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  • About a week after the fact, but I'll tie up the loose ends from the Indy race in this post.

    Starting with the All Star race, I'm not All Star worthy! All weekend long up until I smacked my head, I was chopping the tree down. However, I red lit for the first time in competition in three years On the All Star race. I when I passed the red light, I figured it had to be 00something red, but it was more than that.



    Later that night the ladder came out for the Big show, and I drew Russ Konkowski, one of the very few cars faster than me. I had calculated a few numbers in the bag to play the stripe. We were the first to go down the track Sunday morning. As I made the left from the staging lanes onto the track, the sun was low and right in back of me. I left with a paranoid light after going red in the All Star race. At the thousand foot I could see nothing out the back window from the sun defracting off all of the scratches on the rear window, after it popped out and passed me the day before. As I was coming up on the MPH cone I looked out the side window, saw nothing and got on the brakes pretty hard. I crossed the line first, and saw the win light in the other lane, telling me I broke out.



    Russ couldn't run the number and I gave it to him because I had no idea where he was on the track. In Texas there's a saying "Sometimes you're the bug, sometimes the windshield." I was the bug that week.

    I did manage to squeak out a Top Ten in points for the year.



    So we loaded up, I made arrangements to leave the trailer and race car at the track, and I drove the coach to the factory in Northern Indiana, while my wife followed me in the street car.



    Got to the factory at dinner time, drained the tanks, filled with water and settled in for the night. Up at 5 am, closed up coach, loaded up the car and did a walk through with their service writer. We then drove to Hamburg, NY so my wife can spend a week with her sister. The coach was suppose to be ready Friday, we were to drive there today (Sunday), and we'd check it out tomorrow. However, I got a call Friday that it wasn't ready yet. The plan is to leave tomorrow morning, spend the night in the Coach, and hopefully the part they're waiting on comes in Tuesday for them to install it. Then to Indy to get the cars loaded into the Stacker, and then back to Texas.

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    • So last night I returned after 15 days of drag racing, dropping my Coach off for service, and visiting the "Outlaws" in Western New York. Click here if interested in more of the details on that. Anyway, after 4,000 miles of driving I was 30 miles from home when someone jumped in front of me as the Toyota that was in front of me (with one tail light and no brake lights) locked up the brakes. I had to lock up the brakes harder than I've ever had in a rig this big. So hard that the coffee maker in the coach flew into my wife. This morning when unloading the cars out of the stacker, the Genesis on the lift ripped the aircraft L Track out of the lift from that emergency stop.



      So got the stacker unloaded and flipped the rig around and opened it up so my wife could clean out.



      My shop rat will have a big job of washing 4000 miles of bugs off of it. Speaking of Shop Rat, while I was gone his main job was to take the under belly of Screamin Woody to bare metal, and to apply two coats of POR15 Silver and Black.



      The clutch on my 1999 Kawasaki Drifter 1500 was replaced before I left. While the tank was off I figured it was time to change the color from that ugly Maroon, so the fenders got taken off. While I was having the Thug's body damage fixed at Randy Standsbury's in Louisiana, I took the bike's sheet metal for bright metallic red pearl paint. That was delivered last week, and put on the scooter today.



      Back to the Woody. The Ford 9" was torn down, inspected and case painted before I left, and then reassembled today.



      My Shop Rat stripped the Four-Link when I was gone, and I taped off ends and hit it with a couple coats of red.



      The tail lights and fin trim is now back on the wagon.



      I hope to have the rear suspension back in; and the rear compartment stripped, spatter painted, new fuel cell and weight boxes installed by the end of October. The goal is to have the car finished (still dealing with engine) by New Year, and well tested before Bradenton.

      I also opened two weeks of boxes that came in while I was gone and mowed the 2' high grass.



      I wanted to paint the "Leaning Tower of Power" that came out of my 60 Plymouth today (Shop Rat made paint ready while I was gone), but only so much time.



      Also ordered wipers for 46 Olds; Front and Rear seals for the Screamin Woody's motor; rocker adjusters for the 383 Motor going into the 60 Plymouth; and brake master cylinder and fuel pump for my 67 Marlin.

      Tomorrow is Doctor appointment day, then a weekend on the Lake. Monday I pick up the Magnum's bumper from the chrome shop and hope to get quite a bit done Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at the shop. So much to do, so little time.

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      • Been working in shop more than posting this week, as I'll be spending next week at the lake with family. I usually live at the lake Friday through Monday and at the shop Tuesday through Thursday - but after being gone two weeks racing, I had a shop thrash going on this week.



        I picked up the rear bumper to my Magnum XE (I point out XE as I also have a black 79 GT) and installed.



        The ten year old and squeaking serpentine belt was replaced with a shorter one that was required after changing the heads from iron to Edelbrocks. I took the car for a hard drive (110 mph to) to test the belt. While that's good, the brakes were mushy and won't lock up. They'll have to be dealt with when I get back.



