Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Fleet has a TEMPORARY Rise in Membership

It’s been VERY quiet fleet-wise as Ringo has been basically trouble-free for the last few weeks, and I’ve parked Glinda in the garage to both keep her interior dry and provide some impetus to work on the 4-speed swap. Sadly, very little has been done on prepping for the swap (dirty parts collected and catalogued, some cleaned, others left dirty), but Glinda’s carpet remains dry.

Yesterday the inactivity ceased when I threw the tow gear into the back of the truck, roused Mikhaila from a nap, and drove the two of us a half-an-hour into the country to haul home her latest (and LAST) project car. We arrived to find the red ’64 Monza convertible up on a hoist with a ’65 Corsa parked underneath. It took a while to get the ’65 running since it had been sitting for a few months, and then, once running, we discovered one of the wheels had its brake drum locked up. It took a bunch of back-and-forth before it broke loose. With Corsa finally out of the way, Mikhaila took some photos of the rust-free underside while I lubed the front suspension. With those tasks out of the way, John (the seller) lowered the hoist and we pulled the car out into his yard.

While Mikhaila and I worked to hitch the dust-covered ‘vert to the truck, John shared with us the story of this car. His sister owned and drove it for short while back in the 70s. When something in the rear end of the car failed, stranding her on the side of the road, John hired a moonlighting Chevy mechanic who fixed everything as good as new. When John went to deliver the repaired car back to his sister, she refused it, not wanting to be stranded on the side of road again. He transferred the title to his name, got the car painted, and then parked it his garage where it had sat ever since.

John went on to tell us a great story about his Corsa which he’s owned all its life. Back in the mid-sixties he really wanted a VW Karman-Ghia, but they were too pricey, so he ended up with a VW Beetle. This got him a subscription to a VW magazine. One month, the magazine had an article comparing the new ’65 Corvair to the Karmen-Ghia, and when John laid eyes on the European design, he decided he was going to have a Corvair. He went down to his local Chevrolet dealer and ordered a top-of-the-line Corsa. A few weeks later, he got the phone call that his car had arrived at the dealer and he could come and pick it up. He told the salesman he’d be by on the weekend. After sharing with some of co-workers that his brand new car was sitting waiting for him, they convinced him he needed to go get it immediately. One buddy even went so far as to drive him to the dealer. John paid the taxes and delivery fees and happily drove the car home that day. The next day President Johnson signed a bill removing the excise tax on new vehicles effective immediately. Since the benefit wasn’t retro-active, to this day, John doesn’t let his “buddies” forget they caused him to pay extra for his Corvair.

With the ‘vert now attached to the truck, Mikhaila and I transferred the loose parts into the truck’s bed and took inventory of all the parts that appeared missing. John had me follow him to a different area of his expansive garage where we spent some time hunting down the missing engine shrouds and covers. While I was able to find many pieces of sheetmetal, we gave up after a while still lacking many parts. John then offered to give me his complete-but-rusty ’64 coupe sitting in his yard with the assurance that everything I would need to finish the ‘vert could be found on the coupe. More on this later.

My next stop on this Corvair day of acquisitions was John’s barn where I was to select a differential for my 4-speed swap project. I had asked him before if he had one he’d be willing to sell me, and he replied he had a few spares sitting around gathering dust - some still had their transmissions bolted to them. The first one I came to was off another ’65 Corsa and John said he’d like to keep it as a correct spare for his Corsa. The next one back in the stash wasn’t bolted to a tranny, but it was also an open diff (no positraction). I could tell this by spinning one of the output flanges and watching the other side spin the opposite direction. Well, third time’s a charm as the spinning a flange on the next dif indicated it had a posi. It also had a tranny bolted to it, so the heavy assembly went into the front bucket of John’s tractor before being transferred into the back in the truck with the promise I’d get the transmission back to John sometime in the near future. With all the purchasing complete, Mikhaila and I hit the road. Once her car was unhitched and sitting in our driveway she and I gave it a much-needed bath revealing a really nice paint job on a rust-free car. Even if the engine needs rebuilding (which it hopefully won’t since it ran when parked), I’ll feel like a got a great deal at $2200. It will need brakes (which I’ve got new parts from the TwoTone project) and a new top, and I want to do a thorough job of coating the rockers and underside with Waxoyl before it gets placed on the road.

We then rolled it into the garage.

Click here to go to the Flickr album for all photos of the new acquisition.

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