Friday, November 26, 2021

 Lately I've been finding myself browsing the forums of the AACA.


Their new logo is much snazzier and appealing than their old one. 


That's the Antique Automobile Club of America.


Their old logo; lots of Duryeas cruising the streets.
Would anyone under 85 have any interest with that logo?


In their general forum section a question was posed, "How can a young broke guy get started in the old car hobby?" The guys on the forum were full of helpful suggestions.

The kid didn't have a garage or even covered parking, and no real place to work on his car. 

In this situation it doesn't pay to get in over your head.

In reality that's liable to cost you dearly. 

So it makes sense to get involved with a car and situation that is likely to have a favorable outcome. 




Car Craft had a memorable issue that proclaimed on the cover: Freeway Flyers; Build 'Em!" 

The article highlighted performance bargains in older model lines that were outstanding in their day, and still offered opportunities to enjoy and augment their performance. At attainable prices. We are talking Mustang, Camaro, Firebird, even Corvette! 

They weren't addressing late '60's and early '70's muscle car classics, they were talking about the late '80's and '90's descendants of these cars. some direct descendants like the Pony cars, some familial, like the GM A body intermediates which no longer offered performance variants.

But they are all V8 front engine, rear wheel drive designs. The classic lay out. With...

Attainable prices.! That's the whole thing. 

The authors were also not advocating buying some clapped out, rusted, wrecked car with a beat motor. Instead they recommended good running cars in good overall condition. With good bodywork, paint, interiors, and good running modern mechanicals. Something that you could do a little wrenching on to improve, but still be driving immediately. 

Did you notice how many times I used the word "good"? 

That made a lot of sense.

If the choice is between dream or do, I choose to do.

This is along the advice that I would offer this kid. There would have to be some adjustments since in this case he wants a vintage car, not a performance car. A '90's car doesn't really fill that vintage vibe.

But he has to find an affordable vintage car in running and hopefully presentable condition. Something that will not commit him to an extensive rebuilding project - at least not right away! 

No sense in getting involved with a project car that needs a lot of work, no matter how cheap, or even free! 

The best of intentions cannot compensate for a lack of resources. You can consider this sentence the most concise and important advice that you will ever read.

Every experienced hobbyist knows that in their heart, but we've all violated that old truism.  Sometimes over and over again.


Is it realistic for a young person with few resources available to get started in the vintage car game? 

The idea that a young person might be living with an old unreliable car that needs constant repair and attention isn't too far from what many, if not most, of us experienced  in our youth. I know that I drove old cars that were well along into their service lives and weren't long for this world. 

Yet even then there were guys that bought a specific car that they wanted, and they held onto it for many, many, years. I've mentioned that this turned out to be a winning strategy for some. 

This was back in the early 1970's.  The cars that I was fooling with were late 1950's and early to mid 1960's models.

Cars that were not really that old, some less than twenty years old. Flash forward to Today, and that would be cars from the new Millennia, post 2000! Where did all those years go?

Are cars of this age, vintage cars? Yes and no. While they are quickly approaching the 25 year old standard of collectibility, I don't think that is what that young guy was looking for. 


Here you go, a straight complete mid 50's more door Pontiac.

I would recommend late 1950's or an early 60's car, something simple. A full sized base model Chevy or Ford, with a straight six and maybe a manual transmission. Or a compact, like a Ford Falcon, Plymouth Valiant, or Chevy Nova. A low option car with a lot less to go wrong. There were lots of simple, basic, Dodges, Plymouths, Impalas, Galaxies, and Buicks. You are probably going to have to settle for a more door. Pick up trucks are another great choice. Parts would have to be readily available and affordable. 


Vintage pick ups are simple, and they retain their utility and value.

I was surprised to find that the CCCA forums had several low buck build threads that were posted by young guys. They featured situations like freeing up and starting an engine that hadn't been fired in 10-20 years. With lot's of low buck, greasy hand tactics to get the engine running. The cars were '50's sedans that had been sitting under some type of shelter, or weather protection, so they weren't rusty wrecks. These threads would not have seemed out of place on the HAMB! 

I won't say that everything is impossible, it just takes a lot of commitment and the willingness to do the hard work. It also takes finding the right car. Which is a sizable hurdle in itself. Perhaps the greatest hurdle.