        Almost 20 years ago I put the above Dakota Digital gauges in a custom dash panel for my Magnum XE. To me the Kool Factor has gone away. I ordered a Kustom set of gauges that I'll install into a stock dash panel, after I scuff, sand, and paint flat black with plastic adhesive paint. I'm still thinking about what to do with the "Idiot Lights" on right side of dash panel, as the gauges handle that monitoring.



        If you have a 75-79 B Body and want my old Digital dash panel with gauges, lights, and switches, its yours for $300.

        Moving off the XE and on onto the Magnum GT. The leaky valve cover gaskets were replaced as was the sticky brake light switch that keeps draining the battery. I'll detail and sell that car as part of my new "Reduce my foot print and make more simple" philosophy.



        The 81 Imperial I've had since 1986 (I restored with a 380hp 360ci, street strip trans, 8.75" with 3.55 gears...) had the AC, Power Seats and power antenna fixed. Found a gas leak when it was filled with 93 octane, and replaced the line. The gas tank and straps were new when I restored it many years ago. It now runs perfect and has zero issues. It too needs to be detailed so I can put up for sake when I get back.



        The leaking gas tank in my 58 Dodge Pick up was repaired, and it too needs to be detailed and sold. Also in the photo is my trailer of three yards of mulch I picked up yesterday. That's to keep my Shop Rat busy next week.



        Speaking of the Shop Rat, he washed the Coach (above), sanded and painted the tongue of my old Aluminum trailer with POR15, and cut 2' X 4' shelves from 3/8" plywood to replace shitty stock particle board shelves that have bowed and broken.



        I put together a milk crate with two bottle jacks (one of them air) operated, an impact wrench, and sockets in my Stacker trailer. I have 150 psi air supply from the coach. I mounted a 50' air reel to the compartment connection to reach the trailers. I've used once the air setup to change a Stacker tire, and it is now a no problem 10 minute job by me alone - compared the PITA Dallas and I use to go through.



        I fixed the trunk seal on the Thug, and the Rat washed it. Waiting on the rear glass from Proglass. I'll be tearing the trunk down over the winter for another coat of spatter paint and clear, and to polish the aluminum. The car also needs to go on the lift for the Rat to scrub the underside and for me to inspect and tighten suspension. I really hope to have the Screamin Woody ready as primary car for Bradenton, and for the Thug to go to back up duty. Maybe Dallas will run once or twice next year as his car is kn need of a total rebuild as he's working too many hours to deal with it.



        Speaking of Screamin Woody, the underside was painted and the rebuilt rear end and 4-link reinstalled.



        The high HP 383 that will be going into my 60 Plymouth Post Street car is now finished. The engine compartment has been cleaned, scuffed, and is ready for Petty Blue paint. It will ultimately be wrapped to look like a sun bleached Petty NASCAR that has been left outside since 1961.



        One of my all time favorite cars is a 1967 AMC Marlin. It is the rarest of the three years Marlins were made, and the only year made on AMC's full-size Ambassador platform. The 65-66 were built on the shorter Rambler Rouge platform. They looked weird being that short of a fastback.

        So I finally bought a nice southern 67 Marlin about 15 years ago. I drove it for a couple of weeks and then parked it to wait for a restoration. This week it got pulled out to be made running, before being tearing down to restore. It had no brakes, so they were replaced. The fuel pump was missing - don't ask me how or why. Anyway the 67 for a 343 ci was a one year only, and impossible to find. The 68 was also a one year only, equally hard to find. Both have the fuel filter as part of the pump, one on top and the other on the bottom. Everything I found on the internet says only option is to replace with an electric pump. I was able to find a new 68 for a 343, and it works perfectly. Why isn't that on any AMC forum? So car runs great, except for a whistle from a failing carb to intake gasket. I ordered the gasket, but it had to be removed so I would order the correct one. Engine uses Motorcraft 2bbl carb. The GM distributor had the points replaced with a Pertronix electronic, but needs the gasket I ordered to test it. Once the car has been taken for a drive, it will be torn down. Engine compartment, interior, trim,... I'll sent car to be repainted Red (always loved red with Black top Marlins), chrome to chrome shop, detail engine and covert to 4Bbbl. I need to see what interior I can locate in black. Based on that, I'll decide if I will change to black or keep gold.



        So that's this past week at the shop.


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        • I spent last week at my Little Cabin on the Lake, mostly turning it into a smart home. While I was gone, I gave my Shop Rat the task of doing a Deep Fall Cleaning of the shop. He started in one corner of the building and moved clockwise cleaning/washing walls, purlins, garage doors, shelves and the floor. Below are some photos of his work.



          He was also tasked with spreading three yards of dark mulch.



