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32' Oldsmobile Deluxe Convertible Roadster


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Made up a new part for the Olds this past week. The radiator cap/mascot has a unique style steel locking lug that just can’t be found. My own was a cobbled design of parts but worked, but is rusting badly because it was half rusted alreadyB360E43D-F25A-4304-9CEA-709FFF875F59.thumb.jpeg.9ed8760846673beee1f6db98d32a3ae6.jpeg . Joe’s is an original but he felt there could be something made better that wouldn’t corrode and rust like the originals all did. Joe, being the engineer that he is, drew up a design, emailed it to me, and sent me a piece of 2” round brass stock. Following his drawings, I turned up 9 blanks out of the one piece of brass. I cut one off the end after boring the .750 hole for the center post in the bottom of the mascot. Using the vertical mill, I crudely milled off the required amount of the center flange, then finished it up with a file. I had also bored a .406 hole down the center of the whole piece in which the square hole to fit the post will be filed by hand. After finishing the first one by hand as described, I tested it on the Olds and it fit perfectly along with locking tight at the stops perfectly aligned with the hood hinge. Kudos to joe for another excellent design. The remaining pieces that are still together as an assembly will be put on the vertical mill in a rotary table to mill off the Required amount of the flange. This will make a much nicer looking piece than doing it by hand.

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Finished up all the cap inserts yesterday. I used a horizontal rotary table to mill off the remainder of the flange not needed. The two dog ears are .375 wide and using a .375 tool bit it was easy to set up. Once the piece and mill were centered, I simply moved the piece .375 off center one way and ran the bit down to the depth of the body of the insert. Moving the table cut one side of the dogs on all the inserts. I then went to center again and continued to -.375 on the digital readout. Then the other cut was made for the opposite side of the dogs. I rotated the piece 180 degrees and did exactly the same. I changed the bit to a 3/16" and then centered the piece. The bit was then set to the depth of body of the insert, moved to the center of the flange, then the piece was rotated from dog to dog to remove the flange. While I'm sure it could have been done another way, it worked for a non-critical piece like this.

      I then moved to the lathe to bore the 3/4" hole for the mascot post. I used a 3/4" milling bit to make the hole which is not the best way to do it but it does yield a flat bottom hole pretty quickly in brass. My bit is a two flange cutter so there was some chatter marks but again, it's not critical and will not affect the piece. I then used my cutoff tool to remove the insert from the rest, then repeated the process until all were done. I will hold off making the square holes until actually each piece goes on the mascot. This will allow for any adjustments for alignment due to any dependencies in the post or if the insert is used on another car radiator. 

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Edited by chistech (see edit history)
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Ted, I've found that when using a milling cuter that way it helps a lot to hold them in a collet. I bought a cheap set of ER collets that I use with a MT adapter in the tail stock. If you are opening up a hole (i.e. most of the center is already drilled) it works better still. So, were I going to put a flat bottom 3/4 hole in something I'd probably drill it 5/8" so that the point of the drill is just a few thousandths short of the bottom, then go in with the end mill to clean up the sides and flatten the bottom. That's what I did with the ends of the shackle bolts I just finished.

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Thanks for the advice Joe, I figured there was a better way to do it but they really didn't need to be absolutely perfect and really didn't want to spend a lot of time doing them. My lathe is a small Logan, not the best, but I'll look into a MT adapter. It was of course a lot faster just using the mill bit but I knew there would be some chatter markings. If it was a four flute it probably would have been better. The hole goes on top of the mascots post so it will never be seen. I guess the chatter marks might even help "bite" into the post some when the screw is tightened! LOL (now there's some BS for doing it the way I did!)

 

While I'm thinking about it, where is a good place to get 1" leather flat belt and alligator clips? My lathe needs a new drive belt. Mine is stretched and constantly slipping or moving off the pulleys. My current belt is an old piece of saddle leather that I tapered the ends and brass riveted.

Edited by chistech (see edit history)
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I've been using - and completely satisfied with the "Super Grip Flat Belting" from McMaster Carr. It's a lot cheaper than leather - which is why I bought it in the first place - but the belts on my lathe and drill press have now been fine for more than 10 years so I guess its durable as well. Would 1-1/4" work? I think I have a long piece that was on my surface grinder but didn't work all that well there. I replaced it with a piece of conveyor belting ... you are welcome to it if you want to try it and I can throw in a strip of alligator clip. If it will fit it's worth a try.

