Status Update: January 2017

January 17th, 2017

Over last summer I had lots of other things to do, and I didn’t get started on the fenders or horn or headlights.  At Hershey (2015) I did find a pair of real nice headlamp reflectors, which I immediately installed.  The car has been running well, and I have enjoyed taking it to several shows (as far as 80 miles away) and driving around town.  Hopefully I’ll make more progress next spring and summer.

Up and running!

October 6th, 2015

I bolted on the headlight bar, headlights and horn, as well as the hood latches. I also painted black the small bolts that hold on the latches, and the fender to the frame. Finally, the entire front end is put together and the car is fully road-worthy.
I took it to the “Days of the Past” antique tractor, truck, and car show, where it hung out with several Model A pickup tracks and converted doodlebug tractors. It looked very handsome. I also did several drives around town, and nothing stopped working or fell off.
I ought to get started on the rear fenders, but I may not get to them for a couple of months. I was planning to use a rear right finder I bought at a swap meet several years ago, but I realized that it is from a regular, not s slant-window, sedan. It bolts on fine and is almost identical to the correct slant-windshield fenders, but the tail end is about an inch shorter, and it would look odd with a correct fender across from it.
In any case, I am planning to go to Hershey tomorrow, and I’ll see what turns up there.  If I can’t get started on the rear fenders this fall, I could start restoring the horn or the headlamps.  The horn really just needs to be bead-blasted and painted, and the headlamp restoration is mostly a matter of buffing out the stainless steel housings and replacing some small parts.  I have a bunch of headlamps, so I can pick the best two to restore, and leave another pair on the car to keep it road-worthy.

Fenders bolted on!

September 15th, 2015

I attached the fenders to the car, along with the braces, the headlight bar, and the welting between the fenders and the splash shields. There were a lot of bolts to install, and a lot of fiddling and adjustments.

I decided not to use one of the original fender braces, because the place where the headlight bar attaches had some badly-repaired rust damage.  I had a spare brace, which I sandblasted and painted.  I also made some measurements of the braces, and did some careful bending to get them to match each other.

The next step is to install and hook up the headlights and the horn, and attach the hood latches.  Then the car will be fully road-worthy.

Yay! Both fenders painted!

September 10th, 2015

I got the second fender painted. Since it is a new repro, it needed less sanding and prep than the other one. I had applied the primer-surfacer last fall, and I needed to apply only a little bit more near the front edge, where I had earlier modified the shape.

The next step of course is to attach them to the car. But first I need to do a bit of tweaking and adjustment on the fender support braces, so that the fenders will be nicely aligned on both sides of the car. I had sandblasted and painted the braces several years ago, but since then I noticed that they do not exactly match each other, especially since they have had some cracks and damage repaired many years ago by welding.

One fender completely painted!

August 2nd, 2015

With the summer already half over, I finally got the driver’s side fender completely painted. First, I did a lot of sanding of the sprayable polyester filler I had put on last fall. Sanding that stuff is a very dusty job, and both the top and bottom needed to be done. I probably sanded off 75% of it, but I had to add a bit more filler in a couple of places. Then I sprayed on three coats of acrylic urethane filler-surfacer, and block-sanded it. Once section of the fender needed a couple more coats and a bit more sanding. The last prep step was to wet-sand the entire fender, top and bottom.
Then I applied the same sort of finish coat that the rest of the car has gotten: a coat of epoxy sealer and three coats of (black) acrylic-urethane enamel (two coats on the underside). I also painted the four carriage bolts that hold the headlamp mounting bracket to the fenders.
The next task is of course to paint the other fender. That will be a lot less work, since it already has its coat of acrylic-urethane filler, and it just needs to be lightly block-sanded and wet-sanded, before getting its finish coat.

Another little job

May 17th, 2015

I bead-blasted and parkerized the original front fender mounting hardware: about 16 bolts, and the matching nuts and washers. Surprisingly, these original nuts and bolts are in quite good shape, and they can definitely be re-used.

Over the winter: rear shocks

March 30th, 2015

It was especially cold this winter, and there were very few times when I even wanted to do anything in the (unheated) garage.

I did get a pair of brand-new reproduction shocks from Bill Stipe. They were expensive, but very well-made. In March, as soon as the garage was consistently above freezing, I painted them, and bead-blasted and painted the original rear shock arms. Then I installed everything on the rear of the car, using the original nuts and bolts that I had refinished a couple of years ago when I did the front shocks.

