Monday, May 21, 2018

Good News and Bad News

Dateline - 05/19/2018 - I have some good news and some bad news.  The good news is that I have finally sent my bumpers off to be re-chromed this weekend.  My friends Roland, Joe and I went to the Monroe Auto Swap meet this weekend and I ran into a chrome shop that has a local rep.  He came to my house on Sunday after the meet and took a look at my bumpers and quoted me a price.  Probably not the cheapest, but I had a good feeling that they will do a great job, and I didn't have to ship them someplace.  He took them with him.

Now for the bad news, best chance of getting the bumpers back will be early July, so it looks like I am going to miss the Greenwood Auto Show this year, yet again!  It was starting to get untenable anyway because I still need to get the paint straightened out and I keep playing phone tag with the paint shop.  I don't think he could have the paint done for the show either, so there you are!  I do want to get the car going for driving this summer though, so I'm going to keep pressing.

On another front, Roland told me about a very interesting classic/vintage car rule in Washington.  Once your car is over 25 years old, you can get collector car plates as long as you are not going to use the car commercial use.  The nice thing about collector plates is that you only pay for them once, and you never have to renew the tabs!  That's really cool!

But the fun doesn't stop there!  The standard collector car plates are, well, a little funky.
New Collector Vehicle License Plate
These are the plates I've seen on most cars.  But Roland told me of rule that, if you get an original plate that has a year tab that is the same as your vehicles model year, you can use that plate to register your car!  Not only that, but you are not required to have a front license plate either!

Well, guess what they sell at the Monroe Auto Swap, old license plates!  So, for $50, I got a 1971 rear license plate in really good shape, to put on the car!  Now I need to take it down to the Depart of Licensing and get my title changed to this plate and I'm good to go!  I may have to pay for one more registration, but after that, I'll be done.  Plus, the old plate, that looks like this, but with a different number:
1971 Washington License Plate
Will look pretty good on the car.  I particularly like the unique year tab with the yellow and black.

Roland had a really good idea about the license plate frame, I should see if I can find a frame from Lew Florence, which was a dealership in Seattle of British cars in the 70's.  Or, I could research were the car was originally sold (I believe it was to a doctor in Seattle) and see if I can get a frame from that dealer.  Both would be pretty neat to have.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Got the Car Out of the Garage!

Dateline - 05/05/2018 - Didn't spend a lot of time on the car this weekend.  I needed to take care of my unruly yards.  But, I did finish the center console, and backed the car into the driveway for some pictures.  See below:

In the driveway - front view
Rear 3/4 view
Rear view

Back with center console
So, most of the interior is done now.  Just a few items to clean up.  I now need to get the car to paint and get the front end aligned.  The rest will probably wait until the winter.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Looking Hard for Things To Do!

Dateline - 04/28/2018 - Well, I'm not done, but I'm REALLY close! 

This weekend I focused on the last items in the car.  First, I took out the cyclops center brake light and painted it the same cranberry color that the back speaker grills are painted.  Makes it look uniform in the back.

I also painted and installed the front speaker grills and speakers.  I got an enamel mixed that matched the color of the door vinyl so it looks very uniform.

One of the jobs that was outstanding in the front of the car was to finish the center storage box and install the armrest.  I created a new insert out of fiberglass the prior weekend, so this weekend I trimmed and finished in using carbon look vinyl, installed it into the center console with the USB adapter for the radio inside of it, and installed the armrest with all the original hardware. 

I also spent a great deal of time on the back center console.  I figured out how I would install the carbon fiber piece, which required glassing a piece of brass stock onto the back of the panel so that I could run some screws from the inside of the storage box into the panel.  The bottom part of of the panel is held in using brass brackets riveted to the bottom edge of the panel that run back and down to fit over the center cross brace of the console itself.

I've been having a hard time getting the finish I want on the carbon fiber piece. I've sprayed and sanded several times now and can't get the smooth finish I want, so I've sanded back all the lacquer and I'm going to put one more coat of resin over it to try to smooth out the few imperfections.  So I have a few more days of work on that before I'm finished.

While I was working on the car, I remembered that I forgot to put the left side passenger door stop into the B-pillar before I installed the upholstery.  So I had to remove the upholstery, which required removing the front and back door thresholds, the fuzzy edging on both sides of the B-Pillar, the shoulder mount for the seat front belt, the trim piece that fits on the upper part of the B-Pillar and a couple of screws.  After installing the door stop, I put everything back in.  Took about an hour.

Finally, during the week I sourced four Series III side fender badges from EBay and installed them on the door panels.  This was a relatively easy, if fiddly job requiring drilling holes in the carbon fiber panels and installing the badges. It really made a difference though, and I'm glad I got the matching ones since looking in the car, you would have really noticed the difference if I had kept the Series 1 badges.

