Two Ladies & A Gent!

As you may be aware, my husband won the prestigious 2013 Presidents Restoration Award for his 1971 MG Midget. You may have read the article and saw the project pictures published in a previous issue of Wheel Tracks. I have decided to share the untold story; what you do not know, the details that my husband does not share.

My husband has been tinkering with cars, for as long as I have known him. This was the first time I took an active part in one of his projects. I was drafted at the start of the reassembly phase. How hard could this be, only time would tell?

He quickly put me to work cleaning, scouring, painting and polishing parts. I quickly discovered that steel wool and bare finger tips were not a good combination. Note to self: wear gardening gloves when doing this type of work.

One afternoon, I am busy working in my home office, my husband’s out working in the garage. I hear something that sounds like, possible domestic abuse? Yelling, cursing, more yelling, more cursing; I go outside to investigate when it hits me. It’s not my neighbors, but my husband and his British lady having a disagreement. I went into the garage and told him to simmer it down; someone just might call the police. There is no doubt that this car will be the death of my husband!

Our next task was testing the back-up light switch. It was not working and we did not have a wiring diagram. After hours of unproductive painful tinkering, I suggest using the internet to see if anyone else has had this problem. He looks skeptical, I get a couple of key words out of him, and I am off. Twenty minutes later, I am back with a list of potential faulty parts and directions. The internet is our new best friend! He sends me off frequently to do his research: replacing the head light switch, downloading a wiring diagram, how to install the window door weather strip clips, and installation of the side door glass windows. It was all there, imagine that!

There were moments when I was not sure that the three of us would make it, but we did and we are all a little better off for it.

I have a new found appreciation for the car restoration process; My husband thinks me clever and worthy of a wrench; and the MG Midget is enjoying her new face lift.

We look forward to seeing you on the open road, hopefully not attached to a tow strap. I have more stories, please ask and I will be happy to share.

Signing off from the Softer Side, Christine Stone

1927 Dodge – My Dodge has Feeling Too

1927 DodgeA comment on a VAE tour… “I could hear you and your ‘clutch’ behind me”

Can you imagine how deeply feelings can be affected from comments like this? It just goes to the bone… hah… frame, but my Dodge can take it! Those other cars, well, we will not go there, because my Dodge has manners.

The quote you read on the front page came from a respected VAE elder after spending the day in the Dodge, traveling the mountainous back roads in central Vermont. He was correct, in a way. There had been a few vaper-lock problems… well, quite a few; then the split rim problem that happened on the way down a steep hill and compromising the braking… a bit. The clutch also gave a few grunts during the day. The problems did in fact happen one at a time but don’t you think he could have made his comment a little more delicately?

The quote above came from one of those Plymouth guys all puffed up with his shiny paint job… oops, must remember, manners.

The 1927 Dodge with the Fast-four engine can be traced as far back as Pennsylvania but with very few details. A gent near Mystic Conn. bought it in Pensy and then sold it to me when he needed to down size. There were real tears in this big guys eyes as we left with his car on our trailer. That is how these old cars get to you. They can make huge and great memories. I have had it only a few years now but I can go on for hours telling adventures “we” have had.

I started finding babbit material when I changed the oil and some VAEers with more experience than me could tell there were problems with the engine. I spent my career in electronics and had never ‘rebuilt’ an engine. Grinding valve seats, new rings, new bearings… that was always very mysterious to me. With a lot of encouragement from fellow members I decided to give it a try. As you can see from the pictures, the end is insight. If I have not forgotten something and if all goes as planned, there will be quite a day not long from now when I will hear that engine come to life. I can’t imagine yet what a great day that will be… and I will have another “adventure” to tell!

Let me see if I can tell you about one of these ’adventures’ we have had.

There was the weekend we (the DB and I) joined a VAE tour to the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. And a great tour it is was! I had found my two mechanical rear brakes were not up to par so an ‘elder VAEer’ (there are a lot of them) agreed to follow me home via Canada where the terrain is flatter. Crossing back into the U.S. I had not been able to stop soon enough at the border crossing and was getting bald-out by an official for my transgression. The official was overdoing it a bit and I could hear the ’elder’ behind me making snide remarks about the scolding. No matter how much I motioned with my “left-turn-signal hand’ the elder continued… ”I knew him as a kid and he was a jerk then also” was one of many. The only thing that saved us (the DB and I) that day was when the official turned smartly for his control shack and smacked his head loudly into the stop sign I had gone through. The laughing behind me was deafening. Within minutes the DB and I, with the elder following, were on our way home.

Car adventures, great memories and wonderful friends are all by-products of owning an old car and being a part of a car club. We, the DB and I, haven’t gotten apologies yet but what the heck, what are friends for…