          When I returned Monday, I took the coach to the Spartan shop (120 mile round trip) to fix oil leaking from lug nuts, opened a ton of packages of parts needing to get thrown on cars, and mowed the five acres - which had gone wild from all of the rain. It was kinda muddy still, but there was a forecast of another week of rain, so it was mow now or wait a couple more weeks.



          Finally, I took some photos of the rust detail on a 60 Plymouth I bought ten years ago to part out, but have decided to just sell as is instead.



          The rest of this week I intend to further organizing the shop while having the shop rat detail the inside of the stacker. Then back to work on the wagon and my street car collection.

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          • In the last year, I've had mechanic help come in now and then to help out. Between he, I and my shop rat - things start to get out of place with good used parts, new parts, and complete garbage laying around - instead of put away properly. Getting stuff done has taken a priority to organization and putting parts, tools, and supplies away. Currently I'm going through the shop and putting stuff away, and trying to improve organization. Yesterday I spent the first couple of hours putting good parts away, and bad parts in garbage. There was a lot of both. Then I started reorganizing the electrical crash cart, which was a total mess. I got rid of the bad short wires thrown in the cart and wound up good short pieces, sorted and bagged connectors which, somehow got unsorted. I put switches and fuses; shrink tubes and relays; and connectors in cases.



            I still have six other crash carts to straighten out, but this was the worst of them. On my stacker, the door cabinet was mounted very low because of some plates I used to mount a puck lock system.



            It interfered with the golf cart when loaded. So it got mounted higher today after cutting a relief hole in the back.

            Also in the stacker, the aircraft cargo track that got ripped up when I had to lock up the brakes with a car on the lift - had a new one cut, edges ground smooth, bent to fit beaver tail, and screwed down with new screws, lock washers and nuts.



            The Magnum has been sitting for a couple of years. Recently the gas was drained, carb rebuilt and car running and tuned before replacing the carpet and seats. It drives great, but brakes were horrible. Originally it was suspected to have been the master cylinder - so that was removed and inspected. It was fine and the brakes bled and adjusted. Brakes still sucked so car was jacked up and both rear wheels still turned while brakes were applied. Since the they bled fine, it is suspected that the pistons are froze up inside from sitting so long - and ones are on the way.



            Also in the "spent a lot of time and money fixing the wrong items" department, the hydraulic clutch on my 99 Drifter 1500 motorcycle was slipping. It got replaced last month. Now it has a slight delay engaging. Bleeding didn't help so I bought a used master cylinder and a rebuild kit as new is made of unobtainium. It was rebuilt and put on, but same issue existed. the slave cylinder was bled, and same thing. The hose between the two was removed. While 150 psi of air was introduced at one end, less than ten psi comes out of the other end - meaning 20 years has degraded the hose and its collapsed. It too is made of unobtainium, so I'll have to take someplace that can take a hose with banjo fittings.

            So a lot of hours were spent wasting time yesterday. Heading to the lake for the weekend, so thrashing resumes next week.

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            • Last week at the shop, time was mostly focused on a “Fall Cleaning”, organization of the shop, and getting my 67 Marlin running and driving right. The 67 Marlin is a very rare car, one I spent almost twenty years looking for the right one. AMC made the Marlin for the years, 65-67. In 65 & 66 it was based on the compact Rambler Rouge/American, making it look pretty weird being that short. However, in 67 it was on the full size Ambassador platform. I bought this car about ten years ago and put it in the corner. A couple of weeks ago I pulled it out of the corner to start its restoration, which starts with getting it running right before tearing it down.

              The brakes were replaced, and parts (carb gasket, starter, alternator fuel pump, Pertonix electronic ignition, battery…) ordered. Gas was drained and fresh gas put in; car finally was started and running Tuesday.



              I want to restore the car in red with black roof and interior. I did a little walk around the car to document the before and have a reference. My Shop Rat felt it was a great time to discuss where he put the six thermostats from my lake house, that I replace with Nest thermostats.



              A month earlier, we were working to get my 64 Imperial convertible (also not running in ten years) running again. I took it for a little ride to figure out what still needs attention. I’ll be getting new tires, exhaust soon; and bought the caret dye to redye seats.



              I treated the Thug to a new car cover, and I ordered a new Pro Glass rear window – which ought to be at the shop by Monday.



              The majority of my time was cleaning and organizing the shop.

              That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.
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              • Ginger is the name of my favorite Magnum. Twenty years ago I had two beautiful black Magnums, Ginger and Maryann. I gave Maryann to my now 31-year-old son for his 15th birthday. Sadly for ten plus years, it has sat disassembled, waiting for my son to restore. But back to my story, I recently have been freshening up Ginger. I replaced the original leather seats with more comfortable modern leather seats.

