Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Doors n' Glass

Finally, I'm down to installing the doors. I need to have them on to install the glass and door panels. The cowl panels need to line up with the door panels. Measuring is good but having all in position to scribe the line is the best.
Remember the dream?? This is looking EXACTLY like the dream. The tinted glass was from Bob's Classic Auto Glass
They were nice enough to compare my patterns to theirs as a check and then I elected to use their patterns since they know the glass business. They are perfect.
I want to mention that if you want to cut to your patterns, be very careful, they cut and you bought! Good people to work with and they know the correct glass thickness for the Model A.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Seat's In !!

After 20 months of work, the plan is coming together. I actually sat in the car today!
Jose did a very nice job on the seat cushions, his upholstery men are very experienced and he demands good work.


They are exactly like my drawings, just what I wanted.

I drew up the the door panels and dropped off the panels, drawings and fabric to them on Friday. He will have the pleated fabric for me in a couple weeks.

Now that the trans cables, cooler, and battery cables are in, It was time for the floor. Finding the bag of hardware from the fabrication was a bit of a challenge but we got'er done.

 The Lokar brake handle is out of the way, and the master cylinder access is going to be fine. I'm going to need a gas pedal soon.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Without the online tutorials, I'm not sure I could have got this done. I am sure that with the top upholstery on the car, I would have done it differently.

You start at the rear with glue (DAP vinyl top and trim) on the bows only. None on the listing. Even though this headliner only weighs about 1 1/4 lbs, its heavy to handle. Two of us held it in place against the glue while I stapled with the fineline.
Its important to cut reliefs in the sides of the headliner listings (template this) where they pass under the top wood or the listing will distort the headliner.

After you have it all hung, and a few staples low on the seams around the edges,  you can see the problems from the inside. You can also see the unwanted variations on the topside just by looking at the stitching line.
At that point you can work from the top pulling staples and adjusting out the variations.
When you have it where you want it, get out the precut panel board arched strips and the pneumatic stapler and secure it better by stapling the panel board over the listing and taking the load off of the original listing staples.
NOW QUIT FOR THE DAY and come back tomorrow and look at it again.
Its tougher on the second day, bigger staples and drier glue, but now fine tune the installation by pulling and easing the listings.
I waited a week (adjusting several times) and then emptied the staple gun a couple times into the bows. Its got to end sometime 

Layout, Glue, and You

The minimal skills I picked up during the abuse by my best friend (Dad) were seriously valuable during this little project. When you add that experience to the vast knowledge available at the Interior Forum at Hot Rodders.Com, you can proceed with your SIMPLE project with enough background to muddle through.

It took way to many hours, but a very rewarding experience! The goal was all hidden fasteners but I will need at least 4 and probably 6 covered snaps to complete the installation.

What do you think so far?? The rear bulkhead panel is completely hidden but I may add covered snaps to this to make it correct.
More of the drivers side.....
Even my nitpicking buddies are OK with this so far

I only get upset when people won't work for me. I had not intended to do this myself but the whole thing has been a neat project and very inexpensive.  Less than $300.00 total to this point.
The seat frame was definitely a pain, and the Pfaff 7500 will not do sew foam so we are waiting for the cushions from the upholstery shop. Once the seat is installed I can tell how much foolishness I can dream up for the door panels. The Model A doors are VERY close to the seat cushion.


Monday, November 4, 2013

Number Four

I'm on my fourth upholsterer now. The first three that blew me off we have all met before. They may do good or even magnificent work, but they do not work all the time.
This is a shop downtown that I have done a little business with on the 34'. This is a real business, he has 5 men working and is always busy.

In the meantime, down to the upholstery supply and picked up about 10 miles of #92 polyester thread (color match to the vinyl) and then to the Pfaff center for some #90 needles. This can't be all that difficult!

I measured the bows for a 5 seam headliner and cut the vinyl with a           1 3/8" listing. Sewed all together on the Pfaff 7550 and it came out fine. 
 These are all simple straight seams that can be done at home. the rear 1/4 panels were more than a little fun but finally came out very nice.
I've got the bit in my teeth now, the rear panels, window, and glass were made and installed today.
Things are looking up, I wasn't supposed to do this myself but why not??
Minor adjustments to the headliner as soon as I get a warm day. The vinyl acts strangely with the temperature variations of the last few days.
I'll get the seat assembly finished
I hammer shaped an aluminum strip to match the panels and tacked it into position so the entire headliner is in the car without the supporting panels as it was done originally. The supporting panels will snap into place with all hidden fasteners.