So, from my list I have left to complete:

In the back of the car:

  • Lacquer and rub out the center console panel
  • Mount the center console
Front Interior
  • Finish center indicator light bezel
  • Mount dimmer switch knobe
  • Calibrate Speedometer
  • Buy carpet kit an install
  • Make left and right upholstery panels
  • Fix mismatch paint
  • Install bumpers
  • Install front license plate
  • Front end alignment
  • Headlight alignment
I'm going to see if I can get the car into the paint shop this week to find out what it will take to fix the paint.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Looking For Things To Work On!

Dateline - 04/21/2018 - I am now officially looking for things to do on the car.  I've gotten to that point! 

This weekend I:

  • Applied the carbon fiber over the fiberglass on the center console and sanded it back down to ready it for lacquer overcoat.
  • Mounted the cyclops brake light
  • Added a catch on the lower glove box so that it doesn't just drop open.  I needed something that would allow me to open the box completely because the fuses are behind it.  A simple catch made of bass stock, riveted into the side of the of the glove box worked like a champ.
  • Painted the centers of the hubcaps and installed them.
  • Painted the front speaker frames and grills

One item that took more work was the front center console insert.  When you lift the center console armrest, there is a very thin plastic insert that goes in to create the center glove box.  The original is in pretty bad shape, and with the addition of the new hand brake, I would have to modify the tray to fit.

So, instead of trying to fix and modify he original, I decided to make a new one out of fiberglass.  I created the buck from pink foam (of course) and then laid up two glass layers, one 10 lb and one six lb.  I had to chip away the foam, but when I was done, it was a perfect fit!  Just need to trim, sand and finish in the carbon fiber vinyl that I used for the other glove boxes and I'm good.

So, what's left...

In the back of the car:

  • Lacquer and rub out center console panel
  • Install center console panel
  • Mount the center console
  • Source and mount wing badges for door panels

Front Interior:

  • Finish center console insert
  • Install armrest
  • Finish the center indicator light bezel
  • Mount dimmer switch knob
  • Calibrate Speedometer

  • Make left and right upholstery panels
  • Buy carpet kit and install
  • Fix mismatch paint
  • Install bumpers
  • Install front license plate
  • Front end alignment
  • Headlight alignment
Not much left!

Monday, April 16, 2018

So Close I Can Taste It!

Dateline - 04/14/2018 - I can't believe it!  I'm almost "done"!  I put "done" in quotes because, well, you are never really done until you sell the car or die!  But I'm really, really close!

Since the last time I posted, I've completed both door panels and installed, which required completing most of the steps I had outstanding in my last post.  The only thing I need is to source the Leaper front wing badges that I use on the front door panels.  Here are pictures of the interior all together.

Interior with everything but center console carbon piece
Interior wide angle
Back seats with upholstered center filler

I also carved the center console carbon fiber piece from pink foam and did a layup of two layers of 6 lb fiberglass, which will be the underlay/support for the carbon.  Pictures of the layup process:
Foam buck covered in Saran wrap and two pieces of 6 lb fiberglass
After layup of fiberglass and covered in Saran wrap
Piece removed from buck.  Will put back on buck for placement of carbon fiber

Layup of end piece which is done separately.  Two layers of 6 lb fiberglass

I completed wiring the rear reading light switch and the USB charger.  This was a bit challenging, like most thing have been because, if I had known what I was going to do in the beginning, I would have done things differently.  First, the switches are not the same as the ones I used in the front of the car.  Those are not made anymore!  So I used something similar, but they are wired differently.  They have two LED lights, one that you can wire separately, and one that goes on when the switch is turned on.  I wanted the LEDs that you can wire separately to be connected to the running lights so that they would come on with the dash lights.  However, I didn't run any wire from the dash to do that.  Thinking about it for a bit, I realized I could easily splice a wire in the truck that runs to the outside running lights.  So, that is what I did and now the switches light when I turn on the dash lights.  I can't dim them like the front, but they are in the back and I'm not that worried about it.

The second challenge was the USB charger.  My original thought was to take the hot wire off the right had reading light switch to power to USB.  The problem is that the power for the reading lights is coming off a fuse block in the truck that is hot all the time.  This means the USB will be hot all the time.  I didn't want that because it's lit and would run the battery down.  I scratched my head for some time to figure out how to fix this issue (again, knowing five years ago that I was going to install this USB switch would have helped!)  Then I realized that the AUX switch that I wired into the dash ran to the trunk, and that AUX switch actually supplied a ground, not a hot.  When I put it in originally, I figured I would use it to run things in the trunk, like arming a NOS system and that I could use the fuse block in the trunk for power. So, all I needed to do was run the AUX wire in the truck back up to the USB charger and plug it into the ground side.  Voila!  Works like a champ.  The USB charger doesn't work unless I turn on the AUX switch up front.  A good compromise. And, if I do need to charge something overnight, I don't need to leave the car power on!  Here are pictures of the light switches:

Center switches with dash lights on.
Center switches with dash lights and reading lights on.
Center switches with dash lights and USB enabled

I tried to install my center brake light bar that I purchased years ago.  The mount that the light is in doesn't stand up tall enough to reach from the back parcel shelf to the bottom of the window, so I created some ABS plastic extension on the 3D printer.  I had done this three years ago, but once I tried to install them, I realized I couldn't because the back window is in the way now!  So, I got back on the computer and designed a new extension that has the screw mounting going in at an angle instead of straight down.  It's nice to have a 3D printer!  I ran out of time to install the light, but I'll get to that this week.

