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Mark D

Look what I found!

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Some of you are connected to me on Facebook, and have seen the pictures, but the back story I want to share here might be of interest.  Last week I followed a lead that took me to a house about 19 miles northwest of me where I found another P15c Plymouth patiently waiting for resurrection.  The car, a nice example of loving care over its 70 years of existence, is now in my garage and has become the second in my permanent collection. In the past 6 months I've bought two other P15's but that I was tempted to keep, but they've since taken a boat trip to Holland where my business partner will find decent homes for them.

The newest acquisition is a convertible.  I've yet to have the documentation pulled from the archive, but the car is believed to have been sold in Massachusetts originally.  I am very anxious to see which dealer and to be able to see if the building still exists.  The original owner was from Lexington Massachusetts, as shown on one of the 30 or so registration cards that came in the glove box.  He was a Doctor of Physics and worked at a small institution known as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Lincoln Labs.  Some may recognize the name of this establishment as being home of a small project code named "Manhattan".  While unconfirmed as of yet, there is an endowment left in the owners name and I have written to enquire if this learned individual was indeed connected to Atomic research going on at the time. 

This gentlemen kept the car for many years, and I suspect the last year of ownership was 1964 which is documented in a Midas Muffler lifetime warrantee also delivered with the car.  The glove box was filled with maps of the eastern seaboard and a list of antique shops in each state.  Researching his name I found that this man and his wife amassed one of the countries largest collections of Shaker furniture, a portion of which was sold after his death and another portion donated to the Smithsonian in DC.  Further research has shown me that the man died at the ripe age of 94, leaving a sizeable chunk of money to create an endowment that reports assets over $1mil today.

The second owner of the car is another local gentlemen who owned the car from 1964/5 up until 2001.  This gentleman is still alive and well and living in Concord Massachusetts.  He started a small business in the 1960's that has now grown into one of New England's largest Asphalt paving contractors and does a lot of private and highway paving work in the region.  This man was the last to drive the car up until this past weekend.  The car was last on the road (legally) in 1980.

In the trunk of the car were many treasures, one of which I was told should always stay in the car.  Under a small blanket were a dozen small flat stones about 2" in diameter.  The second owner stated he and his wife collected these stones on their first date in Wells Beach Maine.  Coincidently my family has owned a home in Wells Beach since 1919, which makes the tie to this car and the story a little sweeter.

Amazingly enough the car has never been titled as they were not required or needed during the use of the car with its first two owners.  I will likely title the car due to its value and estate reasons, and will become the first titled owner. The fella I bought the car from almost backed out of the deal, having owned the car since 2001, he had ideas of restoring it, but I am glad he left it alone.

Among other items in the car were three spare hubcaps, a set of spare leaf spring shackles new in their NOS boxes, an original cloth bag for the bumper jack equipment, a wooden hand screwdriver which I believe may have been Plymouth OE, five brand new pairs of windshield wipers, a dozen spare vacuum radio tubes, and a couple boxes of spare fuses.

A few sentences about the condition of the car as found, what I've done in the past week, and what I plan to do;

General condition;

- The car has not run since 1980 after the keys were lost, but the motor turned by hand so I knew there had to be some life in it. 

- The motor has a reman tag on it, a sticker on the firewall and yellow grease pencil writing on the firewall indicating it was replaced at 99,257 miles.  The car now has 27,175 miles, so relatively new considering.  Inspection thru the #6 cylinder port has proven the motor is a 230. (big smiles on my face when I learned that).

- The body has two small issues to correct, but I likely won't touch them for several years as the patina is very appealing to me.  One area on the front edge of the passenger door, and another paint separation issue surrounding the rear stop light on the trunk.  The rest of the car is undercoated (rather thickly too) as well as under the hood.

- Braking is terrible at the moment despite replacing the right front lower cylinder to make it yard drivable. Brake fluid is orange proving that what ever is in the tubes is long overdue for replacement.

- The interior is trimmed rather smartly in

- The top is original to the car and has a HUGE hole in it above the front seat.  Mechanism goes up and down by hand easily.  Vacuum cylinders are as of yet undiagnosed.

- The car came with a factory supplied boot cover that is in decent shape. I will attempt to use this for the moment and in the future have a new one sewn up from its pattern.

- The car also came with a rather unique and suspected non-oem option: Full Custom Tonneau Cockpit Cover.  At first I said to myself what a shame, then I saw it on the car and fell in love with it.

Getting her running;

- Drained the 37 year old gas, boy does that stink... now to find a place to get rid of 10 gallons of it.

- Replaced a very worn fan belt.

- Swapped out the ignition switch for an OEM that I had in my stash.

- Swapped out plugs, cables, coil.

- Replaced both battery leads with heavy gauge OE style. 

- Added some MMO to each cylinder, placed the car in gear and rolled her back and forth a few times.

- Installed a new 6V battery.

