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Posts posted by cxgvd

  1. The best part of fixing 105 year old car is also the worst part.  No one knows everything or even anything.  I mounted my electric horn today in a bracket I designed, had fabricated and altered for the job.  A fellow sent me photos of a car the same make and model as mine, however I chose to mount the bracket and horn slightly differently.  It is a guess, using experience, judgement and "I think it will work and look best here."  If I am proven wrong I can change it.  Maybe this solution will become the "correct way it was done."


    Regards, Gary



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  2. In the top photo are some old parts I wanted to reproduce in thick, not stretchable leather and I have just the man for the job.  He is the last shoe repair guy in our small city of Chatham, On and he is a character.  Once he sent me back outside to look at his sign to see if the sign said anything about auto parts.


    In the last picture is a metal shop I used to make a bracket for the McLaughlin's newly acquired horn.  Every day brings me closer to completing the task, full steam ahead.


    Today, I received a registration for a Buick big 6, seven passenger touring car, for the AACA Snapper's tour in Chatham the second week of July and I sent an application to an owner of a second Buick big 6, we may have two!


    Regards, Gary





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  3. Interesting times.  The following tale I repeat recently happened to me and I do not intend this story to be praise or criticism of companies, the post office or Canada Customs.  The saying goes " it is what it is."

    I ordered some antique auto parts from a well known restoration supply company in California, (wink wink), the order was $90.00, the box was the smallest box I have ever seen and postage was $30.00.  Canada Customs charged me $25.00 taxes and handling and the box took two weeks to arrive.

    I ordered an 3/4 HP electric motor, to give you an idea of the size and weight from Amazon.ca on Friday.  It was delivered to my house Monday with taxes and shipping included in the purchase price.


    It is what it is.  Gary

  4. RansomEli;  In the photo and for test purposes we are using loose polyester batting sold for stuffing children's animals.  In the final product I have washed, curled horsehair from Weavers Leather Supply in Ohio.  I cannot tell the difference but I have a friend who can look at a job and say horsehair, poly or foam material.


    Funny story, A guy told me he bought some horsehair and soon had a house overrun by tiny moths.  I haven't brought my box into the house.


    Regards, Gary

  5. I am presently trimming a 1915 car, you did not say what your guy wants to upholster.  My car had a replacement interior which got us going but if it was bare there would still be pictures available to show how it should look.  My trimmer has never done anything this old so we are working on it together.  He made a pattern out of vynal, stretched it on the car, decided to make some changes and produced a second pattern before cutting into the leather finished material.


    Long story, short, sit down and practice.  I started by making drop sheets, sewing long seams, straight.  I doubt if your engineer began at the drafting table designing the Titanic.  How do you get to Carnegie Hall is an old joke.  Practice, man, practice.


    In the photo is the pattern for the front seat back.


    Regards, Gary


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  6. I finally did it.  Last summer, Joe, (Cardinal 95) advised me to change my Singer sewing machine to a DC motor rather than continue to fight with old clutch setup to slow the machine down for upholstery work.  I finished the change over yesterday and the machine will chug over at a pace I feel I can control.  Full steam ahead.  Gary




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  7. An update concerning the AACA Snapper's summer tour in Chatham, plans and routes are set until May.  That is when the registrations close and many details get hammered out and everything made ready for our guests.  Today, in the mail we received our 30th car registered and it is a Buick, we have 3 so far, also 4 REOs, 3 Oaklands, a few Cadillacs and 8 or 9 Fords.  Moline, McIntyre, White, Oldsmobile, EMF and Hupmobile are among the other cars coming.  Waiting for spring, I collect the mail everyday and am getting my McLaughlin finished.


    The first 3 pictures are Buicks which are coming then some of the others.


    Regards, Gary



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  8. I telephoned my little sister this morning to wish her a happy birthday, when we hung up Bev said I was acting as if it were my birthday.  Last week I ordered hardware from California, spoke with a plater to apply new nickel to my last 4 pieces, ordered a new DC motor and controller for my Singer industrial sewing machine and ordered beautiful material to use for our rear floor mat.

    I have 100 new upholstery buttons and now I see it is woefully short, I ordered 200 more and a 10" long tufting needle to make the assembly slicker.  Gregg Lange agreed to let me buy one of his horns, the last piece?  Probably not.

