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Avanti R2, 1963, refresh

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It is Friday, February 15th AM. Should be nice enough this PM for me to do some more investigation on the 1928 Buick engine water issues. Stay tuned.

But since Greg seems to work 24 hours a day, we have a good report from him.

"Like I say every night to myself as I hit the sack....."I wonder what tomorrow will bring?!"Today was a good example. As I was working along on my day job, about mid morning I get a call from my friend Jim Davis. He was about twenty minutes out and on his way to "help me count my Valentines cards". Asked me if we used to exchange them in grade school. And he admitted he was the one who forgot to bring the crepe paper for the box in his class.

He arrived with his usual load of wisecracks. Then he took me to lunch. It wasn't discount Mexican day, but he likes their food. Any time with Jim is an overload of information.

For some reason, having served his country voluntarily in combat and honorably thereafter, and who has a few years on him, feels that he has a right to his opinions. Between bites of his fajita he shared his personal state of the Union. Jim takes no prisoners (Korean War rules of engagement: Empty the clip) and calls a spade a spade.

Then something happened that I've never experienced before. After paying the bill, we got up and he asked directions to the Mens's Room (I guess to rinse away the salsa dripped on his shirt). As I stood and waited, a stranger approached me and said that he wanted to apologize for eavesdropping on our conversation, but that he really enjoyed it and that we made him proud to be an American. Wow, you don't hear that much anymore.

The guy departed, Jim and I walked out to the car to find we were parked beside this guy. Motioning for him to lower the window, I asked him to join us next time, and that was Jim's opportunity to carry on a spirited conversation with the guy. I'm sure that this guy who had no idea of Jim's lifetime of duty to so many, was glad to have been to lunch with him.

I hope old Davis knows that I really value having him in my arsenal of friends.

Meanwhile, back at the Matheson: I now have all four cylinder head castings cleaned, some head stud counterbores renewed, and primed. Next I'll look them over for any cosmetic touch-ups needed. Then to check the valves for fit and seating and attend to some hardware details.

With a few minutes to spare I varnished the wooden knobs for the ignition bus bar contacts.

And tonight I pulled the maroon Studebaker out of it's resting place, put a few miles on it cruising around town and a stop at the car wash. It's sitting outside the door and I'd better sign off to put it to bed.

And Barbara says her bouquet is trying to bloom."





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Ben, yes, Greg is quite a guy. Lots of fun to be around from time to time.

It is Friday, PM, February 15th. Well, had a few minutes this afternoon to take a look for the source of the leak. Found it. It is a quarter inch split in the block under the number two cylinder. I saw the puddle of water and followed it up. You have to use a mirror to see it. It is very close to other epoxy repairs in that area. Here are a few pics.

I have to talk to Greg and Mitch on what they would recommend. Mitch is also a master early engine rebuilder and has a 28 Buick sedan. I value both of their opinions short of telling me to pull the engine. But I am on the hunt for another block.

Any repair suggestions are gratefully accepted.





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It is Sunday, mid morning, February 17th. Cold here, in the high twenty's with the wind blowing.

On the 1928 Buick. Joe told me he could see the crack in the block. I told him where it was and he promptly drew a circle around it and told me to post it. Thanks Joe!

I plan on cleaning up the area around the crack, scuff it up with my handy Dremel tool and then put some high temp/strength epoxy on it. Heck, about 20% of the block is already covered in epoxy and holding up fine.

But Dave, another member on the forum, offered me a block that he has sitting around. He said that he bought the engine in the 60s and has been moving it from place to place all these years. We agreed on a price and will go pick it up within the next couple of weeks. For once I do not have to drive thousands of miles. He is only two hours a way. A very short road trip. So if the repairs don't hold up at least I have a replacement in hand. Here are a couple of pics. Thanks Dave.




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It is Monday, February 18th, AM. Off this morning to pick up the 1928 Buick engine block so that will be my car activities for the day. Pics when I get it home.

But Greg did not have far to go to continue his work. Here is his weekend report.

"Another weekend come and gone.

