Friday, January 29, 2010

CPotD #39 (Those Designers Were Really Thinking)

Back in the early sixties, GM produced many of their models in both sedan and hardtop configurations. The sedans had the overhanging roof like the EM 4-doors, while the hardtops had the bubbletop style like the EM 2-doors. Even though I’m a huge fan of the bubbletop look, I’ve always thought the overhang was also really cool. Today’s CPotD is a GM photo I snagged from this month’s issue of the CORSA Communique (the monthly publication of the national Corvair club). It shows a design exercise that was tried out on the 1960 Corvair. If they had gone through with it, imagine how difficult it would be to get one of those wraparound windows today.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

CPotD #38 (Now For Something Completely Different)

To get away from the whole “which car, what car” topic, today’s CPotD is of Rick Norris’ wonderful racecar. Rick is another one of those friendly, funny guys who likes to make his Corvair go fast on the track. He’s also, obviously, an extremely skilled mechanic – an auto artisan. His website, Corvair Alley, has all the details of his car’s transformation, as well as some great stories about events he’s attended. Check it out; it’s well worth the visit.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

CPotD #37 (Uh-Oh, Legal Issues Ahead)

Today’s CPotD is my photo of PartsCar’s VIN superimposed over her lower front fender. It’s also a picture of an anomaly. Read on.

I had quite the surprising revelation last night when I took a look at PartsCar’s VIN. A visit to the Corvair VIN decoding website told me:

Your car is a 1968 500 2-door coupe.It was the 3808th Corvair built at Willow Run that year.

This cannot be since PartsCar is a 1967 model. She’s got a ’67 interior (for the most part) and she does not have the side marker lights mandated starting in 1968 – hence the photo of the lower front fender. Getting a title for car with an illegal VIN will be problematic, to say the least. Back to Plan A?

Monday, January 25, 2010

CPotD #36 (To Cut Or Not To Cut, Part 2)

Something I’ve been struggling with in this whole PartsCar/Betty decision is sacrificing a solid car. Both cars are in decent enough shape to put through roadification, but each has components the other needs. Betty has an intact hood, but a bad floor, while PartsCar has a rotten hood and an excellent floor. Betty has a running engine, but an automatic transmission, while PartsCar has the 4-speed, but no engine. Both cars could provide the body panels to patch Glinda, but so could many other cars.

It’s that last phrase, “so could many other cars” that I keep coming back to. Today’s CPotD is another photo Victoria took during our visit to the Corvair Ranch. There appear to be plenty of non-restorable cars sitting there that would gladly donate patch panels to our Glinda project.

Weekend Work

Seems like the only time I get to go out to the garage nowadays is Sunday afternoons. Yesterday, I went out right after lunch and fired up two to the kerosene heaters. Victoria was planning on joining me when she got home from her Girls Scouts’ meeting, so I decided to get a jump on her car’s brake bleeding project. With the GUP fitting I got from the Corvair Ranch in hand, I carefully threaded on the end of the new brake line and snugged it down. After poking the other end of the fitting through the hole in the firewall, I installed the retaining nut followed by the brake line from the master cylinder. The system was now closed, so I refilled the reservoir with fresh brake fluid and began to slowly pump the pedal with the left rear wheel cylinder bleeder opened and the end of the hose in brake fluid. A few dozen pumps later, I checked fluid level and topped it off. More pumping and topping followed by more pumping and topping. At that point, I closed off the bleeder and pumped the pedal a few times – resistance before hitting the floor – yah! Now I could check for leaks and didn’t see any. Victoria was home and with her pumping and checking the reservoir we proceeded to bleed the system. After a few cycles of pump, pump, hold, bleed she saw fluid drops on the floor by her feet. I cranked down on two of the fittings and we continued. A few more cycles later, I discovered a fresh fluid puddle under the car. The connection of the new brake line into the rear junction block wasn’t tight enough. Torqued that fitting and twenty minutes later bleeding was complete. The pedal is nice and high, so I’m confident we’ve good-to-go um stop.

