Blasts of the Past        

1937 Pontiac 6
Model 2619
4-Door Touring Sedan 


(SOLD 08/09/2020)

  • 6 cylinder flathead engine
  • 3-speed floor-shift
  • Trippe Speedlights
  • Radio, Heater, Clock
  • Ash tray
January 16, 2021 - UPDATE: California Bound! -  Mildred's local stay was short-lived - she is on her way to a new home in California!  When she was put up for sale, buyers called in from as far away as Germany, and many wanted to know if the car for sale was 'Mildred'?  Dan had to do some thinking to recall that had been the car's name, and admitted that they probably knew more about the car than he did!  Although a number of folks indicated they were ready to come pick the car up, the first caller was also the first to put money up front and is now the proud owner.  Whoever you are, please feel fee to contact me -  most information is on this web site, but I'll be happy to chat!
August 9, 2020 - Rehomed -  The Packard pretty much took over the Pontiac's place, and to be honest, I have regretted selling the Studebaker.  So when I put Mildred up for sale a couple of weeks ago and the Studebaker's buyer asked about a trade, I was delighted!  We accomplished the exchange today - Mildred was a perfect lady despite 90+ temperatures, though she did dribble a littlie from a hose clamp when we arrived.  Dan prefers the older cars, and the Studebaker was too 'modern' for his taste. 
July 15, 2020 - Quick Run-  Poor Mildred has been mostly ignored since January - other cars, weather, work and other excuses abound, but there is no real excuse.  Happily, she was quite forgiving and fired up with only a single shot of start fluid.  We went for a short drive to get fluids stirred up, and then back to the garage.
May 2, 2020 - Sharing-  I got this NOS wheel complete with GM tag off eBay about 6 years ago because it was relatively inexpensive and where else was I going to find one? It has been gathering dust in the garage rafters until a fellow 1937 Pontiac owner in Washington State put out the call for parts to repair his 1937 sedan after someone hit him.  One of the items he was looking for was an NOS wheel, and since this one had almost been forgotten, I am sending it on to him for shipping costs.  Mildred gets to help out a sibling!
January 9, 2020 - Show Off -  Mildred is on display as part of a special 'Sedans of the Past' exhibit at the Hampton Roads Automobile Dealer Association's 2020 International Car Show. Members of my antique car club brought out family cars from each decade from the 1920s tot he 1960s to show off in the lobby of the Virginia Beach Convention Center.  Mildred drove out to the Convention Center on the Interstate with no trouble, getting honks and waves from other drivers. While she is really a 'driver' car, she does look pretty spiffy on that red carpet!
October 26, 2019 - On the road again -  After giving Mildred a long-overdue bath and vacuum, I took her out for a test run this morning.  First around the neighborhood, then back streets, and finally, on the Interstate. A car cub friend's 90th birthday party was about 25 miles away, and I decided to see how the car would do.  I maintained 50 on the way out, then pushed her to 60 on the way back.  A nice steady 185 degrees, no leaks, do issues.  It is so nice to have Mildred back among the driveable!  And she got honks and waves frmo admirers ont he waty there and back.
October 20, 2019 - At Long Last... -  I am embarrassed to see that it has been more than eight months since I did more than start Mildred up.  However, I got busy this morning and stuck with putting the dash back together and installing a new glove box.  The glove box turned out to be a challenge, as the new item didn't fit and had to be severely modified.  However, I was able to use the old glovebox to work out front contour and screw holes, and the new one looks really nice (the back is the same color as the sides, it just got washed out by the flash).  The NOS steering wheel and horn button look good, as does the restored instrument cluster.  Next up, a test run to see if the cooling system issues are finally fixed!
February 2, 2019 - How dry I am... -  A few weeks ago I went out to work on Mildred, and she wouldn't start.  Putting fuel or starting fluid in the carb would get her sputtering, but as soon as that ran out she died.  On the plus side, I have three NOS fuel pumps stashed away, but didn't get time until today to work on her.  I got the fuel pumps out and then paused - the fuel gauge had been showing an eighth tank.  Maybe it was not as accurate as I thought, especially with the instrument cluster still hanging loose.  I slipped a hose into the filler neck and pushed it through to the bottom.  When I pulled it out, the bottom was as dry as the picture shown. (Renacted with real hose).  After putting a couple of gallons in and putting a little in the carb, Mildred came back to life and ran smooth and strong.  Important safety tip, Eagon: check the basics first!
January 1, 2019 - Running! -  For the first time since August, Mildred is up and running with all systems working.  The rebuilt temperature gauge works well, and I was also able to finally install the dash face I restored more than 5 years ago!  Mildred sounds great, runs smooth, has good oil pressure, and starts right up.  I was able to check the temperature gauge with my infrared temperature gun and it seems to be right on.  It ran at fast idle for a long time and maintained 160-168 degrees.  I still have to finish getting the dash back together, but that is mostly just the clock and glovebox. 
December 31, 2018 - Coming back together -  Poor Mildred has been neglected while some other projects joined the family.  I finally got busy on her today and have her mostly back together.  The rebuilt temperature gauge is installed, and most of the engine bay is back together.  I still have to tighten things up and get the rest of the dashboard secured, but I might start the New Year with a running Pontiac!
September 16, 2018 - Cleanup -  The engine looks a lot better - I gave the block a fresh coat of paint and redid the red Indian Head logo.  I am also puling all of the accessories and brackets to clean and repaint them while I have everything apart.  Lots still to do, but all pretty minor.  I could put her the rest of the way back together and plug the hole for the temperature bulb, but given her track record so far I am not going anywhere without a working temp gauge!  One annoying issue - it has been wet for over a week, and the humidity is giving some of the parts a hazy finish.  Guess I need to wait until things dry up.
September 15, 2018 - Out with the Old -  I have been making some progress on engine cleanup, but the temperature gauge needed to be pulled so I could send it off for repair.  It was not a fun job, but I managed to get it out without breaking anything.  Monday it gets shipped off to Roy Martin,  the 'Temperature Gauge Guy' in Vermont.  It should be back in about two weeks.  On the bright side, I pulled the clock and fixed the loose minute hand, and also have the instrument cluster face I redid more than five years ago ready to install.  The lift proved very handy - I was able to raise the car up and put the dashboard at a comfortable height.
August 31, 2018 - Cleanup Resumes -  I took the day off fro work to get ahead-start on car projects this weekend.  Poor Mildred needs a repaint and detailing of the engine to get rid of the nasty rust stains.  Instead of just replacing the gasket on the previous pump, I pulled out a pristine NOS pump I had on the shelf and painted it.  I have started pulling parts from the engine block so I can do a good job.  I need to pull the temperature gauge and sending bulb so I can send the unit off to be repaired, which will give me the opportunity to finally install the instrument cluster face I redid FIVE years ago.  I am also installing an overflow tank for the radiator that I have had for almost that long.
August 26, 2018 - Lifted Spirits -  I have wanted a garage lift for a long time, but have put it off for decades due to limited space, low ceiling heights, and of course, finances.  A good lift runs about $2000, and I can't raise the car but so high before it will hit the garage door or cross rafters.  All of that was taken care of this weekend - I picked up a BendPak LR-60P hydraulic floor lift third-hand, but in excellent condition, for $400!  It had very light use and both looks and works great.  Better yet, I can put my tallest car (Mildred) on it and still have a couple of inches to spare at the top.  She just fit with some 4x4 blocks cut to clear the running board brackets.  I changed Mildred's oil - the lift makes anything under the car so much easier!
August 24, 2018 - Drip -  I have been baffled by what caused the loss of coolant and how the temp gauge stuck in the high position.  At right you can see what was probably the actual culprit - the water pump back plate gasket  was leaking even with no pressure cap.  The system is supposed to be unpressurized, and the new radiator neck is shorter, making the low-pressure cap I had been using higher pressure.  The coolant got forced out of the back of the water pump, which gradually made the engine overheat.  The gauge use a Bourdon bimetal chamber easily distorted by pressure - a bulb in the engine contains ether connected to the chamber by a metal tube. As the ether heats and expands, it changes the shape of the Bourdon chamber which moves the needle.  Mildred's chamber got distorted by the heat.  I can get it repaired for about $120.
August 18, 2018 - Smoked Ham? -  I filled Mildred up with water and let her run until the thermostat opened up (170 degrees).  After letting her idle in the garage a bit more, I used a highly technical device known as a 'meat thermometer' to check the actual water temp.  While the instrument is admittedly imperfect, it is showing about 165 degrees.  No leaks showing, and I found I could do away with the modified thermostat housing neck using a step-down flexible hose.  The gauge is still stuck just below 220 - I'll have to figure out have to get that fixed.  And I want a more reliable method of checking the engine temperature.  Northern Tools has a sale on infrared temperature guns.  I think a visit is in my near future.
August 12, 2018 - VICTORY! -  For the first time since I bought the Pontiac six years ago, the temperature is where it should be!  Driving around the neighborhood I got it up to 185, then it actually dropped to 180 when I took her on the Interstate at a steady 55.  The temperature rose to about 190 when I got off to turn around, then dropped again to 180 when I was rolling at 55.  It has always been the opposite in the past - she would run hotter at speed and cool off when I dropped RPM.  After having three different radiator shops tell me the two radiators I had were fine, a new radiator solved the issue.  It was my first thought, and I should have gone with my gut instincts.  Still, some of the work was needed or at least helped a little.  In any case, I think Mildred is fine for highway driving now.

And defeat... After the triumphant test drive, I decided to take Mildred to the memorial service of a car club buddy out near the North Carolina line.  I picked up another car club friend and we set off.  I noticed the temperature was going up, and started cursing the unknown culprit that always seemed to do this.  Watching the gauge, it crept up towards the top but never got past 220 as it will do when it gets really hot.  I slowed down, but this time the temperature did not drop. Neither did it go up higher.  Still, about a mile from the church I pulled over because the car felt wrong.  As soon as I stopped the engine stalled.  Opening the hood revealed a rusty mess underneath - compare the image below right to the one above right - taken less than ten hours apart.  There had been no steam or spray to indicate trouble, and the gauge had remained below the danger zone.  I found out the gauge was stuck just below 220 - it is showing that now with the car stone cold in the garage.  I had some long, anxious hours wondering if damage had been done, but had to wait until both I and the car made it home (Me with some kindly car club friends and the car on a flatbed.  Hagerty road service took care of everything, and did not even charge me an overage for being outside the tow  limit!  The car was facing the wrong way in the driveway, so I topped her off with water and pressed the starter.  The car fired up, smoothed out, and ran fine with no new noises and 40 PSI oil pressure same as always.  As far as I can tell, she has no lasting damage.  Curiously, there was no sign of leakage around any of the new items - the radiator and hoses are all fine.  It looks like all the water sprayed out the bottom of the lower radiator hose and around the water pump.  Something for later this week.  For now, she is back in the garage.

