Taylormade

The Ressurection of Daphne - a 1932 DL

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Isn't it amazing how these guys can repair something that a lot of us would consider too far gone.

I know the guy who did my bodywork can build anything. He had a Stanley Steamer chassis in his workshop and he built the wooden frame and then all the panels all by hand !

When he finished with mine there was no filler, only steel.

Ian

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Yes, it is amazing. But, I discovered it's also relative. As I was watching Ed work with my jaw on the floor, he mentioned he could never learn to operate the camera I was using to shoot the process. When I tried to explain why I was using a certain lens and a follow-focus shot I wanted to do and he just laughed and said it was way beyond him. Most of us can do something well, but it's just nice to see someone else do something we could never imagine.

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Took a look at the gas tank today. Lots of rust and varnish, weak metal. Vertict - I need a new tank.

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A light tapping on the end of the tank buckled the metal. This tank is toast.

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It's too bad, as some of the metal still looks good. Here are the levels from undercoat, to rust, to wirebrushed to sanded.

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I can salvage the fittings - the filler neck and the sending unit mount. They are in good shape. The tank is 38X15X8. The closest generic tank I could find is 34X13X9 for $185. A stainless steel tank to original specs is $740. I'm hoping Ed, my body guy, will agree to build me a new one.

The sending unit was totally gummed up with rock-hard varnish.

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A little cleaning with a wire brush revealed the gears were brass, not pot metal. Whew! The ends do look a little iffy, though, and I may have to cut a new set from sheet brass - an easy, if tedious job.

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It's currently soaking in acetone and I hope things will loosen up enough that I can move the cork arm and see if the unit still works. it's always the little things that eat up time, but it's the only way to get everything working right.

Edited by Taylormade (see edit history)

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. . . I can salvage the fittings - the filler neck and the sending unit mount. They are in good shape. The tank is 38X15X8. The closest generic tank I could find is 34X13X9 for $185. A stainless steel tank to original specs is $740. I'm hoping Ed, my body guy, will agree to build me a new one. . .

The tank is my '33 Plymouth is pretty close to the size of yours: 8"x15"x36.75" and is purported to hold 15 gallons. There is a street rod fuel tank vendor that advertises replacements for mine pretty regularly on ePay for a lot less than $740. In fact there are several out there now: 1933 plymouth gas tank | eBay

Maybe one of those would be a reasonable starting point for you.

Best of luck on salvaging that fuel sender unit. My experience is that the currently available senders for old Mopar either don't work well or is horribly expensive (or both). If you can salvage that and get it working it would be a good thing but I would replace the float with something that is not covered with shellac that is attacked by ethanol.

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ply33 that tank is very close - just an inch or so short. It looks like I would have to weld up their filler opening, then weld my filler and sending unit mount to the tank. My car (I think your Plymouth does, too) has a cover over the tank between the frame rails with two openings for the above, so I have to have those two openings in exactly the right place. At that price, it may be worth a try - especially with the free shipping.

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Looking more closely at my original tank, I think the filler and sending units are soldered onto the tank, not welded. If that's correct, it will make things easier - at least for me. The only thing that bothers me about the tank ply33 mentioned is that the fuel line comes out of the top of the tank. I'm not sure I have room between the tank and the cover for that style pickup.

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Took a trip to my woodgraining guy, Crin, yesterday. He uses the Grain-it system. I brought over the two last pieces of trim that I negelcted to notice and remove. They go on the sides of the windshield. They were a little crusty.

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Crin went to work with his cabinet blaster.

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And before long they were ready for primer.

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Crin had already primed most of my pieces. An original, he kept for color matching, isat the bottom.

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The primer lays down a nice, smooth surface. He uses two coats, sanding in between.

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The next step is to lay down the base color. My parts were not ready yet, so this is a frame from a mid-30s Packard. This base color is considerably lighter than the one used by Dodge Brothers.

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Once the base has dried for a day or two, it's time to grain it. A thick ink of the correct color is used.

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Then a plate with the correct grain pattern etched on it is covered with the ink.

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A rubber roller is carefully rolled along the plate, picking up the ink in the grain pattern.

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Then the roller is rolled across the part, leaving a perfect grain pattern over the base coat.

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Each section of the piece is grained.

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And the final result is amazing. This is how they did it at the factory.

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Once everything is completely dry, Crin shoots on the clear coat and sands and polishes everything for the final result.

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My stuff should be ready in a week or so. I'll post pictures of the finished pieces.

