Here is a chance to grab a one of a kind restored eight seat vintage bus with full NSW rego used as a promotional vehicle for my business and no longer required. This vehicle was lovingly restored over three years by a retired mechanic.
The bus is based on a Chevrolet Capitol one ton truck which has been modified into a eight seat bus as available in the USA in the 1920s. It still runs all the original motor and running gear.
Danny Harris sent this to a mate of mine, Grant Fowler (Monty the 1928 Chev). A great read about the restoration of an Aussie 1928 Chev.
Chevrolet Tourer “Gatsby”
I have been looking for an old 4 door
tourer , on and off forabout 10
years... I found all the ones that were complete were dear , the wrong color
or had a trim that I couldn’t have lived with! .. So by the time you bought one
that was done and changed all the things that you wanted, if you had to sell
it, it would be hard to get your money back... Not to mention what some would
have been like Mechanically ???
September 27th 2013 lost my job that I had
had for 9.5 years, yet a week later I found what I thought was the perfect
project suited just for me..!
What to do?....No Job..... No money.... yet
a once in a lifetime (well I think) opportunity comes along...thanks to
A 1928 Chevrolet Tourer, A mechanic in Canberra has owned it for
years and has recently rebuilt the whole motor, new pistons, valves, bearings
and other internals.. Rebuilt the gear box, new cogs/gears ect.. reset springs,
new brakes, new fuel lines, new valances, running board rubbers, guard rubbers,
he has a stripped and painted the Chassis, good wheels... But then he loses
interest after all the mechanical was completed.
To me this was the hardest part, And now
its all done!..
Ok , so what is needed? Now that all the
running gear is completed..
The body needs to be put together for
starters. Which I have noidea what’s
what ? and what goes where.?? ( The
oldest car i have had previous to this was a 1948 Holden, and with that I would
bolt anything on that I could get to fit.)
It has Brand new Valance panels, but the
running boards have some rust holes in them, the doors are all good, the bonnet
is good, the front tub and rear tub have some ripples but nothing I am worried
about for now. The guards have had repairs started and 2 are in primer and all
the wood seems to be in good condition or already had been replaced..
Needs glass for windscreen, trim for seats,
an exhaust system, some new tyres , wiring and put back together.. and later
panel repair and some paint..
The Window frame is there, and the steel
hinge frames for the roof are there but no wood bows..
Remember all the frame/chassis and running
gear has all just been completed.... So I thought it was a fair price for
$2,900. (yet to convince the wife)
8th October (my Birthday(it was meant to
be!)) I went and sealed the deal and picked it up, It travelled from ACT to Sydney on a trailer with
no hiccups at all.
To get this registered ASAP with minimal
cost as possible..a Quick Budget makeover !
Where to begin..
The first thing I wanted to do was to try
and put it together a little bit, to work out what was what? and more
importantly what was missing?
The steering wheel was 8 little pieces of
bare wood about 6 inches long, I was lucky to find a steel garbage tin lid that
was about the same diameter, I rimmed it with some old rubber which bought it
to the correct diameter.. sanded out each of the finger joints, so it could
have a tight clean fit. Laid it in the garbage bin lid, worked out which one
went were, and glued them and placed them back tightly in the steel lid for a
few days, not to be disturbed.
The wheel was also left in the lid to fill
all fine cracks and old holes with a wood filler, it was then taken out, had a
good sand, a stain and finished off with 3 coats of tongue oil.
Ok steering wheel now in one piece and on,
and looks pretty good.
Now the dash... It was old and un
readable..Firstly I stripped it as far as I could without damaging anything,
blew out all the foreign particles and lubricated what could be lubricated,
mostly with a dry lube.
The tin oval plate surrounds I sanded back
primed and painted with a small touch up can in a Auto cream colour, I also cut
a piece of colorbond guttering for the light switch side with a hole drilled in
the centre to match the other two ovals. I went on the internet and looked at
all the 1928 dash Photos I could find, I had a silvery colour touch up can at
home, so I used that to paint the dash plate, as I wasn’t sure what colour they
were meant to be. My gauges were un readable, so I found the best pictures I
could of gauges, cut cropped , zoomed , cleaned and printed them the right size
onto a sticker through the laser printer and stuck them under the needle on the
I also cut a piece of perspex for where the
Glass was, knowing that I may have to re-do the dash again to be perfect.
The next thing I wanted to do was to put
some more of the body together, I sat a rear guard on and quickly worked out
how they bolted and the nuts and nut holders inside that were needed.
sat the windscreen frame on, then also realised what the 2 triangle brackets in
the box were for, as they were needed to go in behind the body onto the wood .