August 11, 2018 - Tight Fit -  The original bottom radiator outlet angled up about 45 degrees - the new radiator's outlet comes directly out at 90 degrees.  Problem - the engine timing chain cover is just a few inches back, not enough room for a flexible hose to fit without collapsing on itself - and even then it is rubbing against the engine the whole time.  Add to that the issue that the radiator outlet is 1.75 inches and the water pump inlet is 1.5 inches, and you have several problems to solve. I have worked it out with a trip to Ace Hardware.  I got a 1" to 3/4" reducer, 3/4 nipple, and 3/4 connector.  The OD of the reducer is 1-3/4 inches and the OD of the 3/4 connector is 1.5".  I sealed the joints and built up the middle of the connector with JB Weld, then shaped and painted it.  The assembly fits with about 1/2" space between the engine and the adapter!  I got the rest of the car together, added water, and let the car run for a while.  Heavy rainstorms kept me in the garage today, but I am hoping to take her out for a run tomorrow.  No noticeable leaks at any of the hose connections or radiator, and idling in the garage with the hood open remained at 180 degrees.
August 7, 2018 - Fit and Trim - I ended up returning the first radiator for a refund, and went hunting.  This time I was a lot more careful and after checking everything I could online, called the manufacturer to verify fit.  They confirmed that the 1940 Chevrolet truck radiator I had found would fit the Pontiac.  It arrived this afternoon, and when I got home from work I went about installing it.  As you can see above, it is almost identical in size and layout.  I had to drill the mounting holes, and was amazed to get it almost exact the first time.  With a bit of adjustment to the top two holes, I got the radiator in and secured with all of the factory bolts.  I just have to work out adapting the water pump inlet to the larger radiator bottom outlet, which I already have two solutions for.  If this works out, I'll pull it and paint it black later.
July 28, 2018 - The Wrong Angle - With the hose adaptations mostly figured out, I got busy getting the new radiator in place.  It wasn't until after  several failed attempts that I took a closer look and realized that the mounting brackets are crooked! (See the red line).  The brackets are aligned so that the bottom of the radiator is pushed out closer to the engine, which prevents it from dropping into the trough set up in the cross brace for the bottom of the stock radiator.  The brackets had to be welded on and are the same on both sides - but I have never seen a car that would mount a radiator this way.  I have written the company and sent a photo - hopefully I am not stuck with a weird radiator.
July 22, 2018 - Now the Fun Starts - I pulled Mildred's radiator today and am ready to start trying to figure out how to get the new one in.  It should fit - if I didn't mess up the measurements somewhere.  The side mounting plates need to be cut back and new mounting holes drilled, so I have a lot more careful measuring ahead.  The fit will be tight top to bottom - I have a half-inch to spare.  And I'll need to work out something for the bottom hose.  They are very close - I may be able to stretch a 1-3/4" hose over the water pump outlet, which looks to be 1-7/8".  This is definitely not going to be a quick and easy swap!
July 21, 2018 - Adapting - The new radiator arrived and looks good.  However, the inlet and outlet sizes don't match up, so I have to do some adaptation.  The top hose was the biggest issue, as the original setup used straight 2" hose, and the new top inlet is 1.5 inches.  Happily, I have a couple of spare thermostat housings that include the top hose outlet.  I got some 1.5" OD PVC from the hardware store, used JB Weld inside the housing and on the outside of the pipe, and pressed it in for secure and watertight fit.  Then I sanded the dried epoxy to a smooth finish and painted it all the correct gray.  The bottom hose is a lot closer - I may be able to clamp it down enough - if not, I can look for a reducer hose.
July 16, 2018 - Third Time? - Despite trying almost every possible solution to Mildred's overheating at speed, she still runs hotter than I would like at 55.   The two radiators I have were both used, so I have been considering trying a larger capacity modern radiator.  One showed up on eBay at clearance price - not only the right size, but a full radiator without the automatic transmission cooling tank most aftermarket radiators come with.  And it is $209 including shipping with a full return refund if it fails to cool.  It should arrive Friday - about the only thing left to try!
May 12, 2018 - The Right Tool - I have had Mildred's NOS steering wheel for a couple of months, but after the ordeal of the Studebaker wheel I have been reluctant to attack.  Last weekend, I spotted a vintage Snap-on CG-60-F steering wheel puller kit it for $42 plus shipping, which turned out to be quite a bargain.  Just parts of the kit are selling for over a $100, and this one is mostly complete with original steel case and instruction sheet. As a bonus, it also had a Snap-on CJ-95 valve puller for flathead engines like Mildred's flat-6.  It quickly proved its worth - I had the old steering wheel off and the new one on in ten minutes!  Wish I'd had this back when I was battling with the Studebaker's wheel!  Mildred's original wheel had some cracks and a chewed up spot from a 'suicide knob' wheel spinner, and the NOS wheel is perfect, so it is a definite upgrade to the interior.
May 5, 2018 - On the Road - 24 cars and almost 50 people showed up for the Square Car Tour - Mildred was the fifth oldest after a 1914 Model T Ford, a 1929 Buick, a 1929 Model A Ford, and a 1931 Chevrolet.  The difference between the 1931 Chevrolet and a 1937 Pontiac is staggering - you would think there was 30 years between them, not 6.  The car directly in front of me in the photo is the 1931.  It has mechanical brakes, a wood-framed body and roof insert, 50 HP 6-cylinder, and a rumble seat.  Mildred has a 85 HP six, hydraulic brakes,  all-steel construction, and even a radio, clock, and heater.  1937 provided a major change in engineering, and Mildred drives pretty much as most cars built for the next 25 years!  She is about as old a car that you can drive normally and for long distances.
May 1, 2018 - Powerless - Our annual Square Car Tour is coming up this weekend, so I decided to make sure Mildred was ready.  Good thing, as her battery had given out despite a voltage tender.  In fairness, her battery was over 6 years old, and 6-volt batteries do not usually last as long as 12-volt sealed units.  Happily, I had a charged spare sitting on the workbench, and she fired up as soon as I got it installed.  I have started pulling the steering wheel, but can put things back together quickly for Saturday's run if I can't get the old one off in time.
March 6, 2018 - Mollifying Mildred - Though it seems that I obsess over whatever the latest machine in the garage happens to be, I do think of the other cars.  Mildred has been steadfast and loyal, and I rewarded her with a NOS steering wheel and rebuilt oil pump from eBay.  The steering wheel she has is cracked in a few places.  The oil pump is just a spare for the future - one of those items I hope I never need, but will be glad to have if I do need it.
January 13, 2018 - Museum Piece - When a planned weekend of work got finished up at 1 AM this morning, I woke up at 9:15 AM and remembered the car club had a tour planned to the Norfolk Chrysler Museum of Art - at 10 AM.  After a mad scramble to get cleaned up and dressed, I went out to the garage and was delighted to have Mildred fire right up in 30 degree weather after weeks of inaction.  We arrived five minutes late and joined the car club group in the lobby just as the tour started.  The only other 'antique' car that came out was a 1977 Corvette.  Everyone else drove modern iron.  Mildred was justifiably smug.
December 2, 2017 - Spare Axle - About 5 years ago, I traded a new glove box liner and some cash for a 1938 Pontiac 6 rear axle assembly that had been removed from a coupe destined to be a hot rod.  However, not having much space or foreseeable need, I kept putting off bringing it home.  Now, with the overdrive project looming, having a spare axle to convert is a terrific asset!  I was very lucky that the friend had not scrapped the axle, and even luckier that car bud Chip helped me wrestle it out from under a pile of old lawn equipment and into my truck.  It is complete hub-to-hub, and will let me keep the existing rear axle unmolested.
November 24, 2017 - Overdrive! - A complete overdrive setup was offered to me last month - while Pontiac did not offer overdrive as an option in 1937, a fellow enthusiast who has owned his 1937 Pontiac since 1961 installed a custom-built setup for touring when he restored the car back in the 1980s.  The overdrive is part of the rear axle pumpkin, and drops RPMs to make highway driving much easier.  He included everything from the control cables and modified driveshaft to the complete rear differential gearset, as well as the parts needed to convert it from manual to electric activation.  The parts arrived literally hours after I had cleared out a bunch of MGA parts!  This will be a future project, hopefully something this winter.
October 1, 2017 - On the Road - It was great to get Mildred back out on the road - I took her for a long, pleasant drive out to Richard's and then to my Mom's.  She ran great, and even better, was just over 180 at 55!  As usual, she got plenty of honks and 'thumbs-up' from other drivers.
September 30, 2017 - Slippery Stuff - Since Mildred has run hot several times, and it's been a while anyway, I gave Mildred an oil and filter change.  She has a modern spin-on filter setup hidden in the back (FRAM PH16).  Painting the filter black helps it blend in well.  I discovered she has an adapter where the drain plug was apparently stripped in the past - I made the mistake of removing the adaptor instead of the half-inch drain plug in the middle, and had a few failed attempts before installing an O-ring seal and sealer finally stopped the drips.  I want to give her a good run to test out the cooling system.
September 10, 2017 - Mildred Finds Her Cool - After taking a break for a week, I went back over Mildred's cooling issues and tried some experiments.  The coolant did not start flowing until the gauge showed 200, which was not kosher for a 160-degree thermostat.  I pulled the BRAND NEW, MODERN thermostat out completely and let the car idle for about 15 minutes.  She was right at 180.  Then I took her out on the Interstate - last time she nearly pegged the gauge and came back boiling.  This time she rolled along at 55-60 with no complaints and a steady 195, cooling back down to 185 when I was doing 30-35.  I am cautiously optimistic  that the culprit was the %^$#@! thermostat.  The head gasket leak was causing the temperature creep at highway speeds, and that appears to have been solved by the new head gasket - just bad luck to get a wonky new thermostat.  I'll keep an eye on things and keep fingers crossed that this is the end of her overheating issues.
September 4, 2017 - Hotter than Ever! - MUD-MUD-MUD-MUD-MUD  (Mud is a dirt-y word).  And I thought quite a few much stronger ones when I took Mildred out for a run today after finally getting her all back together.  Somehow, she is running hotter than ever!  I am completely frustrated, flabbergasted, disgusted, and confused.  The only constant through all of this has been the fact the car has run hot at speed.  Now she is running hotter at idle and actually boiling hot after a run.  She is back together at least, and running.  And parked with the cover on for a while.  I need to step back and focus on other projects for a while.