    The curator of the Canadian Automotive Museum measured the rear window of one of the their McLaughlin cars, 11" X 23", larger than I thought.  I made a paper pattern and it seems to work and will look great.


    Regards, Gary





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  9. Take your time and do it right.  Pat, my upholsterer and I felt the backrest springs were making the seat upholstery pattern too puffy and we devised a method to compress the bottom set of springs in line with the upper set.  Tomorrow we try again.


    Top photo is from today and the bottom picture is when I started the job.


    Regards, Gary




  10. McLaughlin Buicks used a diamond shaped radiator emblem and this theme is carried over to the rear window curtain.  I am trying to scale the size from this original old photograph and think 9" tall by 18" wide which would make the individual diamonds 3 3/8ths' by 4 1/2".  I made a half pattern, in the second photo the white paper will be black top material and the black will be clear.  It will take some skillful sewing but to my eyes it is a highlight of McLaughlin cars.


    Regards, Gary




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  11. I've registered to have our 1915 McLaughlin judged by the AACA at Auburn May 9th, now it's full steam ahead.


    The car is missing it's horn and I did not even know where it would mount.  I asked which horn was correct on a great site called BrassBuicks.org and received a quick response with pictures from my friend Gregg Lange.  I planned to use a Delco Remy horn but it is too long to fit the space so I phoned another friend, Bert, who is restoring a 1913 McLaughlin, similar to my car, and he has an extra proper horn and he is willing to let me have it.


    A person could have all the tea in China, but I wouldn't trade it for my life in this hobby.


    Regards, Gary

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  12. Working on old cars and learning a new skill.  Yesterday, Pat, my upholsterer brought to my workshop a diamond tufted pattern he laid out and sewed for my 1915 McLaughlin touring car.  We installed buttons and stuffed them as if it was the finished product and started to install it in the car's front seat.  When it is fitted to the car he will see what alterations need to be made, then the same system of pattern making for the rear seat back before he slices into the actual leather.  So far it's great, I even like the colour and the care Pat is taking so the job turns out beautifully.


    Pictures are self evident except for the 5 pound box of curled, washed horsehair I purchased from Weaver's Leather Supply in Ohio.


    Regards, Gary







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  13. Bev and I have been with the AACA for a short time and I am very much impress with the friendliness and efficiency of the office.  I mentioned in my weblog under Me and My Buick, here as well, I would like to have my car judged and today I received a registration packet for Auburn.

    I like the AACA to be pro active, it leads me to believe the club cares about me.

    Back to the shop, my 1915 McLaughlin has a deadline to meet.


    Thanks Steve, Gary


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  14. I would like to have my McLaughlin judged this spring and I have two and a half months to get it ready before the cutoff.  I've spent a lot of effort and money on parts of the car which do not show such as fitting modern bearing and seals in the axles to make the car dependable but that does not add a farthing in judging.  On the other hand if parts were showing signs they were nickel plated I stepped up and had the parts replated, even though they could have been painted and looked fine.  Sometime I just like what I like and I really like to use cocoa mat for the rear carpet.  So far the only source for this 1/2" thick mat is in California and they get $18.00 per square foot and I would use 15', black carpet seems like something I would choose.  Cocoa mat looks so good and it is only money, I can get money but would I resent cheaping out?  Don't know.


    I don't really know much about judging, I should lose points for my old tires, I do not have any original tools or owner's manual.  My car, since it is Canadian, has this great tool box and nickel plated headlamp parts which American Buicks do not have.  I can't prove they are original except there they are.  This judging is a one time event, I hope to make first junior but at least I will get my Century Club medallion and declare " That's done."


    Below are photos of the tool box ready to be covered in leather, a detail of extra plating and the headlamps which add a look of flash to the front of the car.

    Regards, Gary





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  15. I would like to have a car judged at Auburn, except it is not finished yet.  Assuming I read the registration form correctly can I register anytime up to Apr 20th, mail in hand at the AACA office?  Can I switch a vehicle for judging by the same date, if the original vehicle is not completed and ready for showing.  I think I am asking what is the latest date I can sign up for judging at Auburn?


    Regards, Gary Van Dyken

  16. These are side curtains I received with the 1915 McLaughlin project and though they are slightly faded and have a few very small holes from wear I will not replace them.  I plan to have the car judged by the AACA, maybe this May in Auburn, In and I should lose some points for condition but not all the points for not having side curtains.  For touring they will be perfect to keep Bev and I out of the weather when the inevitable cold and wet happens.