                Now I'm replacing the digital dash I put in the car about 17 years ago with some nice white faced custom gauges.



                This is the current dash with 17 Year Old Dakota Dash gauges. It is for sale if you're interested.



                So I bought an empty gauge panel on eBay, and ordered about $1000 worth of custom gauges close to the size of the holes. I bought a large Speedometer (with Tach) that works off GPS; and a large gauge that has Volts, Oil Pressure, Coolant Temp and Fuel Level to fill the two big holes. To fill the two smaller holes I bought an Oil Temp gauge and a clock.



                The two big gauge holes with the sleeves in them were too small by about 1/16", so I had to cut the welds attaching the sleeves to the panel and pop them out. Once out, the holes were now 1/8" too big. On the small gauge holes, I had to cut the inset hoods off as the gauges were too shallow for the screw on collars that attach the gauges to the panel to screw on the back of them.



                To make the big gauges fit, I made some spacers from 4" schedule 80 PVC sleeves, by hand sawing about 3/8" off the end and wet sanding until they were smooth and the same size.



                I mocked the gauges up to make sure they fit prior to doing any sanding and painting on the gauge panel. They did, so I glued the spacers onto the panel.



                I wet sanded the panel and masked off the idiot lights.



                After painting gloss black, it looked too gloss and cheesy. Some of the glue around the rings (that I swore I'd sanded all of the way off) was also showing.





                So I decided to leave the coves glossy black, but have the flat portion in a hammer tone black - to tone down the gloss and hide imperfections. So I taped off the coves, sanded some more on the glue around the rings, and wet sanded the areas to get the hammer tone paint.



                I hit it with two light coats with an hour between, and then a very wet coat after another hour.



                This is where I'm at right now. I'm out of town until Tuesday, which is little more than 48 hours to cure. I'll pull the tape off Tuesday, mount the gauges - and I'll post some photos of the finished product.

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                • This week, in no particular order, the following was done.

                  My 81 Imperial Custom was gone through and anything needing attention was given attention, and listed for sale CHEAP!



                  Click Here for details.

                  Three solid days were spent with a guy coming two days a week to help sorting out the nightmare electrical system in my 67 Marlin. It had been butchered over the years and virtually nothing worked. The car is almost ready for a drive, then it will be torn down and restored. I want everything working first.



                  The rear window from Pro Glass has arrived, and will hopefully be in the Thug next week.



                  On the Screamin Woody, new Lexan arrive and I'll start on that soon. The Fuel Pump is at Fuelab getting freshened up. I'll put the fuel system on the car when I receive it back.



                  Also related to the wagon, the machinist called and said that my 9 month wait is over. I was having a sleeve hammered in and the block machined - except for decking - which will occur after rotating is ready. I took the Callies Crank to him. It's gonna need to be turned down for stock Chevy rods, if it passes being Magnafluxed. I'll have to wait on the crank before ordering rods, pistons and bearings. If I have to buy a new crank then I'll go a different way. Also, its been so long that I don't remember if the crank came out of the 540 or 580ci. They'll have to measure for that too. I inventoried the other parts for the motor, and I have a set of 572 heads with new valves and springs; rockers with only 7 passes (before the Indy built motor with cheap ass rod bolts blew); Jessel belt Drive and Bullet Cam; Milodon Oil Pump and Aerospace Vacuum pump; Valley pan and the Indy bathtub Intake which is about to go to Florida for modifications. Damon should be getting to work assembling it as soon as I know what to order for pistons, rods and bearings; and receive. Outside chance car might make it to Bradenton in March - but I still have a lot of work and I'm only working in the shop three days a week because of a franchise I'm in the process of buying is taking a couple days a week of my time getting it set up.



                  I taught my Shop Rat how to use the polisher with "Fine Cut" polish and then cleaner wax to brighten up the paint on my 79 Magnum GT. Its another of my 30+ cars that I'm making ready to sell. Went through the car last month and fixed anything that wasn't working right. Just need to detail the interior, photo and list for sale.



                  On my 78 Magnum XE, I'm replacing the Dakota Digital gauges I installed 18 years ago with custom white gauges in a modified stock panel. The above photos show it mocked up in the modified dash panel, and the dash wet sanded and painted. I'm letting the paint dry for a couple of days because of three coats (the last very wet) of black hammer toned, before putting gauges back in. CLICK HERE for the details.

                  Also in shop news:
                  • Picked up the coach after two weeks in the shop for oil leaking through lug nuts on both steering and one tag axle wheels.
                  • Mowed five acres
                  • Replaced one of the six 8' florescent shop lights with LED, to see if I like it. I do and ordered five more.
                  • Did a little more cleaning, organizing and photoing parts I no longer need for sale . CLICK HERE to see what I have for sale (or need to buy/trade for) on my For sale site.
                  • Photo'd, listed and sod some more furniture.


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