Tag Archives: vintage

  • Moving Shop, A New Drivetrain and A Lot of Inspiration.

    It's been a while since I last updated everyone on the status of Project Pile House. Unfortunately things have been stalled a little because of some major construction going on inside of the Eastwood headquarters. About a month ago we started building a new photo/video studio and also a separate "dirty work" area. This meant that Pile House has been trapped in limbo as we built the new shop. Previously we had our video and photo guys and myself sharing a space. Anyone that knows anything about expensive video and photography equipment knows that they do NOT like dirt, dust, paint, or sparks.. all of which I was producing regularly (go figure!). We've been stalled a bit working on our projects, but this new move will be great and allow us to bring you better quality and more frequent technical videos and pictures. I snapped a few pictures along the way and soon you'll notice the new surroundings in our pictures and videos!

    Since I haven't been doing much work on the truck, I've been trying to gather some key parts and also figure out my goals for the truck for this summer. Anyone that remotely knows me will know that I have trouble sitting still and especially if I have an unfinished project. It's been tough not making on progress on the truck, but it's allowed me to wind back some of my plans for the truck in order to get it rolling for this summer. I want to be able to drive this thing at some point in the summer, even if it's late in the summer. I've decided to try and get the major rust, rot, and mechanical portions of the truck taken care of , finish all the current body mods I've made thus far, and get the truck in primer for the summer. Then next winter I can get the truck where I want it for paint. I recently learned that our Urethane Primers can be tinted with our Single Stage Urethane paints to get away from boring gray. This is great because I was already thinking about doing some sort of custom satin paint job using our Rat Rod Satin Clear, so it will give me an idea if I really like the look.

    With trying to get the truck on the road this summer, I had to sort out what I'm doing for a drivetrain. In a previous post I had shown a small block chevy V8 I had scored from a local hot rod shop. Turns out they were less than truthful about what the engine was and its condition. Once I dug in I realized I had been bamboozled. So after some angry phone calls I got rid of the boat anchor and got my cash back. I decided I didn't have time for dealing with unknown used engines and we started making some calls to some of or friends in the industry to see if they could help. Our friends over at Pace Performance just so happened to have an engine that had been "roughed up" by a delivery driver and was returned. After some discussion, it turns out the engine was only damaged superficially and it just needed some bolt-on parts replaced and I'd be in business. We struck a deal and it arrived so quick I didn't even have time to give our warehouse workers a heads up that there was a "Big Box" coming for me. They were less than impressed to say the least (sorry guys!), but we got it moved into the shop with the truck. I ended up with a GM Performance 602 (SEALED) CIRCLE TRACK RACE ENGINE, 350CID 350HP with some light bumps and bruises. Turns out this engine was destined for Rusty Wallace racing before it was roughed up by the delivery driver. After I ordered a couple parts, I had the damaged parts replaced and the engine on the stand ready to be built up.

    With the engine sorted out we called our friends over at TCI Auto and had them build us one of their "Street Rodder" TH350 Automatic Transmissions with a "Street Rodder" Torque Converter. Again these items arrived extremely quick and I was surprised how well it all was packed! This drivetrain combo should be extremely streetable with the room for improvement if I get bored with it. I plan to use the truck for a cruiser and do some light towing with it, so I should be more than ok with this combo.

    In the near future I want to mount the TCI transmission to the "mockup" foam block and get my old firewall and floor cut out. From there I can fabricate new rust-free panels to replace them. Once we get the cab solid we can move on to media blasting the inside of the front sheet metal and treating and sealing it. Then I can turn my attention back to the bed. I want to have Pile House moving under it's own power for the Eastwood Summer Classic this July, so I have a lot of work to do. Expect regular updates again here soon! Thanks to all that have been following along or given suggestions, we appreciate it!

    -Matt/EW

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  • What’s the next car on your restoration project list?

    You’re ready for your next resto project. What car would you like to be working on?

    Ask yourself the following 5 questions, and then see more details at About.com...

    (1) What are the top five cars you'd like to own?