I registered on the forum so that I could contribute comments, and even sent in my money to join the club. What has surprised me has been a pretty open and welcoming attitude by posters on the forums. I kind of expected a bunch of snooty old farts that wouldn't give the time of day to someone with a '60s or '70s car, but I've been pleasantly surprised. What is really interesting is that the forum is set up with a lot of feedback for the commentors. You receive notifications on comments that were included in later responses. They also give you points and awards for participation!

I admit that I find that kind of feedback useful and fun. I shared that I had my own blog and that I was used to talking a lot.  That I did not like leaving simple one sentence responses, or a thumbs up emoji. In reality I enjoy writing and sharing my thoughts. I am happy to start a discussion and find that others enjoy my contributions. That's the only pay off that I receive for the work of producing this blog. 

I hope that everyone had a happy Thanksgiving and I'm very thankful for the people that take a few minutes out of their day to read my ramblings. 






Friday, November 19, 2021

 Rust - again.


This centuries old painting was destroyed
by a well intentioned amateur attempt to restore it. 


The best of intentions can lead to tragic results without the required resources and skill. Just like the tragic tale of this painting from a Spanish church that made international news.

Mitigation versus management, and why you need to accept the need for both.

A car guy's attitude towards rust can tell you a lot about them, and yourself. It's not always a complimentary revelation, in either direction. 

I am a preservationist. By preference. 

Oily rag.


I would love to have an Aston Martin with this level of patina.

This is a reference to certain enthusiasts that make every effort to maintain and preserve the original cosmetic appearance of their car. The body and metal components are merely rubbed with an oily rag to prevent further corrosion. The interior upholstery are stabilized by inserting a layer of support fabric under the worn areas and restitching. The idea is to preserve the vehicle, not to improve it, unless it is absolutely necessary. This was the common practice back in the 1950's before the practice of total restoration became popular.

For some people, auto restoration seems to be a way to completely control at least one aspect of their lives and render it perfect. At least it seems that way to this observer. You can detect a certain zealotry in their forum posts

On the other hand, some people seem to embrace shoddy workmanship and hidden bodges. 

Of course there is a happy medium.

There was a thread on the HAMB where commentors were asked to display the worst things that they have found under the paint of an old car that they have bought. 


What, That doesn't qualify as a skim coat? 


That repair doesn't look that bad.


It only gets worse the deeper you dig.



That rusted out hole was covered up by old license plates
 that were screwed then bondo ed over.

There were stories of inches of bondo and supporting material found under shiny new paint. The supporting material used varied from metal screen, to galvanized flashing, to riveted sheet metal from traffic signs, to wads of newspaper! There might be up to three inches of bondo used to complete curves in the body. 

Of course, over time, the bondo cracked and broke off, taking a huge chunk of the car body with it. Along with the new owners enthusiasm for their purchase!

Cars are merely machines built to be used. They are manufactured, sold, and used for their intended purpose over a long lifespan with a succession of different owners. Until their utility erodes and they are eventually scrapped. 

Manufacturers only engineer a reasonable service life into their products. Obsolescence and decay is a fact of life. Sometimes the product is still viable functionally, but it is no longer "supported" by it's maker. How many computers, tablets, and cell phones have you scrapped in the last 15 years? Did you mourn their passing? 





POR products are the real deal
and will give satisfactory results.


I've mentioned this product before,
it was highly recommended by some people on the H.A.M.B.

The availability of rust encapsulating paint and epoxies have allowed hobbyists to make cosmetic rust repairs that might not be metal replacement correct, are certainly much better than bondo and newspaper. 

There are "no welding" patch panel repair kits that come with flange ing pliers, flush rivets and construction adhesive. I used this system to repair a panel on one of my old Zs.



 




This kit was available from Eastwood products.
Did you know that aluminium cars are largely constructed with adhesive and rivets?

Bondo will absorb water and the moisture will result in the repaired area rusting further. POR paint adheres to the rusty metal and prevents further interaction between moisture, air and steel. Effectively ending the process. 

Repairs to floorboards or trunk floors that can be described as pinholes and small holes  can be effectively repaired and the areas strengthened by application of steel mesh or fiberglass matte. In reality, most people would be surprised by how thin the sheet metal of the floor was originally. 