We then spread cardboard out on the floor and shuffled our bodies under Glinda to reinstall the air duct and tunnel covers. That all went uneventfully, and by then it was getting to be dinner time so Victoria went inside while I installed the new flex hose at the end of the air duct. What was supposed to be an easy install turned out to require a blood sacrifice to the Corvair gods. Nothing stitchable, but still a little messy. I was, however, successful in getting the hose in place and properly clamped.

Next up for Glinda is a drive around the block. In order for that to happen, I need to figure out what I’m going to do next with my LMs. Part of that plan will be dealing with three LMs and only two sets of tires.

Friday, January 22, 2010

CPotD #35 (Silver is So, So Showy)

When Brianna was deciding what color Heidi should be painted, she seriously considered silver. She was concerned, however, that all the chrome would get lost in the silver. To help her choose, I searched the web for a photo of a silver ‘64 EM convertible with the same interior (oxblood red) as Heidi. After striking out, I posted on the CorvairCenter forum asking for help. A few days later, I received today’s CPotD in my e-mail inbox. I thought the color scheme looked really nice, but Brianna decided to go with Glacier Gray over Satin Silver. Now she and I are talking about repainting Heidi. It will be interesting to see what color Heidi ends up being. Brianna’s got a few months before she needs to decide.

An interesting aside regarding today’s photo. The car pictured resides in France, and it was being used in a wedding. I wonder if we can make Heidi look nice enough again to be used in Brianna’s wedding this summer.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

CPotD #34 (Does Size Matter?)

Here’s an interesting picture in contrasts. GM’s largest and smallest cars. The ’63 Cadillac in the foreground dwarfs the LM Corvair. This Series 60 DeVille is 223” inches long, while the Monza convertible is slightly less at 183”. That’s over a yard shorter!

I took this picture while walking through the Car Corral at Hershey last Fall.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

CPotD #33 (Running With the Big Dogs)

Last Fall I attended the huge Hershey car show and took a bunch of photos. I was glad to see a number of beautifully restored Corvairs scattered amongst all the high-dollar show vehicles. This Corsa is painted a unique shade of bronze. Not quite the intenseness of GM’s ’66-only Aztec Bronze, but still quite striking. I especially love the mag-style wheel covers and the way Chevy put the Corsa emblem on the rear fender.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

CPotD #32 (Betty’s Paint Scheme)

Yes, I’m well aware that today’s CPotD subject is NOT a Corvair. With all this flux over which car to keep and which to cut up, I wanted to post something about the paint job I’d envisioned for Betty. With her fawn (tan) interior, I thought this orange and black paint scheme was perfect. Now, if PartsCar is going to be the keeper, do I use this same scheme with black interior? I think so.
This image is courtesy of Click here to see other views of this hot Chevelle with the even hotter paint scheme.

What’s Hiding Under Your Mat?

Lower-trim level Corvairs came with rubber mats on the floor instead of carpet. The rubber does an excellent job of retaining moisture, so Model 500 and 700 ‘vairs usually have rusted out floors. As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, Betty’s floor is a kludge of sheetmetal and Bondo, and I believe the former is only held in place by lots of the latter and a couple bolts. Here are some photos.

Behind driver's seat / Behind passenger seat / Driver's footwell

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Underneath the car

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Monday, January 18, 2010

To Cut Or Not To Cut

Why is it a parts car has the most intact floor of any Corvair that’s currently in or has passed through the fleet? Saturday, as I carefully removed the salvageable carpet from PartsCar, my thought was, "so, this is what a Corvair floor without holes or patches looks like." I told Loriann about this irony and she asked, "Why don’t you make the parts car Betty?" "No title and a bashed in driver’s door," was my immediate response. I was home sick from work today, so this afternoon I wandered out into the sunshine, removed the covers over Betty, and made a closer inspection. I pulled up part of the rubber floor mat and was greeted with a LOT of Bondo. I looked underneath and saw big, ugly patches. I did notice, however, that most of the areas Glynda needs patches for are solid on Betty.

