|1930 Pierce Arrow||1954 Cadillac||1935 Ford||Radiator Cap Hood Ornaments|
|Race Boat "Miss Comet"||1949 Ford Convertible||1932 Pontiac Convertible||Hercules JXD Engines|
1930 Pierce Arrow
Bill found this car in San Jose about ten years ago or more. We had it delivered to his home then did some initial service work to get it running better. Because of interests and calls in other areas of Bill's life his Pierce Arrow went back into storage for several years. Bill kept learning about his car and buying parts on eBay (a lot of parts) until his time demands allowed us to pick up where we left off. The engine had a blown head gasket and Bill worried about the stock oil pump exploding (made from pot metal and a known weak link) so I had him obtain a replacement brass pump and made a new pump drive. We changed the head gasket and I surfaced his head. I thought there was something wrong with the gasket fit which turned out to be a mismatch between engine and head series. We've put it back together while he looks for a correct head (a correct spare came with the car, but it's in very poor shape from a prior crack repair). I also gave the engine a minor tune up. Bill changed his fuel tank and lines, ignition coils and tires. I redid his steering and clutch adjustments. There is always a part of Bill's character that wants to Hot Rod anything he owns. Somewhere along the way he found a two BBL manifold and then bought a bunch of updraft "U" and "UU" series carburetors so I could to try and assemble a working combination. I cannibalized a half dozen carburetors to perhaps build one serviceable unit. It is heart breaking and expensive to have to winnow through boxes of junk to find a couple of decent parts but that is the vintage car restoration process sometimes.
The 2 BB manifold was in poor condition; having cracked porcelain and significant warp, a frozen heat riser and excessive corrosion.
To restore the manifold I sandblasted it, then used porting and polishing techniques on the exterior surfaces to prepared it for being re-coated with new porcelain. Old cast iron is very brittle. With this two piece manifold (separate intake and exhaust castings) alignment when machine work is done becomes critical. Several cracks appeared during the restoration process so I determined to stress relieve both castings and straighten them as a unit, and weld repair the exhaust at the same time. Then I'd re-evaluate machining. I fabricated a very heavy (about 65 lbs) restraint bar with steel dowels to simulate mounting alignment locations. Then I added bolts to restrain manifold movement in "wrong" directions while allowing movement toward being flat and correctly aligned. I delivered the whole manifold and fixture to Gary and Guy Reed at Lock-N-Stitch in Turlock, CA. for preheating, welding, and post heating at their facility. They did a great job so I finished porting inside, made a new heat riser shaft bushing, a new gasket pack for the plenum, and did a final fit of the manifold sections. I then machined both manifold faces in one set up. I'd contacted Tom Sparrow at Prairie Auto Porcelain (17250 Cannon City Blvd. Faribault, MN. 55021. Tom's cell is 507-581-9887) about re-firing Bill's parts so they were ready to finish the job. I shipped the entire manifold and assembled restraint bar to use as the manifolds were porcelain fired. It came back looking wonderful and straight as an Arrow. We also thermal barrier coated inside the manifold surfaces to prevent heat from entering the old iron. This job was really expensive but Bill feels it is a rare part, so justified.
Bill has moved out of the area and made arrangements to disassemble his whole car at his son's shop to repair interior damage and prepare it for club and show uses. This manifold will be stored until used in it's final assembly.
Tom is a collector who likes to drive and use his vehicles. He has various automotive interests but likes 1930's to 60's vehicles. This Cadillac reflects restoration work in other shops before it came into Tom's garage. Tom wanted to freshen
the car's looks and correct minor deficiencys so it would be fully functional for daily use. He has an interior man, and a paint man, but needed me to do a gig list of about twenty mechanical and electric items.
The car became registered for the Palo Alto Concors 'de Elegance and then was selected to be the "cover car" on the show programs. Cadillac was the featured mark that year so suddenly some pressure was on to make this car as nice as it could be without redoing anything in a major way. I was tied up on other projects and nearly didn't do my part in time. As it turned out I did my mechanical and electrical repairs after final detailing was complete. That was nerve wracking because I had to work under the dash, undercarriage, and hood without soiling or disturbing anything I couldn't re-clean or re-adjust.
I finished the day before the show and had an evening to drive around and enjoy this wonderful piece of automotive history. Tom invited me to the show to be available for any last minute issues and see the judging committee work. I had an unlimited pass so this photo was taken from behind the awards ramp looking out of the patrons tent. Tom received the Manufacturers Award Trophy and Best in Class Trophy with his car that year. He kept it for awhile and I did some service work on it before it was sent on location for a movie shoot. One of the movie crew fell in love with it and after buying it from Tom exported it to Belgium. We hear it is quite popular over there too.
Leo's 1935 Ford
Leo is a really nice fellow. He's quiet, knowledgeable, has a great sense of humor, and loves restoring old farm equipment, pre-war aluminum trailers, and Bugatti's. He drives and uses nearly everything he works on so when he wore this pickup truck out it was no surprise to the friends who know him. Nor was it surprising when several of them helped Leo take his truck apart for restoration and "up dating". They are a great bunch of guys having a good time in their retirement years. Soon a great used engine was located and checked out and set into place. The chassis was worked over and some accessories, lights, horns, and an electric fuel pump were bolted into place. Then Leo called me and requested time in my shop so I could convert it to a 12 volt, negative ground system..... It turned into a rather complete re-plumb, re-wire, vehicle assembly project because almost all prior assembly work which had been done was more on a "trial fit" basis rather than "finished". Some items of special note are an override circuit to engage the fuel pump to prime the engine after prolonged parking and a shut down circuit if the oil pressure fails. His truck has thermal barrier coated headers and thermal insulation on the cab floor. Leo wanted a sound deadened cab so acoustic matting went into the headliner, rear cab, and under dash area. We wanted a "clean" firewall look so many components that had gathered there were relocated under the dashboard. His flat head ismildly warmed up with dual exhaust pipes, an aluminum manifold and careful selection of internal parts. I added an external oil filter remotely mounted under the left hand fender behind a custom rock guard / splash shield. The truck still has mechanical brakes and an original transmission, drive shaft, and rear axle. Leo tows a small trailer to various meets and shows all over the state and nearby out of state locations.
His daily use of the truck makes cosmetic issues secondary to functional ones. It makes quality repairs, adequate vehicle inspection, and complete service mandatory. Just like in the old days.
Race boat "Miss Comet"
1949 Ford Convertible. Tom knew of this car for a number of years before acquiring it from the east coast. It was restored back there and came here with a fairly short completion item list. It is a V-8, radio, heater, manual transmission convertible that has remained very stock. Gary Hubback serviced the brakes and suspension at his shop. After that
1932 Pontiac Convertible. This is the last of Tom's cars I'm going to post. It's a Pontiac he keeps just for fun and he drives it on sunny days to work or on errands. I've done some regular maintenance, a few repairs, and modified a couple of items for him. An interesting item is the windup clock in the rear view mirror.
Radiator Cap Hood Ornaments. These hood ornaments represent about four years of collecting parts and pieces by the owner from various auctions, club functions and museum sales. My task was to fabricate functional radiator caps from his parts then mount ornaments to the caps.