27 February 2014

Miller Time

The Big 3 swapmeet was this past weekend,
and as usual gearheads arrived from everywhere.
Too many pics so coverage will be divided...
In the late 90's I was lucky to meet Steve Serr.
At the time I had a 4-banger coupe that attracted his attention.
Steve had acquired the original wooden molds for the miller ohv head,
and was super excited to get one built.
I remember the intricate puzzle pieces,
and also remember thinking what a big endeavor to start.
Well after 18 or so years,
Steve's built up one of the finest overhead conversions,
and has also peppered his inventory with related model A and B goodies.
He's made over 130 of these heads!
I'd love to have one,
but they cost more than our two daily drivers!
This June the Antique Nationals will be in Fontana,
And this rpu is expected to be up and running.
This thing is so bitchin,
tons of hop-up tricks.

Good stuff!


19 February 2014


Some steam had built up the other night,
as more rust was cut from the beat fenders.
As the evening progressed,
it was hard to stop.
I'd implied that as recently as last month,
the disintegrating panels were not an issue.
Badges of honor from surviving that Kentucky forest.

Now i couldn't wait to cut them out.
(I'll fine tune the corners during the final welding)
Stepping back by looking at these pics,
I'm at a deciding point.
The original plan was to radius the wheelwells,
basically re-arcing the line higher to follow the raised tire position,
centering the curve to match the wheel.
The utilitarian reason allows the tire to be removed 
without jacking up the body,
while giving a sports car look.
The bummer is the fender sections are the only decent parts of the car,
no major rust or dents.
Maybe I should just get it running.
Anyway that's what's been floating around my head...


17 February 2014

Introducing the Cradle Robber

Big changes happened over the weekend.
The wife and kids took advantage of the 4-day weekend,
And I took advantage of the solitude.
In a weird chain of events,
the 30 coupe returned to how it came.
The original plan was to take it to the Big 3 swap meet next week.
To try to make it easier I listed it on the hamb.
A couple bites but no go.
This is when Tim made me realize how rare and quality the running gear was.
I decided to try ditching the body only.
About 1.5 hours after posting on craigslist, 
it was gone.
Needless to say,
I was a little stunned.
Was it a mistake?
My Sunday chore of cleaning the yard backfired.
However there was a master plan.
For 10 years I've been dragging around this old tin.
An old friend Nick had blown the engine coming back from the roadster show,
and I finagled the project out of him.
The Cradle Robber was always fendered & banger powered.
Now 10 years later,
time to come full circle.
The original frame was torn up.
Legend has it the truck was used on tractor pull races in LA somewhere.
Can you imagine that?
Underneath the chipped layers of red and grey primer,
an ivory white color is peeking out.
It may return to that.
Lucky that my cousin married a strong guy,
as Brandon helped slug the body around the yard.
The next day I scrubbed the body,
and sprayed a quick color coat of primer.
So here's the can of worms.
The intent was to declutter the yard,
and I forgot how much time it takes.
When will the kids be back?
The unrealistic goal is to get it running,
maybe take it to the Big 3 full of spare parts.
More to come...

14 February 2014


So last night Ken and I were hanging out,
and Valentines Day came up in the conversation.
We talked about setting the standards of expectation.
"You're gonna get her a card right?"
"I'd expect you to hammer something out of a piece of tin..."
Dang it am I that easy to predict...
Well it worked.
Now she's got something to remind her every day that I love her!
It was 9:30pm by the time I finished.
Engraving would have to wait.
Happy Valentine's Day from the Perich Family!


