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It is Saturday, PM, March 16th. Still doing farm stuff, having fun pulling out tree stumps with the tractor. But I had to run over next door to talk to Henry and deliver a scanner to him. His Dodge P/U is throwing a code since he crossed a stream on his property. He said that it was only 3 feet deep, gee you you think that some of his electrics are a bit crazy? Oh, he has an official FAA airport on his property. It is a grass field and its call sign/designation is AICP. This stands for Ayers International Cow Pasture. I took a pic of his airplane on the front lawn. I think it had a hard landing so there she sits.

Then I went over to Wayne's place to see his Corvette restoration progress and his new truck. He bought a 2002 Suburban 2500 to pull his enclosed trailer. Looks to be a very nice rig. Almost a twin to mine. Here are a few pics of the Corvette. He just installed the new fuel tank. Tomorrow he is going to attempt to start it. It looks really nice.









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It is Monday, March 18th, AM. Wow, we got about three inches of the white stuff last night. Really pretty.

On the car side, I finally got all the pieces of the Suburban's side mirror put back together. Looks fine and still works except for the auto dimming. Oh well. Adds character I guess.

And for your morning coffee, a Greg report.

"Not a lot to report other than I'm still here. Worked in a little time on Avanti 5054.

The front bumper irons had been brought from the tin barn to get cleaned and painted. That being done, now they've been returned to wait for a warmer time to be reunited with the car.

Old dog, new tricks department: Learning how to scan my old photos. Not at all comfortable with modern technology,

The enclosed old photo shows Grover Cooper with baby Retha in a Brush runabout (he was the Winchester agent). This was a few years before Retha flunked Greg in her seventh grade Virginia history class........"




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It is Tuesday, March 19th. Got a short note from Dave in VA this morning. He bought a XK 120 without doors a couple of months back. Well, they found them stored at another house. So he ran up and got them. Here are a couple of pics of the complete car with its original doors. He reports that the engine is unstuck, but he is still sorting out wiring issues and cannot find the fuel pump. It is not in its usual place so he has some looking to do. He also found electrical cord for wiring and a cut off switch that was made from an old electrical panel off/on rod switch. But he is making good progress. He is still on the hunt for seats.

And here is Greg's report too. "Tonight's time was spent on the Matheson heads, rocker arms and pedestals. They had been cleaned, now they've been checked for any debris or spots I missed and then a light coat of epoxy primer.

There's a lot of assembly, fitting, disassembly, adjustment, reassembly, etc. in my future.

All quiet on the Studebaker battlefront."






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Taylormade, that is one great picture. Thanks for loading it.

It is Thursday, March 22nd AM. Where is spring? It is 25 degrees out this morning.

No car stuff for me yet, but I did have to climb up on the roof to replace two micro-inverters that are attached to each solar panel. Not hard to do, very user friendly, just four plugs. Two of the panels were way down on power so the company said that they would replace them, but I had to install them. Naturally, my warranty did not cover installation. So up on the roof I went. Had to wedge myself between the solar panel and the roof ridge and just slide along the top of the panels. Got her done.

Oh, forgot, I did start both the Jag and Avanti, let them warm up really good. Both sound great. Now if I can get a break in the weather they will be back on the road.

But Greg has his two feet planted firmly on the ground. Here is his report.

"Just a brief note before I find some midnight chow.

I've now worked my way through the Matheson rocker arms and stands. The picture isn't much to look at after the process. The new axles, the bushing of bores in the stands and arm castings, replating of the cam rollers, the redrilling and retapping, a couple trips to Lee's to hone the bushings to fit, etc. etc.

They still require some cosmetics to the castings and enamelling before the day they're ready for final assemby.

Otherwise, no progress on other cars."




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Just viewed a very good video on the British Motor Corporation or BMC. Where is it today? I guess it was not too big to fail.

And here is the history of the company to include the reasons for its demise. British Motor Corporation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I wonder what happened to all those spares, repair parts and machine tools. Probably will find them working in China today.

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It is Saturday, March 23rd, AM. This will probably be my last post for a week or so. Heading off to Ireland for the week, a spring holiday.

So this post is just a bunch of stuff.

First is a great Jaguar racing video in 1955. Really neat. Mike Hawthorn(Lemans winner 1955) driving a preview lap on the Lemans track in a Jaguar.(1956!) on Vimeo

I have been on the Jag forum asking if anyone knew how to adjust the pre-set radio controls for the English made Radiomobile. After several day one member sent me a note on how to do it. On American radios you just pull out the button switch and push in, that resets the button to the right station. On the Radiomobile you take off the knob, loosen a big screw that is under it, tune manually to the station, and then lock down the screw again. That sets the button. Here is a pic of the period radio.

And Greg has been having some discussion of oils in vintage cars. Here is his take on it.


Thanks for sending the Castrol note. Interesting how they admit to the wanton killing of our flat tappet motors in the name of catalytic conversion.

If you want the opinion of a dinosaur who found out the hard way. (Editor"s note: remember a year or so ago the Avanti R2 engine in the maroon Avanti burned up a cam on the dyno during testing, that is the "hard way" Greg is talking about)

I don't care for multi-grade oils, even in the Avanti. Sitting in on one of Harold Sharon's Philadelphia seminars, he explained (after personally testing) that a multi weight oil is the lightest grade (be it 10, 5, 0, etc) viscosity with "plasticizers" that are temperature activated (I guess like popcorn) to take up the slack as it warms up. You are relying on the lubrication strength of the lightest grade. I'll stick to 30 or 40 or whatever. Winter temperatures don't matter very much when it comes to using the Stoddard-Dayton. The Studebaker I do allow to warm up first.

Although some put up a good argument in favor of, I don't care for synthetics.