    Go ahead and write down your top 5 dream cars, but understand that there are other considerations that might temper that dream as you consider initial cost, availability of parts, and the difficulty level of the particular car. You don't want your dream car turning into a nightmare restoration.

    (2) What do you plan to do with your restored car?

    Restoring it for investment purposes? You'll retain more of the car's value if you use the car’s original parts, not parts from similar makes and models. But if you’re looking for a daily driver, choose a solid car that has little rust, a straight and accident-free body, and decent bright work to save yourself time and money.

    (3) How much of the restoration can you do yourself?

    If you're reading this blog, I have a feeling you're pretty confident in your restoration prowess! However, even the weekend enthusiast can sometimes be intimidated with the mechanics found in vehicles from the ’60s and ’70s. First timers may want to look at the more straightforward ’40s and ’50s engines and electronics.

    (4) How much money is in your budget?

    Only 30% of restoration projects get back out on the road, mostly due to the lack of funds for completion. It's a rare occasion when you can find a restoration project that costs less than expected, even when you generously pad the budget for unexpected repairs or part replacements.

    (5) Where will you work on the car?

    Once you start taking the project car apart, you'll find that it takes up much more room than your main ride did. If space is limited, consider a smaller car like an MG, BMW Isetta or VW Bug.

    (6) Why do you want to restore a car?

    Restoring an older automobile to get it back to its former glory and on the road again, is truly a labor of love and can be great fun. You need to remind yourself of this every time you come up against a nut that won’t budge or find that apart needs to be fabricated.

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  • Presidential "Daily Drivers"

    John F. Kennedy's 1961 Ford Thunderbird was even in his inaugural parade.

    When U.S. presidents are in office, they’re driven around in a limousine built to be as protective as a tank. Maybe more so. The current model of the president's super-high-tech limo is nicknamed "The Beast", and for good reason: it's heavily armored, with 8"-thick doors, has an advanced fire-fighting system, night-vision cameras, Kevlar-reinforced run-flat tires...you get the idea.

    But before they became president, or after they've left office, they drive around in their personal cars. Harry Truman had a 1946 Ford Super DeLuxe Tudor Sedan, and Dwight Eisenhower had a 1956 Chrysler Imperial. Lyndon Johnson had an early "hybrid": the Amphicar was part car and part boat! Ronald Reagan drove a 1954 U.S. Army Jeep, and Bill Clinton cruised in his 1967 Mustang Convertible. Not surprising.

    And in case you're wondering, Barack Obama previously owned a Chrysler 300C that he traded-in for a Ford Escape Hybrid Crossover SUV, and Mitt Romney has a 2005 Ford Mustang Convertible, among others.

    If you'd like to read about these and other presidential cars, and to see more pictures, please see the whole story on netcars.com by clicking here.

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  • Texan Buys Classic Car Once Owned By Classic Slugger Babe Ruth

    Lonnie Shelton and his (and the Babe's) ’48 Lincoln. (Photo courtesy AP.)

    This regal blue 1948 Lincoln Continental two-door hardtop coupe is not a restoration project. It's been kept in pristine shape all these years, and was recently sold to car collector Lonnie Shelton (no, not the ex-NBA player). But it's not just any 1948 Lincoln.

    "The first time I saw the car," Shelton said, "I fell in love with it. There are several 1948 Lincoln Continentals out there, but none like this one." That's because this one was owned by baseball Hall of Famer Babe Ruth before his death on August 16, 1948.

    Earlier that year, Ford Motor Co. presented Ruth with a new Lincoln Continental as a measure of its appreciation for his tireless devotion to Little Leaguers and baseball. Before he died of cancer, Ruth spent many of his final days traveling across the country in this Lincoln, giving speeches and hitting lessons to kids.

    The car is in perfect shape, with original interior and car color — "I call it Yankee blue," Shelton said. The speedometer reaches 110 miles per hour. The radio works and takes about 15 minutes to warm up the glass tubes used in that era. The doors and windows work by hydraulics. The steering wheel is huge by today's standards. The license plates are black and feature the orange words: THE BABE.

    "To know somebody had enough foresight since 1948 to keep that car in that kind of shape is amazing," Shelton said. "I respect that. And I can tell you that car will be maintained and kept in better shape than it ever has. I love old cars."

