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Avanti R2, 1963, refresh


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Pat, I will check those pins.

And it is Thursday, November 8th, AM and we have a Greg Avanti report. Starting a warm up, 50 degrees today and 70 on Sunday.

"Black Wednesday in more ways than one. Gloss and semi-gloss.

Since I've been neglecting 5054, I took tonight for the radiator. Having been cleaned and tested, it was time to prep and paint it. I'd already stripped the paint from the tanks and supports, so I covered both sides of the core with cardboard and then lightly bead blasted the surroundings to get them ready for color.

Short on paint, a late-night trip to WalMart enabled me to shoot a light coat of primer on the steel parts, a light coat of semi-gloss on the core to give it some color but not insulate the fins, then gloss black on the tanks and supports.

After it has dried thoroughly and I find the mounting bolts, I can not only get it installed in the car, but I can also get that painted hood off the hangar floor and back on."

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Still Thursday, late AM. Every day I try to do something to one of the old cars. Does not matter if it is much. Just checking the oil or wiping something off is enough. Today is one of those days.

I ordered the final number of grease dust covers for the 23 McLaughlin Buick yesterday. I ordered 10 of about 25. I only had a couple when I bought the car so have been collecting a few here and there as I found them. Looking through the restorationstuff.com catalog I see they had them. Upon inspection, they are new, not NOS. If they were NOS they would have been nickle plated with a little burled edge. But no matter as I have the NOS ones where they can be seen. These will go on the underside of the car and on the shackle grease pins for the springs and front steering rods.

As a judging matter, I did get a point or two knocked off for not having these all in place at the Buick Nationals.

So now they are all on. Here are a couple of pics to include one of the parts I ordered; a new wiper blade for the 23 that I will have to resize, metal ties, and woven fuel line sleeve to hopefully help the dreaded vapor lock in the summer.

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It is Friday, November 9th, AM. It is warming up here, heading north to 70 degrees on Monday. And things are still hot with Greg as he continues on the Avanti. Speaking of Avanti's, I just received an email from Jerry Forrester. He said that my Avanti front bumper is done and on the way back to me. Wow, now that is a quick turnaround for sure. Will post pics when it arrives.

"I still haven't adjusted to this darned time change. So with no commute to work, I've been hitting the floor "early". Today, with my plan of getting the radiator mounted in 5054, the hardware needed to be found so that I could get it prepared. Same for the hood's bolts and prop. The prop bracket was sad, really rusty. The scraps from our shear contained a piece of .062 mild steel, and a few minutes later I had a new one. Quick and dirty shear and punch work. That was before I clocked in.

Tonight after the hardware was prepped, I carried the radiator to the tin shed (a wind tunnel), dropped it in place and stuck a couple screws in it. I tried to put the screws in the hood. They won't go until I clean the threads with a tap, so unless it warms up.... I'll get to it in the Spring.

Oh how I long for the days when everyone else is complaining about the heat."

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Edited by unimogjohn
my bumper coming back (see edit history)
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Still Friday, but PM. Ever watch the TV show "Wheeler Dealers"? It is a buy, fix and flip British car show with Mike Brewer and his ace mechanic, Ed China. I enjoy the show as Ed actually gets dirty. Anyway I had recorded one last week that was about a Jag Mark 2. It was blowing lots of engine smoke and Ed figured that the blow-by canister and breather assembly filter was bad. Well, he pulled the breather from the front of the engine and by golly the mesh filter was clogged. So he cleaned it up and put it back together and viola, no more smoking.

So today I started up the Jag. Came right to life. Let it warm up and then put it back in the trailer. Going to take it on a run tomorrow or Sunday. Was looking at the engine and remembered the Mark 2 episode. Same engine as my 120, but 3.8 versus 3.4. Ummm, I wonder if I should check my breather assembly. Only four little bolts. So pulled the breather. Looked really nice and clean, but no filter. Nothing to gunk up. Everything looked good, so cleaned everything up, lubed the water pump and fan hub assembly, and put her back together. So here are a couple of pics.

Oh, and the Avanti front bumper came home today. Will open the box tomorrow.

Suppose to be nicer tomorrow so plan to spend the day burning all the debris that came down. I know, wood burning equals pollution, but that is about the only way we have to get rid of stuff in the country.

