Getting closer…

Seems like progress keeps slowing, but I’m almost done

  • Wired tail-lights (its really hot in a trunk that doesn’t open)
  • Installed front flashers and headlights, some final wiring left
  • Attached front tilt bonnet (hood)

Continuing to eliminate the old bullet connectors, I “upgraded” the flasher sockets:

Here’s a few pics of the front tilt and bonnet:

It Runs!

Over the holiday I got a lot done. Somehow it is never as much as planned.

  • Added all fluids
  • Wired alternator, coil, distributor, and battery
  • Installed and adjusted the carbs – twice
  • Put all the wheels on and set the alignment based on measurements before disassembly
  • Installed exhaust

Before I installed the engine, I manually set the timing.  When filling the crankcase, I poured some oil directly into oil pump outlet (removed the banjo bolt) to help prime the oil pump.  I ran the starter with the plugs out to confirm oil pressure. Then I put the plugs in, started the fuel pump, and pulled the starter.  It started on the 1st pull!

Then it wouldn’t turn off.  The warning light wire for the alternator was supplying enough current  to keep the ignition relay energized.  I added a diode in line with the alternator warning light to fix that.

I was very happy to see the fuel gauge and my custom tach work.  I converted from the original mechanical tach to a Smiths RVC tach from a 6 cylinder car.  The RVC tach was small and had to be re-calibrated for a 4 cylinder car.  I put its guts in the old bugeye tach housing and used the bugeye face and needle. I did all that 4-5 years ago, I’m glad it worked today!

Today I adjusted and balanced the carbs.  The old engine runs good.  I’m looking forward  to getting it on the road


Engine is in!

Last night I worked late and got the gas tank, fuel line, fuel pump, and engine/tranny installed.  I wanted to install the engine completely assembled.  This requires a steep angle to clear the radiator posts.  It all went pretty smooth except for the driver’s side motor mount.  Tight clearance with the timing chain cover required that the lower  nut be put on 1st.  Also had to remove the alternator bracket to tighten the passenger side motor mount.

Last weekend I fully assembled the motor and tranny including setting the timing to about 10 degrees.  Hopefully this will prevent a “reality show moment” of the distributor being installed 180 degrees out.

Prepping to install engine

Getting ready to put the engine in.  Got a new battery, Costco by far has the best deal.  $75 with a 3-year non-prorated warranty.

Today I made an engine lift bracket out of a piece of 2″ angle-iron.  I was pretty happy that I drilled two 7/16″ holes exactly 9″ apart and it fit perfectly.

I also made a new timing pointer and timing mark that are visible from the top.  Pointer is made from a piece of clothes-hanger wire painted white.

A few pics below:

Prince of Dimness

Hooking up all the lights is the next step. I was cleaning the tail lights and checking which connector was the parking light or brake light. I got inconsistent impedance with the ohm meter and inconsistent brightness. I started cleaning the connectors and realized the contacts are each 2 pieces and rivited together. My first inclination was to take them apart, clean everything up and reassemble with screws. This would be hard to do in the limited space and deal with the insulation between layers.

My next idea was to upgrade the sockets to use modern flat light bulbs. I couldn’t find any sockets that are small enough to easily fit in their same space.

Replacing with new ones from Moss would have the same poor design.

Sometimes the best ideas are the simplest. I drilled out the rivets and replaced the entire socket with a new generic socket held in place by a metal hose clamp. The number of failure points is signicantly reduced. Pic below for reference. This is a cheap and easy way to upgrade your old corroded light sockets.



When I was recovering from a broken leg a few years ago I had refurbished the dash and gauges and made a fuse/relay panel.  Over Father’s Day weekend my son Jack and I tested everything and installed the dash and fuse panel in the car.  I pulled all the wires to the back of the car (parking lights, brake lights, flashers, fuel gauge, fuel pump) before installing the interior.

More brake work…

Last weekend while replacing the rear cylinders, I realized that all the brake shoes were not matched sets.  I ordered new ones and replaced them all.



Blead brakes

This weekend I finished installing all the plumbing including attaching the lines to the firewall  and floor pan.  With the tube shock conversion, I had re-route the flex lines on the front.  I used my home-made pressure bleeder made from a garden sprayer and a spare master cylinder cap.  This makes it a one-man job.

Of course during this I found a leaky slave cylinder on the rear axle that I referbished 5 years ago.  Fortunately, I had some new spares and replaced both of the rear cylinders. Now I’m out of brake fluid and also decided to put new shoes on the rear brakes as well.

I get to be covered in brake fluid next weekend too!

Tube shock conversion

The old Armstrong lever shocks we all bad.  Rather that replace or refurbish, I decided to convert to traditional tube shocks.  There are some commercial solutions available, I chose to make my own.  The basic design was inspired by Nail McCabe ( from  Mine is not exactly the same as his, I used 3/8” aluminum, 3/4”x 1” steel bar and 1/8” thick 2.5” square steel tube to make the parts.  It looks simple, especially with Nial’s measurements, but it takes some time to cut, grind, drill, and tap all the parts.  I had good intentions to round all the corners and make everything pretty, after getting it all installed and fitted I decided it was good enough. For the rear shocks I used the upper limit strap location and an extension on the factory shock mount,  Some pics below, I will post more later.

Reassembly Started

Finally got to start reassembly over the last couple weeks.  Since the bonnet is converted to front tilt, I made a firewall out of 1/4” aluminum to clean up the appearance.

  • Installed front and rear suspension
  • Installed brakes and master cylinder
  • Made an aluminum firewall to hide all the unused holes and hinge mounts