Saturday, October 13, 2018

Is it two weeks yet?

Back up in the air, again. Note the downward slope of the driveway,
it's not an optical illusion.

Sometimes you just have to do the work, at least that what I tell myself. There's no other way it's going to get fixed without me crawling around underneath and sticking my hands up into it's greasy bits. There was quite a bit of crawling around covered in the last installment, and I can still feel  that in my aching joints. I haven't started rebuilding the rear wheel cylinders yet. I figured that I would remove the rest of the hydraulics and do the work in the comfort of my garage.

Always use redundant support systems.

The driveway is pretty steep, enough that having the car roll forward while being jacked up is a real hazard. It important to have the wheels on the opposite end well chocked. The ramps are quite useful in that they keep the under  the car space open. You can even have the ramps pointed towards the front, which opens it up even more. I never drive the car up the ramps, I jack the car up and place them under the wheels. They were backed up with an additional pair of jack stands and the floor jack. I had adequate, but not excessive room to work underneath.

This is where the clutch master cylinder lives.

Removing these components meant wriggling under the car on my back, I haven't used a creeper in many years.  That just requires raising the car up another four inches. I really don't like raising the car more than I have to. Especially while it's facing downhill in the driveway.

Stick your hands up in there. it's as much fun as it looks.

Those flex pipes are for the exhaust.

This is the clutch slave cylinder, pretty easy to reach.

The guts of the hydraulics laid out for dissection.

That reservoir at the top of the tray is for the brake fluid. It's actually made of glass, I wouldn't have guessed, it was pretty dirty. Directly below it is the brake master cylinder, the brake light switch is built into the back. What just looks like an old can of brake fluid is actually the original clutch fluid reservoir. Underneath the brake m/c is the clutch m/c. To the left of that is the clutch slave cylinder. This set up is much like the one in my old Datsun 280Z.

It doesn't look much better close up.

Just as a side note I found out that the glass brake reservoir was also used for several years on the Bentley Continental. Probably on most Bentleys and Rollers of the era, since it is part of the Girling brake system. I'll grab whatever connection to glory that I can!

There's going to be quite a bit of disassembling to do. I was successful using the grease gun method before, so I hope to have similar results. I will have to flush and clean the reservoirs and blow out the brake lines with compressed air. It's going to be a messy job!

Saturday, October 6, 2018

My life on the Riviera, Part Two; A change in orientation. A major lapse of judgement.

This placard has hung on my garage wall for years. I was the first entry in that year's  ROA's  National
get together car show.  I got plenty of quizzical looks.

I drove it from the Bay Area to Klamath Falls Oregon for the get together. With my Wife and family. They did suffer a mite from the lack of a/c.

Why not include it in the show? It was customized. Lowered (slammed) with Moon Discs and wide whitewalls. I had covered the seats with black "simulated" sheepskin covers from the local Pep Boys.  They did actually look like the fur used on gorilla costumes worn in old movies. "Enviromentally burnished?" that's just a creative way to describe faded out paint. But hey, the car ran reliably and sounded great with those old Cherry Bomb glasspacks! It had a ton of attitude, but I couldn't dispute the facts.

An embarrassing confession. The car I bought was a real piece of junk. I should have known better.

I wish that I had taken pictures! In the pre digital age it wasn't easy, convenient, or cheap to document everything with pictures. I don't know if I ever took any pictures of the car. I'm including photos from the Internet to help illustrate my narrative. I've tried to identify the photo sources.

My first Riviera was in pretty good condition and it didn't require any body, paint, or interior work. The paint was recently resprayed, and polishing and waxing gave great results. This is the fun way to have a hobby car. Fixing and fussing with all the little things.

My '66 was all original but very tired and worn. The paint was faded with some surface rust. The body was straight, as well as the  trim and bumpers. The interior was worn and cracked. But it did have a full set of Riviera road wheels.

photo source Dean's garage
This isn't my car but it looked pretty much like this. At least mine had a driver's door!