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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On 8/19/2020 at 11:49 PM, JV Puleo said:

I've been using - and completely satisfied with the "Super Grip Flat Belting" from McMaster Carr. It's a lot cheaper than leather - which is why I bought it in the first place - but the belts on my lathe and drill press have now been fine for more than 10 years so I guess its durable as well. Would 1-1/4" work? I think I have a long piece that was on my surface grinder but didn't work all that well there. I replaced it with a piece of conveyor belting ... you are welcome to it if you want to try it and I can throw in a strip of alligator clip. If it will fit it's worth a try.

Hi joe, 1st time back to the forum. I think 1 1/4” will work. I’ll check and let you know. I can mail you a check for the shipping at least. These days that’s more than many of the items we buy.

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Hi John,

Not sure if Michelle will be coming. I might just drive down Friday, sleep on a cot in my trailer, attend the show on Sat., then leave for home after the show. My buddy John Fontes might come with me as he likes to travel and go to shows with me. We've been buddies for 42-43 years or so.

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  • 2 months later...

Great show and great weather in Gettysburg this weekend. The Olds won its senior award and I got some very useful information from the judges on something I had incorrect on the car. Turns out the valve stem covers that I was told should be on the car are incorrect for 1932 and are for 28-29’. Will be getting the correct stem covers for the next show. 

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2 hours ago, chistech said:

Great show and great weather in Gettysburg this weekend. The Olds won its senior award and I got some very useful information from the judges on something I had incorrect on the car. Turns out the valve stem covers that I was told should be on the car are incorrect for 1932 and are for 28-29’. Will be getting the correct stem covers for the next show. 

Any chance you could post a photo or more information on the correct valve stem covers you need? I know that I have some valve stem covers from that era, but I have no idea what they are correct for. If I happen to have what you need, I would be happy to make you a deal on them.

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christech:

 Congratulations! Each time I came by you were not at the car. Sorry to have missed you.DSCF8420.thumb.JPG.0147a7c390797b761c8c0374e7974dbc.JPG

I know my son was very taken by your car. He took more photos which I have not seen yet.

It was nice for us to go from car to car and for me to identify those of who we have had contact with on the AACA forums.

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15 hours ago, MCHinson said:

Any chance you could post a photo or more information on the correct valve stem covers you need? I know that I have some valve stem covers from that era, but I have no idea what they are correct for. If I happen to have what you need, I would be happy to make you a deal on them.

I ended up ordering a set of 6 from Coker Tire. But, I will need some more as Joe needs a set also. Below is the link.

 

https://www.cokertire.com/accessories/nickel-cap-1-1-8-inch-tall.html

 

 

 

Edited by chistech (see edit history)
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I think that I might have some of those, but as cheap as they are, and with consistent plating on the reproduction ones, unless you really want some original ones that might need replating, I am not going to bother looking through the boxes to find them. If you do have an interest in original ones, let me know and I will be happy to search the boxes. 

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6 hours ago, dibarlaw said:

christech:

 Congratulations! Each time I came by you were not at the car. Sorry to have missed you.DSCF8420.thumb.JPG.0147a7c390797b761c8c0374e7974dbc.JPG

I know my son was very taken by your car. He took more photos which I have not seen yet.

It was nice for us to go from car to car and for me to identify those of who we have had contact with on the AACA forums.

Sorry I missed you Larry. I actually had some time to walk around, was able to see the other cars, and take some pictures. It was an excellent show. Thanks for the picture, I didn’t take one of my own car, I forgot!  LOL 

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54 minutes ago, MCHinson said:

I think that I might have some of those, but as cheap as they are, and with consistent plating on the reproduction ones, unless you really want some original ones that might need replating, I am not going to bother looking through the boxes to find them. If you do have an interest in original ones, let me know and I will be happy to search the boxes. 

Thanks Matt. I agree, probably not worth your effort. I spoke with joe today and he had already ordered himself a set from Coker. Thanks for the offer though.

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3 hours ago, chistech said:

Sorry I missed you Larry. I actually had some time to walk around, was able to see the other cars, and take some pictures. It was an excellent show. Thanks for the picture, I didn’t take one of my own car, I forgot!  LOL 

I did the same with no photo proof of my 1937 Buick entered at the show. Too many other nice images to store. When we were at the Grand National in July we drove down in our 1925 Buick as spectators.

