Monday, March 19, 2018

Almost Back in the Saddle Again

As I announced in my 3-3-18 post on my LeMans blog, I’ve decided to bump up the priority of Mikhaila’s Corvair (named Scarlett) so that she can have it to drive sooner (within a few months) rather than later (within a few years). This means that this blog will be reactivated to follow our progress on replacing the wrecked front end of her Monza convertible. I should state here that, for the first time, one of my children has more cars than I do. In addition to the aforementioned Corvair convertible, Mikhaila also has her daily-driver MX-3 and the Golf GTI we’re working to put on the road. Speaking of the latter, this past weekend she and I got the new clutch installed, the transmission put back into place, and everything reinstalled and hooked back up. Yay team. We did all this in very close confines (see above layout). Once I confirm the clutch take-up is where it should be, I’ll drop it off the jackstands and drive it out of the garage. That’ll allow us to move to the next task, replacing the heater core. For that, though, I’ll drive the LeMans out of the garage and put the GTI in its place. There’s no way I can strip out the interior and dash in its current confines – it’ll take the entire garage.

During the, hopefully, short time the LeMans is outside, it’ll be under a tarp with most of the loose parts pieces piled in a corner of the garage.

Once the GTI has its heat restored, it’ll leave the garage and Scarlett will take its place. Could be a busy Spring – I sure hope so.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Really, Just One

Click here for a Video, "Last tow for Glinda."

Last night I completed the transaction of selling Glinda. For the first time in nearly fifteen years, there is not a road-going Corvair available for me to drive. As I mentioned previously, Scarlett is being mothballed so my TTT (see sidebar definitions) is completely focused on my LeMans.

The closure of Glinda’s sale was not without a few iffy moments. First, the buyer hadn’t contacted me for a while. In fact, the last contact we had was him acknowledging my sending him detailed photos of Glinda’s rough spots. I was afraid he was having second thoughts, and I was fretting about dealing with the deposit he’d sent me. Then, Friday I received a text from him explaining how he’d injured himself at work, and asking me if I’d be will to transport the car to his home in northern VA. He said he had the balance of payment in cash on-hand, so I agreed to take the risk he may still renege and I’d be towing the car back home. I got to his place just after twilight. He did a thorough inspection and test drive, handed me the money, I signed over the pink slip, and it was done. I was out of the Corvair-driving business for the foreseeable future.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

And Then There Was One

What a momentous weekend. Last Saturday, I sold Luna and took a deposit on the sale of Glinda. Within a couple hours, my car-world went from Corvair-centric to LeMans-centric, and I couldn’t be happier. Once the sale of Glinda is complete, I’ll be putting this blog, as well as Scarlett’s wreck repairs, on hold.

My efforts to document the trials and tribulations of old car roadification will not end however. I’ll be creating a new blog that will start with the extraction of my 1965 Pontiac LeMans convertible from its storage spot behind my garage. This long-suffering car needs plenty of attention to get it back on the road after twenty-three years of sitting. Really, this car has never been roadworthy since I bought it in 1985.

Back to what happened this weekend. I got a call last Wednesday from a guy in PA interested in Luna. He told me how he’d fixed up a couple Corvairs before (a EM coupe and a LM 4-door), but always wanted a convertible. He’d sold the two he’d had and was in the market for a project. I answered all his questions, and we ended the conversation with him saying he was interested. Saturday morning I got a call asking if he could come by that afternoon. I gave him my address and he arrived around three in the afternoon. After about forty-five minutes of talking to me and thoroughly checking out the car, he asked me how far down I’d go. We went back and forth until we settled on a sale price of $1700 plus the cost of gas for me to deliver the car. I believe he got a very good deal, but, more importantly, Victoria (the daughter who’d bought this car back in 2012) and I can move on.

