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About Gary_Ash

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    SouthCoast, Massachusetts

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  1. Gary_Ash

    Followup to having curved glass windows made

    Windshields are normally laminated by placing a thin layer of polyvinyl butyral (PVB) between the two glass sheets, placing the assembly in a vacuum bag made of high-temperature plastic film and breather sheets of non-woven material. The bag is placed in a large autoclave where each bag is connected to a vacuum pumping port. The air in the bag, especially between the glass and PVB layer, is removed while the glass is cold. The autoclave is then heated to about 285 degrees F and the pressure raised to about 225 psig for 20 minutes or so, then allowed to cool. This should produce a highly adherent assembly without bubbles. The bag/autoclave process works on any shape glass, whereas heated rollers might not be able to cover all the surface of a complex shape. An autoclave is typically a large cylinder, say 6-10 ft diameter x 10-20 ft long, made of heavy steel. Be prepared to spend $500,000 or more to have one in your garage. About 40 years ago, I was responsible for developing a process to dye the PVB material specific colors for filtering the light from very large TV tubes used for FAA radar displays, early computer screens, and similar applications. The FAA tubes needed laminated glass so that an exploding/imploding tube wouldn't send the electron gun into the face of the guy staring at the tube. It took special dyes to obtain the right colors without non-uniformity, similar to the dyes used for the dark bands at the top of windshields. The consultant who helped most was the guy who developed the process for making Technicolor movie film. He got very wealthy from this, had a big mansion in San Marino, CA. I developed the basic dyeing process in my home washing machine, didn't make the (ex) wife happy. Unfortunately, I didn't get rich from this, but it sure was fun!
  2. Gary_Ash

    Duesenberg watching

    Here's another Duesenberg, a 1930 Derham-bodied car that was built for Gary Cooper. We saw it Sunday, Sept. 16, at the Heritage Museums and Gardens in Sandwich, MA at their "Cocktails for Cars" event. EdinMass probably saw it the week before. The car had been in the Museum for about 50 years, but had never been run, so they cleaned it up and started it this summer, now drive it around the grounds a bit. The engine runs smoothly and sounds great. Also in attendance were a 1939 Bugatti, Cord Westchester, 1950 Allard K2, the Museum's 1912 Packard Victoria, a bunch of Porsches and Ferraris, Jag XKE, a 1984 Morgan, and my 1948 Studebaker M5 pickup - about 36 cars in all.
  3. Gary_Ash

    Custom enclosed car hauler - DELIVERED

    Yes, a weight distributing hitch will go on my shopping list quickly. Painting the floor will also get done. Moving the spare tires to the rear sounds like a good idea, too, as minimizing the tongue load would help. As for backing up, I'm OK at backing my flat-bed car trailer and small utility trailer. The big problem with the enclosed trailer is that I can't see behind it and can barely see around it. I'll need some new mirrors, too. Has anybody installed a video camera at the back of a trailer?
  4. I picked up the ALCOM/EZ Hauler enclosed 20 ft car hauler trailer I ordered - it was delivered from the factory in Maine to the dealer in Massachusetts in 2-1/2 weeks. I'm happy with the quality; the aluminum welds look good, the outside panels are screw-less. I did get two spare wheels/tires and a tire changing ramp. I put the 1948 Studebaker pickup (15 ft long) in the trailer to test the fit. With about 1 ft of space at the back, I've got 4 ft in the front, could throw a sleeping bag and mattress in there, if needed. The tires will mount in the Vee-nose. The truck is 6'-6" high, but I still have several inches of clearance at the door and under the ceiling light. The truck running boards are above the trailer wheel wells, so lots of side space. I can open the truck door and get out easily. It towed home easily, though it was empty. It will take a road test fully loaded to see how it really tows. With the trailer empty, my Expedition EL squatted about 1 inch; with the 2700 lb truck on board the hitch was down 1 more inch - I think that's OK. The ramp has a small fold-out piece to ease the transition and the spring-loaded cables make it comfortable to raise the ramp. The trailer wasn't as cheap as I wished, but the outcome was good. The paperwork that came with the trailer said the weight was under 2200 lbs, but I think I'll take it to a weigh station to check that. All of my cars will easily fit in the trailer. I'm going to need a lot of practice to learn how to back this thing up.
  5. After our visit to Victoria, we drove on to Port Townsend, WA, a town that had its heyday in the 1890s, but is now a funky place with old buildings and lots of good restaurants. Without having planned it, we hit the weekend of the wooden boat festival, so we were entertained by lots of antique boats. Nonetheless, we saw lots of neat cars, too. I saw another one of those 1957 Buick hardtops with the divided rear windows, but missed the pic. On the way into town, we passed some cars for sale: three Morris 1000s and a decent looking MG Midget. I didn’t see prices on the Morris cars, but the same guy is selling them. They looked restorable. Walking around the town, we found Bergstrom’s Antique and Classic Autos, a shop with an eclectic collection of NOS and used parts for sale and a few cars. One of the cars was another Morris Minor. Farther along the streets, there was a Fiat Spyder and a gorgeously restored Saab wagon. On our way out of town, there was one more Morris Minor parked in a drveway, well restored with a current plate. Strange to find 5 Minors in one little town!
  6. Gary_Ash