This problem was common to vehicles of this era.
Now there are more resources available to deal with it.

photo source:
Remove the trim and glass, grind off the rust and this is what you find.

photo source:
Ignoring this won't make it go away.

It also suffered from the mid 1960's GM disease of rusted windshield and rear window channels.
Over the years dirt and debris makes it's way under the stainless steel window trim and just sits there. Every time it gets wet it turns to mud and causes the underlying sheet metal to start to rust. Over time it rusts completely through. Usually, it first makes itself known as a water leak around the windshield which produces a wet front floorboard. Water also leaks into the trunk, which often goes unnoticed. Needless to say all this water leads to a long list of rusty body panels. On my particular car all the pinch welds around the windshield and rear window were also swollen and rusty. Not an easy repair.

photo source:
Fabricated patch panels are welded in as necessary.

photo source:
Prefabricated corner patch panels are now available.

If you're planning on keeping your car for a long time you have to address this issue. It will not go away on it's own. I just covered the offending areas with an application of duct tape. Problem solved?

Even the motor wasn't in very good shape. There was an audible tapping sound from what appeared to be a bad valve lifter. If only!

So why did I buy this car? Especially after buying a much nicer car the first time? Looking back I really can't say. Was it Hubris? Did I think that I would restore it over time?

Usually, I'd look for a car that was in good shape in at least one of the three major areas:

Body and paint.


Interior and accessory systems.

It's a form of mechanical triage.

My poor Riv was lacking in all of these areas! Under strict standards it wouldn't have made it into the operating room, it would have received the Last Rites.

While the body was straight and complete, the paint was thin with lots of light surface rust. Before buying it, I didn't inspect the window areas closely enough, to my regret. At least I chose a car without a vinyl top!

I bought the car even though it had an audible tapping noise and a rough idle. These are indicative of a bad lifter and usually a bad valve. My engine had both, and more!

The interior boasted worn seats and carpet, non working a/c and heater. At least the door panels and dash were in good shape and the power windows worked.

Three strikes and you're out? Heck No!

I probably thought that I would eventually get the car painted. However, this was in the old days when I maintained that if I couldn't afford a good paint job, then I wouldn't paint it at all! So I didn't!

I thought that I would just change the bad lifter if it didn't clear up on it's own. Hah! "Clear up on it's own? Who was I kidding? Myself, obviously.

I thought some mending and a set of seat covers would take care of the interior. Well the interior isn't the most important thing, at least to my thinking.

That's what I get for thinking!

Did I bail? A more sensible person probably would have. A more sensible person probably should have. But No, I doubled down.

Although I started with a pretty rough car, I ended up fixing most of these problems. Except the cosmetics. I ended up driving it as an everyday car for several years.

photo source: beautiful decay
Here's another Buick fastback with even more patina.

I never did get the car painted. I never fixed the rusty window channels. I just covered the area with duct tape to keep water out. Luckily the whole Rat Rod thing came along and for once I was right in fashion. My car didn't look like crap, it had patina!

For once, I was ahead of the curve!

When it came to the motor, my miseries could fill several blog posts!

Friday, September 28, 2018

Things to do to get that old thing running. Part One.

Open wide and say... AHHH!

Now that I'm going to have space available in my garage, I need to have all my cars in running condition. The Mark VII is the only one that isn't currently running.

A while back I checked to see if the motor would turn freely. Luckily, I still have the replacement battery that I removed from the XJS, which still holds a good charge. I pulled the sparkplugs and squirted some Marvel Mystery Oil into the cylinders. I let that sit overnight then turned the key. The motor spun easily.

The carb linkage was stuck solid. I pulled the carburetors off and found that the butterfly shaft of the front carb was stuck in the carb body.  It was gummed up with what looks like shellac. There was also a broken bushing in the carb body for which I sourced a new replacement.

