Sunday, November 29, 2009


I'm quickly learning that the trick to cleaning and polishing metal is to. go. one. step. at. a. time. If you try and skip forward, you mess up and have to go back to the beginning. And by that I mean that it's vital that you do your rough removal of material all at once. Then, you graduate up one step. 400 grade to 600 grade to 1200 grade to 220 grade, for example. And we're not even ready to talk polishing. I took a quick trip to my local Sears and bought all kinds of barrel sanding bits, as well as adhesive backed circular pads , a set of files. I used a 400-grade grinding wheel on my angle grinder and 400 grade circular pads for all my initial removal. Remved the nasty edges, ugly seams, shoddy manufacturers flacking, etc. Then I got impatient and tried to move up to a fine polishing grade. Trouble is, I didn't get all the nooks and crannies cleaned up and found myself trying to do the rough work with fine papers and dremel bits. Then I read up on the subject online and discovered the dirty truth. I needed to take more steps, be patient and go back to the course paper to get everything right.
So off to Sears and Lowes I went to get sandpaper and barrel sanding bits in numerous grades. I predict the next week or so to be a lot of meticulous work, carefully done. Live and learn, eh?

Saturday, November 28, 2009


I think my wife is about to leave me. I took a break from prepping the rear end and turned my attention to the Muncie M20 trans and bell housing. Being aluminum, I got out the angle grinder and drill motor and set out to make both pieces as smooth a baby's ass. It was alot of work and ate up the entire day. Tomorrow I need to make a run for sandpaper. Fun (not!)

Friday, November 27, 2009


Another full day spent cleaning the 9". Okay, this may seem ridiculous but all I can say is I'm gonna have one very smooth rear axle. Between grinding recernt welds from the narrowing, sanding tubes and attempting to even out factory welds, I again have no idea where the entire day went. I guess there's a Zen to this and I must be discovering it. We've still got to fab up the rear in the frame and get the cut-to-fit axle shafts. And I still have to detail the carrier itself. The tubes and the pumpkin will be skim coated, sanded, primered, then re-sanded before going to final paint. Here's a nice shiny shot to prove I worked my you-know-what off.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Well we got the narrowed 9" rear end back and now I have some serious clean up to do before Marty fabricates the four-link rear suspension. I'll be deburring it and cleaning up both the factory welds and the welds made in shortening it before it goes back to Marty's. I'll also be cleaning up the backing plates and rebuilding the rear brakes with new parts and ordering a set of new cut-to-fit axles.  The measurement from flange-to-flange is now 51". We took about 8" out of the Ford Bronco 9".
Here are some shots of the clean-up effort in progress.


The John Deere seat buckets arrived at HouseOSpeed headquarters (aka my garage) today and I really dig 'em. I was initially concerned that they might be too small but upon test-sitting them, they seem like they'll be perfect. They're a lot like bomber buckets albeit more utilitarian. I'll be running them out to Marty's this week to see how they fit in the roadster's interior. I think they're going to be very cool with a low key, functional vibe. Speaking of very cool, I also found another color reference for my roadster's paint. It's on a car known as LB Tiki , which was built by a cat named Ivan who lived in Long Beach. I've linked a pretty interesting HAMB post on the car being driven from CA to Florida by its present owner. Anyway, Ivan (whose last name escapes me) is an old pal of Marty's and now lives in Lockhart, Texas. I've chatted with him a few times at car shows about how much I dug his car, which not unlike my 65 Suburban ,  has an unmistakable tiki mojo.  Small world, huh? Anyhow, his car has lived in a file in the back of my mind for years but I came across it just the other day on the internet and grabbed these shots for posterity. So here's LB Tiki, and a color that is damn near what I'd like to have on my roadster.


Monday, November 23, 2009


Here are some update shots of the frame. Marty did his final welds. As you can see we're going to placing speed holes here and there, just to keep things interesting.  Note the circular pieces mounted below the motor mount pockets.

The transmission mount is in place, as well as rear crossmember. Won't be long before we're plumbing brake lines and routing wires. First we've got the rear end to install, as well as the cowl steering. Still, we're making some good progress now.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


One of the options for valve covers: Edelbrocks, finned and polished.

All mocked-up after a long day of metal prep.

Still have to get the intake polished and the carbs rebuilt.


First, an arty shot of my engine with the carbs and intake set in place. Both still need to be rehabbed but you can't blame a guy from wanting to know how the engine's gonna look.

