I am sure by now you are all tired of me sharing stories about our household’s automotive trials and tribulations. Which leaves me in a dilemma, “What should I write about for this issue of Wheel Tracks?” I dig deep for inspiration, but this ballroom dancing lady is struggling. Let’s see… I have been to one car show all summer; the catalyst for this was a visit from my father.
That old saying that women end up marrying men just like their fathers is all too true in my case. My father is a self-confessed high performance street car enthusiast (junkie), and the mastermind behind a line of race electrical products (Auto-Rod Controls). He grew up during American Graffiti, and remembers a time when a half a dozen full blown street races occurred nightly. I do not believe this happens much anymore, except for maybe LA (according to the motion picture industry).
I interviewed my father and had him list his most memorable cars: a 1958 something or another, 1940 Ford Coupe, 1962 Ford 406, 1969 Ford 428 Super Cobra Jet, 1970 429 Torino Cobra he trad-ed in for a 1970 Honda motorcycle and last but not least, a 1970 Ford Pinto he stripped down into a race car lovingly known as PERNICIOUS.
I have vivid memories of this car. I was frequently called into the garage to maneuver my small hands into tight places to hold bolts and wrenches in place. I will never forget the occasional starting of the engine; mind numbingly loud, our whole house shook, as did the neighborhood.
The rebuild took 4 years in total. Eventually, he and his race car made it to the speedway in Epping, NH. He raced the quarter mile; best time – 9.65 seconds; maximum speed – 138 miles per hour. I never got to see him race but I wish I had. That would be an image worth holding on to.
Five or six years ago the Jaguar XKE started to run rough, cough, belch black smoke, and backfire. This problem got worse quickly and the car ran so poorly it could barely move. Life got in the way, and the Jag was parked.
This summer I decided it was time to figure out what was wrong with the car and fix it. I found a sunken carburetor float in the rear carburetor, a torn diaphragm in the front carburetor, a bad fuel pump and a dead battery. Once I got these issues sorted out, I began to tune the car and get it running again. It soon became apparent that there was an issue with the brakes. Both front and rear brakes were dragging, and the pedal did not feel right. I know that the brake fluid has not been changed in at least 15 years. When I removed the caps to inspect the brake fluid, I found a nasty surprise. We all know that brake fluid absorbs moisture. Due to some spring flooding this year, the building the car was stored in, had several inches of standing water on the floor of the garage.
The brake fluid actually had standing water pooled on top, and the fluid was starting to congeal. The aluminum caps for the fluid also have low level switches in them. The aluminum had rotted away, and the caps fell apart in my hands. I used a turkey baster to remove the fluid, then flushed fresh new fluid through the system and out the bleeder screws. It is amazing how corrosive contaminated brake fluid is. Look at these pictures. This damage could have been avoided if the fluid had been changed every two or three years.
An extra Tip……… I was recently shopping at Tractor Supply, and I bought a new battery cable for my tractor. When I installed the new cable, I noticed the diameter of the cable was much thicker than the one it was replacing. I realized that the cable I bought was suitable for a six volt battery. A six volt battery cable needs to be thicker, because it carries more amperage at a lower voltage. Six volt battery cables are hard to find at an auto parts store, but Tractor Supply has a large selection in stock.
Please email all inquiries to: Dave
or snail mail
32 Turkey Hill Road
Richmond VT 05477
What do we do when we decide it is time to downsize our collection? How do we even get started? We might decide we want to move where the snow doesn’t fly or that we simply want less to deal with. What ever the reason, the collection that seemed to have accumulated very easily and some might say ‘over-night’ can be a very daunting task when you are looking to scale down.
AND then there are those ‘items’ you would NEVER part with….it can get complicated!
Stanley Lasell (pictured) of Williamstowm, Vermont wants to down-size. He started by asking some VAE members for help in deciding what parts of his collection should simply go to the crusher and some advice of value of what is left. Asking VAE members what should go to the crusher, it turns out, is a very simple answer….”Nothing”. We are just not built that way.
Stan did get a visit by three of us with price books in hand and we hope we have helped him a little.
This month’s WT will feature Stans collection and maybe force us to think about our collection in a different way.
Wheel Tracks might just open other discussions with help on the subject.
The blue car on the front page is a 1946 Nash Super 600. Stan said he sold it years ago but then it came back… The car is complete and the VAE team came up with a price of $1500.00 that Stan said he would accept. Some one out there, most likely, has been looking for this car for years and now you know who to call. BTW, Stan’s phone number is 802-433-5874.
Stan’s first call was to the Wheel Tracks editor, Gary Fiske. He was trying to figure out how to down-size. I told him I have a lot of short comings when it comes to pricing old cars but I know two folks who could be of help. So, Gary Olney and Wendell Noble were invited to make the trip to Williamstown and Stan’s home. I had my note pad and camera…and I am sure we impressed the socks off Stan when we arrived. He is one of those “not-very-old Vermonters” who comes with down to earth common sense and the speech to go with it. “Bye and bye” was a favorite of his, I haven’t heard that said to me face to face since being with my grandfather in the 50s. Another regular comment was that Stan was going to “live forever….as long as he lives”. When he was describing the distance to his third car-yard….it was “ a loud holler from the barn”. Many of his treasures were “not for sale….but maybe”. We were up in Stan’s 2nd car-yard when Wendell asked him “What’s that over there”. Stan’s reply was “I was wondering that myself”.
Most of Stan’s treasures were in high grass and among tress but as we get into the Fall his collection will be much easier to see.
Here are a few of his vehicles he would like to sell. If we do not have room for all the pictures there will be a complete list for you to work with.