So now the car has good working shocks on all four wheels!

Spring is finally here, and it is slowly getting warmer, so I should be able to resume work on the front fenders in a week or two.

Finally: paint on the fenders!

November 13th, 2014

After 13 months of work, I was able to start painting the front fenders.  First, I had to set up my in-garage painting tent, since outside there are leaves all over the place. The last time I had used the tent was about a year ago, when I painted my other car, the Triumph Spitfire.  Then I added some bits of threaded rod and random scrap metal to my fender jig, so that the fenders would be held in place several inches above it.  This made it possible to reach the entire bottom surface with the spray gun.

I started with the freshly-sandblasted driver’s side fender.  First it got a couple of coats of epoxy primer.  Then I applied several coats of sprayable polyester filler to the top, where there were remnants of the dents and scratches that I had mostly worked out, and to parts of the bottom, where there was some rust pitting.

The other fender was a new reproduction which was almost dent-free, but it had gotten some patches of light surface rust during the year I had been working on it.  I cleaned and degreased it very thoroughly, sanded it all over to get rid of the rust and make a better surface for the paint, and finally applied a phosphoric acid treatment.  Once it was dry, it got a couple of coats of epoxy primer, followed by a few coats of filler-surfacer on the top.

I finished all of this on what will probably be the last reasonably warm week of the year.  The finders are now hung up on my garage wall for the winter.  Next spring, the repro fender will just need to be block-sanded before getting its finish coat.  The old fender will need a bit more work: the polyester filler on the top and bottom will need a lot of sanding, and the top will need a couple of coats of the filler-surfacer, followed by block-sanding.

The other fender made ready for painting!

November 5th, 2014

The driver’s side fender is a used original that I bought at Hershey last year. It had no serious rust or damage, but it did have some dents, and it was painted in primer.

I started by stripping off most of the primer, and found some filler underneath it. So I sanded off most of the filler and soda-blasted off the remainder of the primer and filler. It turned out that the upper surface had gotten rather beaten up once upon a time, and it had been somewhat roughly beaten back into shape.  The top appeared smooth due to the filler, but the underside was pretty bumpy.

I decided to buy an air-powered planishing hammer from Harbor Freight, and I used it (along with a shrinking disk on my grinder) to get the upper surface smooth again. I was quite pleased with how well this tool worked. I also used it to get rid of some deformation along the outer edge and around the headlight bar mounting area.

The two mounting holes on the front inner surface of the fender are supposed to have a raised dimple around them, to make a nice fit to the oval-headed mounting screws.  These commonly get damaged on old fenders, and the ones on this fender were smashed flat.  Fortunately vendors sell special dished washers that can be used to restore the mounting holes.  I got some of these, and brazed them into place over each hole.

Finally, I sandblasted the entire fender with extra-fine Black Beauty compound to remove all traces of paint and rust. After sandblasting, I noticed one small crack just inside the front edge, parallel to it. Repairing this was a fairly easy welding job. (Interestingly, both of the car’s original fenders had cracks in the exact same location.)

Now both fenders are ready for painting, but it is already mid-fall, and the weather is getting colder…

One fender ready for painting!

September 16th, 2014

After almost a year, the repro fender is ready for painting. Fortunately I did not have to lengthen the rear of the fender. When it is bolted in place, things manage to stretch and bend until it mates up with the running board. But I did notice that the inside front edge was about 3/4″ further forward than on the original fender, and it was visibly different than the original fender on the driver’s side. So I had to unwrap the beaded edge, cut off the excess metal, and re-form the beaded edge around the wire that runs inside it.

After that, I just had to adjust some of the mounting holes and spot-weld the little reinforcing bracket to the outside edge, where the fender is bolted to the end of the main support bracket.

The next step is to get the other (driver’s side) fender ready for painting. This fender, which I also bought at Hershey last October, appears to be original and is in very good shape, crack-free, with just a few random dents and a couple of mashed-up mounting holes. Unlike the repro, it fits perfectly. However, it is painted in brown primer, and I will have to sand or strip it off to see what lies beneath.

I did a bit more work on my fender jig to hold this fender (which is of course a mirror-image of the repro fender). The next step is to start sanding or stripping the primer coat. If I am lucky, I may get both fenders completely painted before it gets too cold, but I may only get as far as the primer and filler, leaving the final coats until next spring.