Have a seat.

While work at the body shop seems to have come to a standstill, the upholsterer, AATCO Upholstery, has been able to get started on the Pontiac's seats. Since they are the only things available to work on until after the car is painted, they were happy to get started.

After removing the old seat coverings, it was found that the rear seat cushion needed to be rebuilt. At one time in Phiona's past when she must have sat for a couple of decades, a roof leak allowed water to penetrate the left rear corner down onto the rear seat. This then led the demise of that part of the seats, both back and bottom cushions. But the bottom cushion got rusted enough on that corner, that the springs needed to be rebuilt. Snyder's in Ohio were recommended, so Chavel, at Aatco, shipped off the old springs and in about 3 weeks, a newly rebuilt rear seat cushion was delivered back to his shop. 

Once that was in the shop, they proceeded with re-upholstering the front seat first. I have some before and after photos to show of the front seat. 

Before:                                                                                                                             After:

IMG_2544IMG_0653IMG_0691.JPG1934 Pontiac reupholstered front seat


And here are Chavel and Jose attaching the hardward to the back of the front seat: 

I brought the completed front seat home. 

Today I stopped by and saw that the back seat cushions were almost completed. Then I went to the body shop, with my tools and removed the dashboard. This took a considerable amount of time (more than I had hoped), but it required me to detached all the wiring from the gauges, mark them for easier reassembly, remove the gauges, speedometer, unhook the ignition/coil, the light switches and choke and throttle cables. Once all the wires were detached, removing the actual dashboard was relatively easy. The reason for removing the dash was so that I could ship it off to Undercover Upholstery and Paint, in St. Jacobs, IL where Crin Dima will re-do the woodgrain pattern on that and the window garnish pieces. After a phone call to him this afternoon, he confirmed he would only need 2 weeks to complete woodgraining on all 11 pieces. That should translate to a month being back in my hands.

But in the process of this project, I let time slip by and missed a movie date with Donovan for 1:30. He called at 1:15 to check my whereabouts - unfortunately for me I was still working on the dash removal. Darn, and I really want to see that movie,  "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel"...

However, I did get the dash out, got all the window garnish pieces together and took them all to my UPS store, where I had them pack and box them. They went out in today's shipments.

I did not get a chance to ask about Phiona at the body shop, but do hope they get back on it so that it coincides with the return of the woodgrained pieces, which would allow the upholsterer to resume work and finish the interior. 

As in the past several weeks, I am just going with the flow and trust all will be done in it's own time.


MAY 24, 2012

It looks like I may have transitioned to my new web host with relative ease. 

There is a new look, of course, which I hope you will like. It has taken me over a week to copy all my previous stories, which are now saved on my computer and on paper (more than a whole package of paper, plus a couple of ink cartridge refills in the process) but I did not transport all of them to this site due to the volume and time required to do so. However, I did copy the past 5 stories from my last site and have included them here. So far this seems to be working and has as much flexibility for me to create as I did with iWeb.

There are some changes to note. At the top of the page, above the photo, click on "BLOG" and a drop down menu shows the archive with the stories I've written. The most recent one will be at the top of the list. At the bottom of each page, one will see my email address as a hyperlink (in blue). Clicking on it will automatically open up mail and allow you to send me email, if you so desire. But you are invited to leave comments directly on this site, by clicking on the appropriate area and leave you messages.

I will be following up this entry with updates of Phiona's restoration. 

Here is a sneak preview of what's to come:


Reupholstering of Phiona's front seat



Apr 18, 2012


This past week, and this week have continued to produced some marked transformations in Phiona’s restoration.

After the soda blasting late last week, Phiona sat in the paint booth awaiting a coat of epoxy undercoat. As it was explained to me by Steve (the painter), the epoxy will prevent any rust from developing and is a necessary step prior to a base undercoat paint. 

They will now block sand the epoxy finish, which I see, helps to reveal some areas that need attention, such as scratches, little dents and other imperfections. Once those are smoothed out, the car will proceed to a base coat.