Edited by Taylormade (see edit history)

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Taylormade, I sent you your tracking number via email. Your box should be at your nearest UPS depot as of Friday.

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Thanks for the woodgraining info, I would never have known it was done like that.

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If anyone else is interested in the woodgraining process, I have lots of pictures of various parts going through the process at Under Cover Upholstery - Past Projects - Woodgraining

Thanks Dick for posting the pictures - why didn't you tell me I'm so good looking ... ;)

-Crin

I am always interested to know how people came about to learn their trade, you are still fairly young so was it learned from a parent. Why choose this profession ect? Very nice work.

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Thanks for the compliment Jason. I'm a self taught car nut that is trying to turn a run-away hobby into a full time business. I have a Masters Degree in Aerospace Engineering and work at Boeing full-time but after 16 years of being here I find it very boring and dread coming into work every day. So I applied myself and learned on my own how to upholster, woodgrain and many other things related to automotive restoration. I don't want to divert any more attention away from Daphne - If you want to chat some more please email me.

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Check Crin's site out. He takes pictures of all his customer's projects as he works on them. I live very close, so I can go over and see how things are progressing, but for his out of town customers it's a perfect way to keep up on progress on their cars. I also want to point out that although my pictures make this process look easy - it's not. it's comparable to handing someone a paintbrush, paints and canvas and expecting them to produce a masterpiece. I could tell at first glance that it had taken years of practice for Crin to be so assured in his technique. That's why I used him instead of trying it myself. You can check up on my woodgraining and upholstery on the site under Current Projects - 1932 Dodge.

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A slow slog for the last week. It's been raining here almost every day for the last month. My trip to Ed's shop was delayed as he had to finish an aluminium airplane tail for a client in Kansas. Now it looks like he will have my fenders ready next Friday and we'll take the body off for the rust repair then. I understand, but I was revved up to go yesterday and it was a disappointment to say the least. Crin is working on the woodgraining and I'm removing the old seat material and cleaning and painting the seat springs. One of the most boring and unexciting jobs in recorded history.

I'm also taking off the starter and generator next week and sending them out for a complete rebuild and restoration. It's very frustrationg to have the car 200 miles away. Ed's was the best and closest shop I could find, but I'm used to heading out into the garage and working on whatever piqued my interest. I did get a nice set of upper hood pieces all the way from Canada from RSayak, who posts on this thread - he has a DL Coupe. This will make Ed's life a little easier as he doesn't have to mess with my damaged hood.

Man, can you tell I'm bored! Sitting around able to do little or nothing is driving me nuts. You're probably just as bored reading this post. Sorry about droning on. I promise some pictures and something halfway interesting next time.

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A slow slog for the last week. It's been raining here almost every day for the last month. My trip to Ed's shop was delayed as he had to finish an aluminium airplane tail for a client in Kansas. Now it looks like he will have my fenders ready next Friday and we'll take the body off for the rust repair then. I understand, but I was revved up to go yesterday and it was a disappointment to say the least. Crin is working on the woodgraining and I'm removing the old seat material and cleaning and painting the seat springs. One of the most boring and unexciting jobs in recorded history.

I'm also taking off the starter and generator next week and sending them out for a complete rebuild and restoration. It's very frustrationg to have the car 200 miles away. Ed's was the best and closest shop I could find, but I'm used to heading out into the garage and working on whatever piqued my interest. I did get a nice set of upper hood pieces all the way from Canada from RSayak, who posts on this thread - he has a DL Coupe. This will make Ed's life a little easier as he doesn't have to mess with my damaged hood.

Man, can you tell I'm bored! Sitting around able to do little or nothing is driving me nuts. You're probably just as bored reading this post. Sorry about droning on. I promise some pictures and something halfway interesting next time.

I totally get your boredom. I want to get out and re-wire my '31 and do a few other preparations to ready the car for the 2014 meet. Just gotta liquidate some old toys and radiator caps in order to get the harness. Tick tock.......

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Amazing restoration, made even sweeter by the backstory. Thanks for sharing - I'm not into 30's cars typically, but you just don't have to be in order to enjoy and appreciate this thread!

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I'm really happy the hood panels will help you out. Better to be used on someone's meaningful project than to collect dust in my mom's garage.

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Thanks for all the kind words - and help - on this thread.

My new hood top sections arrived from Canada in good shape. Thanks again RSayak! This will really help fix the hood area where a giant slab of ice slide off Phil's roof onto the car decades ago.

The old...

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And the new...

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Ed will still have to work on the lower hood section on the driver's side, but not having to deal with the top will save time and money.

