Getting the Rear Bumpers Plated, too

I removed the rear bumpers and bead-blasted off the fake chrome paint I had put on them a few years ago. They are now at the plating shop, and should be back in a few weeks.

No mouse problems this last winter, thankfully.

I Got the Front Bumper Plated

This Spring I took apart the front bumper, and sent the two bars off to a chrome-plating shop. Several weeks and several hundred dollars later they came back, looking quite lovely. I put the bumper back on the car, with freshly-painted bolts and brackets, and it makes the car look much more handsome.

And BTW I was extra vigilant last winter, and I had no further mouse trouble.

Summer/Fall 2018: Fixed the Mouse Damage

I installed the new headliner and reattached all the interior panels that had to be removed to get at it.  I also made a very nice, correct cover for the hole in the floorpan, where the mice had gotten in.   It is made from a leftover piece of the roof top material, with metal strips around the edges, just like the original.  Thanks to other Model A enthusiasts who posted plans and photos of good originals!

Unfortunately since the interior was all taken apart from May until October, I drove it only a couple of times last summer.

Spring 2018: Mice!!!

This spring I took the car out for a drive, and I looked up and noticed a little hole in the headliner, over my head.  Then I noticed some stains on the headliner.  I investigated further, and I realized that the headliner smelled like mouse piss.  I had to tear out the (expensive) headliner and also remove all the interior panels that surround it.  I discovered even more mouse stuff under and behind the back seat.  To clean it up, I had to:

  1. Take out the rear seat.
  2. Take apart the rear seat back upholstery and wash it.
  3. Wash the seat back frame and springs.
  4. Reassemble the rear seat back.
  5. Clean under teh rear seat, and various places where the headliner is attached to the wooden roof framing.
  6. Order a new headliner ($$$).

I have the new headliner, and I will install it hopefully this weekend.  Then I have to re-install all those surrounding panels, which requires a lot of fussy nailing.  (Not like modern cars where everything snaps into place!)

The mice were able to get under the rear seat through the opening in the floorpan around the rear spring.  This gave them direct access to the underside of the rear seat and the space behind the interior panels to to the roof, so they could hang out there all winter without leaving any evidence of their presence (until it got warm and you could smell them).

There is supposed to be a cover over that opening, but I never bothered to install one.  I’ll have to do that, too.

Dealing with this has taken me from April until August.  I was hoping to fix up one of the rear fenders this summer, but it looks like that will slip into the fall.

Spring 2017: Improved Brakes

Last year I replaced the original stamped brake drums with new cast-iron ones.  This really improved the braking, and got rid of the fading that happened when the thin stamped drums got hot and expanded.  I sent my old hubs (with the old drums cut off) and shoes to Randy Gross in California.  He installed the new drums on my hubs and sent them back, along with a newly-relined matching set of shoes.  The only annoying part of the process was having to completely take apart the complicated rear brake/hub system to reach the shoes.

Status Update: January 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!

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!

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.