Late this afternoon I stopped by the shop and found work being done on the detached parts, ie, fenders, trunk, running boards, etc. I think, if the soda blaster had been instructed to hit on these pieces it would have been more efficient in removing the last remaining lacquer from the nooks and crannies.  But, it is what it is, and they are now having to use sanders and hand sanding to get those parts ready for their epoxy coatings.

I believe, the step after the epoxy is to reassemble the fenders, running boards, etc, on the car to assure proper fits. Then disassemble again and go to on the final painting. 

On the upholstery end of things, Chevell, came to the house on Tuesday afternoon, looked over the upholstery kit and the seats. We loaded up the seats in his truck along with the seat upholstery so that he could begin work on disassembling them, clean and repair the springs as needed, spray undercoating on the exposed springs and then begin the reupholstering of the seats. I plan to stop by his shop tomorrow, Thursday to see that work in progress. Chevell welcomes my involvement and encourages me to come see the work in progress. 

It always interests me to see how craftsmen or other people perform their work, like mechanics, painters, etc. I wouldn’t hope to necessarily pick up their skills, but just like to see how a person’s work proceeds and transforms into a finished project. It also teaches me some things that help me understand how work is done and educates me to be a more knowledgeable person, which, in turn, gives me some level of understanding and ability to carry on an intelligent conversation about types of work.

Also, I have been checking into places that will do the woodgraining on the dash and window garnish moldings. I’ve received a couple of estimates, that stunned me. Doug Seybold, in Westlake, OH is one who does original woodgrain effects on vintage cars. After a very pleasant conversation with him, I now can understand why the prices they like to charge may be valid. It is a lost art, first off, and a time consuming procedure. A person’s time is valuable, so a seemingly high price may be warranted if one expects to get perfection, which is what I feel Doug would produce. His turn around time is 6-8 weeks, so I can expect a mid summer completion of this restoration. That’s OK.

I also have a quote yet to come from a business in California and may investigate some local sources for air brushing a woodgrain pattern on these metal pieces. Of course, I’d prefer knowing it was as nearly authentic as designs of 1934, but am willing to see what air brushing might produce. Hopefully, that process will not be so high priced.

This week will see more dramatic progress as work continues at a quickening pace.

Here is a chronicle of Phiona’s transformation, from late December 2011 til today 4/18/12:







May 12, 2012


... have been flowing by, much like water flows in the above photo of the Scottsdale Waterfront “Canal Walk”.

Time marches on, they say, and it does.

Yesterday I spent a laid back day doing some local exploring.

With a doctor appointment in Scottsdale, I decided to take the bus from my place to there. For me the bus stops are very convenient, the beginning one is at the end of my street, down the hill. At the doctor’s office it is across the street from the building with his office. Since I got an early start and would otherwise reach the doc’s office more than a half hour early (and you KNOW, they are never on time, so an early arrival would be pointless), I exited the bus at Scottsdale Fashion Square Mall, about a mile from my destination. This allowed me an easy stroll down Scottsdale Road to the office, still ahead of my appointment time. As I passed over the canal at Scottsdale and Camelback Roads, I told myself to come back and investigate this place. 

After my doctor appointment, I walked down Scottsdale Road and had a late breakfast at the US Egg restaurant. I thought of boarding the bus at the stop across the street, but saw the bus was coming up the street already and that I would miss that one since I’d need to walk to the next cross walk, cross the street and then go back to the stop. Too much rushing though, since I was already in such a carefree mode. Ahh, what the heck, another bus will come by in 20 or 30 minutes, and I have nothing waiting for me at home that must be done, no other place to go, no commitments, so just enjoy the fine, sunny, warm day. 

I needed to get some Mucinex from the drugstore anyway, so, instead of worrying about the next bus, I wandered up the next block and made my purchase at the Walgreens store. Still in no particular hurry, and thinking about what I might do with the rest of my day, I considered a movie at Camelview theatre, but the timing was off by more than an hour for the nearest showtimes. Instead I wandered up Scottsdale Road again and then waited at one of the bus stops. While I waited there at noon time some people were going off from their offices and work to lunch somewhere. I just people watched for the remainder of the time at the stop and, after boarding the next bus, in just a few stops, I exited again and walked back to the canal to see what was there. 