I sat the doors on, but couldn’t screw the hinges on as I didn’t have the
correct wood screws (still to get) .
I put the bumpers on front and back and
found out I was missing one front chrome bolts and 1 rear bracket needs a weld
repair. I put a few Bolts in the spare wheel holder and found out I need a new
tail/Brake light lens. I also have no headlight lens’s and the backs are pretty
Ok so it’s now mostly sitting together but
not bolted firmly and has cost me some glue for the steering wheel, a small tin
of cream touch up paint and a tin of black kill rust (for the spare wheel
holder and painted the back of the headlights black for now).
Hows it looking?
Now I am itching to get the motor started.
I went and bought the correct 6 volt
battery, hooked it up, the starter button was wired up but that was all..so
Iput a wire from the coil to the
battery when I wanted to start it.. checked fuel vacuum canister and it was
dirty as... pulled the canister apart, not sure how it was to go back together,
but found a diagram on the net,
cleaned it out sprayed carby cleaner in the carby and manifold put some fuel in
the canister and turned it over and it started.. yip pee.. I was stoked..
The next day ( 3 weeks after it was purchased ) I drove it to the letterbox and
back , it was only 20mtrs each way...heh but it was a milestone for me. Video
is on You Tube
Ok not much done over the Xmas brake
unfortunately, not because I didn’t want to, but more because I couldn’t get
hold of anything or anyone during the silly season period.
I manage to fix up the steering wheel
levers, cruise control (idle) and timing, as well as hooked up a choke cable.
I picked up a good set of running boards
cheap, so they are now ready to go on.
I have gone and seen a club member and
inspected a couple of his cars, and soon found out I was missing
1) The rear steel floor tray (I
thought it was wooden boards missing)
some wood between the tray and
The Corner brackets for the Tub
that hold the Canopy.
He was kind enough to lend me a wood frame for me to copy. The next
Saturday I took some measurements and went to Mitre 10 to buy some Tassie oak (That stuff is expensive). My local
Mitre 10 even shaved them down to the correct thickness size at no extra
charge. By the end of the day I had the pieces I was missing all cut out shaped
and ready to go on.
Borrowed wood for sample
New missing bits made
Ready for steel tray
Actually there was one helpful place open
early January , “The Filling Station” in USA,
I placed an order on line the 7th Jan and received them at home in Sydney on the 14th Jan, I
thought this was pretty damn good! I was very excited to see them come..
couldn’t believe how cheap they were, even with postage.
The New Parts from the filling Station in USA
As for the rear tray, I have placed an
order locally and I wont get that until about 16th Feb. So move on to something
else. The corner brackets , no luck yet, I have put a free ad on Gumtree but no
I have tried polishing the backs as they
were really yellow, but it didn’t do anything at all. Remembering that a guy in the club told me that they were Silver
and not to get them chrome plated, I found this Silver rejuvenator stuff on
Ebay, and thought I would give it a go.. Well well....... to my surprise this
stuff actually worked...J and I only used 1/4 of the bottle.
As for the ribbed glass , I found some also
on Ebay $16 each in SA, and then I purchased some NEW6 Volt halogen globes at only $7.95 a Pair
delivered from England,
yeah Ebay again.. SO headlights will all be ready.
The body isnt too bad, The valance panels
were new so I painted them with a gloss black, the guards have a few dings and
bog on them, so I cleaned them up as much as an inexperience person can do, and
painted them with a flat Black. The doors bonnet and rear tub are a cream, with
some scratches, which again I wasn’t going to worry about for now, I took a
door down to VG Auto paints and they mixed some paint for me the same
colour(hopefully) as I need this to paint the side panels between the doors and
the dash and front body cowl thingy, as these were all in primer or bare metal.
rear of one of the side panels needed welding as it had too much movement on
the lower jion section, which couldn’t be filled. The underside of all guards
and panels I painted with the under body sealer rust provention black oily
paint. Which is hard to get out of clothes if you accidently get some on your
good stuff. (sorry wife)
I have just found out that the left side
panel is sitting 15mm further back than the right, which means the passenger
door wouldn’t close properly, and if it did, it would have a big gap. All the
wood on this car has also been changed.. Luckily I am able to unscrew, de nail
the whole side wooden section and move it forward 15mm. On doing so I found the
seat was 15mm back on one side, yep sitting on an angle ... but I managed to
have it all fixed and square in one day. I am just so glad I found it now and
not after I have done the upholstery.
To be continued...........................................