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1923 Moon Restoration Progress


ryan95
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This is my first time posting the progress I have made on the car that I am working on. It is not my car, but belongs to a friend in my neighborhood who recently retired and has been looking for someone willing to restore his car, which he purchased intending to restore it. I am 24 years old and this is my first car restoration. I had not had much experience in woodworking either until last year. I have always appreciated old machines though, so when I first saw this car in 2018 I caught the "old car bug." From late 2018 until last fall I spent about a year researching and planning the project. The pictures below are some before and after pictures from Thanksgiving until now along with some pictures in the wood shop. Almost all of the original wooden parts were rotten, cracked, and or twisted, so I spent the winter remaking as much as I could. About 2/3 of the wooden parts are done and assembled. I am a small engine mechanic, so this has been a good way to keep me busy in my slow season. Now more customers are beginning to call with repair jobs, so I am putting less hours into the car, but I hope to keep putting in a few hours per week. Our goal is to get the car on the road again in 2023 for its hundredth birthday. Please let me know if you would like to see anything else or have questions of how I did something. I'm posting this since I figure that some of you would appreciate seeing a youngster restoring a prewar car!

Ryan

 

 

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Looks good.......my building that holds my cars and shop is a 1922 Moon Car dealership......still have the showroom lights.......it's 8000 sq feet. Located in Springfield Mass.

 

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Very nice to see someone your age tackiing one of these, to see a fine old car being re-done, and to know there will in future be an experienced person in auto wood framing in your area. I've done a lot of woodwork on  2 cars, a '27 Pontiac Coupe, and a '31 Chevrrolet Coach, some with good old patterns, some without patterns for some pieces. It is important to get the pieces very exact to the originals as most know, or otherwise sheetmetal fit will be near impossible. Also crucial to keep everything square and true, most factories used jigs to achieve that. You seem to have the knack, so good luck and please keep us in the loop. and BTW, 4 door tourers are probably the most difficult of all to get proper fitting of all 4 doors, the slightest bit of sag, twist, mis-dimension, poor shimming on frame etc will make door fit impossible to get right. I helped a friend rebuild a '28 Ford Touring car and getting doors aligned was a nightmare.

Edited by Gunsmoke (see edit history)
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Ryan, I agree with Gunsmoke, that it's encouraging to see a 24 year old doing a restoration such as yours. Please keep us up to date with pictures about your progress. I replaced from the rear doors back on my 1946 Ford, Station Wagon, so I can appreciate your work.

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35 minutes ago, ryan95 said:

Thanks edinmass. If you are willing, I would like to talk to you sometime about your building and what you know about Moons.

 

Sure...just PM me. 

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Excellent work. Just recently got to see the progress on body rebuilding for a V-16 Cadillac. It's quite an undertaking to have to start with wood suited only for patterns just to make the framework.  Your talent and patience are evident!

Terry

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Hi Ryan,

 Great to see your work, you obviously have the skill necessary to do this task.

 I was a bit younger than you when I started rebuilding a 1928 Chrysler tourer, so I would like to offer some well meaning advice.

 I built my body on top of 4x  5gallon drums and got the whole body together with doors fitting nicely, when it came time to fit the body back onto the frame, nothing opened or closed, not even close. It was so far out, that I had to strip out the centre pillars and doors and pretty much redo the whole thing.

 You are building your body balanced on two trestle tables, with the front and rear of the body hanging over both ends, much the same as I did on the drums, my advice to you before you go any further is to mount the body onto the chassis frame, and finish the bodywork on the frame. 

 Look forward to following your progress and wish you all the best on this restoration 

Viv.

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I have been working on wood for my 1925 Buick touring for some time now.  Since the original wood was gone, my effort has been directed toward making a full body wood pattern using old scrap softwood lumber to come up with patterns, tools, and know how before I start cutting new hardwood.   The body curves front to back, and again in up down direction, so all the pieces above the sill line require a lot of hand fitting before the sheetmetal will sit correctly.  The center pillar between front and rear doors is critical to door alignment.  If tipped forward or backward a fraction of an inch, both front and rear doors won't line up.   The front doors have a warp of approximately 1-1/2",  and I figured out how to produce that after finding a rear door at a swap meet that had original wood in very poor condition, and measuring the angles of the corner tenons.  They are compound tenons which can be reproduced with a table saw tenoning jig. The saw blade has to be tipped to the first angle, and a wedge cut to the second angle is placed behind the workpiece when clamped in the tenoning jig.  I must have made over a dozen door frames before getting one that fit. You can see the mark I put on the tenons in the photo.  2 & 3 degree angles are too small to be obvious, so I mark the direction and measure of the angle before cutting.  A good protractor is also necessary. 

Kevin

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I appreciate the advice Viv. Fools despise wisdom and instruction. I did notice that the sills had significant flex to them when I put a level on various parts a month back. Since then I purchased a sandblaster and painting equipment so that I can get the frame painted this summer while it is warm. Thank you for pointing that out. I would have been quite discouraged If I hadn't noticed and made that same mistake.

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Nice work Kevin. In my situation the original wood acts as a pattern, so I am fortunate in that way. Even though the wood is shot, I can usually get a measurement off of on side or the other. I am glad that most pieces have opposite pairs. Some of it is guesswork or averaging the two measurements. Our sheet metal is so ratty that most of it will only serve as patterns for the pieces that will replace them. Since so much of the metal needs replaced, the final shapes of many the wood pieces are not as critical as they might be if I were trying to fit them to the original metal. I am still trying to get it all pretty close to original though. That said, I'm a little jealous of how nice your sheet metal looks.