We saw many people taking pictures of our group as we drove by. Always nice to see a car full of people with the top down.

thumbnail_IMG_0219.jpg.4f4f70753df5f8fbd6a31996af5786be.jpg Oh well we got a few at Caledonia State Park on Labor Day. 

Missed again.

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As we all know, our cars being judged are sometimes judged by a judges opinion or his understanding of a rule. After discussing with Joe what I was told about the valve stem covers, he did some research and sent me this. This is from the official judging manual and if you notice it mentions Fords and Chevy, but not any other brands. We’ve decided we would just remove the covers when showing and not bother changing to the stem nut covers.

 

 

 

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Edited by chistech (see edit history)
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I am not sure quite what you mean by "We’ve decided we would just remove the covers when showing and not bother changing to the stem nut covers."

While the rule's wording might be a bit difficult to understand, the bottom line is: What type of valve stem hardware was on the car when delivered by the factory? You need to have the valve stem hardware on the car that looks exactly like the original valve stem hardware when the car was new, or else you are likely to see a deduction for valve stems. It does not matter if the valve stem that is hidden by any cover is different from original, but it should visibly look identical to the way it looked when delivered by the factory. 

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It has the correct nickel stems, it’s just the covers they claimed were wrong. When I unscrewed the cover, the judge said that I had the correct stem. Actually, my car has 17” tires and the nickel stems for 17” tubes only came in one length also.

Edited by chistech (see edit history)
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We seem to be beating a dead horse here and it is difficult to clearly communicate this small detail with just typing.

 

No judge should ask you to unscrew anything to show them another part underneath it. If the stem covers are the size and style that the car originally came with, you just need documentation that they are correct as original in case someone questions it. If they are not the same length or style as original, then you need the correct length if the covers were standard. If the car was available without stem covers, you don't need them at all. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ok, more research done on the stem covers. The judge did not ask me to remove them, I did so on my own so he could see the nickel stems underneath, which he said were correct. Joe called me the other day and said he had been going through a bunch of factory photos he has and found one he could enlarge enough to view the valve stems. The picture shows a cover similar to what I bought from Coker but taller because of the longer stem of the 17” tube. Looking at the three largest antique car tire suppliers, all have the same 2 1/2” nickel stem on the 17” tube. The pass through stem covers I purchased from Coker are for the shorter stems available on the 18” tubes. 
     I’m thinking I might machine some sleeves that will screw to the top of the rim nut just like the covers I have now do. I will taper them and allow the stems to pass through like they should. Again they will be custom but like what the picture shows. They are just not available for the Olds anymore.

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Still trying to understand what hardware was on the stems originally. Can you post the enlarged photo? Small details like this are interesting, and who knows, someone may have some and just not know what they have. A set of originals would be nice if they happened to be out there somewhere.

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chistech - new to this website, forum, etc.  I am finding your posts invaluable.  I am also realizing how ignorant I am to the restoration process. 

My back story is simple.  My Dad bought a 1932 Oldsmobile (Patrician) back in the early 1960's. He and a buddy of his got the car working/drive able.  He and my Mom used to drive it around on Sundays as their recreational activity.  Anyway, the car  ended up in multiple barns and was eventually transported to the house I grew up in back in the early 70's.  Growing up, my Dad would tell my twin brother and I that we would restore the car when we were in HS.  We never did.  I am hoping to honor the intent with completing the restoration project with my own children.  My son and youngest daughter are in on the project!  We transported the car to my tiny single bay garage and have started researching and disassembling (packaging/labeling) the car.  Come to find out, the car is an F-31. 

 

In reading the mulit-year posts,  I have concluded that there are so many steps that I will need to select parts of the process and rely on other craftsmen for portions of the project.  I have never done a car restoration or any significant car work.  I consider myself handy in the garage and can do simple things like oil changes, suspension, brakes, starters, serpentine belts, general maintenance, etc.  So - why not adventure out and try something harder?   

 

To start with - I would love to consider you and your post a resource.  Secondly, I have realized how hard it is to find parts from this era.  Is there a way you can share a directory of who/where/how you found parts?

 

I do look forward to the F-31 project.  Any advice, guidance is hugely appreciated.

 

Again - thanks for posting all that you have.

