Tag Archives: automotive

Frozen in Time

During a WordPress walkabout today, I stumbled across several really interesting blog posts featuring photos of classic cars frozen in time.

The first post that captivated me was “Small Town Satisfaction,” shared by a blogger known as bluebrightly, on their blog “Wanderings and observations.” I especially enjoyed the photos in this post, sharing the classic beauty that lies in the small towns of the North Cascade Mountains.

In addition to “Small Town Satisfaction,” I also found two other contrasting posts which resonated quite well with the classic beauty of Lyman.

Wishing My Life Away shared a beautiful collection of vivid photos of classic cars, titled “Shiny Things.” I am amazed at how colorful and vibrant these photos are. The paint on each of these cars is half a century old, but still looks as fresh and pristine as the day it was sprayed onto the car.

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Photo Credit: LaNae Lien, Wishing My Life Away

In contrast to “Shiny Things,” I was also quite intrigued by “Poundshop film in black and white,” a collection of black and white analog photos of classic cars, shared with us by Imperfect Tense.

Photo Credit: Imperfect Tense

Each one of these collections brings us to a different place at a different moment frozen in time, through pictures of classic cars.

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Fixing Up the Fusion

The warm weather is finally here! The Checker Marathon is still awaiting some final adjustments, but our daily drivers need some time in the garage first. After a long cold winter, it’s time for some preventative maintenance.

By doing repairs and preventative maintenance yourself, you can save yourself a lot of money and stress, plus you can learn a lot of useful skills and knowledge along the way. It’s also a great opportunity spend time outside with friends and family.

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Today at the Rusted and Rebuilt garage, we performed an in-depth exhaust repair on a Ford Fusion. The steel mesh surrounding the flex pipe had rotted out from condensation and old age, causing a large rust hole to form at the end of the flex pipe.

Over time, exhaust systems are heated and cooled to extremely high and low temperatures, and they often experience a lot of condensation. When the condensation builds up in the exhaust system and doesn’t get a chance to fully heat up and evaporate, it can eventually lead to rust and rot, like we can see here.

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Once we figured out what part needed to be replaced, we found a replacement part online and began attempting to remove the rusted mess from the bottom of the car.

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When parts are old and rusted, they usually do not come off easily. Often times, they need to be cut off, ground off, or drilled off. This old flex pipe was pretty stubborn, but after some cutting, grinding, and drilling, we finally had some positive results.

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The replacement flex pipe lined up perfectly, but it was almost impossible to reach the top bolts.  The old flex pipe can be taken off with a grinder, but the new one certainly can’t be installed with a grinder. The only way to reach the top bolts was to use an extremely long ratchet extension with a swivel head to turn the bolt head from up above.

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After a long and painful installation, the Fusion is ready for it’s yearly inspection. It took several hours over the course of two days, but it was worth the effort.

This type of repair would cost hundreds of dollars to send to a mechanic, between the cost of labor and the mark-up on parts. By doing repairs ourselves and buying parts online from the manufacturer, we can save a lot of money, as long as we don’t mind sacrificing some time and energy.

The best part is knowing that the work is getting done correctly with high quality parts, and that we are doing our part to extend the lives of our vehicles. If you take care of things, they last.

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Also, huge shoutout to Jeremy and Matt at George’s Tire Place in Warren for hooking me up with new valve stems and plugging a leak in one of my tires. I’ve had a small leak in my tire that I haven’t been able to find for months, and these guys had the tire patched and ready to roll in less than an hour. I highly recommend going to George for all of your tire needs. Everyone who works there does a great job fixing and balancing tires, and all of their prices are unbeatable.

Shoutout to the Car Community

The Checker is finally almost ready for the road. The license plates are on, and it should be ready for a test drive before the end of the week.

As the finished product begins to come together, I have gained a new appreciation for the amount of work that goes into rebuilding a classic car. For example, this classic Volkswagen Bug is going to need a complete overhaul before it is ready for the road again.

(Classic Volkswagen Bug. Photo from Queen of Diamonds: First Project Car of 2017)

With enough determination, any car can be brought back to life. Even after spending 100 years rotting away in a forest, this 1906 Stanley Model H was able to be restored.

For many enthusiasts, a car is much more than just a method of transportation. Cars often carry sentimental value, such as Danny’s 1976 Ford Granada.

The process of building a classic car is incredibly rewarding. This post from Copart Auto explains what makes the entire process so fulfilling – from finding the car, to bringing it back to life.

Show Season is Here

After a long cold winter, the warm weather has finally returned. Car enthusiasts are already flocking to the empty parking lots of America to exhibit their latest modifications.

Advertisements for local car shows are beginning to show up everywhere, and less formal car meets have been taking place on a nightly basis in preparation for show season.

The Checker project is at a stand-still while we wait for more parts, and I’ve really been wanting to go for a nice cruise that doesn’t involve going to work or school. Today I had the perfect opportunity to do exactly that.

I had liked this post on Instagram recently, and several of my friends from the local car community had seen my “like” and asked me if I wanted to cruise there with them.

I decided it was time to take a break from all my homework, and spend my day off from work doing something fun.

We all met up at the local car wash to detail the whips, and then cruised out to Ludlow for the weekly Starbucks meet.

