Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Almost a Dozen

As I mentioned in my last post, the recent arrivals of Mikhaila’s project car and Victoria’s modern car has our yard and front curb (and neighbor’s curb) bursting at the seams. When our 1920s vintage neighborhood was laid out, I don’t think the city planners had any idea that, nearly a century later, some crazy family would possess and attempt to park eleven vehicles and a trailer. Where do we have all these vehicles? The garage holds TwoTone; the driveway has Luna, Wilma, the Suburban, and the PT Cruiser; the backyard is home to the LeMans and the trailer; while our front curb catches Lucy, Heidi, and Glinda. Finally, two of our understanding neighbors (only one car each and rarely, if ever, have visitors) see Ringo and Victoria’s Mazda5 when they look out their front windows. INSANITY!!!!

A line must be drawn in the pavement. After asking me which ones are going away, the lovely Loriann posed two more questions. “Do you want to continue to call a Corvair your daily-driver?” and “What one Corvair would you have for the foreseeable future?” Both excellent questions; and ones which I could, surprisingly, quickly answer. First, no, I don’t want to continue to rely upon a Corvair for my daily commute through the forthcoming salt and snow. So the Suburban will be going away, replaced by a nice, used medium-sized pickup. Second, with high hopes of participating in at least three track events next year, I want a LM coupe. There are many reasons LM Corvairs outnumber the EMs nine-to-one at track events – the two biggest ones being Corvette-style suspension and Chevelle brakes. I’ve wrung all I can out of Lucy short of fitting her with a 140 HP engine – that, I’m afraid, would make me afraid. And an EM wagon is NOT a track car, no matter how many creative band-aids I could put on during Wilma's roadification.

So that means both Lucy and Wilma will be going up for sale starting this weekend. I’d like to still put some flooring into Lucy and put her interior back together, and I just placed an order with the Corvair Ranch for a GUP speedometer cable to replace the one I stole to put in Ringo. With that done, I’m thinking I’ll put a $2500 price on her since she’s really ready to go racing as-is. Wilma’s another thing. She doesn’t run and she needs floors – actually an entire restoration, but she’s a rare and quite desirable wagon. Plus there’ll be a lot of extra parts included. I’m thinking $1900. Is that crazy?

That brings me to Glinda. Do I sell her and try and find a replacement LM coupe with a manual transmission setup, or do I heed the recommendation of a Corvair buddy and convert her? He reminded me that: one, “you know what you have with your ‘68”, and two, “you’ll spend more registering and tagging the replacement than you would on the parts you need to do the swap.” Both excellent points. Glinda is a pretty solid car and her current engine is a strong one, albeit a thirsty one. Since Victoria is always behind the wheel of her new car, I’ve been commuting in Glinda and enjoying everything but watching the noticably steady decline of the gas gauge needle. It may not be as bad as I perceive, but I won’t know until I run a couple tankfulls of high-test through her.

I hate making decisions.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Seven is More than Enough

The final father-daughter Corvair has joined the fleet.

Work has gotten in the way of promptly posting fleet updates, but things have calmed down some, and hopefully my contributions to the blogosphere can be timelier.

On the evening of Friday the 7th, I loaded the Suburban with a set of four good EM wheels, jack, lug-wrench, new come-along (winch), tow-chain, and large ratcheting strap. These, and the beautiful aluminum car trailer of my ‘vair-pal Jonathan, were the tools needed to bring home Mikhaila’s car.

As I described to others afterwards, Saturday was a perfect day for fetching a Corvair. It rained lightly over the night, but the drops had stopped falling by the time Mikhaila and I for Riverdale, MD and the detached garage of a buddy of mine. Dave, Mikhaila, and I attempted to roll the ’64 Monza 4-door across the floor of the large 8-car building, but were stymied by a locked-up right rear wheel. With the car’s rear on a large rolling jack, we were able to get it to the nearest opened door, but no farther since the loaded wheels of the jack quickly sank into the soil off the garage’s apron of concrete. Fortunately, our path was still blanketed in damp, fallen leaves so the Suburban was easily up to the task of dragging the car across the backyard, down the driveway, and out to the waiting trailer. Some more gyrations with the jack, and a few minutes with strapping and chain and we were ready to roll. As we drove home, the sky started to clear. This made my telling Mikhaila she needed to give the car a good bath much more palatable. By the time we home and I backed the trailer up our driveway, the sun had come out and temps were in the low 50s. She actually had a smile on her face as she scrubbed off thirty-plus years of the dust and grime off the car. I snapped a few pictures which can be viewed here.

Sadly, at that point life got in the way and the car just sat on Jonathan’s trailer.

Finally, yesterday afternoon afforded me the opportunity to unseize the stuck wheel. It took me over an hour, and resulted in a scrapped brake drum, but the car was now rollable. With Mikhaila steering, the car was in the garage before dark.

Since Dave couldn’t locate a key to our acquisition, the last task of the day was going through my rings of Corvair keys to find one that would work in the ignition. Lo-and-behold Lucy’s worked, so were now good-to-go. There are many hours of labor ahead of us, but she’s excited.

Now that brings me to the title of this posting. The more rightly insinuates that the fleet needs some culling. After some hard thinking, I’ve decided that Lucy and Wilma are the victims. I’ve spent many, many enjoyable hours driving and working on Lucy, but the fact that she’s sat for weeks now with no attempt to renew her rusted floorboards is proof she’s the apple of my car-eye she used to be. And while I’ve always wanted a wagon, I want a capable track car and an EM wagon with its rear-heavy, tail happy design is not the best basis for go-fast and turn-fast escapades.

So what will I take to the track? Victoria recently bought herself a modern car since her job requires it, so that makes Glinda available (she’s selected Luna as her Corvair keeper). My first thought was to sell the Glinda too and then buy a 4-speed equipped LM coupe, but Dave reminded me that the cost of converting a car from automatic to manual is about what it would cost me to register a replacement at MVA. Plus I know exactly what I’m getting with Glinda. Now I’m waiting to hear back from Jeff at the Corvair Ranch regarding just how financially painful the parts and assemblies would be if the swap-route is the way I go.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

All’s Quiet on the Fleet Front

Well, not all. There are a few issues that I’m dealing with, but all-in-all the fleet’s behaving. TYL.

Ariel has had to drive Ringo around without functioning gauges for at least a month, so I decided I’d deal with that this last weekend. Thinking it was a bad cable, I disconnected the dash-end and checked it by twisting and pulling. If it was broken it’d either spin freely or pull right out. It did neither, so my diagnosis was bad speedometer/odometer. My ‘vair buddy Ken had pulled a gauge set out of PartsWagon, and I used the guts of it to rebuild the gauge set in Ringo. First, though, I had to remove Ringo’s from his dash. That’s always a fun contest of contortion. With it out, I drove the input with my electric drill running backwards – the needle jumped but then quickly settled back to 0 while the odometer did not move. Confident there’s where the problem’s lay, I disassembled both gauge sets (Ringo’s and PartsWagon’s) and put the speedometer guts from PartsWagon into Ringo’s nicer housing. Once the gauge set was reassembled, I tested it with the drill. The needle climbed as drill speed increased – success. To check the calibration, I spun the input at a steady indicated 60 mph and then timed how long it took the odometer to spin a half-mile. About thirty seconds proved it was pretty darn close to dead on. Of course there is some error that the rest of the car will introduce, but this is a good start on accuracy.

Before putting the gauge set back in, I needed to deal with the stuck gas gauge. I asked Ariel how much gas she guessed Ringo’s tank had in it and she thought it was pretty low. None of the gauges I plugged into the harness agreed with that, so I siphoned out all the gas. After nearly filling five gallons, the clear tube went dry, so I removed the hose from the tank’s sender. Lo-and-behold, another gallon-and-a-half splashed into my catch pans. With the tank finally empty, I removed the sender from the tank and inspected it. I immediately found the float had filled with gas – there’s the problem. Just in case there was more wrong, I measured the resistance while moving the sender’s arm. Zero ohms with the arm straight up (correct) and forty ohms when completely down (correct). I had a new float on the shelf, so I popped it in place of the failed one and reinstalled the sender. After pouring the gas back into the tank, the gauge read just about ½ a tank. Success!

After another contortion session, I had the gauge set back in. Not having the time to take him out for a test drive, I quit with the feeling of success.

The next day Ariel drove him to work and reported that neither the speedometer nor odometer moved during her commute, and the gas gauge hadn’t move either. CRAP!!!!!!! Last night, I pulled Lucy’s nearly-new speedometer cable off and replaced Ringo’s. The subsequent test drive up the driveway resulted in a moving needle. This success was verified during Ariel’s morning commute. The gas gauge issue could be that I’d installed the float backwards and it’s hanging up on the tank’s wall. Since the tank is basically full, I’m going to wait a few days before taking on that task.

Monday, November 12, 2012

She Likes It, She Really Likes It

Saturday morning I drug Mikhaila out of bed, fed her breakfast, and then drove her thirty miles south to see if a 1964 Corvair Monza 4-door Sedan would strum her heart strings. Once we arrived at the garage where my buddy, Dave, was waiting for us, we had to move the car out from the corner where it had sat undisturbed since the 80s. After Mikhaila got a good look at the exterior with its unique overhanging rear roof and the interior with its red vinyl bucket seats in front and folded-down bench in back, she was sold. Dave then took us on a tour of the attic of this garage where Mikhaila spied a pink door and matching hood. “It’s off one of the Packards,” Dave told her. He then asked her, “wouldn’t pink and gray look good on the 4-door?” She agreed, and now I’m trying to figure out how we’ll be able to make pink and greay work with the oxblood red interior. Looks like there may be some vinyl dying and interior painting in our future.

