Sunday, December 28, 2014

End of the driving season....maybe?!?

I would like to start this post of with a nice picture of my family.  It has the nice backdrop of the Trans Am.  My wife Suzanne and our fur kids Martini and Mai Tai.

Well, 2015 starts in a few days and marks the end of 2014 and another season of nice weather driving.  I'm sad to see winter come as it will limit the driving time I get with the Trans Am, but it won't sit slumbering in the garage, like most other classics do from December to April around here.

It has been a good year for our daily driver cars in my house.  The Trans Am (and my wallet) had a rough go of it at the beginning of the year.  After completing the front suspension rebuild, I took the car to a local hot rod shop for an alignment, a brake bleed, tune up and swapping one last part I couldn't get off.  After two weeks in that shop, I get the car back and wasn't really sure what they completed.  The brakes felt no different than when I took it there.  They work well enough, but won't win any stopping contests.  Their "tune-up" consisted of changing the spark plugs, wires and oil change.  They never touched the timing to get it running at an optimum rate.  I wasn't taking it back because it took a few months to get an appointment in the beginning.  With a timing light and about 20 minutes, I had the engine running smoother.  The alignment was done satisfactorily because it was done at a different shop.  HAHAHA  That was a learning experience on where NOT to go to get basic mechanical work done.  If I were getting an entire restoration, I bet the work would be top notch.  Anyhoo, the car is now road ready, or so I thought.  GAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!

The speedometer decides to go out on me.  Getting a reproduction unit is way too expensive.  I found a used gauge cluster on one of my Pontiac forums and took the chance.  After that I still had to buy a new circuit board for the cluster.  Luckily that worked and I got the added bonus of getting a working tachometer.  All I had to do was take the aftermarket tach out and tear the dash apart to get the new cluster in.  While I was at it, I took more stuff out to replace the broken dash speaker with a new dual 3" speaker.  That entire process was a pain.  No room for someone with big hands and sharp plastic edges everywhere.  I looked like I lost a fight with a cat.  Now it's time to drive.

After all that, it was time for a good car wash.  I decided to try this swirl remover polish, I had bought for the Cadillac.  I tested one small portion of the hood to see the results.  I had to take 3-4 different looks before it sank in that it worked taking the cloth marks out of the paint.  I can't believe how nice it turned out.  Here are the results.

And drive I did.  The car was taken out any chance I got.  There was an occasional metal dragging sound that eluded me for a while.  It wasn't enough for me to worry about for the time being.  Me and Suzanne went out with it a few times.  She even drove.  The car went to a few car cruises where we met up with a couple friends.  One of those friends still needs to get his car out.  No more dead battery excuses.  HAHAHA

After one instance of the "dragging sound," I jacked the car up and got under the car.  I had to find out what it was.  I looked over the entire exhaust system and couldn't find any new marks.  I work my way up to the front of the car looking for anything that was thin sheet metal that could make a noise.  I got to the engine and looked at the dust protection pan for the torque converter/fly wheel.  There had always been a small hole from something kicking up off the road, but I saw a hole coming from the inside.  I pull the pan off and hear some metal in there.  It turns out that it was a counter weight off the fly wheel.  Here is what i found.  You can see the damage (nothing serious enough for repairs) done by that little piece bouncing around.

Suzanne driving.

Now on to some pictures from the shows the TA attended.

This was a Cars & Coffee that my friend Chris made it out to.  He has the white/red 1981 Trans Am.  This was a show of firsts.  First show that had more than 1 Firebird.  First show that had more than 1 2nd generation Trans Am.

Here are a couple pictures from a cruise in at Burger King.  I don't know why I didn't do a blog post about this event.  Here is the abridged version.  I pull in and park.  This one guy immediately stops to chat.  He proceeds to grill me for 15 minutes about all the flaws with my car.  Everything from the paint being bad to why would a previous owner remove the original engine.  I handled it like a pro as others stood there looking.  He told me a couple times he had a yellow Mustang on the other side of the lot.  I figured it must be some hot ride for him to spout off so much.  He eventually leaves and I go about walking around the lot and chatting with others that ask about the car.  I find out that he has a newer Mustang, V6 convertible that looked like it came off the lot.  Nothing special.  I had to laugh.  He is the guy in the yellow t-shirt standing behind the Lincoln.

In all, I racked up about 850 miles on the car since getting everything squared away.  That is how this wonderful year went.  I will have many more driving days next year.  Lets hope I can make it to some new shows.

Take care and Happy New Year.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

First Car Show of the New Year

After a winter that never seemed to end, Mother Nature came to her senses and gave us some much needed relief.  My relief was short lived because I got hit with a massive dose of allergies.  The infamous Washington cherry blossoms and other plants decided to come out of hibernation.  Thanks to a hearty supply of over the counter allergy medication, I got them mostly under control to head out to an exciting first car show of the season.