On previous projects I've used POR products to repair the lower edge of a front fender as well as the rear wheel arch lip of A Datsun Z. Both repairs were visually satisfactory and they should last for many years. Is there anything wrong with that? Especially if the products are used as the manufacturer intended? 

I once discussed some rust repair on another Z with one of my swap meet customers. The top of the tail light panel where the hatchback striker rests is a common place for surface rust. I recommended that for minor rust, an epoxy repair could be done by the owner. He was adamant that the panel would have to be cut out and a new one welded in. He wanted it to be all steel. When I asked him why he responded that he wanted the repair, "to last forever!" I told him that the owner wasn't going to last forever!

Does it occur to him that modern cars front and rear panels are now constructed of plastic castings and bumper covers?

No one wants to be known as a rip off artist. That is a result from actual misrepresentation and the intention to cheat the buyer. However, why not document  any repairs? It's now it's quite easy to do with digital cameras and home printers. 

In the interest of full disclosure, I plan to document any epoxy repairs so that a new owner can locate them after the car is painted and replace them with metal if they wish. If the epoxies are used in non structural locations in minimum amounts there shouldn't be a problem.

I think that I'm going to put together a photo book on any repairs done to the car. It's never been my intention to misrepresent any work that I've done. I'm not going to try to pass the car off as a rotisserie restoration. Instead it is just going to be what we used to call a "fixed up" old car.



Friday, November 12, 2021

 That don't impress me much!



You're one of those guys that likes to shine his machine

You'll make me take my shoes off before you let me get in

I can't believe that you kiss your car goodnight

Now c'mon, baby, tell me- you must be joking, right?

Oh-oo-oh, you think you're something special

Oh-oo-oh, you think you're something else

Okay, ...so you've got a car.

That don't impress me much!

So sang Shania Twain back in the Nineties. 

She wasn't impressed because some guy had a Ferrari. Ladies are used to having every guy try to impress them, so many of them build up a sensible immunity to that. That's one situation. However, I don't think that anyone is actively trying to impress- me! 

Is being hard to impress, is that just a part of getting older? Is it just that things just don't seem to make that much of an impression anymore? Have I just become jaded?

It does have to do with the breadth of a person's experience.

Where I live, I see a lot of very interesting and cool cars on the highways and streets. Just in the last couple of weeks I've seen a Pantera, an Avanti, and an '80 Trans Am, and a Lexus LC500.

Not to mention a Ford Raptor, several Porsche Taycans, and so many others.

Then there are immaculate Lowriders and muscle cars. 

So many expensive high end production models of Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Cadillac, Land Rover and Lincoln.

Are those cars still supposed to function as a status symbol?

Am I supposed to be impressed by someone's display of wealth?


I've read articles over the years that claim that older people report higher levels of happiness and satisfaction than younger folks.  There are probably a lot of reasons for that, but one factor is that old folks are more accepting of reality. They've made peace with their situation in life. They can be grateful for the good things that they have in their lives, their relationships and achievements. 

Of course it just may be that we old folks just don't give a crap about anything, anymore!


I have long ago accepted the fact that others have a larger income than I do, so they spend it accordingly. They will be able to enjoy a level of material consumption higher than mine. Does that make them a better person than me? No, of course not. All it means is that they can afford more expensive things. 

Living in Silicon Valley there are quite a lot of people that make an awful lot of money working in the high tech industries. 

My Mother taught me that it wasn't polite to discuss how much something cost, bragging about how expensive something was, is a sign of bad taste and poor upbringing.  I used to have a neighbor that used to do that, he even had to have two BMWs, to make his point!

I do not begrudge anyone spending their own money to purchase whatever it is that they want, it is their money after all. 

I have lived in my neighborhood for over thirty years. It's a pretty good assumption that anyone that has moved in since, has a higher income than I do, since the prices have just kept getting higher and higher! 

Sometimes people choose a car to make a statement about their status as an enthusiast.  This is something that I generally approve of. 

These are the guys that drive a restored vintage car, an older sports car or a modified older vehicle. 

You are what you drive, so the old saying goes. Did you ever buy into that line? 

Although the choice of your car can be a big part of your image management. 

Dress for success.  Looking good for the ladies. That's what every guy is trying to convey, thinking that it will help impress members of the opposite sex. We think that our choice of car contributes to that. Well, we all hoped that it was true, at least when when we were younger! We usually learned that it wasn't the case... Exactly.