Thrown in with the deal is the back portion of a Lakewood and some EM sheetmetal to fix the right front collision damage on the 4-door. That damage, by the way, was far less than I’d anticipated, but it will require replacing a good portion of the right front fender.

Until Mikhaila provides a suitable name, this new addition to the fleet will be called TwoTone. Now we just need to borrow a trailer (hello Jonathan) and find a Saturday or Sunday when we’re all available.

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Fleet is Pared Down Again – Possibly Temporarily

What a roller-coaster. This year has been rather tumultuous with the acquisition of Phil’s Corvair collection, and the subsequent dispersal of all but one of the five cars. The last one, YellowVert, was trailered off by her new owner Wednesday. A much better demise for a savable car than the alternative – a tow trip to the Corvair Ranch. I did, however, have to throw in the blue seats to close the deal. The buyer was scared by some rot he'd not seen in the picture. He ended up with a great deal, and now I don't need to deal with trying to sell them.

Now that I’ve got the fleet pared down, is it time to add another one? Mikhaila’s been struggling with which Corvair model will be our father-daughter project. She’s expressed a fondness for the four-door earlies, so we’ll be checking out one tomorrow morning. It’s owned by a buddy of mine at work, and has been sitting in his dad’s garage since at least the 80s. It’s a ’64 Monza, black with a white top (cool two-tone) and a red interior. While it needs some bodywork where the front end was rearranged in a collision, the car is extremely rust-free. Something I’ve not had the luxury of experiencing in the fleet since Heidi was drug out of a garage and into our lives. I hope she likes it, but, more importantly, I pray she loves it enough to tolerate working nights and weekends with her old man so it can be hers.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Too Busy to Blog

When last I posted the lovely Loriann’s daily-driver was out of commission and the wobble-fronted Suburban had been pressed into service as her mode of transportation. That’s been resolved. The Cruiser is back on the road with a new timing belt, water pump, tensioner, and idler and the Suburban is now my daily-driver instead of Heidi.

With the Cruiser work completed, Lucy’s back in the garage awaiting floor patches. I’ve been familiarizing myself with my new MIG welder. One of the jobs I used it for was repairing my drill press’s table. I’d broken it when I was using it as a press for assembling Ringo’s Powerglide transmission. Cast iron, which the table is, does not like to be welded, so I’ll need to take it easy on the table – no more using it as a press.

Here’s the latest from the rest of the fleet.

Heidi – Other than the defroster cable recently breaking, she’s behaving admirably.

Ringo – Broke a fan belt on Ariel’s drive home from work last night. Fortunately, she was nearing the house at the time, so it was a short drive to get to the car and swap in a replacement. I still need to keep a closer watch on that engine’s propensity to eat belts.

Luna – Started right up when it was time to park her in the garage during hurricane Sandy’s visit to our neighborhood. She behaved once again when it was time to move her back into the driveway. She’s now got two layers of tarp tied tightly over her. This will have to do until Lucy leaves the garage.

Glinda – Has developed a new noise emanating from the engine area. I think it’s developing an exhaust leak, but I can’t pinpoint the origin. I asked Victoria to make sure her CO detector was properly functioning and to let me know if the sound’s intensity increases. The only other attention she demanded was tweaking the left rear taillight/brakelight socket to fix an intermittent illumination of the taillight bulb. Victoria and I have been tracking Glinda’s fuel mileage. Lately, she’s been averaging around 18 mpg – a large improvement from 13 she was getting a few months back. I think the big difference-maker was the rebuilt distributor.

Wilma – Prior to hurricane Sandy’s arrival, I moved the portable garage back against the inoperative door of my permanent garage and anchored down the four corners. Additionally, I tied the frame to Wilma’s front bumper in hopes that everything would still be there the morning after. Thankfully, we fared much better than all the dire warnings had said we would. Wilma stayed dry.

YellowVert – It looks like she’ll be heading to her new home in Delaware tomorrow morning. I struck a deal with a guy who hopes to restore her. I’m relieved that I didn’t have to scrap her since ridding her of her rusty portions doesn’t appear to be that daunting an effort. I’m still left with the bright blue interior that I’ll peddle online.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

No Spares is a Tenuous Situation

I’m praying I don’t jinx myself by posting the following bit of information. The lovely Loriann is relying on an eighteen year old vehicle with a wobble and over 318,000 miles as her daily-driver while I do battle with her PT Cruiser. My daily-driver is the ever-faithful Heidi while Lucy languishes in the driveway with most of her interior bits piled on her roof (this really needs a photo). The PT Cruiser work is a not-so-simple timing belt change, while Lucy awaits the welding in of floor patches. Tonight is crunch time on the Cruiser with high hopes for completion.

It hasn’t been all house-painting (the other massive consumer of my limited time away from work and family) and swearing at Chrysler engineers. I’ve had some time for ‘vairs and garage. When last I posted (which was too long ago), I’d filled a cart with discarded engine parts. The next night I promised a fellow CORSA of Baltimore club member my perceived expertness in getting his Corsa on the road. He’d had the electronic ignition quit on him, so he was reverting back to the tried-and-true points and condenser. Simplistically, a running engine is an equation consisting of compression, spark, and fuel. Since the car ran fine before the electronics crapped out, we assumed the compression part was good. I was able to get the spark part working using the instructions found here. Since the car had sat for a few months, the fuel part was missing. We tried a few cranking sessions without seeing any fuel squirting from the primary carburetors. Since my bedtime was quickly approaching, we called it a night with the fun and games to continue in two weeks.

Thursday, I received a hopeful e-mail in reply to my YellowVert Craigslist ad. Subsequent back-and-forth resulted in James’ arrival at fleet headquarter that afternoon. He shared how he was shopping for a father-son project, but knew nothing about Corvairs. So I did a sell job going so far as taking him for a spin around the neighborhood in Glinda. By the end of our drive I’d dropped the price to $300 minus the second interior and he seemed ready to pull the trigger, but instead of saying, “I’ll take it,” he asked me, “Would you be willing to take payments?” He went on to explain that’s the only way his wife would let him get the car. I had to tell him no since I still had some other parties interested. He left me with a request I reconsider his offer if none of the other parties comes through. Sadly, those other parties haven’t come through. Someone e-mailed with me Sunday with everything all set for him to drive out that afternoon and give me a deposit to hold the car for him, but all of my high hopes came crashing down when a final e-mail showed up telling me his buddy told him he was paying too much for the car. I responded that his buddy was wrong and the $300 I’d come down to was a good deal considering I could part out the car selling and then still get $200 from the scrap-man. Oh well, it’s looking more and more like I’ll be removing her engine, cutting off fenders and such, and hauling her to the ranch.

Thursday evening I rolled Lucy out of the garage and stapled up the insulation I’d purchased a week back. That project went well other than some of the long boards and pipes I’d been storing in the rafters would not go back up since the insulation was taking up space they’d previously been using. Oh well, I love a storage challenge – NOT! I spent the rest of the evening moving more stuff around making room for the PT Cruiser project.

Lucy had been garaged for a couple reasons. First, the aforementioned missing metal in the floor. Second, the forcible expulsion of spark plug number four from its threaded home. The latter issue was corrected Saturday morning by the tapping of the stripped hole and subsequent installation of a K-D insert. Like nearly every other project I undertake, this one was not without its frustration. Following the recommendations I’d read on a Corvair Center forum thread, I rotated the engine until the rotor was pointed at the number four cap terminal. Then, to capture all the chips from tapping, I filled the combustion chamber with shaving cream and gave the tap a healthy coat of grease. I slowly turned the tap in the hole, being careful to keep the driven end centered in the hole in the engine cover. After a few turns, I’d back out the tap, clean out the chips, recoat, and cut a few more turns. After repeating these steps about a dozen more times, the tap was turning freely indicating I now had new threads along the hole’s entire length. With a smaller hose attached to the end of the shop vac, I sucked out the shaving cream and then cleaned out the threads with a solvent-soaked rag. The instructions that came with the insert directed me to spin the insert onto a spark plug, coat the external threads with the included sealer, and install the spark plug until it bottomed out. I did all that, but, inexplicably, the plug didn’t go in as far as I’d expected before it became really difficult to torque. I gave it a few more turns using some serious effort before calling good-to-go. Fearing I’d just back out the insert, I left the plug installed and patted myself on the back for deciding to use a new plug since it may be stuck in the head until I have to do an engine rebuild. I finished up the effort by installing new plugs in the rest of the holes. After pouring a little gas down a carb’s throat the engine started right up, and, if not for the clatter of a lazy lifter, she was running as good as she ever did.

The rest of Saturday’s garage time was devoted to the PT Cruiser so, other than reiterating what a struggle it is working within a VERY confining engine compartment, I’ll leave this non-Corvair missive for a different outlet.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Out With The Trash

Last night I carved out some more floor space in my garage by going through the ’64 110HP that came as part of Phil’s collection. This was the one that had water in it. The rust-free crank and camshaft are keepers and went with the other GUPs on the shelves. The heads looked usable, so they joined some of their brothers on the shelf. Some of the valvetrain components went into a box along with head nuts and lockwashers. Finally, the shrouds, which had good seals on them, were jammed on the shelf of sheetmetal. Everything else was tossed into our garden cart for a ride to the recycler.

