Up and Running!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Oh yeah, I am thrilled to have Phiona up and running again!

Over the past few weeks, I've had a setback having come down with a cold just before Christmas. So that curtailed much effort on finishing up my work on Phiona. 

I'd hoped to have the car done by Christmas, then New Years, but those targets were not realistic due to how I was feeling, But I did get the turn signals re-mounted, and disassembled the dome light and a few other smaller projects. Before Christmas I had help from Kent, Tom Bodmer and Tom Rime, mostly with installing window channels and windows. Having made a mistake with the rear door window channels, I had to re-order the channels so that I could form them properly to the window glass. That project was completed today with John Egert's assistance. I also had some complicated window corner wood parts made by Morrie Shaw.

Most of the really difficult work was completed with Steve Moore's help. That help was with re-wiring the dome light, heater motor and dash lights, then installing the dashboard and the gauges and switches.

With the gauges in place, we filled up the radiator with water/antifreeze, added fuel to the tank, and, using an old ammo box as a seat, I got in and cranked over the engine after 13 months of hibernation. With Steve spraying starter fluid into the carb, it took about 10 seconds or so for the fuel to be pumped to the carb, whereupon Phiona roared to life again. It was sweet to hear that old straight 8 purring. I was thrilled to have reached that milestone!

While the engine started up and ran well, a check of the electrical systems was of mixed success. The heater motor, while operating very well on the bench, will not turn on. Likewise, the headlights are not working, the taillights are very, very dim, and the dashboard lights are not lighting up. We figure there is a ground problem, which I hope Steve can help diagnose and resolve. But, on  the other hand, the radio works, the parking lights work, the dome light burns brightly, and the turn signals flash. 

Today, after John helped me finish up the rear door windows installation, I went up to the body shop and asked about when I might get the car in to touch up paint chips and scratches due to damages from installing the windows and other little mishaps. Mike told me he could take the car right then and would have the painter get on it to fix the problems areas and also have the pinstripe added. They will also do a final buff and polish. Being reluctant to drive the car without taillights, Mike suggested one of his guys go with me to get Phiona and then follow me back to the shop. Since he says he could get right on it, we drove back to get the car and then I drove Phiona the two miles down to the shop. It was weird sitting on an ammo box, no interior, mirrors or other comforts driving down Cave Creek Road. But it also felt a bit exhilarating to be behind the wheel again and actually driving her. Mike says he can turn the car around in a few days.  I hope to get the car back by Thursday (we'll see how that goes, won't we?).

From the body shop I went to see Chavel at Aatco Upholstery to talk about finishing the interior. He will need about 4 or 5 days and will wait until I get the car again from the body shop at which time we'll discuss a time when I can leave the car with him.

So, now I have a new target date for completion - January 20, my 65th birthday. If we don't make it, that's ok too. I'm not going to get stressed out on target dates. Over the past couple of months I accepted that this is a "project" and putting too many goals or target dates on it was imposing unneeded stress on myself. So, I've been content to do what I can, when I can and with the guys who've helped get the work done as best we can. 

Everyone who has helped me has shared learning experiences as we try to figure out how to put the car back together again. I've certainly gotten to know my car intimately, right down to her bare bones. Seeing the progress from outside in and now inside out has been more enjoyable than I would have imagined. However, I don't really want to take on a project like this again anytime soon.

Tom Bodmer helping with windows.


Rewired dome light.

Right rear quarter window


Me attaching switches to the dashboard.


Dash installed without gauge panel or glove box.

Steve showing gauge panel and two gauges reattached.

John holding window with newly formed window channel.


And here she is, The Lovely Phiona.

The gauge panel in the dashboard.


Newly installed dashboard with gauge panel and switches.

kdonald940@cox.net © Donald E. Kline 2012                                         Disqus Comments