I find that breaking in any fresh overhaul is a crapshoot. You hold your breath for a thousand miles or more to see if rings are going to seat, valve seals will hold, etc. I'm told that we aren't to use synthetics during breakin. Too slippery and the rings won't seat. Once you get it broken in you are ok to change. Yeah right. If it was able to successfully break in on one type oil, then I'm going to try something else? Don't think so. I'm told that you should maintain just as frequent changing of the oil so what's the point?

And of course, I still search out Non Detergent for the old stuff with no oil filter.

I am using Shell Rotella T-1 30 wt. in the Avanti. Along with a dose of ZDDP additive and a slug of STP (Studebaker heritage, you know) for good measure.

So far, the Stude is doing fine after a long and gentle breakin. I've read that some suggest several thousand miles on a flat tappet motor. So much for taking a fresh engine straight from the assemby room to the dyno to wring it out. Sure didn't work for me.

Nice of Castrol to offer you a free oil analysis......

To: gregcone

Subject: Back on the oil subject.

From: a15speedster

Date: Fri, 22 Mar 2013 18:26:04 -0400


Thought you might find this interesting especially after all of the e-mails about motor oil. I e-mailed Castrol to see if they provide oil sampling. I told them I was restoring a Model T Ford and wanted to keep checking the oil.

I worked for another company and we were a Kendall Oil dealer and they had free oil sampling for dealers. That was a pretty good deal. Anyway, the following is what I got back.

Thank you for contacting Castrol North America.

Castrol always recommends following the guidelines of the original engine manufacturer for the recommended grade and API specific to your application. This information can be found in the vehicles owner's manual or by contacting the manufacturer directly.

Classic cars with flat tappet cam engines represent a special case in regards to engine oil lubrication. These engines have valve train configurations that require elevated levels of zddp (zinc dialkyl dithiophosphate) anti-wear for proper protection of the flat tappet camshaft and its lifters. Insufficient concentration of zddp will lead to premature wear and failure of the camshaft and lifters. Current GF-4 and GF-5 fuel economy grade engine oils are designed for extended life of the catalytic convertors in modern passenger cars and have industry mandated limitations on the amount of sulfur and phosphorus within the oil.

Castrol EDGE with Syntec Power Technology (SPT) SAE 5W-50 has been recently reformulated to have a boosted level of ZDDP (1300 ppm) to help protect flat tappet cam engines in classic cars. This engine oil is a full synthetic, has excellent cold temperature properties, and has a high temperature viscosity (SAE 50) that is suitable for use in many classic car applications.

Castrol motor oil should be changed as recommended by your car owner's manual or the oil life indicator for the type of service (normal or severe) that the vehicle is being operated under.

For accurate results, you may contact an independent testing facility to have the oil analyzed.

Thank you again for contacting Castrol, we value your patronage!

Castrol Consumer Relations






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Reading about the ongoing oil situation got me to thinking - I recently posted on my thread (Avanti Rescue) about the oil I had just purchased for my first oil change. I have been using Valvoline VR-1 Racing Oil in 20W50 weight and after reading and reading about the "problem" with oils nowadays I concluded maybe that wasn't the oil for me. I read about how "racing oils" are meant to be changed every 500 miles, don't have enough detergents and additives for everyday driving, aren't street legal, etc. So I found Castrol 5W50, "especially formulated for classic cars", so I got 5 quarts of that for my first oil change.

After reading Greg Cone's oil dissertation I began to think about the oil I got (but haven't used yet). I read that Greg uses single weight oil in his Avanti (I didn't even know that was available anymore), which sent me to the Avanti shop manual. They (Studebaker) did recommend a single weight oil, but also said that multi weight oil is an "acceptable alternate". Since the wheels were turning in my head I began to turn against my own choice I recently made to go with Castrol. I have nothing against multi weight oil, in fact I prefer it. It's just the number "5" in that multi weight oil that I don't like. I think it's too thin, especially in the searing heat of summer - it pours like water. A couple of years back I sent the guys that work in the field for us to get some work done on the truck I drive when I have to go out in the field. I wrote down specific instructions - one of which was "USE 10W30 OIL". When I picked the truck up it had 5W30 in it. And that whole summer, whenever I started it, I heard "bearing knock" until the oil pressure got up. I couldn't wait to replace that oil with 10W30 (which I changed myself - you want something done right, you gotta do it yourself).

There is also the synthetic vs. dino thing. I know the Avanti has never had synthetic in it. Better not start now. This morning I looked at the bottle of Valvoline VR-1 oil I have at the storage unit. Turns out it is made for "High Performance Passenger Cars". Good. My Avanti runs like a monster (that's good) on Valvoline. No problems. Looks like I'm sticking with the Valvoline and the Castrol is going back to the store.



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Thanks Corvanti, I'll have to see if there is an O'Reilly's near me. If not, there's always NAPA - just a bit more expensive. I'm glad I came to my senses before I used the Castrol - I always seem to come to my senses after I've done something dumb :D

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  • 2 weeks later...

It is Tuesday, April 2nd, AM. Arrived home very late last night from Ireland. Had a great time. Impressions? The country is universally very clean, very little, if any road litter. Lots of sheep, about 9 million. Folks are really friendly. Food was great, but certainly more expensive than in the US. Gas, about 1.65 EUR a liter, a bit over $9 a gallon, of that 67% is for taxes. We traveled over 750 miles for the week. It was very cold. Hardly every got above the 43 degree mark. Lots to see and do. Stayed in castle resorts, which was great. Sure beats the Motel 6.

Driving on the left side of the road is just crazy. A GPS is mandatory if you are going to get around in the cities. City roads are good, the countryside no so much. Little, narrow and curvy roads abound. Huge trucks, and they will eat you up in an instant. Almost everyone does the speed limit which is about 80 to 100 KPH. We had a little Fiat Punto, great little car and never complained. Used about a tank and a half of fuel for the trip. I think it held 12 gallons. Audi is the big car of choice for sure. Did not see one big USA car on the road, they are just to big. Heck the little Fiat was too big on some of the lanes.

