Sunday, November 28, 2010

Back At It...

After a long hot summer of changing diapers, we were able to get back in the garage without melting our brains.

The steering wheel that was attached to the Pickle was very pitted and even warped. So we took a trek out to Desert Vally Auto Parts to see what we could find.  We found a steering wheel, it had a few cracks, but it was in better shape than the one we had. 

So I bought some epoxy and patched the cracks and let that cure for a day or two. The dash was a mess so we bought some primer and got to paintin'. Just to break up the black we went with the oxide.

Once the epoxy was good and set, I sanded the crap out of it and got it nice and smooth. But when I went to reassemble everything, I had a steering wheel from a different model Pontiac, and the horn piece didn't fit. I was able to find the right piece on eBay. The bad thing was that my horn button had the cool Indian head profile. This one had the Pontiac script with the diamond symbol, and they were not interchangeable. But the important thing was that it was functional.

Here you can see the epoxy patches as well.

 In an earlier post, I talked  about getting a Bob's Big Boy suicide knob.  Sadly when I got it, I found it to be very cheaply made and was not going to be functional.  I probably wouldn't use it, but I figure the prospect of having it break off mid turn was bad, very bad.

So I had come across a Hollywood knob, again, on eBay.  The guy who had it don't think knew what he had.  He had it listed for $5.00.  So when I got it, and it wasn't broken, I was pumped.  It has some very cool metal flake on the back.  Great purchase.

I have to figure out how, if I can, get the steering wheel painted.  Not sure how to get that done and not have the paint rub off.  Any suggestions???

Lastly, my buddy Chris told me that I had to have a tachometer.  He is a muscle car guy (owning a beautiful Chevelle SS) and I wasn't sure I wanted a tach.  He said we would need one for setting idle and for tuning.  I conceded.  But I didn't want a new one.  I found a guy selling parts to a wrecked '69 Superbird.  The dude had a Sun SuperTach II for almost nothing.  The tach was all I could afford of the Suberbird, but I thought it was cool since it has some racing history behind it.

Next we have to get the front end rebuilt, cut the drive shaft, and finish wiring,,,easy stuff...right?

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Howlin' Wolf's cure for the economic depression

Seriously, if your foot isn't tapping by about half way through this song, then something is wrong with you.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

New Little Hot Rodder

My wife and I had our son, Dane, on June 6th.  Pretty amazing.  I get the whole parent thing now.  He is amazing.  'Thought I would share one of the first pictures we took of him.  Its going to be a cool journey with him.

I am also a big fan of anything Route 66. So when Cars was on last night while I was feeding him, I had to watch it. The scene where it is explained what happened to the small towns once the interstates were built kills me every time.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I have adult ADD, I am sure of it. But I was able to sit with a razor blade and scrape all of the paint off of the gauge cluster with a razor blade. I think it turned out great. There is some pitting, but we are going to leave it. Here is a before and after. We also threw down some primer to protect some of the exposed metal. I wanted to go with the oxide to break up all of the black.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Another Trip to DVAP

As we try to re-assemble the Pickle we are finding that we are missing small pieces. So we headed out to Desert Valley Auto Parts, a salvage yard that specializes in classic auto parts.  I could go there everyday. There were many, many great cars and I took a couple of pics with the phone.  Every time I go, I see something new.
A sad, and shockingly hillbilly-esque, end to a Cadillac Hearse.

Great grill.

Here is what looks like an old custom. It has been cut into convertible and you can see where someone chopped the windshield and wing window.  I would love to know the history on this.

Teenage Thunder

A teenage gas station attendant (Chuck Courtney) is obsessed with hot rods and racing.  His Dad (Tyler McVey) objects to hot rod racing and thinks his son is a "crazy teenager!"

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Little Lower

Chris Parese came over and we mounted the fuse box from the kit I got from GEM Wiring.  And when I say "we" I mean Chris did most of it.  Then he wired the engine up.  I did none of that because it would have been a real bummer to have the car burn to the ground the first time I tried to start it.  I know my limitations.  Wiring schematics make absolutely no sense to me.  I may as well be trying to read Latin.    

We cut out all of the wires to the gauges leaving enough to pigtail them. Seems like we cut out miles of wire.

The folks also came over and we dropped in 4" lowering blocks from Night Prowler's.
And we also painted the rims so that there would be a thin red line around the edge of our full moons. Here is a before and after shot.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Prodigal Son

Well we got the Pickle home (for a while) from Ron's since he wanted to take advantage of the 8 guy's wanting to spend their tax return on new motors.  I figured there were things we could do here.  So we dollied it back to the house.  I was itching to get to work. We wanted to make a change on the engine.  It is a great engine, I just thought it looked like a crate engine that one would buy at Pep Boys.  I got some finned valve covers for Christmas from Ramjet Racing on Cave creek Road.  Just that small change made a huge change.  We were thinking of going with the finned air cleaner and breathers, but thought better of it.  It seemed a little gold chain-ish.

In preparation for being wired, I wanted to get all of the old wiring out and leave 5" pigtails coming from the gauges.  I unbolted the old fuse box and started cutting.

