Glas 1700 GT: One part at a time

A car restoration can be looked at from a lot of perspectives -some with blind trust through a pen writing checks, some like a soccer coach all passionate on the sidelines cajoling the players, but for me it’s all a hands on, do it yourself deal involving my time, hands and some percentage of my processing power at any given time with the intended consequence of improving things and learning. That and the occasional trip to the powder-coaters.

Some days I am enthusiastic because I genuinely enjoy the challenge of taking a neglected mechanism, unable to fulfill it’s intended function and cosmetically challenged, and making it work and look good.  Other days I keep my enthusiasm up by imagining driving the finished product and saying without much conviction ‘it just a bunch of nuts and bolts holding a few special brackets in between together’.  I wrote a post about this ‘nuts and bolts’ approach when I was working on the Sprint Speciale, early in the life of this blog.  That post was concerned with process and finish, this one is more a study of psychology psychosis or whatever -from a pscientific perspective

Intake parts here, the duplex fuel pump again, a good portion of the remote float bowl, one of the chokes, booth accelerator pump covers and a hose clamp.  In this orientation and state, they are little more than intricately beautiful mechanical objects sitting near each other on a tray.  Put them together with the rest of their coterie in a particular way and they precisely pump and meter fuel.

Ah -the bright stuff.  Here we have a lot of bits that have been tumbled, plated and polished or just cleaned if appropriate.  That big bracket is the bottom mount that joins the transmission to the engine.  The cog beside it is the crank pulley for the timing belt.  The red thing is a tail light lens, the long screws hold the starter together, the big clamp ring is part of the generator belt tensioning system etc.  My favorite -the toothed lock washers at the top of the picture.  I don’t know it is about the toothed lock washers, but off all the common parts they have the most personality.

Much of the fun of this project is exploring the back country of this new continent called Glas 1700 GT.  I pick a part from a box or bag, figure out what it is, then figure out why it was made the way it was.  Some parts are tractor simple, like the big transmission to engine bracket, some are overly complicated like the two fan-to-pulley-to-waterpump aluminum split clamps in the lower left hand corner.  Once I establish the what it is and how was it made part, I decide on an appropriate finish for the part based on what it might have looked like in the lights of the showroom.  I think if I was wildly (or even mildly) wealthy I would pay to do this.  I kind of imagine a pursuit of the well healed might me assembling cars as though big metal jigsaw puzzles -if all the pieces were clean, finished and ready for assembly -could even be a team sport.

Here is a good bit of parts just entering the processing queue.  Some just out of the tumbler including a lot of nuts, bolts and washers, and some not suitable for it like the distributor and accelerator pump diaphragms.  The tumbler is a sweet parts cleaner.  You load it and leave it.  The next morning you unload it, rinse and dry the parts and think about the next step.  Check out the motor mounts in the upper right hand corner.

I have a lot of duplicates from the parts car, the good car and Norm’s car that has the BMW transplant.  It seems like a good idea to try and restore the worst example of a particular part -the distributor above is a good example, before taking on the good one.  Next thing you know I will be the expert… or have a bunch of beautiful mechanisms that don’t work!  I’ll tackle the good set of Solex’s after the set that’s all apart above goes together…

And here’s another little job…  I tore the one of gaskets that hold the fuel in the pumps when I took them apart, so I needed to buy or make replacements.  I noticed that the ID of 40DCOE-to-airbox gaskets from an Alfa Giulia set were about the same as that of the torn gaskets and had this idea.

The bell is the cover for the fuel pump -there are two of them.  Fuel flows in under it and it needs to hold it there, to keep the rest of the cosmo’s fuel-free.  A thick paper gasket is just the thing.  I was going to struggle free-hand but Jaan, with his usual deadpan practicality suggested I take this aluminum plate with a hole in it, screw the bell down hard to it then cut it out with an exacto knife.  Was a bit more work than I anticipated, mainly due to the thickness of the paper, but probably hugely easier than doing it freehand.  It sort of came out okay. 

Yes, the two circles are not concentric, but the concour judge will not likely look inside the fuel pump to make sure they are -she’ll be on her iPhone trying to figure out what a Glas 1700 GT is supposed to look like and find this post and know I made substandard fuel pump gaskets and ding me a point for it without needing to pull it apart, risking the cosmo’s with fuel smell for all.  Voila!  Gaskets.

I was tempted to write that with a restoration you have three paths, you can leave it alone, make it how you want it, or make it how it was -but I realized there is a fourth, the most common path -you can fail to do any one of the three or a combination there-of.  I intend to toe the line between failing making it how it was and making it work.

Up next, failing making it roll how it used to.



7 thoughts on “Glas 1700 GT: One part at a time

  1. I know that a job is a job, etc., but you seem to be having waay too much fun solving puzzles! And you end up with an object of worth which you have had a hand in creating. You just might inspire some other youngsters to try this, just as Jaan has had a hand in inspiring you to challenge yourself with something new. Glas 1700? Yes!

    • When my youngster is old enough, I’ll inspire him.

      The parts car is now in storage and I’m picking up my ‘good’ car in 8 days. Lots to do between now and then, unless none of my parts show up, in which case I’ll just restore every piece of hardware I have.


  2. Matt, bought a parts tumbler from Eastwood after reading your posts.
    One has to wonder the price of shiny bolts with this damn thing sucking juice all night long. I can hear mine rumbling through 2+ stories of my house! The price of perfection…

    • William, there are a lot of tumbler sizes and media sizes out there. I am working on a guide to tumbling with Jaan, who did all the experimenting to figure out what shape/size/grit works best for different applications. The basis of his kit is a home-made cylindrical rock tumbler on an eBay purchased caddy. The media is aluminum oxide, not sure of the mesh size, but the pieces I’ve handled are roughly 3/8 of an inch parallelograms with some sharp corners. The cylinder that holds it all shouldn’t be more than 3/4 full since the scrubbing action is achieved by the media ‘falling’ on the parts. The cylinder is his case is made from a section of ABS pipe about 8″ in diameter with an end cap glued on one end and a reducer to 6″ on the other and a 6 inch rubber cap as used in plumbing for inspections or to get a sewer snake into a system. A little Tide laundry soap and water filled until it covers all the parts when the cylinder is stood up is used for the wetting agent. After processing the pieces are rinsed in water, placed in a metal tray and carefully dried with a heat gun to avoid any rust happening while it dries. I think a mesh strainer would work best as a drying holder, but haven’t tried it.


      • Yes, I didn’t want to go the McGyver route…the Eastwood kit had it all for $99. Two bowls, one with cutting media you describe and one with crushed walnuts for dry polishing.Though I do like the idea of a rotating barrel/tumbling effect which would seem a bit more agressive and effective than the vibratory method. Results are varied so far. It does give you that “Christmas Morning” shot of dopamine every time you look in there, like little presents underneath the tree…

  3. One last thought on tumblers if Jaan is reading…If I was making one custom I’d try one that a whole head casting could go in. Could be useful for port polishing as the media in my vibratory tumbler has a nice ability to migrate past areas that can’t be reached by a grinding tool, etc. and of course offers a more uniform finish.

    • We’ve talked about doing a big one -maybe we’ll try.

      I LOVE going through the media and finding all the little presents that are newly cleaned bits!


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