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Leland Davis

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  1. My Father, born in 1918, joined the Army in October of 1940, over a year before Pearl Harbor, mainly as a way of getting a steady job. Right after the attack on Pearl Harbor he was riding with a fellow soldier to a new posting at Jefferson Barracks, and they heard the news on the car radio. The other fellow, who owned the car (a 1937 Ford) told him that he was thinking of selling the car, now that war had started. My Father offered to take it off his hands by taking over the payments of $22 a month, and thus he did just that. He kept the car for 10 years, until he bought a 1951 Chevy, because of his growing family. I was brought home from the hospital in that ’37 Ford in 1949. His only complaint of the car was the mechanical brakes… he said that he could never really get them adjusted. When my mother ran into something and crunched the grill, he bought a new one from Ford for $18.00 and installed it. During the war (he was in the Army Air Corps), he kept the car at an Uncle’s feed store near home in North Carolina, and when he needed new tires, his Uncle managed to get him a set of new tires, a difficult thing to do during the war years. Traveling to San Antonio to a new Post, 1st and 2nd gear went out, making it difficult to pull hills on the drive west. So, he backed up the hills and made it to Texas in 3rd gear only. The transmission cost $40 to have repaired at a Ford dealer. All his life he was proud of the fact that he owned a car as a young man and could travel by himself by road instead of by troop train. The only odd thing about it all is that he never took a picture of the car.
  2. Well, that throws a whole new light on the matter. In that case, bite the bullet and do whatever it takes. Good luck with it all
  3. I have to agree with the views of the two responders so far. I have been collecting and restoring cars and motorcycles (and a few antique aircraft) for 30 years now. I always looked to find complete cars that had never been molested. At one time I had 22 cars lined up to restore. But I sold them all except for a 1926 Buick Master Brougham that was all original and a great candidate for restoration. Had it waiting for 10 years, and was very attached to that car. But along the way I bought restored cars, and that started to change my mind. One was a 1927 LaSalle, a real beauty. Another a 1930 Auburn, and still another a Hupmobile 1925 E Model with a straight 8 Lycoming, engine a rag top touring car. I loved driving them all. Recently sold the '26 Buick and 6 Moto Guzzi motorcycles in the lineup. Waited a while and then I bought a 1937 Packard Business coupe that is a restored gem. I am very satisfied now. If you have had the Chrysler for 10 years, it is time to move on.
  4. When a complete engine would come into the shop and I had to remove the exhaust manifolds and muffler, I took care to not break the studs. Quite often, the nut and stud would be rusted together, inviting a broken stud. Penetrating oil or heat would rarely work on the tough ones. I would use a nutcracker and split the nut. Once it had split it was easy to remove it. Then, I would clean up the stud threads with a die, and the job was done. Eventually I got to the point where I could save every stud. I wish I had the tool that Greg shows.. this was back in the early 80's and I don't think they were out there yet. To remove the 16 case bolts I would double nut them. Sure would have been easier with that tool.
  5. "Your father was lucky to even have been in High School." Yes, he was lucky. But the Depression still corrupted his thinking. His Father had a good job on the railroad, and was always employed. But the times still brought on a frugal mentality. Late in life, every day riding his bicycle, he would make the rounds of dumpsters, searching for something of value. He once brought home a brown paper bag full of doughnuts and presented it to us. They were stale and hard, obviously from a dumpster behind Dunkin Donuts. My Mother, always suspicious, looked at the grease stains on the bag and knew what had happened... she forbid him from bringing any more home. One day, while taking out the trash, she saw his bike parked along the side of the house, and in the rack on the back of the bike was another bag full of doughnuts. She chewed him out, and he promised to stop. A few days later she walked outside to check the bike, being suspicious, but the rack was empty. Undaunted, and suspecting, she stopped and looked around, thinking: "now, where would he hide them?". She walked over to the cast iron outside door of the fireplace clean out, opened it and found another bag of doughnuts stuffed inside! That ended the doughnut caper.