Then I got it in my head that I wanted to pull the gauge cluster out to clean it off.
In talking with my parents (my partners and historical reference in this project), they said that the last thing you wanted on your car in the late fifties was chrome.  So the cars were nosed and decked and side molding all came off.  They even went as far as to paint over the chrome gauges.  Well that's what looks like happened to these gauges.  When I first sat in the car after its arrival from Tulsa, I remember being a little bummed that their face looked as bad as it did.  Then a few months ago I scraped the front of the gauges to get some dirt off and I found that the crappy, dull finish came off too.  It was like wiping mud off of a gold nugget.  I was pumped.  So I am hoping that there is some nice chrome still under there.  And there it will stay, contrary to the ideology of the greaser who maybe painted it many years ago.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I Hate YouTube...

It is much easier to sit around and rationalize that not ONLY do I not have all of the money needed own all of the projects I would like to, I also tell myself that all of the good projects are someone's "in progress" endeavor.  There aren't any true "barn finds" any more. Then I made the mistake of typing "barn find" into YouTube.  I know it is shallow, but other people's fortunate opportunity in locating a relic in a barn actually causes me physical pain.  Here are just a couple. 

My parents tell the story about how my Dad went out and bought a brand new 1969 Dodge Charger the day after I was born. Mom claims Dad had postpartum. Anyway, this barn find is a '70, but it is the exact color scheme as the one Dad bought, right down to the vinyl roof.

I don't know if this is one is bullshit, but if The intro is interesting, but it is lengthy (maybe not for you, I think I have adult ADD...especially on the internet). Notice the Silver Streak at 1:27.

So do yourself a favor, live in ignorance; as I wish I had. Bastards!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Different Twist on an Old Theme

I have always been a fan of spots on customs, like Jesse Lopez' metallic green '41 Ford with the Cadi grille.
Or Nick Metranga's 1940 Merc...

And even on the very famous customs like the Hirahota Merc and Moonglow.

But I wanted to do something a little different than these.  I was watching a Jimmy Stewart movie titled, Anatomy of a Murder.  And in that movie, he drove a 1950 Pontiac convertible.  He had a spotlight on the driver side door.  It was much more utilitarian then say an Appleton spot or a dummy spot.  First of all, after examining my A-pillar long and hard, I realized I would not be able to get a real, functioning spot through it.  And I couldn't bring myself to use metal screws to affix a fake spot to the car.  'Just couldn't do it.

So, Jimmy Stewart, being the custom car guru that he was, sent me on a journey to locate his spotlight.  The journey's first step brought me to the Internet Movie Car Database (  A car fanatic's derivation of the original human site listing all actors and the like involved in the movie industry,  In the vehicular version, you can type any car into the search engine and it will list the movies that car is in.  It is pretty in-depth, even listing cars that are just driving in the background.  So if you are watching a movie and you can't figure out what year, make, or model that car is, then check out this site.

The site had a couple shots of the Pontiac that gave me a better look at my spotlight.

Even though I liked the spot and I liked the fact that I hadn't seen it on any other customs, the fact that it was on some old fogies car was a little unsettling.  But I have never really followed the crowd on anything else before, so I figured, why not?

THEN I bought the movie Hot Rod Girl.  Made in 1956, it is the classic story about hot rodders out killing themselves racing against each other, and the cop trying to get them to race in an organized, bracketed league, on a drag strip.  The title is actually a misnomer since there is no girl hot rodder except Lori Nelson taking her T-Bird down the strip in the opening credits.  It is a classic movie, I am glad I bought it, but FYI you can watch it free in its entirety HERE.

Anyway, the antagonist in the flick drives a 1950 Oldsmobile.  His ride is clean.  Its been nosed and decked, and lowered a little bit with a custom grille.  The motor has been hopped and it is really nice.  Then as I was looking over the car, there it spotlight/mirror.  In my mind it negated all of the dorkiness that Jimmy's car brought to the mirror.  And don't get me wrong, I am a huge Jimmy Stewart fan.  Here is the only shot of the car from

It is difficult to see the spotlight, but trust me, its there. So I started looking on eBay and found out they were pretty expensive. They were going for $150.00 or more for ones in decent shape. I started watching one that claimed it was for the passenger side door. I examined the photos pretty intently, had the seller send me additional pictures focusing on the mirror side. I knew that would tell me what side of the car it was made for. It turned out he didn't know what he had, and fortunately no one else read past the "passenger side" title and I walked with it for $40.00.

Another great eBay purchase was this J.C. Whitney & Company Automotive Accessories catalog.  It was the best $5.00 I have ever spent.  

This catalog from 1957 is 226 pages of custom car accessories. I have spent days drooling over page after page of these custom accesories that are no longer existent. As I was thumbing through the book for about the 10th time, I saw this advertisement:
And then, though it was a little different than the one I purchased, This was similar.  Pretty cool.

I get the car back in a week or so.  Going to get as much of it wired as I can get done.  My buddy Chris Parese is going to help me wire as much of it as we can.  I am clueless on wiring, especially when it comes to connecting 12v wiring harness to my 6v gauges.  The folks and I are going to try our hand at installing 4" lowering blocks and removing a leaf or two.