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120 Club Coupe
FOOLISH automotive project ever - Defeat finally admitted after an appalling lack of
progress for years!
||August 16, 2014- SOLD AGAIN!
- Almost exactly 5 years after he bought the Packards from me, Bob P.
has passed ownership of the coupe to a new owner. Genre R. of South
Carolina contacted me via email after visiting this site for information on
his new purchase (Hi, Gene!). The lucky guy benefits from a
perfect-looking restoration that far exceeds anything I would have been able
to manage. The only thing is I need to scramble if I want to see the
car in person - It heads for its new home in just two weeks!
29, 2014- FINISHED!
- Bob P. sent me a bunch of photos of the Packard, which has finally
been completed. The car is absolutely beautiful, and far nicer than I
would have managed. It is just shy of 13 years since I first saw the
dusty hulk in the back corner of a tour bus service building. And this
is pretty much what I pictured in my mind. However, it was way too big
a project for me, and I gave up after 9 years. Bob P. had the
experience, patience, and money to do the job right. He is a
perfectionist, and redid much of what had already been done, but the results
speak of themselves. I took a real beating when I finally sold the
Packard - I hope he does better. It's on eBay right now.
|August 8, 2012 - UPDATE
- I just got some new photos in of the Packard from Bob, and I have to
admit I was surprised. At first glance, it looks like the car has
taken a few steps backwards in the nearly three years it has been gone.
However, major things have been afoot! Instead of touchup and
firewall painting, Bob had the entire car repainted! Considering
more than $5,000 went into the paint that was on the car when he bought
it, I was taken aback, but he is a perfectionist. On closer
examination, the interior appears to be in, as well as the glass.
He noted he has had some distractions along the way. I am
beginning to think the car is cursed, though. Better sitting in
his garage than mine, to be sure!
|February 14, 2011 -
During a thorough cleaning of the back bedroom, some more Packard parts
showed up a year and a half after it departed. I boxed them up and
sent them off to Bob, who just reported that he has located all of the
needed parts and is making progress on the car again. He is hoping
to have it ready for our local antique car show in August!
|March 14, 2010 - The
coupe is missing some critical items - the inner frames for the front and
rear vent windows that bolt into the doors. While the parts are on
the sedan, like me, the new owner doesn't want to tear the 'parts car'
apart because it is too nice. Anyone out there have those inner
frames available? If so, please the new owner at:
2009 - After some back-and-forth emails checking on parts, the
Packard's new owner is going strong on the coupe. He has it in the
paint shop for touchup and getting the firewall painted body color.
After that, he will be putting in the glass and rubber, and sending her
off to have the interior done. The shop he is using is close to my
work, so I am planning to get photos of the car then. Glad the old
girl finally has someone who will get busy with her!
|August 29, 2009 - The
Coupe is gone, along with more than half the parts. if I had any
doubts at all about selling the cars, they were banished when I helped
load it. We kept coming up with new and NOS items I had bought for
the car, which delighted the buyer and sunk me even further in the hole.
Yet I did not feel a twinge of regret - except perhaps that I did not sell
the cars a lot sooner. It's been a year and a half since I even
STARTED the cars! Clearly, they deserved someone better. On
the plus side, the buyer is a Packard guy with the interest, time
and money to finish the job right. He is already planning on getting
the car to an upholstery shop within the month, and I think the car will
be amazing when it is finished. It's been a long and expensive
lesson - if you want to take on a major restoration, especially a basket
case car like the Packard was, you need to have patience, dedication,
time, and money. I had none of the above, which doomed me to failure
from the start. In any case, the car will actually be finished,
probably well within a year.
|August 27, 2009 - The
Packards have been sold - considering it has been over a year and a half
since I even started the cars, it was time to wave a white flag and send
them on to someone with the time and interest to put the coupe back
together. I took a big loss, but that's what I deserve. Got
the last parts and some leftover paint from Mike (Paint is 1991 Toyota
Burgundy Pearl CODE 3H8, or mix code 43480C 5B). I am gathering
parts this evening - the buyer is picking up the coupe and as many parts
as he can manage tomorrow. He says he's taking the car directly to
an upholstery shop! That is encouraging to know - be nice to see the
car actually get completed!
|December 10, 2008 - I
put some gas in the tank and started the Packard again. She is
running unevenly at idle. I need to do a good tune-up, and the
timing and carburetor are probably out of whack. The water pump is a
bit noisy, and I was able to wiggle the fan enough to indicate a new one
is going to be needed. And once she warmed up, there was water
leaking under the radiator. Could be most anything from the core to
a loose hose clamp - I am going to pull the radiator and have it checked
before i put the front clip back on anyway. I cleaned and adjusted
the points and played a bit with the carb mixture and the timing - it's
hard to tell much right now. She also needs a new exhaust donut.
Even so, it was nice to tinker with her. Warmed up she shows 30
pounds oil pressure at idle and is running below mid-point
temperature-wise. Both as good as I could hope for.
||November 28, 2008 -
Progress? I took the front clip off the Packard so I can get the
grille assembled and also tackle the engine bay. She looks
disturbingly like the first picture from 2001. Oh, well - having the
fenders off allowed clear access and some better views. I discovered
the car has the optional oil filter after all, though it is placed so that
you have to wrestle with the generator to replace the filter element.
I picked up a nicer version with a built-in drain off eBay last year that
I will install - slotting the bracket to allow the oil filter fitting to
drop down some should cure the interference with the generator. I
also saw that the intake vacuum fitting for the wiper motor was open,
which explained the idle troubles. My next steps are to get the
engine tuned up and running like it should, clean and repaint everything,
install the new exhaust system, and get the grille assembled so I can put
the whole front end together. The 1939 sedan is finally going to start
providing guidance and parts. Oh, a lady friend expressed concerns
about the Packard's nose laying on the guest room bed, but I assured her
the quilt was soft and would not scratch the paint.
|November 27, 2008 -
Work and a bad cold have kept me out of the garage the past couple of
days, but I did make it out three today to test my theory on timing.
I turned the distributor back a couple of times, and finally got the start
cycle smooth and fast. Still using starter fluid as I haven't put
gas in the tank yet, but she fired right up with no kickback. I have
the next couple of days off, so I may actually get some progress made!
However, right now it's time to pack up the turkey (bird, not me) and head
off to my parent's house for Thanksgiving dinner!
||November 23, 2008 -
Tomorrow marks SIX YEARS to the day I first looked at the Packard.
Note the old VA title shown - I was cleaning my office a couple of weeks
ago and started to pitch a 2001 Packard Club membership roster. It
fanned open on the way into the can and i caught a glimpse of tan.
The Packard's original title, which I thought had been lost in a house
flood years ago! I recall now that I had planned to register the car
with club's 120 Roster, and must have had the title there for reference.