Speaking of recycler, they get forty cents a pound for pure aluminum. Now I have to remove the studs and other steel from the engine case halves and rear cover in order to collect. Otherwise, I’ll only get ten cents a pound. Once I tear down Ringo’s old engine, also a ’64 110, I figure I may have ten bucks of future soda cans.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pullin’ Parts

Any afternoon pulling parts off of Corvairs is better than a few hours of employment, so I took last Friday afternoon off and spent it at the Corvair Ranch with Ken, a ‘vair good buddy of mine. I’d put together a list of bits and pieces I wanted to remove from PartsWagon and PartsCoupe. With Ken’s urging, for every part on the list we were able to unbolt, there was another part I just couldn’t leave behind. Three hours later we had the Suburban filled. Parts of note include PartsWagon’s rear hatch, engine cover, windshield, windshield trim, back seat, bumpers, the extremely fragile hatch covers, and a trailer hitch. The latter may come in handy if I do follow through with cool dream number two-hundred-thirty-one (a trailer made from a wagon’s rear half).

One item that really intrigued me, but which I was unable to remove was an aftermarket radio housing in PartsCoupe. In EMs, the radio is mounted in a separate sheetmetal enclosure that hangs under the center section of the dash. PartsCoupe’s radio was a period-correct Motorola AM/FM with a smaller display area than the stock GM of the time. To accommodate the size difference some company created a radio house that looked factory – it bolted to the dash and was painted. Not that I’d have a use for it, but it was unique and cool. Maybe next time I’ll try harder.

I spent a majority of Friday evening’s garage time unloading the Suburban moving all the parts into Wilma. Once empty, the truck got a thorough vacuuming.

With an hour or so left before bedtime, I moved on to YellowVert. Noone’s come forward wanting to buy her, so I’ve decided to part her out and the sooner the better. The first response to my revised post on the Corvair Center Forum asked for a second of the passenger side fender. The interested party is repairing some collision damage on an LM and needs some good, solid metal for the job. Since I don’t have a key to let me in the trunk, I removed the left front headlight bucket and unscrewed the two bolts holding the latch to the hood. Amongst the acorns and mouse-nest was, what appears to be, a new back window for a convertible top all rolled up in its original plastic packaging. I was more interested in the condition of the trunk, so I didn’t take it out to judge its condition. Could be a treasure.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Dealing with a Beast

Tuesday night I unloaded the compressor tank from the back of the Surburban – it must weigh a couple hundred pounds. With Victoria’s able help, it’s now safely on the concrete of the driveway. Now I have a number of hurdles to go over before it becomes part of my air supply. First, I need to make sure it’s safe by conducting a hydrostatic test. That is done by: plugging all the outlets in the tank buy one, orientating the tank so that the one open hole is at the highest point, filling the tank completely with water, screwing in a Schrader valve fitting, pressuring the water to roughly 200 psi (150% max), looking for leaks. Once I’ve proven the tank’s not going to kill anyone, I’ll drain the water, brush off any loose rust and shoot some Rustoleum primer all over it followed by a coat of paint that causes it to blend in with the brick wall of the garage that it’ll be sitting in front of. Then it’s just a matter of moving it into place and plumbing it into the system. After searching the web and questioning my car buddy, I’ll be putting the tank in-line as opposed to connecting it with a T fitting.

Part of Tuesday’s antics included moving Luna out of the driveway. In order to do this, I had to deal with replacing the fuel pump. As reported a couple weeks ago, Luna’s carbs weren’t getting any gas after I installed a replacement fuel pump. Since we’d put about five gallons of gas in her tank before her test drives, I assumed there was plenty left in the tank and the issue was with the pump. So, I installed a different new pump that had showed up with Phil’s stuff, primed the carbs, and started the engine. It took a few times of unsuccessfully seeing gas squirting before I decided to make sure there really was gas in the tank. While blowing air back through the fuel line leading to the tank, I had Victoria listen for bubbles – nothing. After pouring a couple gallons of 87 octane into the empty chamber, lo and behold the engine ran, the pump pumped … and leaked. Irrr. A few turns on each of the screws that hold the pump together and the dripping ceased. Success … in a way. Where did all the gas go? Could it have really all evaporated during Luna’s extensive inactivity? I carefully searched for dripping fuel and could find none. We’ll know more once she gets her new top installed and is on the road as a daily-driver.

Last night, being one of my two designated garage nights, was spent dealing with more garage things. I believe all I accomplished was making a larger mess of the space. I picked up some free insulation yesterday and it’s now piled on top of Lucy. Looks like it’ll just fit between the roof rafters. Any help will be appreciated with winter just around the corner. Now I just need to find time to staple it up. I also took some time to deal with the beast of an air tank. After moving it out of the middle of the driveway, I removed the lower drain plug and was thankful when no water came out. There was some powdery rust residue, but not too much. I am a lot of confidence the tank will past testing. I also removed the other fittings and created a mental list (uh-oh) of the plugs and caps necessary to close off every port. The only unknown is how to connect the top port to a pressure source. I’m sure I’ll do my typical thirty minutes of pawing through all the brass and iron fittings at Home Depot.

My last effort of the evening was actually car-related. I popped the engine lid on YellowVert and put wrench to harmonic balancer bolt and successfully rotated the engine. Feeling the euphoria of learning the engine was not seized, I endeavored to the pull the spark plugs with the plan of doing a compression test on each of the six combustion chambers. After removing the three plug wires from the driver’s side, I was greeted by the sight of more acorns. When vacuuming failed to get them out, I decided the car will be sold as-is. I’ll throw the acorns in for free.

Monday, October 8, 2012

An Exhausting Weekend

First, a status on the eBaying of some of Phil's parts: it didn't happen.I decided I’d try a couple other avenues before dealing with eBay. I gave the CorvairCenter Forum folks first crack at the wire wheel covers and 140 4-barrel carb intake setup. The wheelcover post got not responses, but I did sell the intake setup. The wheelcovers were then put up on Craigslist and the only response I’ve gotten so far was SPAM , so they’ll go up on eBay in the next day or two.

During the school year, Wednesday has always been a fleet night since the lovely Loriann and Mikhaila have their Girl Scout meeting. This year I’m getting an additional designated fleet night since the lovely Loriann’s new job as our church’s youth director means she’s occupied each Friday evening. So, last Friday night, I backed Ringo’s rear up onto the ramps and tackled the dreaded effort of replacing his muffler and tailpipe. With all exhaust projects, one must be prepared to replace every component because, as noted many times before, rust never rests and this axiom is never better illustrated than on the metal of mufflers and pipes carrying away the escaped byproducts of each engine explosion. Even though Ringo’s muffler had only been on a few months, I was ready to replace all components from the exhaust manifolds to the tailpipe.

Why, you may ask, am I removing a perfectly fine part – especially when the removal is rife with possible swearing opportunities? Well, when Ringo was ready to be put back on the road, I needed a muffler and the only GUP Jeff had in his Corvair Ranch stock was for a ’64 and newer Corvair. While it wasn’t correct for Ariel’s ’61 coupe, it could be used, so I played the cheapskate and bought and installed it. Since Heidi now needs her muffler replaced, I purchased a new EM muffler from Clark’s intending to swap Ringo’s onto Heidi and bolt the new one onto Ringo. That way each would then be sporting proper parts.

Back to last Friday – I first liberally applied penetrating fluid onto and around the nuts of the clamp at the exhaust pipe-muffler joint as well as the slip joint itself. After giving it a few minutes to magically do its thing, I torqued off the nuts and, by jiggling and twisting the muffler and finally beating on the end, I was amazingly able to remove the muffler. I then gave the exhaust gaskets (the ones between he manifolds and the pipe flanges) a close inspection and deemed them undamaged. The new muffler and tailpipe slid into place easily and the clamping of the two joints was anti-climactic. Ringo’s engine fired right up and settled into its subdued rumble with all the exhaust exiting only through the tailpipe – no leaks. TYL.

With his rear still raised, I used the rest of the evening to change his oil and filter. This overdue task should have been done a few hundred miles ago (a rebuilt engine should have it’s oil and filter replaced around 500 miles after putting it on the road). The oil drained from the crankcase appeared normal, so I’m gonna’ go with this being an indication my rebuilding job was acceptable to the engine gods.

The final task before rolling Ringo off the ramps was a slight tightening of the fanbelt. A quick, uneventful spin around the neighborhood and he was parked at the curb.

Heidi was then driven down the driveway and backed up the ramps for her portion of the muffler transplant. A quick review of the state of things indicated the exhaust gaskets would need replacing since the failed muffler had vibrated the end of the exhaust pipe and caused enough damage to the gaskets to render them useless. Since it was nearing 10:30 at night, I just squirted the penetrating fluid on the threads and joints that need it and called it a night.

It wasn’t until yesterday afternoon that I was able to get more car time. Completing the muffler transplant was priority one. It was far more difficult on this car than it was on Ringo since the muffler had been on the car since January of ’06. Once the hanger had been unbolted, the old muffler came right off, but left its mounting flange still at-one with the exhaust pipe. Next came the most remarkable part of the project – all four fasteners holding the pipe to the manifold came off without breaking. A huge TYL. Then, with the help of a cutoff wheel mounted on my die-grinder, I carefully cut a slit through just the remnant of the muffler flange and peeled it off the exhaust pipe. A few minutes at the wire wheel, and the exhaust pipe was ready to be reinstalled with new gaskets. On it went and the muffler that I’d removed from Ringo soon followed. After sliding in the tailpipe, I rotated the muffler and tailpipe to their proper position and installed the two clamps. The subsequent test run of the engine cause me to tighten the four flange fasteners at the exhaust manifolds until no pulsing jets of air were escaping.