Yes, and we did see a few old cars, a Mustang, Dodge Charger, MGB, AH Sprite.

Would we go back again, sure, you bet! But it is good to be home.

Got a few reports from Greg while we were gone. Will post them over the next day or so.











Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)
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OK, here is one of Greg's reports from last weekend.

"The weekend began with some nice weather, so I got in some time on on Avanti 5054.

The front bumper irons had been lying on the floor and it was a good oportunity to put them on. Same with the headlamp buckets and front parking lights. Now I've got the irons to bark my shins. Then it was time to look for the next chunk. Waiting patiently in the tin barn was the steering column assembly.

As of now it's been disassembled and cleaning has begun. I found that the roller bearing at the upper end of the column and this one had locked up. Some soaking and attention has it freed.

So many parts and so little time."






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And here is a Matheson engine report. Greg called it "shocking".

"This Mathesaurus runs on sparks generated by two different sources. It starts on a series of batteries and a coil, then when running a Simms-Bosch magneto takes over. It generates it's own current and saves the batteries for later.

The mag has been standing nearby for a long time, a reminder of this project. Tonight I decided that it's next in the long train of things to do. I had offered to send it out to my favorite magneto repairman, but when he offered a few excuses, I knew it was in my lap.

Of course to begin the disection of something unfamiliar, photographs are taken before, during and after disassembly. I've restored more than one magneto in my time, but none like this. Sure, it has the stack of horseshoe magnets like most others. And a shuttle wound armature to supply the bundle of wires that lie between the forks of the magnets. Any time you move a wire inside a magnetic field you get current , the more wires the more the current. Wrap another bundle of wires on top of those and spin it fast and you can get enough current to curl your hair. That's why most magnetos spin the armature inside the magnets.

Not this one. The magnets stand still, the armature stands still, but there's a steel spool that rotates between the armature and the magnets. And of course most magnetos have a set of points that interrupt the buildup of current, but not this one. It's points are quite remote. Remember the moving contacts inside each cylinder? Four sets of points to time and adjust.

It's always scary trying to take apart an unfamiliar mechanism, especially one that's complicated and fragile. Throw in maybe irreplaceable and you decide to go easy. This one feels like it still has strong magnets, so I took the time to cut a "keeper" from a plate of steel.

A keeper is placed across the magnets to provide a path for the magnetism, the armature having supplied the path until I removed it.

So now that it's apart, I'll have some time to study the situation. I normally send out the armatures to have the miles of wire rewound and a fresh coat of insulating dope. But then again, the normal mags with the rotating armatures with original dope are known to get hot in service, break down the dope and when it starts slinging it can lock up the magneto and break up a bunch of stuff. And leave you stranded. This stationery armature might be a good thing.

Maybe we can get away with just a cosmetic restoration."






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More on Greg's Matheson shocking story.

"This is the first Simms Bosch low tension magneto I've worked with. The more I take apart, the more I understand. Tonight I explored the unusual armature by partial disassembly. The windings were withdrawn from the surrounding sleeve (the fields) by removing the end cover with it's bearing journal (I marked the parts first). The windings are held stationery in the magneto frame by a taper pin, and the fields are rotated by the drive coupling with the engine. This method is neat in the fact that with the windings stationery, the current generated in the process is sent though a wire (sticking out the end in the photo) directly to the magneto output connection without the need for slip rings and brushes like the other mags use. Very simple and direct. To further simplify the winding assembly, there's no condenser like the high tension mags require.

Now would be the time to make inquiries about having the unit rewound with new wires and insulation.

With that done, it was time to begin the cosmetic restoration by removal of the brass base plate. Note that I did verify and document the polarity of the magnets with my trusty compass first.

The plan for the base is to carefully remove any dings and scars without erasing any trademarks, numbers, etc. The magneto is supposed to function and look like new when I'm done.

While drawfiling and sanding, there's an opportunity to go on vacation in my mind, and I did. Spring is trying to take over, the warm will be welcome. Then there are those who will curse the rising temperatures. Not me. Tonight I harkened back to last summer.

Enclosed photo of a good day in 108 degree Milwaukee. Hotter than Hell and going like blazes."







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And finally here is Greg's report from this weekend. Last one in this series. I am all caught up.

"It's been a good weekend. Saturday, the nice day that it was, turned into a day off. A good friend and associate from the downtown Air & Space Museum came by, picked me up, and we rode to the Burchill emporium to see the progress on his Model A upgrade as well as the other projects in the shop. We're hoping that the Ford roadster will make an appearance at the Hazy Museum's fly-in in June. Good news/ bad news department: The Burchill '28 Chrysler station wagon was finally started for the first time. Good news is that "it sounded great". Bad news is it after about "twenty seconds" it blew the new head gasket. Another was being ordered as we arrived.

Mike's Stanley steam car is progressing.

My REO, stored there, had some air added to the tires to replace some that mysteriously disappeared. If anybody sees it, let me know.

A slight detour on the way back found us visiting with another museum type who's in the midst of a massive project. The restoration of property dating from the 1700's, house and outbuildings. He and his wife are making great strides, but progress requires they work like mules. Good thing they are young.

Sunday, Happy Easter.

I was surprised to find that the Easter Bunny left chocolate in my underwear drawer. At least I think that's what it is.

So while Barb slaved away in the kitchen on Sunday dinner, I began the inspection of that newest set of Halibrand mags . This set is as cherry as can be.