I will now be looking into what it would take to get a title for PartsCar, so Betty will become the new PartsCar.

Friday, January 15, 2010

CPotD #31 (Early Model Modified)

The first hurdle in a NECC time trial event is having your car pass technical inspection. I had used the checklist from NECC’s website, but was still nervous that I’d missed something. The owner and driver of today’s CPotD track car, John Egerton, was the inspector that was responsible for my car at my first time trial at Summit Point. As he and I walked around the car he would shake, push and pull on parts to make sure nothing was loose and I would tighten or remove those articles that he pointed out.

Later in the day, I went over and took a closer look at his track car. It is heavily modified and the modifications really work with John running neck-and-neck with Terry Stafford for the fastest early model at that event.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

CPotD #30 (Bob's Beautiful '64 Track Car)

Another great guy and a big contributor to the success of CORSA is Bob Marlow. Today’s CPotD is of his concours-perfect ’64 Model 500 track car. Equipped with a bunch of period-correct speed equipment, it’s a real history lesson.

I snapped this picture during the NECC time trial day at Summit Point's Shenandoah Circuit. Click here to see the rest of the photos I took that day.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

CPotD #29 (The Whale)

I wanted to make sure my CPotD covered all the different types of Corvairs, and I think I’ve hit all the ones GM made except for a Loadside. Now I can start on the ones other companies created using a Corvair as the basis. Today’s CPotD is of an UltraVan. Foremost of the Corvair derivatives and affectionately called a Whale, this vehicle is quite the engineering marvel for its time. Read all about here.

I’ve only seen a few of these in person. The first one I remember seeing was being towed into Spring Carlisle about three years ago. My buddy thought I was crazy chasing after a rusty beast on a trailer while snapping pictures on the run.

It Was Cold Outside Last Night

Ariel had been complaining about two problems with Ringo - dying at stop lights and stop signs and the starter not engaging consistently, so last night I decided it was time to brave the cold and try to do what had to be done. After starting him up, I could hear there was an exhaust leak. Since I’d re-used the exhaust packings, one or both probably needed replacing. That’s okay – I had two new ones on the shelf – piece of cake. First things first – deal with the poor idling. While driving down the driveway the GEN/FAN light came on and stayed on. I inspected the fanbelt and found the generator was loose. Further investigation revealed one of the mounting ears had broken on the endplate. Now I had a new “first thing” to put first. I went to the shelf and found a complete generator and installed it. Turned the engine off and the light went out and stayed out. Yay! Back to the idling. After the engine ran for a few minutes, I noticed the choke on the driver’s side was wide open, but the passenger side was only about halfway. Pulling the spark plug leads on the right side had no affect on the idle speed, so I swapped the right side carb with one that had been on Lucy. After some adjustments, Ringo was idling nicely, and both chokes opened up properly. I wanted to balance the carbs using clear tube technique, but the oil in the tube was too cold to flow properly. Hopefully, it’ll be warm enough this weekend to have the oil flow. I stuck my head under the car and confirmed the exhaust leak. With the engine off, I put the air cleaners back together and put the car up on a jackstand while I let the exhaust cool down. I was then able to easily remove the nuts holding the exhaust pipe ends to the manifolds (thank You Lord for stainless steel hardware). Unfortunately, as the pipe ends were released, the muffler hanger broke. Irrr. Back to the shelf to find a replacement hanger. I found a good one, installed it, and put the exhaust system back together with the new packings. With the car running again, I tightened the nuts until all the exhaust was coming out the tailpipe and none at the joints. Off the jackstand and it was time to call it a night.