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Hello

MG Midgets and Healy Sprite were famous for blocking up their crankcase breathers too. I had one that once it started to blow out smoke it would stop the traffic. Looking back through the car's service history the first owner had a VERY expensive engine rebuild done at 12,000 miles and sold the car almost straight after. I wonder why?

"Keep on keeping on"

Bj

Edited by oldcar (see edit history)
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As a South-eastern Australian I don't know what cold is, by either Canadian or US standards and don't really want to find out. I agree the Jag engine is pretty nice until you compare it with a Lagonda Rapier which came almost 20 years earlier. There is a story that suggests that Jaguar had dismantled a Rapier engine in their Drawing Office when the first started working on the XK engine.

As a Rapier owner for the past 40+ years perhaps I am just a little prejudiced?

"Keep on keeping on"

Bj.

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Bernie, thanks. It does look like a miniature Jag engine.

It is Saturday, November 10th, PM. Took the Jag out for a nice long run with Shadow peering out the passenger window. He had a great time too.

Finished putting the ignition wire boots on the distributor cap. I noticed that one of the wire holes on the cap was oxidized so took the time time to clean it up with my trusty Dremel tool. With everything back together I started her up. She roared to life. She does sound like an early airplane engine without the muffler connected. Actually kinda like it.

I then cut out the plastic tie wraps and installed a couple of the metal ones. I do not know how they are suppose to attach to themselves so took my best guess. The reason I am putting on the metal ties is that you cannot have them on during judging or you will lose points. I was tried of cutting them off for every show where the car was being shown. So now all is in "period". If anyone has an idea as how they are suppose to be fastened just let me know.

I also unpacked the Avanti front bumper. All repaired, replated and look great. Will paint the inside silver tomorrow as it looks to be another nice day. Greg told me to paint the back of the bumpers as the back of them will start to rust over time. He is right, they do, and quickly too. Now I do it every time.

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John, I have two British cars which use the metal straps. The capillary, or brake line or whatever, actually goes inside the 'butterfly" part of the strap. It is placed on top of the strap, then the strap makes a wrap around the pipe and places the butterfly on top, then another warp, and then through the slots in the ears and under the butterfly, and then folds back onto itself. Harder to explain than do. Looks neat when done. I assume they would be similar on your Buick.

Attached are a couple of photos- disregard the color change of the strap due to the flash.

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It is Sunday, November 11th PM. Spent most the day at the cat emergency hospital. Last night "Tan" came down from the loft hopping on three legs. One was just dangling. Not good.

This morning he was no better to rushed him to the emergency weekend hospital about 40 miles away. He was not a happy camper. After examination and x-rays it was determined that he has a shattered upper forearm. Tomorrow morning he is scheduled for surgery to set it or remove the leg. It will be up to the surgeon to decide what is best to do. We think that he was hit by a car, probably got him in mid flight and hit the bumper. I guess it is better than the alternative. Worse case, we will have a three legged cat.

Got home in the afternoon, and did some farm chores. Also had the time to put on the silver paint on the backside of the Avanti front bumper and the rubber bumpettes. They also have a metal plate on the back and had rust on them. So now everything has a good coat of silver Rustoleum.

And a special thanks to Tarheel for the fastener hint. Fixed them too. Now the look right.

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It is Monday, November 12th. Early PM. No news on Tan the cat.

I got a new wiper blade from Restorationstuff.com. I knew that it was going to be long, but it cut with tin snips. I had to enlarge a mounting hole on the blade, but got it all fitted. The rubber just goes on these after a couple of years. I really never use the wiper, but you just have to have it. Oh, and it is hand operated too.

Just got a note from Greg too. So here is his report.

"The weekend past brought us some nice weather. Mine got started early with a visit from Michigan Glenn Miller. His arrival Friday began with a walk through the shop and then a ride in the maroon car found us on Rob's doorstep to kick his tires. Nice visit on all parts.

Saturday was an opportunity to visit the tin barn and 5054. I got the hood screwed in place (but not adjusted) without barking any paint . I'm sure glad it is off the floor and not underfoot.

Found a few things to bead blast , hung the supercharger bracket and also did some red paint touchup.

It was also an opportunity to dust off Seabiscuit for a run to the starter and alternator repair guy. Dropped off Avanti 5054's alt and then a quick visit to Mitch and Ed Sine's to retrieve that auction Remy magneto.