Magnesium is a strange alloy. It can be polished to a mirror finish. Rich like fine silver and not garish like chrome. But when polished you can almost watch it turn back to a gunmetal gray color. As supplied by Halibrand, some were left as sand cast, and some had polished and buffed accents. They were then treated with various finishes. Zinc chromate, dark gray painted rough cast areas, and a clear acrylic topcoat on the buffed rim and spokes. The result is , good or bad, that the magnesium beneath the clear coat will return to the gray color.

Optional on the Avanti, these wheels have always been hard to find and this set is exceptional because they still retain their original finish. I don't mind that they have returned to gray beneath the clear, in fact I kindof like it, but the problem is that only three of them are pristine . Of the set of five (these are the ones that I bought from Greg Diffen in England who bought them out of Australia), on two of them the acrylic has begun to degrade giving them a mottled appearance and allowing the magnesium to begin to corrode.

As much as I'd like to preserve the original finish, I experimented with the worst wheel. Taping off the areas they painted gray, I used paint stripper and Scotchbrite to remove the clear acrylic. That brightens the polished areas as when they were new.

I don't guess I have any choice, but while I mull it over, I will continue to prepare the others by cleaning, sanding and painting the inside area and bead seats to be ready for the new tires (when I decide what I want). This to avoid any problems with the tires losing air.

Along with some photos of the wheel deal, I'm enclosing a magazine article from the archives on the production of this type wheel.

Matheson news. I have found someone familar with the low tension magneto armature and will rewind it with new wire. It should go out in tomorrow's mail.

I hope your Easter was as pleasant."







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It is Wednesday, April 9th. In Seattle, another trip. And of course we were both sicker than dogs after our trip to Ireland. So we lost a week. But I did get the Jag out of her winter slumber and went for a long drive just before we had to head to Seattle. We even stopped by to say hi to Greg.

And he finally has a report for us.

"Toilet paper?! We'll get to that.

What else has been going on? Well, cleaning Matheson magneto parts while the armature is out. The armature, sent out last week (for renewing of the wiring) to someone who says he's familiar with them , resulted in a phone conversation last week. I'd specified that I'd like "period correct" appearing wire protruding from the end of the spindle where it is noticeable.

This led to a discussion and the fact that I'd have to take care of that myself when it is returned.

Saturday was nice enough for me to get in some time in the tin shed. Ol Seabiscuit has had an intermittent horn and tracking that, I found that a molded rubber connector had failed on the horn relay. I'd cannibalized one from another car and took the time to cut and splice .

Now the horn works better than ever.

Tonight I returned to the World of Matheson. I'd had a novel idea concerning the ignition.

On a make and break ignition system, like friend Andrew King has told me repeatedly about life, "Timing is everything." I had learned this the hard way while working on the 1903 Wright horizontal engines. There are so many things that have to be adjusted and just right.

The hammer and anvil point set inside the cylinders must be timed to close at the right instant, open at the right instant, have the right gap between and be timed exactly with each other. If anything is off it won't run right. Too much gap and the spark is weak. Too little gap and the spark consumes too much current, and of course they must be timed to the right cycle of the piston stroke and if they aren't in proper relation to each other , the cylinder that's to spark can be robbed of current by one of the others.

During the night I awoke with the plan to make a quick and dirty protractor to attach to the camshaft. This will allow me to gap and time the closing and opening of the points. Enclosed photo shows the protractor and scale, also the meter to tell me when the points make and break contact. A quick test shows promising results.

As for toilet paper......I received some Youtube footage from Andrew. He had mounted one of those miniature cameras on the tail of his 1939 Taylorcraft. This is the plane that he bought when he started work here shortly after Hurrican Andrew. Low on oil pressure, I was elected to assist in the engine overhaul. He had confidence in me even though it was the first aero engine I'd ever touched.

The overhaul went well and it was readied for a fly-in at Horn Point which is across the Chesapeak Bay. I was told that I was going along on that trip. "If I get wet, you get wet...." says he. We didn't get wet and he's gotten many hours of reliability out of that 65 horsepower. In fact, on one trip it got us from Front Royal, Va to Pasa Robles, Cal. in four days, the southern route following Rt 66. And of course, like Lindbergh, no radio, no GPS, just a chart on our laps and some chocolate chip cookies to navigate on.

So included in tonight's note is footage he shot of:

1. The toilet paper cut, a training exercise. Gain some altitude and toss out a roll of TP. Then the trick is to see how many times you can cut it with the wing. Don't forget that with each pass you are losing altitude and the target gets smaller.

2. A nice ballet of aerobatics. Remind me to tell you about the time we flew to dinner. Gaining altitude (which he seldom does) for our arrival at the neighboring airport, he put us into an eleven turn spin. Needless to say, I passed on the meal.

On my list of those I admire, Andrew gets a gold star.



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It is Thursday, PM, April 11th. Still in Seattle. Joe and I met up at the LeMay Museum in Tacoma, WA. Spent three hours looking at all the cars. Very impressive and a wide range of cars. Took lots of pics and you can see them at


We then headed to Griot's Garage and got to see their sales facility. They had quite a few customer cars, which were shined to mirror finish.

Car Care Products, Detailing Supplies, Auto Accessories - Griot's Garage 800-345-5789

It was a good car day. My favorite car? The Ferrari race car.










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It is Saturday, April 13th. Still in Seattle, WA. But only a few more days and we will be able to head for home.

We did go to a museum yesterday in Tacoma, WA. It was the Washington State Museum and it was pretty good. A nice collection of unrestored and restored vintage motorcycles, and the largest model train layout I have ever seen. Here are a few pics. I will post the rest on my Picasa pic site and post the link when I have that done.

And yes, it has been raining every day we have been here so far.