Although it was never a good idea to look too poor, too slovenly, or too "peculiar."

Actually you drive what you need, can afford, and like. 

When I needed a minivan, I drove a minivan. I remember what The Oak Ridge Boys said! I now need a truck, so I drive a truck.

So as a car guy, what should I be driving? To establish my cred as a car enthusiast?

There's a house that I frequently drive past in town that has a very clean '67 Chevy Impala Lowrider parked in front. If one Lowrider isn't enough, there's an '81 Cadillac and '80's Buick Regal included in the line up also. I like low cars, and have driven a couple that I've lowered, though I wouldn't say that I was ever a real Lowrider.

Should it be something mean and nasty like a souped up 60's or 70's musclecar?  I've mentioned that my older brother drove several Camaros and a Trans Am back in the day. I loved those cars and even got to borrow them on occasion. They were great for the times. Last week I saw a '79 Trans Am in traffic and truthfully wasn't very impressed.

Or should it be just an interesting old car, something quirky and different? I don't mind being thought of as different, but different can easily segue into weird. 

Should it be something mainstream like a '57 Chevy? 

Should it be something that is clearly expensive, either old or new? Though I don't know if I could get my Wife on board with that idea.

Should I just be driving something late model and sensible, like showing up to the West Coast Kustoms show in my Flex? Would that make me look like a poser? 

I gave up on having a classic hot rod years ago. I even tried to build one once. I think that they belong to a period of automotive culture that has had it's time. It's passed me by, at least.

I'm also pretty much done with anything from the '50's '60's and 70's. I've had several cars from that time period.

I like to tell my Wife that one the good things about being an old man is that you don't have to care what you look like. On the other hand, the bad thing about being an old man is that you don't care what you look like! 


I'm now at the age where I have little interest in establishing status through vehicles. The truth is that I never really did. Though I didn't mind driving something that I thought was "appropriate." At least for me.

My factors in consideration of status now are residence, occupation, and accomplishments.

If you live in an exclusive area it's safe to say that you've got enough income to live there.

Occupation can tell a lot about a person. Their education and training. How interesting and challenging their vocation is. 

Finally there are accomplishments. These can range from military service, raising a family, starting a business, charity and community work.

It's best of these facets of a person's life are revealed gradually, not boastfully pronounced.

This entire discussion might seem kind of silly to a lot of people, but my car is important to me, even if I don't kiss it goodnight.

Like most people I've spent my entire life taking care of business, fulfilling the responsibilities that I took on. 

If I can't have something that I like, and that means something to me, than I feel kind of cheated, especially at my age. Like all my work has been... for what?  I guess that sounds kind of superficial, but we've all got our priorities. 


Friday, November 5, 2021

 I found the nuts, but lost my carb parts. 


This is after I sprayed down the moving parts.

I had ordered the part to replace the broken needle/jet seat as well as some rebuild gaskets. Again, I put them somewhere that I was certain that I'd never forget, or I'd recall that clever connection.  NOT!

I'm still looking, but I kept on with my carb inspection process. The initial problem had been that the throttle shaft wouldn't move when I stepped on the pedal. I found that the linkage was bound up, frozen solid actually. I couldn't tell if it was the throttle slides stuck to the bore or if it was the butterfly plate or what. 

I decided to remove the carb assembly so that I could work on it on the bench.

That had been the idea, but it got pushed back further and further. At least I put the carb assembly back in the car.

I didn't want to work on the carbs on my wooden table since I didn't want to be spraying carb cleaner close to the laundry area.


Carts come in very handy.

Instead I brought in a metal roller cart so that I could work right next to the open garage door. I fixed up a a large shallow box that I made sure had a sold bottom panel which I installed and a metal roasting pan that I could contain the carb spray run off. 


Yes, this is only a cardboard box. I sealed up the side holes.
 I don't want to lose any more parts.

The Jag uses two large SU constant velocity carbs, at least that was what Honda called them on the CB450 back in 1965. I'd read a lot about British carburation in the motorcycle mags of the day. Variable venturi, which means that the size of the carb bore changes as a vacuum cylinder slides up and down. It not only regulated the air velocity it also regulates the fuel metering as a needle attached to the slide moves up and down within a jet. 


photo source; flicker.com
Note the dome shaped structure on the top.