Saturday was busy. Got in some time on Mr. Matheson. More make and break ignition parts. This time the busbar. I sure would like to have seen this engine as it was when found. As it was supplied to me, this assembly had a conductor which had been "recently" made from what looks like a piece of Ace Hardware steel bar. I've never seen a make and break conductor that wasn't made of copper. So I ordered a piece and it came in Friday. Time was spent on the replacement bar, then cleaning and prepping the other things. Lots of them. Springs, plugs, wooden handles, contactors, insulators.....like Randy says...."And they thought this was better than spark plugs?!" Now the busbar assembly has been reassembled and hung in it's place for now.

Then it was party time. Barbara and I were off to an open house to celebrate Weldon Britton's ninetieth year. It's always good to see him and there was certainly an all-star cast. A real Who's Who of aviation there to taste the champagne. We had also brought my Mother along and in her true fashion, arrived a stranger but yet by the time we left she knew more of them than I did. It was really a good time and the only disappointment was Evelyn's flimsy excuse for not bringing her deviled eggs. Happy Birthday (call sign) Yankee Dawg!

As for today, there was a little time to spare for my neglected black Avanti 5054. Parts to clean and prep, so I resumed the renewal of the headlamp buckets and a horn.

Next up for shop work will be the overhaul of the supercharger dry sump and cooler system that I'd copied from the Salt Flats racers. Now I see that I've neglected to bring along the system vent pipe and cap. Tomorrow's another day."






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Still Monday. Had a nice visit with Dave and he was kind enough to show us his car. It is a 1928, model 25 touring car. She really looks great. He said that he was given the car when he was sixteen. He said that in 1967, it was just a very old car, but he was sure glad to get it. Here are a few pics. It is in great condition and started right up. Sounds just like a 28 should.

We loaded the block into the Suburban and then made an attempt to back out on to the street. I was watching traffic and not the telephone pole on the side of the road. The pole saw me, jumped and ran into my side mirror. Ouch! Broke the glass and bits of plastic. Asked Dave to mail me the plastic bits so I can reattach them. Of course the mirror is special; heated, self-adjusting, auto-dimming and turn signal leds inside. So it looks like a trip to a recycler to see what I can find.

Here are are pics of the block. Dave said that he took the engine apart in 1967 to use the head on his car. He has been saving it for me all this time. Thanks Dave!










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Thanks for posting a few pictures of Daves 28 model 25. Much better than the ones I took at the nationals. I feel your pain on the utility pole incident. Last month while backing out of a church driveway our KIA tried to push one out of the way but lost.


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Larry, you too! Those crazy poles, moving around like that.

It is Wednesday, February 20th, AM. At least the days are getting a bit longer, but it is still very cold. It does give Gre more daylight to work on his projects. Here is his Tuesday evening report.

"Nothing exciting to report. Been doing some grunt work like the initial cleaning of the supercharger reservoir and cooler for the black Avanti. Paint stripper on......old paint and mung off....paint stripper on.....old paint and mung off....

The cooler core's fins are still pretty clogged from road debris. I should send it out for cleaning. There used to be at least one radiator shop in every town. Dickies' in Winchester is one of the few still in business."




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We still have a good old line radiator shop here in Chambersburg. For how long none can tell since the operator is older than I. They cleaned my 1925 Buick's radiator and I had them recore my spare. Also cleaned and resoldered the filler neck on the gas tank of my 37.

Was interesting to watch "Pickers" on monday night as they picked a Radiator repair business in California. Had quite a few old vehicals

around to be worked on. Also the owner was working on a 1912 Packard radiator and stated that he worked on some things for Jay Leno.

Also said that they "manufacture them? That they never sell anything. Untill Mike starts offering ridiculous money for things. Of course all these are staged. But at many of these places I do see things that we could use for our cars and they are passed by. Last week Frank bought a nice 1920's Buick tail light around $30.00 I believe.

See if it shows up at one of their stores.


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It is Monday, AM, February 25th. I have not been doing much car work at all, but I did manage to replace the glass on the side mirror of the truck. I can see backwards again.

But Greg has some weekend work to do. Here is his report.

"The weekend and a week over.

Last week was pretty busy around here. The boss has engaged someone to do some onsite contract work. Truck with and industrial air compressor and a method of blast cleaning parts with baking soda. Although it's not a cureall for the effects of Father Time, he has been pleased with result on some engines we have in storage.