Uploaded the pics. See if this works. https://plus.google.com/photos/108456879037339730707/albums/5866353086569785777?banner=pwa











Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)
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If you are still in Seattle make sure you report that the sun is out today, but I do admit with the wind even at 50 degrees it still seems a little cold. As someone who has lived in Seattle we do like to spread the rumor it always rains here. That isn't true, but it does keep others from moving here. We don't tan, we just get a light layer of rust!

I really enjoy your posts, specifically reading about the Matheson motor. I want to see it back in the car and running.

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Michael, we are still in Seattle, but we are on the big bird tomorrow morning to head back to VA. Glad that the sun was out in your part of Seattle, but where we were it was hailing to beat the band. Here are a couple of pics as proof. But the sun did finally come out, beautiful blue sky with huge white puffy clouds.

And Greg has a weekend report for us too.

"Spring has sprung,The grass has riz,

Where last year's careless driver is.


It was a good weekend for progress and for playing.

With weather so pleasant, it was time to gain some ground on the 5054 Avanti project. During the week I'd extricated the rusty fuel line that runs beneath the thing, back to front. It came out in pieces thanks to a hacksaw and little patience. I'll have to thread the new one in and form it as it goes. A moments thought led me to conclusion that I might as well use stainless steel tubing this time, supposedly it withstands our corrosive ethanol. At least until they devise something more destructive. I ordered some tubing already double flared at one end.

While I was under there and in the neighborhood, I installed the remaining length of stainless brake line tubing. Realizing it also a good time to add some of the details remaining in the rear axle department after the hardware had been cleaned and prepped. Handbrake clips, clamps, hardware. Fittings and tubing were secured to the axle.

Also a good time to try my luck extracting the rusty rear shock absorbers. They can sometimes be a real bear with the attachment bolts siezed in them, but they loosened without much problem and fell out.

It was a good time to uncrate the new stainless steel exhaust system and get it ready to inspect and install. Nicely done by Don Simmos in Canada, the pipes just fall into place.

The mufflers and rear pipes are now hanging in place and waiting to be secured. I won't do the forward system until I have everything secured to the transmission, the tubes for the cooler, shift linkage, etc.

I like getting pieces off the shelf and on the car. This included the buckets for the headlamps.

Back in the shop today, I bead cleaned the steering column assembly and will get it primed and painted. With more time at hand, I cleaned the Koni shock absorbers. They don't have many miles on them, just surface rust. After a light bead cleaning and a coat of primer, they are ready for some enamel color. Koni painted them orange, so orange it will be.


Around the corner

Lickety split,

It's a beautiful car......

Wasn't it.

Whatever happened to Burma Shave?"












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Hi John - I hope your trip home went well. Greg asked - I checked.

From Wikipedia - At its peak, Burma-Shave was the second-highest selling brushless shaving cream in the United States. Sales declined in the 1950s, and in 1963 the company was sold to Philip Morris.

For everybody that was wondering! :D


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Chuck, thanks. I am old enough to remember the Burma Shave signs on the side of the road. I am sure there are still a few somewhere in the desert or midwest still giving a little kids a little lesson or two.

Back from Seattle. Wow, everything popped in just a week. Our grass looks like a wheat field.

And we have a report from Greg.

" OK, time to check in.

I've been getting things off the list, little by little. Nothing comes easy except bad news and so far so good.

Day job. The Wright 8-60 engine has been progressing. I've gotten the crankshaft and main bearings fitted, main cap retension hardware torqued and cottered, I hope for good. The photo shows it mounted in the lathe and some time spent lapping in the bearings. I've also formed and installed some of the plumbing. Shown is the left side fuel pump with it's inlet and filter and the oil pump inlet and feed piping. I guess the next thing will be to get the cylinders ready, valves, springs, etc.

Matheson engine: While the magneto windings are out for renewing, I've been working on the mag's components. Some of the frame parts of brass have been cleaned and polished, the magnet assembly stripped of old paint and blast cleaned. Hopefully I'll find time tomorrow to get them primed.

Avanti 5054 Blackie: The rear shocks were painted yesterday evening, tonight the mounting hardware prepped and as of now the rear Konis have left the building and are back home under the car.

That's my story."






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It is Friday, April 19th. Not much going on in the old car department for me. Been doing farm stuff getting ready for Alice's gardening projects. I hope to get the Avanti uncovered and running today. But just saw that a big storm is coming this PM so there might be a change of plans. And of course, watching the TV re the stuff going down in the Boston area. Scary stuff.

And for your morning coffee, here is Greg's report.

"Rocket J. rescue.....

One never knows what one will get into during the course of a day here at Hyde Manor. Today just another example. You can't make this stuff up.

Day job: I have been considering the next hurdle in my Wright 8-60 engine project. The need for connecting rods. I've approached Rempco who we sometimes use for outsorced machine work. Excellent work, timely and fairly priced, but last night I decided to fabricate them in house. I have ordered the steel bar (ETD150) and pick it up tomorrow. At that point there's no one else to blame.

Black Avanti 5054: I got the 3/8" stainless fuel line material in today's mail. Two lengths , each one has a double flared end. Tonight I threaded the rear length in place. It's not secured, but will be when the fuel tank is installed. I also found new rear shock mount rubbers at NAPA, and as of now they live under the car. Done.

Field trip:

It's interesting to see Ken get excited about anything. It happens once in a while. Like when the eagle circles over Rockfish Lake. It only flies the pattern when it knows Ken's car is here.

So the other day Ken made a stop at some property he owns near Broad Run (right at Thoroughfare Gap, an important passage through the mountain during the War Between the States). In his family forever, now thanks to a record snowfall the other year, it's barely resisting collapse.

The boss was there last fall and while walking the property, he was the target of a Blue Angels caliber buzz job. Startled him. Getting a glimpse of the culprit, he vowed to get even.