    Shelton said he plans to use the car to help raise money for charities.

    For more pictures and rest of the story, please click here.

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  • How to build a Custom Motorcycle Seat

    The custom motorcycle hobby is HUGE, it isn't just Harley Davidsons that are being modified these days. Enthusiasts are building custom motorcycles out of anything they can get their hands on. One thing that everyone seems to have an opinion on is what their seat should look AND feel like. Some are ok with buying a seat out of a catalog, slapping it on and calling it a day, but if you're anything like me, the satisfaction comes from the process of building something custom myself.

    I recently shared the story about my adventure to get myself my first motorcycle project; a 1952 DKW RT125 and hinted at my plans for the bike. The other week I finally got some time between my other projects to do something about the "beach cruiser" seat on the DKW. After staring at the bike for a while, I decided that the seat that came on the bike was far too large for the bike and sat too high. I think the German designers may have had a rider in mind that had one-too-many servings of schnitzel and needed an extra large seat to hold them. Aesthetically speaking I think it really looked out of place. I plan to keep the majority of my modifications on the bike reversible, so I opted to remove the stock seat and make my own from scratch (using Eastwood Tools of course!). I liked the general shape of the stock seat, but not the size, so I decided to use the original seat as a pattern when making the seat frame up.

    I know some take a piece of sheet metal and bend it over their knee, drill some holes, attach some springs, and call it day when they make seat pans, but I wanted something a little more like the original. The old seat used round steel bar stock and some small diameter tubing to make up the frame. I started by stripping off the rubber seat cover and taking some measurements. I decided that the seat mainly needed some width taken out of the rear portion to make it the same width as the tank to look more proportional. I drew up a pattern for the seat pan and began the project.

    I used some 1/8" round bar to make the frame of the seat. I first tried to make the entire frame out of one piece, but it was extremely difficult to get the bends to all line up the same. So instead I opted to make each bend separate and TIG weld them all together to make the frame. I started by making the front "nose" of the seat first. I decided to use the bar grooves in the Eastwood Slip Roll to make the bends I needed for the seat frame.

    After a few passes through the slip roll I had my first piece matching the nose of the original seat. I repeated that process as I started working my way back on the seat. I like to bend with a piece of bar stock that's longer than what I need so I can cut the excess off to make the bends land in the same spot. As I made my pieces I laid them out on the pattern to make sure I was keeping the correct shape.

    Once I got all of the pieces made up to form the frame I taped them in place. I then worked around the frame and fusion welded each joint together with the Eastwood TIG 200. Once I had the frame welded into the shape I needed, I found I needed to put a slight curve into the center of the seat to get the overall curve shape I wanted. I ended up using a torch to heat the center and bend it a little to get the gentle curve needed.

    Next I cut out the pan for the seat using my manilla folder as a pattern. I purposely cut the 18 gauge metal a little larger than the pattern so I had some room for error. I then centered the pan over the frame and clamped it in place using a set of Eastwood Mini Weld Clamps. Once the pan was clamped I used the TIG 200 to lay a number of small welds to connect the frame and pan together.

    With the pan welded to the seat frame it finally started to look like what I had envisioned. I removed the excess metal off of the seat pan so that it was flush with the frame with a flap disc and an angle grinder. I then welded mounting tabs with studs on the bottom of the seat and attached the seat to the original seat bracket. With the seat mounted up, I decided to move the seat back. I used the front hole on the seat bracket and mated it to the rear hole in the frame. I then dropped the back of the seat bracket down to get the seat position a little lower. After mounting it all up I have made a custom seat that sits lower and looks more proportional without modifying the bike in a way that it would be difficult to return it back to stock.

    With the seat mounted up I checked my seating position and it feels a lot less like a bicycle and more like a motorcycle. I definitely will need to make a bobbed rear fender that will keep my rear end from getting caught in the tire, so that's one of the next projects. I plan to make a new set of bars with the help of the Eastwood Tubing Bender next. The new seat and the bars I plan to build should get the riding position more how I want. Slowly this old bike is taking shape. Watch this space for future updates.

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