I changed the old oil and refilled it with Castrol 20-50w. These motors hold a lot of oil! When I replaced the oil filter cartridge I found that the supplied oil filter cartridge ring gasket didn't seal very well. It's very thin and wouldn't stay in position. My plan is to cut a wider gasket out of a sheet of gasket paper.

I traced the outline of the housing on a sheet of gasket paper.

I cut the center hole out with a very sharp utility knife.
I cut the outer circle with a steady hand and a pair of scissors.

I reassembled the filter assembly and the homemade gasket seemed to stay in the proper position.

What about the points, and vacuum advance? The vacuum advance canister arm is seized. Usually this will seize up when the engine has been sitting for a long time, so that it will remain in the retarded, at rest, position. This is a common problem with the XJS V12 and it can lead to overheating when being driven. I don't think that this will be an issue if I only run the motor for a short time.

There's no coolant in the radiator. I sure hope that the motor doesn't have a blown head gasket. This was a common problem for these motors, back in the day. I'll put that off for another day.

The fuel system will have to be addressed. I'm not going to mess with the tanks and pumps, yet. Usually I would just run a fuel line from the mechanical pump into a small gas can. The mechanical fuel pumps on older American cars work by creating a suction in one chamber of the pump, then forcing the fuel through a one way valve into the fuel line, creating pressure. Similar to the workings of the human heart.

An electric pump has to be located below the level of the fuel tank. Gravity causes the fuel to flow into the pump which pushes it down the line. My plan is to set up a small container above the level of the carbs and let gravity do the work.  Sort of like the system on a Model A Ford. The Model A stored the fuel in the cowl ahead of the windshield, not a comforting thought!

Maybe all they need is a good bath.

I'm going to dive in and disassemble, clean, and lube these carbs. I'd already freed the stuck throttle shaft. Hopefully they will be in good enough adjustment to get the motor running.

Since I had it apart, it was good time to clean this area up a bit.
I cleaned and chased those threads.

I made up some new manifold gaskets from a sheet of gasket material.
A hole punch was used to make the bolt holes, I cut the center hole with a utility knife.

I have to free up and adjust the hand brake system. That might be effective enough to use once I get the car running and moving, at least in and out of the driveway.

I've already removed the rt.front wheel brake cylinders. In an earlier post I showed how I used a grease gun to force the cylinder pistons out. Still have the left fronts to do.

Even that cheap little trolley jack will work using the jack points.
It doesn't inspire a lot of confidence. Be careful.

I jacked up the rear wheels to see how freely they turn. The good news was that they turned quite freely. The bad news was that the handbrake was engaged! Well, at least the handle was pulled up. I'm not going to be stopping the car with these any time soon.

This is a simpler system than up front. Just one wheel cylinder.

That little mechanism bolted to the cylinder activates the rear hand brake. It's and unusual
sliding cam design. Of course it was gummed up solid.

I thought that I should take a look inside the brake assembly and removed the rt. rear drum. (I found that the left had been previously removed!) Compared to the front brake, it is much simpler design. Just one wheel cylinder. It appears that the mechanical brake cable acts upon the wheel cylinder to engage the brake. On my old American cars, the cable works on a separate lever that engages the shoes without any help from the wheel cylinder. Not on this car. The entire cable lever and cylinder are seized up solid, there's no way that the handbrake will work without freeing up the works. That means disassembling the wheel cylinders. It looks like I should just dedicate an entire day to the task. At least the brake lining and drum look to be in pretty good shape.

There's not going to be an easy work around for the brakes.

The car also has a hydraulic clutch mechanism. I suppose that this was used to lighten the pedal pressure but it just adds some more complexity. There was also a vacuum booster for the brakes which had been removed by the original owner. His Son had told me that his Dad drove this car until he got too tired from dealing with the manual transmission and now unassisted brakes. The Jag was parked and the Bentley was pressed into daily service. (What a choice!) I wonder how much pressure the brake pedal requires?