There are some condos on either side of that stretch of canal with several busy restaurants on the lower levels, some “stacks” that are artfully placed (which reminded me of the Titanic’s smoke stacks), a bridge across the canal that resembled a fallen stack, some interpretive signs, artwork, cantilevered decks jutting out into the canal, another bridge with flower boxes along the rails, palm trees, yuccas, and other nicely landscaped plants along the meandering pathways on either side of the canal. A very pleasant and scenic stroll, with some history garnered from the signage along the paths. The Hokoham Indians built extensive irrigation canals from 940 - 1140 A.D. to water their crops. When the white men came they again revived and used the remnants of those ancient canals to water their farms and the vast stretches of citrus orchards that once flourished in this area. As time passed the canal systems were expanded, new ones constructed, old ones reinforced with concrete. 

Standing there by the canal, I watched the flow of water, the life giving source that keeps us all alive, and how this transformed the desert I call home into a productive, verdant paradise. As more vegetation was able to grow and thrive, so too were more and more people drawn to the Arizona desert allowing them to work, play, grow and flourish. 

As I watched the flow of water, I felt very content to just drift along at my own relaxed pace this fine day. No hurries, no worries. 

Soon enough, I did get back onboard another bus going up Scottsdale Road to Shea Blvd., where I would then board another bus that would actually let me off near my house. But instead of getting back on the Rt. 106 bus, I walked to the Shea 14 movie theatre and went in to see “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen”, a fine movie about a local sheik whose passion for fly fishing prompts him to bring salmon fishing to the Yemen desert and his efforts with several British experts who help him bring it to reality. There is, of course, a message here that transcends the conflicts of ideologies, cultures, nationalities and politics. 

The movie and my peaceful walk along the canal seemed to have completed a flowing water theme loop that I allowed myself to experience and enjoy this day.

Other than mystical water musings, the past couple of weeks have not been spent idling away the hours.

Last week my brother Elwood and sister-in-law, Linda arrived for a week’s visit. We did enjoy some good time together until last weekend when I left for a trip I organize to Kingman, AZ and the Rt. 66 Fun Run. 

Before I left on my trip, we enjoyed a ride on the Phoenix light rail from Christown Mall to the end of the line in Mesa, as I pointed out places of interest, landmarks, and some history.On the return ride, we disembarked in downtown Phoenix, where I pointed out some places of interest, toured the Wells Fargo Museum in their  downtown office building (very worthwhile), enjoyed a late afternoon ice cream treat, and continued the light rail train ride back to our starting point. After a later dinner at my favorite Mexican restaurant, Via de los Santos on N. Central, we completed our day with very full bellies. 

But, for me the highlight of this family visit was a trip to Luke Air Force Base. Since Elwood works on Offutt Air Base near Omaha, Nebraska, he suggested we drive out and and see about going on base. His base pass would allow us (in theory) to enter Luke AF Base.  As we approached, he told Linda and I to have our drivers’ licenses out to show the guard, as this is the entry procedure for civilians accompanied by authorized base personnel. Now, I must admit, I was a bit nervous about getting on to a military base and somewhat thought we’d be told to skedaddle as we approached the guard hut. But, surprisingly, he just took Elwood’s pass and admitted us without question. He didn’t even bother with our driver’s licenses. 

So, there we were on the Luke AF Base. 

“Boy, that was easy”, I said. 

Now what? I had no idea where we were going, what we were going to see, no map, no questions asked by the guard. Seeming like a lack of security, I started to wonder if we were going to end up thrown in the brig or escorted off the base with a full deployment of military police, tanks, dogs, armed soldiers, a hasty scrambling of the jets and a total lock-down of the base. 

Man, what an imagination, eh! ? 

