Monday, January 25, 2010

Sex and Violent Spinning

There is something to be said about working on a classic roadster with the Barrett-Jackson on the tube in the background. It has to be right up there with George Costanza’s tri-factor sex, sandwich and television combo.

I still don’t have parts. I am close to having parts but I still don’t have parts. It looks now that I have found, through Donald of Red TR6 fame, a Canadian supplier with parts in stock. If the good lord’s willing and the creeks don’t rise we should see parts as early as next week.

Being that I can’t stop just because of lack of parts I spent the good part of the last three days working on the car. I cleaned the engine bay. I rubbed and rubbed and cleaned. I documented and removed smog parts, electronic parts and brake parts.

I think it’s starting to look good. Brake fluid and battery acid has taken its toll on the paint in some areas but nothing has rusted through. The worse is what I would refer to as “acne”.

I exposed the rust effected areas with a wire spinning tool until my Makita die-grinder spun the wire heads to death. The vibration is something else when those heads let go.

I have also been trying to get my hands on a MIG welder. Dad had a flux-core welder but they are not really good with sheet metal or/and novice users. I hunted down two MIGs on Kijiji but it seems that so far no one wants to trade a ’69 Honda P50 Moped for a MIG. One guy even told me to "screw off".

I penned an email to another fellow who initially told me he doesn’t need anymore “junk” when I proposed the moped swap but since has shown a smidgen of interest in me and my plight. I have now proposed trading my Stihl chainsaw and 200 bucks for his MIG setup. I have two saws and being that I only need one to maim myself severely; the trade would be a good one.

I’m not sure how the MIG thing is going to turn out but I’m hoping for the best.

The lads in my wedding are getting fitted for their kilts this weekend. This brings that impending wedding on the radar. I know it’s only January but as Van would say: “precious time is slipping away”. Soon August will be here and hopefully so will a small British sports car.

Stay tuned….

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Grinder Boy at the Grind

I want you to remember this face when I’m driving my brains out with a big grin.

This week was grinding, grinding, grinding and removing a bumper. I would have liked to have a story about how the rocker panel and other parts are ordered and on their way but that’s not the case.

I tried my best to order them. I got right on it when I got back last Tuesday. I phoned TRF and tried to get a shipping quote but we didn’t get that far – the parts were out of stock.

I then called Moss and tried to get a shipping quote. The fellow I spoke with told me that a local dealer was ordering a bunch of parts tomorrow and shipping would be covered if I ordered with them.

So that’s what I did… or tried to do. I phone the place and spoke to a very nice woman who said she would phone me back when they were ordering the parts. That was supposed to be Wednesday at three PM. She never called. So, being that I had no interest seeing her naked I ditched the three day rule, and phoned her again. I was told that the order guy at Moss, apply named Britt, went home for the day to babysit his grandson. Really? The only guy who can order parts went home for the day?

Today is Monday and I haven’t heard back from anyone. Everyone, from Britt on down has my number and I’m standing here holding my money out and no one wants to take it – not TRF, not Britt, not the lady in Calgary – no one.

I figured it out though. The only guys ordering these parts are retired guys who move like glaciers. There is a line up of hobbyist who put a small European project car between themselves and the great beyond. They have all the time in the world.

This is reminiscent of when I comparative shopped for a shower stool a few years back. This is life in the slow lane. It seems I have to ‘splain to these cats that I have a deadline. I’m not your typical shopper. Points will be given for speed.

Meanwhile I’m a grinding fool. Good news is that we got the Satellite TV going in the TR6 room now. Seems counterintuitive but I actually get more done and stay working longer when I have the tube going in the background. I don’t get as lonely.

Although this week TV will be in the foreground –that’s right it’s Barrett Jackson time again. It’s a great time of year as I get see momentary glimpses of cars I love and a whole lot detail on Corvettes and ’57 Chevys. I feel the same way about these cars as I feel about Bob Seger’s “Ol’ Time Rock and Roll” and Gail Garnett’s “We’ll Sing in The Sunshine” – I’ve seen it – I don’t need to be exposed to these things ever again… ever!

But I love it. I love griping about it. I love making fun of Mr. Wrestler and his pink jacket. I love the creepy cat in the shades. I love to wonder what size of bat Spanky Lassiter is swinging to land Amy. Personally, I’m thinking it’s a creepy religion thing. You have to be watching it as long as I have to understand all these characters.

This is the second Barrett-Jackson auction since dad passed. The kicker is that one before he passed he was there, at the auction. He invited me but I stupidly turned it down because of work commitments. If you didn’t believe it before now believe it now, dad was the real deal.