Yesterday was pleasant, and a day to enjoy company. Being Armistice Day, Barb and I enjoyed a meal at Olive Garden, mine being complimentary. A brief stop at the Manassas battlefield to pay homage to those veterans long gone.

Then for dinner, I snagged Col. Britton and we met Sgt. Lee at Applebee's for another Veteran's Day Special. Not only very nice gestures by establishments like these, but also a way to bring veterans of all ages together to appreciate those I respect and admire. Thanks to all."

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Still Monday, but PM. Got the call from the Vet surgeon. Tan goes under this afternoon. Will be an extensive reconstruction and will include an external brace. I will pick him up tomorrow. He has to be inside and in a controlled environment for at least two months.

Worked some on the 23 McLaughlin Buick. Here are a couple of pics of the windshield wiper. Just a little 7 inch wiper blade.

The last time the car was nationally judged it had some cosmetic things that caused points to be deducted. One was that the paint under the gas cap had bubbled due to gas spilling on it. The second one was the top of the rear light was not fully painted. So decided today to see if I could correct them. One thing with an old car, no one, including the judges expect things to be perfect, but they do have to be correct and presentable.

I sanded down the offending bubbled painted and repainted it in gloss black. After it dries I will take some rubbing compound and wax, and hopefully everything will be blended together. I also spayed the top of the rear light. Here are pics of the before and after.

Tomorrow am going to repack the water pump seals.

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John, I find that the Buick National and AACA judges do give you a little slack, but not so with the Jaguar judges. Not a little bit even in the driver's class. But actually I would rather have them hard and consistent rather than loosey goosey. There is no way I can compete with the big boys even at the regional level, so I just try to make sure that everything looks as good as it can be. Paint is cheap.

I just got my scoring sheet from the Jaguar Concours in Reston, VA. That is where I placed third. I was entered in the driver's class not the champion class. I really got marked down for the chrome on the car. I need to replace most of it except for the headlights. Bumpers, rear lights, fittings, etc. That exercise would cost about $2000, and I am not ready to do that.

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It is Thursday, November 15th. Not much going on. Picked up Tan, the cat, from the hospital and he is now on the mend. Will be on bed rest for two months. Here are a couple of pics.

And here is a report from Greg. With winter and holidays approaching he is slowing down too.

"Hasn't been much news fit to print lately.

Good news/bad news.

Good news? Well my old friend Bill Honan is back working with us. Taking some time off from his flying job, he's helping sort out a 1929 biplane here for restoration. Right up his alley. He knows old airplanes and how to fix them. This one, a Parks Air College product, as I understand it, was built by students. Add in the fact that it's been cracked up and patched up a number of times, plus he's stepping into the project with it all apart, he's got his hands full.

I guess you need an 'Ol Bill story. The first one that comes to mind was years ago, back when he worked for us the first time. It was just the two of us, Ken was still driving a 727 for American and would be gone three days a week. We'd get lots done and have a good time as well.

One bright summer morning we stood staring at the time clock. As we were about to punch in, I asked what were we going to do today. He responded that he didn't have anything special in mind, what did I want to do. I said "Let's go to lunch". He said "Where?" . I said "Captain Franks Hot Dog Stand". He shrugged his shoulders, we put our timecards back, strolled out to his Cessna 150 parked outside and took off for Kitty Hawk.

I did a lot of the flying and upon arrival at First Flight Airport, we parked the airplane and walked over to the beach. Took off our shoes and walked the four miles to Captain Frank's. After buying lunch and T-shirts, it was back to the beach (he still comments about finding a frog on the beach), back to the airplane and back to the shop. Nothing like a hard day at the office.

Bill has been a great friend and there's lots of stories.

As for current progress, not much. Today did bring about some Good news/bad news. It came during a visit to a friend's machine shop. Carl got his start as machinist a long time ago and he's a constant source of solid information on the trade. I find excuses to visit, a good one being to borrow his ancient dividing head. I've got to cut some gear teeth and his machine is quite steady.

He also knows about cars, doesn't take him long to start spouting specs on 406 Fords, supercharged T-birds, etc. Today he mentioned that he had to pull the transmission out of his truck. That's when I thought to ask if he had a floor type transmission jack.

I've been looking to borrow one so that I could get that trans back in 5054. Jacks like that have fast become obsolete with the advent of the affordable post type lift. That has eliminated lying on your back beneath a car. It just isn't fun anymore and the jacks have been thrown away with relish.