With the car off the ramps, my next task was cleaning up and lubricating the pivot of the gas pedal. It had been sticking badly for the past week or so – to the point of being tricky to drive safely. After pulling the carpet back, I removed the screws holding the forward cover off and one of the two screws holding bushing support to the floor. The second screw refused to budge, so I ended up having to bend the support enough to break it at the resistant attachment point. Some scotchbrite removed rust and polished the rod. The bushing was cleared out with the appropriately sized drill bit. The joint was liberally greased and bolted back into place with the tunnel and carpet following suit. No more sticking!

With some more car-time left, I used the borrowed engine hoist and put the two competed engine assemblies on moving dollies I’d recently bought at Harbor Freight. This will make maneuvering them around the garage possible after I return the hoist to its owner.

The final bit of fleet-related news took place this afternoon when I added a couple tools to my arsenal. I bought a ginormous (at least to me) air tank that took two of us and a tractor to load it into the back of the Suburban. I’m going to plumb this in series with my current air supply system to bump up my reservoir capacity by two-hundred percent. While the seller was clearing a path from the corner of his pole barn to the door, he invited me to peruse the rest of the building’s contents since it was his intention to clear it out ASAP. I found an old welder and drill-press, but the item that caught my eye, and ended up coming home with me, was nice, beefy, USA-made grinder on its own stand. This purchase will allow me to dedicate polishing to my low-horsepower Harbor Freight unit.

Now I need to figure out how I’m going to get the beast of a tank out of the Suburban and into place. Thank goodness I still have Larry’s engine hoist because I don’t have a tractor.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

eBay, Here I Come

The other day I received an e-mail from eBay announcing free listing until the 6th. Well, I’ve got some of Phil’s stuff that I wanted to sell, and this seems like the perfect opportunity. I would have liked to have put the items on Craigslist so I didn’t have to deal with shipping things, but this way I get a much larger audience and, hopefully, more for the items. Up for auction will be the 4-into-1 manifold/carb setup I pulled off CorsaVert and a bunch of wheelcovers that came with the collection. Last night was cleanup and snap pictures night. I’m hopeful sales will provide me enough money to fill my welding gas bottle.

Friday, September 28, 2012

More Miscellaneous Missives

A few months back, when I felt sure I was to get Phil's collection, I asked his brother about vehicle titles.He passed my request on to Phil’s widow and her response was she’d been looking, but nothing had turned up. This wasn’t an issue for the three ‘vairs that went to the Ranch, but I needed the titles for Wilma and YellowVert. Well, last week, Becky miraculously discovered the title for Wilma and dropped it in the mail to me. It arrived yesterday, and I couldn’t be more relieved. Now maybe the same miracle will cause YellowVert’s title to also appear.

The story behind Phil obtaining YellowVert is a typical Corvair story. Someone found out he was into ‘vairs, knew of one just sitting and told Phil, Phil knocked on the door, and the next thing he knew he’s just increased his collection by one. Also, like many of these tales, it appears he never went through with transferring the ownership of the vehicle (been there, done that). Now that I’m the new possessor of YellowVert, I’d like to have a valid title in my hand so whether I decide to sell or save the car, I can do it all as painlessly as possible.

All my dealings with Maryland’s Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) have been fairly straightforward other than the two trailers I’ve titled (those are two interesting stories in themselves), but a cursory Googling showed my situation to be rather hopeless. I then sent the MVA an e-mail detailing my plight and asking for the contact information of the current registered owner. The gist of their response was: 1) due to MD privacy laws, they won’t be handing out any owner information; 2) the only way to get a properly assigned (to me) title in my situation is to obtain a Writ of Mandamus. The latter of which seems to be a type of Get Out Of Jail Free card compelling the MVA to ignore everything and just give me a title. It doesn’t really matter though, since the cost of a lawyer would far outweigh the current value of YellowVert. That’s what I told them in my reply. I also asked if they’d be able to forward a letter to the current owner asking him to contact me. That way I wouldn’t have his info, but he’d have my contact info. No response to that request yet.

If they shoot that down too, what am I to do? There is the Maine-way. Yes, the state of Maine has very lenient titling laws, and I could pay an online company $500 to get a Maine title in my name. I don’t think the car is worth $500 in its current condition though. It would be a real shame if this car gets cut up, but legally, I don’t think I have any recourse – at least not one I can afford. I am, however, still holding out hope that Phil’s widow can unearth the title as she was magically able to do with Wilma’s.

And now for something completely different. A buddy of mine has the entire back half of a Lakewood he’s been storing for many, many years. He’s offered it to me now that I’m the proud owner of Wilma. Rather than part it out, I’m toying with the idea of turning it into a trailer. Should I go enclosed or chop-top?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Dodged a Bullet?

Last evening I had an hour of fleet time open up for me, so I used it to install the recently received amplifier I’d bought on Amazon. I had high hopes it would be a nice replacement for Ringo’s radio ruined by some – and I need a new acronym here – SOTE (Scum Of The Earth) that thought he needed to steal a $40 radio, but only succeeded in ripping off the front panel. I got the amp wired up and plugged in my iPod and was instantly disappointed. With the volume only turned to halfway - barely loud enough to be heard over the sound of the engine - the distortion level was terrible. A shame, but you get what you pay for. I would’ve have thought, however, that $20 would buy a decent, simple amplifier.

While I was lying under Ringo’s dash, I got the dreaded phone call - this time from Victoria. “Daddy, I just pulled away from a stoplight and Glinda just isn’t running right. She doesn’t want to accelerate like she normally does.” Thinking one of the carburetors needs some clearing out, I instructed her to put the transmission in Low and floor it until she’s going about 40 and then quickly lift off the throttle. I cautioned her to only do this if it was safe. She did, and it didn’t fix the problem immediately. I didn’t hear from her again last night, so this morning I awoke, donned some grungies, and took Glinda for spin around the neighborhood expecting the worst. But, thankfully, the worst didn’t happen. Her powerplant is still the best in the fleet oomph- and idle-wise. When I got back inside, I told Victoria that I couldn’t find anything wrong with her car, and she responded, “Oh yeah, it was fine again after I got gas.” Excellent! Problem solved without my getting grease on my hands.

Continuing in my series of body tag decoding, I offer here the encrypted information from CorsaVert:
  • Data (04C): Third week of April 1966
  • Style (66-10767): 1966-Corsa Convertible
  • Body (WRN2304): Willow Run - 2,304th '66 Corvair built at that Willow Run
  • Trim (722-): Bright Blue All-Vinyl Interior
  • Paint (F-1): Marina Blue Exterior w/ White Top
  • Acc (W5Y): Windshield Tinted Glass, Custom Deluxe Front & Rear Seat Belts with Front Retractors

Sorry for the poor resolution.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Rust Never EVER Sleeps

Such an enlightening weekend, fleet-wise - as they usually are. It started Friday evening when I drove chuff-chuff-chuffing Lucy into the garage, opened her engine lid, and found that sparkplug #4 had been ejected from its threaded hole. Amongst all the possible failures I had imagined, this one was the best since I’ll be able to repair the failed hole with a KD insert using tools I’ll borrow from the Corvair go-to guy Gary. The only disassembly required is removing the left carburetor. TYL it wasn’t a dropped valve seat.

Since the night was young, the family was away, and I was in my grungies, I decided to find out how bad Lucy’s spongy floor really was. After removing the sill plates, I pulled back the carpet and found a LOT of ugliness. Needing to go farther, I removed the front seatbelts, all the seats, all the carpet, and the rear heater duct and it only got worse. I guess if one is into abstract art, like those photos of the earth from outer space, they would appreciate some level of beauty in the natural erosion of steel by the elements. I’m not that kind of person. Fortunately, the main support for the seats is still solid as are the rocker panels – a better scenario than I had with Ringo. I went to Clark’s website and they get over $100 for just the driver’s side, so it looks like I’ll be hacking up a hood again, just like I did for Ringo, to create floor patches. After cutting away the rot, I called it a night.

Sunday afternoon was my next opportunity to attend to the fleet. Mikhaila and I rolled YellowVert out into the sunshine for consideration. She’s still on the fence as to whether this LM convertible will be HER car or not. After taking a closer look Sunday, to say she was not enthused would be a vast understatement. She’s quite discouraged about the level of effort she perceives will be necessary to roadify this currently dilapidated looking vehicle. It didn’t help when, not knowing it had a power top, we unsuccessfully tried to manually lower the top. She's thinking there are better candidates out there. After further conversation with her mom, we’re tabling the decision for a little while.

In the meantime, I vacuumed about two gallons of acorns out of the engine compartment and interior of the car before pulling back the carpets to reveal that the tin worm had gorged himself on this car’s floors just as he’d done on Lucy’s. Fortunately, the doors are still centered in their openings and it appears that, structurally, the car is still sound. I vacuumed out all the rust flakes and, while it’s worse than Lucy in some places, other places are still quite solid. If we decide to keep this one, I will be forced to use Clark’s floor patches – there are some important features, like the gas pedal mounting, that I don’t have the skill (or desire) to fabricate.

The next step for this car is to remove the seats and evaluate their condition. If they are solid enough, I’ll sell the seats I pulled out of CorsaVert. If not, I’ll toss the bad seats and temporarily insert the better seats to get them out of the way. If we decide to sell this car, I want to make it as attractive a purchase as I can, and touting all the solid features will be important.