Oh yeah, the starting problem. While lying under the car, I took a look at the condition of the ring gear on the torque converter. The starter pinion drives this gear to turn the engine when starting. The ends of the teeth where the pinion slides in from are worn, so it looks like replacing the torque converter is in the near future. That requires dropping the drivetrain and splitting the transaxle from the engine. It’s a good thing I enjoy this stuff.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

CPotD #28 (You Meet The Nicest People)

At all Corvair track events, early models are in the minority. While earlies can run the same high-horsepower engines as lates, the more refined rear suspension and larger brakes make the late model Corvair a more attractive basis for a track car. There are, however, a number of very fast early model Corvairs and today’s CPotD ranks right near the top. Pictured is the 1964 Spyder (Fitch Sprint version) driven by owner Terry Stafford. Terry can really hustle this car around a track, and he’s a very nice guy to boot. He made sure to introduce himself to me at my first track event and was full of extremely helpful hints. Initial tire pressures, marking the sidewalls to verify good contact patches, and cutting a coil from each rear spring to improve camber are just three of the valuable pieces of information Terry shared with me that first day. There are a few other drivers of early model track cars that have been very helpful and they and their cars will be featured in upcoming CPotDs.

Monday, January 11, 2010

CPotD #27 (Moving Weight)

I recently read in an old issue of CORSA’s monthly magazine, The Communique, the stock weight distribution for a 1965 2-door is 37.5% on the front wheels and 62.5% on the rears (980 pounds/1630 pounds). It is generally accepted that this rear-heavy condition is not optimum for the kind of track events where high-speed turnability is desired. The writer of the Communique article went on to discuss how adding weight into the trunk helps. One-hundred-sixty pounds resulted in a 42/58 ratio and “Handling is noticeably improved in crosswinds and steering wheel returns to straight ahead with more force.” Both desirable traits for a road-course or autocross car. He goes on to state later in the article, that he “personally liked the 43/57 best for the street, but would prefer to obtain it by shifting weight from the rear to the front rather than by adding weight.” I have followed this recommendation by moving Lucy’s battery and spare tire from the engine compartment into the trunk. I estimate that I’m somewhere around the 39/61 point.

Today’s CPotD shows the engine compartment of Billy Bruce’s early model. His is an entirely different scenario. Rather than moving the battery forward, he has moved the battery rearward as far as possible to put even more weight over the back wheels. This is because his car is built to compete in another form of racing - racing that rewards rear weight bias. Dragracers desire as much weight as possible over the rear wheels for maximum traction in a straight line. Billy’s car runs the quarter-mile in the twelves and that’s scooting.

A Glinda Setback and More PartsCar Time

I fired up the heaters yesterday afternoon so Victoria and I could work on her car without freezing. Our project for the afternoon was bleeding Glinda’s brake lines. After gathering all the tools, I sat down in front of the left rear wheel while Victoria took her seat behind the steering wheel. After a couple dozen cycles of pump, pump, hold, loosen, bubbles, tighten, Victoria claimed the pedal was feeling different. After another dozen, she informed me there was brake fluid dripping onto the car floor. We attempted to tighten the connection where the new brake line entered an elbow under the dash. Unfortunately, we found I had cross-threaded the fitting when I installed it, so no amount of torquing was going to produce a pressure-tight joint. We gave up, unscrewed the brake line connectors from both ends of the elbow, and removed it from the car. I’m calling the Corvair Ranch today to order a replacement. Hopefully, Jeff’s got a GUP on hand since I couldn’t find a GNP in Clark’s catalog (see sidebar for definitions).

After that disappointment, I told Victoria she could go inside to clean up and warm up. I should have found some positive Glinda task we could do, but I was too frustrated to be that rational. Instead I turned my attention to PartsCar. Out came the front bucket seats, and an inspection of their undersides indicated the springs were rusty, but solid. I then gathered up all the bits and pieces that covered the floor and separated the keeps from the keep-nots. The keeps included the two Monza fender badges and a couple exhaust hangers that I’m sure were used to support the dual exhaust setup (u-pipes and glasspacks) I found in the trunk. Amongst the keep-nots were some rusty bearings and seals as well as the bolts I’d just broke removing the seats. While vacuuming up the bits of glass from the broken driver’s door window, pieces of wasp nests, and other detritus, I was pleased to find the carpet in pretty good shape. Looks like Betty’s going to get black carpet to replace her current nasty rubber mat flooring. I’d put the carpet in Glinda, but Victoria deserves nice and new as opposed to old and odiforous.

