The purpose of this Blog

This blog is to detail my 43 years (1973 - 2016) with a 1928 Chevrolet tourer, affectionately called "The Red Chev".

The acquisition, restoration, improvements and my experiences over the years are covered in as much detail as I can remember.

Some of the later postings include car club outings and other vintage car items that I hope will be of interest to people.

If you have the time, scroll back to where it all began in 1973 and follow the journey so far.

Thanks for dropping by.

Regards Ray Dean

See my new section "The Red Chev - Repairs, Improvements, Maintenance and Technical Details" located on the left hand side of the screen.


Friday, April 22, 2011

1975 - Registration? Well Nearly But Not Yet.

This is how I planned the final stages. I would take 2 weeks leave from work, finish off the car, get a roadworthy, and then the registration would be a breeze.

Boy, how wrong could you be.

I started my 2 weeks leave guns blazing, over to Antique Tyre Supplies to purchase 5 tyres, tubes and rust bands. Cost about a months pay. Fitted the tyres to the rims, took hours as I did not have a clue what I was doing, but got there in the end. Then I thought I would paint the rims silver to freshen them up, and then black the tyres. Well the silver part went well, done in the garage with no dramas. The following day I am ready to black the tyres. So what would you normally do? Simple, it's a cold day, so you take your 5 tyres into the house and black the tyres in front of the space heater to help the drying process. Should I mention at this stage that we had brand new carpet throughout the house, and do you know that 3 or 4 sheets or newspaper does not soak up spilt tyre paint before it hits the carpet. Luckily for me I had several hours to try and clean the new carpet before my wife came home, aided by the carpet being a hi low finish with shading. For some reason our lounge room carpet always seemed to have more shading than the rest of the house. Must have been the shadows I reckon. Now talking about the house, which was our first house, and a very vintage car friendly house it was. Apart from the tyre blackening carpet, it had a wall oven that doubled as a paint baking booth, and a bath tub that had numerous parts soaking in near boiling water, such as timber hood bows and upholstery door trims. They don't make houses like that any more.

Back on the subject. The 2 weeks that I thought would kill the project and see me go back to work with a registered car ended up like this. Run around every morning buying bits and pieces so I could work all afternoon and into the wee small hours of the following morning. Those retailers and old motor spares dealers that are now long gone. Vanguard Spares in Elizabeth Street, Melbourne and Anderson Roberts in Hoddle Street, Collingwood, where I picked up full set of Chev Wheel Bolts and the Jax wheel clamps, brand new old stock from a very dusty box. Even managed to get a new 6 volt wiper motor for about $30.

Anyway after my 2 weeks of night shift in the garage the car is on wheels with brakes adjusted sort of, but not road tested, and the engine running a bit rough, but nevertheless getting close to being ready to go on the road.

So my friend Les Francis comes down one Saturday afternoon to help me tune this engine that will just not run properly, some fuel problem, flooding, spluttering etc. We tried changing jets and other parts on this so called reconditioned carby that I had fitted, but with no success. We would tune it, run around the block (illegally I should say) only to return and find it's flooding, and boy was it flooding.

Now let me paint the scene for what happened next which may very well have caused serious injury or even worse. What Les and I did not know was the flooding had been so severe that petrol was running back through the ventilation pipe into the sump. Anyway Les had to go home to get ready for a function, and thank God he did. I came out about ten minutes later and thought I would have one more try to get the damn thing running properly. Cranked her up and boom, the petrol in the sump detonated, the bonnet lifted with this almighty metallic sound, with smoke pouring out of somewhere.
What I then discovered made me feel sick with how close it could have been. The detonation had blown the metal oil filler cap off with such force that it put a dent in the bonnet about a half an inch deep, but more importantly that was the exact same spot Les had been bent over the engine with the bonnet up for the last several hours.

When I regained my composure and rang Les, who even on the other end of the phone realized how lucky he was not to have been there. I turned off the engine that had kept running through the whole detonation process and went to survey the damage. Upset with the dent in my newly painted bonnet I looked underneath and around the engine, no damage, no holes etc. I was told later by wiser heads than mine that Chev 4 engines must be strong, as people had seen sumps and other parts blown off detonating engines, and even if the engine was intact it may still require a rebuild.

In a fit of anger, frustration or plain despair I pulled off this so called reconditioned carby and threw it in the corner of the shed, never to be seen or spoke of again. I went to my spares cupboard, picked up a dirty rusty looking carby body, cleaned it up, fitted new jets, cleaned all the internals, hit it with a coat of full gloss black and fitted it to the car. Engine fired, car ran sweeter and smoother than ever, and would you believe ran perfectly with minor servicing for the next 31 years. Must have been that full gloss black that made the difference. What do you think? That same carby served me well with regular servicing until I came across a factory reconditioned carby from the states, which now runs better still.

As I close off the posting, with the next one to cover the Roadworthy process, I still think what may have been if Les had stayed for an extra ten minutes. Both our lives would have changed dramatically.

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