Saturday, October 5, 2013


The last two weeks have not been as progressive as I'd like.

Thursday afternoon I called the upholsterer who was going to prefab the interior for the Model A. I wanted his approval of the selected vinyl that I sent him. After a month of discussion, sending patterns and samples back and forth, and fabricating panels to his specifications, he states that the fabric is fine but he has changed his mind and will no longer do the job. 
I never asked how much, I really didn't care....oh well.

Then there was the glass shop who knew exactly how to do a Model A windshield and promptly exploded the $300 frame into 3 pieces. It was my fault I guess???

The first test was a new stainless cowl band for the "A" from a flake called Ahooga Reproduction Parts. The only thing I can say is that it resembled the original band. Too long on one side (one inch) and not too close on the shape.  If I would ship it back they would check it ($35)??? No call tag, they don't understand why it fits some cars and not others?? No refunds in any case! I do not know how these people stay in business, probably enough turkeys like ME!

Just another sequence of tests.
I think I need to go to the mountains and look for pussy in my driveway.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

New Shoes !!

I stumbled on an add in the "list" for a set of brand new MT Sportsman SR 30-1200 tires. It took two days of calls/texts (I HATE texting) to get in contact with the seller.

Since the the price was right (did I say the price was "Dirt Cheap"), I jumped in the Diesel for a 50 mile round trip where I found a new pair of shoes in plastic trash bags in the guys bedroom???

 These appear to be a more appropriate size for the Coupe. I hope that the tread pattern is mild enough to minimize rock throwing.

Eat your heart out Howard, these are gonna hook up. You gonna be sittin in the smoke, and I be gone like the wind (maybe that was Gone With The Wind??).

Interior panels

Having had some very interesting experiences with local upholsterers here, I got together with a shop in Arkansas who does Model A interiors routinely. Very reasonable cost. 

This resulted from visiting local shops that I would not take my "A" to as well as being treated like I was a turkey that badly needed to be plucked???  I am sure that my Model A does not needed titainium foil clad carbon fiber composite panel material!! 

Basically, this is a standard "A" and most of the interior is actually stock "A". There are a few differences and I want to use hidden fasteners wherever I can.

Lee suggested that I prepare the interior panels myself to insure that any differences are handled prior to upholstery. He provided a set of paper patterns to work from.

He's pretty sharp. After cutting and shaping the panels, my Plan A for the fasteners went in the trash. The interior of the "A"is a "install in sequence' project that cannot be totally prefabbed and snapped in.

We are currently reviewing options for "Plan B" on fasteners, and hope to have Lee's approval of the fabric today. With approval, I can take the interior garnish to be powder coated in a matching brown.

Did I mention that after 10 hours of cleaning and polishing my aluminum windshield (including carefully removing the glued in ,scratched glass) the glass shop (knows everything!) promptly broke the frame into four pieces. They're sorry, I'm not the least bit impressed!!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Old School

I'm definitely old school and definitely as old as dirt. I went down to the shop last week and bent up a couple tail pipes and picked up two pencil tips. No stainless rolled slash Megs stuff for me!!

The exhaust is now complete (fitted, trimmed, and hung). I like it (just like 1960)! A side note, being raised in Dad's muffler shop in East L.A. means that Dick, Tom, and I had every conceivable exhaust on our cars for years. We changed exhaust systems when the tips got dirty!

 I wanted this one to be simple and clean at the rear. The only new technology is the LED licence plate light and third brake light. The 39 ford tail lights are LED also with a Rapid Fire circuit.

It's gettin there!!


The folks at Weiand are correct, the B&M 142 will bolt to the Weiand manifold. They neglected to mention that the B&M is 1/4" shorter than the newer Weiand. I didn't pay enough attention to the Weiand dimensioned drawing, or measured wrong?? but the bottom line is that the supercharger drive pulleys did not line up. I mocked this up four times and measured 25 times and nothing changed.....
.222 inches out of line.

