chistech

1931' Chevy 5 Passenger Coupe

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Here is a link to a restoration I've been doing for a customer in AZ. The car arrived at my shop in Dartmouth MA in mid Nov. 2016.  It was a decent car when first looked at but pulling it apart and test driving it opened up it's issues. The brakes and rear spring perches had problems. Badly sagging passenger door told of a rotted hinge pillar at top and bottom, rotted sill, rotted front roof bow, front roof header, front roof rail, and side roof rail. More rot was found at the passenger rear corner caused by a blocked and cracked trunk lid drain tube. The owner wanted new paint, new chrome, new roof, new interior, new glass, new gaskets/rubber, etc. The car has been restored as a driver and upgrades like a new Brassworks radiator have been installed to replace the bad original core. A 4 blade fan and upgraded Filling Station water, new hoses, new water pipe, and motor flush finish up the cooling upgrades. The brake cable housings were broken so the front brakes were virtually inoperable. The rear spring perches had fallen apart and the U-bolts were loose enough that problems weren't too far down the road. The interior and roof stripped, and the body removed off the chassis to put on the rotisserie. All bad wood was replaced, (anyone wanting details and explanations of pics are welcome to ask) all chrome was sent out to R&D Plating in TN, and the body was sent to Extreme Paint and Collision for work.  The motor/trans was pulled and stripped of all the colors of paint it had on it along with the full chassis. The U-joint was checked along with torque tube bushing and a new clutch/throw out bearing replaced.  Chassis was fully disassembled, primed and painted, then reassembled. The pictures show where the status of the car is now. I'm currently waiting on the fenders, hood, front apron, door garnishes, dash board, and some smaller pieces from the body shop. The link for the pictures will be constantly updated as I continue to finish it up.

 

Link to photos: https://photos.app.goo.gl/wRvk7ZvZig3pqNF42

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3 hours ago, JFranklin said:

I am curious how this car compares to the standard sedan, where is the leg room lost? It certainly looks roomy.

If you mean the standard 2 dr sedan, the rear seat is farther forward in the 5 passenger to accommodate the trunk area giving less leg room to the rear seat passengers.  Realize that right now the two front jump seats are not in the car as the dash still needs to go in and not having the seats makes it easier to lay on the floor and get under the dash when the time comes to hook up everything under the dash. The quarter window area is smaller also I believe as the side of the car body is shorter, again because of the trunk. The owner of this car is around 6' + tall so I did a couple things to make driving the car easier for him. I rotated the driver's seat mounts (that are mounted to the floor) 180 degrees as they have an offset that normally faces to the front. This moved the driver's seat back about 2 1/2-3" giving much more leg room. I also will bend the shift lever to the right some which again allows more room for the right leg to flex towards the shifter more. Both of these alterations are subtle and virtually unnoticeable to the average eye but help tremendously with the larger driver's comfort. 

Edited by chistech
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Finally gotten more parts back from the paint shop and starting to finalize assembly. Installed the dash and all control cables. This 31 has a later manifold and downdraft carburetor. It was missing some linkages and had no provision for the cable to set the high idle. I made up a slotted bar on the miller that would allow the throttle to be set yet allow the pedal to actuate the carb without affecting the idle set. Installed the garnish moldings on both doors and windshield. Put the rear bumperettes on along with the rear spare tire bracket. Installed the seats and all floor pans. Need to install the passenger door on tomorrow. Waiting on a couple rear window garnishes to finish up the interior. Once all the inside is done I'll test run and adjust everything. The fenders and hood will go on last. When it's completely assembled it will go back to the paint shop for a final buff and detail then it's off to the owner in AZ.  For up to date pictures, click on the link in my first post.

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Got more assembled today. Even with the heat in the garage, it was still cold as trying to keep a big concrete block building somewhat warm when it’s zero outside is not easy. Finished off the windshield, lower passenger kick panel, hung the passenger door, and got the passenger rear fender on. The passenger door on this car dropped an inch when you opened it when it arrived here. Upper and lower wood rot on the hinge pillar got repaired along with a piece of the main sill. Door is now aligned perfectly , opening and closing perfectly. The door dovetail and wedge picture shows the height of the latch side of the door.

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Got the drivers side fender installed along with the tail light standoff and tail light. Tested the running and brake lights for operation. All wiring connections are soldered and shrink tubed. Back end of car is finished up and will be finishing off the interior today as I got all remaining sheet metal and garnishes from the paint shop. Will fuel up the tank and get the motor started and adjusted. Almost there. Someone had mentioned the large size of the door. It is the biggest door Chevy had on a car in 31” at 35.5” wide. It is the same width as the phaeton model but of course has upper metal and window installed. It’s a big door!

 

note: I am not restoring the wheels on this car, the owner is and gets much better pricing than I can on powder coating. Everything else has been worked on.

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More done tonight. Got the visor on. If anyone has done a visor they know the welting is a PITA to get right. The new welting sold these days is lousy and they are trying to sell you stuff that's too big of tubing. Be careful when buying welting out there. Fitted the new SS hood rod to the top sections and fit it in place on the car. Because it's a new Brass Works radiator, I had to adjust the support rod out some for proper clearance. Finally finished off all the garnish moldings and put in the three window shades so the interior is finished other than fitting the front rug which I'll do tomorrow. Pulled the seats and rear rug back out to do the rear window garnishes and shades. Much easier to move around and no worries about putting dirty feet on the new upholstery. Need to pick up gas to fire this baby up. Thought I had some but all my cans are empty. Pretty much just the front fenders and front apron left to mount with the hood sides and hardware. Almost at the finish line!