No way getting around refurbishing all the hydraulics. Still, I could still try to get the motor to fire first, that would provide a lot of motivation to finish off the hydraulics. And, I could just do the rear brake cylinders first so I could use the handbrake system. Maybe.

Besides the hydraulic clutch, and vacuum brake servo there really isn't much complexity in the car.  If this was common car with easy availability of new cheap reproduction brake components I wouldn't be bothering to rebuild the system. I would just throw the old junk away. But I don't have that luxury in this case.  The parts are uncommon and expensive. I could have guessed.

I wanted a simple old car that didn't have any more equipment than what it takes to run the car. I didn't want to be saddled with getting an old automatic transmission to work. In many ways the Mark is similar to my old F250. It had power brakes and an automatic transmission but that was all. Hand cranked windows and a very simple heater and vent system.

There's still quite a bit of work to do and plenty of subject matter for the next installment.

I'll give this process a couple of weeks. If I'm not successful then it will go in the sideyard for another Winter!

Friday, September 21, 2018

My life on the Riviera. Or in my case, my life as a Contrarian.

Leaning forward like a shark!
Like the Chuck Berry lyric sang, "I'll put you in a car that will eat up the road!"

It wouldn't fool anyone into thinking that it was a hatchback.

  1. 1.
    a person who opposes or rejects popular opinion, especially in stock exchange dealing.
  1. 1.
    opposing or rejecting popular opinion; going against current practice.

    "the comment came more from a contrarian disposition than moral conviction"

Life in Silicon valley in the 1980s was the Yuppie dream. I suppose that I was lucky to live in a nice neighborhood surrounded by Beemers and Benzes. My daily commute was spent navigating through a herd of the things. It's not that I thought that they were bad cars, it was just the suggestion of smugness that dripped off them like the condensation of the morning dew.

My blue collar upbringing sometimes rankled at the noveau riche displays of wealth. But it wasn't always really wealth. Usually just a good lease plan. But who cares when you drive a Benz?

I was still riding my Harley Sportster as a daily commuter. I was driving a mini van as a non descript family vehicle. I needed something that would make a statement and define who I was.

I was looking for the anti Yuppie staement car.

And I found it!

One day I was poking around some of the lower line used car lots around South First St. when I discovered an interesting car parked along the back fence. (Where else!) A 1972 Buick Riviera. The infamous boat tail, or as the Low Riders were wont to call it, the "Diamond Back."

This was a big hardtop coupe with a monstrous protruding beak and a slanting rear roofline like a denizen of "Jurassic Park." A seven liter carburated V8 nestled under that dramatic hood.

This was a typical Bill Mitchell masterpiece which unfortunately went somewhat under appreciated, even back in it's heyday.

What better car to poke in the eye of the Yuppie crowd? Just stay away from that back bumper!

Believe it, or Not!

This particular car was not in really bad condition, but it definitely needed some work. So I kept on looking. However, the seed was planted. I'd already had many older Cadillacs by this point, so I thought that I was ready for something different. This car would fulfill that requirement. In my mind the Riviera would blend the dramatic presence of a luxury car with the performance capabilities of a road car. If you don't believe that, check out this video of Bud Lindeman's road test of a 1972 Riviera. Video from YouTube.

That particular car was in okay shape but I wisely  decided that I would find a nicer example, which I did. Since this was before the birth of the Internet, newspaper classified ads and the once ubiquitous Auto Trader magazines were used in my automotive pursuit. It's hard to believe that there was once a time when you couldn't sit on the couch in your pajamas and scrutinize thousands of cars.

Auto Trader magazines came in many flavors;
Car, Old car, Truck and motorcycle.

How we pored over these ads like this! I only bought the local magazines and
chased down numerous leads over the years.

I also followed another old time strategy, telling people that I knew, about the car that I was looking for. Then they could keep their eyes open for me. This was known as "bird dogging" if you offered a finder's fee. This strategy turned out extremely well. My Brother in Law, living in Fresno, called me to inform me that he had seen a really nice Riv for sale in the area. After a very detailed conversation he provided me with the seller's phone number. I called the seller and arranged a meeting. I set out with my best buddy Rick, and a wallet full of cash.