The throttle plate only controls the amount of air entering the venturi, the slide rises and falls based on on the amount of vacuum present in the manifold. Therefore the  driver cannot force too much fuel into the motor by opening the throttle more than is needed at that moment. The carb maintains the setting that produces the greatest amount of vacuum. Savvy drivers used to mount a vacuum gauge inside the car, so that they could monitor the vacuum level and keep it high. They would not over throttle the motor. These were frequently refereed to as economy gauges as maintaining high vacuum provided the best power and fuel efficiency. These carbs do not employ an accelerator pump.

The carbs, unlike most American carbs also do not employ a choke plate to enrich the fuel mixture on cold start up. This also allows a greater and freer flow of air through the venturi. Honda used an actual manual choke plate like their other motorcycles. 


The heart of the starting carburetor is this electro magnet and disc valve.
I tested it and it works.

Some type of enrichment system has to be employed, often there is a built in system that most drivers referred to as the "choke," regardless. Jaguar chose a "starting carburetor" which provides the enrichment. Most American cars up until the 1950's employed a driver controlled choke. This was more reliable and effective, especially with the variety of weather that this country sees. 

Many drivers had trouble operating the choke. If left engaged for too long, the motor would chug along on it's over rich mixture. Trailing behind a cloud of black smoke and eventual fouled plugs. Then the motor would stall.

If the choke was released too soon,  the cold motor would have trouble gaining revs and would often die when pulling away from a stop. Again, a stall. 

Back in the Model T days, the driver was also responsible for retarding the spark to ease starting as well as applying the choke. Then they would advance the spark timing smoothing out the running of the motor. But they couldn't forget about the choke. There was also a hand operated throttle lever on the steering wheel. Factor in the three foot pedals and the Model T pilot was kept pretty busy!

Detroit discovered a method that relieved the driver of any responsibility of ignition timing. The automatic advance distributor uses an internal spring and cam which advances the point cam. That was later combined with a vacuum advance assembly. This system lasted well into the 1970's until ignition points were replaced by magnetic pick ups.  As the 1950's dawned manufactures found a system to automate the operation of the choke, at least for more expensive makes. Step on the accelerator once, then crank the motor. When adjusted properly the system worked pretty well. 

Jaguar designed an automatic system that activated the starting carb when cold. Upon reaching a specified minimum operating temp the system would dis engage.

Most other cars also had carbs with" accelerator pumps." These would shoot a dollop of fuel into the manifold to help transitions from low to high sudden rpm.  This shot of fuel could also help start a cold motor in conjunction with the choke. Or it could hopelessly flood the motor. 

The SU carbs do not feature an accelerator pump, so all fuel has to come from the starting carb. If it malfunctions, and from what I've read this was not uncommon, the motor would be a devil to start. Jaguars and other SU equipped cars gained a reputation as being very hard to start in the winter. Combine a weak ignition with a slow turning six volt starter and the process could become quite maddening. No wonder the cars had such poor resale value. Lucky for me, my car is 12 volts.

Jumper cables, cans of ether starting fluid, and heating the oil in the sump, (only seven quarts!) were often tried as antidotes.

The adoption of fuel injection has had far reaching improvements to the starting and drivability of our cars.

This post has been a lot of elaboration over the process of exchanging a few damaged parts. I'm just going to reorder the parts I've misplaced. I need to get moving again. I need to fire up this engine up.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

 I can almost hear the hub bub that I've aroused over  my direction with the Mark VII.


photo source: beverly hills car club
If my car's interior had looked like this, I wouldn't have bought it!

Real restorers, or a least those that claim to champion that cause, are outraged upon hearing that an owner is merely going to "fix up" their car. When I've posted on the Jaguar forum I've heard from commentators about how expensive it will be to fully restore the car. Others have advised me that if the job can't be done properly, then it shouldn't be started at all! I suppose that these old school, "Old  World" cars are mostly of interest to older enthusiasts. Maybe even older richer enthusiasts. 

I do agree that with all the acres of fancy wood work and leather upholstery to properly recreate an "as new" example would be prohibitively expensive. I've heard numbers bandied about with 59K as the median amount!

In many car stories a line at the beginning states that " the car was finally delivered to the new owner's house and a decades long restoration process was begun."

Not gonna happen! That's never been my plan.

My plan has been, that if it is at all feasible, the car will be "fixed up" into decent running order and the cosmetics will be improved a likewise amount. 


