Christmas Greetings

December 15, 2012

Ten more days until Christmas Day!

Hard to believe that it will be here so soon, isn't it, and that 2012 will be ending in just a few more weeks?

As symbolized by the picture above, I've managed to "bear" with it and hang in there despite all the challenges (and adventures), keeping my life, in most part, in balance. Though I've often felt like I was teetering on the end of a tree branch, I am now feeling like I've got a grasp on things and can confidently march on into 2013. I thank friends and family for help and encouragement throughout this year.

Update on Phiona:

Oh yeah, I've been busy with Phiona. While I had hoped to have the old girl up and running and completely re-assembled before Christmas, I've come to the realization that this is a "project" and that putting an unrealistic end date on it would only frustrate and annoy me. So, I've been plugging away, little by little, in putting all the numerous parts back together. It sure was easier, in retrospect, to have taken her apart than putting her back together again. With all the months that passed since the crash and disassembly, there came the loss of memory and recollection of exactly how and where all those nuts, bolts, washers, screws, brackets, widgets and what nots were intended to be located. And then too, though I packaged and labeled most everything, came the frustrating search of exactly where I had stored some of those pieces (mostly of the nuts and bolts variety). At times it seemed I was spending more time searching, going to Home Depot, Ace Hardware or other specialty shops for those little replacement pieces. 

In hindsight, though, the progress has been moving forward. Any standstills are self imposed, just to keep myself calm and wait for friends to come help when possible.

Last week I hosted the main course in our car club's Progressive Dinner, which meant a work stoppage on Phiona. While initially feeling very overwhelmed with that event and getting ready for it, I did come to realize that my car would not be running and completed as I had hoped, so efforts to rush and force the issue would be futile. I've shifted down to a lower gear now and will take time to enjoy the holidays and keep my life in perspective.


Running board before installing rubber mats and chrome trim.


Running board rubber mat attached.


and with the chrome trim attached to the running board

For the dinner, we pushed Phiona out into the drive and set tables up in the garage for the crowd of 40 some guys. This gave everyone a chance to see Phiona in person, the progress being made and to show off her new look. I think everyone was impressed and pleased to see the transformation. During this past week, I've also had a couple of other visitors who have come to see how the work has progressed.

In my last update, the trunk assembly was completed. This past week I reattached the running board rubber mats and chrome strips, cleaned up inside the car, had help from Kent and Mike Rokovino placing the hood on the car, then spent a full day alone, reattaching, aligning and fitting the hood (that was fun… NOT). Yesterday I retrieved the last chromed part, a front bumper guard and will complete attaching it today.

With the hood now attached and fitted, Phiona looks even more complete. But the interior is now my focus. I've been a bit reluctant to tackle installing the side windows, being unsure of getting it done correctly. I'm hoping that I can get some assistance with that part of the project. I'd also like to get the car started, but need to install the dash, gauges, wiring, etc beforehand. Taillights also need to be wired and attached before I can think of driving the car. But once those things are done, I will be able to drive to the upholsterer so that he can do the final stage installing the interior.

With luck, I will be able to got those windows installed before Christmas. 

With even more luck, I may even have the interior done by New Years Day.


Taping the edges prior to attaching the hood.


Hood placed on the car


The hood, attached and fitted on the car.


On again, off again, on again, off again...

December 1, 2012


This past week has had me in the garage most of my waking hours as I (with help) have been putting Phiona back together again.

Donovan Wood, Kent Schweiss, Carl Walus, and Steve Moore each have offered assistance and have been a tremendous help as we now try to put parts back together on the car. It's no easy task. It's a lot like putting pieces of a puzzle back together. Some times it looks like this will fit here, but then it's not a perfect fit, so we try again.


The bare interior

One of the biggest tasks on this reassembly has been reattaching the accessory trunk to the back end of the car. Without going into the lengthy procedures, we've had it on, thinking it was fitting properly, only to find we miscalculated and then had to remove it and start over. This happened at least three times I think. I forget, it's been so tedious and frustrating. But again, with the help I've had, we have plugged away and, now (I HOPE), we have it figured out. 

Thursday afternoon, when Carl and I had finally got new welting attached to the back side of the trunk where it attaches to the car body and then bolted it in place, I realized that the pinstripe that still needed to be painted on the belt line of the car would be obstructed by the position of the trunk top. So-o-o-o-o, off came the trunk and all the supporting bracketing and frame work. 

Steve helping align fenders and welting between the fender, body and back splash panel (that long blue panel that runs along the back of the car(.

After Kent and Carl left yesterday, I stuck to it and (finally) got the most difficult part of that bracket back on the car. I can reattach that framing and base of the trunk now, and after the pin stripe is added, the trunk should be easily bolted back onto the car (keeping my fingers crossed!!).

Other progress is that the fenders are all attached, I reattached the radiator hoses, cleaned the still bare interior, and put the air vent louver back in place. This morning I hope to finish the trunk base addition and maybe put the rear bumper on. Then I hope to fill in the nail holes in the interior woodwork. 

A preliminary fitting of the trunk. Repeated several times...

In addition to all this car work, I have to get the garage cleaned up and set up for a progressive dinner next Saturday for the car club, get table and chairs to set up in the garage for the crowd, clean house, prepare a main course, get the meal ingredients, plates, plastic ware, etc, go get my still missing hood and other parts from the body shop, get a missing part from the chrome shop, figure out how to  bolt the front bumper in place,, reattach the hood, figure out how to install the window run channels, put the side windows in the car, do laundry, do my volunteer work, get some rest. And BREATH.


Back side of the trunk with new welting added to the outer edges. Welting helps protect the parts from rubbing against the body, acts to prevent squeaks and is a nice finishing touch.


Showing how the welting bead looks when the parts are joined together.

John Huntsman has offered his help in preparing the meal, but I could use help in getting the rest of the dinner preparations completed, like gathering up tables and chairs, table covers, etc. 

Still no projected date of completion for Phiona. 

Lots of setbacks are sure to arise and frustrate me, but I'm hoping to just do what I can with the help that I'm offered (and soliciting), with completion before the year ends. Once I'm done with what I can do, the car will go to the upholsterer for the interior, whereupon I can put the dashboard and window garnish molding back in place.

Now, taking a deep breath and heading out to the garage for more work on the old girl.