That's not all, the new V-belt pulley set was .145 out of line also. Water pump and alternator pulleys were .145 behind the crank pulley. Two unrelated systems and 5 pulleys, all out of line.

It took a lot of talking, but I finally convinced the machine shop to machine the new harmonic damper for me. I had them remove .145" from the nose and reinstalled the water pump/alternator/crank pulley assembly and that aligned the V-belt drive.

Mocked up once more and then had them remove .072" from the back of the Weiand crank pulley. All is lined up correctly now. After fabbing an adjustable Idler mount, I think it might run.

Measure 25 times.......cut once! The new harmonic was identical to the original beat up 327 Harmonic in every respect.


Thursday, August 8, 2013


It's time to stop looking at it and get back to work. I got the EZ Wire kit out and spread it all over the garage. Huge looms and this is only the 12 wire kit. If you follow their instructions it works very well.
I used this same kit on the '34 Chevy and was more than pleased.

After changing the looms to my specifications, the fuse panel and all of the looms had to be installed and laced through the car. The "A" is about 3 feet shorter than the Chevy and there was MORE then enough wire.

I'm a plug and play kind of guy and the instrument cluster, light switch, and a misc. accessory loom had to be soldered into plugs. This allows removal of anything to be worked with at a later date. Twelve wires in the instrument cluster plug!

What do you think??
The ignition key is on the right to prevent inserting it under my knee cap during an unforseen incident.

Assembly & Dirt

I had to take a break this morning  to call "My Machinist". This is Dick's birthday and I had to find out if he was older than dirt or just as old as dirt!
He's about  5 weeks older than me so I guess he is only as old as dirt.

The radiator is fitted to the frame on polyethylene pads and the shell then mounted and assembled. A few issues with this but all resolved prior to painting the shell.

The exhaust is run back to the rear of the seat. New brake lines bled and good.

Prior to installing the fuel tank, I needed an upholstered panel on the bulkhead in front of the tank. Actually need materials to upholster the inside of the trunk but in front of the tank had to be done now.
Fortunately, Bart arrived for a visit and we cut and glued a panel for the bulkhead after a quick visit to the 
upholstery supply.

Bart is an extremely handy cabinet maker with advanced skills in every home improvement area but I never knew he could 'polster.
We did have some fun!



Friday, July 12, 2013

Keep it ??

I think I'm going to keep it!!

Amazing myself, I got the body on with no scratches and only minor bloodletting.
Thanks to my support crew and Mr. Clearcoat, I have a start on one of the nicest vintage cars I have ever owned.

If I bought two plots, ya' think I could be buried in this??

Dick and Tom be lookin' over their shoulders, I'm going to park next to them real soon!!!

I won't have to park in the back lot with this one!


Just like a toothache, you gotta take care of busness!

After a year and a half, and hundreds of hours, I trotted out to the garage this morning with my prayer beads, one hymnal, and an old beat up tithing plate to put my shiney body on the frame. I do all this because I'm the Lone Ranger on this project and I need all the help I can get.

This is in the process following THE LIFT.

Joyce walked out, took one look, choked a little,and escaped back to the house!

If you think I wasn't slightly stressed, check out the next photo during THE LIFT

I think there must of been an earthquake, I wasn't shaking that bad.......was I?

Monday, July 1, 2013

Arrest Me RED

Nick finished the final detail on the "A" and shot it.

I think we ended up using a mixed 2 gallons of Honda Rallye Red and a mixed     1 3/4 gallons of SPI Universal Clear.

The clear was tough, hard as nails in 18 hours. We color sanded with 1200 (work!!) and then with 1500 over the entire car. 

Polished with 3M to finish. Machine polished the panels and I finger polished the detail.

This was a intense learning experience for me and I can tell you that 3M is the best of the best in polishing products. Absolutely AMAZING !!! Click on Pic

Thank you Nick !!



I had some help, and expert supervision, but this was an endless nightmare.

My respect for those that do this for a living is more than immense. I probably spent three times the number or hours on this than an experienced body man would have, but its done. 

When I got close (???) the painter
would come by and write notes on the car and smile and leave. I think this went on for weeks.
Finally, he said "not bad..." I'll take it from here.

Maybe it was the wad of C' notes I threw on the trunk floor, but actually I think that he is just a super individual.

