Thursday, May 30, 2013

Pulling The Trigger

Given these politically correct times, the title will probably offend someone (don’t care).

It’s not the best time for me to spend money on Corvairs – we’re in the process of buying a second home and the lender is watching our accounts pretty closely - but I can’t wait until we’re through closing to start trackifying Glinda (hence the uptick in her sidebar dollar figure). Corvair Underground happened to be having a sale on their front suspension components that lasts only through the end of the month, so I just had to place an order with them for new urethane (stiffer) control arm and strut rod bushings. Also, an article in an online CORSA club newsletter inspired me to find a great deal on an Equus tachometer that I’ll be installing in the empty bucket in the middle of her dash (where a clock could have gone). Previously, I’d bought the materials to reinstall her backlight. Part of this project will be un-denting the stainless window surround that I wounded while trying to install it a month or so ago. It was that futile effort that caused me to order the adhesive and primer.

I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I will not have enough time or money to convert Glinda to a 4-speed car. The day at the track will be interesting, as will the national convention’s autocross competition. Not that I hold any hope of winning my class this year, but I can take solace in the fact that one of last year’s winners drove a Powerglide equipped LM.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

And Then There Were Four

That’s right, Heidi has been sold. I closed the deal last evening and then fought back the tears as she was driven away. There are a lot of memories tied up in that car. Most good; a few not so good. Fortunately, my blogging has created a written history of the last eleven years and Heidi’s impact on our family – especially Brianna and me.

To quote from my blog, milestones included:

4/13/02: Trailered the car to our house. What a job getting it onto the trailer.
10/28/02: We hooked a battery up and tried to turn the engine with the starter. Only clicks, no motion.
5/15/04: The car finally got moved to its new home in Baltimore, MD
10/31/04: Paint stripping complete.
7/10/05: Sprayed three coats of paint (Glacier Gray).

10/2/05: Work completed included installation of the new top.
10/9/05: Spent Saturday taking the drivetrain out of his '63 Corvair sedan and Sunday putting it into the car. By Sunday night I was able to drive it out of the garage.
11/27/05: Everything checked out, so back to school Brianna went, but this time driving her Corvair.
5/19/07: It's been a while, and the Corvair's been, for the most part, behaving. Today, we drove it to the local Corvair club's tech session. While there, some Corvair-savvy guys did a compression check and found that one of the cylinders was way down on pressure.
6/5/07: As Brianna was driving down Rt. 40 a tree fell onto the road. The car in the next lane ran into her.

7/14/07: Engine overhaul’s finally complete and the Corvair got put back on the road.
9/14/07: Still going through oil like crazy. Found a guy willing to give him a '64 4-door that runs.
10/12/07: Pulled the drivetrains out of both cars and put the replacement into the car before calling it a day.
5/12/08: Installed the differential and transmission and raised the rebuilt drivetrain into place.
8/16/08: A summer of reliable, fun driving - at least a couple thousand miles worth.
7/28/09: Four hours from Baltimore, Heidi started running very poorly. It was making putt, putt noises and has no power. Hitched Heidi up to the Suburban, and, after a stop at the gas station to wash up and fill up, was back on the road by 10 PM. Another four hours of driving and he was home.
8/3/09: Discovered that the end of one valve stem was damaged by the rocker arm running askew. Irrr.
8/13/09: After 5+ hours on Monday evening and another hour on Tuesday, I had the engine back together enough start her up.
7/26/10: After hours and hours of prep including welding, Bondo’ing, priming, and sanding Heidi was ready for paint yesterday evening…I mixed up the first batch of metallic silver and poured it through a filter and into the gun’s reservoir….With four coats of color applied, I moved on to the clearcoat.

8/3/10: Brianna thoughtfully waited until I was home before going out to the garage to gaze upon her transformed Heidi. With Loriann’s hands covering her eyes, she walked into the garage. Her reaction, once she saw the car, was suitably appreciative and complimentary. We all agreed that, now in her proper silver with original red interior, Heidi fulfills her German name.
9/17/11: Brianna asked me if I’d be willing to take Heidi back to Baltimore for the winter.
11/9/11: I was driving home from dealing with Glinda, I glanced into Heidi’s sideview mirror and noticed it was vigorously shaking. I rolled down the window and grabbed the mirror only to have it come completely loose from its mounting. Thanking God I caught it in time.
4/20/12: I popped open Heidi’s engine lid and discovered one of the spark plug leads had come off the distributor cap. I poked it back into place, started up her engine, and was rewarded with the smooth idle I so love.
4/9/13: I just got the word from Brianna that she doesn’t foresee a scenario where she and Nich will live close enough to us that they’d be comfortable using Heidi as a daily-driver. It was a hard and sad decision for her, but she texted me, “it’s time for me to sell her to someone who will appreciate her.”