Stay tuned…..

Tyler and Kathy Broks of the world famous Broks spotted this TR6 in Hawaii last week. Looks like another '76 but no bumperettes... strange?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Keep on Rocking me Baby (Rotten Rockers #2)

I dropped Krista off at home moments after the pre-marriage course ended on Sunday and I was down the road to Red Deer. Being that I am still very much unemployed I decided to spend my Sunday night and Monday working on the car.

After a big steak with my mom I was out in the shop with the car. I had to get both fenders off. Before I could get at the nasty task of removing the rocker panel I had the nasty task of removing the fenders.

Most of the night was spent on a little game called find the fender bolt. The engineers at Lucas motors in the sixties dug fasteners more than they dug Strawberry Alarm Clock. Eventually (2hrs) I had the rear passenger's fender off. What I found underneath was a lot of undercoating and dried mud. Not just dried mud but dried mud from when Raiders of the Lost Ark was in theaters.

There was a little rust at the bottom of the doorpost but other than that very little badness to report. The cancer was fairly retained to the rocker.

The front fender was a little worse. The headlight surround is a part of the fender and it was pretty rusty and broke apart from the rest of the fender. I think this fender will need to be replaced. I had to drillout some rivets on the headlight bezal so the front was a little more difficult then the rear.

Underneath the front fender there wasn’t much to report other than more undercoating and more mud from the early eighties.

Having both fenders off the right-side of the car is a little intimidating. It’s serious business to have the car in this condition. The only solution was to push on. Soon I had the cutting disc on the grinder and I was off and running on mutilating that rusty rocker.

For good measure I nicked my knuckle within minutes of plugging in the grinder - just to get it out of the way. Lots of blood. I cut away the bottom of the old rocker and started to pull it way from the car. As soon I got the bottom of the rocker pulled away from the inter-rocker a mummified mouse corpse fell out onto my face. Needless to say that was gross.

Having both fenders off and most of the rocker on the floor I retired to bed at about 2AM. It took me about 5 hours to get this far. Or, by the way I was measuring, 5 episodes from season one of The Wire (thanks Neal).

Monday I was back at it. I spent most of the day removing the residual rocker. I grinded away the spot-welds and pulled away the metal with a flat-bladed screwdriver. I grinded for about six hours trying my best not have a spark land in my ear. With my tinted safety shades and hoody I must resembled a grinding Uni-bomber.

All and all it looks good. I was impressed with the finished product. There is a little rust at the front of the inter-rocker. That can be fixed.

The next step is to order the new rocker. I refuse to take any more of this car apart before I get something put back on.

Hugs and Kiss from Muppetlabs…. Stay tuned!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Rotten Rockers #1

Welcome to 2010.

As of Today, Tuesday January 5th 2010, there are only 214 days until I get married which means obviously less than that to work on the car. Now that the engine is being handled by qualified and skilled professionals I have a firm belief that the car will run this year.

Can I get an amen?

The trick now is everything else.

To figure out where I stand I went on The Roaster Factory website yesterday. As I clicked through I added every part I believe the car is going to need to my shopping cart. The total came to 5,713.48 American dollars. I was actually surprised I thought it would come to more.

I am not saying that I am buying every part through TRF as I have already found some parts on Ebay (remember the knob and crashpad) for less money than TRF. The fellow who bought the infamous red car of Kansas City fame told me about a parts dealer called Moss. I've been checking them out also.

That afternoon of clicking gave me some perspective but I have to knock things off as I go. No one is asking me for six grand tomorrow. I can take this in steps.

For now the next step is the most daunting task since the engine is now in good hands. I need to remove both rocker panels from under both doors. They are rotten and very holey.

I am going to do the right side of the car first. Before I can remove the rocker I have to remove both the front and rear fenders (front and rear wings for European readers). The rear fenders on these cars bolt off - thank god. I then have to drill out the spot-welds holding the rocker on the car. This looks to be rather difficult because the doorjamb is welded over the rocker like a saddle.

I am going to do the one side and finish it before I start the other as I'm starting to get rather uncomfortable with how much of this car is apart. Lets not have the entire thing scattered about.

The stinger is that I am attending a wedding course this weekend! So another weekend lost. It's going to get down to crunch-time rather quick if I can't get to this car. I hope I can sneak into the shop next week depending on the j-o-b situation - that is priority number one. Working on this car has to be up there with maintaining a coke habit.

Stay tuned…