- Disconnected the gas line to the carb and hand fed her some gasoline whereupon after several minutes of cranking she jumped to life. (and shot out an dust pan full of mouse crap, acorns and dirt from the muffler all over the garage floor.)  She ran fine for an hour then died rather abruptly, whereupon several hours of playing whack-a-mole with intermittent doses of ATF has resulted in some less-sticky valves. Latest suggestion was to run some lead additive and to pull the gas tank and clean it.

Plans to get her roadworthy;

- Remove the gas tank, and thoroughly clean it.  Looking for suggestions as to what might be best to use to clean the inside of the tank, noting that it has been wet with gas so residue is assumed to be fairly motile.

- New brake cylinders, new brake lines, new MC, new brake switch, all four corners and in between.  Curious as to whether or not I will need the miller brake tool (or reasonable facsimile) since I will be using the shoes/pads that are on the car as they are nearly in new condition. Any opinions here?

- New top on order from Bill Hirsch to match the original factory colors; Black on tan, (my irish blood appreciates this a lot).  Local trimmer has been selected and reports having done two 40's mopars in recent months.  (they are on my hit list for names and addresses...)

- Fluid changes - ALL of them, including oil, coolant, gear box, and rear end.

During the winter months;

- Interior betterments.  Haven't decided if I want to rescue the interior or go new.  I am partial to the patina, but if the cost would be too much to repair it may make sense to spend some dough on new correct color leather.  The leather is in decent shape with no holes, but the cotton stitching has disintegrated on the front seat.

- Passenger side vent wing window has a broken pivot point and the threaded post that attaches it to the doors A-pillar is sheared off.  Both will need to be repaired.  Glass will need to be removed from the frame before it can be corrected.  Working on glass will be a first for me, and with such a rare part, I will have to work myself up to the challenge.

- Overdrive swap.  Later this year I will haul the sedan down to our house in North Carolina and park for a few years storage until we begin to full time in the winters down there.  Before she goes down I will likely pull the OD and replace shelve it for installation in the convertible. 

And before I end this, a few notes of thanks for guidance in recent days;

- Robin Weathersbee for his enthusiastic support and un-ending archives.

- Greg G for giving me his phone number 7 or 8 years ago and allowing me to ask random questions in the middle of any given day or evening.

- Young Ed is always there with his matter of fact

- Bob Toft for sending me a dozen emails and a bunch of pictures of his car which convinced me to open the safe.

I'll be a pest to all you for a while - bear with me.

- lastly to my wife, to whom endured the "surprise look what I bought!" without sending a waffle iron flying in the air towards my head. And to her credit has instructed me to hurry up and get it done summer is here! AND said why would you consider selling Ruby?!  AND doesn't understand why a 70 year old car is so special but allows me to spend every waking non-wage earning hour with it.

 

 

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Congratulations (again) on a great find, Mark, and thank you for your kind words.
I'm looking forward to regular news updates.
Good luck with everything.
Robin

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Mark D,

First let me say that my jealousy knows no bounds at your recent addition. Next let me say a big congrats on it. Glad to see you have the time and funds to do a proper restoration. As far as your gas tank goes, I bought one from Andy B. It had a bit of rust in the bottom I used about a 2 foot length of chain and swirled it around the bottom of the tank to remove the rust. If it is just light crud in the tank you might try some sand and a little water and sluice it around to remove the crud. then a good flushing with the old gas, then a light flush with some new gas.

Joe

Edited by soth122003
misspellings

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As far as the sticky valves, my dad and I battled that on our 48 Desoto. The car had been sitting since the late 70's and the gas was varnished. We drained what we could (not enough apparently) and put 10 gallons of fresh gas in. It would run fine until you shut it off, then the valves would stick open. It took a few "freeing up" sessions along with letting it run for a couple hours before it cleaned itself out. Good luck, and have fun!

Great find and story by the way!!!! 

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Here's the first of many follow up posts I will make on this thread, and the first is something I cannot identify. Attached to this blinker relay is what? Found also in the glove box.

IMG_4544.PNG

Edited by Mark D

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4 minutes ago, Mark D said:

Here's the first of many follow up posts I will make on this thread, and the first is something I cannot identify. Attached to this blinker relay is what? Found also in the glove box.

IMG_4544.PNG

It's a flasher relay on the bottom, but I believe the item on the top was to make it click louder so you would hear it clicking. 

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Hey Mark,

Great score! You now have two great P15's to drive and enjoy. Top down on a summer day cruise = not much better than that. Have a great time.

John R

 

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Congrads on such a great find, with such a great story behind it. You never forget such experiences and I think your wife knows this. Enjoy! lookin forward to more posts on this.

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3 hours ago, Mark D said:

- New brake cylinders, new brake lines, new MC, new brake switch, all four corners and in between.  Curious as to whether or not I will need the miller brake tool (or reasonable facsimile) since I will be using the shoes/pads that are on the car as they are nearly in new condition. Any opinions here?

