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.
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.