Since we were all novices on the base we drove in a bit, saw the airfield and saw several jets under jet ports (car ports for jets) where many mechanics were working on the aircraft. We parked my Santa Fe and walked to a respectable distance from the air field and jets, hardly able to hear each other for the loudness of the jet engines. Though we stood within 100 feet of the jets, no one came over to ask us our purpose or intentions for being there. I was taking pictures with my iPhone, Linda with her camera (a real threatening group of spies, if ever I saw any). 

Elwood did stop a man though and asked what type jets they were. F-16 Fighter Jets.

So these are the ones I’ve heard about and seen over the blue, sunny skies of our Arizona desert. OK then, cool!

Down the runway a group of jets appeared from nowhere and landed, then a group of them down the way were preparing to take off, while others we had been watching get prepped, started to taxi down to the end of the runway also.

Since our view was obstructed by buildings, I suggested we drive down toward the end of the runway to get a clearer view. Not far down we parked in a lot at the end and watched, views unobstructed, to see more jets come in for landings, and the others with deafening roars, blasting off down the runway and up into the wild blue yonder.

Watching all this over the hour we were on base, made me pretty proud to see these jets in flight and the men (and women) who devote such time and skills into maintaining and flying these fighters. It really did put a chill down my spine - in a good way, of course.

Never, would I have imagined I would be standing on an airbase watching jets being prepared for flight, seeing them scream down the runway and blast into the air, nor to see them, rather stealthily approach, and roar down for landings. 

It was a definite highlight of the visit with Elwood and LInda. It’s is doubtful, I’d have ever been this close to such action if he had not suggested we visit Luke. 

(Makes we want to start singing the Air Force anthem song). 

As I have, for the past 9 years, organized and led a group of our car guys to Kingman, AZ for the Rt. 66 Fun Run, Friday, May 4 was the day we started our trip for the whole weekend. 

In my absence, I lent my Santa Fe to Elwood and Linda so that they could go exploring on their own. On my suggestion, they drove to Tucson to visit Saguaro National Park, the old Spanish mission (White Dove of the Desert), San Xavier del Bac, and other places of interest. 

Back to the Fun Run weekend, this year, I offered to make it a true road-trip weekend with longer, scenic routes. About 20 of the total (and largest yet participation) of 36 chose to follow the new routes. We veered off after Wickenburg to ascend Yarnell hill, passed through Yarnell, briefly pit stopping in nearby Peeples Valley, then up through Kirkland Junction, Skull Valley, skirting the north side of Prescott, up through Chino Valley and up to Ash Fork and I-40.  At Seligman, we exited and met up with Tom Spear and enjoyed a delicious lunch at Westside Lilo’s. Many followed Tom’s lead, and his favorite choice, of bratwurst on a bun, mind you a FOOT long brat!

In Seligman, the starting point of this 25th Annual Rt. 66 Fun Run, we continued on this longest remaining section of the historic US Rt. 66 for 80+ miles to Kingman.

Traditionally, we have run this section of Rt. 66 on our return drive to Phoenix, but doing it in reverse was just as much fun and a nice change of pace. With an (also traditional) stop in Hackberry, AZ along Rt. 66 to visit the eclectic, funky, historic old filling station/ souvenir/ curio shop and my usual group photo op. Finally, we mounted up and continued on to Kingman and the KIng’s Inn Best Western. 

As though we had not eaten enough that day, I had arranged dinner at Dambar in Kingman, where we met at 7 and enjoyed another fine meal and camaraderie.

Prior to the Fun Run on Sat. May 5, we had an early morning briefing for the judges to choose their judging categories and other work assignments for volunteers.

With several hours to kill a group of us chose to drive about 25 miles north to Chloride, AZ where a whole town yard sale was in progress. Chloride is off the beaten path, was once more thriving with mining activity in the area, but now is an interesting collection of very modest homes, trailers, dirt streets, and lots of artsy folks. For many, scrounging in the desert of any type of cast offs is all they need to create some “diverse” and “off beat” artwork. Some is welded statuary of old metal parts, made into animals, people, or who knows what. Others are broken glass blended into wire strands or old chicken wire to form hanging sun catchers, and others are more elaborate, like one consisting of several rusty old car seat springs strung together, declining from a higher to lower level with pieces of broken blue glass secured in the springs and titled “flowing springs”. Clever, funky, and vast are some properties with their own “yard” art.