Not much was said about the incident all winter, so last week I jumped in the pickup and drove the seven miles to investigate. Taking along a roll of newsprint. The culprit appeared to be living in the hollow column on the front porch. Holes gnawed in them, from one to several in each post. I wrapped the thin paper around them all.

This week I returned to find that one of the columns has had a lot of traffic and armed with dimensions and photos, gave Scott the news. With his usual effort, he made replacement columns of 4x4 pressure treated lumber, grabbed his high lift jack, Sawzall and so on. I had rolled some sheet steel wraps to cover the holes. Our realization that if the house doesn't burn, it'll just fall down taking the critters too.

Now with Ken on board, when Scott's portable generator didn't want to play, Ken was on the road to the rental store.

Then this afternoon Scott and I, Ol Bill, and Ken convoyed to Broad Run to make the first post extraction. It went well and as of now the first comumn is standing in the yard and awaiting the other three which we anticipate tomorrow.

No, I haven't stated what brand of critters we've caught and released, but hopefully these gifted flyers will enjoy their new home at Meadows Airfield. They'll certainly be well fed.

Now to get some night vision goggles to watch the fun."







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Hmmm...seems like a lot of effort to hold up a porch on a house that's falling down! I believe I can see the sky through that upper window! That's some old house.

Speaking of old (sorry, couldn't resist) - I believe someone is having a birthday today, if I'm not mistaken. If I'm not mistaken, then Happy Birthday to that person whose birthday it is!

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Thanks Chris, 67 is a big number.

Greg has another report from the old farm. Here it is for your evening coffee.

"They are calling for bad storms this evening, so I'd better get this out while we still have power. This morning we convoyed back to Thoroughfare Gap to extricate the remaining posts.

Even though we took the back way, it wasn't back way enough to evade a radar trap. I cruised through on the money, Scott was only twenty over. But his luck held out. During the ensuing conversation , the officer was able to determine Scott's military background and sent him on his way.

Although we were reasonably certain that there "wasn't anybody home", we banded the holes in the columns anyway. All went well, posts were loaded and we didn't knock the house over.

Back at the Manor, Scott got busy erecting the posts and Cliff made formed metal caps for them. Then another post was sunk in the ground for a feeder, but only after he had used his Skil saw and router to decorate it. An aluminum bowl was drilled in several places and the holes dimpled. These were attachment and drain holes.

So now, Rocky the flying squirrel has it's very own Squirrelesium.

Like I said. You can't make this stuff up.

Ps. All it needs now is one of those cement birdbaths in the middle."

Here is a link to the critter. Flying squirrel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia






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When I worked at the Forest Service eons ago I was in the woods with a couple of the Forest Service old timers. We came across a tree with a hole in it and one of the guys would tap the side of the tree with his ax (those Forest Service guys always carried a 3 lb. ax with them). When they tapped the tree a flying squirrel would poke its head out of the hole, scurry up the tree, and "fly" down to another tree. Pretty soon he would scurry back to his den, then the show would be repeated, tap, tap, scurry, scurry, glide down. It was quite amusing.

A few years later, when I was heading up my own field survey party, I came across a tree in the woods with a hole about eye level. Remembering my earlier amusing time with flying squirrels I tapped on the tree. Nothing. I tapped again - a squirrel came out of the tree flying, almost attaching itself to my face! I damn near fell over from the surprise - ever since then, if I see a nesting hole I just grin and keep walking.

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It is Monday, April 22nd AM. On Sunday I convinced Chris (Avanti Rescue thread) to head over to our little hamlet for breakfast at the fire house. Well, I thought he had broken down some place, but then I heard a rumble coming down the road; and that had to be Chris and his Avanti. Sure enough it was.

We had a nice visit as he missed breakfast at the fire house. Got the cars side by side and took some pics. We had a good time discussing the cars and all the posts we had both done on the forum. We agreed that we need to take an Avanti road trip and go and see Greg and his black Avanti real soon. Great to see Chris again. His car is really starting to look good, and she does look much better than when we hauled her to his home from the storage shed. And it did bring back memories of when I started the refresh of my Avanti.

We had a nice run in the Avanti. For the start of the season she started right up and rumbled to life. Did not miss a beat running down the road. And it was a nice day for a long ride too. Cold, but the heater worked great too.






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It is Wednesday, April 24th. Today is clean the Jag day. Have to fuel it up too. Our first show of the season is Sunday at Gunston Hall in Lorton, VA. It is an all British show.

And for your morning coffee, we have a Greg report.

"Chipping away at things.

Avanti 5054 Blackie: I should work at getting the steering column reassembled. I'd ordered a new lower bearing, the old plastic worn out a long time ago. I ordered one, it went back order. In an effort to get it over with, I bored the center from the old one, turned a new repair from some Delrin and pressed/threaded it in. The column is based in color and nearly ready for assembly.

'21 Dodge: Forlorn in the back of the shed all winter, it's time to make it serviceable again. One tire flat, another that would make a better spare, so tonight it was a wrestling match with tires, tubes, flaps, tire irons, etc. These tires are so stiff from the cold that I'll need to find a rim spreader to force the split rims closed. No resultant blood blisters, cuts, gouges, lumps on the head or black eyes, so they'll get finished another day.

Day job Wright 8-60 engine: Having decided to begin the fabrication of the connecting rods, Friday I picked up a 3" diameter bar of ETD150 steel, 12 feet long. Three hundred pounds.

Monday I began cutting it into lengths, today I started the machine work.

The first operation was to face off an end of each piece in the lathe to give myself a reliable end from which to bank any work.

Now I am beginning to mill a flat down the side of each one , also to have a reference from which to measure, cut and cipher.

It's going to be a long road to Connecting Rod City."








