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1939 Packard
120 Club Coupe

My most 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!
July 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:
December 27, 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.
October 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. 
September 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 at

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 well. 

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!  Really!
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 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 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 week!
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 the shell. 
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 a customer. 
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 there. 

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 busy!"
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 bath. 

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 action now.
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."

That 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 and hood.
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 Christmas!
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 month later!)

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 advertisements.

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 battery.

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 what.

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 glass.

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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