Friday, May 18, 2018

2005 Cadillac Deville DTS land yacht, a gluttonous and unpopular fetish ride, a wolf in sheep's clothing

This will look like a stretch being posted on my blog about "humble custom and classic" vehicles, but, I assure you, with the little tweaks I did, I can argue that it meets the loose definition of "humble custom", and for me (and harder to argue) it is a modern classic.

This gracefully-aging beauty came along at the right time in the right place a little over a year ago. I had just resolved with one of my car buddies that my next car was going to be a cheap full-size, fully loaded out-of-fashion luxury-barge Cadillac (I've never owned one and needed to check that off the proverbial "list."). They sell used for pennies on the dollar compared to things like Toyota trucks, which as they age increase in value like real estate.

This car presented itself to me and it was love at first sight. I was not well versed in post-vintage Cadillacs so I didn't really know what I was looking at. But I knew I really really liked it. The color grabbed me, the beautiful gray leather interior reeled me in, and the bucket seat and floor shifter sealed the deal.
My DTS (Deville Touring Sedan)  is finished in the exquisite and understated "thunder metallic gray" complimented with chrome plated Cadillac rims and a hand-painted pinstripe.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

My 1996 Harley Davidson Dyna Low Rider experience

I found this bike for sale as a trade-in at an Indian Dealer nearby. They had it bargain priced and listed on craigslist. I skeptically went to have a look. I was wanting a nimble uncluttered  Harley with twin front disk brakes and a carbureted evolution engine, and this one fit the bill. It was adorned with a windshield, saddle bags, sissy bar, and heaps of pointless add-on chrome glamour pieces. This is not to my taste, but I was able to see through all that and picture the cool simple bike that was concealed within. The sales lady talked $500 off the asking price all on her own, much to my surprise, and it was a done deal!
Day 1 departing the Indian dealer with my new/old Dyna. Note the tall windshield, sissy bar, thunder header exhaust, saddle bag supports.

Friday, March 16, 2018

beater 2000 Audi TT being beat in Time Trials!

I remember when this car was unveiled; sometime in the late 1990's one of the mucky-mucks from Audi announced that this new car was the type of car "James Dean" would have driven (much to the chagrin of the Porsche mucky-mucks, who historically owned those bragging rights). Well I have always been passively interested in this fascinating little car. This particular example, an all-wheel-drive, turbo 5-speed model presented itself to me recently for very cheap and I had to have it. I've never owned or driven an old Porsche 356 or 550 spyder (Dean's car), but when I'm hunkered down in the low slung, chopped roof cockpit of this little bomb-shell, I feel distantly connected to that piece of German sports-motoring heritage. This car in 180hp trim with a 5 speed and all wheel drive is responsive, grippy, slightly under powered, and spectacular in twisties. It is also highly modifiable and pretty simple to work on.
 My car had 199k miles on the odometer, but looked to have been well maintained, so I figured it was  at least a 50-50 chance of it not blowing up in my face...I replaced the timing belt, gave it a full tune-up, and completely rebuilt the cooling system.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

1995 Volvo 850- Swedish Dream.

Well this is a departure. My wife and I just had a son born to us and I needed a comfy, convenient and safe vehicle to transport him in. At my job I am constantly tempted by all sorts of ordinary and misfit cars available to purchase at or below wholesale prices. One day, this little Volvo showed up and spoke to me. I had to have her. I'll be brief.

1995 Volvo 850 GLT

1955 Willys M38A1 the miliary spec CJ5 Jeep

Presently the oldest "car" I own is this 1955 Willys ex-military Jeep. "Car" being a bit of a euphemism, as it operates, looks and feels more like a piece of industrial equipment...and that's just one of the many cool things about it.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

BMW 2002 polyurethane rear sub frame bushing and differential mount bushing install

As this little BMW approaches respectability, I have been chipping away at some of the little long ignored detail things she needs to be "right." There was a pretty good knock from the right rear sub frame bushing when going over big bumps. A quick look underneath revealed saggy bushings for the subframe and the differential mount. I decided to purchase some poly bushings and try them out. This is an easy enough job, but a little cumbersome and smelly. The following is how I got it done.