These meet ups can be hazardous, you're meeting with someone that you know nothing about, carrying a wad of cash. Since you are a potential buyer, he knows that you've got cash on you. It's best to take a friend and arrange to meet in a public place. I chose a nearby shopping mall. I know that shopping malls are not particularly safe, but it was a better choice than a back street in some barrio! Buyer Beware!

Long story short, the car was in quite good shape. It had been recently painted in a very dark brown Mercedes Benz color with a  full white vinyl top. The interior featured the deluxe interior with pearl white vinyl bucket seats. Another important feature was a nice set of whitewall tires wrapped around a set of Buick road wheels. Money exchanged hands and I drove the Riv home while Rick drove my Civic back.

Whenever you buy a car far from home and drive it back, it can only turn out two ways. It can end up with frustrating breakdowns, delays, buyer's remorse, and leave you with a permanent bad attitude towards the car. Or the car can run like a champ and the drive home cements a strong, positive bond. I was lucky, and the '71 and I had a rewarding trip home. I later had the same experience with my XJ6.

Of course it needed a few mechanical repairs. It started leaking from the water pump. I pulled the water pump then decided to change the front seal. When I pulled the timing case to change the front seal, I found that the plastic timing sprocket was failing. So I replaced the timing chain and sprockets.

Overall it was a very nice car, I cleaned and detailed it and kept it covered up in the garage. Even so, I drove it regularly.

I found a reference to the Riviera Owner's Association in a magazine article. Since I wanted a line on parts and advice I wrote to the Association. Of course this was all before Internet forums. After returning the application I was a member in good standing. One of the benefits was receiving their award winning club magazine, The Riview.

The Riview was a source of mechanical advice, event coverage, member's vehicle show cases, and of course classified ads. It also provided a sense of community and encouragement, vital to an old car endeavor. Every month your enthusiasm gets re-charged and your motivation gets a tune up.

As I became increasingly immersed in Riviera lore I decided that I wanted to own an example of all three early generations. 1963-1965, 1966-70, and 1971-1973. An ambitious plan to say the least.

I thought that the appearance of the 1971 model was very dramatic, although I really couldn't describe it as beautiful. It was more about the statement that it made.

The original 1963 was well received and it is one of Bill Mitchell's best designs of the 1960s.

My favorite early Riviera is the 1966 model. It is smooth, sleek and simple. I think that it actually looked like a custom car with the hidden headlights and tail lamp detailing. It was described in many Buick collector guides as looking like a Motorama showcar that you could actually buy, and park in your driveway. It also features the final appearance of a long line of Buick Nailhead engines, the 425. In my opinion the Nailhead is a thing of beauty and part of what makes the Riviera so distinctive.

Once I located and purchased my '66, I put my '71 up for sale.

I advertised my '71 in the Riview and I was contacted by a European buyer. He was on a buying expedition in the U.S. and had already purchased two boat tails. I sent him a video of the car, a VHS tape, not a smart phone video, and he agreed to the deal.

He had arranged for shipping from a South San Franciso container company. He had his bank wire the money to my account. Then I delivered the car to the shipping agent. The car was on it's way to the Netherlands. The buyer told me that theses cars were considered to be like '59 Cadillacs. An iconic over the top American design.

My '71 had been a very nice, presentable car. For some reason I made a drastic change of direction (orientation) with my '66. While the styling of the 1966 model is beyond comparison, my specific example needed a lot of work. I imagine that I felt that I would restore it, eventually. Unfortunately that's not what happened.

A factory made custom car.

Friday, September 14, 2018

If one car in the garage is good, two cars are even better.

These are the two smallest cars in my fleet.