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Completely finished up the 31' Chevy interior today. Fit the front rug to the pedals, dimmer switch, starter/accelerator rod, and the emergency brake handle. Reinstalled the front seats and gave everything a once over to make sure all was right. Only waiting for one window crank escutcheon to come in so the passenger door window crank can be installed.

Got the motor fired up and timed today. Made some carb adjustments and adjusted the timing up to the modern day preferred, 18d btc. The owner had someone do some tuneup work on the car before it came but they did things to original specs which no longer work with the newer plugs and higher octane gasoline. Original specs are .022 gap on the plugs and 12d btc. The new specs of a plug gap of .040-.045 and timing at 18d btc really make the 194 stovebolt come to life. The AC 86 replacement plugs need the much larger gap to have a hot enough spark from proper idle and acceleration. It's really running great and the owner will be surprised with the difference.

Tomorrow I hope to get the front fenders, hood sides, and headlights installed to finish up all assembly.

 

Posted a short video of the motor running below.

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Edited by chistech (see edit history)
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Thank you Dennis but can't really say there's a lot of craftsmanship on the interior. It's a Hampton Coach kit and only needs to be installed. Yes, care must be taken to install it properly, including making sure the tops of the seats are stuffed correct with extra padding to have a nice firm rise/look to each pleat, pulling the head liner taught enough for no sagging, proper blind stitching of the lower valances on the seat fronts and side, etc., but most anyone can do an installation if they read the instructions and take their time. Having experience helps with knowing exactly how some areas should look and how quickly you can get the interior done, but people doing a single install on their car can do it but I would recommend the investment of a good air stapler and quality staples plus a tack hammer and staple puller.

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Got back into the garage today and got a lot done. Both fenders have been put on, both hood sides, the front apron, headlight bar, headlight buckets, and all associated hardware.  Got all the new badging and sill tag on the car. Tomorrow I need to solder up one headlight connector and get the lights working. Last night and this morning we had some really heavy rain washing away all the snow and sand/salt off the road. Hopefully once the headlights are done, I can get the car out for a test drive. Just about there.

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Man, you guys have great eyes! LOL, Both those aircraft are powered by four stroke glow engines. The Texan is actually a quite rare version of the Texan. That is a early (80's) ARF (almost ready to fly) model made by Kyosho in Japan. Kyosho made three different models in their "SQS" (Super Quality Series) offering. The other two were a Corsair and a Zero. All have a very light but well made fiberglass fuselage with foam cored, balsa skinned, film covered wings and appendages. I have all three and all are excellent flyers on the smaller size, with 56-58" span and .65-.70 size engines. All have retractable landing gear and the corsair has a light ply reinforced, fiberglass center gull section which often proves to be the achilles heel of many model Corsairs. The Kyosho is very strong and light, the perfect combination.   The cub is an all balsa ARF kit that belongs to my brother. It flies wonderfully and is very relaxing to fly off water. Perfect for a nice still air Saturday or Sunday morning at the pond. Kind of the same effect as taking out one of our cars in the early morning for a breakfast run.

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The headlight reflectors on the 31' were in pretty bad shape with less than half the silver remaining. I purchased a slivering kit from Caswell and had my neighbor polish up the reflectors down the brass. They came out super smooth and a perfect base for for applying the silver. The silver is applied in a liquid state with a low voltage wand. It does go on kind of streaky and takes some learning to develop a good application technique. As the silver is applied is gets kind of black and splotchy. It doesn't go on perfectly but after it's polished with toothpaste to remove the rough splotches, it yields a pretty serviceable and reflective surface. My neighbor also polished up the cast aluminum step plates which I mounted with SS hardware. Almost time to celebrate this car being done with a nice personalized cigar that my neighbor got me.

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Finished it up today. Got the headlights done by adding new gasket around the reflector to glass area. This is originally cork which often is cracked and broken out. There are new gaskets sold but they are too big and will not fit in the groove. I used 5/32 rubber screen spline. The screen spline is the lined rubber that is forced into the groove around a screen panel in the door or window. This rubber works wonderfully and is easily installed in the groove.

Took the car for it's shake down right at dusk. Lights on, I pulled out of the drive and headed down the road. The 194 purred perfectly and accelerated without a single pop or cough. Shifting requires double clutching but the trans shifted fine and I was quickly into 3rd and going 40-45mph. There was no drift side to side and a hands off the wheel yielded it going straight down the road. The only blip was a slight pull to the right when hard braking. This is extremely good as there was no front braking at all originally. I will back off on the passenger side brake adjuster a click or two. With these old cars, you never tighten the loose brake but loosen the tight (pulling) side to even the brakes. I believe the owner will be very pleased with his car when it gets back to him. It drives so much better than it did when I arrived with me. The paint shop is supposed to take it later this week for its buff and detail. Now it's time to smoke that cigar!

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Edited by chistech (see edit history)
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Got the 31' out of the garage today to take it to the body shop. Unloaded my 31' out of the garage and parked the two out in front of my house and had my own little 31' Chevy show.

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I realized I meant to say I unloaded my 31' out of the box trailer. It's been in there all winter and I needed to use the hand crank to help it get started. Ended up leaning a little too far forward when pulling up on the handle and that damn Eagle radiator mascot pecked me right in the forehead leaving a pretty deep 1/2" long gash! We should start a thread; "When radiator mascots attack!"

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Picked up the Chevy today after her buffing and detail. Did a little walk around and a couple run up videos. Motor got tuned up and everything adjusted. Great oil pressure at idle, good charging amps at rpms, and water temp in the lower range of normal. t’s really looking sharp and I believe the owner will be very pleased. Should be shipping West next week or two.

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The 31 got loaded up this past week and a nice little pickup arrived for the same treatment. 

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