I've been trying to stay ahead of the guy in my attempt to cover and block various ports and openings. That made for a hard week, working in that cold tin barn where the work was and is being done. Maybe returning in the morning, we'll see.

That kindof cut into my enthusiasm for night work. I did get to clean and paint another horn and clean the supercharger coolant reservoir and pump for the black Avanti. Since cleaning the pump, I gave it a quick function test and it doesn't seem to. I'll try it again and probably have to put one on my shopping list. I haven't tried the horns yet. Funny how these things were working before the car was stored in '78.

I've also gotten in more time on the Matheson engine. The valve guides have been burnished, the valves cleaned, stems polished and then the valves lapped to seat them in the heads. Another check mark on the big list.

Othewise, found time today for a spin in the old maroon Avanti. Flocks of robins along the way may be a sign that Spring is on the way.





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It is Tuesday, February 26th. Been doing lots of farm stuff getting ready for spring, but I did find the time to unlock the trailer and wake the Jag from it hibernation. She started right up and is ready for the road. Let it get to normal operating temp before I shut her off. Pasture is still just too wet and mucky to take her out. Besides lots of salt on the road.

I have been looking for a correct radiator badge for my 1923 McLaughlin Buick for several years. The one I have on there now is incorrect as the body is square versus the correct diamond shape. The last one that came up on Ebay a couple of years ago was won by our very own John Lee of Austrialia. We did not know we were bidding against each other. Anyway, he won. But a few days a go I got a note from John and Leife Holmberg that another one was on Ebay. I bid high and won so now I have a correct badge coming from Detroit. Now I can put the old badge on Ebay and see if I can recoupe some of the expense. Thanks guys for looking out for me.

And now for a Greg report. "More exploration of the Matheson ignition components for you gearheads.

Try to stick with me on this. The top view shows the hammer and anvil inside the combustion chamber. The hammer is normally open (or not in contact with the stationery anvil ) so there is no current flowing. The anvil receives current from either batteries for starting or a low tension engine driven Bosch generator by way of the busbar and contactors (not shown). The anvil contact is insulated from the cylinder casting. The hammer is not, so it's the electrical ground connection.

The side view shows the spring steel trigger mounted on the hammer's shaft. The trigger is held in proper position by the two coil springs. When the camshaft blade comes by, it rubs and pushes that phenolic pad on the spring steel trigger which rotates the hammer shaft and closes the hammer tight against the anvil causing a current flow. As the camshaft blade leaves the trigger, being a spring itself and with the help of the coil spring that has been stretched, causes the hammer to snap away from the anvil . That causes the spark and fires the cylinder.

Now don't forget that you need to time the spark with the movement of the piston and vary it with the speed . Retart it for starting and advance it as the speed increases. That's the function of that rod with the brass lever. Moved and adjusted by a control on the steering wheel, it causes the spring steel trigger to slide back and forth on the hammer shaft. That changes the moment the camshaft blade makes contact with the phenolic pad.

And like Randy Hespenheid said "And they though this was better than spark plugs?!" Evidently.





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Still Tuesday. Received a couple of message asking for pics of the McLaughlin Buick badge and the damage to the side view mirror on the Suburban. Lots of folks must be snowed in. So since things are slow here too, here are the pics for your enjoyment.




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It is Saturday, March 2nd. It is spring! But it is snowing outside.

I received the McLaughlin Buick radiator emblem yesterday. Looks great.

This morning I did a test fit and of course it did not fit. So I got out the little Dremel with a grinder wheel and too a little meat off the mounting tab. Then I cleaned up the inside of the radiator mounting hold. Now she fits nice and snug against the radiator shell. But I will put a few dabs of glue to make sure that it does not pop off when running down the road. I would sure hate to loose it. Here are some pics.

Now the car has its correct badge.

Nothing from Greg for the past few days as he went to the York, PA Studebaker annual swap meet. Cannot wait to hear what treasures he brought home.





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Larry, we will be at the Nationals. It has just been too cold to patch up the block. I need it at least above 50 degrees to make sure the epoxy dries correctly.