Amusing to find it now, as I have changed jobs and offices several times.
And it turns out my 'made up' number was pretty much the original ID -
based on the engine number.
Anyway, I did a little bit of work on the car today. Changed oil,
bled the brakes to get them back up, and got it started for the first time
since February! She didn't run long as the tank is dry, but she
sounded good. I'd like to get the exhaust system hooked up properly
and flush the cooling system this week - she also needs the timing
adjusted, as the engine is kicking back a little when she cranks.
The starter is doing really well - the new battery cables made a big
difference. I've had a lot of folks offer to help me get going on
the car - I may take some of them up on the offers!
|July 6, 2008 - The
garage cleaning continued, and I actually can see pretty much all of the
garage floor - anyone who has ever been to my garage knows that 'disaster'
was much better suited as a description than 'clean.' However, after
two more trips to the dump and some more sorting and giving away of parts,
'clean' is starting to apply. With the Packard now accessible, I
decided i had better do SOMETHING on it. I have already had an email
asking how much I want to sell it for. So I picked up some more
stainless hardware and got the last grille slats assembled. Next
comes trying to get them into the louver frame - tricky, but I have an
idea that may work. In any case, the Packard is clean and got a
minute amount of progress chalked up.
|June 29, 2008 - I got
the garage cleaned up a LOT this weekend - enough that I was able to get
the Packard out for the first time since... since.. uh... Oh.
September 5, 2005. You know, having a 'logbook' type site like this
can be fun when I am showing off new acquisitions or talking about
victories and accomplishments. But it is downright embarrassing to
have this Packard's neglect detailed for all to see. Another heavy
layer of dust, a battery box, and two battery cables are pretty much the
extent of my 'progress on the car in almost three years! It's not
missing chrome - I got that finished up. It's not lack of time.
Work has eased up considerable. I just don't have the patience to
stick with one project long enough. That's pretty sad, but true.
Most everything else I can see daylight. But the Packard is a car I
never have seen together. Even though I am pretty much over the hump
as far as what needs to be done, I am having trouble working up interest
again. I need to do SOMETHING soon. Either get going on the
car, or maybe see if i can find someone else who wants a 1939 Packard
coupe and is willing to put the time and effort into finishing it.
I'd take a financial beating, but no less than I deserve. It's a
beautiful car with so much already done and ready to install that I am
stunned at my own lack of ambition. At least she is clean again.
I'll have to do some hard figuring the next couple of weeks and see what I
want to do. Either stop stalling and get busy on the car, or send
her on her way.
|February 20, 2008 -
The Packard runs again! Last time she actually ran was June 26,
2006. I poured gas in the dry tank and used some gas and a shot of
starting fluid in the carb, and away she went!
|February 19, 2008 -
With the help of a new battery, I got the Packard to crank over and
sputter - I ran her out of gas intentionally last time I ran her so there
wouldn't be anything in the tank to go bad. One thing for sure, the
new battery cables made a huge difference. The engine cranks over
fine for the first time since I got the car. I need to clear the way
to the gas filler neck, and get the new battery charged up again.
Still, nice to hear her fire up, even a little.
|February 18, 2008 -
Yeah, if I had any shame at all I would not be making these pathetic
reports on 'progress.' However, NOT having any shame, I cheerfully
point to photo at right to proclaim even more advancement. I
installed the new battery cables and battery box. :holds for
applause: OK, maybe not worth applause. The battery is down
(can't imagine why, it's only been, umm, since June of 2006.). The battery
is on charge, and I hope to crank her over tomorrow. I also fit the
new Steele gasket around one of the rear window panes. I'll need
help getting it installed, though.
||February 16, 2008 -
Progress of sorts! I took the grille slats and some other pieces of
chrome that needed work to Hanlon Plating in Richmond yesterday - the
grille slats have been holding me up on putting the front end together for
over a year (OK, I could have been doing something else). I also
left the headlight rings and a vent window frame, plus parts for the
Crosley and Willys. He expects to have them done within a month - in
the meantime, I am focusing on the Crosley with hopes of taking it to the
AACA National Meet in Charlottesville in early April.
21, 2007 - Went to Hershey and picked up a bottle jack and folding
handle for the Packard. More importantly, I made contact with a
world-class interior expert who is willing to redo the Packard's interior
for me with correct materials and patterns. Not cheap, but a bargain
for the kind of work he puts out. Can you say 'Meadowbrook
Concourse'? He can - he gets invited because his cars usually win.
I also got to see two other 1939 Packard 120 coupes! Both were in
the car corral. The one at right was neat as it had the dual side
mounts I plan to switch to, though these are funeral hinged covers rather
than the correct lift-off spare covers. He also had fender skirts,
which I have been wondering about. This car had a lot of flaws - the
body and paint needed work, the interior was incorrect, the running board
mats angled off to the sides, etc. Despite the warts, the owner was
very proud of it - he wanted $38,500! The other coupe was a much
cleaner dark green car with standard fenders and no skirts. It
needed paint work and some wiring, but had a nice looking correct
interior. It sold for $25,000.
23, 2007 - It's been a busy week, so I am late updating. I made
the trek to Emporia last weekend and got the seat tracks I needed for the
Coupe. Lee is a terrific guy, and also quite a bit more
adventuresome than I am. The Packard in the foreground is a 1938 110
he dragged home and is currently parting out. The car in the
background is a 1939 Packard 160 that will eventually be a Resto-Rod
powered by a Dodge diesel truck engine. Rest assured, he is NOT
cutting up a restorable car. The frame, floorboards, and large
sections of sheetmetal are badly rotted, and he is missing the whole front
clip and original drivetrain. I think we were both amazed when I was
able to get the front seat out in under an hour - despite the terrible
rust issues (I was able to reach through where the floorboards were
supposed to be) the seat bolts came out as if they ahd been put in
yesterday! I took the seat assembly with hopes of using the cushions
in friend Merritt Horne's 1940 160, but the design is quite different.
The 1939 seats are actually wider! If I get my garage cleaned out
enough, it will become a sofa there. It's in too good a shape to
throw out. Oh, if anyone out three has some salvageable front
fenders for a 1938-1940 Packard eight-cylinder car, get in touch with Lee
Yeah, I know. When am I going to WORK
on the Packard? Be patient - more 'prep' work is underway. I
have a double-wide pad and new driveway being poured in the next couple of
weeks. This will allow me to disentomb the 1939 sedan from my
neighbor's garage and park it where i can get to it easily for reference
and - shudder - parts removal. I won't have to take much from the
sedan, and I'll maintain a list so whoever buys it will know exactly whet
they need. Also, I am off to Hershey this year for the first time in
quite a while. The next step for the Packard is getting it up on
jackstands so I can pull the wheels and tires. The wheels need to be
stripped and painted, and I want to get the sidemount fenders painted as
|September 12, 2007 -
Well, it's not exactly progress, but I made the plunge and called Steele
for the new rubber. I even went beyond simple replacement of the
cheaper individual strips and ordered the vulcanized one-piece gaskets.