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It is Thursday, April 25th, PM. The weekend and the Jag car show is fast approaching. Been doing lots of farm stuff and that has caused a big delay in getting the Jag ready. But today was going to be the day to get ready for the all British car show on Sunday. Only have the interior to do and was going to do that today. But, when I opened the trailer I noticed that the car was down on one side. The driver's side tire was as flat as a pancake. Pulled it off and went to the tire store. A big split in the tube, tire was good. So replaced the tube, and we are back on the road. Tomorrow will clean her up, go to town to fill up with fuel and we are set for Sunday. Glad it let go in the trailer versus the road.

Greg came over last night and helped him mount two tires for his 21 Dodge. He needed a tire spreader and I just happened to have one. Problem was that it was about two inches too short. We solved that by putting blocks of wood on the end of each of the three adjustable legs. With a little persuasion with a screwdriver and hammer, the rim ends came together and locked into place. Success.

He is taking our Suburban and open trailer to haul the Dodge into PA for a tour on Saturday. He also said that he has started cutting the pipe for the rods on the Wright 8 engine, and he is making nine of them. I guess that one is for luck.

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It is Sunday AM, April 28th. Spent the day yesterday getting the XK 120 all spruced up. She really looks good. Heading off this morning to the All British car show. Pics when we get home.

But Greg when on his tour yesterday. Here is his report.

"Today was for play, although about a hundred miles in a '21 Dodge Brothers is more like work.

The localest chapter of the Horseless Carriage Club had set aside today for a day of touring, and Barb and I were determined to tag along. Once again John Feser made the day possible for us by lending his truck/trialer combo.

Club member Jim Lyons had laid out the route and since the forecast called for a pleasant Spring day, things worked out for us to not only take part, but bring an old car along.

Trailered to a school near Gerrardstown, W Va, we unloaded the DB and soon found that besides the Lyons' with their '15 Model T, we were it. That wasn't a bad thing since it allowed us to spend time with them and make some new friends.

The tour route led us though scenic valleys and countryside , places like Inwood, Leetown,Kearneysville, Shepardstown, Antietam, Sharpsburg, across the ridge at Gapland and arriving at a farm festival at a dairy farm near Middletown, Md.

Time was spent there trying the food tent, petting the animals, homemade ice cream tasting and then set for the return trip. Since we again passed by the amazing War Correspondent Memorial at Gapland, a slight detour was made . Within sight, a stop was made at the Rob Burchill establishment. He had prior arrangements that prevented him from touring with us, so we crashed his party. I think Jim enjoyed the show and especially a surprise reunion with Mike Zerega, an old friend from years ago. Stories told, remininiscents exchanged between them .....and I got to visit my REO and IHC cars stored there.

The return trip was even more pleasant as the day had warmed.

Back in Gerrardstown we loaded the Dodge on the trailer and made it back to Warrenton for Barb to work up some of her chili, and now that the car is unloaded, it's time to call it a day.

So to recap today, it would be fair to say that Barb held up well on her first "Century Ride" in an open car, The Dodge did very well on not only it's first time out of this years' box, but on a long haul, Jim Lyons not only laid out a great day trip and brought his family along, and the other HCCA members who couldn't attend missed a better than usual overland event...... Hopefully I can find and forward some photos of today's trip.

Ps. Russ. Question: Do you know the ancestry of your Hudson 6-54? We're trying to track the whereabouts of Jim Lyon's grandfather's car, Fred Long. Supposedly the car was sold to Florida.

Pps. John, Phil, maybe Steve too: Do you remember the last time we were in Leetown together? The fish hatchery. As I recall the incident, we had cut school, were in Swimley's car (Model A or maybe that Mrs. Vincent '54 Ford) and the hatchery staff didn't think much of us trying to catch the fish with our bare hands and invited us to leave and not come back."


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Still Sunday, but PM. Well we made it to the show and back home without incident. Even a little rain did not hurt us and the wipers actually worked great. We had a great time visiting folks and letting them get up and personal with the Jaguar. It was fun to see how excited folks were when they were invited to sit in the car and have their picture taken. The weather was rather nice, but cool. The rain kinda spit at the end of the show and on the way home. All in all a great day.

Oh, and Gunston Hall, the home of George Mason, one of our founding fathers who did not sign the US Constitution as he felt that it did not give enough rights to men and made the government too strong. He did write the Virginia Bill of Rights some 13 years before the US Bill of Rights. Many of his ideas were used in the US Bill of Rights. It is now a 500 acre park and his legacy is preserved. Nice place to visit. George Mason - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia













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It is Tuesday AM, April 30th. Greg brought back the Suburban and reported that the check engine light came on and the engine reduced power to a crawl. He pulled off the road, shut the engine down and restarted it. It seemed to run fine, however he was concerned. Anyway, he made it to the farm. So yesterday I read up on the possible causes. One main one seemed to be a dirty throttle body. So pulled off the air cleaner and cleaned the throttle body with carb clean. Boy, she was sure dirty, carboned up for sure. Put everything back together and took her on a test run. After a few minutes the check engine light went off and she ran good. I do have a code reader, but a neighbor borrowed it. I will get it back and see what codes were thrown.

And Greg sent some pics of his little tour for us. He said that he had a great time.

"Barbara sent along some photos of last Saturday's road trip with the Lyons' to the farm show. Rolling through small towns and countryside with a stop to check water and oil.

A rule of the road: You're only as fast as the Model T up front."







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It is Wednesday, AM, May 1st. Rained, spitted mostly, all day yesterday. I did get out to the Jag to clean her from the rain coming home on Sunday. Checked all the vitals and she is ready for the next outing.

I also had a chance to go see Wayne. He now has the body on his 1964 Corvette. It is looking really nice. He is keeping it "almost stock". He has added modern power steering and a front disc brake kit. He also bought a new radiator of special construction to look like the original. The car is looking really good. He hopes to get it to the paint shop for the final painting in a week or so. Just depends on when the shop is ready for it. Until then he will just keep hanging parts. He does have somethings painted in the correct color already like the door jams, rocker recesses, etc. The painting itself should only take a couple of days as all the body work has been done and primed. Wayne said that it need just a quick going over by the painter and his crew and into the paint booth it will go.