This show was hosted by Calvary Temple Ministries, in Sterling VA.  It was one of the larger shows I have been to in a while.  There are only two shows that are larger than this one: the Sully Plantation Father's Day show and the Leesburg show (both of which I have posts about).  This was to promote their Finish The Race Ministries.  The parking lot was packed with cars, trucks and motorcycles.  I came home with over 120 pictures.  Keep reading for a couple bits of excitement.  Here's what the lot looked like.

The church even sponsored a drag racer.

Bring on the cars.

 I helped out the young lady with the cooler.  It was loaded with water and ice and she had trouble getting it up the curb to the concession area.  I just happened to be standing there to help.

This was the best vantage point to show the crowd and motorized wonders.

I will start out with a category close to my heart, the Pontiac crowd.  Not a large amount, but quality cars came out. There were a couple I missed because they either came after I left, or left before I saw them. The one I'm disappointed that I only got to see from a distance was a 1973 GTO.
Here is a 1959 Pontiac Catalina Convertible.  I love those lines.

Nice black on black GTO
1969 Pontiac Firebird Convertible
1968,  Verdoro Green GTO
1986 Pontiac Trans Am.  Sadly there were no 2nd generation Birds like mine.
Pontiac Solstice.  One of the last cars Pontiac produced before GM closed the doors on that brand.

The next exhibit, on this tour, will cover the trucks. The 2nd picture of the post shows a nice Chevy SSR, General Motors retro designed pick up.
Some Post War (late 1940s-50s) trucks.

1967 C10 Custom
Some modern rides.  Lifted Sliverados, Jeep Wrangler, 1986 El Camino SS and a 1970s Ford Good Humor Ice Cream truck.


Now we are going to go through the cars in chronological order.  First up a 1930 Ford Model A Roadster with a nice custom paint job.  Check out the metal flake.

1934 Ford 3-window hot rod

Lets Swing dance into the 1940s and see what's going on.  1955 Cadillac Coupe DeVille
1938 Buick 8

Lets Twist over to the 1950s. A couple nice Tri-5 Chevys

Sweet 1959 Cadillac convertible.   Take a look at those huge fins.

Beautiful 1955 Thunderbird
Custom 1950 Chevy Coupe.  The builder used Mercedes CLK headlights.  I have a feeling they based the car off a 2003 CLK.  The lines look very similar.  Look at the comparison photo.

A Triple blue 1957 Ford Fairlane 500.  I picked this car as one my wife would want for her own.  She would look great driving it.

As if these car pictures weren't exciting enough, I have a special treat for you.  I wasn't expecting to hear or see what I witnessed at a church car show.  The organizer came on the sound system and announced that there was going to be a motorcycle stunt show!  It was a local group of riders.  It was pretty cool standing mere feet away from them executing their tricks.

Time to Go-Go into the 1960s.
A couple nice Mustangs
 1960 Ford Starliner
1964 Chevelle station wagon and a 1964 Chevelle coupe.  The car my dad would drive. 

1969 Dodge Dart
1965 Buick Wildcat convertible
 1969 Camaro
 1965 Cobra
 1960s Bug

1969 Oldsmobile Cutlass convertible

Hustle your behind over to the 1970s.
Lots of 2nd generation Camaros.
1971 Ford Mustang Mach 1
1970 Dodge Challenger.  Even the dog likes the car.
1976 Cosworth Vega
1971 Chevelle using a broom stick as a hood prop rod.

Some miscellaneous rides.
1986 Hurst Oldsmobile
Mazda Miata with a Corvette V8 stuffed in it.  That thing would be killer fast.
Custom 1993 Lincoln Mark VIII convertible.  These cars were never produced by Ford.

DeTomasso Pantera

 Yes folks!  You are seeing a newer Honda Accord Coupe in a line with a Mustang and Corvettes
Rat Rods had a decent showing.  Look at this killer 1959 Cadillac sedan.  It has a turbo and, AND, supercharged V8 engine.  I didn't ask the horsepower, but I figured it gets that boat moving fast.

Modern muscle.  Camaros, Mustangs, Challengers, Corvettes
I had to take a picture of this Indy Pace Car Camaro. I have the plastic model of it on the shelf.
 Nice Plymouth Prowler
 Matte yellow, C6 Corette ZR1
 Brand new 2014 C7 Corvette

Awesome motorcycle showing.

 Something just for fun.  If I could have a ride that matched the truck, which one would it be?!?
A blue C6 Corvette Grand Sport
 Or, a 1967 Chevy Nova

 This is for all you dreamers out there.  Some cars that would cost you north of $100,000.  Get yourself a piece of exotic.
Morgan Aero 8
 2012 Ferrari 458 and 2014 Bentley Continental GT convertible
2014 Viper
Porsche 911 Turbo and Cayenne GTS

 Acura NSX
Mercedes Benz SL63 AMG
Maserati Quattroporte
 Noble M12

Thanks for viewing, my fellow car enthusiasts.  I hope you enjoyed my trip as much as I did.  Be safe out there and I will have another stellar adventure for you soon!