The car has been done first-class so far, and it seemed silly to skimp on
something as critical as the major seals. Steele got the
rubber to me in one day - they may not be cheap, but they have the best
rubber reproduction parts available and they are efficient. Oh, I
had bid on a front seat in Emporia, VA to get the mounting tracks, and
actually forgot to bid the last day (Duh!) and lost out by $1.
However, the seller emailed me a couple of days ago to let me know he also
had a 1939 Super parts car, and that I could come get the tracks from that
one! Looks like a road trip on Saturday, if all works out.
|September 8, 2007 -
Got the negative battery cable painted tonight. See? I'm
making progress. It only took.. uh.. oh, darn. Six
months. You'd think I'd be ashamed to admit such poor progress, but
it should be obvious by now I have no shame when it comes to the Packard.
It's coming on SIX YEARS since I bought it. And FOUR YEARS since
it came back from the paint shop. Hmmm. OK, maybe I feel a
little shame after all. Maybe I should do something about it.
Like, sell the MGB-GT. Which I did, today. That may sound
unrelated, but I was at a point where I was about to have to put months of
work in the MGB stripping and painting, doing upholstery work, and all the
other side jobs that always pop up. Months of work and lots of money
that would NOT be going into the Packard. So the MGB got advertised,
and was driven home to Raleigh NC by its new owner today. I am also
set up to go to Hershey this year, a great place to look for Packard
parts. I even tried to order new rubber from Steele tonight, only to
find that their computers are down - the web and 24-hour phone service is
down. :sigh: I AM going to make progress on this car!
|February 24, 2007 -
OK, I got very little done on the dash. Why? No reason.
Just didn't. BAD BOB! I started installing glass, and
discovered that my rubber gaskets (ordered in 1990 by the previous owner
and never installed) had shrunk an inch or so in length. That's a
good $300 plus just for the vent and rear window rubber. Oh, well.
I decided to get the battery installed properly so I could work on running
the Packard this week. The battery cables are way too short and
thin, which probably hasn't helped the starting. After searching
local parts stores for heavy duty (2-gauge) cables, I finally found two at
Advance (thanks, Jack!). They are clear plastic over copper, but the
right length and thickness. So I am using vinyl paint to get red and
black cables. The positive (red) one is done now, and I will get
some black vinyl paint for the negative side. Then I can mount the
battery in its proper location under the non-existent front seat.
||December 31, 2006 -
Since the grille is not going to be ready for a while, it's time I
attacked something else on the Packard. like the dashboard! It
has already been wood grained, and the main gauges were rebuilt. I
bought new silk screened glass for the side gauges, and have most of what
I need. So I started getting it together tonight. The burled
finish is beautiful, and all the dash chrome is new. Progress!
I'm also getting other chrome together for replating.
|December 17, 2006 -
Enough with the grille already! As I was trying to work the slats
into place, I realized I was doing something stupid. You see, the
repaired slats had discolored chrome that showed if I put them in the
right way - I had figured on flipping them around where they didn't show
and not worry that they wouldn't move with the rest. I mean, who'd
notice that the two outside slats didn't pivot, especially since the
others would be full open most of the time anyway? Happily, I came
to my senses, and will have the slats rechromed. However, the real
message here is that I have been using the grille as an excuse for far too
long. There's a whole CAR to assemble! Like I couldn't be
building the seats? Or the dashboard? Or the wiring harness?
So the grille gets set aside for now and I'll see where I can make
progress. One huge help is cleaning my horrible garage so I have
room to work this winter. I've been working on it for almost two
weeks, and made two trips to the dump. Finding Packard parts I
didn't even know I had! Not to mention parts for cars I got rid of
15 and 20 years ago!.
December 10, 2006 - I
picked up the louvers Thursday, and discovered that I was missing one of
the four linkage pieces that connect the louvers together. AUUGH!
However, I have been working all week on cleaning my garage.
Understand that my garage is something of legend - like Dracula and
Bigfoot, nothing you want to experience first-hand. I took 8
contractor bags of junk to the dump today, and i am not done yet.
But that's another story. What matters here is that I found the
missing linkage piece! I am going to try getting them bead blasted
at Richard Hall's today and then paint and assemble the whole grille this
|December 12, 2006 -
OK, NOW WHAT? - I got the pieces all together tonight and
assembled the grille slats. Had to go next door and look at the
sedan's grille to figure out which bracket went to which side, but the
two sections are now together. I hadn't given grille assembly
too much thought - pegs into holes on both ends - what could be
simpler? Except that the slats flop around and pull out as soon
as you let them go, and since the grille is sharply angled, you can't
get both side laying flat. And all 18 slats have to be located
in one end before you can secure them with the other. I wrestled
(literally) with the slats for about 2 hours tonight, trying various
positions and starting points. I think I need to wire or brace
the slats together so they stay in position and then try installing
them. Oh, well. It's a lot of chrome coming together.
|December 11, 2006 -
Richard interrupted den vacuuming to get his bead blaster set up for
me, and I got the four linkage pieces cleaned up yesterday. It
was late when I got home last night, and the paint was too cold to
use, so I brought it in the house. Tonight, I masked off the
brass pivot pins and painted the linkage pieces black. The paint takes a long time to dry when
it's cold, so I'll wait until tomorrow to start grille assembly.
The two outer pieces are identical, and I already test fit one side.
The longer inner links are different. I may be able to figure
out how they go by placing them in the grille shell, but if not I can
take a peek at the sedan's linkage. I should be able to get the
grille done pretty quickly - actually installing the chrome assembly
in the painted shell may take a good bit more effort. It is held in
place by tabs that I plan to drill and wire rather than try re-bending
the 66 year-old metal.
|December 5, 2006 -
Gerloff called today - the louvers are ready! Anxious to see how
they did - with luck, any discoloration in the chrome will be hidden by
|November 22, 2006 -
After almost two months, Royal Silver hadn't even touched the grille
louvers. So I picked them up today and took them to Gerloff Welding,
a well-established place I've used in the past. I also took
advantage of a lull in a Nor'Easter to pull the passenger seat in the
Jeepster and dropped it off at the same time. Gerloff expects to
have the louvers done next week, and I may have the Jeepster seat today!
I need to find another plater - Royal Silver obviously doesn't need me as
|October 2, 2006 - I
found the spare grille sections and had to drill out the linkage rivets to
get a couple of the slats free. I was able to straighten the bent
tab on the longer grille slat (whew) , which left the two with the missing
tabs. Today I took the chromed slats and two old ones to Royal
Silver - they are going to cut the tabs off the old slats and soft solder
them to the chromed slats. Since it is not a high-stress location,
the soldering should hold OK. I also got a battery box installed.