And finally Greg is back home. Here is his weekend report.

"Haven't checked in for a while. A victim of the sequestration. Somebody had to cut back.

Thursday was a good time. Took the day off the day job to adventure to the Studebaker swap meet in York, Pa. With Barb along, we took the highways, byways and detours. Dave Thibeault had arranged to deliver an Avanti gas tank to me there. The one in the black 5054 had been destroyed by mice, and he had a really nice used one for me.

We also found some old friends and other goodies there.

The drive home through the Pa. countryside, a stop for some Famous Wieners (big mistake) and a short visit with my sister Emily and Fred all made for a memorable day.

Yesterday I took time to install some trim on 5054. Every piece off the shelf counts.

Today was a good day for cruising in Old Seabiscuit. Now resting in the tin stall, it sits without wheels and tires. They are ready to be hauled to be rebalanced, maybe as soon as tomorrow evening, if connections are made.

Otherwise, I've started the painting of 5054's supercharger coolant reservoir parts. They'll get wrinkle finished, and that's no walk in the park. Today's component was the breather. Same technique and no two parts will turn out the same. Sure would like to see how the Granatelli boys did big items like roll cage tubing. They sure had it down.

Matheson. I'm about to start the cosmetics on the cylinder heads. Taking care of nicks and dings, etc before they get painted. I did also paint the trigger locating springs and will get them fitted soon.

Otherwise, I guess we're marching along.





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it is Monday, March 4th, PM. After doing farm work it warmed up enough for me to put on the McLaughlin Buick emblem on the 23. Used super-seal adhesive from Permatex. It looks like it is going to do the job. I don't think that it will fall out, and if I ever have to, it should be removable.

Speaking of McLaughlin Buicks, my friend Lee in Canada wrote that he has finally found the time to get his 192? McLaughlin Buick out of the storage container at his farm and begin the restoration. His goal is to get it running again to the point of getting it road worthy. It certainly has a lot of character. He bought it in 2008, and immediately took it to the McLaughlin Buick Homecoming show. He kept the blue cover on it for two days before he took it off for the reveal. Folks flocked to the car; it was the hit of the show. Here are some pics I took. Lee says that he will post pics on the blog from time to time to let everyone know what he is up to.












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Saw your McLaughlin badge on E-Bay. Good luck with that.

Wow Lee's Herse. What a last ride this would make! Looks to be a 1926 or 27. Wonder what the wheelbase is? 150 inches??? Thats a torque tube and a half.


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Larry, yes I put it on Ebay. We will see if it will off-set some of the monies I spent on the other badge.

Lee told me that it is on an extended master frame. He also said that it has two torque tubes with some kinda of master joint in the middle of the frame for the connections. And it did double duty too, a hearse and an ambulance. You can change the configuration in the back to hold a gurney or a casket. As I remember the car is pretty solid. I did notice that the massive rear door was sagging when you opened it. So Lee is going to have to do some wood working for sure.

The major job right now is the engine. He is missing some pieces and some are broken. Good thing that he has his own automotive repair shop, and am sure that he has lots of connections in the industry. The McLaughlin Buick Club of Canada has their big annual get together in Flint this year. I know that he would like to get it there for everyone to see. It is one rare beast.

Just an update. The weather folks are now saying that we are in the eye of the snow storm coming tomorrow night/Tuesday and throughout all of Wednesday. At first they were saying to expect 6 inches or so, now they are saying up to 18 inches or more. Even the electric utility is send out email and making telephone calls to let everyone know that they should be prepared to be without power for a week. The weather folks have been calling "wolf" for the last few storms, only time will tell if they get this right.

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It is Tuesday, PM, 11 PM. Thought I would give you a weather report from the farm. It started sleeting here at about 10 PM, started turning to snow about 10:30, and now at 11 it is snowing hard, and blowing too. The weather folks say that my morning we will have at least seven inches on the ground. It is suppose to snow all day Wednesday, and it is expected that we will get another 12 inches over a 24 hour period. So we may be approaching two feet by the time all is said and done. The electric companies are announcing that we should expect major power outages as trees start to come down under the weight of heavy snowfall.

Update, now Wednesday, early PM. Could not send the above message as our broadband went down just as I was going to send it.