Speaking of features, I took the time to decode the body tags of Heidi and YellowVert. Here’s what I found:

  • Data (01C): Third week of January 1964
  • Style (64-0967): 1964-Monza Convertible
  • Body (WR13129): Willow Run - 13,129 Corvair for that year built there
  • Trim (781-1): Medium red bucket seats w/ White Top
  • Paint (900): Tuxedo Black Exterior
  • Acc (2MP3C): Powerglide, C&C (2 spd wiper w/washer, day/night mirror, backup lights), Padded Dash
  • Extra (D): Red interior painted surfaces
  • Data 05C: Third week of May 1966
  • Style (66-10567): 1966-Monza Convertible
  • Body: (WRN8772): Willow Run - 8772 1966 Corvair built there
  • Trim: (758-): Black All-Vinyl Interior
  • Paint: (N-2): Madeira Maroon w/ Black Top
  • Acc: (WD2M5Y): Windshield Tinted Glass, Power Convertible Top, Powerglide Trans, Custom Deluxe Front & Rear Seatbelts w/ Front Retractors

Friday, September 21, 2012

A Space Has Been Carved

Over the last few evenings I've been in the garage making order from the chaos that was multiple drivetrains just haphazardly spread across the floor. Last night, I finally put the last tool away. There are three transmissions and two differentials on the floor under the shelves, a completely disassembled engine in a pile on the floor in front of the shelves, and two complete engines on end in the corner sitting next to a partial engine (only the case and bellhousing with crank and cam). Also, in the corner, surrounding the engines, is Larry’s engine hoist (folded up), my new-to-me engine stand, and the engine cart. Across the room are boxes filled with Corsa interior bits and pieces. You get the message – it’s still pretty chaotic.

However, there is enough room to get a Corvair and still have a bit of work space around it. The plan for this evening is to figure out what’s gone wrong with Lucy. I’m struggling with whether driving it from the street to the garage is going to do any more damage to the engine, but I guess that after Ariel drove it, even a short time on the interstate, a quick trip up the driveway won’t be of much consequence. I’ll be reporting back Monday on what I find.

Also, again on the agenda for the weekend is to drag Mikhaila out to the portable garage and decide what interior is to go in YellowVert. My hope is her current seats are still decent enough to be recovered, and then I can sell the interior that came out of CorsaVert. Speaking of selling things, I need to put some of the other items from CorsaVert on Craigslist or eBay. That should happen sometime soon as well. Anyone out there interested in a Carter 4-barrel with a 1-into-4 intake adapter?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Body Tag Decoding

The other day, I took a few photos of Wilma, one of which was of her body tag. For those not in the know on this, the body tag is a smallish, embossed, metal tag with lots of information about the car it’s riveted to. Not as extensive as the build sheet, but still quite revealing as to the as-built state of the vehicle. Here’s what I found out about Wilma.
  • Line 1: She’s a Chevy
  • Line 2: built in January (01) during the fifth week (E)
  • Line 3 (STYLE and BODY): a ’62 (62-) Monza (09) wagon (35) built at the Willow Run assembly plant (WR) and assigned the sequential body number 1830 (this means she was the 1830th Corvair built at Willow Run for ’62)
  • Line 4 (TRIM and PAINT): with Fawn seats, door panels, headliner, and trim pieces (759), a Honduras Maroon exterior (948) and a Fawn-painted interior (-4)
  • Line 5 (ACC): a direct-air heater (as opposed to the gas heater)(A), tinted windows all around (K), and a manual transmission (O)
No real surprises other than I thought her body number would be lower. Her cloth interior indicates she was an earlier ’62 Monza, but I guess January is early.

On the other hand, here’s the decoding for Lucy. Bear in mind she was a red car with a black interior when I got her.
  • Line 1: A Chevy
  • Line 2: built in January (01) during the fourth week (D)
  • Line 3 (STYLE and BODY): a ’63 (63-) Monza (09) club coupe (27) built at the Willow Run assembly plant (WR) and assigned the sequential body number 46381 (this means she was the 46381st Corvair built in Willow Run for ’63)
  • Line 4 (TRIM and PAINT): with Aqua seats, door panels, headliner, and trim pieces (755), an Ermine White exterior (936) and an Aqua -painted interior (-3)
  • Line 5 (ACC): Comfort and Convenience Group (P) which, from what I’ve been able to find, means a two-speed wiper with windshield washer pump and reservoir.
I want to do the same decoding with the rest of the fleet – another time, another project.

Speaking of projects, what did I accomplish last night? I did spend some time in the garage dealing with the engines, but not until after I unhitched Lucy from the Suburban’s hitch and put away the towbar. It was with great trepidation that I removed the oil pan drain plug, but TTL it was just good old oil, black gold, Texas Tea. With the crankcase devoid of fluids, I tipped the engine over and set it in the corner of the garage resting on the face of the bellhousing. I then gathered all the pieces of the watery one-ten’s engine into an area in front of the shelf (I deal with all that later). The last task for the day was removing the Powerglide from the wagon drivetrain and then hoisting the engine/differential up onto the engine cart. Removing the exhaust pipe and differential will wait another time.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Water, Water, Every Where

Last Friday, after figuring it made more sense to work on the engine atop my new-to-me engine cart rather than the one sitting on the floor, I removed the oil pan drain plug from the 95 HP engine. Much to my dismay (and chagrin) the fluid that flowed from the hole was mostly water. The stream finally subsided, but not before nearly filling my drain pan. Change of plans. Rather than storing on end on its bellhousing face, I needed to tear it down and stem the rising tide of rusting. About three hours later, I’d removed every fastener holding that engine together, and the floor around the cart was now cluttered with cylinders and heads, rods and pistons, a good-sized cardboard box filled with bolts, bits, and pieces, and a rather large puddle of the aforementioned oily water. In other words, the messy garage is now REALLY messy.

Saturday was a car-free day until I received a phone call from Victoria. She was heading home after a babysitting gig, and Glinda had thrown her fanbelt about ten miles from our house. Victoria nursed her another five miles before the pinging started scaring her (rightfully so). I grabbed a new belt, a 9/16ths wrench, my cordless droplight, and some latex gloves and made the relatively short drive to her location. A few minutes later, with my fingers dancing around the HOT engine surfaces, I had the new belt on and was just about ready to have Victoria fire up the engine, when I noticed the useless, blanket-blank belt guide at the idler was hard up against the pulley wheel. CRAP! Some more finger dancing, loosening, adjusting, and retightening and she was finally ready to go. I wanted to chastise Victoria for missing her weekly check-the-oil-and-fanbelt session, but she told me everything was fine last Monday, so she was in the clear. Just another day in Corvair paradise.

Yesterday’s car events didn’t get going until later in the afternoon when it was time to address some Ringo issues Ariel had related to me before she took to visit a friend in New Jersey. Getting the gas gauge to work meant replacing the current one with a GUP off the shelf. After testing the three spares, I came up with one that read the ¼ tank she thought was Ringo’s current fuel level. It some contortions to remove and replace the gauge since I did it without removing the gauge cluster, but it was finally finished. While still on my back under the dash, I lubed the speedometer cable fitting with WD40 in hopes that would free up the balky speedometer. To answer her complaint that he felt like he was laboring keeping up with highway traffic, I hooked up the dwellmeter and discovered the setting had dropped a few degrees. I tweaked the points to get the reading up to 32 and then checked the timing – 14 degrees BTDC – right where it needed to be. Finally, after a quick drive around the neighborhood (which indicated I hadn’t fixed the speedometer), I checked the ATF level and found it right on the add mark, so I added a pint and pronounced him ready to roll.

Meanwhile, I had given Victoria directions to start up Luna, which she did, and idle her engine for a few minutes to let her fully warm up, which she couldn’t. I pulled the air cleaner and checked the carburetors for fuel – nothing. I cracked open one of the fuel line fittings and had Victoria crank the engine. No shots of gas. This was a brand new fuel pump, and I believe the length of time Luna’s engine was able to run on the fuel in the reservoirs was plenty enough to get the pump primed and doing its pumping thing. Looks like a bad pump – AGAIN. I then had Victoria remove the pump so I could return it to Carquest for a replacement.

After a delicious dinner (does the lovely Loriann know how to prepare a meal that isn’t?), I re-donned grungies and headed out to the garage to tackle the mess I’d made. Before I could get any farther than turn on the music, Victoria walked out of the house carrying the phone. I just knew it was Ariel and that Lucy had a problem. Sure enough, Ariel started our conversation with, ““Daddy, I’m sitting on the side of I-95 near Havre de Grace. All of a sudden Lucy started making nasty, loud noises, and when I stopped, the engine died.” About three hours later, we were all back home with Lucy on the end of the tow bar behind the Suburban. Not sure yet what the issue is, but I’m bracing myself for a dropped valve seat. If that's the case, then I now have an excuse to install the 140HP heads and four-carb setup.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Engines, Differentials, and Transmissions! Oh My!

Yesterday after work I picked up (and that was no mean feat) an engine hoist from a buddy's driveway. The irony behind the retrieval was that I was borrowing it so I wouldn't hurt my back moving the drivetrains I'd recently got as part of Phil's collection. Since the hoist probably weighs as much as a Corvair engine, I'm not sure I wasn't reducing my risk of injury. Regardless, Larry and I muscled the beast into the back of my Suburban, and once home, I disassembled the heavy legs and arm so I could make it manageable and then slid it out of the back of the truck on a doubled-up walkboard. After reattaching the legs, I rolled it into the garage and proceeded to empty my utility trailer. The Powerglide went under the shelves, the complete drivetrain went onto the floor, and the engine went onto the engine cart. The trailer, still holding a half-dozen wheels, went to its parking spot next to the yard's back fence. Note that in the following photos, the details circled in red on the left image show the unique oil filler tube features found only on the engine in Corvair wagons, vans, and trucks.