Pitiful progress, but progress none the less.
||July 7, 2006 - Well, I
found the linkage I needed, but also discovered that the grille bars I had
are not quite all there. Two of the shorter outer bars (on left) are
missing the tab that the linkage attaches to. I have a complete bar
between them, circled in red. And the transition grilled bar for one
side has it's lower tab bent flat - the proper setup is on the left, also
circled in red. This might straighten up, but I plan to see about
heating it first. The other two bars will have to have new tabs
welded on, or I will have to have some spare bars replated.
Obviously, welding is going to be a lot cheaper. A bit of a setback,
though not all that awful. I need to get over to a welding shop this
week and find out what can be done.
|July 3, 2006 - Things
got a little hectic at work this past week, and then I needed to get some
different hardware to fit the upper assembly pieces. However,
despite focusing on the 1959 Dodge this weekend (new head gaskets) and
some work on the MG TD (exhaust), I actually got the Packard's main grille
frame put together!
Took a bit of playing around to find the right positions for all the
little pieces - the top plate actually has four support bars and the
chrome shell, as well as various actuator rods and levers.
I have to locate the louver linkage in the
garage, and there is a bridge plate for the center bar somewhere out
I should have a spare grille assembly if I
need to strip parts. All the new hardware is stainless steel, which
combined with the new chrome and new paint, looks very nice.
||June 27, 2006 - Hmmm.
This could be serious. TWO posts in as many days! I painted
the upper grille platform tonight, and then pulled all of the grille
chrome out from under the bed. The newspaper around each piece is
dated December 27, 2001. Checking back to the first posts, that's
when I brought the waterlogged chrome home from the leaking shed - and the
car wasn't even mine yet! Anyway, I unwrapped it all for the first
time in close to five years, and assembled the side pieces to the bottom.
I have to wait to do the rest until the painted section dries, but maybe
tomorrow. I have all of the new stainless hardware, and the sedan to
check out for assembly positions. All those shiny chrome louvers
look pretty nice!
|June 26, 2006 - In a
rare and exciting burst of activity, I not only installed the ID plate on
the Packard, but STARTED it! OK, maybe YOU don't see that as a rare
and exciting burst of activity, but it's more than has actually been done
with the car since February 13th. Yeah, I should be ashamed.
Oh, well. Does it make it any better that I got BOTH Packards
started and running tonight? Amazingly, they started up with very
little effort, and ran nice and smooth. I ended up stealing some ID
plate mounting screws from the sedan - you can't get the small-head sheet
metal screws anywhere I can find, and I wanted it to be right. I do
have to say that the ID plate really stands out when i open the garage
door now. Something that says 'I'm yours now, you dolt! Get
||June 9, 2006 - Today,
for the first time since I brought it home almost four and a half years
ago, the Packard is legally mine! I had a good title with the car,
but the previous owner had not processed it, and I held off as well.
Unfortunately, when the title disappeared after a house flood, there was
no record of the car's VIN number or the previous owner's name. Much
research and gracious assistance from the Packard Club netted a valid ID
number based on the engine number: 1295-15197. After several
attempts to work with Virginia DMV failed, I finally turned to Broadway
Title in Alabama. They provided a Bill of Sale and State
registration that got me a Virginia title today with no trouble at all!
And I have a reproduction ID plate engraved and ready to go! Yes, I did
have the '1's done as Roman Numerals, per Packard practice. It was
delivered to Packard of Norfolk on Granby Street in Norfolk, VA - the
production number indicates a mid-run build, so I chose my birthday (6-16)
as the delivery date.
|February 20, 2006 - Hard
to believe that it has been 4 years and a month since I got the Packard.
I finally got the vehicle ID plate to an engraver, and started
processing the title information. Also took a good wheel over to have
the ancient tire dismounted so I can paint the wheel and mount the 4th
Goodyear wide whitewall. Still very little progress, but even those
steps are something.
|February 13, 2006 - More
baby steps, but at least these show up nicely. I picked up a set of
hub caps for the car on eBay, and they really make a difference. Sorta
silly, I guess, but I've been bugged about those blank wheels ever since I
got the car. These are the correct 'Packard Eight' caps used in 1939,
as opposed to the more common '120' caps. I've also picked up a show
chromed front grille guard, plus a correct dome light assembly and a few
other odds and ends. I quit the job that has had me working weekends
and evenings for the past year, and should have some time to get the poor
Packard going again. Yeah, I've said that pretty much every post,
haven't I? Hopefully it will be true this time.
||October 29, 2005 - More
progress, if still baby steps. I had a couple of friends in the car
club harassing me on the Packard today, and I mentioned I needed to get some
stainless hardware to start putting the grille together. Richard Hall,
one of the harassers, immediately opened a drawer in his garage and pulled
out bag of stainless stop nuts. "OK - now get busy." So I
did! I went home and grabbed the grille top and headed off tot he
local hardware store, where I found the rest of the hardware I needed.
Then I dug out the main grille top plate (left) and finished drilling out
rivets that I had left in place when I took the chrome frame to be plated.
My bead blaster wasn't working right, so I went back to Richard's to use
his. However, he took the part and cleaned it up while we talked.
Even though the piece won't show, I couldn't put a dirty, rusty part on the
car. I'll paint it black this week, and see if I can start building
the grille up.
|September 5, 2005 - OK, I
should be ashamed to call this progress. But the Packard saw daylight
today for the first time since December 2003 - almost two years! And
believe it or not, this is the first time I have seen the paint in the
sunlight. The car looks wonderful, especially after a long-overdue
I rolled both Packards out, removed the
hanging rack from over the Coupe's spot. and did some cleaning and sorting
in the garage. The first step to getting going on the car is being
able to GET to it! Still, I feel a lot better with the dust and
cobwebs off the poor girl. Now, if I can actually spur myself into
doing to assembly!
|May 12, 2005 - Bet you
think I am finally making a progress update! Ha! The poor
Packard has been sitting since February - the 1951 Studebaker took over my
interest again, and I have let the Packard gather even MORE dust. Oh,
well. The Stude is approaching completion, and the Packard just may
get some attention. I am considering having the sidemount fenders
painted up after all and using them on the car. They would certainly
make a difference in appearance. And if I end up not liking them, I
can always go back to the original plain fenders. Of course, Mike the
painter may strangle me....
|February 21, 2005 - The
car is alive! Sounds good, and has good oil pressure - of course, it's
all new inside - she still hasn't been run more than an hour total since the
drive train was rebuilt. Checking back, I discovered that the last
time the car was started was June 2, 2002! More than two years and
eight months ago. I had to clean up the distributor and put gas in
her, and figure out how I jumped the wiring around (There IS no wiring in
the car, and it has one of those shielded coils.) Anyway, once I got
everything back together and adjusted, she fired right up! Now I need
to get the exhaust system on it!