Good news is he has one. Bad news is he has one. No excuse now not to get that job done. Like hitting your thumb with a hammer, it will feel better when it's over.

When Bill saw the jack, he said "When are we going to put it in?"

See, I told you he was a good guy. Tomorrow evening."

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It is Friday morning, November 16th. Here is Greg's report.

"Well, it's in. With 'Ol Bill's help, the transmission is in place in the Avanti 5054. We knocked off a little early from the day job to get started.

Got the unit positioned on the jack and after raising the car just a little higher, began the task.

Careful and deliberate, we were able to get it up in place over the frame X member and then maneuver the front shaft into place. No cursing, no smashed fingers or even blood blisters. Just a gradual alignment and closing of the gap until it now hangs with a couple bolts securing it. At that point, the sun had set, a chill was settling in and we called it a night.

With that milestone accomplished, we washed up and I took Bill to the local steakhouse. The boy earned it, he's good help.

I'll go back and finish securing it when I feel like it. Right now I just want to enjoy the realization that that chore is over."

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Ah, the fun of lying on your back wrestling with a heavy transmission. I had almost purged it from the memory banks. Til now. Reminds me of the time, many moons ago, that my father was on his back under the '62 Hawk, trying to cajole a transmission back to it's spot. Several of us brothers were hanging around goofing off and lending a hand when requested. My father struggled and cursed under the car, "!@$*!"

Brother Kevin, always helpful, implored him to, "Push harder!"

"%$#@&!"

"Push harder!"

"$#@^&*!"

"PUSH HARDER!!"

Suddenly a, ahem, flatuous sound (okay, fart) ripped through the night air from under the car.

"That's hard enough", said Kevin abruptly.

All of us brothers chortled like the children we were. Then we noticed things had gotten awfully quiet. Uh, oh. Was Dad mad? Had he had enough of his sons hanging around, wisecracking?

Slowly, my father dragged himself out from under the car and sat up. We held our breath. Then we noticed - he was laughing so hard he could barely breathe. The kind of laughter where all other functions cease and the realization of the humor of a situation takes over. All us brothers exhaled and started the banter again - the way it always was growing up.

And, after taking a few moments to recover, my father slid back under that Hawk and the transmission went right in. I guess everybody just needed a break - transmission included.

Ah, memories....

Edited by SeventhSon (see edit history)
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Great story Chris, keep them coming.

It is Sunday, November 18th, PM. In Seattle visiting family and friends for Thanksgiving. But before we left I decided to order a set of front vent window rubber from the UK. Here is a pic of the vent window on the Jag. You can see that towards the bottom the rubber is non-existent, and the rest is hard and split. It is the only rubber that is really bad on the car. The missing pieces also allows lots of outside air into the cabin. Not bad during the summer, but sure cold on your hands during the winter.

And Greg has a report for us too. Here is his weekend report.

"Looking back over the weekend. Drove the maroon Avanti to pick up the alternator for the black Avanti. It's the one that I'd thought had been overhauled some time ago, then lent to Unimogjohn. He said it didn't work, so I took it for a check-up. Friday I got a call that it was working, so on a nice, bright Saturday morning it was off to Strasburg, over in the valley. Good thing my horn is working. Twice I almost got creamed by drivers not watching what they were doing.

Problem with the alternator was found, the phenolic had broken on the brush holder. And it was full of stink bugs. Brush holder repaired, stink bugs removed.

Back here at the ranch, I decided that while the black Avanti 5054 was up on stands, to go ahead and freshen the rear axle. Drums were pulled, axles and rear cover removed to drain the fluid. I'll call in an order for new seals, bearings and races. I might as well get the drums turned, go through the brakes too. And while the wheels are off and I can get to things, I need to use some sort of cleaner to soften the road dirt that's accumulated under there.

Looking for something easy to do today, I resumed treating the cadmium plated parts that have gone dingy. Close instection of the throttle linkage revealed something had been rubbing and had worn metal away. A patch of 3/16 steel plate was fitted and welded. Now it's good to go.

Pleasant weekend."

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"Looking for something easy to do today, I resumed treating the cadmium plated parts that have gone dingy."

John, if you think to ask Greg, I would sure be interested in the 'treatment' he uses on his cad plated parts.

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It is Monday, PM, November 19th. Rained hard all day and the wind was blowing too. Ahhh, the Pacific Northwest in winter.