    Regards, Gary




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  17. I hope someone with an interest in pre'16 touring is here and ready to buy.


    I own and drive both the 3 3/4' and the 4" Buick engine cars.  The specs do not tell the story, the larger car is more comfortable, larger wheels, bigger brakes, etc.  The 4" car is in the mid sized category and this car is nicer than a Ford, should be more money but likely due to parts availability the Ford is more user friendly and desirable, IMHO.  However a nicely sorted 3 3/4" car, maybe this one, is more interesting and attractive than a T, again in my opinion. 


    There are so many tours for brass era cars, someone should scoop this opportunity and go.  Best of luck, Gary

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  18. Restoring vehicles in 2020, a philosophy.  A car can only be original, once.  Full stop, and that is why they are sought out and beautiful.  When restoring cars to a certain period, like my 1915 McLaughlin, I have to choose modern day alterations due to current public tastes and which materials are available.  My car is getting new upholstery and I wanted to install leather door checks even though there is no sign the car "originally" had them.  I changed the car from the way it left the factory to the way it should have been delivered to the customer.  I should lose points in judging at the AACA or BCA but I will not because the car should have door stops, in 2020 it looks natural and will not be questioned.


    I visited my friend, Stan, a professional car guy and we worked out a method of attaching the parts and he agreed in my decision to improve the McLaughlin.  While I was there we discussed one of his projects, a '23 Gray Dort.  The literature calls for a gold stripe just below the beltline and we both thought it would look to garish for 2020 tastes and perhaps a pale yellow or custard against dark blue paint could be called gold.


    In the photos are the check straps, rear door open and closed.  Also notice my use of t nuts, blind fasteners, instead of screws.  I can remove the door for repairs if necessary and they are stronger than screws in wood.  Big improvement from "original", it is restored not original.  The car is not modified either, it does not have a v8, automatic transmission and mag wheels.


    Regards, Gary




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  19. On July 15th Bev and I are taking the Snapper's Summer Tour to Rondeau Provincial Park for nature day and today we visited and asked some questions.  In the first photo is a road the Park Warden closed many years ago to protect creatures like snakes and turtles, I am making a case for him to be able to open the road for our brass era cars for a few hours.  He wants to and I have to assure him we would be slow, careful and thankful for his consideration.

    In the next photo is the picnic shelter we rented for our gourmet lunch.  There is excellent parking, modern washrooms and the park store nearby.  Next a snap of prairie grass leading to the beach on Lake Erie and finally a giant, weathered tree on the very edge of Rondeau Bay.   Rondeau Park celebrated it's 125th anniversary last year, It will be lovely to be there in July.  Regards, Gary






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  20. On page 4 of owning, fixing and driving weblog there are pictures and a story of a 1929 Packard ambulance formerly owned and operated by the Detroit Fire Dept.  The truck has received it's rad back from California with a new core to replace the one which was damaged when a water pump shaft broke into 2 parts.  Today, Friday, I helped Classic Coachworks install the rad and hood.

    Since the truck has to travel back to Virginia on an open trailer, because it is so tall, Stan and the owner must find an acceptable time and weather for the trip.


    Regards, Gary



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  21. As registrations roll in for our Snapper's tour Bev and I work on destinations and routes, one trip is giving my problems.  Thursday is a long drive, I am trying to keep the day at a 100 miles but I have to find a way to cross 2 rivers and avoid 4.7 miles of fairly busy two lane highway and the destination is 40 miles from the hotel.


    We are stopping at a retirement home and they are providing us with a "nutritious snack" mid morning.  Lunch is hosted by Roger and Eleanor Hadfield on Stag Island in the St Clair River.  They have had this cottage for 60 years and this is where Chris Hadfield watched the moon landing in 1969 and where he told himself he wanted to be an astronaut.  Then a guided tour of a large heritage type museum, at least an hour maybe two.  I do not yet know how we are going to get all the activities accomplished and a 40 mile drive straight back to Chatham.  Supper is on your own, some may stop along the way or pick something up and eat in the room, hospitality room is open.


    In the photos are a bridge and flooded river we must cross and a light drizzle Sunday afternoon on the St Clair River.  Still, a good problem to have, too much to do.

    Regards, Gary




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