With time ticking away, we opted to stay in Chloride for lunch at the only eatery in town. With the days’ yard sale festivities and influx of out-of-towners, it was a hopping place, replete with a one man band, singing favorite old songs.

Upon speeding back to Kingman to our appointed meeting place and duties, we barely made it for the timetable I had pronounced at the morning meeting. 

For the Fun Run, I prefer to record the judging results, but this also requires a lot of prep time sorting judging forms and clipboards for each judge, so that when judging began at 3 p.m., all their materials were ready and they could hit the streets and begin their tasks. 

With the help of Amy, for the past several years, we have managed to have all materials sorted and ready before the judging team comes back. After the judges are done, they return to us and Amy and I then record the information on several poster boards for the participants to see at the rewards/ trophy ceremony in Topock, AZ the next day, Sunday. Those participating, drive from Kingman to Topock for that final leg of the Fun Run and weekend festivities. 

(Our group, judges and volunteers, head out of Kingman, as quietly as possible)...

On Sunday, many of the group headed straight back to Phoenix, while 13 of us followed the new routing that I had mapped out heading southwest from Kingman on I-40 to Lake Havasu City, AZ. There we stopped to see the London Bridge, which was dismantled in London and brought over to AZ to be reconstructed near the Colorado River.  The 1831 bridge spanned the River Thames in London, was taken apart in 1967 and rebuilt in AZ in 1971. 

After departing that wee bit of merry old England, we next stopped in Parker, AZ and enjoyed another lunch meal at Tommy’s Paradise Cafe. While I thought I had read they faced the Colorado River and that we would have riverside tables, we were informed that the “view” was the full length river scene mural which was on the wall behind us.  Oh well, what the heck, it was time for lunch and it was a pleasant place, with good food to boot. 

On the road again (can’t wait to get back on the road again), we continued down along the Colorado River, through some rugged desert scenery, picked up AZ 72, angled down to US 60, stopped at the Salome Cafe, but instead went next door to Don’s Cactus Bar (couldn’t pass up a stop at a place with my name on it) for soft drinks, then completed the remaining 100 miles back to Phoenix. By 4:30 pm, I was in my house.

On Monday, my brother and sis in law went to the Phoenix Zoo, and also visited our State Capitol (wished I had gone for that). I believe they enjoyed their visit, and I was happy they had planned out things to do and see on their own. I was able to enjoy my previously planned activities, yet spend time with them and get to see new and exciting things (the F-16 JETS!).

Now, I suppose you may be wondering about Phiona...

Yes, there is news.

The new rear seat springs, made by Snyder’s in Ohio, should be on the way back to Aatco Upholstery by now. Chavel at the shop had the front seat dismantled several days ago and was getting ready to stretch the new coverings on it. When he gets the seat cushion, he will be able to complete that part also. But, other than the seats, for now, that is all he can do until the car is painted and released from the body shop (1st Class Collision).

After the upholsterer, I stopped at the body shop, where Steve (the painter) said he was ready for me to pick out the blue color. While he searched for his color samples, I chatted with one of the employees and learned that they were nearly done with body work with the epoxy primer on the car, were about ready to put a base primer on and then would be ready to apply the paint. Then more prep work, polishing etc, and I may have my car back. However, Steve could not locate his plain color samples. He did have the “modern” samples with metal flakes, etc, but those would not be appropriate for a 1934 vintage automobile. I’ll need to go back this next week to choose the dark blue color.

But I’m not holding my breath. There always seems to be something or the other that interferes and Phiona waits until the other work is done. That’s actually OK with me. I want to see this all come together as a “done” project, meaning done RIGHT, the first time, so I will not put a ending date on the project.