Hear the Packard run!
||February 16, 2005 - Work
continued again tonight - and I have a picture to prove it!
Pulled the plugs and sprayed WD-40 in the holes, then cranked it over a bit
to lube up the cylinders. I was having trouble with the solenoid, and
discovered it had gone bad. Not something I can pick up at Advance -
but I had dim memories of buying one off eBay shortly after I got the car.
Trying to find anything in my garage is a bit like the old needle in a
haystack - and when that 'needle' was dropped three years ago... well...
let's just say I was relieved and surprised to find it. The solenoid
installed easily and worked great. However, she didn't show any sign
of life - I'll have to work though the ignition system and do some
troubleshooting. Still, I'm making progress.
|February 15, 2005 -
Believe it or not, I actually did some work on the Packard tonight!
Got the battery on charge, blew out the carburetor, cleaned and lubed
the gas tank drain valve (the tank was dry), and cleaned the filler neck and
hose for installation. Yeah, it's sad to consider that progress, but
hey! It's something.
|February 11, 2005 -
Picked up the chrome on Tuesday - it is truly beautiful. Royal Silver
took care of the pitting on the ornament base without losing any of the
detail. And the grille section had some serious metal erosion in the
face, which they filled and smoothed out to a mirror finish. Granted,
I paid dearly for the work, but it was worth it. The next step is
actually something I should have done months ago - flush the fuel system and
start the car for the first time in two years. Work, weather, and
family issues have tied me up a little recently, but I am getting back into
|January 20, 2005 - No
news - the plater is a little slower than he thought. Should have the
chrome next week. In the meantime, I picked up a nice center bumper
guard on eBay. Always on the lookout for parts.
|December 28, 2004 - I
know some people were betting it would be a cold day in, um, Norfolk before
I finally got the Packard parts to the plater. It finally happened!
I bit the bullet on these two pieces, taking them to Royal Silver (top notch
show plating at appropriate prices) today. Three weeks and $300
will turn these two pieces from junk to jewels, and pave the way for me to
start putting the front clip back together. I decided not to use a
cheaper plater - these items are critical. if I have to cut corners,
it will be on easily removable items, like bumper guards and accessories.
So progress is being made! My goal is to have the car done for the
AACA National Meet being held here in 2006. There is a lot to do - but
I think I can manage it.
|November 28, 2004 -
After spending a couple of months on three wheels and a jack, the Packard is
finally back on four wheels. I've started cleaning the garage so I can
get the cars moved around and roll the coupe outside for a much-needed bath.
I am sorting chrome for the plater - been a busy month, and my good
intentions have not worked out as well as I hoped. Happily, no one has
booted me in the rear.
|November 7, 2004 - Been
getting a lot of parts in on the Packard - picked up a set of window
hardware and frames. I am hoping to have the bumper guards in this
week so I can get ready to go to the plater.
|November 3, 2004 - I got
the headlight rim and seat adjuster pushrod in today - both nicer than I
expected. The same seller had a full set of bumper guards and the
license bracket - that's one of them on the right. Looks like cleaning
and replating is in order, but the base metal looks straight and sound.
I can pull the best four for the coupe and still have a set for the sedan.
OK - maybe that doesn't exactly count as
working on the Packard. I also dug around for another starter in
my spares and am going to have it rebuilt by a different shop.
|October 31, 2004 -
Halloween Eve, but the Packard is not haunting me any more - I charged the
battery and cranked the old girl over today for the first time in 2 years.
The starter drags - I had it rebuilt but it still has the same problems -
could be that the rebuilt engine is just so tight. Anyway, I will
crank it some more to circulate oil, and then see if I can get it fired up
this week. I am going to go ahead and get the window frames replated -
it is silly to put 'so-so' parts on the car when everything else is top
quality. Those slightly crazed and spotty vent frames will stand out
and degrade the whole car. I have gotten some more parts off of eBay -
many more showing up from someone parting out a 1939 120 sedan. The
Packard only has three 'legs' right now - I pulled a back tire to loan
to a friend - once I get it back, I will move the car out and wash her!
||October 29, 2004 -
Knowing that way too many people will be anxious for the opportunity to kick
me, I am forging ahead on the Packard. After work today, I went
through the new rubber that came with the car and found that I had the
windshield and back glass seals, the vent window seals, the rear quarter
seals, and the door and trunk seals. Which means that I can at least
get the front and rear window in. Also, the vent frames, which looked
fairly nasty (left), look to be quite presentable with some polish (right).
I may not have to chrome them. The framework is also chromed, but I
have replated extras of the only parts that show! So I should be able
to make a lot of headway with the glass. I still need to get the U-channels
for the sliding glass, but that is available.
|As I gather parts for plating, I
am making some interesting discoveries. One of which is a
sometimes-forgotten hazard of restoration. Note the two hood ornament
heads at right. Both started life looking like the one at top, from
the unrestored 1939 sedan. The bottom one is part of a replated
ornament that came with the Coupe. The plater ground off all the
detail of the hair to get rid of most (but not all) of the pitting. That
changed the whole look of the ornament!
Luckily, the sedan's ornament has very little
pitting, and the head can be used as-is. Also, the replated base of
the ornament that came with the coupe is too long - it's for a Super 8, not
the 120 series. More luck - friend Merritt Horne had a 120 series base
that he swapped for the that fits his 1940 Super 8!
||October 28, 2004 -
Merritt Horne, friend and former owner of my 1939 Coupe, came over this past
weekend and saw the car for the first time since I bought it. He was
very impressed with the paint job, and even more impressed when I showed him
all the chrome, dash pieces, new glass, and seat upholstery all done and
ready to be installed. He looked puzzled, and then said, "If I had all
this work done, and all this stuff ready, I'd be out here every night
putting this car back together."
got me thinking - why WASN'T I out here every night, putting the Packard
back together? I've had the car almost three years now, and while the
paint and body work is done, little else has been accomplished.
|AHA! This is the culprit!
I have been held up because I couldn't start putting the car back together
until I had all the grille chrome redone. As it turns out, this single
piece is the only part not already plated and ready to go. Of course,
I had to drill out all the rivets securing it to the radiator louver frame -
a task that took maybe 10 minutes tonight, when I actually decided to do it.
||Looking at the dust, spiderwebs,
and debris on what should be a beautiful car, I have to admit that one piece
of brightwork wasn't the problem. I got impatient. Instead of
sticking with the car, I got other projects. And the Packard sat, and
sat, and sat. Well, thanks to that very gentle boot in the butt from
Merritt, I am back on the Packard again.