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Hi george,

welcome to the forum. I will offer as much help as I can. I know a fair amount on the 32’ but the 31’ is a different animal. Not a lot different but somethings are. Your car looks fairly complete by the picture and you need to determine what your goal is first. The term restoration is different for everyone. You need to decide if you just want a good driver with original paint and interior, a good mechanical car with new paint and interior, a local show car, or a full blown OEM type restoration show car. Most times it’s something in between but you need to determine what that is first. Of course the less work you do, the less it will cost. The more you do, the more it will cost. I would recommend if you do things, do them to top quality as you’ll only have to do them once. If you want a high quality driver for instance and paint the car, paint it original colors and style. If you chrome things get the better chrome. While it’s just a driver to you, you’ll have more selling options if you do it original. If you do it free lance, you’ll only have one way to go with it. That’s just my opinion and it’s your car so you can totally disregard my advice and it won’t bother me one bit. A good thing is there’s more 31’s around than 32’s but some parts can be just as hard to find like tail light lenses and things like that. Your car has wire wheels which many desire more than the wood so you’re ahead there. What is the condition of the wood?

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The paint company told my painter that the calendars were done. When he called to get some they told him the decided at last minute to pull my Olds, claiming the resolution of my photo wasn’t good enough. That is a BS tale as the photo I submitted was a high resolution one taken by a professional photographer and it was the photo I submitted for my National award. They claimed it was grainy yet when blown up its crystal clear on my iPad. So they claimed they woyld publish it on all their websites and social forum sites for the year then put it in the 2022 calendar. I don’t believe anyone anymore. It’s PPG, valspar, sherwin Williams, Matrix. They’re all one company. Just a little pissed as they promised it would be in this year. 

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The intent is to restore to an excellent daily driver that can go to some local shows - but mostly just enjoy with family/friends.   Must be mechanically sound.  With that being said, most items will need to be redone.  I have been pursuing 31/32 examples of restorations for a while and it looks like people make a lot of modifications.  Some look really nice.  Some!  Although mods may be minor, they are noticeable - such as color schemes, interior materials, patterns, parts, etc.  I am looking to keep the car "original" in look.  same color, same style, same engine, etc.  I may need to take time to do things like interior, brake lights, etc. as I manage a reasonable budget.

 

Good question on the the wood.  The wood is still in question.  The roof of the barn had leaked on the vehicle for many years.  The roof system/cribbing of the car and interior fabric is long gone.  As I am dissembling, many of the bolts/screws are are rusted into the wood to the point they can not be removed.  I believe you refer to it as "nail sickness".  Once the body is off, I will assess much closer.  I have had to cut off the 8 bolts that hold the frame to the body.  Were the car bodies using oak wood or ash wood?   The other item I am itching to determine is the quality of the axles/powertrain.  Again, once the body is off, I will be able to look more closely hopefully over new years weekend.

 

Also - where did you find brake parts?

 

Thanks

George

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Ash was used for the wood and while I’ve used oak for a part here or there, the ash is much better all around to work with and is less moisture sensitive than the oak. I suggest you join the National Antique Oldsmobile Club and find the list of all the 31’ owners in the member directory. They are listed by year so it’s easy to locate them and then send emails out to all that have an email address listed. Some will answer, some will not. Some can help, some will not. I did exactly that and found a couple of people very willing to help. Also had a couple who were outright rude and unwilling to help but that’s just the nature of some people I guess. There is one guy I’ve spoken with many times who’s extremely knowledgeable in 31’ Olds. He is a member here. His name is Rich Janouskovec (I hope I spelled it right). Search for him and PM him. He’ll forget more than most will ever know on the 31’s.

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14 minutes ago, chistech said:

Ash was used for the wood and while I’ve used oak for a part here or there, the ash is much better all around to work with and is less moisture sensitive than the oak. I suggest you join the National Antique Oldsmobile Club and find the list of all the 31’ owners in the member directory. They are listed by year so it’s easy to locate them and then send emails out to all that have an email address listed. Some will answer, some will not. Some can help, some will not. I did exactly that and found a couple of people very willing to help. Also had a couple who were outright rude and unwilling to help but that’s just the nature of some people I guess. There is one guy I’ve spoken with many times who’s extremely knowledgeable in 31’ Olds. He is a member here. His name is Rich Janouskovec (I hope I spelled it right). Search for him and PM him. He’ll forget more than most will ever know on the 31’s.

Ash has just enough flex to it to avoid cracking of sheet metal and stress marks - a car done in oak usually has plenty of stress marks over time in sheetmetal and paint. 