White vinegar. You will need to find something to coat the inside of the tank once you dump the vinegar and flush the tank,though. If it were me,I'd contact people like Bill Hirsch and the POR-15 people to see what they recommend to coat a tank that will be getting filled with ethanol.

3 hours ago, Mark D said:

 

"- Fluid changes - ALL of them, including oil, coolant, gear box, and rear end."

Change and replace the gas lines and the brake lines both with the new copper/nickel brake lines,and replace all the rubber fuel and brake lines while you are at it. Make sure any rubber gas lines or fuel filters you use are compatible with ethanol.

 

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Red Kote is good for coating the inside of rusty gas tanks. It is made for that purpose. There are threads on here to help with cleaning the tank out before using the Red Kote.

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15 hours ago, Young Ed said:

Congrats again! Hope you leave that body as is! 

Other than a general cleaning and some mechanical surety's (and a new top) she will stay as-is.  I am in love with the honest patina on this car.  Hoping the auto trim shop that is going to install my top can re-sew the leather back together for smaller dollars than a new interior.  I may try to find an old industrial machine and give it a go myself.

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15 hours ago, knuckleharley said:

Change and replace the gas lines and the brake lines both with the new copper/nickel brake lines,and replace all the rubber fuel and brake lines while you are at it. Make sure any rubber gas lines or fuel filters you use are compatible with ethanol.

Good call on the gas line, hadn't thought of that but will add that to the weekends preparedness list.

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18 hours ago, 52b3b Joe said:

As far as the sticky valves, my dad and I battled that on our 48 Desoto. The car had been sitting since the late 70's and the gas was varnished. We drained what we could (not enough apparently) and put 10 gallons of fresh gas in. It would run fine until you shut it off, then the valves would stick open. It took a few "freeing up" sessions along with letting it run for a couple hours before it cleaned itself out. Good luck, and have fun!

Great find and story by the way!!!! 

Went to the shop last night and checked my work from the previous evening.  Bumped the starter, pulled the plugs and found everything was still loose and working as they should. Started the car briefly, shut it down and then added some more ATF for the night.  Will let that sit until Friday morning when I can get back up to the garage to let her warm up to operating temp again and run her off a clean can of leaded gas.

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Great find,Mark - looking forward to seeing you on the road in it and  here's another vote for keeping it's appearance as much 'as is' as possible!

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1 hour ago, RNR1957NYer said:

Great find,Mark - looking forward to seeing you on the road in it and  here's another vote for keeping it's appearance as much 'as is' as possible!

Hey Rich!  It'll stay as original as possible, including some, but not all of the sand and road grime collected over the years.  Had a great call with a top installer in Marlborough Mass, two towns over from me, and he will be installing the top as soon as it arrives from Bill Hirsch.

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Just now, greg g said:

So are you planning to drive Ruby to NC???

Ruby will get to NC in December, not sure if I will drive her and fly home or trailer her and drive home. About the same cost either way. You up for a p15 adventure in December?

 

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4 minutes ago, greg g said:

Just a reminder son,  don't leave the keys in it!!!!

evidently I am only allowed to like ten comments per day so I cant like yours at the moment.

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2 minutes ago, greg g said:

P15 adventure say the word, do it the old way on 301 and 17.

LIKED... you are enlisted.

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7 minutes ago, Mark D said:

evidently I am only allowed to like ten comments per day so I cant like yours at the moment.

Be thou less covitous than I!  Well, I keep about 7 a day, I figure that should do me good.

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35 minutes ago, greg g said:

Just a reminder son,  don't leave the keys in it!!!!

and learn from Greg don't share your phone #.....

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Continuing the story of my convertibles first owner, today I hit the jackpot.  Quite the character with many remarkable achievements.

http://www.willishenry.com/Shaker McC 1/will&karel.htm

http://spectrum.ieee.org/geek-life/profiles/spectrum-magazine-meet-controversy 

Though J.J.G. McCue was an engineer, he instinctively grasped something that all journalists know and that the writer Albert Camus expressed most concisely. “A free press can of course be good or bad,” he said in 1955. “But, most certainly without freedom it will never be anything but bad.”

 

J.J.G.McCue.jpg

J.J. Gerald McCue grew up in West Orange, NJ and graduated high school at age 16. Shortly after, he was employed by Bell Labs in Greenwich Village working as a technical assistant in vacuum tube development. 

Aftre two years at Bell Labs, McCue enrolled at Harvard and graduated cum laude with a degree in Physics in 1936. He received his Ph.D. from Cornell in 1940 and began teaching at Hamilton College, where he remained for four years. After this time, he was employed by the MIT Rad Lab.

In 1945, McCue became an Associate Professor of Physics at Smith College and joined the MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory in 1949.

Edited by Mark D

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