Friday, May 24, 2013

Into Four Figures

With today’s order from Clark’s Corvair Parts, Glinda’s expenses have finally exceeded $1000. I bought the materials to reinstall the backlight (rear windshield). The other day I removed the chrome trim around the backlight because it wasn’t secured properly. Now, the plan is to remove the glass, thoroughly clean and coat the opening before reinstalling the glass with new adhesive. This should ensure there’s no leaking and that the trim should properly snap into place. So, currently Glinda is parked in the garage awaiting my wrenching.

The other night, Ariel complained that Ringo’s heat wouldn’t go all the way off. After jacking his right rear off the ground and securing him atop a sturdy jackstand, I slid under and attempted to fully close the damper door that leads into his heater box. Sadly, it appeared to already be completely closed, so my solution was to remove the lower shrouds (which I was going to do anyway). Now the air blowing through the hot engine will take the new path of least resistance – out the rear of the engine. Ariel hasn’t said anything, so I guess this fix was successful.

Monday, May 20, 2013

She’s Gone

Another appropriate title to this post would be, “I Could’ve Sold Her Twice”. Last Thursday I received a message on the CorvairCenter forum from a prospective Lucy buyer. He was responding to my post about which car I should bring to Sunday’s Corvair Ranch Open House. While he would not be able to attend the event, he told me he was “98% sure” he wanted the car.

Late that same day, my phone vibrated with a text message from a VA area code asking me if there were “any known problems on the red corvair.” I didn’t see the text until the next morning, but I immediately responded with a long message that basically told the interested party that she was good-to-go, with the only rust-though being a couple areas under the trunk lid. After a few back-and-forths, the sender asked for my address and told me he and his buddy would be at my house in two hours. True to his word (amazingly), two younger guys pulled up at my curb as promised and began giving Lucy a thorough inspection. I let them look a while before I moseyed on down the driveway and said hello. They were real excited about what they saw (thank You Lord) and Lucy luckily fired right up and they took her for a test drive. They were gone a while (got slightly lost), but once they returned, they asked what my lowest price was. $2300 was what I told them and $2300 was exactly what they were hoping for. SOLD! Now I can pay Victoria for Glinda and begin in earnest the work to trackify (see sidebar) that car (more on this later).

It took a while to gather all the stuff that was included (lug wrench, extra lug nuts, spare fanbelt, chrome trim, Monza badges, etc.), but I was finally able to let them go. With their departure, I could sit down with the family for dinner, and they asked me how I was doing. “There’s a small hole in my heart,” I joked. After dinner I checked my e-mail, and found another message from the first prospective buyer. “My wife thinks it would be a fine 50th b-day present…we’ll work out a deal.” I felt so bad having to tell this guy I’d just sold his birthday present. Fortunately, he took the news quite well, responding with a, “It wasn’t meant to be.” During this time, I was working on Heidi trying to get rid of the two bubbled paint spots above the rear wheel arches. I carefully wire brushed the bubbles away and used my new spot sandblaster to remove all the rust. This was followed by a generous application of rusty metal primer to keep any future corrosion at bay. Friday night I applied a few layers of filler and let it fully cure until the next morning when I sanded the repairs smooth, cleaned the areas, and then used my new airbrush to shoot a bunch of light layers of urethane primer. I was trying to get the repairs done in time to take her to the aforementioned open house, but a b-day dinner for the lovely Loriann took precedence over that plan, and the final painting and clear-coating didn’t occur until yesterday afternoon. It was so nice not having to match the paint since I had quite a bit of the silver left over. The finished product turned out pretty good if I say so myself. A little sanding once the clearcoat is fully cured and it will be difficult (I hope) to see the repairs.