13 February 2014

like fine wine

There are a couple projects I have been wanting to post about,
and now the time has come for one of them.
The realization while writing this is a little embarrassing,
as basically this took 5 or 6 half days strung out all the way back to Halloween.
The concession is the steering,
my problem,
was finished only a day after the stainless brake line,
which was started a couple months earlier.
Fortunately my Uncle Steve is a very patient guy!
This 29 roadster project started over 17 years ago,
back when a Torrance halibrand quickchange 
cost as much as a banjo steering wheel and steering column.
The plan is to have a full fendered hot rod.
A good plan!
The first step may sound unusual,
as I just organized the parts and jacked up the car super high,
letting the project filter through my subconscious.
The TCI frame had set the steering box location,
and a Flaming River SS steering column was already purchased,
making this a clear cut project.
Get some u-joints and shaft, 
drop the column mount,
and cut a hole in the firewall.
 On paper or this screen it sounds easy,
but between each step parts were necessary,
the perfect excuse for the lag time.
By Thanksgiving the u-joints and DD shaft had arrived,
and the column could be set and not imagined.
By Christmas,
the steering wheel arrived,
changing the location of the mocked up column mount.
That above picture is one of the first times he had sat in the car!
Unfortunately the wheel didn't match my template,
and a couple changes would need to be made.
By now it's January...
Luckily Uncle Steve has the help of his son-in-law Brandon,
who fills me in on the progress as he was doing the brake lines.
The goal was to get this driveable to the BIG3 swapmeet in February,
which meant time to get my a$$ in gear!
The column drop needed changing,
one to hide the wiring harness,
and two to scoot over for more u-joint clearance.
That above picture scared the chit out of Brandon and Uncle Steve.
Just give me a couple minutes with a grinder and it'll be all right!
So nice to work in a garage where neighbors don't complain,
but actually come over to visit and see what's going on.
Finally the firewall hole could be cut.
a simple template was made to place the gap.
This was one of the more tedious parts.
I had half expected to cut a larger hole,
then make some cover plates to close the gap,
then weld or clamp a tab to mount to the firewall.
The tediousness paid off.
The slotted hole only had a minor gap,
and a split hose bushing really cinched up the column.
For the first time in 17 years,
Uncle Steve got to turn the wheels with the steering wheel!
It was a bitchin moment for everyone.
The new energy really lit a fire,
Brandon and I were a tag team around the roadster that night.
"Honey I'll be home soon"
Yeah right...
With little more than a week to go,
I'm hoping to get the call this weekend to see the maiden voyage.
Special thanks to Aunt Georgette for hanging out with the kids too!


12 February 2014

A close call

For weeks now I've been slowly trying to get that model a engine started.
 Reaffirming the reasons I enjoy metal fabbing more than mechanicals,
as big changes happen with short bursts of time,
instead of the same thing looking the same.
Over the weekend a 4-banger enthusiast finally came by to see the old jalopy.
After a couple visual checks he was amazed at what looked like a rebuilt engine.
He had suggested pulling the pan,
but implied there was a possibility to clean the inside,
simply by changing the oil with diesel,
and giving it a good couple spins with the starter.
The important thing was cleaning the oil dip pans,
as this was the oiling system in the unpressurized block.
Unfortunately draining the oil opened up this nightmare scenario.
There was at least an inch of pure water,
followed by a mountain of white sludge.
Holey chit.
There was no way to not drop the pan.
These depression era cars were obviously built for the common man,
out in the dirt with limited tools.
The pan slid out easily within minutes.
No need to remove exhaust and raise the engine like newer Fords.
There was way more sludge then expected,
however the rods and crankshaft were above the white line.
The bummer was 40+ years of daily heat and cold,
evaporating and condensing the water inside the block,
churning up that oily gunk,
while rusting up any bare metal.

After a solid hour of tedious scrubbing with a diesel soaked scouring pad,
the insides were debris free.
The new babbitt bearings conveniently lubed with the oily diesel,
and the rope seal surface on the crankshaft pulley shined up.
Now the engine spun like it was meant to.
Meanwhile the nasty sludge had drained,
and the oil pan and oil pump scoured clean.
I'll give it a good wire-wheeling before install.
I had informed 4-banger Tim of the pan drop,
and he was relieved to hear the engine was cleaned correctly.
How many engines are ruined by either sitting or neglect?
He even came over again to inspect the open case,
and donated an era correct gasket kit.
Thanks Tim!
I almost cut one out of gasket material!
By this time you'd expect the engine to be buttoned up.
Instead I cut out this patch of rust,
Adding a couple hours of low-priority work to the STD list.
What did you expect?
More later...