Besides, it is starting to get hot out and I have less desire to drive Phiona very far, if at all, in this sweltering heat. As I told someone in Ohio recently, for us car guys in Arizona, the seasons are in reverse, i.e., while they put their cars away for the winter months, we are out enjoying our vehicles in our pleasant Fall, Winter and Spring seasons. So, when it gets to be Summer in AZ, it would be like winter storage time for us, and we store the cars away, out of the heat. Difference being, we CAN still enjoy our cars even if it is hot. At least in my case (even if I decide to venture cross country in the summer months), I still do drive Phiona in the early morning hours or after the sun goes down despite the heat. 

With summer approaching and the heat increasing here, I’m starting to think about my summer escape from Phoenix. Since I’ve missed my camping, hiking and exploring, usually up at the Grand Canyon North Rim and into Utah, for several years, this is the year I’d like to go back and explore more of the area and enjoy the quiet, solitude and nature. 

    One last thing, I am working to start with a new website host. Apple’s iWeb is being discontinued in about 30 days with no plans to support it after that. When I have more information I will include that with this site and hopefully it will transition without complications.

    Remaining calm and going with the flow.

                        We cannot see our reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see.

                                   (Taoist Proverb) 


Apr 13, 2012


So, as I awoke on Friday morning, I thought to myself, “well, I don’t think Phiona will be ready anytime soon, probably not even this April. Maybe in May, maybe June. But, I can see now that there is considerable work to be done, before I can say she’s “DONE”.”

“I’ll try to keep calm and with a positive outlook.”       

This past Monday I sat down with Mike Griesa, the shop owner, and reiterated my point that I do not have unlimited funds and that I was afraid I’d be getting a bill that I could not cover. Mike told me a price that was lower than I expected.  His price, even with all the work that has been done was much less than what I was anticipating, so I just accepted it and quit talking. 

Thursday, I spoke with Steve as he wet sanded another newly painted car. He explained more about his wanting to turn out an excellent job for me and then showed me a ’66 Thunderbird the soda blasting guys did the day before. I could see how effective that process is, getting into all the tight spots, clearing away all the old paint. Steve said my car was to be soda blasted today, Friday.

One of the new door panels with new interior color.  

Two large boxes contained the new upholstery kit.

Additionally on Thursday morning, I went back up Cave Creek Rd. to Aatco Upholstery, the Arizona authorized upholstery installer for the Le Baron Bonney interior kit that I bought. Chevel, the owner and I chatted quite awhile about how he works, what to expect and my involvement in the process. He wanted to see the car and my upholstery kit first before he could give me an estimate, so I told him to stop at the auto body shop at his convenience to inspect the car.

Moving back to today, I got to the body shop this morning to find my car was being soda blasted at that moment, across the street. One of the employees and I walked over there to find another gentleman who had also just arrived ahead of us and who was chatting with the soda blasters. As it turned out, the other man was from Phoenix Air Quality Department and was there responding to a neighbor’s complaint about the cloud of dust in the air and it’s settling on his property. 

It appeared the soda blasters might be in some violation of clean air standards, so until the government official referenced the guidelines in his manual, we waited, I took pictures and chatted. 

In about 10 minutes the Air Quality man returned and agreed that the soda blasting did not present any harmful toxins into the air (it really is BAKING SODA, Arm and Hammer no less). However, there were other procedures in which the soda blasters were not exactly in compliance. Mainly, they SHOULD have been in an enclosed space, meaning a 3 sided and roofed structure, ie a tented type enclosure. There was friendly exchange, no citations issued and the soda blasting was ok’d to proceed. In other words, the air quality guy made allowances and it became a non-issue. 

With that, I was given some ear muffs as the father and son team resumed blasting the door edges and the few remaining small parts. (In operation, it is VERY loud). They had already, prior to my and the government official’s arrivals, gone over Phiona and had done the door jambs. The shop had sealed off the dash area, which was a very nice thing to have done. I have some photos here to show the jambs before and after. 

I don’t think, it took more than another half hour to complete the remaining pieces once they resumed. The old lacquer just vanished with the soda blast upon the metal. Amazing. 

More photos here show the procedure in operation and one can see the bare metal and the remaining lacquer as the soda spray instantly dissolves the paint.  