    Car spotting in Victoria B.C.

    Here are a couple more cars we spotted in Victoria. A nice 1957 Buick (I think) with the divided rear windows, couldn’t count the portholes to determine the model. A 1 hp carriage. A late Model T belonging to Butchart Gardens that is parked at the ferry terminal. Getting off the ferry from Victoria to Port Angeles, WA, we saw a couple of original Minis in company with a modern Mini - I liked the matching trailer! There were lots more cars we saw that I wasn’t fast enough to photograph.
  7. After a week in Tacoma, WA for the Studebaker International Meet, we drove around the Olympic Peninsula and took the ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria. Getting on the ferry, we saw a 1957 Studebaker Golden Hawk getting off, must have been at the meet also, but I missed a good photo. Fortunately, we’ve seen lots of great cars in this dry climate. To name a few: a 1957 Cadillac El Dorado Biarritz convertible, a bright yellow MG BGT, a Volvo 240DL wagon, a Mercedes 450SL, an old VW bug convertible, and a 1968 Oldsmobile Delmont 4-door sedan, all on the streets of Victoria. We topped off the experience with a harbor tour in a little “pickle boat” water taxi and a visit to fabulous Butchart Gardens. Blue skies, 75 degrees, what could be better!
  8. Both the truck and the Indy car are just over 6 ft wide, so lots of room on the sides. Also, the Indy car has no doors, just climb over the side. But, yes, there is a side exit door, 32" wide. I like the noodles idea, though my grandchildren are going to miss them in the pool...
  9. I ordered an ALCOM/EZ Hauler 20 ft aluminum trailer from my local dealer. Based on advice received here, I added a couple of upgrades: changed the 1/4" luan walls to 3/8" water resistant, added a 36" Vee-nose, two spare wheels, and a fold-out flap on the edge of the ramp. The rest is as spec'ed below. With the thicker walls and flap, the weight will be a little higher than the listed 2580 lbs, but not much. With the Indy car at 2500 lbs and the Studebaker M5 truck at about 2700 lbs, the total loaded weight will still be well under 6000 lbs, OK for my Expedition EL (6000 lbs plus) and about the same as with the steel flatbed trailer I own. While the Expedition can haul 8 people, there are only the two of us when we go to car shows away. We'll see how much more wind resistance there is - the old pickup sits up high on the flat bed and has all the aerodynamics of a brick. The price came out at $9K, plus tax. I was told they will build it at ALCOM in Winslow, Maine (near Augusta), should be ready in 3-4 weeks. I'll post pics when it gets here. Thanks for the help!
  10. Gary_Ash

    1939 Pontiac Woodie advice

    Mark never lied, it just seems that there was a miscommunication. The auctIoneer was experienced at selling off auto body shop equipment, not restoration shops. I doubt the subject ever came up. Pontiac didn’t build the woodie bodies, they were all built by Hercules-Campbell on cowl-chassis shipped from GM. See
  11. Gary_Ash

    1939 Pontiac Woodie advice

    Maybe you should just sell the car and the spares to someone who really wants a woodie and is prepared to put the labor and cash in. It will be a nice, fun car when done. There are many cars on the antique car circuit that do not have original bodies. The auctioneer woman told me that Mark had said he thought there was another 900 hours of work to finish the car. At Mark's $90/hour rate (cheap), it would have been over $80,000 to have the car finished by him, may be why it never got done. The pity is that some street-rodder will probably wind up with it. As of this past Tuesday at 4:00 pm, the auctioneer had only an offer of $7,500 for the woodie and parts cars package, so you got it cheap. Maybe one of the people reading these posts will make you an offer. There were no "VIN" numbers in 1937, but the car's original serial number plate is probably still on the cowl or elsewhere on the car. It would link back to the 1937 sedan that was used for the chassis. That's all that is needed to register it, along with a bill of sale. Title on old cars not required in Mass.
  12. Gary_Ash

