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.

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