I've located some long-needed parts on eBay,
and will be taking the plating up to Richmond on November 11th with Richard
Hall, another good influence, and Merritt. In the meantime, I am going
to get the car running again, and see about doing some installation of
glass, hinges, door latches, etc. And the next time you see me, ask me
what I've gotten done on the Packard in the past few days. If I say
'Nothing' - kick me!
|July 25, 2004 - Sorting
chrome last night, I came up with three long pieces that were labeled with
squiggles I must have used to indicate shape, as opposed to "H" for hood and
"G" for grille. They turned out to be the three upright grille frame
parts I have been delayed by - replated and ready to go. In my
defense, I actually cleaned and wrapped the chrome up BEFORE I bought the
car, and had no idea what some of the parts were. Two and a half years
later, I don't remember everything I stuck under the guest room bed.
Hey! I'm a bachelor - it's amazing I EVER clean under there! If
the top piece is in good shape, I may be able to start assembly!
|July 18, 2004 - Boy,
time flies! I had a lot of 'detours' this year. Travel, other
cars, work, and such have kept me from making any real progress on the
Packard. I spent way too long stalling getting the other grille apart
- and when I finally did a month ago, the bottom piece I needed turned out
to be rotten. I was rather depressed about that, and consoled myself
by going back under the guest room bed to look at all the pretty new chrome
I had done. Only to find the very grille piece I needed already plated
and waiting! I still need to get the other frame pieces plated, but I
have those in good shape. Once I get past putting the grille shell
together, I think much of the assembly will be quick and fairly easy.
It's just taking me a very long time to get myself going on this.
|February 8, 2004 - Took
the spare grille apart - it was interesting to see how it came apart - but
not so nice to see the condition of the bottom piece. It was rusted
badly and falling apart. The sedan has a good grille, but i hate to
tear it apart. Happily, I have a spare spare grille - and while it
looked worse than the one I started with, the framing pieces I need appear
to be in good shape. It seems to go together a little differently, so
I need to make sure everything fits just right before I get it plated.
So the plating trip will have to wait a bit.
|February 5, 2004 -
I have a lot of other projects all of a sudden - the Packards have been
ignored for the most part. However, I did pick up the hood, all
repainted. Finally got to see the color in the sunlight - it is
spectacular! I have to disassemble the spare grille to get the outer
frame pieces - they need to be rechromed. Richard Hall, a friend in
the car club, is heading up to a good plating company on Wednesday - if I
can get it apart, I will take them up. I can't put the car together
until I get the nose fully assembled. Then I can bolt up the fenders
|December 20, 2003 - Not
much going on with the coupe - work has cut pretty deeply into what should
be my free time. I did get all the paper and tape off the car, and
have started looking at the assembly manual. I want to get the fenders
and grille bolted up properly, and work on assembling the driver's seat.
I am hoping to get her running again soon - the engine hasn't been started
in a year. But she looks really, really good. I am hoping to
push her out into the sunlight for photos tomorrow.
|December 18, 2003
- The Packard is HOME! Dewey and Doug, the dynamic duo who helped me
bring the 1939 120 sedan home a year ago, showed up to bring the coupe back
today. It was cloudy out, so the paint didn't get a chance to sparkle,
but it sure looks good anyway. Mike is keeping the hood to get the top
repainted where a bug committed suicide in the fresh paint. And the
headlight buckets, taillight housings, and a few other small pieces will get
painted over the next couple of weeks. After almost a year and a half,
it's time to start the long and possibly daunting task of putting the car
together. This is the point where I will find out just what I really
do have for the car. Happily, the sedan will provide a reference for
me to go by. My goal is to have the car finished by the TRAACA (local
antique car club) National meet in 2006. Sounds like a long time, but
given the amount of work still left (interior, wiring, glass, chrome, etc.),
I think that is a fair expectation.
|December 12, 2003 -
Stopped by too late to see the car in the sunlight - Mike says the color
picks up the sun and just about glows. He cleaned the wheels and
whitewalls - you can get an idea of what the car will look like done now.
Dewey Milligan, the stalwart friend who went all the way to Baltimore to
pick up the 1939 sedan for me, is once again volunteering his services to
bring the coupe home for the first time in almost a year and a half!
So Thursday night, I'll have a two-Packard garage for the first time.
The the REAL fun starts. Finding out the parts I -don't- have as I
start putting the car back together. I'll try to avoid salvaging off
the sedan as much as possible, but if in doubt, the sedan is the loser for
now. Of course, the biggest problem is - I have to make ROOM for the
coupe by Thursday!
||December 12, 2003 -
PAINT!! The car has PAINT!!!! Smooth, shiny, beautiful PAINT!!!
Mike finished up the car at midnight last night and called this morning.
He had to paint the hood off the car to get proper coverage. The color
is perfect - a deep maroon with lots of red and a trace of purple. It
was matched to the Packard Maroon paint chip on a period factory chart.
I had been a little nervous about the color - I don't care as much for the
more purple colors I have seen these cars in. This is what I thought
the paint chip looked like, but until you actually get the car painted, it's
hard to tell.
A few glitches, of
course. A bug decided to commit Hari-Kari on the hood, and managed to
spread its death throws over the upper driver side and center panels. Mike
is going to repaint the entire top section to make sure the color stays
right. Once I have the car together (Maybe a year or so down the
line), he'll go back over it and take care of any of the inevitable
scratches, and then we'll rub the paint out for the final finish. It
looks really wonderful, however. The panels look perfect, the fit of
the doors and trunk is amazing, and did I mention... it has PAINT!!!
|December 8, 2003 - Final
paint is in progress - Mike has the car in the paint booth, and the top is
done. He had to flatten the tires to get the top within reach.
He expects to have the car painted by the end of the week - very exciting
times! The fit and finish of the panels is remarkable. The
darker color coat Mike used as a base is spotted with repairs - he has
smoothed out 65 years of dings and dents to a finish that would make the
Packard factory proud.
||November 21, 2003 - Major
progress - the body is mostly together now - fit of the body panels is
phenomenal. The sedan's hood sections made a huge difference.
You can get a good idea of the final color in the photo on the left.
Most of the car is in a darker paint Mike used to bring out blemishes before
the final color coat. We put the hood and trunk lid on tonight - all
that is remains is the right rear fender. Mike expects to have the
final paint done within the next week or so. Then the car comes home
for the first time in almost a year and a half! And I can start the
long process of putting the car together.
|October 29, 2003 -
Trouble! Putting the hood together for the first time reveals that the
center panel is warped and even has some of the hinge loops welded in the
wrong spots! I bite the bullet and pull the perfect hood panels off
the sedan. With the Coupe ready to paint, it is stupid to hold things
up. I can repair the coupe's panel for the sedan, or replace it later.