It is almost 1 PM. Just got broadband back on so have the internet. Power has been off since about 4 AM, on our big generator since then. We have six inches so far and still coming down hard. Have been using the tractor to clear a path to the barns and the main road. Tough going as the snow is so heavy and wet. The old Avanti plastic garage has collapsed from the weight of the snow. Nothing in there now except farm stuff and hay. All the cars are safe and sound.

The weather folks are saying that we could get another 6 inches before all is said and done.

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Hi Guys:

Since John is busy shovelling, I thought I had better make my first post. I have been following this site for quite sometime and am very impressed with what people are accomplishing, I hope my project will meet the standard!

The great blog guru convinced me to share what I am proposing to accomplish with you, so here goes:

My hearse is a 1927 Mclaughlin-Buick built in Oshawa Ont. I purchased it from the family of a gentleman in a nearby town. He had traded a load of scrap for it to a junk gypsy, apparently the junk gypsy removed it from a gravel pit where it was sitting with several other cars to be burried. He returned in the spring to the gravel pit to find the remaining cars burried.We got lucky!. The car couldn't have been in the pit very long becasue the interior is still in it. The car still wears license plates from 1949, which I am currently in the process of tracing.

The car was sitting in a garage for, as I was told 39 yrs in the same spot to be a retirement project which never happened. Fortunately it was never taken apart till I just pulled the motor last week. Its tight from sitting. Iwas told they had it in a parade in 1968, the last it ran.

Currently shows 27000 miles on the odometer, has a wheel base of 153 inches, weighs 5000lbs, a beast for sure!


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We were to get 8 to 12" here and all that was delivered was about 6". Looks like allis over now. Still we had a snow day! The superintendent sent out the e-mail notifing of school closure yesterday at 3:15. If Tom Pregent north of Harrisburg calls I will go up to help with his locked up water pump/engine on his 1924-45. Otherwise I should start putting things back into the dash of my 1937.

Hate to waste a good snow day!


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Lee, that is some hearse! John mentioned that it did double duty as an ambulance too. I believe if I was in need of an ambulance and that hearse showed up I might just end up needing the hearse! Anyway, good luck - hope to see more of the monster hearse on here.

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I have to set the record straight, the hearse is a dedicated hearse. The dual purpose rumur got started by a reporter at the oshawa show in 2008.

There was a second hearse, a 33 that was dual purpose. The sliding window between the cab and rear section got the reporter confused, which does bring up a good question, why is there a window similar to a pickup truck in a hearse- a chance for the last word I suppose!


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Ha! I'm fascinated by graveyards and such - all those lives that were lived and are now moved on. Moved on with the help of a hearse, of course. If I had that vehicle I would wonder about all the different folks who took their final journey in it, what they were like, etc.

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It is Friday, March 8th, AM. Spent the day digging out. In all about 8 inches of the heaviest snow ever. The tractor had a tough time pushing it around, but now we have a way to get out and about. Lost a couple of big branches in trees, but nothing major except for the old Avanti garage. It is squished. Sure glad no cars were in there, only hay and a little garden tractor which was well protected by the hay. Will wait until the snow melts to determine if the tent can be salvaged. We got power last night too, but no phone. I used about 3/4 gallon of propane per hour on the generator in the 36 hours we were out. Not too bad.

And I found the time to mount the McLaughlin Buick emblem on the 1923. Looks good.

Glad that everyone enjoyed Lee's hearse. Now if I can convince him to keep updating. He also has a good store about his Grandparents, their car and an airplane. I will let him tell you that story.







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John or Lee - can you tell us the the story of the brass/bronze maple leaf emblem in the center of the Hearses bumper?

Lee - I, too, will be watching your restoration story closely when you begin the project. A very, very neat machine you have.

John - does your car have the maple leaf emblem? Should it? That is one of the curiousities that is out front with me right now.