This is the third and final update on my garage situation. At least for now. This whole garage episode might be considered very boring and pointless to many readers but I hope that others will find it encouraging. I will bet that many out there struggle with finding a place to work and store their hobby car. Most suburban houses built in the Bay Area since the 1960's featured an attached two car garage. When did garages become storage areas instead of refuges for our automobiles? Of course we all make do with what we have available, but wrenching is much more pleasant when you have the proper space.

My old workbench is sitting outside on the back patio while I decide what to do with it.

At my house any flat surface will soon be covered by stuff.

I found that not having  a workbench or table was already causing me some problems. While I didn't really need anything as large as my old  workbench, I still wanted a versatile table.

The 2 x 4 framework fits snugly into the angle iron table legs.
I sprayed those  red paint patches to prevent poking myself in the eye.

I mentioned last post that I had an old tool stand/table that I bought at an estate sale along with my bandsaw. This is of sturdy, angle iron construction but it is not so heavy that I couldn't move it around fairly easily. I wanted to make it even more convenient so I decided to mount it on casters. I constructed a framework of used 2x4s that slipped within the table's frame. I positioned this framework so that the table was only raised about one inch. I obtained a set of heavy duty casters from my Wife's stash. These didn't include a wheel lock, but I came up with another solution. I can slip a 24 inch long   2 x 4 under each side of the table. This will prevent the table from rolling. This entire operation didn't cost me a cent, since I used stuff that I had already lying around.

The table is a handy size. I believe that it is a mid 1960s
Sears design.

The wheels can be raised off the floor by slipping a 2x4

Having the table on wheels makes it easier to shift the fixtures around to maximize the available space.

I managed to squeeze my Mustang into the garage to help visualize the set up with two cars. Both the XJS and Mustang are quite a bit smaller than the XJ6. Even the Mark is shorter than the XJ6 by about six inches.

There is quite difference in the styling of the two cars.

The Mark will fit easily alongside the XJS, but since it's currently not running, this is a real problem. My driveway slopes downward at a fair angle. The Mark will roll down into the garage easily but pushing it out of the garage and back up the slope would be another matter. Especially by myself!

I'm thinking that perhaps the priority should be to spend the next couple of weeks getting it running. If I can get the handbrake operational, then I could use that when moving the car. Even if the main hydraulic system isn't functional. However, I can ignore the hydraulics that operate the clutch release. I'm going to have to get under the car to remove the assembly so I can rebuild it.

I can clean up the carbs and set up some kind of fuel feed without bothering with the fuel tanks. I could even fit a small, in line electric fuel pump if it appears necessary.

Having the Mark mobile would make things so much easier. Then I could park it in the side yard while I deal with the XJ6 and XJS suspension problems. Heck, even if it isn't running I could  still just roll it into the side yard and leave it there. There's no hurry to move it since I built that other entrance into the backyard, Yeah, but I don't really want it sitting outside through another rainy Winter. But this may turn out to be the most practical and expedient choice.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Hey! I can actually fit a car in my garage! (Again) A "Real Life" adventure.

The XJS is not as small as a Smart Car
but not as big as the '56 Cadillac that once sat in this spot.

Note the car's position relative to the center floor seam.
That empty space between the locker and the metal shelf has been eliminated.

It has taken two sheds to empty out the garage but it's almost done.

How do I reconcile storing two cars inside as well as dealing with storage and work space?

Good question.

Just a disclaimer. I know that the garage still looks like a real mess. I guess that I could be a little more embarrassed about it. I am a bit, but the show must go on! It's a work in progress. Updates should show steady improvement.

Most houses of my home's vintage were constructed with an empty two car garage space, devoid of any built in shelving or storage, and usually lit by a single light fixture. Electrical outlets are scarce and the walls and ceiling are unfinished. The laundry facilities, a/c, furnace and water heater are also housed in this space.