I also got my repo tail light stalk from Verdonnes. It's a very nice casting, and the polished aluminium means I don't have to go through the hassle of trying to chrome the old pot-metal stalk. I will have to drill and thread the mounting holes, however.

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I also bit the bullet and paid an exorbitant amont on Ebay for a rather sorry tail light. I did get two good lenses (red stop and clear plate), a pretty good surround (a few small dents, but no splits), and the shell (dented and splits).

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That's when I realized I was in trouble - especially since I already had a good red lens, an undented surround with a minor split, and a repo clear plate lens...

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My shell has the mounting bolts placed horizontally, when, for a 32, they should be vertical. My light must be from a 33 Dodge. Oh, the humanity! Maybe if I had remained calm and paid attention to the photos, I wouldn't be in this mess. So, it's find another shell. or try to rework this shell to fit my car. Since it needs extensive brazing to repair the splits, plus some massaging to get the dents out, I may try to adapt it. If that fails, I'll put it back on Ebay - where the bidding was hot. I do have the missing piece along the top - another brazing job to be tackled.

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A pile of parts I removed and brought home. The luggage rack is in perfect shape. Somehow it survived all these years without a bump or dent. That's the radiator peeking out from the trash bag. My old-time radiator guy died a few month back and I'm on a search for a shop that can handle these old honeycomb, no-pressure radiators. If anyone in the St. Louis, MO area has a lead, let me know.

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I have a problem with my windshield. The two hinge extensions at the top corner of the frame are broken off. I have a painful decision to make. NC Industries makes a beautiful repo windshield - show chrome frame, new glass, new weatherstripping - just install it and walk away. But it ain't cheap! Eight hundred bucks. But by the time I take my frame apart, figure out how to replace the broken hinge pins, have it rechromed, replace the glass, find the weatherstripping and install it - how much will I have in my old windshield? And how much time and driving around will it cost me? Decisions, decisions.

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Tomorrow I head back to Ed's shop. The plan is to remove the generator and starter so I can send them off to Michigan for a complete cosmetic and electrical rebuild. 3 month turnaround, so I want to get them sent off as soon as possible.

I'm also going to remove the wiring harness so I can take it back home and and make a new one. From the wiring diagrams I have it looks like Rhode Island Wiring has all the colors I'll need in braided cloth wiring. Their complete harness set-ups (which are excellent) would run me about $450. I should be able to reproduce mine for about $100 using their wires and connectors, which they sell separately.

Ed is supposed to have my fenders pretty well finished. I'm hoping to get them home and over to the painter for prep work and priming. We also plan to remove the body from the frame so work can begin on the lower rust damaged sections that are being replaced. I'll have pictures for you of all that this weekend.

Edited by Taylormade (see edit history)

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Did some work on the front seat, stripping off the horrible black vinyl and getting it ready for the new upholstery. The metal seat frame looked pretty good - some surface rust on the inside back, but easily removed and repainted.

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The bottom wood frame didn't fare so well. The fire frrom the tailpipe that burned a hole in the floorboard also got to the seat. Nothing too serious, but ugly just the same. Since I have all the woodworking tools I need: bandsaw, router, sanders, I may just make a new frame. The cardboard/fiber insert around the top of the seat is pretty torn up, but I assume you can still get this stuff, and it's easy to replace as it's just held in place by metal tabs.

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Picking the fabric has been something of a challenge. We already determined that the color was originally brown that had been sun faded to tan. LeBaron Bonney has fabric that is the right shade of brown (or as close as I can get), and it came down to two choices. This one has the correct rib spacing - narrow - but the fabric is slightly thinner than the rest of the Broadcloth offered. But, I must admit, it is almost exactly the same thickness as the original fabric. The new stuff is obviously on the left. If you stand back from your screen a bit it's easier to pick up the pattern.

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This one has ribs that are noticably too wide, but the fabric is a bit thicker and seems a bit softer. Then, again, the thicker fabric may not fold and crease the way the original did and may look a bit too "puffy."

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I keep on going back and forth with this, but will probably go with the thinner, more original pattern.


The door and window trim material is an almost exact match to the original.

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So lots going on. Looking forward to working at Ed's shop tomorrow.

Edited by Taylormade (see edit history)

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My shell has the mounting bolts placed horizontally, when, for a 32, they should be vertical.

Yep...here's the inside of a '32 bucket.

Drilling two new holes may be the easiest job you'll have to do with this restoration!