And Wayne also bought a twin of my truck, an 02 3/4 ton Suburban (mine is a 03, but they look almost identical). He wanted a more beefy truck to pull the enclosed trailer. Here are the trucks together. Mine is Gunmetal Gray and Wayne's truck is a Jade Green color.






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The car show on Sunday was great. We stayed around for the awards until almost the bitter end when it started raining. They had announced our class and we were not called so we figured we were done. So decided to head on home. Well, I guess we should have stayed. Went out to the web site to see if they had posted any pics of the cars. To our amazement our little Jag was named "Best of Show". Who would have guessed that. Now were are sorry that we left, but thought that everything was done.


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It is Thursday, AM, May 2nd. Oh my. Was using the roto-tiller for the last time this season and she started to bog down. I remembered that I bought it with the farm and it was ten years old and the tines were worn to half size. So it was well used. Heck, only paid $50 for it. So for the last 15 years it has plugged along, like a faithful old dog. Well, it finally stalled. It would run fine, but as soon as the tines were engaged it bogged down and quit. Tines jamed? No all clear. But the transmission case was eaten through by the chain and the tine axle was broken. I think she is done. Sears does not sell parts for it either. I stopped by a couple of places and a new front tine one is about $350 for what I need. A walk behind is double that. Looked on Craig's list. Wow, everyone wants what a new one wants. Sure glad that my tilling is over for the season, going to wait for the sales in the fall.

And Greg has a report for us too. What a great day.

"Wrapped around the axle. It seems like I haven't been getting anything done.

The day job: The road to Connecting Rod City for the Wright 8 cylinder engine will be a long one with speed limits. Since cutting the bar of 3" diameter alloy into lengths, I've been milling flats on them. Since then every day, all day long, milling them flat. What is this, the second or third week and I'm now starting on the fourth side?

Avanti 5054: Haven't had much time for it. Tonight I sanded and reprimed the steering jacket. Not much progress to show.

My excuse for the poor showing is having to take care of business. Medicare enrollment and all the joy that comes with that. Having to deal with the various plans and loopholes is like punishment for allowing so much time slip through my fingers. This process has left me without much of a sense of humor.

But those years gone by have left me with reasons to grin, even laugh out loud. I just found some photos taken years ago of one of our annual Christmas tree expeditions in the '14 Harvester with my two boys Nathan and Logan. Both now fine young men, even Nate has survived."







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It is Friday, May 3rd, early PM. A few days ago I received the current issue of "Turning Wheels", which is the monthly member magazine for The Studebaker Drivers Club. One article was a discussion of modern fuels in our old engine and the issues with vapor lock. Jon Meyer gave a very good explanation of the problem and some ideas on how to avoid the problem. One of them was to put in a fuel return line like the Avanti. Like the Avanti? I did not have a return line.......... Well not hooked up, but it was still there.

Jon explained that with fuel being returned to the tank, cooler fuel from the main tank would be pumped through the filter, thereby avoiding vapor lock in the fuel filter and fuel pump. Sounds realistic to me.

Last summer on a long and hot drive I pulled up to a signal light. Within a couple of seconds the engine just quit. I was able to coast away from the light when it turned green. There I sat in the parking lot. I checked everything and then just sat there for thirty minutes or so deciding if I should call a tow truck. I then decided to just let it sit for another fifteen minutes and try to start it before I called. Well, with the added time, she started and ran fine. I figured, vapor lock was the problem. Ever since then I have been a little gun shy and carry water to pour over the fuel line if it ever happened again. A lesson learned.

To back up a bit, when I rebuilt the fuel pump I noticed there was a plug on the casting body, and I wondered what that was for. There was also a line leading to the gas tank that was cut and open. I figured out that it was a fuel return line, but at the time I did not want to take the time to try to retrofit the fuel pump to accept a special fitting with a very small orifice (.040).

Jon also mentioned that you could accomplish the same thing as the Avanti set up by using a special fuel filter, one that had a fuel return valve inside of it. He also gave the filter number from various manufacturers. So I found a vendor on Ebay that had a bunch of them and ordered some. Not much money either, $12 for three and free shipping.

Today I got the filters and proceeded to make up the necessary hoses. Had to find a fitting that also reduced the hose diameter so the filter hose would go into the much larger metal return line original to the car. I found a plastic brake bleeder fitting in my junk drawer that worked just fine. So now I have the filter installed to the carb and the return line attached to the return line to the fuel tank.

I started up the car, checked for leaks, and let it warm up. Everything looks good. But I decided I would remove the vapor line from the filter to see if it had flowed any fuel. It had so fuel was being returned to the tank. Tomorrow I will get it out and take her for a long ride, and make sure everything is good.

The filters, if you want to try this, are: Fram G3499, WIX 33054, DuraLast FF3421DL and Lee LG-474. I used the Lee filter, and it has the vapor tube coming out the side, other brands may have the tube coming out the fuel in tube.

Here are a couple of pics. A couple of the filter and the attachment, and one of the hookup at the original return liine.




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Interesting John, I would think that running off fuel from the filter like that would reduce fuel pressure resulting in poor high speed performance. I am interested to see if there is a noticeable drop in performance. Of course, Jon Myer is an expert in Avantis so he must know what he is talking about. Last year I replaced my fuel return line, then realized that the line I installed was too small, so I ripped it out and put the correct size in. At that time I asked Nimesh Solanki about the return line - I will try to find his email answer and share it. I know it all works right on mine, because mine is a flat out rocket ship. No lie.

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