Mike has the edges cut in now and with panels starting to go back on, the
car is finally showing progress. I have had it for almost two years!
Hard to believe. The color is beautiful - Packard maroon Metallic.
Mike had the original Packard formula matched - more brick red than the
pictures show. The darker purple is the initial gloss coat he used for
block sanding imperfections. I think the coupe may be home for
|October 21, 2003 - OK -
it's been WAY too long since I updated this, but then again, nothing has
happened. Well, that's not quite true. The car is back in the
paint shop getting the last prep - I'm supposed to go over tomorrow and
start assembling it for the final color coat. I located the unique
fender bolts and cleaned them up - bought new washers tonight. Also,
I've been gathering more parts on eBay - got a NOS window winder for the
driver's side, and other goodies. The focus is now getting the sedan
up and running so I can move it around - and make way for the Coupe, which
will be home within a month. (I hope)
||May 20, 2003 - Jeff Locke
called with a surprise. While going through the storage containers, he
came across a box that had the missing glass and new wind lacing for the
Packard - a year and a half after I bought the car. I've already got all new
glass, but the original windshield glass looks perfect, and will replace the
slightly bubbled glass in the sedan!
March 27, 2003 - Fellow
TRAACA member Merritt Horne found this old photo in a 1968 car magazine he
had saved. He figured it would be of interest, since the car he drove
to the meet way back then is the very same one that I am working on now!
|March 26, 2003 - After
dealing with a burst pipe that destroyed my office and three other rooms on
January 23rd, car projects got put on hold. This was complicated by
both the sandblaster and the painter moving at the same time. The
coupe sat for two months at my very-patient painter's workshop while we all
dealt with packing and unpacking. However, the house got fixed up last
week, the sandblaster got his new equipment working last week, and today,
the coupe finally got the last metal cleaning done. It goes back to
the painter tomorrow for finishing up. Oh, one fender got overlooked
at the painter's - it also got a freshening.
|January 9, 2003 - Saw the main body
tonight. Mike appears to be doing a terrific job. He has everything
in paint except for the top. Even the seams in the trunk seal channel has
been smoothed out - the bodywork will be beautiful. Still have to get the
car to a sandblaster - Mike is being very generous time-wise - I don't want to
tie up his bay.
|January 4, 2003 - Coming
up on a year since I bought the car. Hershey was a great success -
though I did not get running boards, I did find two wheels in great shape
for $30 apiece, plus a set of jump seats with great hardware. Also got
some small parts, such as correct Autolite plug wires, tune up parts, and
dash gauges. Some NOS stuff I got turned out to be wrong for the car,
but I made a good profit selling it on eBay.
The main body and chassis went to the painter
about a month ago - just got a call from him yesterday - the top is pitted,
and needs to be sandblasted. So now I have to get the car over to a
blasting place sometime next week. Flatlanders is in the middle of
moving, and can't do the work until after February 1st. I need to find
someone else. It looks like the car was left outside for a while, and
got moisture under the primer. Not serious - just a hassle to get the
car moved. In the meantime, I have gathered some more parts off of
eBay - NOS Autolite tune-up parts, an NOS correct voltage regulator, DuPont
paint chips, etc. Also got in a full set of glass for the car.
The big news, of course, is the 1939 Packard 120 sedan I bought a few weeks
ago as a guide to put the coupe back together. It is turning into a
rather nice car itself - you can check it out by
clicking here. The coupe is further
along than I have any right to expect - the paint will probably be done
within a month, and then I can start reassembly. Still looks to be a
good year left on it, perhaps more, since I am not going to cut corners to
rush it along. Lots of expensive stuff left to do, which is
necessarily stretched out.
|October 6, 2002 - Another
long gap between updates as I work on getting the 1950 Chevy 3100 truck put
back together. Had to strip it to bare metal and get it painted,
however, the Packard was not forgotten. Mike Muscarella, the painter,
has been working the sheet metal, welding up tears and fabricating new metal
for the door bottoms and the trunk lid bottom. He called and asked me
to come over yesterday - he had the bulk of the parts in the first color
coat, and wanted me to see. It was terrific seeing all those
shiny, new-looking body panels. There are still some flaws, of course
- he had to get them glossy to see the small stuff and work it out.
Once all the sheet metal is completely done, I'll bring the main body over.
He will do the base work on it, and then we'll assemble the car loosely for
the final color coat. I'm still a long way from the finish line, but I
am starting to really get excited about the car again. She's gonna be
beautiful! I am off to Hershey this week in hopes of locating two
wheels and running boards.
|August 23, 2002
Been a long time since the last update, but lots has happened - some good,
some not-so-good. As you might have noticed from the top picture, I
have stripped the doors off now, and have them blasted and ready to go to
the painter. That completes the panel preparation, which means that
the painter can get them all ready for final assembly. Also, I picked
a very nice standard steering wheel on eBay for $9.99! It will serve
until I can get the deluxe banjo wheel recast - the rim is crumbling away.
Both of those are the good things.
However, the bad thing is a whopper! A man responded to my ad looking
for running boards on the Packard Club web site, saying he also had a good
rear fender. I sent off $900, only to find out it was all a scam.
In more than 20 years of dealing with people in the old car hobby, this is
the first time I have ever been burned. (Follow-up - The crook's secretary
smelled a rat and never gave him my money - I got a full refund about a
||June 6, 2002 -
The first load is at the painters! Picked up the front clip from
Flatlanders - a couple of small areas need work, but most of the sheet metal
is excellent. Thunderstorms were forecast, but held off long enough
for the trip to Chesapeake and the painter's shop. I dropped off the
rear fenders and trunk lid for blasting, and will deliver the doors Monday.
All of the parts should be ready to go next Thursday - I will be taking the
paint chip chart (Packard Maroon Metallic) for matching. Looks like
the car may be painted by mid-summer!
|June 3, 2002 - Mrs. Riffe found more Packard
parts behind her freezer when she moved a while back, and I finally got in touch
with her. Made the long trek out to Holland, VA after work and discovered
she had the missing front hood chrome - both replated! Definitely worth
the trip. Called Flatlanders - they are still catching up from the hot rod
show - he will call me later this week. Figures - Mike, the painter, is
calling me now - what a turnaround!
June 2, 2002 - After sitting for two months, the car started right up
and ran great with a shot of starting fluid. Then I ran out of gas!
Got the rear fenders and the trunk lid off, and have penetrating oil working
on the doors. Moved all the burled window trim into the front bedroom,
where it joins the chrome. Hope to get the front clip picked up and
the back section parts and doors dropped off the same day.
May 23, 2002 - Allen
called from Flatlanders - they are trying to get ready for a big Hot Rod
show, and didn't get to my sheet metal. Hopefully, they'll be able to
get it done as soon as they get back June 3rd.