September 3, 2017 - Re-Capitated! - The original head turned out to be better than the spare one according to Performance Unlimited, and they got it turned around the same day!  I'd been told it would take a week, but when the machinist took it back to the machine, he still had everything set up for my first head and decided to go ahead and knock mine out!  I cleaned the block surface with 400 grit paper and coarse steel wool, then wiped it down with brake cleaner.  Getting everything lined up properly could have been tricky, but I made locator pegs out of 7/16 wood dowel, which I threaded with a bolt.  After spraying the head gasket on both sides with Permatex copper gasket sealant, I positioned the head gasket (copper sandwich instead of the original asbestos single-layer) and then put the head on top.  I had already cleaned and inspected all of the bolt threads and repainted the heads.  However, when I checked the factory shop manual for the sequence and torque for the head bolts, I got a surprise.  They didn't have torque wrenches until the late 1940s!  I did have the sequence for the 27 head bolts, but no torque settings.  So I called car club buddy and professional machinist Ken Talley for advice.  The suggestions (which I followed) were to start off with 40 foot-pounds for everything, and then go back and re-torque to 70 foot-pounds.  Some sources suggest as high as 99 foot-pounds, but Ken explained that since I have bolts threading into a cast-iron block, it was better to go easy on the 80 year-old metal.  Anyway, I put a few drops of oil on the end of each bolt and got them all tight.  Now I just have to get the accessories back on.  I am going back to the pressurized radiator, and have a new high-volume 160 degree thermostat and NOS housing.  With a bit of luck, I'll have her back on the road tomorrow!
August 22, 2017 - Off with her Head - Part 2 - With some assistance from Chip, I was able to get the head off tonight.  We were not surprised to find some moisture between the head and the block.  I am more convinced now than ever that the head has been leaking exhaust gas into the cooling system.  The head itself looks fine - I am going to get it tested and resurfaced and use it instead of the spare head. The spare has a rougher surface from exposure, and a few extra mounting holes, so if the original head is good I'll reuse it instead.  On the plus side, the engine looks great inside - clean bores, no marks on the pistons, and good valves.
August 21, 2017 - Painted and Loosened - Funny how you can forget some of the basics.  When I pulled the head off the spare engine I had to use my legs and a breaker bar to get the head bolts loose.  I had never thought to re-torque the head bolts on Mildred.  When I started to undo the bolts tonight, they came loose easily.  I can understand how the head gasket might have been leaking.  At this point, the problem has been going on for years, and I think there is a bigger leak than ever.  So I am going to swap heads out as planned.  The positive note is that the head on the car is probably good - I had some concerns that it might be cracked.  I have the redone head cleaned and painted and ready to go.
August 17, 2017 - Close Shave - Performance Unlimited turned the head around in one day, doing a pressure check for leaks and then shaving the head down to make it perfectly flat.  It turned out the head had a high spot in the center, and they did a minimal cut to get it smoothed.    I also got the new head gaskets in yesterday, so it looks like I can do the head swap this weekend!
August 13, 2017 - Off With Her Head! - Well, the head off the spare engine, anyway.  I had planned to go ahead and try putting things back together this morning, but when I swapped out the thermostat housing I discovered a black film inside.  There is probably less than 200 miles since I cleaned and reinstalled these parts. That seems to indicate an exhaust leak into the gas from either a head gasket or cracked head.  I already have a new head gasket on the way, and have decided that it is time to go into the engine.  Happily, I have a spare engine in good condition and can send that head out to be checked and surfaced.  I numbered each of the 27 head bolts in case they were different sizes and then removed and bagged them.  The head and head gasket both look good.  While the engine is not newly rebuilt, there is very little ridge on the tops of the cylinders, and the walls look good.  The valves also look OK.  I sprayed the cylinder walls down with cutting oil and will cover the open block for safekeeping.  Now I need to get the head to a machine shop!
August 12, 2017 - Or not... - Once I got the radiator out today (with the able assistance of best bud Chip), I found out the overflow tube is not blocked.  This was verified by my new remote camera, and running air through the radiator in both directions.  We are both baffled how a radiator with an open pressure tube at the top could have pushed water out of the back of the water pump, one of the hoses, and the high-pressure cap!  I am debating pulling the head off the spare engine and having it surfaced, and replacing the head gasket.  A pair of copper head gaskets are on the way.  I'll see how I feel about it tomorrow. But for now, Mildred continues to frustrate me on this heating issue!
August 5, 2017 - Stuffed up hose - Yep - the radiator overflow tube is blocked.  I finally tried getting a wire up the bottom and immediately encountered a solid block.  That means pulling the radiator again.  :sigh.  I have to re-seal the back of the water pump where the pressure pushed coolant out, and am going to put in the correct bellows-style thermostat.  It has a larger opening for water flow.  I also have a NOS thermostat housing.  Unfortunately, I have to wait a bit longer as I had hernia surgery last week, and can't lift anything for a few weeks.
June 26, 2017 - One step forward, two steps back - I took Mildred out for her first real run with the new radiator and all looked good.  On a 90+ degree day she was running about 205 degrees, a marked improvement if not the 180 I was hoping for.  However, on the way home that night in much cooler temperatures, she started up towards 220 again!  When I got her home, there was evidence of leakage from the top hose, radiator cap, and some drips from behind the water pump!  She had lost more than a gallon of coolant.  My initial thought is that the radiator shop accidentally left the overflow plugged - this is a non-pressurized radiator, and that tube should always be open.  I'll check it this weekend.
June 10, 2017 - Marginal Improvement - The 'new' radiator is finally installed - happily with no leaks at water pump or hoses this time.  It was 90+ degrees out today, and when I took her for a 55-60 MPH run on the Interstate, she topped out at about 205 degrees.  That is an improvement over pegging the gauge at over 220, and on a hot day at that.  It may be as good as I can get her.  That is not too bad, though.  The new radiator is nice looking and works well.  I am disappointed that it did not cool more, but even small improvement is still improvement!
June 4, 2017 - Big Cap - I have had the redone radiator for the Pontiac ready to go for a while, and thought I would get it put in Friday night.  I had the generator, fan, and water pump pulley off before I realized I had not checked the radiator cap.  The 'new' radiator had not come with one, and it turned out to have an oversized neck!  'Standard radiator necks are 59mm - this one, after some research, turned out to be a 71mm.  This is common to construction and farm equipment.  I had had no luck at auto parts stores, but found just what I needed at a Tractor Supply store in Chesapeake for $9.95.  With luck, I can get the radiator in this week!
May 6, 2017 - 'Square' Car Tour - My local antique car club region has an annual run designed to encourage older cars to participate - we take country back roads with no stoplights, and have the oldest car on the run set the pace.  This year's event was led by a 1915 Model T Ford!  There was a chance of rain, so I decided to take Mildred instead of my 'squarest' car - Wildlfower.  Although I have not swapped out radiators yet, it was cool enough that she had no overheating issues at all, even rolling at 55 on the Interstate.  I was able to install her newest bit of jewelry just before leaving  - a period spotlight/mirror combination that clamps onto the driver's door.   I found it at the Charlotte Swap Meet last month.  Mildred ran perfectly for the tour, following a 1937 Packard 180 formal sedan and having a friend behind - former garage-mate Eleanor, the 1948 MG TC that now has Susan Bond for her human.  You can just make her out in the rear-view mirror.
April 22, 2017 - First Place - Although Mildred is a lovely lady, I was still surprised she was awarded a First Place at the 64th Annual Old Dominion Meet in Virginia Beach, VA.  Despite still having the old radiator, she made the trip with no fuss and no overheating.  She also got a lot of admiring looks.  I hope to get the radiator and her spotlight/mirror combination installed soon.
April 13, 2017 - Radiator - The shop did a wonderful job with the radiator, straightening the bent top and fins, painting it, and even polishing the '1937 Pontiac' tag.  Even if it does not cure the overheating it looks great.  I flushed  the cooling system Tuesday night and it came out clean, so there is no crud inside. 
March 18, 2017 - Shuffled - We have had a lot of rain and chilly temperatures on the weekends recently, plus a variety of trips have taken me away from home.  So Mildred got out again for a car shuffle - I put the MGA in the front of the garage with Mildred and the Studebaker in back where they can be accessed for driving with little trouble.  No word yet on the radiator I sent off to a shop more than a month ago.  I really want to get the cooling issue taken care of before this summer hits.  However, she fired right up and ran great today.
January 28, 2017 - Impromptu Fun Run - Poor Mildred has been parked in the front of the garage for months now, so I was glad to get her out for an short-notice fun run with my antique car club.  The forecast of a sunny day was enough to prompt nearly 30 folks to get their old cars out for a 25- mile drive on back roads and lunch at a local pizza restaurant.  Mildred preformed flawlessly and her heater was far more than up to the task of offsetting the 40-degree weather.  I was able to install her new horn button last night and new emblems for the Trippe Speedlights came in today.  I am still trying to diagnose her hotter-than-normal nature above 50 MPH.  However, she was fine for winter driving, and got plenty of beeps and waves.
November 9, 2016 - More Shiny Stuff -  I have Mildred parked up front in the garage so that I can pull the radiator again - I am bound and determined to cure her overheating issues this winter.  However, I did not want her to feel neglected, so I picked up this very nice rechromed horn button on eBay. 
October 10, 2016 - Hershey Goods -  When things get busy (pretty often for me), Mildred can end up sitting for longer periods of time.  And that restored clock keeps on ticking and draining power.  More than once I have had to pull the battery out of the driver's side floor , which is not a fun job. Many friends in the car clubs have talked about using Battery Tenders, trickle chargers that maintain a battery.  I picked up a new one for Mildred at Hershey this weekend.  It looks like she may have had one before, as there is an indentation in the battery compartment rim that allows the semi-permanent lead to come out under the carpet.  The lead connectors go behind the battery terminal bolts and the other end ahs a special plug that connects tot he main power wire from the charger unit.  The lead can be left under the carpet until you need to plug it in.  Neat item!
August 6, 2016 - Car Club Run -  Mildred got a good run today out to a car event by the Military Aviation Museum.  She ran a little warm, but did not overheat.  In her defense it was in the 90s actual temperature, and in any case, she ran perfectly.  Lots of honks as waves as usual.  She was the oldest car at the event, and of course, the classiest.
August 5, 2016 - Lights! -  I finally got the Trippe driving lights installed - very nice looking and put out a lot more light than the amber fog lights.  I actually used the halogen bulbs I'd put in the fog lights.  One of the Trippes had a loose base, but I was able to fix that with a washer.  The Tripp Speedlights were often found on high-dollar cars of the late twenties through the 1930s.  Mildred deserves high-class jewelry!
June 26, 2016 - Trip to the Library -  Mildred has been badly neglected the past few months as I played with the MGA project and Beast, the the Suburban.  However, when I finally asked her to take part in a World War II-era car display at the Chesapeake Main Library, she fired right up!  The brake pedal was soft and she needed fluid in her master cylinder for the first time - I need to check for a leak, but she drove perfectly.  The temperature gauge was in the 200-degree range at 55, but stayed OK.  We had a nice drive out to the library and then to my parents' before rolling home.  As always she got a lot of honks and waves.  As you might notice, I have not gotten the Trippe lights on her yet.  Soon, I hope!
March 12, 2016 - Trippe-ing the Light Fantastic -  My local antique car club swap meet brought out many treasures today, including this pair of Trippe Speedlights, the premiere driving and fog lights of the 1930s.  Most classic Duesenbergs, Packards, Cadillacs, and other high-dollar luxury cars had them fitted, and they bring top dollar now.  A fellow club member sold these to me for less than one normally goes for, so the Pontiac will get a very spiffy upgrade!