John - that sure is a great, snow covered place you have there! :cool:


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Woodfiddler, you have good eyes! Wish I had a good answer. Proudly made in Canada- probably not the answer. I have not seen another

car with this medallion. I suspect it is something to do with the assembly line as Gm made trucks called Mapleleafs, up to 3 ton at least. They

were the same as regular gm, I believe they came as gm or mapleleaf models, but not an authority on them. Mapleleafs are far and few

between these days. I am also unsure who put the coach body on the car, there are no tags on the car. It looks like a flxible body, but I have

found no records of flxbile being assembled in Canada. The coach is asembled with robertson screws so we know it was built here. It could

have been assembled under license, thus the leaf perhaps


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It is Saturday, AM, March 9th. The grand snow melt is on. Going to be 55 degrees today and over 60 tomorrow.

Got a note from Greg, he is back at work and home (since he lives there too). He had to abandon the place for a couple of evenings as they had no power. Finally got it back on yesterday so we can expect a report from him.

Glad that Lee and his hearse are picking up the slack for us.

When out to dinner with Wayne and Sue last night, and he told me that he is ready for the first start of his 1964 Corvette's engine. We have no phones so hopefully he will send me an email and I can hop over to see it happen and snap a few pics.

On the Jaguar forum this video was posted, which I thought you might enjoy. It is Chuck Berry, and its about a race between a Jaguar and a Thunderbird.

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Hi Did this R2 avanti come from Michigan? The reason I ask I grew up in Rochester Michigan and my best freinds neighbor had two avantis of this vintage and i remember my friend telling me one or both were supercharged , this owner had one on a jack in the garage a green one of years and one in the driveway that was a gold color, I remember telling my friend that it was a shame no one was working on those old cars and getting them running, Mabee the owner died and the wife just kept them around no knowing what to do with them, I always wondered what happened to those old cars that just sat, I wish I was smart enough to buy one from them back then, your project looks great nice find , keep going it will be a great car,

Bob Kranker

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Bob, my green Avanti came out of Rhode Island. Actually, I just got a note from the third owner and was wondered the status of car, so sent off some recent beauty shots from last summer. They are really happy that the car is back on the road after sitting in the garage for 34 years.

Called Wayne and asked him if he was going to attempt to start the Corvette. He said that he put fuel in the tank, and it is leaking from the bottom so he has to order a new tank. Tomorrow he plans to put in a temporary container. So he said that he would give me a call to come over. I told him I would hold the fire extinguisher.

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It is Sunday, PM, March 10th. No car stuff for me even though it was a real nice day. All farm chores. But Greg work is a different story so here is his report from the weekend.

"It's been a topsy-turvy week. This year's mild winter isn't over. Although we didn't get a lot of snow with this last event, it was enough to knock out our power. Of course the draft from a ceiling fan in Idaho is enough to knock out our power.

Off work for a few days doesn't help the paycheck or getting any work done, but I did get to spend more time with Mom. She's eighty-five today. I hope to see her tonight, but who knows if she'll be home in time for bed check.

I have been able to knock off some work on Black Avanti 5054. The supercharger cooler, tank and breather are wrinkle finished and the breather installed. A couple trips to the hardware store resulted in some mounting hardware and a new hose for the breather.

The Bendix pump for the supercharger oil tank doesn't seem to work so I've been watching ebay for another. There was one yesterday. With Trimacar's help we ran it up, but a pump is still on the wish list.

Grunt work also on the list, the parking light housings have been cleaned, a wire repaired and the threads retapped. If I had any strip caulk I could go ahead with their installation.

That's all I can think of for now. If anything else comes to mind I'll let you know."






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It is Wednesday, PM late, March 13th. Still doing mostly farm stuff, but I did find the time to work on the Suburban. Remember a couple of weeks ago when the telephone pole took out my side mirror? Well, Dave found a couple of plastic pieces by the pole and sent them to me. So yesterday I started fitting them back in and today did some gluing with epoxy plastic glue. So far everything is holding, but I still have a few more pieces to go. And there will be a couple of holes where the plastic is missing. Oh well, at least it looks OK again and I did not have to spent $350 for a used assembly or $525 for a new one. At least I have done something car related.

And Greg is back hard at work. Here is his Matheson engine report, just in.

"Like I said, the Matheson has more going on outside than in. Tonight I've been doing some cosmetic work on the cylinder heads. They aren't bad, but there are a few nicks, pits and dings that might as well be filled.