Greg has a report for us tonight too. It is already Tuesday on the right coast.

"I just found out that the floppy disc pictures fell victim to the "DISC ERROR" gremlin, so I guess you'll just have to use your imagination, or the Braille method.

Last few day job days have been spent cutting teeth on a Wright cam timing gear, then today running it in. Picture that.

Tonight I was going to work under the Matheson engine, tightening cylinder/main cap retention hardware. Saturday I developed a slight kink in the back, one of those you don't feel you earned. Right out of nowhere. Growing pains I guess. Not bothering me much today, but I didn't feel like aggravating it and not wanting to sit in front of the TV, my attention was detoured to the package in today's mail (another car payment). Rear axle bearings, cups and seals. The changing of the bearings on the axle shafts being a standup job, that's what I did. One of the 5054 axles did show some unusual deterioration on the drive spline, nothing to really worry about, but with the old axle from Seabiscuit nearby, it became a donor. Picture two axles with new bearings. I don't like the idea of having the car stranded without wheels so I'll get the axles back in soon.

I also enjoyed a phone call tonight from Canada. I had called Don Simmons last week. He's the guy that makes up the stainless steel exhaust systems for Studebakers. I had a nice conversation with him. Actually, I've had several. One, about eight years ago. I'd ordered a system for Seabiscuit. While working under it in a cold and dimly lit building (much like the one it's in now) I gave him a call on my cell. "Don, I want you to know that I'm lying under this thing in the cold, installing your pipes, and I have yet to cuss you even once." I want another set for 5054.

Tonight he needed the details. R-3 down pipes, his repros of the original straight through mufflers , and although he doesn't offer them, I want him to supply crossover pipes like the car always had. He said he'd do them for me.

I know they are more trouble to fit and install, and they are certainly a nuisance if you need to pull the transmission, but the car sounds so much better with them.

He offered me the upgraded 2 1/4" system, but I didn't see the need to go there. I do believe the performance would really be enhanced but the VA police and State Farm don't need my revenue. The reason I know that the car would perform better is because once upon a time I drove the car on a ten mile loop in the boondocks. No exhaust, just the R-3 headers. Did it ever sound sweet. At an intersection on the return route, I stomped on it. I've never felt such a difference in a car. It launched like a turpentined cat. However, the restorer in me went with his standard 2" system.

I also enjoyed the time spent with him at the South Bend Studebaker meet last summer. A good guy who offers a great product.

Not much else to report. Time for midnight chow."

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It is Wednesday, November 21st, AM. Got a report from Greg on what he does to simulate the cad finish.

"John,

I've been getting some inquiries concerning my treatment of cad plated parts. I've long since graduated from the show car mentality and realize that to much less than near zero percent of the world's population really care about more than a moments glance (like the guy who spends hours manicuring his lawn so that the passerby traveling at sixty miles an hour can give a sideways glance and maybe think to himself "Hey, nice lawn"...............).

Finding a plater that will do cadmium is a rarity these days, so here's what I've been doing: I degrease the thing, then I lightly bead or sandblast the part. Just enough to clean it and rough it up a little. Too much pressure and the original cad plating might start to peel.

I then use VHT SP735 "Cast aluminum" high temp disc brake caliper paint. I realize that cad plated parts can vary in color, but this is the best match I've found for mine.

The hard part of the process for me is to give the part a couple light coats, holding the part at arms length to make sure that the coats go on "dry" and don't gloss over.

If I were to do a Pebble Beach calibre restoration, and it's rumored that AACA judging standards allow paint substitution, I'd go with replating. Even though most of the cad plating has been shut down in this country, Rob has found a survivor in the Baltimore area.

Auto Zone for a can of aerosol gets the job done right now.

GREG.

Ps, Have a great Thanksgiving."

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It is Thursday, November 22nd. Happy Thanksgiving everyone. In Seattle with family so no car stuff for me. I think that I am the only car nut here. But Greg has not stopped. Here is his report.

"The day before Thanksgiving Day makes it Happy D. B. Cooper Day.

It is a day for reflection. I have been blessed. Wonderful family. Mom's doing well, two fine sons, Sister and Fred doing well, Barbara does her best to take care of me despite my efforts to be myself, and I've been able to pick some fine friends and a few have even picked me. A couple of them came especially to the forefront this week.