February 27, 2016 - On the Road Again -  Another club tour, this one to Hertford NC with best bud Chip and his wife Charlotte and son Ben riding along.  Mildred was almost the oldest, but as you can see in the photo, there was one 1930 Model A.  Taking some back roads on the way out boosted overall distance to about 150 miles, which Mildred did smoothly without complaint or any signs of overheating even while rolling with traffic on the Interstate.  It was a beautiful day for a drive - a little cool outside, but clear and sunny all the way.
January 30, 2016 - Hitting the Road -  Mildred and I took part in the TRAACA Winter Blast, a driving tour to the Virginia Living Museum in Newport News.  The battery was dead when i went out last night to test her, but I had a spare ready to go and she ran perfectly today.  No issues with overheating despite mostly Interstate driving.   Cooler outside temps kept the temp gauge at or below 180 degrees.  I need to adjust the brakes some - they have a little more travel than they should, but other than that Mildred and I had a great time.
December 6, 2015 - Still Cool -  I drove Mildred out to Richard's and then my parents' today, for a round trip pf about 60 miles.  Most of the it was at 55-60 on the Interstate, and she never went over 188.  For now, at least, I think Mildred is fixed.  The cause of the overheating was baffling, but my neighbor John from across the street may have come up with the answer.  He is an engineer at a nuclear power plant, and examined the old and new water pumps while I had them off.  There was a noticeable gap between the impeller of the old pump and the pump wall, which he thinks was allowing water to cavitate at high RPM instead of getting pushed through the system.  There is almost no gap in the NOS pump.  The only other possibility is a collapsing bottom hose, which was new each time, but that I replaced finally with an incorrect ribbed and reinforced hose.
December 4, 2015 - Cool Car -  It took a few days to get time for the car shuffle, but I was finally able to take Mildred out for a cooling system test.  Running 55-60 for ten miles never brought the gage over 180.  Granted, it was a chilly night, but she has overheated on cool days in the past.  I'll need some long-term success before I declare Mildred's overheating issues cured, but it was really nice to run her with traffic without pegging the temp needle.
December 1, 2015 - Dry at Last -  I am not sure what the issue was.  I pulled the pump tonight and tried finding any leaks in the pump assembly itself with air pressure.  Then I cleaned the block and pump back again and this time used a new paper gasket (I had a spare) and RTV.  I installed the pump finger tight, let the RTV set an hour, and then tightened everything up.  No leaks when I added water.  I started the car and let her reach operating temperature, still 160 degrees, then put the radiator cap on and watched.  No drips visible.  I checked the water pump seal and it is still dry, as are all the hose connections  After four attempts, I am hesitant to claim victory, but it looks like Mildred's leaks are cured.  Now to find out if she still overheats at speed..
November 29, 2015 - Expletive Deleted -  Mildred was dry this morning, showing no signs of leakage anywhere.  Problem solved, I thought.  So I buttoned her up, and got ready to shuffle cars around to take her for a test drive.  However, a stream of coolant appeared in front of the right front tire, and when I opened the hood and checked the %^$#@! water pump was leaking at the same spot.  This time it is a steady stream, as you can see at right.  I am baffled by this.  The leak appears to come from the back plate and block joint, both of which are clean and straight solid metal.  I used RTV sealant which should have been even better than the thin paper gasket.  For now, I will walk away and take a day or so break.  The issue has got to be simple, and may be connected with the new water pump, since I have not had this issue before.
November 28, 2015 - The Charm? -  This is the third try with the water pump.  My first mistake was using non-hardening gasket sealer.  I also have dispensed with the expensive and unnecessary paper gaskets, opting for Permatex gasket maker.  I cleaned the water pump back up, repainted it, and got it installed tonight.  The radiator is full, and all the leak points look dry.  Rather than run her tonight, I'll let the sealer set and try the car in the morning.  I already have her checked out as far as operating temp -all I have to do now is stop the leaks!
November 27, 2015 - The Unturned Stone -  The good news is that I got Mildred back together, she started up easily after sitting for two months, and after about 30 minutes of idling in the garage she was maintaining a nice, cool 160 degrees.  The bad news is that the water pump hadn't been leaking from the block/water pump joint.  It was leaking from the back plate of the water pump, which I did not reseal when I worked on the car this morning.  I was sure I had seen the water coming from the block gasket.  However, when the leak repeated, I got a flashlight and a flat blade screwdriver and determined that it was the backing plate.  I should have just gone ahead and redone both while I had the car apart this morning, but decided to leave that stone unturned.  Which just goes to show that you will often get into trouble when you take things for granite.  (I heard that groan).  Anyway, the water pump is easy to do - I just need to wait for the car to cool down and pull it off to reseal it, then get it back together again.  Happily, I have the weekend to finnish her up.
November 26, 2015 - Back Together - Almost -  The JB Weld set overnight and I was able to shape and sand the thermostat housing and get it painted with engine enamel.  I was very pleased with the way it came out.  Putting Mildred back together really didn't take all that long, and I thought I might have her running today.  However, I was unusually wise enough to put in plain water first, and discovered seepage at the water pump/block joint.  I had used non-hardening sealer and a new gasket, and thoroughly cleaned and painted both metal surfaces, so I am pretty surprised.  Still, I should be able to get the pump loose and resealed without major disassembly.  She has all new hardware, hoses and hose clamps.  I found a wire reinforced flex hose for the bottom to eliminate any possibility of collapsing at high load.  Maybe tomorrow.
November 21, 2015 - Rebuilding -  Mildred has been ignored for the past couple of months - it is time to get her put back together.  After looking at the housings again, I decided Mildred's original is better overall - the spare had pitting in the body as well.  So I cleaned up the housing, mixed up some JB Weld epoxy, then wrapped the area with a cut section from a soda can.  With the can peeled off, I have a nearly perfectly smooth surface to finish off and repaint.    I also cleaned and repainted the new water pump and the old backing plate.  The new pump has a grease fitting that the old one was missing (permanent lube?).  I even had some water pump grease to lube it with.  I plan to put Mildred back together tomorrow.
September 28, 2015 - Cleanup -  Mildred's thermostat housing (left) is pretty badly eaten up from 78 years if coolant seepage along the top hose.  The only way I could get it to seal was by using Permatex sealer inside the hose.  I started digging around in her spare parts boxes and found a spare (right) that is a little better.  I plan to use JB Weld to build up the damaged areas and smooth the hose surface back out.  I did something similar with the TC a few years back, but this is much less damage.  Another possibility is finding a NOS or undamaged one at Hershey in less than two weeks!  New water pump gaskets are on the way, along with the new water pump.


September 26, 2015 - An Alternative? -  While I hope not to have to use it, I found this original 1937 Pontiac radiator on eBay for just $68 including shipping!    It looks to be in decent shape - I figure I can see what Glenrock can do with it as far as flushing and testing - if it can be made useable and the car continues to heat up after i get it back together I have a fallback radiator to try.  The seller did a great job of packing and got it to me in just 3 days!  
September 23, 2015 - Less Cost, More Frustration -  With all signs still pointing to the radiator, I took it to Glenrock to get a  second opinion.  I was prepared to pay for a $500-$600 recore, or even spring for a $900 new radiator.  However, Glenrock did a careful inspection and flow test and said the radiator was as good as new inside, and that nothing he could do would make it better, including a recore.  He also said the radiator should be more than adequate to cool the stock engine.  So I am almost back to square one.  I have a new water pump and thermostat coming, and plan to pull the distribution tube from the block and use a pressure washer to blast whatever parts of the water passages I can reach in hopes of clearing any internal crud that may be restricting flow.  Then a water flush, chemical flush, and then back together with fingers crossed.
September 16, 2015 - More Jewelry and Out With the Radiator Again -  I picked up an NOS hubcap for Mildred on eBay to make her feel less slighted, and continued with the troubleshooting of her cooling system.  The last items involved checked the vacuum connections to the distributor, getting the timing advanced, and then seeing if the timing was advancing when the RPMs went up.  No leaks were evident, and I got the timing advanced as far as it would go before caused the engine to run rough.  The car idles fine at 170 degrees, but take her on the interstate and it is back up to 220.  So the only thing left is the radiator.  I pulled it easily tonight, benefiting from practice, and will take it to a different radiator shop to be recored.
August 28, 2015 - Still Overheating -  This issue with running hot at highway speeds is getting frustrating.  The potential of timing causing the problem has been mentioned by several folks, and I have to admit that advancing the distributor did help a little.  Tonight I decided to go as far as I could.  I checked the connections for the metal vacuum line to make sure they were tight, then rotated the spark plug sires on the distributor cap so I could advance the timing further.  I took it to the point that the engine started to miss slightly, then retarded just enough for things to get smooth again.  The car starts fine and has plenty of power, and doesn't ping on acceleration.  And she STILL runs too hot.  Maybe a little cooler yet, but Mildred should be a steady 180 or so, and I am seeing over 200 degrees at 55.  I am back to suspecting radiator issues - that's a $500-$800 gamble, though I don't have much left to try.  The really frustrating thing is she occasionally seems to run cool, but is it outside temperature or something internal making the difference?
July 25, 2015 - Dome Light Blues -  I went out to start Mildred Thursday night and her battery was so dead even the clock wasn't working.  Having just worked on the electrical system I was a bit nervous, but put the battery on charge overnight.  That didn't get it up enough to even make the starter click, so I tried a spare battery that I charged last night.  That one did make the starter click - once.  So I picked up a new battery at O'Reilly's ($89) and the car cranked over fine.  I also discovered I had accidentally turned the overhead dome light on when I was working on the brake switch, which is what had killed the battery.  Since I only have a 10 Amp charger, I am leaving the 3 year-old battery on charge over the weekend to see if it comes back up.  I used the old bad battery as the core.
July 20, 2015 - Sending Regrets -  As expected, the sending unit had gone bad.  I was able to pick up a correct new part at O'Reilly's down the street, and didn't even have to climb under the car.  The sending unit sits on top of the master cylinder, which is accessible from above in the engine bay.  A $16 fix.  Mildred has her lights all back now.
July 19, 2015 - Brake Break? -  Turns out the culprit was a fuse - but it keeps blowing.  Working through a couple of fuses, I tracked the issue down to the brake lights.  I expect the issue is the switch itself, but will have to diagnose it out later.  And ALL of the lights except the left headlight go through that one fuse!  I guess the one headlight was kept separate as a safety feature.  Anyway, should be a simple fix.
May 30, 2015 - On The Road -  Mildred got a chance to stretch her legs today on a 70+ mile 'Square Car Tour' around back country roads.  We had 27 vehicles on the drive, which is led by the oldest car participating.  Today's leader was a 1914 Model T Ford that set a very respectable pace.  There were four 1937 vehicles on the run:  A 1937 Dodge wagon that dropped due to a dead electrical system, a 1937 Imperial that's starter went out and had to be taken home, a 1937 Packard that was faltering due to a suspected faulty coil, and Mildred.  As it turns out, Mildred lost her brakes lights and turn signals - probably a fuse, but she ran great and got me home with no issues.  This was a dry run for June 20, when I plan to take her up to Richmond for a show.