The story of Glinda’s (presumed) sale is very different. Around ten Saturday morning I had the following text conversation with an unknown phone:

Him: Hello Tom do you still have the 68?
Me: Yes
Him: Standing here with Lee he says I need to buy it.
Me: Tell Lee I think he's a smart man

I didn’t hear anything more until soon after Luna’s buyer had departed. Then, a long-ish text popped up explaining who the sender was and making me an offer of $2500 to buy Luna, the 140 engine pieces, and my tow-bar. I replied that the engine stuff had been sold and I needed to keep the tow-bar since I still had old cars that would probably require a tow in the future. He then asked a few questions and I answered them and he offered me $2000 and I accepted. He PayPal-ed me a deposit and we made plans for him to come and conclude the deal in two weeks.

And with that the fleet has shrunk to one.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

UPDATE: Luna has sold and is gone. Recurring Theme (i.e. Luna’s also for sale)

UPDATED 1/10/17: Added more photos to the bottom of the post.
UPDATED 1/9/17: Added video links.

Last week Victoria told me I should sell Luna for her. She has accepted the fact that her life is too busy to spend the time required to roadify the car. I feel badly for her because she really likes the car, but I can’t work on it without her. Add to that her supposedly reliable, modern car sucked all the spare car time she had during the first half of last year, and she’s in no mood to give up what little free time she has on another car. I put a listing on Facebook and Craigslist and have received the following notable responses: trade for a motorcycle (had to say no), low-ball offer, “I’m still looking and will get back to you,” and an appointment for someone to come by Saturday to look at her. Currently, her battery is dead, but I plan on jump-starting her Saturday morning and adjusting the carbs so she at least runs and drives for any prospective buyer. I toyed with the idea of welding in the patch panels in the rockers and the front fender, but there are too many other priorities in my life right now.

With that said, here’s the pertinent info on Luna. She has a 110HP engine with a Powerglide automatic transmission. Currently, the engine doesn’t run since she needs a battery and a tuning of the newly rebuilt carburetors. She has new tires and a new top, but the top’s installation isn’t perfect - needs some adjustments. There are rust issues in the rocker panel, right front fender, and passenger door, but replacement panels and door are included. The odometer reads 24k miles, but I’m sure it’s 124k. The top is manually operated, but goes up and down easily. We’re asking $2000 for the car with the extra parts. More photos at the bottom of this post. Here's a video of the engine running. Here's a video of me driving the car around our neighborhood.

As I mentioned in my last post, I am selling the parts needed to build a 140 HP engine. Here are a couple photos of the major parts included (note buyer gets two blocks to choose from). Also included is a bin of internal parts including the lifters, rods, pistons, oil pan, fasteners, etc.

I’ve not had any offers on Glinda as of yet, but I’m still hopeful a buyer will come along soon.
As part of my Corvair Reduction Plan, I’ve taken another load of GUPs up to the Corvair Ranch. In return Jeff presented me with a front end of another ’64 to use to repair Scarlett. This cleansing has allowed me to take down the storage shelves in the garage making more room for working. Unfortunately, after pushing Scarlett against one wall, there’s still a large part of floorspace is being taken up by aforementioned front clip. Hopefully, this weekend I can cut it down to something that’s closer to what I need and recycle the rest.

Here are more photos of Luna.

Friday, December 23, 2016

UPDATE: Glinda has SOLD. Time For Another Change (i.e. Glinda's For Sale)

UPDATE: Deal went through. Car has gone to VA.
UPDATE: Well, actually I have a deposit on her sale. Fingers are crossed it goes though.

For Sale: 1968 500 coupe. Tripoli Turquoise. Was a 110/PG, now has a four speed manual transmission with a posi rear differential. Engine is the stock 110 with 75k miles and runs strong. All the smog equipment is long gone. This was my daily-driver until the salt hit road here in Baltimore.

Other changes from stock include: relocated jets in the carbs, Z-28 wheels, lowered one coil all around, Koni shocks, polyurethane bushings, quick-steer arms, Roger Parent throttle linkages, Cobalt seats, raised air cleaner, Flowmaster muffler, Pertronix II ignition, Seth's plug wires.