Most garages have a 16 inch section of wall that borders both sides of the front door. My garage is also using the old style, one piece upwardly opening single wooden door. The door hinges swing through an arc that requires clearance to operate properly. Luckily I had some 15 inch deep metal shelving units that can fit along the wall behind that hinge. I lined them up along the wall on the passenger side of the car. I wasn't going to have anyone exiting a car while it is in the garage.

Those hinges have to clearance to swing through their arc.
Maybe someday I can upgrade to a roll up door.

This empty space doesn't look like the best use of this area.

Directly above the door I have built two 4 x 8 ft. shelves. These were my first projects following retirement. Just two full sheets of plywood, but strong and spacious. Primarily to hold  Christmas decorations. Earlier, I had built a series of overhead shelves around the perimeter of the garage walls for the same purpose. Luckily we (?) have quit adding to the quantity of decorations.

Good, out of the way storage.
perfect for stuff you don't need to access frequently.

Jack Olsen, eat your heart out!
This is before the straightening out. I added that attic access panel a few years back.

There is an existing cabinet on the wall up by the foyer entrance door. This cabinet has not been used to it's full utility. It is currently holding some spray cans and other junk. Need to organize.

My house's garage was the sales office of the sub division development. This meant that it had a finished ceiling, walls, and quite a few electrical outlets placed around. There is even an extra 220v outlet. I guess I really could buy an electric car!

The water heater, a/c and heating unit, as well as the washing machine hook ups were all placed in a closet like enclosure. The dryer is sitting to the right of this enclosure. I used the old interior doors that I replaced to build some shelves over the dryer. The space underneath can accommodate my compressor among other things.

I added a 6 ft. shelf next to the locker. I lined up the tool chests in front of the XJS.
 Those small plastic drawer units have been moved with the pedestal mounted grinder.
The tool chests can be rolled away to gain access to the locker's contents.

I have placed the same shallow shelving units along the driver's side wall of the garage, I have to allow enough space to open the driver's door, as well as walk alongside the car to the door. Actually a last minute change was to move my six foot unit to the opposite wall, opening up another space along this wall.

Luckily I drink a lot of coffee.

I ended up re-using an old Ikea bookshelf that I was ready to take to the dump. The smaller adjustable shelves are perfect for my coffee can collection of nuts, bolts, screws, nails, and other miscellaneous hardware, that I like to have easy access to. I've still got plenty of additional shelves to be able to re-arrange the configuration. Coffee cans, what would we do without them?

It looks like this will be useful and the price was right!

My neighbor gave me a wire rack that usually hangs on the back of a door. It is shallow enough to fit  above the wooden foundation enclosure/ base board. I covered the back of the shelves with cardboard panels to prevent things from falling out the back. It holds all kinds of cans and containers and I can hang my collection of spray bottles on the top shelves.

I don't think that I'll be able to keep my workbench. It was a cool long desk that was made by California prison industries.  Long and rectangular with five drawers on one side. It looks more like a workbench than a regular desk. That's too bad because I really liked the way it looked in the garage.

I used to keep my drill press, bench vice, and grinder on top of it. My plan is now to store those types of tools in the metal shelving units behind the door hinges. For a tool stand I have the table that came along with my old band saw. I am planning on building a wheeled base for that table so that I can move it around the garage as needed.

Keeping the floor space clear means that I need to find an out of the way storage space for my floor jacks. I will  probably just roll them under the XJS, since that won't be coming out every day.

I plan to store two cars inside when not currently involved in a mechanical project. This will also make it easier  to rotate the use of my hobby cars.

Looks like there is plenty of room, now.

This was the space I had available when I changed out the transmission.
Note the cars position to the center floor seam.
It was like a single car garage.

Clutter does not preclude the work of genius. This is famed car customizer and master metal man, Bill Hines. (1923-2016). His shop does look a little "cozy." I met him a couple of times at the West Coast Kustoms Nationals at Santa Maria Ca. I saw him and that Cadillac the last time I went to the Nationals.

Photos source: Auto  Week
He was in his mid Eighties the last time I saw him. He just kept the faith over all those years.