Downtime?

Ah, a little bit of downtime – thought I would try and get an update posted before the next bell rings and all hell breaks loose again.

I am currently sitting in a Micky D’s in a strange city – but they have free WiFi so what’s not to like? Before I left the nice comfy climate of home with it’s up and down weather patterns where one day you have two feet of snow and the next it’s 60-plus degrees I was able to accomplish a few things.

The Monza project has taken on a new life as we go from just replacing a few bits and pieces to very seriously rebuilding the car again. Honestly, I have most of the work I did last year on the car around this time completely tore apart. Of course the upside is that I know how it goes back together but I am not sure that really makes me feel that much better about it. The body is getting massaged and repaired as needed with the addition of new fiberglass doors, hood, scoop and rear hatch cover. All of these parts take a tremendous amount of time to sand, primer, sand, primer and so on to get them straight enough to shoot paint on. Oh yes, there is shooting paint too plus coming up with some new graphics to make the monotone paint job stand out. We have also elected to replace the 12 bolt GM rear in the car with a 9 bolt Ford piece, a little bit lower gear ratio, new front ladder bar adjustments, new rear disc brakes and I still have a set of headers to build for the new engine. And race day is less than a month from now – gonna be burning a lot of propane heat to get this done.

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My dragster has patiently waited for the last 3 years to make it’s way back to the track and I am itching to get back in the driver’s seat myself. Most of the dragster is actually together – thank goodness – but it too needs a paint job along with a nice list of to-do’s just to button it up and get it going again. The last season I raced it, it was in grey primer – I vowed that I would not return looking like that again so I am really hopeful that once the Monza is all squared away, I can slide some body panels into the paint booth and get them done. I am also looking lighten up the front a little bit and the new power we have found should make for a fun ride.

The 350GT – yes I renamed it to the JDM model instead of the US designation is getting sanded down for paint. Of course just to throw me for a loop I moved the car to a different parking spot before the holidays and then went to move it in the garage a couple of weeks ago and it wouldn’t start. After a few minutes of “listening” and diagnosing the problem, I figured out that the original fuel pump had given up the ghost just sitting there. How that happened is well beyond me but there we go in 30 degree weather, snow on the ground and slush everywhere taking out the backseat and replacing the fuel pump with a new higher performance model. Oh and no one tells you that the new one doesn’t fit the freaking stock fuel pump holder! So it’s get the Dremel tool out and go to work making it a little bit larger so that it will fit the new, larger fuel pump. Aren’t performance parts just wonderful? And then me being me, I realize that while I have the rear seat out, hey I can pull those side interior pieces, re-glue the leather trim that is coming off and replace those lousy speakers with a new set of Alpines to match the rest of the car. And that’s how I end up with a GT350 that looks like it’s hiding from a wrecking yard with an interior that is in a million pieces. Maybe this summer we get red paint on it and the interior back together along with a new flywheel/clutch and a few other fun parts. Who knows- stranger things have happened.

And now you probably think I am going to talk about the Mustang or the ’55 – right? Nope, while those two projects are making some forward progress we will talk details about those two on the next post. What we have this time around is a Jeep project. This one belongs to my son-in-law John down in Florida. And what we are going to do, and I promised I would do this, is to document all of the steps we take to convert the Jeep from a straight 6 cylinder to a Small Block Chevy engine. We think there are some readers out there that might enjoy this series and it will also allow John to follow along as the work progresses. The swap is going to entail removing the current engine along with the radiator and attending support pieces for it. The Chevy engine will be connected to the current Torqueflite 404 transmission with an adapter kit, installed with custom motor mounts, a new radiator, headers/exhaust system and a few high performance pieces to make the engine perform and look better. Budget for this one is reasonable and one that most anyone could duplicate. One of the goals for the Jeep is to have something that fires right up, idles nice and performs nicely. We’re not building a drag car here or a mud-bogger, but something that will have some decent street manners and still be fun to drive. The old 6 cylinder has apparently been rebuilt in the past and is currently suffering a few maladies that while possibly fixable just don’t equal the fun value of adding the additional power and performance of a V-8 engine.

So that’s our update this time and darn it there goes the bell – gotta go but stay in touch!

 

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