busy.

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Time slips away.

Posted: December 19, 2014 in cars
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I was out in the shop a while ago, working on the tulip panel of the T’bird, when my ancient Makita variable speed grinder wheezed to halt. Aggravated to spend time working on tools instead of the car, I pulled the OTHER non-functioning Makita grinder out of the cabinet and robbed the brushes and power cord from it to make one out of the two.

While doing this, I had some time to think about how long it’s been since I started on the T’bird, where it’s at right now, and how much work is yet to be done before I get it finished. Plus, the ’63 Riviera for Kim is calling me, and I want to start in on the ’47 Spartan Manor, and there is an ever growing pile of parts for the ’27 highboy roadster I want to build.

It seems like a long list.

I felt kind of overwhelmed for moment, then I tallied up in my head the other projects I’ve completed during the time the T’bird has been stalled. It goes like this…

1. 1962 Impala hardtop for Craig, a total repaint and minor mechanical stuff.

2. 1936 Ford roadster, total build, from a pile.

3. 1951 Pontiac wagon, total build.

4. 1948 Diamond T pickup, total build.

5. 1946 Spartan Manor, complete restoration.

6. 1954 Tini-Home, frame up build.

7. Painted Craigs ’68 Mustang convertible.

8. Major body work and repaint on a buddy’s ’59 Edsel wagon.

9. ’76 GMC dually pickup, frame off.

10. Del Ray truck camper for the GMC.

11. 2006 Ford Fusion, a total, for a daily driver.

Plus, myriad other homeowner and maintenance projects on the above, vacations, travel, life in general. It’s a long list, and I feel pretty productive when I stop and think about it. The T’bird will get done, the Rivi will get done, and the Spartan will get built.

Relax.

DSC04377 (1024x768)I’ve spent the last two days on the couch, another cold, which seemed worse than it probably was because it got cold and snowed again.   Todays project,  after a morning in front of the window soaking up sunshine, get the front blinker/park lights wired up on the Diamond T.  This required a trip to Auto-Zone to get some replacement bulb sockets for dual element bulbs, as the originals were the tiny, single element lights.  The lights BARELY fit under the lenses, but I got ’em in.  I’m still deciding if I want cab marker lights, now’s the time to get them if I’m going to run them, as the windshield header panel I hope to paint next week or the week after, which will totally wrap up the big stuff.

Todays other progress was getting the engine mounts bolted in.   If you think I should have done that earlier, you’re right.  These are Corvette mounts, a big rubber biscuit on an aluminum strut that bolts to the engine.  Sort of like a flathead Ford mount, only instead of a through bolt, the biscuit has a stud on each side.  These of course are metric, which required a trip to the hardware store to find the right thread.  Turns out 12mmx1.75, which is close enough to 1/2″ coarse that I ran a tap through nuts from my bolt drawer and used them.

So, lights, DONE.  Engine mounts, DONE.  Next project, go around and make sure every nut and bolt underneath is tightened, as I have a tendency to just put things together finger tight, thinking I’ll remember to go back to tighten them later, which sometimes doesn’t happen.  And put grease zerks on the lower ball joints, which somehow got missed on the front end assembly.  Then, the nerve-wracking and tedious job of polishing the paint.  It’s easy to ruin a paint job with a buffer, I’m going to get a lesson from my friend Dave Griffoen, who knows a thing or two about paint.  Then, I guess there’s nothing left to do but put antifreeze and gas in it, and drive it to “Muffler Man”, for an exhaust system and shakedown run.

For now however, setting in a lawn chair in the shop in front of the stove with a beer, admiring my work was my reward!

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How many guys use a chopped T’Bird as work bench?

DSC04178 (1024x768)After a recent bout with what I think was the flu, I got out in the shop today and got the “new” disc brakes on the front of the ‘Bird.  This set up is front spindles, rotors, calipers from a 78-79 LTD II, Cougar, or T’Bird.  I’d mounted them when I started DA’ing the paint of the car 5  years ago, and never finished.  In fact, I thought about going back to the stock drums, mainly because the steering arms a little shorted on these than the originals, and the Ackerman (the geometry that lets a car turn sharply at low speeds without scuffing the tires) is going to be a little off, but being able to stop trumped slow speed parking lot manuevers. 

So, new pads, new calipers, new  hoses, several trips back to the auto parts store to get various adaptors and fittings to get the lines run, and I”ve got the (front) brakes bled.  I cleaned and packed the wheel bearings, greased the tie rod ends, ball joints and tightened all the nuts, and put cotter pins in every castled nut on the front end.  (Note, it’s difficult to remember what’s only finger tight when it’s 5 years between work days on a project!)

I’ve also got all the new sections of rubber fuel line in, except for one that I didn’t have a hose bib for, a new fuel filter and some new plastic quick-connect fittings to finish up the fuel system properly.   Should be able to get that done, and the rear brakes bled tomorrow. 

I’m going to get some 1″ lowering blocks for the rear, and take the air-shocks out that I’d installed for towing.  It’s towing days are over!  The shocks will go on the Diamond T, which I need to get back after now that the ‘Bird is a “real” car again. 

It’s not very exciting photography, but getting the fuel system in order, and new brakes done is a BIG step forward.  And, I’ve kept the local NAPA store financially solvent for a couple of weeks…

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