  6. I have hundreds of memories of my Father’s stingy ways. He was a teen in the 1930’s and eventually retired from the military and school teaching with plenty of money. Lived to age 96, but always kept his stingy ways (except when it came to his kids). I was age 14 when we went to a hardware store and I was amazed to see bins of nails… I still remember saying “Dad! They have new nails!”. The routine at our house was, when you needed a nail or two, you went to the ‘nail can’ and straightened out a nail with a hammer. He rode a bicycle constantly and would pick up everything he saw on the street. The tool pegboard in the garage had dozens of old tools, all bad. Never in his life did he buy a new tool. Every phillips head screwdriver had the head stripped, making it useless. Hammers always had loose heads that he wrapped with tape to keep the head on. For electrical work, instead of using a wire nut to twist two wires together, he would wrap the twist with kite string saturated with Elmers’ glue. In later years I came along and replaced his handiwork many times, much to the satisfaction of my Mother. In 1957, he bought a second hand ’56 Lincoln Premier and my parents drove it until 1972. He parked it in the garage because it started to have valve problems… something that he would never pay to have repaired. The car was in pristine shape, until a gallon can of paint fell from the shelf and shattered the rear windshield. Have a new windshield installed? Of course not. He was a ‘maintainer’… just keep everything in the current condition. Finally sold the Lincoln cheap after he was forced to by the rest of the family. By that time, ford quit stocking the windshield. Sure wish I had that Lincoln now…
  7. My Father was a child of the depression, and it affected him all his life. Born in 1918, in the mid 30’s he was in high school. The family had a 1930 A model Hupmobile and his job was to drain the water out of the engine after every drive, during the winter. They could not afford antifreeze. When I was a teen, he bought a 1940 Ford for $25, and still drained the water. One winter, he forgot to drain it, and the block cracked. He sold the car for $30, so he declared that he was ahead. In my college days, he had a 1953 Ford, and always parked it on a hill (even though the starter worked fine), and would roll it off to start it. He was constantly afraid of wearing out the battery or starter. He also would push it on the flat residential road from our house, a ½ block to a hill (at 70 years of age). I gave him a derelict VW bus that I had stripped for the tires, and he drove it for 5 years, even with the 3 foot hole in the center of the floor. When it dropped a valve, he rebuilt the engine… It ran terribly, and when I probed him for what he had done during the rebuild, turns out that he reassembled the engine with a dime sized hole through the top of one piston. It ran, barely, but that was good enough for him. The Depression must have been brutal.
  8. A number of times when I had my rebuilding business, I stripped apart engines that had broken EZ-Outs stuck in a broken stud. The first one I attempted to plunge cut it with a cutting torch, and failed miserably. Thereafter, I just scrapped the heads. Reminds me of all the customer induced trauma that I would see on long blocks that came through the shop. One of the bad things about VW engines was that they were so easy to work on, and so many people tried. But, they are touchy to get right. I once saw a case where the 'rebuilder' tried to take the "1 main bearing out with a chisel and hammer (without splitting the case). Needless to say, I had to scrap the case. But, every once in a while a car would come through with the original engine, still running. About 100,000 miles was the limit before a #3 exhaust valve would break , or a rod bearing would go. What a joy it was to tear down a factory assembled engine... it did not happen very often. As for EZ-Outs, I have never bought or used one, for they are the kiss of death.
  9. Welding a nut to a stud is fine when it is an 'unfrozen' stud in steel. I have done that many times, and it certainly is easy peasy. But when the stud is rusted and corroded in aluminum or magnesium, that will never work. The heat from a manifold seems to bake the stud in place, and it will just never break loose. Therefore, drilling out the stud and tapping clean threads is the only way. I have run into similar 'baked in place' broken studs in motorcycle heads. I have a Moto Guzzi that I had to replace 2 studs on... very common with aluminum heads.
  10. How do you get a pilot hole perfectly centered? I would file the top surface flat, to start. Then with a center punch make a new dimple at the center. If you miss the center on the first try you can tilt the punch and rap it again in the direction of the exact center (of course, this is by eyeball). You can actually walk a dimple around a bit till it looks good. Then give it a final rap with the hammer to assure a clean start to the drill. Since the heads were magnesium alloy, they were softer than the steel studs... so, if the drill wanders and hits the magnesium, it will skew off and ruin the job. That is why the 1/8" pilot hole is started, to prevent drill bit wandering. Another problem that I would encounter with VWs and the 912 Porsche engines is the cylinder head studs pulling out of the case, making the cylinder heads loose. Often, a customer would drive their car to the shop and wait while we installed a fresh engine. I remember a customer bringing his VW up the drive, and I could tell at a distance exactly what the problem was, for loose cylinder heads created a distinctive blap-blap popping sound. There actually were new, self tapping head studs that could be installed, even with the engine in the car. But the ideal way to fix the problem was to install "Case Savers", which were inserts that fit the thread size of the original studs (much better than helicoils). VW actually began using these inserts at some point... maybe about 1972? It got to the point that I would drill and tap holes for case savers on EVERY engine, and never had a problem with the case savers. Makes me think back to some of the work that we did. When a customer had a bad clutch, I had the boys pull the engine, install a new disc and the person would be on their way in 15 minutes. Did that many times. I charged $50 for this, and gave that to Johnny and SA, for they did the work. Now, that was a satisfying feeling...