After the soda blasting I went to the office where Chevel, the upholsterer had just arrived. We went back to Phiona inspected the car. Chevel said he would like to come to the house to see the upholstery kit but that would have to wait until anther time. 

Working on a door edge . Last remnants of the old paint can be seen. 

I’m glad he was there at that time, as it seems he could start his part in this project fairly soon after the painting is done.

Steve, says he may get some epoxy primer on Phiona yet today, but in a later afternoon visit that had not happened. By next week, if all goes well, Phiona may next be seen with her undergarment primer. 

 Perhaps my early morning musings were a bit premature and Phiona’s completion is actually closer than I anticipated. 

But, if not, I’m fine with however it plays out.  


APRIL 6, 2012


Last week, on Friday, March 30, Custom Auto Body Shop moved the rest of their shop from down the street near my house to about 2 miles south on Cave Creek Road. The owner of the nearby building did not extend their lease, but the new location was already operating under a new name, 1st Class Collision Service, thus continuing the business. 

Of course, Phiona was not yet completed at the shop right by the house, so they had already trucked her to the new place, where she has been kept inside. Mike Griesa, the shop owner, showed me the extensive video camera security monitors which eased my mind, knowing the place is under such thorough surveillance. 

A few things had been happening at the shop when it was still down the street, namely, that they had a ton of cars and projects that just seemed to keep backing up and work was slow in being completed. That included Phiona, being put on a back burner as they tried to work on the other vehicles. Salo put in time on the Pontiac, but work on her really had slowed to a crawl.

I had no problem with the job not being completed here, as I had hoped it would when this restoration began, believing instead, that it would take however long it took. Putting an end date on this restoration, before work even began, would have been futile and frustrating. I’m glad I had that thought implanted in my head from the start.

I’d heard from some of the guys at the shop when it was nearby, that their painter had not been producing very good paint jobs over the last several months. Further, I found he had been arrested for DUI and that seemed to put the guy in a downward spiral, resulting in an attitude and poor workmanship. His problems were a major factor in backing up the work in the shop(s) both here and at the new location. 

In the past week I saw that they had spent some time on some of the accessory parts, ie, the trunk, hood and back fenders, but work otherwise was still barely evident on Phiona.

I’d also heard that their painter was going to be fired and that they had an excellent new painter who was getting the work caught up and out the door. That then led to Mike calling me this week to let me know that Steve, the new painter, wanted to meet me and discuss Phiona and how to proceed.

Steve and I met on Thursday, and first off, he told me Phiona should have been soda blasted to remove all the old lacquer paint, not all the sanding that has been done over the past 3 months. The old lacquer paint, ALL of it, every speck, HAS to be gone. Lacquer paints are outlawed due to environmental issues, and enamels are now the preferred paint type used. Lacquer and enamel (which I have been told over the past 2 weeks) are not at all compatible. If enamel is applied over lacquer, there will be a reaction, namely that the new enamel will bubble up or crack. 

The sanding process did remove a majority of the lacquer, but there are a multitude of nooks and crannies that would not be reached and with ANY of the old paint still adhering to Phiona would only open a can of worms, with resulting paint problems not far down the road after the finish was applied. With soda blasting, the fine soda will scour out the hard to reach areas assuring we are down to bare metal over the entire car surfaces.

Apparently shop owner Mike, Salo (body man), nor the former painter knew this ( this vintage of car is the first they have tackled, so it’s excusable, I guess). Thankfully, Steve has had extensive painting experience and he thoroughly explained his suggested strategy and method in completing Phiona’s restoration. 

They will be contacting a company to do the soda blasting, hopefully, as soon as next week. Since a majority of the old paint has been removed, Steve thinks they should be able to do their work pretty quickly.

As a result, this restoration is, in many ways, starting from scratch. Steve, in his good conscience, will not allow even a mediocre product to leave his shop. He knows full well that a poor product will only reflect badly on the shop and those who do the work. Also, an excellent finished vehicle will bring good word of mouth and more business to the shop.