He's doing the final detail and then COLOR!!!
Actually, he was very pleased with the trunk lid..........

Monday, April 8, 2013

Moving along......

We have spent the last 8 days sanding, washing, grinding, filling, sanding, washing............ This is serious work. I cannot see how a shop can do something like this for a reasonable amount of money.

Now coated with two coats of SPI epoxy primer and three coats of SPI heavy building primer. Finally sealed.

This is just the beginning. Now the entire body must by blocked and primed probably twice more to achieve
the final finish that we are looking for.

They do this virtually overnight on TV,
what's my problem??

Continuing ..........

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Dick's Dash

A short delay in the body work.........

This is a reproduction 1930 "A" dash that I layed out for Dick's expertise on his CNC mill.

After milling, I sent it to Superior Plating in Pomona to be stripped and replated. The Taiwan plating peeled badly during the machining.

All electric Autometer antique gauges are going to match the Model A vintage interior well and no speedo cable to deal with.

Serious cutting and grinding required to fit this into the original dash (gas tank no longer used).

Thank you, Dick !!



Monday, March 25, 2013

Garage cleanup

If you have ever had a car completely disassembled in your garage then you know.......... hard to walk in the mess. If I had Tom's garage, there would be no problemo. I could do two!!

Where to put it all??? on the frame and then roll it outside. The 9" rear axle was easy, but carefully assembling the freshly painted front assembly took a day and a half.

Now if I could get rid of the engine on the stand and the turbo 350 I would be ready to work on the main body.

Working on this Jewel is not all that much fun. I'm a clutz and I cannot scratch it now. I'm much better with single seat off-road cars and snow plows. Scratches are not an issue there.
Things are much better now, I have room to shove the paint materials and filler up against the cabinets.

The main body starts now, I hope to have paint on it by the last half of April.


Friday, March 22, 2013

Finally blasted

Nothing hidden now.

I was finally able to pick up the media blasted body today. It doesn't take them long to do it, he was simply backed up. The entire body has been garnet blasted, and the doors, trunk lid, and small parts are all epoxied and primed and ready for blocking. This is such nice work and saves many hours of stripping, cleaning, and trying to get rid of surface rust.

Be aware that this cleaning process is great preparation but will expose hidden damage.

The blasting was all done by Snail Motorsports here in Vegas.

Many hours in this already and now the final fun begins.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

My Middle Name is Earl ??

Schei.........?? that is!! Tom remembers for sure.

I have zero experience in automobile painting. Acrylic single stage, basecoat/ clearcoat, reducers (fast-slow??), activators, epoxy primers, building primers, Aaahhhh!!
Then we get to guns, pressure feed, cup guns, HVLP guns, base coat guns, primer guns, finish guns. This is getting complex. That's why I retained a painter for the important stuff.

The front end was a combo of black paint, zinc coated parts, and raw steel spindles. What to do??

Paint it red to match the car!!!

I can do this, read the instructions....

Now we get out my genuine Devilbiss
2 gun set.......Which Gun??
Nick came by and looked at them and
said "use the small gun for small parts".

Disassemble the front assembly, clean, sandblast and sand, then wipe them down with wax and grease remover TWICE (ask me why I know to do this) and we be ready!!

The red basecoat seemed awfully thin, the tech sheet indicated multiple coats until
hiding is achieved. It took five coats to cover. Its now all satin red.
As instructed, I waited 1 1/2 hours and then sprayed the first coat of SPI universal clear. WOW, nice product. A second coat 30 min later and I was done.
Tack free in 1 hour and I'm impressed with myself. Click on the picture.

 You CAN teach an old dog new tricks.

Saturday, March 16, 2013


The powder coated frame looked pretty good in the pictures right? WRONG!!
I knew it had some issues but until one gets to the finishing.........
There is probably 60 hours in repairing the frame and the rear axle issues caused by the original owner.

Things are looking up. Persistence and determination and this came back from the painter yesterday.

ARREST ME RED is as true a red as I could find and is actually Honda R513 Rallye Red. The main focus here was a basecoat-clearcoat red without the orange tint. I think its nice.

I provided the materials and did the prep and a friend sprayed it for me. Personally I think painting the frame with all the nooks and crannys would be worse than painting the car.

Is this nice or what??? Thanks Nick