Extra parts included: solid trunk-lid, solid trunk bottom, tight steering box, choice of Corsa dash w/ gauges or manual transmission Monza dash with gauges, driver’s door panel, leftover touch-up paint, rear bumper, 5-point harness.

Also available are the following 140 HP engine parts: '66 RM code block, crank, cam, distributor, like-new heads, exhaust manifolds, '65 throttle linkage, two secondary carbs built by Grant Young and never used, and upper engine shrouds.

I’ve driven this car at NECC events and it is a blast to drive - competitive too. Brett Aston is fast and drives a quick Corvair. At New York Safety Track, his best lap was 2 minute flat. My best lap was 2:03.

The whole package can be yours for $2700. Minus the 140 engine stuff, I’ll let it go for $2100.

Monday, November 21, 2016


My two daughters that still own Corvairs joined me in the driveway Saturday to work on their respective convertibles. About 3 PM, the nice-and-sunny turned into windy-and-more-windy - a cold front swept into our driveway and almost swept away the portable garage and Scarlett’s tarp. In the midst of the gale, the girls soldiered on with their tasks.

Mikhaila was removing broken bits from Scarlett’s left front and cataloguing all the pieces we’ll need to replace. When she finished that, she undid the two bolts holding the trunk-lid latch in place and the turnk was open. She emptied it out and we then worked together to try and push some of the mashed metal back out. I’m not thinking I’ll get away with not replacing large sections of sheetmetal, but I do want to make it easier to cut out the bad and make patches and only with the body in some semblance of straight can that happen. We used the tire jack and an assortment of blocks of wood to push on the front panel. It worked somewhat, but we’ve got a ways to go. After she’d turned into a Popsicle, I released her to go inside and thaw out.

Victoria’s goal was to get Luna running again. She started by installing a pair of recently rebuilt ’68 vintage carburetors including reinstalling the linkage pieces and hooking up the fuel lines. Next, she dropped in and hooked up the battery. Finally, before turning the key, she injected fuel into each carb’s bowl using a syringe. Sadly, when she turned the key, we discovered the battery had gone dead. This is the one that was in Glinda and had gone bad, but I’d recharged it and it seemed to be holding the charge. I was wrong. The plan now is to pull the battery out of Glinda and use it to get Luna running and into the garage.

Friday, November 18, 2016

So Much To Do, So What Do I Do?

There’s a guy here in Maryland who recently posted on Facebook that he’s looking for a daily-driver Corvair. Given all the work ahead of me with Scarlett and, probably, Luna, I’ve been toying with the idea of trading Glinda for something more modern – like a mid-90s MX-6. So, after some thought I messaged him that I’d sell Glinda for $2200. He says he’s interested, but nothing’s happened.

If Glinda didn’t need so many little issues dealt with, I wouldn’t even consider giving her up, but she does, so I am. In addition to the items on the To-Do list (see sidebar), here’s a mostly complete list in no particular order.

Install the Cobalt rear seat

Clean and reinstall the carpet
Fix the courtesy light
Repair and install the GUP driver’s door panel

Replace the rear bumper

Install the GUP steering box
Splice the broken oil pressure gauge tube and replace the ferrule at the rear of the gauge
Remove the heater fan and clean and lube the motor
Replace the package tray cardboard with something that will accommodate speakers
Install a good mount for the racing harness shoulder belts
Bolt down the fourth hole of the each Cobalt front bucket seat
Weld in a new trunk bottom

Rebuild the blinker switch
Plug the smog hole and AT dipstick hole in the engine bay

Replace the gauge panel with a GUP I’ve got from a manual shift car (need to choose 500 or Corsa style)
Replace the hood with a GUP I’ve got

Eradicate rust: rear shock towers, multiple body locations

Paint the car orange

Kinda’ daunting given all my other commitments (put big sad face here). She runs really well right now, so I do love to drive her.