The other night I was walking through the Safeway and stopped at the magazine rack. Opened a magazine to the centerfold. There in Hot Rod was a portrait of the So Cal Streamliner. Actually a copy, the original had been destroyed in an accident while going for broke, the flathead Ford powered car capable of 200 mph. A study in aerodynamics, it's body somewhat like a wheeled aluminum tadpole. Reading the copy verified that this artwork was indeed hand formed by my old friend Craig Naff. It brought a smile to my face knowing that I've worked with him at White Post and that he's developed his trade to become one of the foremost in that elite field.

And today, at lunch (discount Mexican day) I was with Lee, his son Luther, Old Bill and Jim Davis. Jim brought it to our attention that on this day before Thanksgiving Day, forty-one years ago, he was at work (FAA) dealing with the Cooper hijacking.

Seems I've always been interested in history of an earlier time, but I've been able to know and associate with so many who have made or are making history. What a privilege.

As for my evening progress, it was Matheson engine time. In preparing to torque the cylinders and main caps, I've had an uneasy feeling about the hardware. Just didn't look right to me. A real close inspection of an original engine photo revealed some thick flat washers that were missing. Tonight was spent standing at the lathe making them.

Anyone who's had experience with a parting tool and a spinning piece of steel knows that any second of boredom can turn into a gouged workpiece, snapped tool bit and plenty of destruction. All before you know what happened.

I got them done however, with a lot of concentration and held breath.

I hope your holiday tomorrow is a good one."

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Still Thursday, the Thanksgiving day is almost over. Stuffed. And we still have a report from Greg.

"Thanks given. Had a good gathering of family and friends at Rob's today. Great meal. He prepared the turkey. I'm no cook, but I overheard him saying something about stuffing it with apple, onion, garlic, and WD-40............. Tasted good to me.

A few minutes between courses found us guys in the shop. Photo evidence included.

The burnt to a crisp '33 Chrysler cabriolet project has been greatly accelerated with a restored chassis. Bodywork will commence with the arrival of a soda blaster guy next week.

His '09 REO had developed a loss of power and as of now, the body has been removed and hauled to Trimacar for a new top.

The engine has been removed from the chassis for a makeover.

Lots going on there. The boy certainly gets a lot done now that he's self unemployed.

A turkey sandwich with leftovers sounds like a good idea. Too bad there's none here."

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It is Wednesday, November 21st, AM. Got a report from Greg on what he does to simulate the cad finish.

Finding a plater that will do cadmium is a rarity these days, so here's what I've been doing: I degrease the thing, then I lightly bead or sandblast the part. Just enough to clean it and rough it up a little. Too much pressure and the original cad plating might start to peel.

I then use VHT SP735 "Cast aluminum" high temp disc brake caliper paint. I realize that cad plated parts can vary in color, but this is the best match I've found for mine.

The hard part of the process for me is to give the part a couple light coats, holding the part at arms length to make sure that the coats go on "dry" and don't gloss over.

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Thanks John and Greg, I'll get some of this VHT and try it. Have used some of the Eastwood products but have not been totally happy with the results.

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It is cyber Monday, November 26th. Back from our trip to Seattle, good to be home. And Tan the cat is doing well, out of the bathroom prison, and in the main part of the house. He is really recovering great and just walks with a slight limp. Amazing.

Arrived home to find the Jaguar rubber vent window seals waiting for us. They made it from the UK faster than we did. Nice quality pieces. Now if it would just warm up a bit. 27 degrees this morning. A bit too cold for car stuff.

And of course, Greg never stops working. Here is his most excellent report.

"It hasn't been a hard charging weekend, but that's ok. Saturday I was able to spend some time with 5054. Packed the bearings with grease and installed the rear axle shafts , seals, newly cleaned and painted backing plates and hardware. Both sides. I've dropped the rear drums off to have the brake surfaces renewed. When they return, even if the brake components aren't ready, I will be able to roll the car.

Today started as a bleak one, so I did some shop work. The Stoddard has been standing idly by, so I decided to work on the running board brackets. Stripped, sandblasted and primered until I get ambitious enough to straighten them up.

Then too, the Overland engine parts have been patient. The rear main crankshaft bearing cap has been cracked in several places, so I spent some time on it TIG welding. I think the repair a success. Photo shows the caps after preliminary repair and cleaning.

