Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Betty - How We Got To This Point

Betty came to us as a generous gesture of a fellow CORSA of Baltimore club member. Here's the story as well as the little bit I've been able to do since acquiring her:

Jul 28, 2008: During last week, while I was spending the week at Camp Hope working with our church's youth on poor peoples' houses, I got an e-mail from a fellow Corvair club member. The gist of the message was that he’d bought a couple of Corvairs and “wanted to talk to me about them in detail.” As soon as I got home on Saturday I called his house. When his wife passed him the phone, he greeted me with, "free Corvair dot com" and then asked me if I wanted a 1966 for FREE! He and his son had gone to look at a decent late model. His son really liked it, but the seller needed to sell another one and was insisting on making it part of the deal. Since Rich got a great deal, he now needs someone to get the primered one out of his driveway. He knew I wanted a late-model, so he offered it to me. Without hesitation and with great gratitude I told him I’d take it. It’s got an automatic transmission and the low-horsepower engine in it, but that means I can safely run 87 octane gas. From the picture I’m almost certain it’s a 500 model (entry-level = bench seat, rubber floor mat, dog-dish wheel covers). All cool stuff for me.

Jul 29, 2008: Went and got my new '66 Corvair last night. The Suburban flat-towed it home without incident. My 11-year-old took some pictures. It's got some rust-repair and a couple of spots of rust-through, but for the most part it's a good, solid start for my first late-model. It's going into the garage until after I'm done making the modifications to my '63. Then I'll try to get it roadworthy as quickly as possible. I'm dying to feel the difference of the Corvette-based suspension.

Aug 1, 2008: I took a closer look at my new '66 'vair last night and found some Bondo. Mostly in the floors, but some elsewhere. I’m not complaining since it appears that the rusting has stopped for the most part. I’ll do the bodywork and shoot the paint. The color is something I’m struggling with. It’s got a tan and gold interior so that limits me. I want to paint it a light, non-metallic color, and, according to the rest of the family anything brown (including beige, gold, etc.) are NOT acceptable. I’m leaning towards Datsun 918 Orange. What do you think?

Hope I’m lucky enough to find four decent ones. Haven’t put the call in to the Corvair Ranch yet, but I haven’t finished making and prioritizing my list.

Nov 13, 2008: Betty finally got some attention last weekend. My car buddy and his lovely wife came and visited us, so I drug him out to the garage. While he repaired the battery cabling, I drained some REALLY nasty old gas out of the tank. I pulled the destroyed sending unit and replaced it with a decent, used one from my stash. After pouring some new gas into the tank, we discovered a leak at the sender. The seal where the lead for the fuel level sender had popped out. Not wanting to waste his efforts, I cranked the engine with no spark until the TEMP/PRESS light went out, poured some gas down the carbs and she started right up. No knocking or rattling. Yeah. Once the fuel system is working right, I should be able to get the engine to run smoothly pretty quickly. Next will be the brakes before she’ll be roadworthy.

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