Once the whole crew was together, we were cruising down the road in our convoy of Subaru Imprezas and Ford Focus hatchbacks.

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The Crew:

Colby – Blue Subaru Impreza 2.5RS

Erik – White Subaru Impreza WRX

Billy – Tuxedo Black Ford Focus ST

Cody – Silver Ford Focus SVT

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There was a pretty good turn out at the meet. About 40-50 people showed up, and there were quite a few really unique cars, such as a track-ready Volkswagen pick-up truck and a lowered Toyota Soarer drift car.

Most of the cars at the meet were Volkswagens and Subarus, but the orange Dodge Dart sounded incredible, and the white Acura Integra was slammed and riding in style.

I managed to snap some footage of the meet, which I’ve compiled into this brief YouTube video.

Rusted and… Rebar

While looking at rat rods on Pinterest, we found this rusty old truck with a visor made out of license plates. We were extremely inspired by this idea, and decided that we could do something similar, but add a unique twist to it. We devised a plan to create a frame for the visor using rebar, which is a type of steel reinforcement bar that is often used in construction for reinforcing concrete. We would then fill in the frame with smaller fragments of rebar, and stitch pieces of license plates to fit over the frame.

The rebar was extremely difficult to cut and work with. Steel is pretty solid. Especially thermo-mechanically treated steel with a tempered core.  The rebar ate through several grinding wheels before we even finished making the outer frame. Luckily, the thickness of the rebar makes it excellent for welding.

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We used a straight piece of steel for the center, which would act as the main support, as well as a mounting point for our acrylic cow skull. The two side brackets were designed to sit above the side window tracks, using the spider webs to support the sides of visor.

Once the outer frame was complete, it was time to fill in the gaps. Since these structural pieces would be visible from inside the car, we decided that we should make them somewhat uniform.

The sparks from the grinder burned a lot of holes in the workbench, which can be seen slowly deteriorating throughout this progression of photos.

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Once the frame was complete, we started filling in the gaps with license plates. Most of the plates we used are from the 1930s and 1940s because these license plates are made of a much thicker gauge steel than modern license plates, which makes them more suitable for welding.

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After getting the visor welded to the car and sprayed down with our Secret Rust Solution, we fastened on our cow skull and sealed the surface with clear coat to stop the rust from venturing any further.

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Creature Comforts

Checker Marathons were used as taxis in many major cities back in the 60’s and 70’s. They were designed as fleet vehicles with rugged frames and a massive interior.

Most rat rods are bare bones when it comes to the interior. To the surprise of many hot rod enthusiasts, this rat rod’s interior is fully furnished. When we first picked it up, both rear arm rests were rotted out, as well as most of the body under the back seat.

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The floor was covered in various Bondo patches, and there were still quite a few holes where we could see the ground from inside the car. Once we got all the holes patched up with sheet metal and street signs, we had a lot of space to decide what to do with. We both agreed that a Persian rug would be the best option for a carpet.

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The original heater was also not operational, so we found an old Cadillac heater on eBay for a good price, and it fit under the dash quite nicely. Many older cars run on six volt systems, however the Checker runs on a 12 volt system like most modern car batteries. This heater had a 6 volt blower, so we had to put a 12 volt blower in the heater so that the extra thermal load wouldn’t immediately fry the blower motor when we turn on the heater.

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The armrests in the rear were still missing, so we made new ones out of wood.They’re filled with spray foam too, for added stability and structural support. The door panels were also in bad condition, so we added new fabric to the door panels and used it to cover the arm rests as well.

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The original pieces remaining in the back seats are the two metal ashtrays that we managed to save and install into the new armrests. My dad also did some custom airbrushing and added some lightning.

Fossil Fabrication

Working on old cars can be a very frustrating task. Although it seems as if this car is frozen in time, most of the bolts are frozen too. As we get closer to the completion of the Checker, one question has been arising quite frequently: “what have we gotten ourselves into?”

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After reading this blog post about the vintage car culture of Cuba, I was reminded why I love these machines so much. Some people see cars as simply transportation, but car enthusiasts see them as living fossils, preserving the technology of their day. In Cuba, it became be very difficult to import cars after the embargo, meaning that most of the cars in Cuba are restored classics because they couldn’t import new cars. The embargo has been recently lifted, but the effects of the embargo can still be seen today.

Cuba’s entire car culture is literally frozen in time. The only way for them to drive is to fix the classic cars that were already in Cuba before the embargo. They can’t order parts either, so they are forced to fabricate their own parts and salvage components from other machines, such as boats, lawnmowers, and other cars. If we take care of our cars and maintain them, they will last for generations, like the two-stroke 75cc Coco taxis of Cuba which can still be seen today.

It can be quite disheartening when unknown issues arise, eating up more time and money; but problem solving is what it’s all about. It’s a really cool feeling when you figure out how to solve a mechanical problem. Driving is awesome, but turning the wrench is the most rewarding aspect of custom car culture.

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The license plates for the Checker should be arriving from the RMV any time now, which is perfect timing since the weather is finally starting to cooperate. We’re still trying to straighten out a few frustrating issues with the emergency brake and reverse lights, but the beast should be roadworthy within the upcoming weeks.