So, what is left?  Hmmmm.  I have to think about this.  To truly be done, I have to do the following:

In the back of the car:

  • Mount the brake light
  • Finish the carbon fiber layup and mount the center console panel
  • Final mount of the center console
  • Final mount of the center console arm rest
  • Source and mount wing badges on door panels
Front interior:
  • Fix the plastic center console insert and install
  • Install the center console arm rest
  • Install the glove box vanity mirror
  • Install a glove box door catch
  • Install a lower glove box latch system
  • Finish the center indicator light bezel
  • Mount the dimmer switch knob.
  • Calibrate Speedometer
  • Make left and right upholstery panels
  • Buy carpet kit and install
  • Fix mismatched paint
  • Install bumpers
  • Install front license plate
  • Repaint hubcap center caps
  • Have front wheels alighted
  • Have headlights aligned.

That's all I can think of!  Wow! The list is super small now!  Oh what a feeling!

Monday, April 2, 2018

Made Massive Progress!

Dateline - 04/01/2018 - Put in a solid 16 hours this weekend and made huge progress.  Here is what I completed:
  • Left and right door panels upholstered.  Just missing the center carbon inset
  • Left and right door panel window seals installed
  • Left and right door handles upholstered and ready for installation
  • Carbon insets, left and right window switch and center light switch lacquered 
  • Back seat middle insert shaped, upholstered and installed
  • Center console armrest upholstered
  • Finished left and right door handle arm rests
What's left to do:
  • Rub out all the lacquered parts
  • Install the door panel inserts
  • Install the door panels
  • Make Snap in brackets for door handle arm rests and install
  • Install window switches
  • Install center console arm rest
  • Install center console
  • Wire and install reading light switches 
  • And the BIG one: carve the center console carbon insert, lay up with carbon. lacquer and install.  This is going to be several weekends work.
If I have all the parts I need, all but the last one can be done in a weekend!  So, I'M REALLY CLOSE to being done with the interior!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Less Fiberglass, More Upholstery

Dateline - 03/18/2018 - I just realized I've not posted in awhile, so a quick catch up.  I've finished all the fiberglass work! Yah!  I still have to do the carbon fiber layup for the center console, but I will not do that until everything else is done.

I've moved into serious upholstery work now.  I'm about 98% completed the center console, which was a real chore.  Lots of little stitching and weird angles. I still have a few wrinkles to get out, but it's really close.

The covers for all three armrests are sewn.  All I need to do now is glue them on.

The right had door panel is getting close.  I created the center insert panel out of pressed board. It attaches to the door via four screws that mount into metal brackets.  This post ( covers how I did this for the front doors.  Same process for the back.   It will be covered with carbon fiber sprayed with clear lacquer. 

I also created the metal piece that the upholstery attaches to that keeps the correct shape for the door handle.  Because of the difficulty in trying to sew the door handle insert into the larger piece of vinyl that covers the entire door panel, I created a separate insert that is glued in, and then cut a hole in the large vinyl piece and use the metal bracket to keep the shape correct.  The insert is sewn and installed.

I've sewn the large piece that covers the door panel.  This was tricky because the upper part, which is in Burgundy color needed special attention to deal with the little raised part in the back that covers the bottom of the back quarter-light.  I made this harder on myself then I should have, but It is what it is.  I always enjoy a challenge!  I still have to say that Basting tape is a God-send!  I'm still amazed I was able to do the work I did without it and have it be as good quality as it is!

I have also completed sewing the material for the right hand door handle, but have not glued it into place yet.

So, what is left:

  • Glue the vinyl on the right hand door handle.
  • Glue the vinyl on the right hand door panel
  • Finish right hand carbon fiber insert
  • Glue the vinyl on the three arm rest pads
  • Work to fill some low spots on the left hand door handle
  • Create door handle opening bracket
  • Create left door carbon fiber insert
  • Cut, sew and attach upholstery for left door panel and door handle
  • Carve foam center console buck for carbon fiber layup
  • Layup carbon fiber
  • Lacquer clear coat the window switch holders, reading light switch holder and door inserts
  • Install everything
So, still a significant list.  But I just keep hacking away at it and soon it will be done!!!