I am back from vacation but need a few days to see what’s going on and get back into the swing of things so another rerun for you all.
Originally posted 7/28/09: Following on my success with the Super gauges intended for my TI and the two Sprint Speciale gauges, I decided tackling the last gauge for the SS was the thing to do yesterday when I spent some hours at the shop.
Outwardly the Tachometer was the middle child, not so cosmetically usable as is as the tri-gauge and not so obviously water damaged as the Speedometer. Functionally it was not much better off than the Speedometer. This is how it went:
I would probably have paid $40 for this on eBay and been disappointed when I received it if I didn’t know then what I know now. Needles are pointed where they belong but other than that it looks bad. At least the plastic insert is not yellowed.
I have to fess up. I started this blog post yesterday and then chickened out and stopped working on it because I felt a little embarassed by the quality of my work. I feel like the rust repair is going okay, the metal is responding, but the finished product looks pretty marginal. Good enough -yes, but I sort of imagined some unknown talent taking over and this coming out nicely. I am aware that this is sort of how these things go, and skill development takes time but it’s hard to not get discouraged. Oh well. Good enough indeed.
Picking up where I left off last time. Bumper mount recesses and tubes are removed and cutouts for back up lights are, well, cut out. It’s reassuring to know that people exist who can undo all my efforts and make it right if someone wanted it so and money was available.
It was nearly 2 years ago that I started work on this corner of the car -was the first body work I attempted. Back then I didn’t really know what to do about some of the problems I faced, but as with all things, I figured when it came time to make a decision, I would somehow know what to do. The bodywork was tweaked just enough in a crash, and rusted through in just enough places that getting it back to stock was going to be difficult. Now that I am welding and unafraid and have to deal with it, I have decided to repair it by emulating the early lownose rearend -a much simpler design and hopefully easier to fabricate. Check it out.
A reminder of where I started and what I started with. Now that I have experience I can tell you the dent to the left of the tail lights, in the gentle curve of the Kamm tail area is a harder thing to deal with than the edge chop.
The title of this one has become my mantra. Welding is getting easier incrementally, as is shaping the metal. As I cut little areas open, remove the dead metal and add new in I am always telling myself to just get it good enough so I can grind it down, smear the weld with all metal filler, sand that down and hide any imperfections under some polyester filler. Here is the latest. This picture was taken about 2 hours before I sat down to write this.
You can’t really see much of the improvement, but this is what it looked like when I left tonight. I’m only looking forward to the sanding and filler stage because it will mean the welding stage is done. Did I mention welding is dirty work?
I got to the shop early this morning to continue some work I started Friday after work-painting most of the inside of the front end with rust encapsulating chassis paint. I finished wire-wheeling all the crud and everything off the engine compartment surfaces, the insides of the fenders etc and it had been sitting for about a week and surface rust had begun to form so it was time to seal it. Check it out.
Beginning at the end -this is what it looked like when I left today. The light gray is self etching zinc oxide primer designed to inhibit rust. The black is Eastwood rust encapsulating chassis paint. Both are aromatic to put it mildly. Continue reading
Another giant leap. All it took is the happy convergence of a few things namely: a rudimentary understanding of welding, the realization that ‘good enough’ is good enough, and, well if it comes out total crap I can just cut it all out and try again -it’s only my time after all. So what did I do with my new found intrepid spirit? I welded that headlight area back on that I cut off about 18 months ago. I didn’t have my camera through most of the hard part, but it looked a lot like the work I did in the rocker -rough, nasty and strong.
Near the finale. I tried the headlight rings on to see how it looks. It looks okay, but if I measure with a straight edge, the plane of the two headlight rings is not parallel one side to the other. The outer edge is about 1/4″ too far out.
I may regret not taking it to a professional at some point but I just can’t bring myself to let someone else do this job. The whole point of this exercise -restoring the SS- was to learn a bunch of skills and see what I could do. So, in that spirit I put on my grubby work clothes, got out the serious metal-cutting tools and went for it before I had time to turn back.