Friday, January 8, 2010

PartsCar Teardown Commences

Last night I pushed PartsCar into the garage ahead of a snow event since dry pavement provides better footing than snow-covered. Proving that I actually own a digital camera and know its operation, I took a series of pictures which I’ve posted on Flickr. Too bad PartsCar is title-less since, at first glance, she appears fairly solid. Fulfilling her moniker, she’ll provide good parts for Glinda and Betty including fender lips and floorpans.

After taking pictures, I decided I needed open the trunk and see what surprises may be hidden there. Since I had no key, I needed to break in without breaking anything. After disassembling the right headlights and bucket, I was able to reach in and remove the three bolts retaining the trunk latch, and, after spinning off two of the nuts that held the grill bar and prying the grill bar back, the trunk opened to expose a nice surprise. Nestled in the crowded compartment were two vintage Keystone Klassic 13” wheels with four lug pattern for an early model Corvair. I should be able to sell them and possible for something more than Loriann paid for the car. On the downside, I broke the front grill-bar while “breaking into” the trunk. I wasn’t counting on using it anyway, but the loss still pissed me off. I was also disappointed to find that this car only had the single master cylinder setup instead of the dual I was hoping (planning) on swapping.

CPotD #26 (Standing Proud Amongst The Clutter)

I wanted to use the phrase, “a well placed stick”, as part of today’s CPotD title, but chose not to for obvious (to many) reasons. This cue-ball tipped lever, and the other bits of hardware requisite for manual gear manipulation, will transform Betty from a sedate commute-mobile into a driving experience. Now it’s just a matter of overcoming my Typical Triumvirate of Tribulation (see definitions on sidebar). In order to defeat the space component, Victoria and I need to complete Glinda’s underside work so she (the car, not Victoria) can come down off the jackstands and rolled out of the garage. The time component will be a balance with house work and other fleet maintenance chores, but Loriann grudgingly understands this Christmas present was a larger sacrifice on her part than just obtaining the vehicle. Finally, the money component needs to be addressed as I will need to buy some components since PartsCar was lacking a flywheel, pressure plate and input shaft and the throwout bearing looks pretty used up.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

CPotD #25 (Corvair as Art)

Sticking with the early model 4-door theme, today’s CPotD is a photograph I’ve had as my PC wallpaper a few times in the last couple years. I found it while searching Flickr using the word Corvair. The source for the photo is takenpictures' Flickr photostream. There are some really cool photos of cars in junkyards using colored lights here, here, and here. Wish I had a talent like that.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

CPotD #24 (The One That Started It All - Really)

With Mikhaila’s recent revelation that her Corvair of choice is an early model 4-door, I am reminded that I’ve been remiss in not representing the first Corvair. So, today’s CPotD is a GM photograph of a 1960 Model 700 4-Door Sedan. It was pulled from GM’s own FastLane Blog which is a very interesting site to visit.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

CPotD #23 (More Corvair Racers)

Today’s CPotD was lifted from the latest newsletter of the Performance Corvair Group chapter of CORSA. The poster is actually available to those interested. Send me an e-mail and I’ll reply with the pertinent cost and address.

Spring can’t get here soon enough!

Monday, January 4, 2010

CPotD #22 (Six is My Lucky Number)

Sorry for the poor quality, but I hastily snapped this picture with my camera phone to share with my buddy, Bill. Today CPotD shows the newest addition to the fleet, and I’m calling it PartsCar. PartsCar was a Christmas present from Loriann (my lovely wife) and is the same car that was the subject of CPotD #13.

Every Corvair acquisition comes with its story, and PartsCar is no different. Soon after I posted CPotD #13, I mentioned to Loriann that it would make a nice Christmas present. After a couple days deliberation, she consented and I made plans with the seller to retrieve the car early January. A few days later, I received an e-mail asking me how soon I could come and get the car. Things had popped up at his end, and he was hoping to have the car gone by that weekend. My heart dropped since I didn’t have the Suburban to pull it home, nor was I going to be around to make the drive to Delaware. I immediately called the seller and asked if the following Wednesday would be okay, and he agreed. Yay, the deal’s still on!!!