Also, it's time to start making sense of the valve train rocker arm stands, rockers and their axles, rollers and pins. Plenty of work here.

Otherwise, the black Studebaker Avanti work has been nil. Actually, that's good considering the recent snow storm put another tree limb through the roof of the tin barn right over the maroon Seabiscuit Avanti without any resulting damage to the car. Lucky. "



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It is Thursday, March 14th AM. I was surprised to log on this morning to find another great report from Greg. He sure is a fine storyteller. Here is his story for your morning coffee. A good read.

"Sanding is one of those jobs that allows you to let your mind wander. Kindof like that Lindberg movie with Jimmy Stewart that recounts Lindy's life while he's crossing the Atlantic.

My mind wandered to last night. Ken, my boss, invited me to attend a dinner meeting of a local and very exclusive pilot's group (The QB). He was picking up Weldon Britton. Sure, why not. And any time to spend with ninety year old Britt, you know.

Having spent twenty years working with Ken, I of course have gotten to know a lot of very special aviators and the room was full of familiar faces and friends. Many of them I've been fortunate to have flown with and have gotten instruction from.

I was also surprised and delighted to see a couple other faces from across the ridge. Rob Haun and George (Doc) Phillips. I've known Rob since my days as a neophyte Tool and Die Maker apprentice not long after I mustered out of the Air Force. I went to work alongside Rob and his brother Joey in their father's Fabritek machine shop. Although I've not been employed by a lot of places, I've been fortunate in my career to have worked in places that I enjoyed and hated to leave. That's the way I felt about working for Bob Haun. I reluctantly left to work for Billy Thompson and his new endeavor White Post Restorations.

Now Doc Phillips I've known for a while too. Earliest recollection was back in I the seventies. Always with an ear to the sky, once in a while this old thing would fly over. It's engine had an unusual cadence. When I'd see it pointed towards the airport I'd jump in the car and try to race it there. It always won and was put away by the time I'd arrive. Except once. It was evening and I caught it. It was a PT Ryan, an open cockpit low wing monoplane trainer from WWII. I didn't know the guy, but I had to have a ride. When I approached him, he explained that it was near dusk, no time for more than just a trip around the patch. With me strapped in the front seat, this guy starts hand propping it to get it started. It wouldn't. He propped and nothing. More propping as I sat there content to let him pull on it until the next morning if need be.

And ultimately it did catch and I got my ride, if even for just a few minutes. My first open cockpit experience.

I later was reacquainted with the guy, he was a good friend of the Hauns then and now. Doc always impressed me for someone in the medical field. He's a first rate machinist, welder, and aircraft builder. I'm glad that I don't know how well he works on people.

He taught me something early on. During my first visit to his farm and shop, he showed me some components to a project. A Model A Ford powered airplane. Even though he'd gotten a substantial portion of it done, he had given up on it.

He had decided to step up. With a personal connection to an important designer, Doc decided to recreate an exceptional craft from the thirties. A GeeBee Model YW. A two place open cockpit direct ancestor of the famous Gee Bee series of racers. (Editor's note: I found a pic of what I think this model is and attached it)

Doc taught me that you can spend your time on an airplane that is marginal at best, or you can spend the same amount of time on a 450 horsepower legend. If you are going to battle, make it count. And I hope he went home and got back to work on it. I want a ride.

It sure was good the see them."




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Still Wednesday, but PM. Cold, only 34 degrees and blowing. But I got some car stuff in today. Wandered out to the Jag to put on a new oil line.

Last year, when I bought the car, several folks told me to replace the flex line that goes from the top of the oil filter to the little copper line that goes into the oil pressure gauge on the dash. They told me stories of the line breaking from old age and pumping out all the oil in the engine. Their advice was to change it immediately.

Well I guess that today is the day. I purchase a new line a few months ago so picked up a few wrenches and headed off to the trailer. Damn it is cold.

I got the old line off. It did have a permanent set to it so it is old, but no leaks or seepage. It came off easily, put on the new one, and the job was done.

Here are a few pics. I know, not much car work was done, but at least I was able to do something today. The pics are the new line, the kinked old line, and two of the installed new line in the engine bay.





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