Friday afternoon I got to the shop at about 430. I have been looking at this rusty mess since before I received the car and it struck me at that moment -now was the time to fix it. Under that rust hole is the support for the door, a sort of cup. Fortunately it is VERY solidly attached and I just need to work around it.
Note: There is a link at the end of this post to Dante. Don’t miss it if you like to see the process of classic sports car body restoration and construction. Especially not to be missed is the SZ rebody and Aston conversion to a station wagon.
Big happenings at the shop when I arrived today. Bill was in the midst of another afternoon of toil on the SS. Lots more needs doing -rockers repaired, rear end repaired, headlight reattached, seat tracks fabricated etc, but it is looking more like a car that has the potential to get assembled and driven every day. I think I am going to wait until he is done to go nuts with the DA sander and wire wheel cleaning this thing up.
Starting at the end as usual. Here I dropped the pedal box in to see how it would fit. Perfect. My feet now have somewhere to go.
I slept in until 10 am this morning! Two cups of coffee and the enthusiasm generated by seeing all the nice SS’s on the market I’ve written about this week saw me rushing out the door by 11am to work on the SS. I figured out everything I needed to make the plating kit work and wanted to get it all together, set it up and run some tests.
I bought 5 gallons of distilled water, a bunch of wire end alligator clips, a candy thermometer, a measuring spoon set, a spray bottle and a surge protector. I decided for my first attempt I’d use a 6 volt, 500 mA motorcycle battery charger I had laying around from who knows when. The day went like this:
The finished product first as usual. Plated engine lift bracket, head nuts and washers. I could probably have paid to plate every part on this car for what I am into my kit but this way I wont lose anything, I wont be driving back and forth to a plating shop and I can say: I did that!
Two years is a long time to wait plan and ponder but here I am seeing what has for so long seemed like something consigned to some later date. Bill, old friend and recently arrived shop mate agreed to have a go at welding the floors into the SS. I had a floor set I bought from Wolf last year and yesterday they finally saw some action.
The Veloce e-brake mount finally has somewhere to mount. Looking good. Welds will be cleaned up later.
I have been looking at this car for 2 years now, in pictures after sending $4500 to the seller in December of 2007, trying to come up with a coherent plan for tackling it, and since then as a sculpture of sorts, always looming in the background corner of the shop, watching me toil on other cars, patiently waiting its turn. It’s turn is here.
Having a really snotty cold complete with a crackly sounding cough ensures your work wants you as far away as possible, and when you start feeling pretty good but your body is still in clean up mode you have to get out an do. In this fit of new found near health I decided that since I lacked the parts to finish assembling the engine, I would start in on the body, and where better to start than the engine compartment. It has been a hellish job, but, as with all jobs, took starting and doing if it was to be seen finished. I guess I could have paid someone to do this, but that would have been cheating, and besides, my funds are already in arrears of the someones I will be paying for time spent exercising their skills on my car.
The starting line. First order of business was removing the steering components, the wiring harness and some other odds and ends so this would be a long level run rather than an obstacle course. Looks pretty bad doesn’t it.
Update 11/23/09: I started back in on the SS so I thought another repost about working on it would be good. I am especially proud of my efforts on this post and the one that followed it.
I have spent a lot of time going through catalogs and making shopping lists so the GTV has to be sold soon to buy a bunch of the stuff I need. If you have any interest in a 69 GTV let me know. It wont be expensive. I am working on the SS rear end right now so look for another post about it soon.
Original post 6/27/09. I know it’s hard to believe but I did some work on my SS! The buyer of Market 1 SS, that had the incorrect earlier style gauges, bought the Italian/metric gauges that came out of my SS so I started cleaning up the US market gauges I had been contemplating using. Funny what a wad of cash can help you decide. The condition of the US gauges turned out to be one of those better and worse at the same time deals. Cosmetically they looked bad and the guts were in need of cleaning and lubricating, but the fundamental parts were presentable and most important, the plastic had not yellowed, so I could make a good set out of them with a little effort.
The fruit of my labor. Lot’s of spiffy gauges ready to tell me how I and my car(s) are doing. Still need to clean up the SS tach.