Regarding the trackification of Glinda, my priorities are making sure her suspension is up to snuff and that includes cutting a coil out of each front spring, installing new shocks at least on the front, swapping in the quick-steer arms I bought from my ‘vair-buddy Jonathan a few years ago, and getting a good four-wheel alignment. I really, really want to do a 4-speed swap, but I’m not sure I’m going to have the time (or funds). I was hoping to pull the needed parts from a carcass up at the Corvair Ranch, but my last conversation with Jeff indicated he wasn’t too hopeful that he had a prospective donor. Bummer. If worse comes to worst, I can drive her on the track as an automatic, but it won’t be nearly as fun. I was thinking I’d need to buy wheels (?) and new tires (???) since the current 185/80-13s are not track-worthy, but it occurred to me that Luna is just sitting in the portable garage on four very nice tires. I’m sure Victoria won’t mind if I take a millimeter or two of tread off of each one. I’ll be relying on the stock lap and shoulder belts to keep me in place during this summer’s convention track day and autocross. Getting her carbs modified with relocated jets and a good tune-up will, I’m sure, take up the couple months I have until Gingerman Raceway event.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

So Close….

You know the rest. The prospective buyer for Lucy was all set to come down to Baltimore this Saturday, but then Monday I got an e-mail from him telling me was going to pass on her. Then, the prospective buyer for Heidi was all set to come up to Baltimore at lunch today, but then I got an e-mail form him telling me he’d just bought another ’64 that was for sale nearer to his home and was a color scheme his wife really loved. So, there you go. Still so very far from selling the two Corvairs I’ve currently got on the market.

With the rejections fresh in my mind, I pulled Glinda up onto the front lawn yesterday evening and shot a series of photos that I’ll use in the ads I’ll put up to try and sell her.

I really don’t want to lower the price for Heidi. I feel I’ve got her priced fairly (with a little negotiating room), and I know Brianna could really use as much money from her sale as possible. As a fellow Corvair hoarder answered, when I asked him how much for his rusted ’64 coupe, “Make me an offer, but I’m not giving it away.”

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


I haven’t been inspired to write much lately since my Corvair experiences have been rather negative. Here are the high(low)lights. I’ve had at least four different people make appointments to come and look at Lucy or Heidi, and only one has actually showed up.

I’ve had one person tell me over the phone that he would buy both for $6600 and that he was on his way to bank at that moment to get the money and he would be at my house that evening at 5:30 to buy both Lucy and Heidi. He never showed and he never contacted me again.

A guy called me on my way home from work and asked to see the cars right then. I accommodated him, and he proceeded to tell me all the things that were wrong with each car and then offered me about 60% of what I was asking. In other words, he wanted to see if he could something for basically nothing.

The one guy that kept his appointment had sent me a very positive “I will buy your car once mine sells” e-mail followed a couple months later by an “I’ve sold my car and I’ll be in Baltimore Saturday” e-mail, so I was rather hopeful he’d come through with a reasonable offer. Instead, he showed up late, wanted to chat even though he knew he was keeping me from a dinner party, and then went on to say he wasn’t interested in Lucy. This was after I'd spent an hour digging out all the parts I was including with the sale since he’d told me over the phone he wanted everything.

I’ve had a guy stop me from working on the lovely Loriann’s car so he could talk my ear off about how awesome Lucy was, take her for a test drive, come back and tell me again how awesome the car was, and then promise me either he or his brother would DEFINITELY buy the car AND I’d hear from one of them THAT evening. Nothing!

Then, courtesy of two parking tickets (Heidi and Lucy), I learned of Baltimore's 48-hour parking limit. It seems I can't park a car in the same place on a city street for longer than 2 days. So, now I have the pleasure of rolling cars around since I want to keep the two that are for sale out there on the street for any prospective buyer to spy.

The truck was finally put into service as a tow vehicle when, last Friday, I got the call from Ariel that she’d smelled smoke coming from the engine compartment and immediately pulled over onto the side of I-97. When I got to her, I discovered the alternator bearings had failed. Fortunately, I had a spare, that I pulled it apart, greased the bearing I could get to, reassembled and swapped in place of the failed one. Also, fortunately, the spare worked electrically so Ringo was roadworthy again that evening.

Last Saturday, I washed both Heidi's and Lucy's engine compartments. Somehow, unbeknownst to me, I managed to knock loose one the right side carb linkage from the throttle assembly, so when I took her out on the road that evening, she was significantly down on power. Fortunately, I was able to find the issue, locate the clip that had fallen off, and put everything right again.