Further, Steve convinced me that the only, effective way to finish the door jambs, inside and out was to remove the doors, just as they did with the fenders, running boards, hood, etc. That will allow them to get “right in there” and do the close up detail work, plus produce a very fine finished job that will enhance the whole car.

Additionally, Steve also switched the auto paint supplier from DuPont to another paint supplier telling me their paints are superior to DuPont’s.

As I’m listening to Steve inform me how this restoration SHOULD have been going and now WILL be, I felt perturbed that IF, all this new information had been known 4 months ago, then Phiona’s rehab would have been much closer to completion by now. That and I realize that the total costs are now going to, probably, exceed my initial expectations.

Upon meeting with Mike and Steve, I relayed that concern. I told them I am retired and do not have bottomless pockets. Somehow, though, I will pay the price. (I may be working the streets though... or selling lemonade in front of my house). 

The new upholstery kit has already been delivered and is waiting in my garage. I may have the upholsterer do the seats soon, so that I can have a place to sit after the painting is done. 

I have some woodwork that needs to be done and I hope Mark Howard will be able to help construct a small piece to replace a rotted window sill.

Likewise, I’d like Steve M’s help with re-wiring the dome light and switch, now that the upholstery has been removed.

All of this new information about the surface prep and painting, presents one of those times that I knew would likely raise it’s ugly head with challenges and setbacks. In the beginning, approaching this after the accident, I prepared myself, mentally, for obstacles along this journey. This does concern me, but, in trying to keep a positive outlook, and, now knowing that I will have Phiona looking like a million bucks, I am optimistic that you all will share in the upcoming rebirth of Phiona


MARCH 8, 2012


 I’d like to show some comparisons of Phiona through the 11 years since she arrived at my door in Phoenix.


The top photo shows the grand old lady on March 21, 2001 as she arrived at my home. She was looking a tad weathered, dirty, and lacked luster. As I cleaned her up and washed off the grime she collected in her trip from Kentucky to Arizona, some of her old shine did reappear. New hubcaps, really made her look more spiffy too. Polishing, waxing and eventually some re-chroming of the bumpers and a few other of her chromed pieces further enhanced her appearance.



                Then, the addition of the bustle back trunk, provided a longer and elegant image.





My mother and dad,Verna & Wilbur Kline - April 2001


While I was content to leave her in a mostly original condition (they are only original once), that all changed on November 27, 2011 when she was so indignantly crashed after her attempted theft.

At that point, despite my sorrow at seeing her beaten-up, I also came to realize that a partial fix of only the damaged areas would leave Phiona looking partially (and extremely) new and the rest would be drab and worn looking. So, with a quick settlement from Grundy Insurance, it was logical (to me at least) to forge ahead with this restoration.

MVC-003S IMG_0256

If following my previous blog entries you have become familiar with the restoration progress, but these photos from over the years will allow you to see how she had already changed appearances.

Don & Phiona b&wOct. '11 Kline farm, soybean harvestIMG_0097

This week I removed the headliner and most of the remaining upholstery.  I took measurements for the headliner so that Le Baron Bonney Upholsterers can fabricate an exact replica that can easily be installed after it arrives here. I found that most of the wood structure behind the upholstery is in good condition, with only a portion around the back window needing replacement.

 The shop’s lease in the building down the street from me ends at the end of March. After that date, all remaining vehicles here will be transferred to their new location down Cave Creek Road, near Dunlap Ave. But the shop, here, says they plan to shoot primer on Phiona yet this week. Hopefully that means they are going to be able to have her new color combination applied before the shop closes. If it is not completed, no big deal, I’ll just have to drive down the road to keep up with her final beautification.


After the painting, I’ll then have the windows replaced and upholstery work done.

I have no definite timeline for completing that portion of the work, but still hope to have all the work done by late April.

As you can see, since almost the exact date that Phiona arrived eleven years ago, she has undergone changes.

The changes and the journey continue for both of us.

     Interior stripped of upholstery.

10/19/12 wet sanding 11/11/12 front clip with both fenders 3