Seriously? 
This is actually currently listed on CL. I will vote for non feasible.


What begins the feasibility assessment is the state of the car as it sits. This occurs as the prospective owner considers the car for purchase. Is the car up and running, providing occasional service, and currently registered? How good is the engine and transmission, the bodywork and paint, and the interior? Do the accessories work? 

These would be considerations if a usable, driveable, presentable, example were being considered. If a project car is being considered, besides the visible condition, are all the parts present and accounted for? 

I've already got the car and have had several years to make my assessment. 

The body is straight, carries only a couple of minor dents, with only surface rusting, and one small perforation. All the glass is intact and in place. All exterior bright trim is present, including those impressive rear spats! I located and purchased the missing right headlamp bezel. The interior and trim is all included, The seats had been re-upolstered in blue vinyl by the previous owner. sometime back in the '70s. The headliner is original! Everything is in good shape except for the front seat bottoms. 

The wood work is quite poor. It was done by the factory in a paper thin veneer that has peeled off in ribbons, exposing the base wood. But all the pieces of trim are still in place and just need to be redone. To have it done professionally would be very expensive, thousands of dollars. However it can be done by the home restorer, radio restorers do it all the time. I even did some on my 1941 Silvertone floor console radio/phonograph. It will not be done to the original design, but it will look satisfactory in the end. 

I've seen many old Jags where the owner merely attempted to stain and finish the base wood. Unfortunately this looks like exactly what it is.




I've made the exterior stabilization situation my first priority, even with our current drought, rain will be starting by the next month. I bought some new tarps to cover the car. It is most important to keep water from running inside the body through the worn out weatherstripping and rubber seals. 




My plan is to paint all the upper surfaces in flat black, preserving the current blue sides. The Rustoleum Rust Reformer will be augmented by regular flat black spray can primer on any remaining blue paint left on the top surfaces. There will be an artful curve on the rear flanks. I'm not claiming that my two tone, black primer and old blue paint job is Concourse ready, but it should suffice and make the car less repulsive.


Obviously the home of Old World Craftsmanship.

The interior will be cleaned up as well as possible/ I'll replace the carpet, preserving everything that I can.Once the car is up and running, anything and everything else can be dealt with on an extended time basis. 

Everything hinges on whether or not the motor can returned to running condition.

Saturday, October 23, 2021

 Nuts!!! 

photo source: bigstockimage.com
There's only five there, I need eight!


That's what I get for trying to be cute! 

I don't mean cute as in being childishly good looking, I mean cute as trying to be clever! Sometimes I will make some imaginary "connection" between two things and will be confident that I'll remember that connection later. That doesn't always work out as anticipated.

When I say "nuts" I actually mean nuts, the fasteners that we thread onto bolts. 

Progress has actually been being made on the Mark VII. The surface rust has been chemically and physically removed from the top surfaces of the car. These areas have been spray bombed with Rustoleum's Rust Reformer paint. This is kind of like a junior POR 15 product, it will bond with the remainder of the rust and protect the surface from further interaction with moisture. 

The next phase is to clean up the carbs, re install them, and prepare the car for ignition! 

I started going through the car looking for the carb assemblies that I had removed and set aside. I found those where I had left them in a box on the back seat. I couldn't find all the nuts used to attach the carbs, eight were needed. I found three. 

I had wanted to replace those nuts and washers with new hardware and just assumed that they must be metric thread, I mean if it isn't American factional inch, then it must be metric, right?

Wrong!


photo source:123rf.com
Maybe some of these are Whitworth.

There is a range of fasteners that is uniquely British, the Whitworth thread system. 

Now many fractional inch as well as metric wrenches will fit these nuts and bolts. The carb mounting nuts could be removed with a 1/2 '' or 13 mm socket, no problem. However the nuts do not interchange with those other systems. The threads are completely different. 

Now where could I find replacements? Maybe a British car or motorcycle repair shop. I had read magazine articles in the distant past about the need for Whitworth tools when working on Triumph motorcycles. 

There is actually a British car shop/ garage nearby in Campbell that I used to drive by every time I took my daughter to work. I even stopped in once long ago asking about key blanks for my XJS. Maybe the guy was having a bad day, I asked my question about the blanks, which he did not have in stock. Then I started asking about shop manuals and describing the problems that I was having with my car. I was trying to establish  a level of rapport and trying to create a channel of communication. 