Then too, today offered the opportunity for a quick road trip. Old Seabiscuit was called upon to earn it's keep. Rob had mentioned that he was calling in the soda blaster guy to do the parts of the Crispy Chrysler. The Overland crankcase has been sitting around gathering cobwebs for about twenty-five years, so it went into the trunk to be placed on the pile. Nice ride, about an hour and a half each way.

Altogether a nice weekend punctuated with Barb's Own meatloaf and corn chowder. No complaints."

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It is Wednesday, November 28th. Not much from me on old cars. Have been spending the days picking up tree debris and making two huge piles in the pasture to burn. I was able to chain up two complete trees with the tractor and deliver them to the piles. Beats cutting and hauling piece by piece. Also took a couple of hours to chain up the little tractor and put on the snow blade. No snow in the forecast, but just getting prepared.

But Greg never stops, here is his morning report for your morning coffee.

"The last few nights I've been trying to work out the Matheson engine main bearings. Like everything else on this thing, it's a case of what the heck were they thinking? Of course with very little written information on this, I'm not really sure how much of what I'm working with is Matheson and how much is the last guy to work on it.

The first photo show the cap prior to assembly. It has keys machined into it which locate it's position to the block. You'll see that there's a space between the keys and the crank journal. The bearings themselves are babbitted inserts in the cap and the block.

Here's where things start to get goofy. If you put the bare insert in place without the cap, there's a gap . Someone has added a stack of .005 brass shims to take up the space and allow for bearing "crush". OK. So you install the cap with the insert and shims and then pull them down securely with the nuts. Deforms the cap and locks the crankshaft. Loosen the nuts until the crank rotates and there's a gap between the cap and block. Perhaps that's what they intended. Why else would there be a provision for a jam nut with a cottered castle nut to lock it?

I don't like it that way, so what I've done is measure the gap with feeler gauges. Result is my fabrication of shims to fill the gaps and that allows me to tighten the hardware and secure the caps to the block.

As of tonight I've secured all three of the center main caps. I'll go back to tighten the castellated nuts and secure them with cotter pins. Then I'll work on the front and rear mains.

This Matheson is what I think you'd call archaic. Take the oiling system. It starts with an oil storage tank beneath the floorboard. Oil is drawn from it to a multi-station pump oiler on the dash. This is engine driven to deliver oil to selected engine components. Glass windows allow you to monitor and adjust the rate of feed in "drips per minute". This feeds the main bearings and cylinder walls.

You'll also notice that the main bearing caps are wells. Filled with oil, the threaded steel plugs are receptacles for spring loaded felt wicks which keep the crank journals wet.

With the oil being fed constantly while the engine is running, it finds it's way to the cast aluminum oil pan. Notice that it has webs that act as dividers to keep the oil located for the connecting rod bearings to splash in. Like other "total loss" oil systems, there's no pump to scavenge and recycle the oil.

As the owner's manual says, about every five hundred miles you crawl under the car to open some petcocks. This drains the oil down from being overfilled. Of course you do this in front of your neighbor's house.

But new to me, the Matheson manual also states for convenience, just leave the petcocks open. Not good advice for those paranoid about the occasional oil drip."

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It is Friday, November 30th, AM. Going to head out this morning to start the Jag and the Avanti. Have to keep them limber and ready to go. And of course Greg has a report for us.

" Some time ago I had initiated a plan to reward myself for achieving project milestones . I'd treat myself to a steak dinner. And I've had a few in recent years. Tonight I earned another.

I've gotten all Matheson engine main bearings adjusted and secured. With the felt wicks on order, and I just checked to see that they were indeed ordered, they should arrive tomorrow. Hopefully over the weekend I can get them installed in the main caps. Then it will be double checking the fit of the connecting rod bearings while I await the arrival of the new piston pins that I'm having produced. Of course when they do arrive, I'll have to take the rods and pistons to Lee's. There I'll beg the use of his Sunnen hone to fit the pins and listen to some of his guff.

Otherwise, while the Studebaker has been shivering in the cold, I've stolen a few minutes for some small advances. I sent the rear drums out to have the brake surfaces renewed. They are back, repainted black and await installation. Some small items are on hand for stripping of old paint. And I've received the first shipment of the stainless exhaust system from our Canadian neighbor.

So now tonight, after my big reward, it's chilly here in the shop and I'm going to make the commute upstairs to my apartment.

How was my steak? By the time I got the last cotter pin installed in the last main cap, the only steak house that was open had golden arches."

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