The next hurdle was tires. PartsCar was not coming with roadworthy tires, so I needed to put together a set of four late model rims (5 lug) with safe tires. Tire number one came from Glinda’s trunk – her spare hadn’t seen the light of day since new, so even though it’s at least five years old, it looks new with no cracks. Tires number two and three were nearly new, but were currently mounted on Lucy’s early model (4 lug) wheels, so I needed to get them swapped onto Glinda wheels. That left just tire number four and one day. Easy, right? NOT! None of the tire stores in the area had a 185/80R13 tire in stock. The best I got was a, “we can have the tire first thing in the morning and ready to go by 9 AM.” I was on a relatively tight schedule for Wednesday, but that would work, so I loaded up three Glinda wheels and the two Lucy wheels into the Suburban and dropped all off at Merchant’s Tires around three in the afternoon. The first words I spoke to the guy behind the counter were, “You WILL have these ready by 9 AM tomorrow, right?” After he assured me it would not be a problem, I filled out the paperwork explaining the swapping I also needed done. After unloading all the wheels, my parting statement was, “You said this WILL all be done by 9 AM tomorrow.”

Wednesday dawned sunny but brisk, and while my dad and I loaded the back of the Suburban with tools, tow-bar, tow rope, rags, etc., etc., I kept thinking I should call Merchant’s. I finally did around 8:15. I was stunned to be told the tires wouldn’t be ready until mid-day. It had been a long time since I’d yelled into the phone, but I began to yell then. The manager at the other end of the line insisted there was nothing written on the paperwork about a 9 AM completion. More yelling, and he promised to have it all finished in an hour. Okay, I could deal with that - only thirty minutes overdue. I gave the seller a call to let him know I was running late, and fortunately he could accommodate. Right before we headed out the door forty-five minutes later, I called to confirm and was given some cock-and-bull story about a tire mounter working too many jobs, and mine will be a little late. I decided to drive over there anyway and see if my presence would hurry them along. As I walked in the door, the manager I had been talking with greeted me, apologized for the inconvenience, and then told me the tire was not even there. “The truck is two minutes away,” he told me. I was NOT happy, but what could I do? Dad and I loaded the empty Lucy wheels into the Suburban, and then loitered in the showroom for a few more minutes watching the parking lot for a truck, and seeing nothing. Finally, the manager reappeared and confessed that his driver was lost in Glen Burnie Now Glen Burnie is at least thirty minutes away. At that point I told the guy to forget it - I just wanted my tires and wheels back. He and his crew helped me to load the Suburban, and he told me no charge for the mounting and balancing of the two swapped tires.

It was now after ten, and I only had three good tires on late model wheels. We rushed home, and I selected the best Glinda tire left and pulled the best tire/wheel off Betty and we took off. Since I expected to be towing PartsCar when darkness fell, I needed to make a quick stop at Harbor Freight to buy a towing light kit with magnetic bases. A coupon and ten dollars got me just what I needed. As we crossed over into Delaware, it was after noon and we decided, after talking with the seller, to visit MacDonald’s before continuing our adventure.

Sandwich sated and filled with fries; we hit the road again and soon after arrived at our destination. PartsCar was waiting for us and looked just as advertised, so I handed over the asking price and then enjoyed a nice hour or so chatting with Mason as the three of us worked to mount the wheels, hitch up PartsCar, and route the towing lights. Before driving off, I filled the differential with 90 weight gear oil and made sure the transmission was in neutral. A few miles down the road, I re-checked the towbar and all looked good.