                                                the rear of the 2002 up on stands

1975 BMW 2002 fresh Polaris silver paint (twice)

Earlier in the year I was on a strong roll whipping the body into shape and took the leap to paint the car myself. I have successfully painted before, albeit single stage. The BMW is getting a base/clear system. I have an inexpensive harbor freight HVLP gun and a good compressor. I set aside a complete Saturday for the project and set out early with two layers of a gray sealer, which when on respectably smooth and even. After the appropriate flash time I sprayed on three beautifully uniform coats of the base metallic silver "Polaris" color.  After enough flash time I mixed up the clear and started spraying. I immediately was having difficulty putting on a smooth coat of clear. It was spraying out in large drops/blobs. No matter how I fiddled with the gun, it wouldn't flow even and smooth. I reasoned that I could just lay it on heavy and cut/sand/polish it to a good smooth finish. It might have worked, but it didn't. The clear was so heavy that it hadn't time to flash off before it began to attack the base coat and wrinkle it in places. The following is how it all went down and what I did to move past this terrible "worst-case scenario" situation.

Little 2002, masked under awnings in the side yard wearing a fresh sealer primer coat

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Procar Pro 90 seats installed in a 1965 Ford Falcon Hardtop

I've been enjoying a slushy restored bench seat in the Falcon for about six years now. I have long flirted with the idea of switching to sportier, more supportive bucket seats and have had my eye on the Procar Pro 90 low backs for some time. They are super reasonably priced and look pretty good in all the ads. Recent events and revelations in my life finally prompted me to make the leap to bucket seats. I scored a set of seats and adapters from Summit Racing (No sales tax and free shipping...Woo Hoo!!!) and got to work.

 Step one is to remove the old bench seat. To make it easier and less back-breaking,  I unclipped both back rests, slid them off their pivot pins, then I wrangled the bottom out separately

Friday, June 3, 2016

1964 Comet parts car before and after, and on to a new home

Well I managed to succeed with the plan for buying a "parts car" for some rare and expensively un-obtainable trim parts for my 64 Caliente convertible. I harvested the trim pieces I needed and they were in surprisingly good condition. My intentions were primarily two-fold: 1-Get the parts; 2-Not lose any money doing so.

I then took to freshening up the car a little to sell it on to the next person as a viable restoration project. Over the course of about one or two months, I did just that (see previous posts for details). The car turned out pretty darned respectable.

I rebuilt the brakes and power steering system and the car drove very well.

Only problem was that once I fixed the exhaust leaks and broken engine mounts, I could hear a distinct rod knock...sadly the engine is on it's last legs. Also the differential was growling. I advertised the Comet and had a buyer with cash within 24 hours, who happily drove away in Bruno, windows down, in style. He drove approximately 20 miles to his house without incident. Happy ending and hopefully I'll see him driving around the Sacramento area from time to time.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Ahhh that new car smell - 1964 Mercury Comet Caliente hardtop!

I'm a sucker for anything in the form of a 60's era two door hardtop. And obviously I have a particular interest in the Falcon and Comet. While I was wrapping up the rehab on my blue 64 convertible, this little gem popped up on my local Craigslist looking for a sympathetic new home. Now, seeing as I haven't bought a car in at least 5 months, clearly the planets have aligned and brought us together. It's a cosmic thing.                          

"Bruno," as the old German lady who owned him for the last 30 years called him, has been weathering out in a field for the last decade. Ingrid parked him in 2004 due to what she described as "death-wobble" in the front end whenever she'd hit a bump in the road. When I found him he was/is in pretty rough shape. It's unclear how much of the degradation occurred during dormancy, and how much was already there leading up to his 2004 mothballing.                              

 He was sitting on 4 flat tires and stitched to the ground by spiderwebs too numerous to count. His corners are bashed and his soft parts are all hard and cracked. The good news is that he's virtually rust free, short of a little non-obtrusive surface rust. I had in mind to purchase Bruno with the intent of harvesting some of his nicer trim pieces for my convertible, than give him a quick "refresh" to make him a driver. I may practice my panel beating skills to straighten some of his dents, and strip out the shot interior.

But I'm getting ahead of myself...Today I am heading out to make him run again. I will flush the fuel system, rebuild the carb, change the points, condensor, cap and rotor, change the engine oil and filter, prime the oil pump, drop in a new battery, and voila!

When he's moving under his own power again, I'll tuck him away in the side yard for warmer days. With the completion of the convertible, my focus has once again shifted back to my beloved wife's BMW 2002, which I will be completing hopefully by this summer....But stay tuned, as Bruno here will be the subject of future posts.