  11. I had a shop in the early eighties where we remanufactured VW and Porshe air cooled engines. One of the things that I had to constantly deal with was broken studs, primarily on the cylinder heads. People would strip down their old engine to the long block and exchange it for a freshly rebuilt one. Did about 3000 engines in a five year span. So often, the exhaust studs would be snapped off when removing the muffler or manifold. How does one replace a broken stud? After lots of practice, I became a wizard at it. The worst thing that can be attempted is to drill the stud and try to remove it with an EZ-out. Invariably, the EZ-out would snap off in the hole, and then you are screwed. What I would do is to drill a 1/8" hole directly down through the center of the stud. The trick is to get the hole exactly centered. Then, the hole is drilled through to the correct size to match the tap size, for cutting new threads. The tap cleans up the threads, clearing the old steel that is remaining. If the original 1/8" hole is off center enough to make it a sloppy hole, an insert can be installed to hold the new stud. The local VW dealership started sending their broken stud heads to me for repairs, and eventually started buying long blocks from me. Many times since then I have run into broken studs on all kinds of repairs, and they never fool me any more.
  12. When my Daughter first learned to drive, I chose a 1985 Suzuki Samurai for her. It was an RV tow behind, in great shape. I chose that because it was 4 wheel drive, and she is an avid snowboarder, just perfect for getting to the slopes. When she was 27, she searched for and found another '85 in perfect condition, another RV tow behind, and I drove to LA to tow it back for her. She sent me this picture of herself with the two cars. She is currently the Flight Surgeon for an Apache Helicopter attack group, in Iraq, age 29. Made me think... What was your first car? Mine was a 1956 Ford that I got for $25, and drove 5 years.
  13. I completely agree with JamesR... I have over 20,000 transactions on Ebay, with a feedback of over 8500, at 100%. But the several times I have had a problem was when going to pick up cars by individual sellers. I would pay cash at the time of picking it up with my own trailer. Three times I walked away from deals because the seller had misled in the listing. I drove to Kingsville, Texas one time to pick up a 1930 Chevrolet that was described as 'Complete'. When I got there, there was no engine, and when I asked about it, the seller walked me over to the back of a pickup truck where the disassembled engine lay, exposed to the elements. The crank was a rusted piece of junk. I said I was not going to buy the car and the seller got irate! But the majority of cars I have found there are well worth what I paid, fortunately. All in all, I have had a 99.9% satisfaction rate with Ebay.
  14. I manufacture a woodworking tool and ship internationally with USPS. I sent a 45 lb package to Norway and it didn't arrive with the 2nd package in the shipment. A week later, I heard from the Post Office (they know me well) that it was received by a church in Nigeria. Seems that several packages were shipped to Nigeria by another fellow in my small town, and he was told by the Nigeria recipient about it, over the phone. The Post Office was no help (what could they do?), and so I prepared another tool to send. Ken, the other shipper, told the Post Office, and sympathized with my plight and volunteered to have his man in Nigeria forward it on to Norway, as the address label said Norway, and not Nigeria. Seems that Mike, the Post Office clerk had let some of the customs paperwork pile up instead of affixing them to the package while I stood there. So, my package got a Nigeria customs label. I was amazed, for the fellow in Nigeria sent the package on to Norway, costing him $265.00. Ken and the Nigerian trusted me, for which I was extremely grateful. I forwarded the money to Ken, and the Norwegian fellow received his tool, albeit, from Nigeria. Ever since then, I stand there and make sure the customs papers are placed on every package. What became of the Nigerian package that received my Norway label was never known. Lee
  15. The Carburetor is the original Carter WA-1 in the '37 Packard
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