He wasn't having any of that, he asked if I needed anything else, told me he was busy, and had to return to his task. It wasn't so much what he said but his brusque tone. So I left, somewhat puzzled. Why wouldn't a business owner try to establish a connection with a new customer and develop some enthusiasm for their project. If I was going to have to spend some money in the future, why not at his shop? 

I haven't been back since, and it's been almost five years, though I was feeling desperate enough to try him again! 

For some reason when I removed the carbs I didn't thread the nuts back on the studs, my usual practice. Instead I put them in a plastic bag and placed them in a drawer of my roll away tool box. I was going to try to find some replacements, but moved onto fooling with the brake system. That was over three years ago! 

I knew that they were somewhere in my tool box, but which one? 

I spent almost an hour looking through my "newer" tall box with negative results. 

Why didn't I keep the nuts with the carbs inside the car itself?

I figured that I'd be clever, and keep them where I could find them when I wanted to look for replacements.

So Today I started to look through my original short roll away, Luckily there they were, in the back of a drawer reserved for "seldom used" automotive tools.

How funny that a handful of nuts could be made from "un-obtainium." I mean they're just nuts. But they are 70 year old British nuts. Those don't grow on trees! Obviously.

It just reinforces the need to disassemble every component with care, keeping all the bits and fasteners together, and not to get ahead of myself with the process. Replacements  for any item might be difficult to source. Even old gaskets should be saved to use for patterns.

There's also no need to take something apart if I'm not ready to deal with it. 

That's why I didn't remove any of the chrome trim on the hood- yet. I plan on doing that later before I deliver the car to the body shop. Just like I don't plan on trying to remove the windshield or rear glass. The rubbers are dried and cracking but mostly intact. Luckily the channels don't look rusty like on my old Rivieras. so I'm just going to seal around the windows a bit more until I'm ready to deal with them. Truthfully, the car won't be driven in the rain, or washed with a hose, and will be covered with a tarp. I'm keeping as much water away from the car as possible. 

Just like the seats and door panels, no need to mess with them yet. 

What I have been doing is trying to get to know how the car works. How the accessories are switched on. Things like the light switches, heater switches and all those ventilator flaps!

There is a cowl vent that directs outside air to the heater, combined with two under scuttle vents that allow heated air into the interior from under the dash, There are two scuttle vents in the front fenders to channel outside air into the footwells. 

The heater has only one position for heat; on or off, The fan has only one speed. While reading a contemporary road test the writers weren't too impressed by the action of the heaters. However there were photos of the car running through snow covered areas in two Mote Carlo rallies. 

The car does have huge alternatives for ventilation. There are wind wings in the front doors, ventilator paynes in the rear doors, a sunshine roof, as well as those scuttle vents. I imagine that the air will really flow through this car!

I spent some time lubricating and freeing up their action.

My Wife came outside and caught me playing inside the car. She asked me what I was doing. I told her that I was trying to develop a relationship with the car. You should have seen the look on her face! 

If you've ever bought an old car, or even a well used modern car for that matter, you know that the car displays a lot of evidence of it's past owner and their past life. Besides wear and tear, there is often is also dirt and grime, sometimes even filth. There can be trash left under the seats and in the trunk, along with some unusual and unpleasant smells!

There is often an underlying pervasive feeling of mild disgust with a "new" acquisition. It takes some airing out, thorough cleaning, and acclimation.  

Abandoned, derelict, barn and field cars can also have evidence of critter infestation. Insect, as well as small mammal, and occasionally reptilian. Snakes!


photo source:USU Extension .com
At least these little guys are cute.

This can lead to them being considered as being quite disgusting to non enthusiasts, especially our spouses and family members. Sometimes they can be quite disgusting, even to us! This can present a real health hazard and the interior will need to be disinfected before work can begin.

Luckily my car has never been a habitat for vermin, but it was nasty enough after sitting for thirty years! 

A good cleaning of the car is the first step in clearing out the previous life. Airing it out helps quite a bit. 

The best way to develop a bond with a new acquisition is to use and drive it. As you become familiar with how the car car operates and feels, it gradually becomes "your" car. 

It's harder to do that with a non running vehicle.



Friday, October 15, 2021

 It's kind of hard to believe. but look at the difference!