After another full day of deburring, it's as if it'll never end. Actually, it's looking quite nice but I can see how this would appeal to a person's obsessive compulsive nature. I'm cautiously optimistic that I've cleared the halfway point.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Well, I just spent an entire freakin' day in the garage continuing to debur the 327, switching between air tools and my drill motor and employing a number of different grinding stones and wire wheels. It was alot of work. All told, I'll spend probably thirty hours removing edges, sharp corners, and every bit of grease, grime, paint accumulated over the course of the engine's four prior decades. If it's true that great paint is in the prep, I should be rewarded with a sweet little engine that stands out nicely. I'm leaning towards painting the engine block the green color I have in mind for the body color, or argent, the color of the vintage Torq Thrust's spokes. Fortunately, I'll have lots of time to think about it as I continue to smooth the cast iron. In the end, I'll be laying on a two stage basecoat/ clearcoat. Stay tuned.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


The more I thought about the steering wheel and how important it is for all 6'5" of me to fit in the car's cockpit, the more I realized a larger period wheel probably wasn't going to be the right cal for me. After considering a number of options, from a pricey 1940 Ford replica in 16", to a '56 Corvette spoked wheel, and a litany of ultra cool import wheels in 13" - 15" sizes, I finally decided to take an affordable, conservative approach. I ordered a 13&1/2" three spoke chrome job with a black outer rim from the hot rod company. The type of wheel that coulda found at a Pep Boys back in the sixties, which is, after all, the period I'm shooting for. I can always upgrade it, if I don't like it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Scored a pair of seat pans. They're John Deere tractors seats. Very compact and utilitarian. Can't wait to try 'em in the car. The next steps will be pedal placement, steering wheel, column and cowl steering.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


We swung over to Marty's today and he's making serious progress on the 29's frame. If the shortened 9" had shown up on Friday as it was supposed to, it would be a roller right now. As it is, the engine mount/ cradle is fabricated (see front of motor shots below), the transmission crossmember is in and the car is looking more and more like a period hot rod by the day. I did an initial test sitting and the next step will be engineering the cowl steering, pedal placement and steering column.

Friday, November 13, 2009


Exciting times. I got the 327 back from the machine shop and back on the engine stand in my garage. I took the liberty of double checking the torque specs on the bottom end (65 lb. ft @ the main caps, 35 lb. ft. on the rods and 50 on the oil pump). Everything checked out. I them ran taps into all the remaining holes to make sure everything was nice and clean. I guess I forgot to tell the guys not to paint the engine since I was planning on deburring the block. The next order of business was to remove all paint from the block. Out came the angle grinder, the wire wheels and the picks. In went the ear plugs and I then went about removing flash, smoothing seams and making a racket. Marty's doing such a nice job on the motor plate and frame that I want to make sure the engine looks every bit as well-detailed. It's a big job, and will no doubt eat up a few nights and mornings. Can't wait to get it all nice and pretty and tucked into the 29's frame rails!

Thursday, November 12, 2009


As I await the engines return and Marty get closer to wrapping up the frame fabrication, I've been spending a fair amount of time thinking about the cars color. I began by liking lime green candy a lot. But I'm seeing a lot of that color lately and it is pretty pimpy. So lately I've challenged myself to think about somethind subtler and perhaps a little less expected. I've been paying a lot of attention to colors on modern cars and there is a jeep metallic I've been seeing lately that I find very interesting.  It's kind of a baby shit green and I've become quite enamored with it. It's not olive drab or too militaristic-looking. While I certainly reserve the right to revert to the original lime green plan, I'm really liking this color a lot and have recently saw the same color on a Rod&Custom feature car. I hope everybody doesn't jump on the bandwagon now.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Several months ago, I scored a balanced and blueprinted 327 from a dude in Goliad, TX. It was a low mileage balanced and blueprinted engine with a super lumpy roller cam (Comp Cams 288XR) and a host of quality aftermarket goodies like forged TRW pistons, a fluidamper balancer, good rods, a high volume oil pump, etc. When I went to look at it I realized it had way too much cam for my roadster so I balked at the price, explaining that I'd have to swap out the roller. I was able to bring the price down a bit, so I bought it and researched a less aggressive roller cam, landing on a Comp Cams 270XR grind. I also sourced a pair of vintage camel hump heads. The intake will be an Edelbrock with 3-2's. Here's the engine on its way to Larry at Performance Plus Machine where the cam swap will be made and the heads will be properly prepped and receive hardened valve seats. More to come.