A few months ago I was summoned off my 1947 Plymouth sanding project and into the front drive. My awesome husband found and obtained an early Birthday gift for me! As I brushed off and mosied out if the garage I saw a beauty on a trailer; a COMPLETE 1940 Plymouth Sedan!!!!!! 4-doors, suicide doors, engine, tranny, interior, chrome, housings, bumpers. The car was a single owner and garage stored. Would have been all cherry but 20 or so years ago the garage was broken into and the car was vandalized. All the glass broken and some spray paint on the fender. After that the weather got into things so all the fabric is deteriorated. We have started the resoration with clean up. All forward from here! I will post more pictures.
It's taken a long while but we got her put together this spring. Her name is Bettie. She ran so well that we chose to take her to the Hot Rod Dirt Drags in Monte Vista, Colorado. Won 1-3 against a big black merc. Blew up a second flex plate and found out the steering column needs a new bearing. Even with that she drove there and back home without a complaint! Woot!
My 1948 Plymouth convertible was finished just enough today for a test drive. We checked the fluids and temporarily wired the radiator into place so it wouldn't hit the fan then hit the road. Drove about 5 miles. The engine runs strong! The tranny shifts smooth! Success!
Well my convertible is sitting on the side lines for a bit. A new addition has been added to our driveway. ITS A GIRL! 1960 Ford Thunderbird.
When my husband was young the carcass of a car arrived at his family home. Over the next few years he played in it with his older sister, kid stuff. Later his Dad started rebuilding the car and he was part of it. The car was finished after a few years and the family drove it. When my husband was 16 the car was sold, for unknown reasons to him at the time, teenage stuff. The sale broke his heart and he was angry. In 2002 he decided to start searching for the car. Unfortunately, with no success but has been searching ever since. One week ago today he received a call that there was a possible sighting of this beloved car in Durango! Thinking nothing of it he decided to go check it out anyway. Upon arrival he saw the car and still wasn't certain. He called me to come help check it out. The confirmation on the identity of this car was laying in the locked trunk, he said. We found he keys and unlocked the trunk. When the lid was lifted and I was sure my husband was going to his knees. To our surprise, there was an outline of a Thunderbird emblem made by his dad out of thumbtacks so many years ago. After over a decade of searching the 1960 Ford Thunderbird is back in the family, forever.
There is a lot more to the story but I don't want to bore anyone. Please ask questions if you have any ;-)
This is my attempt on a run down of the work done so far on the interior.
1. The seats were reupholstered from a maroon-color vinyl to a black/grey leather-like vinyl. The back seat was out of a 1980 something blazer. Perfect fit and with new fabric looks perfect! Also notice the maroon carpet trim. I used VHT black plastic/vinyl spray paint. Saved the expense of resewing the trim :-D
2. If I would have been on top of my game I would have taken before pictures of the gauges. They were Dakota digital and green. Not a good combo for a convertible. The sun is most always on top or behind you, so it was always a guess as to how fast I was driving. I chose Autometer gauges and an aluminum dash insert. The dash was disassembled and removed. My husband and I debated on painting it with an automotive glossy black. A few months later we decided powder coating was far more durable and not too expensive. The local company we use gently sandblasted the dash, glovebox and windshield frame then powder coated. They look great and will not scratch as easily as paint!
3. The steering wheel was a task. I originally chose a Grant three-spoke wheel that the company rep said would work with my steering column (1970 Imperial with tilt and telescoping). SHE was incorrect. In my 13+ years dealing with the automotive industry I have learned that just because a girl can answer the phone or stand at the parts counter does not mean she knows her **** (pardon the language). So, the grant kit does not accommodate telescoping steering and there is no way to "rig" it to work. The husband did some research and found the Lecarra company. They made an adapter kit for my steering column and carried lovely steering wheels. I chose one that looked more retro and decided not to paint in because I'm going for a more "ratrod" look.
4. My biggest achievement was the driver's side door trim. There was not one on the door and none to be found anywhere. I contacted a few local metal workers until I found one that had experience in fabricating parts on older cars. Luckily, the passenger door had the trim and the guy said he could make one to fit the driver's side. $200 later I have NEW door trim that looks original and fits. Hazah!
Stay tuned for my next update on the exterior (we put in the engine/tranny today!)
First off, I wish I would have started this when we started on the car (how many folks have said that?!! hahaha). I am a young lady with some experience with cars. Never have I redone an older car. When my father-in-law said he wanted to give us a 1948 Plymouth Convertible that he redid in the 1980's we jumped on it. Luckily my husband is an extremely knowledgeable hobby mechanic and we have a garage full of professional tools. The car was not in perfect shape when we got it, but not rough either. Primer purple with fairly decent interior and a canary yellow engine bay. We started in February 2013 and knew the first task was to start disassembling and pull out the transmission (needed to be rebuilt). Oh, I forgot to mention it has a Mopar 360 with a 727 Torque Flight. After the engine and tranny were pulled the cleaning began. The 360 was so clean you could eat off it and received a few coats of Grabber Green to suit the car's new color scheme. Next we tried to decide about attempting a home-garage tranny rebuild. No decision was made so the trans was set on aside. I started body work on the firewall after the husband welded a few holes (neither of us have done any body work before). It turned out beautiful for an amateur job! So, I continued with the rear fenders. In between body work we had the front and back seats reupholstered and ripped out the dash to paint/rewire. Poor car had it's heart ripped out and interior stripped! Blah, blah, blah. We did a bunch of stuff and sent the tranny off to get rebuilt at very reputable local shop. 6 weeks later it came back. Now it's sitting the back of our truck waiting to be stabbed back in (hopefully this weekend **fingers crossed**). Sorry for the lack of details. I'm not much of a gabber or blogger. Please ask questions if you have any. I will do my best to answer them promptly. I am excited about this awesome car! :-)