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viv w wrote "my advice to you before you go any further is to mount the body onto the chassis frame, and finish the bodywork on the frame. 

 

Yes, (or build a proper jig), but if you mount on frame/chassis, put 3/16" shims at 4 or 5 points along length each side and clamp lightly in place so nothing moves around. Before body is set on chassis, make sure chassis is perfectly level fore&aft, and side to side, both at front and rear. You can use jack stands and wood shim on the stands, but it is important that nothing is moving around when you do this. If you use this method, once everything is together, slight additional shimming (adding/subtracting 1/16" here or there) should enable perfect alignment of doors, hood etc. 

 

With these cars, the first order of business is to get the rad shell, hood and cowl aligned, you want a uniform gap at both front, back and sides of hood. Depending on method of bracing between rad shell and cowl, there are specific proceedures for this. Once that is done, then you work backward, getting the 2 front doors aligned/gapped (work both at same time). In most of these cars, the door edges are perfectly vertical at hinges,  so you may have to raise or lower back of car slightly to achieve that. And finally the 2 back doors are fitted, doing both sides at same time while constantly checkng front doors stay in line. I've seen guys spend 2/3 weeks or more tinkering with these parts on 4 door tourers before everything is close enough to button up.  Patience is your best friend. 

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Thanks gunsmoke. I took many measurements to make sure the hood would like up when the body is mounted. I wasn't planning on actually test assembling them yet, but now I think I will soon to make sure everything is right before going further.

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  • 7 months later...

Hi everyone, here's an update on the Moon restoration. Since springtime I have sandblasted, painted, and rebuilt the whole running gear minus the engine, transmission, driveshaft, and steering Box. I had issues with the primer and paint when doing the frame, so that needs redone in the spring. Since winter is here, I have the frame bolted to the springs just for mocking up the body. I hope to resume the woodworking in a couple weeks. The honeycomb radiator was also gone through, soldered and painted by Ellet Radiator in Akron Ohio. Various other small parts have been found or made by others also.

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Moon didn't start using front brakes until 24 when they went to four wheel hydraulic brakes. I don't know if it was optional or standard on all cars that year. This car is a 23 and has mechanical, rear only brakes. It was much harder than I expected to get it all adjusted right. This was my first mechanical brake job. I'm looking forward to seeing how well it will stop compared to another Moon I was allowed to drive by a fellow club member.

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  • 5 months later...

It has been a while since I gave an update on the Moon. Since posting last time, the cowl section has been rebuilt and the mid section pillars and top rails have been made and fit to the body. We now have a complete body line the whole way around the car, which I thought was a big milestone since it finally resembles a car. Getting all of the doors to fit right and line up was a major job of many hours. I am very thankful for the suggestion to do the doors with the body mounted to the frame to maintain proper alignment. For the most part, all that is left with the woodwork is to build the front seat, make a few more floor boards, and build the storage compartment that goes on the floor behind the front seat backrest. The door wood is in great shape, so we will reuse it. Everything else wood related left to be made, with exception of the top bows, are various tack strips and filler pieces. Currently we are having some of the parts nickel plated by Paul's Chrome, and are having the disc wheels straightened by my local Amish machinist. The machinist just finished the first wheel yesterday with great success.

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It is looking very good! I am so pleased to see people still taking on and doing the difficult restorations! They do take a lot more time than one can imagine before actualy doing such a project. But there is a satisfaction seeing each step completed that is very difficult to describe.

Out of the tremendously huge disorder of the universe, to focus on one little thing, grab all the bits and remake what is missing, and put it back to order.

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I do have on question - how do you keep your shop so neat and well organized?

Terry

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Posted (edited)

Looks great, well done. Impressive results for an at home restoration. 👍👍👍

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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Hello Ryan, I am restoring a 1940 Lasalle woodie station wagon. This restoration sounds similar to yours in that I am reproducing bits of rotten wood. I have to study joints partially missing on both sides to get the full picture. Since the body was rotten on the frame and sagging, I spent a lot of time to determine the correct height and angle of the floor above the frame. I have become fascinated with cars like yours with a metal skin over a wood frame. That seems like another layer of complexity over a station wagon because the wood frame has to be built to ensure the metal skin fits.           Talk about fitting the skin to the wood. Do you have to continually hold up the metal to the wood to check for fit?     How is the metal attached to the wood?       Are there seams in the metal?   If so, how are they covered over if at all?   Thanks, Tom

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Absolutely fantastic.

Though I too have had my share of rewooding,I wouldn't even think about any more then some roof wood work now that I'm 60.

 

I know of a Cadillac touring and 2 Lincoln mid 20's touring cars and 1 sedan under one roof that are 100 complete, intact with no rust but all need a 100 %COMPLETE re-wood job. 

They are passed over by eveyone who has seen them in the past 25 years..It never even gets to a price to consider..

No Moons !

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for all of the support guys. As for how I stay organized, many of the parts that need worked on eventually are in the owner's garage, the countless wood shavings and sawdust stay in the woodshop, and if you count only see the other side of the garage you would see a number of Moon parts and other projects. Also, even though I sacrificed my garage bay for restoration parts storage, my wife gets the middle bay. She has let me borrow her spot time to time though when the work overflows. As for the sheet metal, I have no idea how I would make all of the new wood fit if we were reusing all of it. Being off by a small amount means that a panel won't work as it is. Much of our metal has enough rust that I will be making new panels. Other ones will need some adjustments made. Thankfully the hood and fenders are in great shape. Everything else needs figured out, but they are flat panels or are close to it. This winter I hope to put my learning to the test and try my hand at panel beating.

Edited by ryan95 (see edit history)
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