An hour later put us just east of the Bay Bridge when PartsCar started swerving back and forth. I slowed down and pulled over to check things out and immediately saw smoke coming from the right front wheel area. I’d been driving over sixty most of the way, so I decided to drop the speed down and stop more often. We made it across the bridge without incident and I pulled over soon after only to find more smoke. Thinking it was a bearing, I pulled out my Blackberry to look for a place to get some grease so I could repack the bearing before completing the trip. Not finding a parts store nearby, we decided to head for the nearest exit and find a gas station. We pulled in to an Exxon with a lube place in the back. I walked in asked for a coffee cup of grease. “I don’t know how to sell you that,” was the response the counter guy gave me. After fifteen minutes of waiting and discussing (including being told just greasing the bearing wouldn’t work and then being asked what kind of car it was as if Corvairs may need a different, exotic wheel bearing grease), I was finally able to buy a ten dollar cylinder of grease.

It was dark now, so with Dad aiming the flashlight, I tried to remove the hub from the spindle. With the nut off, the bearing looked fine, but the hub wouldn’t budge. It's the brakes not the bearings. Good. I cut the rubber brake line to relieve the pressure, but shoes wouldn’t release. With hammer and chisel I forcibly removed the two retaining pins and finally convinced the brakes to relinquish their hold on the hub. With all the brake hardware removed and the hub bearings filled with grease, we reassembled hub to spindle, mounted the tire, dropped the jack, and uneventfully completed our journey home.

Okay, it wasn’t uneventful. About thirty minutes from home, as we’re sitting in traffic on I-97, my cellphone rings. It’s Loriann and she’s not happy. She had to go fetch one of our daughters from a Girl Scout event and she had to drive Lucy. Well, Lucy had stalled and would not restart. She’d cranked it a few times, and now the battery was dead too. Dad and I got home, unhitched PartsCar, put the tow bar back in the Suburban and I headed to northern Baltimore to rescue my wife and daughters. I got there, hooked up the jumper cables, and she started right up. Vapor lock and an old battery conspired to strand them.

Back home again, Mikhaila, Dad, and I maneuvered PartsCar up the driveway and into its current parking spot. It was at that point, Mikhaila shared with me she wanted a four-door early model like the white one we used to have. Interesting. We'll see if she feels the same way in a couple years.

Another aside is since we live next door to the current mayor of Baltimore, we have a city police cruiser parked in front of our house 24/7. As we were unhitching PartsCar from towbar, a change in shift was taking place. One of the officers, a younger guy, asked me good-naturedly if I really needed another Corvair. I have talked with some of the cops about my old cars, but I was still taken aback by his question. I explained I needed a third late model coupe to balance the three early coupes. He chuckled and didn't hassle me about abandoning an obviously non-operable vehicle on the street.

When first I posted about this car, my intention was to strip the four-speed parts before dragging it to the Corvair Ranch. After getting it home, however, it looks like PartsCar will also donate its bucket seats to Betty and its sheetmetal to patch some of Glinda’s rusted out places.

Heidi's Back in Brianna’s Possession

My Christmas holiday was filled with many wonderful experiences. At the top of the list was spending time with family. Second was spending time with Corvairs.

While Heidi’s punchlist was shortened before the break, there were still a few tasks requiring completion before she’d be ready for Brianna to drive her back to Blacksburg. So, after turning her around in the garage to expose her passenger side to the heaters, I set about finishing the bodywork. After grinding down the weld on the final patch, I applied rust converter followed by a skim coat of Bondo and left things to cure overnight. The next day I sanded the Bondo smooth, cleaned all the surfaces thoroughly, taped off the area, and laid down four heavy coats of primer. Following another overnight curing, I pulled off the masking, wet-sanded the primer, wiped down the area, reapplied masking and shot three finish coats of Rustoleum. My intent in all this is to protect the metal through the winter and give the car a new paint job in the spring.

The punchlist also contained some non-bodywork tasks, so over the past week, I also replaced the right side transverse spring link, rotated the tires front to back, topped off the windshield fluid, and taped the joint where the top of the windshield and the convertible top meet. The latter was done to attempt to prevent water and snow ingress. Brianna found that snow blowing around the inside of the car is somewhat annoying. I can understand that and hopefully the fix performs acceptably.

My prayer is that we’ve addressed all Heidi’s issues and that she will provide reliable transportation for Brianna and Nich.