For the past decade I have been
struggling over how I was going to restore
Since my 35th High School Reunion is
in August of 2007, I decided it was about time I got the car
restored so that I could drive it to the reunion.
The first dilemma I had was on how I
was going to fix the various pieces of rust around the car.
Nothing really serious, just to much for me to do since it
would require metal fabrication and TIG welding.
Front Fender Rust
starting to peek through
Rear fender rust
already broken through.
Front Window Rust
Rear Window Rust
But probably the worst
element of the repair was what to do with the fender that
Arlen's Body Shop had "repaired" in the mid seventies.
Their idea of a repair was to cut off part of my old fender,
overlap a new one, rivet it, weld it, and then beat
the living daylights out of it and then fill the depression
This led me on a hunt for
a rust free car that could donate some sheet metal to mine.
I found that car in Phoenix Arizona. Rocky who at 85
had decided to hang up the keys a couple of years ago and
decided that it was time to part with his car. He is
the original owner and the car was bought in LA and moved to
Phoenix in 1971 and has been there ever since.
Rocky and his car
After some negotiations
and 2 grand later, the car was mine. The car has
268,000 miles on it and had not been driven for 3 years.
I fired it up and took it around the block only to discover
that it had no brake pedal.
Back to the driveway I
went and in 106 degree temperatures I proceeded to jack the
car up and adjust all four brakes. After that, the car
had pedal and would stop, but not very well.
The sheet metal appears
to be rust free. The car however has quite a bit of
damage to fix. The passenger rear fender was crumpled
in and needs fixing and the drivers rear fender was
previously damaged and the bondo is now cracking. It
looks to have been a poor repair and all of the bondo will
need to be removed and the metal worked out as much as
possible. The passenger front fender looks like it
hung up on something and has a bulge in it. Doesn't
look to bad and should be easy to fix. The rest of the
body has various dings and small dents in it that will need
to be smoothed out. The car had been totally repainted
some time ago.
Well my idea was that if
the car ran that I was going to drive it 1500 miles back to
Seattle rather than paying $1000 to have it shipped.
This would be a real test for a car that will be 40 years
old in October. Oh, by the way, the car had the
original Protect-O-Plate in the glove box.
After purchasing the car,
Glorene and I met her brother Bo at a local restaurant for
lunch. She had not seen him since she was 5 years old
when he came to her fathers funeral in San Bernardino.
After a good nights sleep
we packed up the car with a cooler and some tools we bought
at Walmart, hooked up the laptop and GPS and off we went.
My Sweetie accompanied me to
Phoenix - We flew First Class down and this is what she got to come back
About 100 miles out of Phoenix we heard a sound
and pulled over. The right front tire had separated and the left one was
about to. I jacked the car up and put the spare on but the jack was
broken and wouldn't let the car down so I had to back off of it. Now I
would not be able to change a tire again!
We headed for the CA border at a slow
pace to find a tire shop and just before getting there the
spare separated. I was able to make it to Jesse's Tires
where they sold me two ancient tires with no warranty for a
ridiculous $100. Not much I could do. I am just going to
toss the tires anyway since I am putting different wheels
and tires it.
Getting 2 new front
Talk about the wind
in your hair - at 70 mph and 105 degrees it was very hot and
We made it to San
Bernardino and went and visited Glorene's daddy's grave.
Her cousins were kind enough to come out to visit us at the
cemetery. Afterwards we headed for the Olive
Garden for Lunch.
Trying to get a
little shade to cool off while at the cemetery
Glorene having a
chat with her father
Next we headed for
Bakersfield to possibly visit with her brother, but when we
couldn't raise him on the phone I decided instead to shoot
for Sacramento. Up to this point the car had been running
hot, but didn't overheat to the point I had to stop. We
rolled in to Sacramento at 11:30PM with some 17 hours of
driving under my belt for the day.
We slept 6 hours and were
off again. The weather was somewhat cooler than the 100+
temperatures of AZ and LA and were actually quite pleasant
until about 10AM. I stopped in Redding to fill up and
check the radiator before heading up the pass to Oregon.
The radiator was boiling over, but not bad enough to stop I
figured. So I took it easy up the pass only going
Heading up the pass
I really wanted to try
and make Eugene Oregon for gas but the gas gage seemed to be
dropping pretty fast so Glorene convinced me to stop about
10 miles out of Eugene. We stopped at a nice little
Mexican Restaurant at about 3PM and then got gas.
It took 19.6 gallons of gas. The car has a 20 gallon
tank!!! I am glad she made me pull over.
The home stretch -
only 150 miles to go
We pulled into Seattle
Tacoma Airport at 8:30PM after 13 hours of driving. I
dropped Glorene off to pick up our car that we left at Doug
Fox Parking and then we headed home.
During the trip, the car
only got around 15mpg. The carburetor is a bit out of
adjustment and the secondaries don't work. None the less the
car had plenty of power as long as you didn't stand on it.
Which I was afraid to do anyway for fear of breaking
something. The engine used 2 quarts of oil in 1500
miles so it needs some serious work. It also used up about a
gallon of antifreeze. It ran OK otherwise but started hard
when it was hot. The front end shook pretty bad at speeds
above 55 but we wanted to get home so I did 65-70. To tall
of tires made the speedometer off by about 4mph according to
our GPS so I drove accordingly.
I spent this AM cleaning
up the interior and will try and take it in to a body shop
to get an estimate on fixing the passenger rear fender plus
redo some old work that was done on the drivers rear fender.
After some hard
scrubbing the seats and door panels didn't look to bad
The drivers seat
which had been recovered at some point earlier, had a tear
in it which I covered with Duct Tape. The rear seats
were original. Anyone out there want a beige
interior? I am keeping the dash for the AC vents as my
car doesn't have AC.
All in all it took 30 hours of driving
to get here but for the most part was uneventful.
Home in the driveway
On to Part 2