Next up was breaking down the CorsaVert’s drivetrain [140HP engine/unknown differential (hoping it’s a posi)/4-speed tranny) and tearing down the engine. The tranny and diff came off easily and without too much fluid spilled onto my pristine (NOT!) garage floor, but the engine tear down work was filled with frustration. Many of the screws were seized, so bending and breaking were the order of the evening. After a couple hours, I’d removed almost all of the shrouding. Sadly, three of the bolts holding the top cover on broke leaving me the task of the removing them from threaded holes in the heads. Before I go any farther, I’m going to liberally apply the homemade penetrating fluid (ATF and Acetone) and let it set for a day or so.

Meanwhile, the next time I’m out in the garage I’ll turn my attention to the engine currently residing on the cart. The Z code stamped onto the case, means it’s a ’64 95 HP engine that was originally mated to a Powerglide. This was the engine that came out of the Cut-up 4-door and powered Heidi for a while. I remember it seemed to burn a little oil, so I’m not going to bother checking compression before disassembling.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Drivetrain Teardown on my Plate

Last Wednesday, after work, I towed Phil's trailer back to Waldorf and retrieved my trailer filled with a complete '62 wagon drivetrain, a '64 engine, a Powerglide, a half-dozen wheels with rotted tires, and an engine cart. Since Phil's daughter wanted the trailer parked where mine was currently sitting, the logistics were a bit time consuming. I had to unhitch the car trailer at the street, swap the ball on my hitch to the 1 7/8 inch, hitch my trailer to the Suburban and drop it on the street without damaging my back, swap the ball back to the 2 inch one, re-hitch the car trailer and back it down their driveway, unhitch that trailer and re-swap the ball back to the smaller one, before hooking up my trailer a final time and heading down the road. Thankfully, no spinal discs were harmed in the execution of this escapade.

The drive home was uneventful other than having to drive through what has become the requisite gulley-washer. Other than my first Phil-to-home trip, all the trips associated with his cars have included at least one cats-and-dogs downpour. As I pulled up in front of the house, the trip odometer on the Suburban, which had been set to zero right before the first trip down, read around 740 miles – all of which was put on moving cars and parts. Added to what my buddy, Jonathan, put on his Suburban, and this adventure took over a thousand miles to complete.

I needed to get the trailer into the garage for unloading, but there wasn’t enough room to maneuver it while hitched to the Suburban, so I gave up, dropped the tongue on one of my wheel dollies, and pushed it the last couple dozen feet into the garage.

The next project is separating the drivetrains (the wagon one and the 140 I’d removed from CorsaVert) and storing the engines, trannies, and differentials for later teardown or utilization. Times like this I really wish I owned an engine hoist.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Fleet Trimmed Back to Lucky Seven

Sunday, after church, I spent the afternoon in the garage removing parts off the CorsaVert. After getting the engine out, I removed the seats, dash components, seatbelts, door panels, armrests, visors, rearview mirror, and rear bumper. I'm not sure what I'll use and what I'll sell yet. It depends on the condition of said parts in the MonzaVert. Convertible rear seats are hard to come by, so the frame condition will drive my decision.
Finding places for the stuff I just removed is an issue. I put the interior parts and the hood and engine lid in the portable garage on top off and next to YellowVert. The tranny and differential need to be separated from the engine, and the engine needs to carefully investigated to determine its condition before tearing it down.

With the car back down on all fours, I pulled the hood and engine lid to be cut up and used for patches on the yellow convertible. A significantly lighter vehicle easily pulled up onto Phil's car trailer before I called it a day.

Yesterday I was tied up until late in the afternoon, so I hopped in the Suburban around 4:30 and towed the CorsaVert to the Corvair Ranch. I met proprietor Jeff who unloaded the car under sprinkling skies. It stopped raining while we removed the four wheels that I’d recently had re-shod with good tires. We chatted about what bits I still wanted off the PartsWagon (bumpers, engine cover, hatch cover pieces), and, after a little more socializing and parts beggin’ on my part, I drove back home and arrived around 7:30. Not too bad.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Fitting Frustration and Rusty Revelations

My first task after dinner last night was installing the fittings I'd bought the evening before and running the reinforced hose between the compressor and the garage piping inlet. The first connection went fine, but when I opened the package to put the final fitting on the compressor end, I found I'd mistakenly selected the wrong size at Lowe's. So, it's back there this evening. Maybe I can couple the trip with a family visit to the frozen yogurt shop.

Moving on to parting out the Corsa ‘vert, I started by trying to remove the wild 4-barrel intake from the engine. I was slowed down significantly by the inability to wrench more than a sixteenth of a turn on the inner nuts holding the assembly to the heads, and finally gave up after convincing myself that they’ll be more accessible once the drivetrain is out of the car. I then pulled out the manual and turned to the page with drivetrain removal instructions. Following them, I disconnected and unbolted everything up to the point of rolling the jacks underneath and removing the final fasteners attaching the engine and transmission to the body. I’m saving that for this evening. Surprisingly I did not break a single bolt during the process, which is amazing considering the heavy coating of rust that seems to permeate every surface of this Midwest car.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Away From Prying Eyes

Yesterday evening I walked out to the garage and noticed the front corner of the tarp over Mikhaila's Monza 'vert had been pulled up. Immediately I became suspicious of neighborhood snoops looking to turn me in or, worse, city zoning inspectors looking to fill the city's coffers. Obviously I needed to finish the portable garage.

First, though, I needed to make a run to Home Depot for the fittings necessary to re-plumb my compressor’s ¼ outlet to the ¾ pipe in the garage. Sadly, they were out of the size I needed, so I drove down the road to Lowes, where I successfully found the fittings.

Once back home, I then needed to look at Glinda to see if the pinging Victoria was hearing was caused by another shift in the dwell setting. I attached the dwellmeter and the needle rose to 32 degrees and stuck there – just where it needed to be. With the timing light hooked up and flashing at the indicator on the engine, I found the timing was still around the 12 degrees BTDC I’d set it at a few weeks back. I took her for spin down the hill and back up, making sure to lug the engine on the back up part, but I was unable to get the engine to ping. Victoria and I decided I’d drive her car to work today to see if I can replicate the undesirable noise.

Finally, I was able to address putting the cover on the garage frame. Since half of the Monza ‘vert was sticking past the front of the new garage, I moved the frame away from the garage until its front was flush with the car’s front. Then I pulled out the directions (yeah, I know - an engineer reading the directions) and first attached the front piece with the zip-up door. It went on as advertised, so I moved on to installing the main cover. It would’ve been easier with help, but I was able to drag it up and over the top of the frame and then get the four corners battened down. Now I’m safe from fines, but hopefully, I wasn’t too late.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Making Space

Initially I had planned on squeezing two cars into the tool-filled, used part warehouse otherwise known as my two-car garage, but harsh reality dictated by the laws of Physics meant that no two Corvairs can occupy the same space at the same time. So sadly, I am stuck with leaving Wilma out in the cold until the Corsa hulk has been hauled off to the Corvair Ranch.

Last night I had intended to begin removing the drivetrain from the Corsa, but was sidetracked by the need to clean up the garage with the attempt to magically make space for more ‘vair stuff from Phil’s collection. I was successful in moving Ringo’s old 110HP engine from the driveway and into the back corner, but it’s become obvious that the portable garage must be pressed into serving as more than just a house for Mikhaila’s Monza ‘vert; it will store some parts harvested from the collection until I can sell some stuff.

On another note, Victoria recently reported that Glinda is pinging again. Irr. I’ll pull out the dwellmeter and timing light again tonight to see if settings have changed again. If not, I’ll have to bump the timing back a little.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I Love Numbers

Being an engineer, I'm all about the numbers. Here they are from last weekend..

2700 – dollars is the approximate value of the collection (if I were to sell the cars for scrap and liquidate the parts – which I’m not doing since it wasn’t Phil’s wish)
950 – miles driven to move Phil’s collection
525 – miles on the Suburban’s trip odometer
425 – miles Jonathan put on his Suburban
300 – dollars is the estimated value of stuff I will sell (4-barrel and adapter, wheelcovers, extra carburetors)
230 – dollars of gas burned during the move
11 – cars currently at my house
8 – Corvairs currently at my house
7 - boxes of parts and manuals
5 – Corvairs in Phil’s collection
3 – cars added to the fleet (with 1 being very temporary)
2 – ‘vairs taken directly to the Corvair Ranch
2 – engines and transmissions sitting in my utility trailer
2 – neighbors who (as far as I know) haven’t reported me to the city
1 - very big favor I owe Jonathan
1 – extremely tolerant lovely wife

It was, indeed, an epic weekend. It started Friday with an early arrival at Phil’s home where his brother, Bryan, and I sorted through parts, loaded two drivetrains and an engine cart into my trailer, and winched the good wagon onto Phil’s trailer. With the garage dealt with, we turned our attention to the four Corvairs sitting at the bottom of the yard. We changed the four tires that wouldn’t hold air and filled the rest. With Bryan steering and me driving the Suburban, we drug each hulk up to the driveway staging them for their subsequent removal. I got back home around 4:30, unloaded the wagon (now named Wilma – more on that later) into my new portable garage, unhitched the trailer, and proceeded to replace the Suburban’s leaking water pump.