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I requested my score sheet from the Gettysburg show and received it a day or two ago. Now I can just shake my head. Areas marked were striping, floor mat or rugs, valve stem covers (which I knew), excessively dirty engine compartment, and engine head. WTH. Now there’s more stuff! Here is what I can think of to justify those areas.

1. striping: there is a tiny scratch of pinstripe paint removed just above the door handle (about 1/16” wide”)that had to have happened while we were taking pictures of the car late Friday. It looks like a finger nail might have done it. I don’t have nails so I can only guess it’s how it happened. I have extensively researched my pinstripes and know they are in the correct areas and they are NOT in areas where they shouldn’t be. Is that 1/16” missing what they deducted for? (I can touch it up and will)

2. Floor mat: I have an NORS floor mat in the car. It’s not genuine 32’ Oldsmobile but none are available or in existence today. The mat I have is a perfect design for my floor considering it’s a GM, early 30’s period correct generic, but it’s ribbing and outlines match the angles of my threshold/kick panels and the angle of my floor board to the toe board. This mat has a 1/2” split in it at the back edge on the drivers side corner. Barely visible and I believe this mat is a much better option than the new, generic Fisher Body labeled mat that I bought from Mac Blair but haven’t yet installed. It has simple straight ribbing with no side or separate panel delineation lines. Once the mat is cut to fit it simply has ribs running front to back that finish at the cut edges. Even Joe commented on how much better my NORS mat looks over the Blair reproduction mat. Is it this tiny split what they deducted for? Would I do better with the more incorrect, not as good looking, fresh rubber, but tiny split free mat in place? 

3. Valve stem covers: since the show my research has shown that the 32’ Olds with 17” tires used a longer nickel stem than the 18” tubes that were on the more common chevy and Fords in 32’. The pass through stem covers I purchased from Coker are for those shorter stemmed 18” tubes. But, and there’s always a but, factory photos show, and another 32’ Olds owner who has them, pass through stem covers were used on the 32’ but are taller in design. If I cannot source the correct ones, I will turn, bore, and thread some out of hexagon brass stock then have them nickel plated.     So I completely understand this deduction.

4. excessively dirty engine compartment:  this one has me as I can’t see any dirty area, never mind anywhere that’s excessive. (See my theory below)

5. Engine, head: this one I can understand I think. When I fixed my leaking head gasket and set the thread inserts into the block, I used copper gasket spray on the head gasket. Running the engine and getting it warm had made one area on the head to block seam get a round smear spot of copper spray about the size of the tip of your pinky finger or maybe 3/8”. So I assume this is the head deduction and it would make sense but did the judge also count this as the excessive dirt? If so, that’s double dipping isn’t it? I will definitely freshen the car up for the beginning of next show season and that will include painting the head to block seam with Olds engine green. 
I just thought I’d share what my results were and I came out of this show a little discouraged. It seems they”had” to find something in each category, especially the pinstripes. Just one small thing in each section other than the last two in the same. The judge who judged my engine did come back to me after he walked away to mention my decarbonizer and how he explained to the other judges how it worked, saying it was pretty neat. He thought it was added as he was surprised when I told him it was OEM a for 32’ Olds.

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Judging is a human endeavor. You will find that the same exact car judged by a different set of judges will usually receive similar but slightly different results. Sometimes you will find someone who is a nitpicker. With a car as nice as yours, most judges will take a point for anything they can find that is clearly not up to the near perfect level of everything else on the car. This is not really right as the car was a production car and would have been out the door with such minor flaws from the factory.

 

The flaw in the pinstripe at the most easily noticed area, the small tear in the floor mat, an obvious minor flaw in an otherwise perfect engine appearance, are the sorts of things that probably should not merit a point deduction, but human nature being what it is, often will. Don't be discouraged. From what you have described, you likely happened to have just the right (or wrong) judging team at that meet. For the excessive dirt deduction, you may want to look at the categories on the form above and below excessive dirt and see if any minor flaw might be visible on the coil or the distributor. It would not be the first time someone accidentally wrote a number on the wrong line on a form.  

 

I am sure you will correct those very minor issues and will have an even better result at the next meet. The car is wonderful. Don't sweat it. 

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16 hours ago, chistech said:

I requested my score sheet from the Gettysburg show and received it a day or two ago. Now I can just shake my head.

 

Doesn't - "It's a deliberate mistake, to see if you were paying attention" - work!?

 

Sorry Ted, I could not resist writing the above after reading your post.

 

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