    1939 Pontiac Woodie advice

    I'm sure it's a replica because Mark told me the story of the two cars, and I watched the car get built. The car with the blue fenders and sheet metal (see post #11 above) was brought into the shop to be restored by one of two brothers. They had inherited the car from their father. However, they each wanted the car, so they worked out a plan that Mark would restore the original while building a second one identical to the first. I don't remember exactly when this was but perhaps as early as 2001-2002. I was in and out of the shop fairly often back then, as I worked only 5 minutes away, and I used to go visit him at lunch time. After 2002, I had changed jobs and moved farther away, so I didn't get there as often, maybe a couple of times a year. as I had him painting parts for another project of mine. I watched Mark put the floor platform on the 2nd chassis, form the wood pieces, and we discussed the technology needed for the complex finger joints in the wood framing. I can only guess that the car remained unfinished because brother #2 either lost interest or ran out of money. Mark probably got the car on a mechanic's lien. I forget why he bought at least three Pontiacs of that vintage, but he needed mechanical parts for both cars. I knew Mark through the local Studebaker club, in which he had been fairly active, from 1996. The photos in post #11 were taken in 2006 when Mark held a shop tour for the club. He was just finishing the original car then. I don't know the names of the two brothers, but will ask around to see if anyone remembers. In the portrait of Mark in post #10 above, you see the right rear quarter of the original car as Mark was replacing a piece of rotted wood, but keeping most of the old wood. That is not a quarter that is on your car: note the darkened wood. But, Mark was careful to copy each piece exactly, so while your's is not a totally original woodie, it is an excellent replica. The other surviving cars have probably had most of their wood replaced anyway. If you collect up all of the engine parts, take them to Dana Hard at CAMCO in Weymouth, MA ( While Dana builds lots of dragster engines, he also does older engines, including straight 6's and 8's and flatheads. It's an excellent, well-run shop, and he'll get your engine done quickly. No, it won't be cheap, but it will be good. The photo you posted of the engine block makes it look like the basic clean-up and machining had been done and the valves installed, so maybe it just needs to have the assembly completed.
  13. Gary_Ash

    1939 Pontiac Woodie advice

    I found one more photo of a '39 Pontiac woodie on the Wall Street Journal website from June 19, 2018. I don't have a subscription, so I couldn't see the full article, but here's a good photo.
  14. Gary_Ash

    1939 Pontiac Woodie advice

    I found some more old photos of the woodie in progress. I also found photos of the other woodie that Mark restored. Maybe the pictures will help you complete the car. Also, Google "Petersen Museum 1939 Pontiac" and you'll find many images of a fully restored 1939 Pontiac woodie that is (was?) at the Museum in Los Angeles. If it's still there, it would be worth a trip to see a complete one, especially if you make some arrangements to open doors, take inside photos, etc.
  15. Gary_Ash

    1939 Pontiac Woodie advice

    That woodie was constructed by the late Mark Keilen, who used an original 1939 Pontiac woodie as a model as he restored it back in 2005-2006. As with the original, he used the cowl and nose plus the chassis and engine from a 1939 sedan. All of the wood in your car is new; there wasn't any "old wood" or metal parts from another woodie. Mark fabricated the seat frames from scratch, again using the other car to take dimensions. I used to drop by his shop and watch him work on the restoration projects, including the woodies. Unfortunately, Mark died just two weeks ago, days before the scheduled auction of his shop equipment and a number of cars, including your new acquisition. I think he finished the first Pontiac woodie, yours is the 2nd one, which was scheduled for the brother of the guy that owned the first one. I don't know whatever happened to that deal, but the 2nd one never got finished. To make the woodie parts, he had to buy a big shaper and special cutters to make the finger joints in the wood, plus saws and a planer. I saw Mark only a few days before he died and expressed my surprise that the woodie was still in his shop after all these years. He smiled and shrugged his shoulders, admitted that it was just one project that hadn't been completed but that he wished he could work in someone else's shop to finish it. If he knew that his time was short, he sure didn't let on. Mark was a superb craftsman and one of only about a dozen shops in Massachusetts that restored cars, as opposed to a collision body shop. His shop was in N. Attleboro, Mass, and I think the woodie was the only project he never finished. He did two cars for me. I'm glad you bought the woodie and wish you luck completing it. Keep us posted!