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I would modify the bucket that you already have. Aren't they thin stamped steel? The broken pieces and cracks could be gently welded in (find someone with a TIG welder that is good with it), and the extra holes filled in as well at the same time. Once everything is smoothed and readied for plating, it should be fine. So you did end up with that bucket I saw on eBay... Do you have any contact information for the tail light stalks?

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Forum member RSayak asked for some information on converting his coupe to sidemounts. It turns out it's a bit more complicated than grafting a couple of wheelwells onto the fenders. Along with the wheelwells there is a brace that helps support the well and the tire and also provides a mount for the rod that extends up from the fender to hold the clamp for the tire.

Here is the configuration from the underside of the fender.


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And from the top.

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As you can see a brace comes off the upright support rod, passes through the body and bolts onto an inner support in the cowl. This inner support is designed to accept the brace. I don't know if all cars have this support, or if non-sidemount bodies used a different configuration.

To do this conversion, you need far more than just wheelwells. One could fabricate the brace with a little work, but the support rods, inner support and clamps would be a bit more of a problem.

Edited by Taylormade (see edit history)

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I spent yesterday at Ed's shop working on the DL. I got a lot done, but none of it is very visual. Since the body is coming off the frame I realized it was time to disconnect everything that would prvent lift-off. There turned out to be a lot of things attached to the body and frame.

First I tackled the wiring. After getting a good look at it, I'm amazed this car didn't turn into a rolling fireball at some point in its life. Most of the original wiring still existed in place, but little of it was being used. Over the years, all of the wiring to the lights and ignition had been replaced with modern plastic wire in a very shoddy manner. Lots of twisted splices (no solder) with plastic electrician's tape. Wires taped to everything - struts, cables, old wires. It was a nightmare. With all the grease in the engine compartment it's a wonder an electrical fire didn't toast the old girl.


The wiring was obviously changed when the Clum Switch on the end of the steering box failed. I hope I can restore it to working order. But the result was a jury-rigged mess that I finally just cut away to get down to the orginal wire harness. Luckily, former owners had left it in place and I could get good photos and make up some diagrams that will help me get the replacement harness back in it's original position and configuration.

One thing that suprised me was the original harness was made up with fiber conduit rather than the expected wrapping in cloth tape.

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If you can see through the grease, you can see the conduit. This is available, so the job of recreating the harness should be easy.

Once I removed all of the harness attachment points in the engine compartment - boy are there a lot of clips on the frame and firewall! - I tackled the dash area. It seemed the easiest way to approach this was to get the instrument pod loose to make access a bit simpler. Well, I can tell you getting the pod out is no easy job. I took out the heater to get more access and it's staying out - more room for Kathy and we're not driving in the winter, anyway. I got the three bolts along the bottom of the pod off, but something was still holding it in. I felt around the edge of the pod, but couldn't find any other bolts or nuts holding it in place. I finally got a mirror and tried to take a look at what was going on in the narrow area above the pod - this was no fun lying on my back (on a piece of plywood - no floor) and trying to get enough light up there to see what the problem was. I discovered that the three cables (throttle, choke and freewheeling) attached to three tabs that extended up from the back of the pod. Now I had to get those nuts holding the cable fittings in place loose. I would really like to know how the heck they did it at the factory. There is no room up there! Any wrench I could get to the nut would only turn it about a quarter of a turn. Ed helped out with a set of off-set wrenches that we finally used, but even then we could only turn the nut a half turn before we had to change the wrench out for one with a different angle off-set. After a half an hour getting the first two off - Ed doing most of the work - I reached around and found the last cable nut was finger tight and spun it off by hand!

Now the instrument pod could be lifted out of the back of the dash - not the front. Taking the wires off was a simple job at that point. I think the 32 dash is one of the best looking units I've ever seen.

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You can see the three tabs that were clamped between the inner dash and the cable nuts. I have a temp gauge, but it has an incorrect black face. If anyone has a temp gauge (non working is fine), let me know. I took good photos of Phil Kennedy's gauge when I was at his place, so I can always have a printer make me up a new gauge face that should come close to matching.

I now had everything running between the frame and the body cleared away - wiring, cables. Ah, one more thing - the sidemount braces. They run from the fenders into the side of the cowl. (See the post above). So they came out and it's clear sailing when we lift the body.

Finally, I removed the starter and the generator. They'll be heading to Michigan for a full cosmetic and electrical restoration. Pictures when they get back in about three months.

All this took the better part of 10 hours. I was bushed, but managed to get the water pump off before I left. Questions about that in the next post.

Edited by Taylormade (see edit history)

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