Sunday, September 18, 2011

Throttlers Picnic 2011

Another year, another great Throttler's Picnic.  Always a great turn out of friends and cool cars.  And I'm always meeting new people every year.  It helps to have a car at the show, that way guys will have something to talk about.

I took Bill Bair's car "Daytons", year #2 for it.  I picked a nice spot near the the cars of the Burbank Choppers --that way I'm sure to get into some peoples photos.

Local LA hot rodder and new friend Ollin Trujillo followed behind me to the show at 8:00. He drove his non-rod Toyota, but next year we're pretty sure he'll be driving his AV8 currently under construction.

Some great looking roadsters were there --this is So. Cal. after all.

Click on any photo to enlarge.

Here is a great looking 32 roadster, it's got some speed parts on it:

It's always nice too see a good looking roadster with fenders.

Jon Fisher brought his latest acquisition, a 32 coupe rod/custom build by Valley Customs in the early 1950s.  A really good looking car from any angle, and great color too.

I liked this roadster too.  Mild rodding done in the late sixties I believe I was told.

Here is a nice Merc custom, not the usual lead-sled.  Another mild ride, it looks easily like it was right out of 1950 something.

It was easy to see it has a flathead V8.  The air cleaner caps were different, no screw on top.  Really clean engine though, I like it.

It may look rough, but this 32 is all together ready.

Check out the Stewart Warner vintage smooth bezel/curved lens gauge collection above, pretty sweet.

Some of you might have seen this car elsewhere, this roadster T is owned by Lynn Bird.  Lynn is talking with Jon Fisher before taking off from the show.

To see more, check out Chris Casny's awesome photos posted on the HAMB forum, CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Sticker-Shock, Flathead Engine Rebuild - part 3

MUCH different looking then before.
Early on, my friend Ed threw out some estimates of what it could cost to rebuild my 1942 Mercury short block, and I blew it off as an exaggeration. But he was closer to the truth then I though!  Given all the repairs it will to take to save the old thing, it's the my biggest expense as yet.

After getting the report back from Jeff at Jim Grubbs Motorsports, I seriously considered dumping the Merc block!  I have a budget for the engine, and it's about to sprout wings.

Jim Grubbs himself w/miscellaneous customer wearing outdated t-shirt
The report was fairly grim: cracks --a lot of them, and a lot of thread repairs too.  Cracks from the valves to the cylinders, at least two.  The repair would require drilling & welding, then re-sleeving.  Then there were the many destroyed head bolt threads, at least 9 of them.  But the news wasn't as bad as it could have been; it's all fixable.  No cracks on the main webs to the crank means the block is workable.  The cylinder walls were OK too, but it was already over-bored to 3-5/16"+.040, so it's going to 3-3/8" bore, and that's fine with me.  Jeff thinks it'll be fine too.

So after a little more sole-searching (aka, wallet-searching), I'm going to have the work done, and I gave Jeff the green light.

Sure I could have looked for another block.  But chances are every one of them could have been as bad or worse.  Plus how often does one come across a pre-war Mercury engine?  Hardly ever... that's how.

Now I need to go shopping!!!  Man-style, we're talking engine parts!  Hold on, I'm still on a budget right? --Damn.  Back on earth again, I'm searching the internet and catalogs, and concluded I'm going to have to get most of the parts from Speedway Motors.  It's not high end stuff, but it will do.

Valves, guides, springs, head studs, pistons, rings, gaskets, and more = $924.  I bought the better pistons for $250, made by Egge.  They are nice, but a bit on the heavy side I think.  Still less expensive then anywhere else.  The springs were a nice surprise, they are Iskenderian.  But the Offenhauser stud kit was a real eye-opener, I didn't think fasteners could look so bad.  The washers are black, the bolts were that gold color plating, and the studs silvery and looked really cheap.  Plus they are a 1/4" too long and are going to stick up.  I'm currently looking for alternatives.

I would recommend the gasket kits made by Best Gaskets especially packaged for Speedway. With great additional features like a one-piece front seal and better rear main seal, and it's still a better price then competitors.

Speedway has the engine parts, but I'd say they are a mid-point between great racing parts and regular restoration parts.


On another positive note.  Gary Schroeder at Schroeder Racing Products completed assembly of my custom Sprint/Midget Type steering box just in time for Labor day.

This will literally be the highest tech part on the car despite being a relatively 60-year-old design.

Gary Schroeder, son of Gordon Schroeder, with their famous steering box (my one).