Monday, February 4, 2013

Bye, Bye Suburban

WARNING – THIS PARAGRAPH IS WITHOUT CORVAIR CONTENT: At less than six years old, the beautiful Silverado pickup the lovely Loriann and I just bought is the youngest daily-driver I’ve ever had the pleasure of driving daily. It goes down the road so nicely, and is much, much quieter than the Suburban or any of the Corvairs. The seats are so supportive that while travelling home from southwest Virginia, I didn’t have the need to continually shift around to stay comfortable. The buying experience was painless as I’d set everything up beforehand with phone calls and e-mails, so I was in and out of the dealership in about 15 minutes. There is one item I need to address before the truck is totally tow-ready. I must purchase an adapter that converts from GM round trailer jack to generic flat four. Oh darn! I’ve got to Harbor Freight again.

WARNING – ANOTHER PARAGRAPH LACKING CORVAIR CONTENT: At some point before the first digit of my age becomes an even number again, I WILL drive my ’65 LeMans, fully restored, down to my buddy Bill’s house in central VA. As of today, however, this poor, patient car is only a very solid starting point for what will be a long, hard road of restoration. This past Saturday morning was a shot of hope and inspiration that I occasionally need to keep this dream alive. My son-in-law Nich and I joined my long-time Pontiac buddy Bill and his friend Tony, for a frigid Saturday morning of sidestepping frozen cow-pies while wandering the car-filled pastures of a central Virginia farm. We stayed away from the expansive Mopar section and oohed and ahhed at a collection that included a number of late-fifties Chevy’s, the occasional Ford, Oldsmobile, and Cadillac, and the ones we really came to see, the Pontiacs from a 1958 Cheiftain through a 1972 LeMans and many, many models and years in between. When we’d seen all there was to see, we entered a block building and maneuvered our way around and between aisles of fenders, seats, quarter-panels, dashes, hoods, trunklids, air cleaners, etc., etc., etc. It was an incredible experience. I asked one of the guys who worked for the owner, if he was getting out of the business, and thankfully, the answer was no, he’ll be into this for quite a while longer. Great, I don’t need to fret about losing out on the ’65 quarterpanels I need or the overhead-cam-six engine I want to buy, rebuild, and install as my car’s means of motivation. Now to just get TwoTone finished.

Finally some fleet news. Friday, I took the day off and focused on Lucy’s floors. After putting her back up on jackstands, I made some measurements for the front driver’s footwell and began cutting out the first patch from New Betty’s scavenged hood. A simple bend at the front, a bit of trimming at the side and rear, and dozen or so 5/16ths holes, and it was ready to install. The patch from under rear seat was a bit more of a challenge since it had to bend and curve to match the transition to the rear firewall. After some more cutting and pounding, it was ready. Finally, I measured and cut the bridging panel that’ll span the space between the front and rear patches. Once it was complete, I put the flap wheel on my grinder and cleaned off the POR-15 from areas where I needed to weld. At that point it was time to quite, so I could be ready to hit the road for our weekend in VA.

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