April 5, 2015 - Wired -  That freaky spark plug wire short to the heater hose has been bugging me, so I finally installed some modern insulated wires with a full cover on the spark plug end.  I also put in some new AC R45 spark plugs.  The old ones looked good, but with all the hot running and trouble with the distributor, I figured a new set would not hurt.  She fired right up afterwards thanks to my doing everything one wire at a time.
March 29, 2015 - Highway Happiness -  Mildred and I covered more than 60 miles today, mostly at 55-60 MPH, and she never broke a sweat.  The temperature gauge stayed at 180 degrees, which is better than she has been since I got her.  The car ran smooth and strong, and starts up with just a bump of the starter.  It has been a long road getting her overheating straightened out with some unexpected detours, but it is worth it to have her running properly again..
March 28, 2015 - Squared Up -  Our annual Square Car Tour is coming up next Saturday, and Mildred is almost ready.  I got the correct gasket in for the exhaust, but still have some leakage.  There may be an issue with the manifold, but it is not enough of a problem to worry about right now.  The coolant continues to stay where it is supposed to, and she started right up and ran well.  I plan to replace the plug wires and plugs just because it's been a  while for the plugs, and the wires have the weird arc to the heater hose.  I just got a complete Owner's manual package with all of the tags and extra bits off eBay in like new condition.  It even has the radio tag to tell you how to use it that hung on the knob when you bought the car.  I plan to take her out to my parents' tomorrow as a dry run for the Square Car Tour - her first good drive in more than 10 months!   I am hoping that the new distributor and extensive cooling system work will have cured her from running hot.
March 22, 2015 - Leaks fixed and not -  Mildred's radiator hoses were seeping despite tight clamps, so I finally pulled them both off and coated the insides with RTV sealer and used modern clamps.  So far looks tight and dry.  Then I attacked the exhaust flange, which happily, appears to be the exhaust leak culprit.  The gasket was burned through on one side.  Unfortunately, the correct gasket was not available locally.  I ordered two online today, and did a makeshift repair with some more modern thin gaskets that don't seal right  just to have her running.  I also set the timing up a bit to compensate for ethanol on the advice of "Daddy' Kenny Roach.  It was amazing to have no trouble getting manifold bolts off a 78 year-old car - thanks to the Roach's good work.
February 5, 2015 - Up and Running, but Weird -  The battery charged up this time (I suspect operator error) and Mildred cranked up and ran.  But she was missing badly!  This was something new, so I started checking under the hood.  I discovered that the #1 plug was arcing against the rubber heater hose.  Huh?  I had to get a photo of that one.  You can see the arc, but how is it possible?  As soon as I got clearance between the hose and the end of the plug, the engine smoothed right out.  Only one thing left - Mildred has an exhaust leak that is getting worse - I can't tell if it is the manifold gasket or the exhaust donut.  I am hoping for the latter.
February 4, 2015 - And Back In -  Beach Radiator did a beautiful job resealing the top tank (at no charge).  I picked it up last Friday, but ended up having to order a new water pump gasket that did not arrive until today.  I got everything installed, only to have leaks at the upper and lower radiator hoses.  After messing with the original-style clamps with no success, I went over to Advance and bought modern stainless versions that appear to have solved the problem.  However, Mildred's battery was too low to start her, so I have it on charge and will check her tomorrow.  I think she should be good to go.
January 22, 2015 - Out Again -  I got the radiator out tonight and plan to drop it off at Beach Radiator in the morning.  The job was not quite as bad as expected.  I pulled the generator, water pump, left side support and left side hood panel.  With some heavy cardboard protecting it from the block, I was able to maneuver the radiator out with no damage to car or radiator. 
January 20, 2015 - Seepage -  In order to verify the leak was where I thought it was, I topped off Mildred's radiator, dried everything off, and started the car so it would heat up.  Sure enough, coolant started seeping out about 4 inches to the right of the upper radiator hose inlet.  I checked it twice more to be safe.  Although removal is a pain, I am going to pull the radiator and take it back to the shop to have it repaired properly.  No point in getting stranded later on because I tried to jury-rig such a critical item.
December 26, 2014 - 'Cool' Car! -  I just came back from a long run on the Interstate - 55 mph there and 60 mph back, and Mildred never went over 190 degrees!!  That's better than she has ever been as long as I have owned her.  Best guess is that the advance went out on the distributor, which prevented the timing from adjusting with engine RPM.  That made it run hot - and it appears the radiator was clogged after all and cleaning it out did some good.  Anyway, just have to fix the hairline seepage in the top tank seam to finish her up.  This is a big relief, though - I was looking the possibility if $800-$900 for a new radiator!
December 21, 2014 - Timing Marks -  The timing still wasn't quite right as the engine would kick back slightly when I started it, but I got the car out last Sunday for a test drive.  It is running a good 20 degrees cooler, but still starts to run hot on the interstate.  I needed to set the timing, but couldn't find any timing marks.  Enter the factory manual - the timing marks are on the forward side of the flywheel visible through a window in the block behind the distributor.  Handy, right?  (I am being sarcastic).  I should have called her previous humans, who had conveniently marked the timing range with white paint.  I used an external 12-volt battery to power a timing light, and got her set properly.  I actually had to shift the plug wires around on the cap to set things up.  Still running cool at idle - have to get her out for another Interstate test run ASAP.
December 13, 2014 - New Distributor -  I tested the vacuum advance, cleaned the points, and replaced the 70 year-old grease in the NOS distributor and then swapped it out.  Mildred fired right up, and I let her sit and idle for a while.  That will usually bring the temperature gauge up to midpoint, but today (admittedly cool) sitting in the garage, the gauge was reading between a quarter and half.  Encouraging!  Unfortunately, Mildred is in the front of the garage, with the Cougar, truck, and Sonata behind her, not to mention the salvaged kitchen cabinet behind the Cougar!  I'll have to shuffle things around and get her out on the highway this week.
December 7, 2014 - Bad Timing? -   Five weeks in Africa, a trip to Florida, and a week in DC have all combined to keep me away from getting cars worked on.  Now that I am home for a while, I am trying to get Mildred's overheating issues sorted out.  Talking with friends in the Tidewater Region AACA,  another potential culprit has been identified.  It turns out a bad distributor can cause overheating by not advancing properly at higher RPMs.  It just so happens that I have a New Old Stock distributor for Mildred still in the GM box, complete from drive gear to distributor cap.  I'll get it cleaned and adjusted and drop it in.  Could be the radiator was never the issue at all!  We'll find out soon.
August 31, 2014 - Shiny, But Still Hot -   After 4 months, I finally got Mildred all back together with her new center hood chrome strip and ornament, plus all the cooling system items.  The hood paint suffered a bit due to my occasional clumsiness, but I plan to have her repainted anyway.  However, my initial happiness at having her ready to go was squelched by the first test drive - she is heating up exactly the same way.  This despite a cleaned radiator, new thermostat and hoses,  verified water pump and distribution tube, and fresh 50/50 antifreeze.  Between the cracked top tank and the total lack of improvement despite a claim that the radiator was half clogged makes me suspect the radiator shop.  At this point, it looks like a new radiator is required.  Oh, well.  At least she got a good bath.  And the second removal should be easier.
August 10, 2014 - Tick Tock -   The weekend was spent on Mildred - I got the radiator back in, cleaned and reinstalled the water pump, put in the new thermostat and hoses, and checked her out.  Idling for fifteen minutes in the garage, she stayed at 180, which is the middle of the gauge.  Unfortunately, she also developed a 1-inch seeping crack in the back tank seam, which I have hopefully fixed with JB weld.  Next came the rebuilt clock, which took more effort than I expected.  The glove box had to come out and there was no wiring for  the old clock which was missing parts and installed for show.  I had to remove the FM converter and do some rewiring of the radio and lights, but the clock is now ticking away.  I also got the hood back on, though the center strip will take some work - it has a definite bow that makes lining up the mounting holes difficult to impossible.
August 8, 2014 - Cool Looking Radiator -   I took it to Beach Radiator on the recommendation of friends in the AACA.  The folks there determined that Mildred's core was about half blocked with crud.  However, the radiator was in excellent shape, having been recored sometime in the past, and they were able to hot-tank it and get it completely clean inside and out.  They also gave it a nice paint job, so it looks new.  I ordered a new lower radiator hose from California Pontiac Restorations, and located a NOS Thermostat still sealed in the box on eBay, both of which arrived before I picked up the radiator this morning.  With luck and some effort, I may get her back together this weekend.
July 27, 2014 - Off With Her Hood! -  I have decided to get the radiator done, and also need to get the new chrome center and hood ornament installed, so I pulled the hood today.  It looked like it would be an easy job, but after undoing all the bolts I thought held it on, the front would not budge.  So I thought the hood ornament was holding it on and struggled to undo the ^%#! square nuts holding it in place.  However, just before I got the back one off, the whole assembly popped free - turns out the front studs were just binding.  Anyway, the hood is off and I can start work removing the radiator.
June 20, 2014 - Time to Flush? -  I'm looking for a 155-160 thermostat for the Pontiac, but I suspect the real culprit is the radiator.  Kenny had the old one checked and flushed years ago, but the car has always had an issue running at 55.  I got a call from a friend in the Pontiac club who also has a 1937 Pontiac 6 - running at 55 and pulling a trailer in hilly country puts his temp gauge at 160-170.  Mildred runs normally at 180-190, and heads for 220 when you run at speed.  Looks like I need to pull the radiator and get it checked - and possibly go for a new core (ouchie).  Still, the car is a great driver other than the heating issue, and it's worth it to get her right.
May 26, 2014 - Hot Head -  The Pontiac was running well, but hotter than normal, during the long Square Car Tour.  Even keeping the speed to no more than 50, she was pushing 210 degrees.  I used an infrared sensor to verify the temperature gauge (it was dead on), and then pulled the thermostat and flushed the cooling system.  No change.  Oh, well.  The radiator was redone by the previous owner, but she may need one with better cooling capacity.  She is fine for most driving, though.  I'll start looking for another radiator to get rebuilt for the future.
May 4, 2014 - Square Deal -  After sitting for a few weeks, Mildred fired right up and was eager to go for my antique car club's annual 'Square Car Tour.'  The tour was originally designed to allow cars from the late teens and twenties to participate.  However, increasing distances and speeds have moved the average car age up a lot.   Mildred was the second oldest. losing out only to a 1935 Chevrolet coupe.  We drove close to 160 miles total including getting to the start, the run back from Gates County NC, and a side trip to my parents'.  She did great other than some high temps from the extended highway miles. I have a lot of small things to do for her - the new hood chrome, clock, and refinished dash face.  They were all 'winter' jobs, but it looks like summertime work now.