There was a blistered, rusted area on top of the left fender. I used a putty knife to scrape off loose paint and rust.  Then I used a hand held wire brush on the metal. The metal underneath looked terrible, could it even be saved? 





I brushed the loose debris off then covered the area with vinegar saturated rags. I kept it wet for an hour or more, then let it sit over night. The area pictured above is on the top of the fender over the left headlamp.



The photo is actually of an area on the roof. The vinegar causes the rust
to bubble up from the surface.


The area underneath was now covered with a fluffy red crust of rust. I hit it with the wire wheel then repeated the entire procedure. After the second treatment I also hit it with a palm sander to smooth the transition edges a bit. 






This is after the second treatment. Wow! What a difference. 


Here's a spot on the sunroof.



The process works quite well. You can see dark areas on the sheet metal which is probably rust in the pores. The underlying metal doesn't look like it was ever that smooth. It would be best to have the metal perfectly clean and free of any rust, but that might take some blasting in the future. I need  something that I can do to preserve the surface, right now. 





I used a spray can treatment called Rustoleum Rust Reformer. It is one of those rust converting and stabilizing coatings that will allow you to paint over the rusted area. Yes, it is another one of those miracles in a can!



This has the general household use label, there is also another label that 
is used for their automotive product line. I was initially fooled by the picture of the chair.


Yesterday I spent hours combing the internet looking for suggestions on how to manage surface rusted panels. I ended up on the HAMB and read pages of discussions about the efficacy of POR 15 and other rust treatments. Ideally, surface rust should be removed entirely, the metal might need to be media blasted to clean out the pores. If not, then the hidden rust will likely make it's way back up through the surface over time. 

Blasting would be the answer in a perfect world and I'm not eliminating it as a possibility, sometime in the future. I wasn't trying to render the metal perfectly smooth, I was trying to remove  the majority of the surface rust and to protect the surface until it can be dealt with in a more comprehensive manner. I wasn't trying to remove all the old paint either, just give the Rustoleum product a suitable surface to stick to. 

This Rust Reformer is designed to protect the underlying surface from the intrusion of moisture, thereby preventing the continuous formation of more rust. So it should be a moisture resistant covering, unlike regular spray bomb primer. Hopefully this will protect and preserve the car's body, which is my goal after all. 

I'd used POR 15 in the past and found that it was a very good product. The POR paint really sticks to a rusted surface and is very tough. That can be a problem if the surface is something that you might want to paint with a glossy finish in the future. Brushing it on is okay for a chassis or suspension part, but it needs to be sprayed on with a compressor powered gun to lay down a smooth enough finish for glossy paint.  It isn't too easy to sand smooth after it cures. No way I would try to spray that at home, instead of in an actual spray booth, these types of paints and thinners are quite toxic and hazardous when sprayed.

In the Bay Area you are prohibited from painting your car in your driveway or garage. You cannot use a spray gun to paint your car, theoretically you could paint your entire car with spray cans, but there may be a limit on how much of the body can be painted. Spray cans are kind of a gray area. You can spray garden furniture, bicycles, file cabinets and even appliances. 

The best thing is not to come under official scrutiny. Spray can paint is quite aromatic, and using a lot of it in intense periods will be noticeable in most neighborhoods. At least to your next door neighbor. Hopefully, they are not a "Karen!" If they are the type that is "sensitive" to these type of activities, they might call the fire dept. or even the police dept. to report the use of a hazardous material episode. I'd rather not have that discussion.

At my age I'm smart enough to use a face mask ( got plenty of those around!) ) to prevent inhaling overspray, ventilation is provided by the great outdoors. 

I am not using many power tools in this project. There's my hand held drill, my palm sander, and my small shop vac. These are being used sparingly. I'm sure my city has prohibitions about running an auto repair or auto body business out of your garage, but of course some hobby activity is permitted. Again, it's best not raise any red flags, you don't want to be on the city's radar. 


It looks like an improvement to me!


As I said I'm not trying to repaint my car, I'm just trying to provide some protection to the sheet metal. There's going to be a lot of matte black areas over the car, My thought is to blend it all together with regular black primer over what's left of the original areas of paint still on the top surfaces of the vehicle. It will end up as a kind of black over blue two tone. It should look really cool, or at least it will no longer look like a "rust bucket" that inspires revulsion. ..... Maybe not.