May 20, 2002 - Took the front clip to
Flatlanders this morning - should have the parts back on Thursday, and then they
go off to the painter. This weekend, the doors, trunk lid, and rear
fenders come off and will be taken to Flatlanders for cleaning.
May 19, 2002 - Big time skip here - hasn't
been much progress due to other projects, BUT I am about to get the painting
process started! The original painter still hasn't called (3 months after
the car was supposed to be in his shop), but a friend suggested another man who
turned out to be both cheaper AND more available. He has also done an AACA
National First Place car, so he knows what he is doing. For a change, the
painter is now waiting on ME to get the fenders, doors, hood, etc. media blasted
and out to his shop. Flatlanders, in Norfolk, was highly recommended by a
club member and friend for the media blasting, so off I go tomorrow with the
first load. I saw the bright Packard red at the AACA Old Dominion
Meet yesterday in Fredericksburg - definitely NOT the color I want. So it
is the Packard Maroon as the paint choice. Things should start moving
pretty quickly this summer, once the car is painted.
April 18, 2002 - Got a factory heater
assembly and center rear light assembly from eBay.
March 18, 2002 - Got a new speedometer
cable in today, and won a set of paint chip charts on eBay. They will help
me decide what color to go with. Still angling towards the medium maroon,
but dark green would be nice too. Lots of good stuff on eBay for the car!
March 17, 2002 - The acid test of the
distributor - got everything installed and hooked up today, and the car not only
started and ran, it ran great! After adjusting the timing a bit, I
couldn't feel the engine vibrating while it was running even with my hand on the
cylinder head. Now THAT is smooth!
March 13, 2002 - Performed a successful
distributor shaft transplant - had to grind down one of the retainer rings
almost to nothing to find the drive pin, but I ended up with a complete
distributor with new vacuum advance. I will put in the new Champion plugs
and get her adjusted up this weekend. The Packard Club Forum advises that
tinted glass was not available until the 1950s in Packards, so I am going to
order the clear glass.
March 11, 2002 - Several busy weeks with car
club activities ad other projects, but a few things get done and/or
bought. The rebuilt distributor turned out to be the wrong one, but I
think I can adapt it by swapping the main shafts. I got a set of NOS
Autolite sparkplugs for the car, with coupons that expired in 1940. The
correct brand AND date of manufacture! I have also picked up a new
speedometer cable, a NOS parking light lens, and some 1939 Packard
March 7, 2002 - Found a supplier for the
glass - all of it in clear or tinted for $360. They have the patterns.
Need to check if tinted glass was available in 1939.
March 3, 2002 - Still no word on the paint
status. I may start looking around for alternatives. I'm almost at a
standstill until the car is painted.
February 27, 2002 - No word from the
painter - and apparently there has been no progress on the car that has to be
finished before my car can be started. My car is supposed to go into the
shop next week. I have all the parts to be painted gathered up. I am
missing one parking light lens, only used in 1938-39.
February 22, 2002 - OK - not such an
optimist! The starter was done on time. Looks better, but still
drags. It may be a combination of the newly rebuilt engine being tight and
the standard battery I bought - the car apparently takes a more powerful
February 19, 2002 - Pulled the starter and
took it to a local rebuilder. I am hoping they will get it done by the
weekend. OK, I am a wild optimist.
February 18, 2002 - Got an original owner's
manual in from eBay. Gotta love that internet! Back to sorting parts
again. The 1935-1941 Illustrated Parts Manual is NOT as helpful as I hoped
- gonna try to locate a 1939-only book.
February 12, 2002 - Sorting parts - looks like
a mix of cars represented - the Packard parts range from 1938 to late 1940s, and
I have found stuff I can't identify at all. Got the illustrated parts book
for 1935-1941 today from Kanter. That might help me figure out what is
February 8, 2002 - Received NOS door handles
and window cranks I bought on eBay. They are great! And at about $21
each, a heck of a lot cheaper than having the old, pitted items replated.
February 7, 2002 - Started sorting parts.
I have all the major rubber, but a lot of small seals and body gaskets will have
to be located. Lots of extras, and some parts that don't go to this car.
Looks like I have some items to sell or barter with. Trying to start the
car fails due to a dragging starter. I suspect it needs a good rebuild.
February 3, 2002 - Set for paint. Bill Aders of Aders' Collision in Elizabeth City, NC comes by to give me an estimate
on the car. $5,500 is his best guess for an acrylic enamel paint
job. While I cringe a little, it is pretty much what I was
expecting. Although the car is stripped, it has a lot of body work
required to put it in proper shape for paint. And of course, my color
choice (maroon) is the most expensive. I have about a month to do anything
I want to do before he has room for it, then it will probably be in the shop
there for 3 months. The distributor problem is also solved today when the
same friend who gave me a bunch of parts last Sunday comes up with a rebuilt,
correct distributor complete with a remanufactured vacuum advance!
February 2, 2002 - SHE RUNS! Go
through the distributor and clean points, replace the condenser, check all
connections, and sandblast plugs. The car has the wrong distributor in it
- from a later, larger 8-cylinder model, and the vacuum advance is shot.
However, one squirt of starting fluid, and away she goes! Smokes like
crazy until the upper lube burns off, but then clears up nicely. Good oil
pressure, even the automatic choke works.
February 1, 2002 - Crank the car for the
first time with oil in the upper cylinders and no plugs - Clean things up and
install the plugs. Try to start the car - no spark - need to figure out
this armored coil!
January 31, 2002 - Drain the oil, pull and
clean the carburetor, install new fuel filter.
January 29, 2002 - Drain the gas tank,
flush the lines, and discover that the radiator isn't bad after all!
January 28, 2002 - I pick up all the remaining
parts from the bus depot. Now to identify what I have! Also,
checking some of the boxes turned up much of the missing trim, replated and /or
painted. I even have the flying goddess hood ornament with the original
January 27, 2002 - Pressure wash the car
to remove years of paint dust. A friend gives me a truckload of parts he
has been storing from a 1938/39 parts car, including the complete heater and
some trim items I was missing!
January 23, 2002 - The car is mine!
Friends help move it and the bigger parts home. Still have a couple of
loads to bring back.
||December 27, 2001 - The third trip turns
up a serious leak in the storage area! Almost everything is soaked!
After some choice words and hopping up and down, I get to work drying off the
expensive stuff - all the chrome and wood burling was wrapped in paper which is
holding the moisture against the new plating. Happily, no damage. I
take it all home, polish it, and rewrap it in newspaper. It's under the
guest room bed.
November 28, 2001 - I put down a $500
non-refundable deposit - it's going to be mine!
November 26, 2001 - Looked at the car
again - I'm hooked.
November 24, 2001 - Looked at the car for
the first time. Is it too much to handle?
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