March 8, 2014 - 'Sweet' Ride -  Stephanie, a girl down the street that I have watched grow up, asked me a couple of weeks ago if I would driver her to her Sweet 16 party tonight.  Of course I said 'yes', and got Mildred spiffed up for the event.  Many photos were taken around the car, both before and after the ride.  It was fun to have a kid ask for an old car ride, and Mildred was, of course, perfect.
January 19, 2014 - Time for a Drive -  Mildred hasn't been out of the garage for more than a roll around the neighborhood in a while, so I gave her a grand tour of about 150 miles today.  We started with a drive out to a friend's farm in Isle of Wight, then out to Deep Creek for a visit with Kenny and Charlene Roach (who let me adopt Mildred), the out to Richard Hall's to leave off his spare nuts (long story, don't ask), then to my parents' and finally back home.  It was cold this morning and I turned on the heat for the first time.  You can bake bread inside the car when you get going!  Mildred ran perfectly and got many waves and honks.  It's amazing how well she rides and drives to be 77 years old!
November 30, 2013 - Right Time, Wrong Battery -  I had a spare clock for Mildred which I sent off to have rebuilt.  It arrived last week with the old parts (bagged) ready to install.  I had restored the face back in August and included it so it could be installed when the clock was reassembled.    That may be a project for this weekend - I have to pull the glovebox to get access.  However, when I went to start the car yesterday, she was totally dead.  I tried charging the battery to no avail.  The Cougar's battery died just two days ago, but despite thinking I had replaced it, it was the 6-year-old one that had come in the car.  This time I checked the blog and sure enough, I'd put a new one in on August 12, 2012.  I pulled the battery out, ready to take it back for a replacement, when I noticed it had a 2008 sticker.  Huh?  Turns out that while swapping batteries around at different times, I had accidentally put an old battery back in Mildred and left the new one on the workbench as a spare.  Happily, it was still charged and Mildred fired right up.  Another recent goodie is a hood ornament that will get sent out for replating.
September 21, 2013 - Scouting Out New Enthusiasts -  Mildred hasn't had much attention the past few weeks, as the TC had to be readied for the Classics on the Green Show, and the Cougar is getting prepped for the big Wings and Wheels show next weekend.  However, today we rolled out to the Virginia Beach Airport to be part of a car display for a visiting Boy Scout Troop.  The Scouts are working on an Automobile Maintenance Merit Badge, and we had four other antique vehicles (including former garage-mate Eleanor) on hand.  The Scouts really liked Mildred's roomy interior - we got half the troop crammed inside at one time!
August 25, 2013 - Practically Perfect 'Ps' -  A visit to Richard's in the Pontiac prompted him to roll out his 1935 Packard 120 Club Sedan for a photo.  It is interesting to see the difference of two years.  Scroll down to September 2012 and see the difference between 1937 and 1939.  Style was changing quickly in those days!
August 24, 2013 - More Cleaning and Painting -   I just bought a decal set for the original clock face, and took the spare clock apart to redo. Once I get the face redone, I'll send the assembly out to be repaired and then replace Mildred's non-working unit.  I also got busy and painted the 'Silver Streak' that runs from her grille to firewall .  It took several steps - the center grooves had to be cleaned and primed, then painted black and clear coated.  I used extra-fine steel wool to get the paint off the tops of the ribs.  Then I taped off the top and did the sides.  It came out really well.  Now I have to swap it out for the old one.
August 17, 2013 - Junior Hobbyists -   Mildred wasn't afraid of a few raindrops, and we rolled out to the 22nd Annual Khedive Car Show for the day.  She was very popular, and garnered some fans well under driving age who were very happy to see her from the driver's seat.  She ran perfectly and drive great, of course.  I decided to change her oil for the first time since I got her.  It's been more than a year and about 1500 miles.  Amazingly, I have not added oil in all that time and she was just a half-quart low!  I decided to paint the replacement filter black to make it look more like a stock canister and it worked pretty well - you can hardly see it now.  Scroll down to the June 17th entry to see how much the white filter stood out.
August 13, 2013 - Running Boards!   Work was slow today, so I took a couple of hours off this afternoon to see what I could get done on the running boards.  I'd done some research online which really paid off.  I scrubbed both running boards down with Whitely's Cleaner, then wiped them down with brake cleaner.  The passenger side was best (above).  I filled the surface cracks with windshield gasket sealer, and after it dried, painted it with flexible bumper paint.  The jury-rigged board it replaced is above it for comparison.  The driver's side was a bit more of a challenge, as it had a deep crack (right photo) on the outer edge.  I used flexible bumper epoxy repair to fill and seal the crack, then  sanded it down to contour.  A coat of flexible black paint later, and I have a new running board!  (Below)  Both are installed and look great.  This was an afternoon well spent!
August 12, 2013 - More stuff!  - The running boards and bumper guards arrived today from Washington - the running boards are definitely in usable shape, though I'll be doing some repairs, cleaning and painting before they go on Mildred.  The bumper guards are perfect, just needing the center stripes painted on.  Some tape and satin black paint took care of that, and they bolted on in a few minutes.. 
August 12, 2013 - Dash it all - step 3 - Now for the moment of truth - getting the flat Mylar decals installed on the contoured plate.  I sprayed the plate with Windex and then set about getting the top decal positioned first.  I used tweezers, a plastic squeegee, paper towels, and a razor blade to get everything in position as best I could, then worked the Windex out so the adhesive could grip.  I am very pleased with the results so far.  I have to let the rest of the Windex traces evaporate out, and then go back around the edges for a final seal.  Then I can clear-coat the whole thing for an even surface finish that will blend the edges of the decals.  Even without that, you can barely see them. 
August 11, 2013 - Dash it all - step 2 - With the metal cleaned up, I wanted to fix the pitting on the bottom.   I used glazing putty and allowed it to dry a half-day before I went back with 400-grit sandpaper.  Then I cleaned off the plate and applied the first coat of gray primer.  (The original panel was done in an off-white with a light tinge of gray).  The primer revealed some leftover pitting, so another fine layer of glaze was added and sanded smooth.  The second coat of primer revealed an acceptable surface, so after waiting until night, I applied the color coat (Honda Frost White NH538 - Duplicolor BHA0950).  I had matched the paint to the back side of the panel, which still had some relatively clean paint on it.
August 10, 2013 - Dash it all - step 1 - The first step in restoring Mildred's instrument cluster is stripping off the old paint.  This spare piece means I can take my time, and more importantly, not risk damaging Mildred's moderately decent dash.  As you can see, it was pretty far gone cosmetically, but is still very solid underneath.  I matched up some paint to the back side, and then stripped it to bare metal.  There is some light pitting in the metal at the bottom which needs to be repaired.
August 8, 2013 - More Shiny Stuff - Lots of nice stuff for Mildred is showing up.  I picked up the replated front Silver Streak from Royal Silver, and some nice hubcaps and restoration decals for the dashboard.  And some decent original running boards should be arriving over the next few days. Lots of work to get it all done, but nice to have the parts ready to go.
July 20, 2013 - Hazy Days of Summer - I washed and dried Mildred and the Cougar last weekend and had them both nice and sparkly.  I covered them up to keep them that way, but had an unpleasant surprise Thursday (18th) when I uncovered them to take Mildred to the car club dinner meeting, they were both covered with an oily haze that smeared when I tried to wipe it off.  I had to wash both cars today with a strong dishwashing detergent solution to get the film off, which apparently came from the car covers!  They are impregnated with some sort of oil to make them waterproof, and it stared breaking down in the heat.  All clean and shiny now, and I also replaced the license plate bracket in front.  It was starting to crack, and I mad a new one from thicker steel.  New lightweight and un-oiled covers are on the way.
July 14, 2013 - Points! - Mildred's performance has been off for a while - I noticed an occasional stumble when I took her to see our Tidewater Region friends  (including Sophie!) off for the 2013 Lincoln Highway Tour across country on June 20th.  I took her out this morning and the stumble seemed worse.  My first suspicion was correct - the points had closed up.  It's been more than a year and lots of driving time since I got her, so it was well past time to clean and adjust.  I was surprised to discover the point gap (.020) was not in the owner's manual, and I had to really search the shop manual to find it!  Anyway, some emery paper and a careful adjustment and Mildred is full of pep again.  I gave her a good bath as well, and filled the gas tank.  All ready to go...  somewhere.
July 12, 2013 - More Red - The back emblem looked so much better I decided to paint the front one as well.  It was harder to get to, but I was stubborner than the nut. I should have the center 'streak' for the hood back from the chrome plater in a week or so.
July 8, 2013 - Playing Games - Back in 1937, prospective Pontiac buyers got more than a sales folder - the Pontiac Safety Drive Game was a full-featured board game with little Pontiac sedans (even a red one like Mildred) that you 'drove' around to earn Pontiac dollars.  It promoted safe driving habits, and of course, the superior Pontiac automobile!  I got just the board a while back, but this game is new and unused in the original package!  Another eBay find.
July 5, 2013 - Bumpers and Seeing Red - Mildred's back bumper has seen better days - it had a big dent in the middle and the plating had come off part of the left side.  I picked up a replated bumper off eBay a few weeks ago and finally got it on today.  Took some work with the mounting bracket, as it was bent as well.  I also took time to repaint the trunk nameplate lettering, bumper guard accents, and a much better Indian Head medallion with correct red inserts.  Pretty time consuming, but the little things make a big difference.
June 17, 2013 - Mildred Moos - One of the only 'treasures' I found at the Richmond swap meet was a duplicate of the 'Cattle Caller'  horn I have on the Studebaker.  These are cable-operated and are designed to sound like a bellowing cow.  I cleaned and painted this one up and was able to install it using an existing firewall bolt and wiring it into the existing Town and Country horn power circuit.  I was even able to dig up some cloth-wrapped red wire to match the rest of the harness.  Silly, but fun, and only $15!  Plus an 89-cent can of paint.
June 16, 2013 - Positive Follow-Up - I tightened the ground cable, but it felt OK.  So I retightened the negative (power) connection.  Between the two, the connection issue is solved and she starts right up.  I also replaced the hardware on the hood support latch, so she is all back together.
June 15, 2013 - Road Trip and Trophy! - The fuel filter solved the starting issue, and Mildred did great except for a few things vibrating loose during 300+ miles on the road today.  First up was a trip to an antique car show in Richmond, VA where Mildred won First Place for 1930s cars.  From there we went to Mineral, VA to visit friends who raise miniature donkeys.  Just after I took the picture with the donkeys, the electrical system went stone dead!  I think it was a loose ground cable, and the hood prop bolt had also come loose and fallen out!  Guess I need to make the rounds to tighten things up.  Except for that one glitch, the trip was uneventful and Mildred got about 16 mpg!  The speedometer is dead on, and she ran between 190 and 200 degrees, which I figure is about right..
June 12, 2013 - Fuel Filter - Mildred's previous owners believed in doing everything right.  That includes the fuel filter, which is a fuel injection type with o-ring seals.  No rubber hose and clamps here.  The old one might not be bad but it's one more step in troubleshooting the slow starting.  Naturally, the battery was nearly dead from lots of cranking earlier and no driving, and she went flat before I could get her to go.  Happily, I keep a fully charged 6-volt battery on hand and swapped it out.  She fired right up with the fresh battery, so things could be improved.