Sunday morning I met Jonathan (with his Suburban and car trailer) at the park-and-ride. After an uneventful ninety minute drive to Waldorf, we winched the two LMs onto the trailers and headed back to Baltimore. The Corsa ‘vert was first off and we, with Victoria’s help, rolled it into the garage. Mikhaila’s Monza ‘vert rolled off easily and was placed in line in front of the wagon where Mikhaila and I immediately put a tarp over it in front of the incoming thunderstorms.

I then fed Jonathan an extravagant lunch of Doritos and a sandwich before we hit the road for our second run to Waldorf. We’d only been on the beltway for about ten minutes when the skies opened up. The rain, thunder, and lightening were tremendous. We were carefully driving around 30 mph with the rest of the cars on the interstates until we reached Rt 50 when it finally let up, but didn’t stop completely. We were able to start driving at the posted limit after that. The rain finally stopped about 20 minutes from Phil’s house and we thought we’d be okay, but as soon as we backed Jonathan’s trailer down the driveway to load the parts wagon it started raining again and didn’t stop until four hours later as we neared the Corvair Ranch. The afternoon was really rough because of the rain, but it ended nicely with us rolling the two EMs off the trailer and into the Ranch’s yard before we lost daylight. Jonathan informed me that my temporary trailer lights were not working, so I ended up driving home with the flashers going arriving just before 9. A very long day.

It was a lot of work and a lot of time, but I feel good knowing I honored Phil’s wish that I make sure his Corvair “stuff” will be re-used and I helped his widow by removing five non-running vehicles from her home.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Tires On and Frame Up

Yesterday afternoon, with the back of the Suburban filled with wheels and tires I visited the local used tire store. My visit was twofold. First, I needed them to reseat two of the tires I'd bought last week since they leaked at the bead. Second, I wanted to go through their collection of 13" tires to see if they had any more of the elusive 185/80-13s. After pawing through about 3 dozen, I had pulled aside the only four they had left. Fortunately, all had good tread on them, and two even appeared unused with the molding nubs still intact. I pulled four wheels with cracked, old tires out of the back of the Suburban and, a half-hour later, I was on the road with the Suburban’s rear even more packed.

Current spare wheel & tire inventory now includes a four mounted on red wheels for the wagon, at least two additional good tires mounted on EM wheels, and at least four good tires mounted on LM wheels. I’m ready to move cars!

After getting home, I commenced the assembly of the portable garage. The frame went together quite easily, and my only issue was the non-stop battle with mosquitoes. During the midst of construction, the lovely Loriann came out to inspect. Her reaction was, "It's big enough for two." "Not quite," I replied. It is larger than I'd expected, but that's just fine. The last nut was tightened just when I got the 10 minute warning for the serving of dinner. That signaled the end of the working day for me.

Tomorrow morning early, I hit the road for Waldorf with the utility trailer empty and the Suburban filled (mostly) with tools and tires. Phil’s brother, Bryan, and I will have quite a full day going through all the stuff Phil socked away in his big garage, and I am oh so looking forward to it.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Life Goes On in Overdrive

Wouldn’t you know it – work demand and fleet maintenance demand are both on a rising curve. It started last Thursday when Victoria called me while sitting in Glinda on the side of the beltway. Something to the affect, “The Temp/Press light came on, now the car won’t start.” Ariel was nearby so she gave Victoria and Mikhaila, her passenger, a ride home. Later, after dinner, Victoria and I took the Suburban, loaded with the tow bar and it accoutrements, out to Glinda’s resting place. After we connected Glinda to the Suburban and made sure Glinda’s brake was off and the shifter was in neutral, I turned the key to restart the Suburban and all I head was clicking. A dead battery in the tow vehicle? Seriously?! With no jumper cables, I attempted to use Glinda’s battery but was thwarted by the post terminals versus the Suburban’s screw-on type. Finally, our savior pulled up behind us. Maryland’s State Highway Authority has service trucks roaming the highways looking to rescue poor folks with automotive breakdowns just like me. A quick jumpstart and we were on our way.

When I got home, I cleaned all the terminals and connection at and near the Suburban’s battery and that has fixed that problem. Glinda’s turn was the next day when I checked the fuel delivery to her carburetors. The pump wasn’t sending nearly enough fuel, so I swapped it with Luna’s and the problem was solved. A quick trip to Carquest and the offending pump was replaced under warranty and then installed in Luna’s engine.

Saturday, Victoria and I were finally able to attempt the installation of Luna’s new convertible top. I should’ve have known it would not be a good experience when my garage PC wouldn’t boot up. The next issue was the screws I’d bought were too large for the holes in the bow for attaching the new pads. I drilled and tapped for the screws I’d bought, so that problem was fixed. With the pads on, we move on to the rear window. The directions say to lay the new piece over the old one, and punch the mounting holes in the same place. We did that, followed by the same exercise for the well cover. After a successful test fit, I put a bunch of staples through window and well and into the trim sticks.

The directions were the same for the main top piece, but when the old was laid over the new, we discovered the tops were VERY different; too different to be usable. At that point, we were done. I sent the previous owner an e-mail telling him the top he’d included in the sale was not right and did he have any guess as to what it might fit. His response was that he’d gotten it from someone else who’d told him it was for a ’65 Corvair, so there’s a chance he’d gotten the year wrong and it fits an EM instead. I haven’t’ yet laid the top over Heidi’s, but I’d bet it fits.

The rest of Saturday was spent moving stuff around trying to free up space in the garage. The spare door we got went to the back stall with the LeMans, while the right front fender is leaning against the side of the house hidden by the shed and covered by a tarp.

Sunday we sold Victoria’s boat, so that freed up space in the driveway. Yahoo and TYL!

Finally, last night I started the assembly of the portable garage that had shown up at the house last Friday. The directions are easy to understand and simple to implement with all parts fitting nicely – so far. Once the trailer is gone (which will occur this evening), I’ll be out there with a ladder bolting all the subassemblies together – right on schedule for this weekend’s moving of Phil’s collection.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Busy Weekend Ahead

The house painting continues; the yard work beckons; the sailboat appears to have sold and is supposed to be towed away Sunday afternoon; the tent trailer needs to be readied to go to its temporary fall/winter home; Luna needs her convertible top installed; our new 10 by 20 portable garage is supposed to arrive tomorrow so it needs to be erected; but, most importantly, the lovely Loriann and I WILL get a much-needed date-night to celebrate our anniversary. Just another crazy weekend on the horizon.

Also, here’s a recent text message from Victoria, “I feel vibrations in Glinda as well as squealing when I turn. I also heard a little pinging.” Looks like I need to do some investigation this evening. At the very least, put a timing light on Glinda’s engine and see if the timing’s moved again.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

My Excitement Builds

This butchered version of Pontiac's (RIP) last slogan amply applies to my current state of mind. A few days ago I received the "let's do this" e-mail from Phil's brother, Bryan. The gist of the e-mail exchange that ensued was: he would be in Maryland the 24th and 25th; we would go through Phil's collection, gathering all the Corvair stuff (the five cars included); load it onto trailers; and I'd haul it away.

When I mentioned this to the lovely Loriann, she reminded me of two things. First, the city of Baltimore frowns greatly upon the operation of a salvage yard in a residential neighborhood. Second, she will not tolerate our driveway looking like a junkyard – some stuff needs to go before anything new shows up.

What’s my plan to keep peace with the zoning Nazis and my tolerant-to-a-point spouse? I’ve been able to find a generous club member who has offered me a spot in their yard for the fall/winter storage of the popup tent trailer, Victoria and I put her sailboat on Craigslist, and I just bought a portable garage.

Victoria and I still intend to get Luna’s top installed before the end of the weekend so she can be parked on the street with the rest of the fleet. It’s a good thing our neighbors never park their cars on the street or have visitors stop by that need a parking spot.

While there are five Corvairs in Phil’s collection, only three will ever darken our driveway. The parts wagon and the ’62 coupe will go directly to the Corvair Ranch with, hopefully, the understanding from proprietor Jeff that I can come up in the near future and remove some parts without charge. The rusty, unsaveable Corsa ‘vert will get parted out for its 140HP/4-speed drivetrain for my future use and some Corsa-specific parts that will be sold to make back some gas money. Afterwards it too will end up at the Ranch. Only the wagon and hopefully the LM Monza ‘vert will become part of the fleet with the latter being Mikhaila’s and my father-daughter project.

I’m Tired

Actually, the fleet is tired because they got some new tires – get it? The other day I noticed Glinda's right rear tire was low on air. Sadly, we didn't catch it in time and the shoulders were very worn, so a replacement was necessary. Those in the know realize the rarity of stock-size tires (185/80-13) for Corvair, and it usually takes some serious hunting to locate any. I occasionally do a search on Craigslist for 13" tires and fortuitously an ad popped up early this week for just the tire I was looking for. Yesterday, I went to a used tire shop that had three that had never been on a car. Now they were all a few years old, but had been stored indoors, so there was no cracking. I bought all three plus another in the same size that had some miles on it. I paid $50 for all four and that included mounting. Such a deal! When I told the lovely Loriann, she asked me why, at that price, I didn't just buy all he had. I'll be going back in the very near future.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Didn’t Quite Get There

Victoria and I started work on her convertible Friday after dinner by carefully removing the current convertible top from Luna. We took pictures throughout the process and put the fasteners in marked bags to ensure we can get everything back where it belongs. We then removed the old, rotten pieces of tack strips (treated cardboard where the top-attaching staples go). With the top off and the frame clear of the junky stuff, Victoria wire brushed the rusty portions of the frame and coated those spots with Rustoleum primer before we quit for the evening..