June 11, 2013 - Costly Chrome - I dropped the divider off at the local premium chrome plater - they will build up the pits with copper, fix the few dings and dents, and provide show-quality chrome - for $275!  Ouchie!  While that was painful, the Silver Streak' is a very large piece of shiny stuff, and having it properly plated will make a big difference.  Considering that I paid $150 to have a horn ring done for the Studebaker some years back, it is actually..  dare I say it... a bargain!  On a more functional note, Mildred started up pretty well on her own after I replaced the plugs, but still took a lot of cranking.  I am going to install the NOS pump assembly I have on hand and see if that helps.  Ethanol does bad things to rubber, and the diaphragm in the current pump may be losing strength.
June 6, 2013 - Spark Plugs and Sparkle - I'm working through a complete tune-up for Mildred in hopes of curing the hard starting she recently developed.  First step was easiest - replacing the spark plugs.  O'Reilly's had the correct black base AC plugs in stock, so I checked the gaps and put them in.  The old plugs actually looked fine, but they were a little rusty and incorrect cadmium plated.   I picked up a new fuel pump rebuild kit and fuel filters for the tune-up at a flea market in Carlisle PA last weekend, so I should have her sorted out this weekend.  Also today, I got in the new 'Silver Streak' divider for the hood.  Mildred's has a lot of pitting, and removing it is a lot of work.  Plus, platers are notorious for taking their time, and the car would be out of commission until I got the piece back.  I picked up a spare off eBay some months ago, but it is pretty rough (top one).  I lucked out and found another last week that was almost useable as-is!  However, it has some very minor pitting and areas where the chrome has worn off, so I'll have it redone.
May 19, 2013 - Carb Tricks and Car Shows - I decided to take Mildred over to a nearby car display for the Norfolk Rotary Club, but she was not quite in the mood.  First off, the throttle linkage has been hanging up when you push it all the way to set the choke.  I discovered the value of the easily removable hood side panels, which open up the entire  side really well.  I discovered that a linkage rod (highlighted in red) had gotten bent and was rubbing the inside of the black top cover.  A quick fix with some pliers.  But then she did not want to start in the driveway after I gave her a quick bath, and the battery went dead.  Happily, I had a fully charged spare in the trunk left over from the Spring Tour and got her going with the help of a shot of starting fluid.  It was a beautiful day despite dire predictions - I had put a bicycle in the back and rode it home with the intention to do some work.  But I ended up driving the Cougar over instead.  She needed a bit more starting fluid to fire up for the trip home - something is definitely not right in the fuel system.  I may need to replace filters.  In any case, she did well and got lots of attention.
April 28, 2013 - Center Stage- As with most glamorous starlets, Mildred only had to sit there and look good for the film shot.  She was placed center stage while the 1950 Chevy and 1956 DeSoto came sweeping in on either side of her. 

Before leaving for the shoot, I was able to get her spare engine and transmissions out of the pickup and safely stored inside.  A good thing since it is supposed to rain all this coming week!

April 27, 2013 - "I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille"- I took some time today to get Mildred ready for her movie debut in 'Miracle of the Murderers' - not a major blockbuster to be sure, but you never know who might be the next Steven Spielberg.  The Studebaker got screen time in a previous shoot - this will be a short pick-up sessions for an additional scene.
April 26, 2013 -Gifts from "Mom' and 'Dad'- Mildred's previous 'parents' have been graciously storing a good spare engine and other parts for me for almost a year.  I took the day off and went over in the Mazda.  Kenny had the engine ready to go on a hoist, as well as three transmissions, a really nice steering wheel, and some other small parts that have turned up. 

I took a chance on some generic aftermarket hubcaps from the 1940s on eBay - they were near perfect for $21.50 for all 4!   I'll be taking Mildred out to Portsmouth on Sunday to be part of a movie shoot!  Still need to get the hood center removed and replated.  Where did the winter go?

April 5, 2013 -Another Flea Market Find- This time I went all the way to  Charlotte NC for the big Charlotte Auto Fair and national car show.  It's a huge event, probably more than half the size of Hershey.  However, I scoured Hershey last October for a hubcap for Mildred and came up empty handed.  Not so this time - I was able to locate a fairly decent hubcap for $5!  Some fine steel wool and polish really brightened it up, and it has much of the original red paint in the outer rings.  I bought very little this year - wiper blades for the Studebaker and an air cleaner decal for the Cougar, plus some weird but cheap stuff for fun (electric power meter for $6)
March 2, 2013 -Flea Market Find- I drove Mildred to our local antique car club's annual swap meet today, and lucked out with a correct folding jack handle that I have needed for a while.  I have had the correct jack for a long time, but the handle you need to operate it.  (I keep a hydraulic jack in the trunk for actual use).
February 23-24, 2013 -Mildred on Tour! - My local antique car club had a tour to North Carolina this weekend, and I decided it was time to give Mildred a good run.  She had been set up to be a tour car, and our planned tour last Fall got cancelled.  This weekend turned out to be pretty wet - it rained all day Saturday and some of Sunday, but what the heck - it rained back in 1937, too.  Mildred was by far the oldest vehicle on the tour, with the next oldest being a 1956 DeSoto.  However, she had no trouble rolling along at the posted speed limits, and did the entire 220+ mile tour without a single hiccup.   The only issue was the lack of sealant around the windshield - something I'll take care of before the next wet trip. 
January 26 2013 - Goodies for Mildred - I received the cigarette lighter socket today - pretty good shape, and I should be able to adapt it for the new power socket I set up for GPS and cell phone charging.  Something else that came in recently was a 1937 Pontiac 'Safety Drive' game board that was given out by dealers.  Sort of like Monopoly, but you drive your Pontiac around town.  Although I just got the board, a friend in the car club thinks he has all the pieces and cards!  It would be fun to set the game up.
January 22, 2013 - So what am I, chopped liver? - Poor Mildred has been largely ignored due to holiday activities, a busy work schedule,. and more to the point, the frenzy of a new stable-mate.  However, I have got things rolling to get her big chrome 'Silver Streak' grille and hood diver replated.  I also just got in new exhaust manifold gaskets to work on a slight leak in the engine bay.  Oh, and I just picked up a correct Pontiac cigarette lighter housing off eBay!
November 12, 2012 - eBay Goodies - The tour to Charlottesville got delayed until next year thanks to the rather rude interruption by a hurricane named Sandy.  I've gotten Mildred out for a couple of short jaunts since, and got in a variety of items for her from eBay.  A nice period key case will take on primary duties from the original that came with her, and I have a factory dual heater/defroster control assembly to swap out for the aftermarket switches.  A decent horn button will give me one to play with, while the radio blanking plate was a waste but was cheap and looked nice.  The big thing was a correct set of headlight rims with trim rings in good shape (shared with 1937 Olds and Chevys).  I forgot to cancel an eSnipe bid and ended up with a Pontiac set minus the trim, so I have spares.
October 21, 2012 - Bright lights and 12V power - Mildred and I are off on a tour to Charlottesville next weekend, and I wanted to improve her forward lighting and make it possible to have a GPS along.  I picked up halogen bulbs for the headlights and fog lights at Hershey last weekend - my big purchase of the trip ($94!).  However, they really make a big difference.  The brightest incandescents you can get have a yellowish glow that doesn't go far.  I installed the halogens today and they made a big difference tonight.  The other item involved wiring in an insulated accessory socket to the existing 12-volt converter than powers the FM radio conversion.  It works great, and means I can use the GPS or charge my cell phone or iPad on the trip! And I can hide it when it isn't needed.
October 16, 2012 - FBI Film Fest- My car club was asked to provide vehicles to display outside a theater for the local FBI Citizen's Academy Film Fest.  This year's event featured the gangster films 'Dillinger' and 'The Untouchables' and Mildred fit right in.  Actually, she is too classy to have been a gun moll, but that didn't stop the costumed staff from coming out for photo ops. 
October 7, 2012 - Rain and Rewards, Part 2- Fall is a risky part of the year for outside activities - and the second car show in a as many weekends got rained on all day.  I almost didn't go, but decided that it was for a good cause (Fund raiser for GI Care Packages) and took her out anyway.  Although there were a lot of cars there ahead of us, Mildred impressed the guy parking cars so much he put us up in front.  And just like last week, she got a nice second place trophy against some impressive competition.
September 29, 2012 - Rain and Rewards- I had registered Mildred for our big local Wings and Wheels show, and was glad of it when the day turned wet and gloomy.  I got there early enough to get a nice shot of Mildred with Chuckie, the B-17 Flying Fortress, before the rain started.  She also earned a second place trophy against some really nice competition.  The car is remarkably nice to drive even in bad weather - I have her registered for our Fall Tour to Charlottesville at the end of October - should be a fun trip.
September 2, 2012 - Visiting- Mildred and I did some visiting today - first to her former home to drop off a computer I'd fixed up for Kenny and Charlene.  I wanted to see the 1914 Saxon that had prompted Mildred's sale.  The little roadster is beautiful, and when they are done with it, I am sure it will run just as well as Mildred.  They had a box of goodies they'd run across, and found a few more while I was there!   Then it was off to Richard's to drop off some car show plaques.  While I was there, Ken from the car club arrived in his 1939 Mercury.  It's interesting to see the evolution of car design moving so quickly.  The 1937 Pontiac was the first all-steel body, and you can see how styling evolved in just 2 years.  headlights are part of the fenders and a front-opening hood instead of the sides that lift.  But Mildred is prettier.
August 26, 2012 - On Display- As you can see, the headlight bulb had a rather complete burnout.  I had to go through two of the NOS headlight bulbs to get one in and working.  The wiper issue turned out to be nothing more than a loose retainer nut on the windshield arm.  Even so, I treated all the glass with Rain-X, something I do to all of the antiques.  Works better than wipers.  With everything fixed, we rolled out to the TRAACA display at Baylake Retirement Community, postponed from last Sunday due to rain.  Happily, the day turned out to be great despite some threatening clouds, and the residents had a good selection to view.  Mildred was the most beautiful, of course, but we have to give the other cars credit for showing up.
August 25, 2012 - Neither rain, nor sleet...- Last Sunday's display got rained out, so my car club's tour of the FantomWorks restoration shop this morning was Mildred's first run with her new battery.  Naturally, it poured rain.  We sloshed on, though the driver's side wiper linkage couldn't manage the frantic pace of the wiper motor and the just-installed (but 70+ years-old) right headlight bulb went bad.  Hmmm - that's even the one I took photos of.  Oh, well.    Both are minor issues that will be easy fixes.  She ran great, though.  I got a spare left headlight lens in this week, another eBay treasure that gives me a full set on hand just in case.