Saturday morning I went out early, opened up the garage, and laid out drop cloths to prevent to mask off Luna’s interior and exterior from the frame. Victoria came out and rattle-canned 2-3 coats of satin black over the entire frame. In the afternoon, after the paint dried, she and I glued on new tack strip pieces. She then headed off to babysit that evening.

Yesterday, we were supposed to install the top, but instead she helped Ariel move back into her bedroom. This included taking down her waterbed and setting up her normal bed that she’d just brought back from the college apartment she’d recently moved out of. Then the two of them went off babysitting for the rest of the day while all I did was lubricate all the frame joints with liquid graphite. The top does go up and down much easier now.

I also pulled the charger off the battery and took a voltage reading – only 12.3 volts – not good. It should have read over 12.6. The engine started right up, however, and I backed it out of the garage so I could paint some storm windows from off the house. I let the engine idle for about ten minutes and measured the voltage across the terminals (charging voltage) and the meter read almost 14 volts. I also noticed the throttle was still a little stiff. I sprayed carb cleaner all around the linkages and shafts of each carburetor and that loosened things up significantly. I also disconnected the linkage to make sure the stiffness wasn’t somewhere between the pedal and the engine compartment – it wasn’t – so I reconnected it. After setting for most of the afternoon (the car, not me), I started the engine up and drove her back into the garage. A voltage measurement soon after shutdown indicated 12.6 volts, but this morning it was back down to 12.3. In hindsight, the amount of drain the CD player had put on the battery should not have been enough to cause it to go dead. Looks like the battery’s coming out and going to Sam’s for testing and, probably, replacement.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Luna’s Draining Issue

As previously reported here, Luna was finally made roadworthy and legal right before we left for our convention vacation. Ever since our return the weather has threatened thunderstorms, so Victoria hasn't had a chance to get her out on the road. Yesterday afternoon she had some errands to run, and it wasn't raining, so she decided to take Luna. She removed the tarp, put the top down, rolled down the windows, climbed behind the wheel, and turned the key. Guess what? Nothing happened. Dead battery.

I got home soon after, just after the sprinkles started, and Victoria and I pushed her car into the garage. I had her hook up the charger while I got out the equipment necessary to figure out what’s draining the battery, if anything. I disconnected the negative battery cable and wired a taillight bulb between the negative terminal and the negative cable end. Across this connection, as the above diagram shows, I hooked up my multimeter. If the drain is strong enough (like a short), the lightbulb will illuminate and the meter will read something around battery voltage. With lesser drains, the bulb might glow, and with tiny drains, the bulb won’t light up, but the meter will read a voltage above zero. With everything turned off, but one of the doors left open so the courtesy lights were on, the bulb started to dimly glow and the meter read about 0.8 Volts. As soon as I closed and the courtesy lights went off, the bulb went dark, but the meter still read something around 0.2 Volts. Okay, there’s something demanding electricity. I climbed back in the car, reached under the dash, and pulled the Dome/Tail/Stop light fuse thus killing that circuit. The meter display now showed 0.0. Okay, something in the circuit was the cause. I reinserted the fuse and heard some noises coming from under the front passenger seats. I peered under the seat and discovered a CD changer. I found the power wire to the changer, removed the in-line fuse, and, with the door closed, took another look at the meter – 0.0 V. Drain found, drain stopped.

Since I’m on the subject of tunes, I’ll share the interesting (to me) radio Luna currently has residing in her dash. It’s an AMC (yes, American Motors) AM/FM/CB unit that Victoria thinks is really cool, but sadly, isn’t working at the moment. There are speakers in the door that we initially assumed were connected to the radio, but now I’m thinking they’re actually connected to the aforementioned CD player.

Regarding the CD player, I did a little more looking around and found the controller for the player in the glovebox, but noticed the caddy was not in the changer. Not that it really matters since Victoria is way past using CDs. What she needs is an working jack for her iPod. Maybe I’ll be able to somehow add a 3mm jack and use the player as an amp to boost the volume into the door speakers. If not, then maybe I can get the radio to work and tap into the CB mic as the input. For the time being, though, she’ll need to be satisfied with the experience of top-down motoring and the increased assault on the senses that go along with it.

This weekend we’ll be taking on the task of installing the new convertible top. The “we’ll” will hopefully include the lovely Loriann, whose assistance in installing Heidi’s top a few years back was invaluable. Victoria also helped with that install, but all she remembers was getting hit in the head with something. I promised her I’d be more careful this time. Please say a prayer that we’re all still on speaking terms by weekend’s end.

Monday, August 6, 2012

A Light Weekend – Fleet-wise

First of all, I promised I'd put up a link once I had all the photos posted on Flickr. Here it is.

Last Friday evening I was able to get Luna roadworthy again, but not without some frustration. I knew that drilling out the two broken studs from one of the exhaust manifold would be difficult, but I thought that, once drilled, the tapping would be the easier task. It wasn’t. The tap didn’t want to cleanly cut the tough cast iron, so the tapered tool ended up cracking the cast flange ears. I kludged together a fastening scheme that resulted in a nearly sealed joint. The rest of the exhaust system went back together much better and Luna’s a lot quieter than before the adventure.

While lying under the car, I had a good chance to inspect the condition of the sheetmetal and found it in surprisingly better shape than I'd first expected. The bottoms of all the rockers are solid and the floor are only soft on the driver's rear seat footwell. Doing all the metal replacement will be far easier than it was on Ringo, and I can strike the replace floors from her to-do list.

Ariel had been telling me the catch in Ringo’s steering seem to be getting worse, and that his horn had stopped working. Thinking the two were related, I spent a few minutes removing the horn button assembly and then took him for a test drive. I think the neighbors must’ve thought I was drunk as I slowly went down the street turning lock-to-lock first one direction, then the next. Fortunately, all the testing indicated I’d found the problem. It’ll take a few commutes by Ariel to finalize the correctness of my diagnosis.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Attacking Luna’s Short List

At any one time each car in the fleet typically has a short to-do list and a long one. The short one consisting of must-dos, while the long one is filled with like-to-dos. In prepping Lucy for the convention, I'd cleared her short list. Currently, amazingly, Glinda, Heidi, and Ringo's short lists are empty, and up until Wednesday evening Luna's had six items on it.
  • Right rear window wouldn’t roll down: Fixed this by seating the rubber gasket at the leading edge of the glass.
  • Seat trim piece not installed: Grabbed a couple trim screws from my collection on the shelf and reattached the black inner trim plate to the rear of the driver’s seat.
  • Accelerator pedal linkage sticking at off idle: Not sure how I fixed this. I removed the nut holding the pedal to its shaft, gave the pedal a few whacks with a mallet, and lo-and-behold everything loosened up with the pedal and throttle moving as they should. I took care reinstalling the nut to ensure that things didn’t tighten up again.
  • Timing not checked: I put the timing light on her engines and it showed the timing was set at 8 degrees Before Top Dead Center (BTDC). I bumped it up to around 14. We’ll see if we experience any pinging when running it on 87 octane gas.
  • Carburetors not balanced: With the timing set and the idle speed set to a little over 500 rpm in Drive, I attached each end of my length of clear plastic tube with some oil to the vacuum ports on each carb and turned the car back on. One turn of the linkage of the left side carb and the oil didn’t move anymore.

The last item on the list was fixing the exhaust leak and that’s what I worked on last night. I got her rear up on jackstands, started the engine, and crawled under to find the source of the leak. It was the joint between the driver’s side manifold and the exhaust pipe. With the engine back off (of course) and after removing the lower shrouds, I soaked the four nuts holding the pipe flanges to the manifolds with my 50/50 blend of ATF and acetone and let them sit for a few minutes. As rusty as they looked, I probably could have let them sit for a few years and it wouldn’t have made it possible to unsieze them. As it was, all four studs snapped as I tried to remove the nuts. Having been through this a number of times before, I knew drilling out the broken studs and re-tapping the manifolds would be significantly easier with the manifolds off engine, so off they came. No issues with breaking anything else during their removal. I was able to find a GUP left side manifold on the shelf with clean threads and usable fasteners in the flange, so I’ll only need to drill out the two studs on the right side manifold that I’d just removed. But that will wait until at least tonight.

I took a trip to Crazy Ray’s on my lunch hour today to scope out any Suburbans that still had the parts we need for ours (rear barn door latch handle, heater fan, passenger door lock, and ABS unit). I was able to find everything fairly quickly (now I get to go back dressed appropriately with the right tools – maybe Sunday) so I used what time I had left to peruse their latest inventory. I found some amazing specimens – two Nash Metropolitans, a ’59 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser, two Opel GTs, an AMC Marlin, two Porche 928 (one with really nice blue leather seats, hmm), and two other really special finds: a ’64 Corvair Model 700 4-door and a Citroen DS. The former being in surprisingly good shape with most of its trim and interior intact and the rare presence of the latter, while not in the greatest shape, did allow me to get close to one of my dream cars.

Of course I couldn’t find a good camera this morning before running out the door to work, so the photos I’ve posted on Flickr of the Corvair and the Citroen aren’t that great. I'll be putting up the rest of the photos sometime over the weekend and will post where they can be found when they're up. If any of you readers need parts from the 'vair, let me know in the comments (leaving me a way to contact you) and we'll work some sort of deal since I'll need to go back there anyways.

I was keeping my eyes peeled for 14" wheels that had the proper 4-bolt pattern, but couldn't come up with anything - no older RWD Japanese. The wheels on the Opel were really cool and looked to be the right bolt circle, but sadly they were only 13".