August 18, 2012 - Blasted Battery!- I went out this morning to take Mildred to the show, and the battery was suddenly too weak to crank her over.  I put the charger on and took the truck over so I could get some photos.  After 5 hours of charging, she was still flat.  I checked the battery date code and saw it was more than 5 years old, so I went ahead and picked up a new one.  The car is much happier and started right up with no fuss.  I'll take her to the car display at Baylake Pines tomorrow.  Oh, that's the battery cover for the Pontiac - her battery lives under the driver's feet!
August 17, 2012 - Lights On- Both the lenses and the refund check arrived today.  The lenses caused a bit of nervousness as the box had one corner crushed in pretty far.  Luckily, the seller had packed them for war, and they were both perfect.  As far as I can tell they must be NOS - not even small scratches.  To make sure they stay that way, I secured the lenses to the headlight buckets using electrical tape and then installed the new rims.  Not that I don't trust the new rims, but, well, I don't trust the new rims.  I did some adjustment to fit the rims better and replaced the brass screws with stainless steel #10-24x1 items from Ace Hardware. All back together and adjusted, just in time for the Khedive Show tomorrow.
August 13, 2012 - Lenses Found- You might have gotten the idea I was a tad upset over breaking the headlight lens.  I did calm down before I contacted the seller, at least a little bit.  And surprisingly, he not only offered to replace the defective rim but pay for the replacement lens as well.  I was able to locate a set on eBay and won them tonight for a total of $139 with shipping.  He is sending me $70 to cover the lens - I can use the rim with a stainless crew and some minor modifications. I thought about deleting the less than happy reaction below, but then figured its all part of the car hobby.  Once I get the funds in hand, I'll be leaving positive feedback for the fellow.
August 8, 2012 - Lights Out - Mildred's headlight rims are a little dented and rusty, so I decided to spring for a brand new pair of shiny chrome reproductions on eBay that arrived today.  As you can see, things did not go as planned.  I was tightening the ring down, having made sure it was fully seated and secure.  Only to have the tensioning screw head snap off while the lens was still loose enough to rattle.  The ring sprang apart and the headlight lens hit the garage floor.  Turns out the $%#@! screw was made of brass - WAY too soft for a stress point.  Worse, the lens is a hard to find item used only on 1937 and 38 Pontiac, Olds, Buick, Cadillac, and LaSalle automobiles, with different lenses for left and right sides.  Time to hit eBay (Though I'd rather hit the guy who sold me the lousy repro rims!)
August 1, 2012 - Light Duty - One of the problems with the old bulb-style lights is that they aren't very bright.  Mildred had the correct 32/32 candlepower headlight bulbs in her, which were maximum brightness back in many states.  However, the Cadillac and LaSalle used a 50/32 candlepower bulb with the same reflectors and lenses.  I had a 37 LaSalle 20 years ago, and sure enough, digging through my garage turned up not only 4 NOS 50/32 bulbs, but a spare glass lens as well!  Sometimes it really pays to be a packrat.   The new bulbs really make a visible difference.   I've also picked up more eBay treasures:  an NOS fuel pump, rough center hood band and grille section, points, and a new distributor base plate.
July 21, 2012 - Blowing Smoke - OK, even I have to admit this is one of the weirder things I have done car-wise.  However, I was looking for some interesting 1937 memorabilia to put in Mildred and ran across this cigarette pack -complete with most of one 75 year-old cigarette!  And since I just installed a factory ashtray, I needed some period cigarettes, right?  This pack was just about the price of a new one, with free postage, so it's a cheap silliness.  I've driven Mildred a couple of times since the last post - doing great.
July 11, 2012 - Under Cover - Although Mildred lives indoors, she still gets dusty and since I work on other cars out there, there's always a chance of scraping or scratching.  I was able to get a really nice, lined car cover off eBay for $52 including shipping.  Not fitted, but it covers the whole car and has good elastic and a soft fleece lining.   It came in today, and I wasted no time trying it out.
July 11, 2012 - A Shade Off - Well, darn.  The paint looked like a near-perfect match comparing the lid to the car, and even in the garage the match looked good.  But out in the sunlight the wheels are obviously lighter.  Oh, well, they look better than the black did, and when I find  the right color I can just respray instead of having to strip them again.
July 11, 2012 - Lettering - I blasted and primed the last wheels tonight - three are painted and came out surprisingly well, though I got trash in the color coat of the spare wheel and will redo that one.  Anyway, all of the wheels will be done tomorrow, and I decided to re-letter the hubcaps tonight while I was waiting for the compressor to build pressure.  The indented 'Pontiac' is supposed to be painted red, but none of the hubcaps on the car still had any paint on them.  It took a bit of experimenting, but all four hubcaps now have the lettering painted in.  Not perfect if you get close, but unless you squat down and stare they look pretty nice.  I'll probably hold off on painting the red color stripe until I can rig a rotating jig to mount the wheels on.
July 9, 2012 - Prime Time - An attempt to paint the center of the spare wheel directly ended up with curdled paint.  I had to media blast the old paint back to bare metal and then applied a coat of self-etching primer.  On the bright side, I was able to verify the paint scheme yet again as I stripped back to remnants of the original paint and trim stripe.  Basically, the entire center ridge was painted the trim color, or red in this case.  I have to wait until tomorrow to do the color coat.  If it turns out good, I'll try to get the rest of the wheels sandblasted and painted with the body color inserts by Friday night.  I have a car club event to take her to on Saturday.
July 8, 2012 - Switched On - I got the NORS (New Old Replacement Stock) fog light switch in Friday and installed it this morning.  It is an exact match to the heater switch, as you can see in the photo.  I wired it in using correct fabric wire and used black heat shrink to disguise the modern connectors.  Not only do the fog lights work, the switch itself illuminates when they are one.  The next step is to relocate the FM converter, and also wire in an accessory lighter that I can run using the voltage inverter.  That will give me a 12-volt negative ground power port for GPS and iPhone adapters.  Then I took the car over to Advance and brought out an armful of paint cans to compare, looking for the right color to paint the wheels.  The near-perfect match was Ford Toreador Red Metallic.  Then I went back home and pulled the spare tire to experiment with.  Initial sanding revealed the original color band just outside the hub cap area.  Pontiac used a number of paint schemes.  Base models had black wheels with the trim/stripe color band outside the hubcap.  Deluxe models had body color centers out to the rim, which was still black, and the color band.  I need to bead blast Mildred's wheels and use a good etching primer, then do the body color and finally the red stripe.  A red double pinstripe goes down the side molding, but I plan to get that professionally done.  However, it's 96 out with a heat index of 106.  I'm done for the day, at least for anything outside!
July 4, 2012 - Dash-ing Good Looks! - Mildred's glove box door (top left0 was somewhat mottled and did not match the rest of the dash.  I was able to get another glove box door with the original factory ashtray (bottom left) off eBay, along with a painted reproduction ashtray.  The wood graining on both the door and the ashtray had gone nearly black, but some careful use of polish, 400 grit sandpaper, and some clear enamel brought it all out very nicely.  I use the shiny new sliding door from the repro ashtray and put together a very nice looking package that is now in the car.  I also got the fog lights wired in with correct fabric-covered wire.  Just need the switch, which was ordered and should be here by the weekend.  Oh, and I got an original jack and hand crank in yesterday as well!  Both eBay finds, of course.
July 2, 2012 - More Bling! - My big 'bling' purchase was a set of reproduction Pontiac Fog Lights from California Pontiac Restoration parts.  These are duplicates of the original factory options, with individual bulbs and reflectors.  Sealed beams, which are much easier to find, did not come into use until 1940.  I was able to use the original Options catalog to determine how to position the lights, but the license plate was in the way and had to be removed.  I was able to relocate the plate by making  a 'U' bracket that attached to the back of the center emblem.  An interesting reminder of just how old this car is came in the form of the hand crank hole hidden behind the emblem.  (You can see it at the top center of the bumper) Yep, in 1937, people still figured you needed to be able to hand crank your engine.  And yes, I have a hand crank coming!
June 28, 2012 - Bling! - With pretty much nothing needed mechanically, I've been free to plunder eBay for jewelry to present Mildred with.  One of the first and best buys was a set of perfect stainless trim rings (including a 5th for the spare) for $49.  They really dress up the wheels.  Ironically, the one practical item I needed, the spare tire clamp and bolt, came free with some other parts I bought from a generous fellow.  Then I got a reproduction GM locking gas cap to replace one with no plating and only one key.  I have lots of parts in hand or due in now - also, original literature like factory shop manuals.  I may regret buying some of the 'spare' stuff later - I always go crazy when I buy a car, but it's hard to pass up parts for a 75 year-old car when they come available cheap.  I've driven Mildred several times this week, and she has been flawless.
June 19, 2012 - PONT 37 - Mildred's personalized plates came in today and we went for a drive to celebrate. eBay goodies are rolling in already - an original Pontiac glove box-sized repair manual, NOS Pontiac brackets for driving lights, spare points, etc.  I have a research request in to the AACA Library for the correct trim color and style for the pinstripe and wheels, and plan to pick up some 16" trim rings for the wheels.
June 11, 2012 - Officially mine - Mildred is titled, tagged, and insured in my name as of today, though I have to admit I took her for a run Saturday.  I also did my first work on her - faulty turn signals turned out to be a bad flasher unit, which I had in stock.  She'll have 'PONT 37' for license plates when they come in.  I've already started getting things on eBay, though Mildred came with many literature items I would have gone searching for.
June 8, 2012 - And HOME! - Mildred has a new human, and I have a 'new' family member in the garage.  Neighbor John followed me over in the truck tonight and we gathered many boxes of parts and literature.  The spare drive train will have to wait for another day.  After an exchange of cashier's check for signed title and Bill of Sale, we rolled back on I-64.  I kept the speedometer about 60, and John confirmed that was what the truck's speedometer was showing.  Mildred ran straight and true, and I even listened to the radio for a while.  She is a pleasure to drive, and I love the color.  Now to start reading all of the literature that came with her!
June 4, 2012 - Coming Soon to a Garage Near Me (Mine) - I've been wanting to get back into a prewar car for a long time, but also wanted to have something that was relatively practical for driving on tours.  That meant power enough for 55 mph Interstates and hydraulic brakes.  And, with apologies to MG TCs Wildflower and Eleanor, a car I could drive without any bodily contortions.  Several possibilities have shown up, including a really nice 1940 Buick Super.  But I also wanted something with running boards.  Enter Mildred, a lovely 1937 Pontiac sedan that I have seen on many of our local club tours.  Her current humans are venturing into brass car territory, and just listed her for sale last week.  I was interested, and went over tonight for a closer look and a test drive.  She has a new interior, all new rubber, new wiring harness, and a nice paint job in almost exactly the color I chose to paint my long-departed Packard coupe.  So far, so good.  Then I drove her - wonderfully smooth transmission, enough power to be comfortable at 55, and good hydraulic brakes.  And she comes with a large assortment of spares, including an engine, transmission, steering box, and too many others to list.  In short, she is the perfect answer to my desire for a prewar car.  And of course, I bought it.  Well, I have committed to buying it.  We're both juggling funds and garage space, but Mildred should be in my garage soon.