Monday, June 4, 2012


A lot has went on since we put the car in paint. A goal we had was to get the car driving by the time Nolan left to his job as a Wildland Fire Fighter in Montana. We barely met the goal.

Some more molding done.

Summit Exhaust system in

All of the lights now work with the exception of the drivers side blinkers and the fuel gauge. The blinkers have to be a ground issue. I'll be able to sort that out. The Fuel gauge is a bad sending unit. It was new and passed my initial bench test with a multimeter. It won't pass now. I'm getting a new one sent to me. It's fun dropping fuel tanks.

With the help of a friend, we'll be putting in the headliner this week. After we are done with that, I'll have the front and rear windows put in and then put some tags on it so I can drive it legally. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Of fathers, sons and cars

My old man passed away last night. I'm left in a strange state as my son left to Montana last week to take a job as a Wild land Firefighter. My son is on a mission to become a man, my father is now something else.

I bought a 45 Willy's jeep when I was 16. I had no clue how to work on that thing. My dad would promise me help but it never came. He was battling monsters of his own during that time. I would tinker on the car and wait for help on the brakes but it never came. I eventually sold the thing. My dad had the skills to help as he had owned and restored several cars in his time; old trucks mostly. His artwork, booze addiction and obvious mental issues took him away from me during this time. He was in no shape to help me and I was too young to know how to help him or even recognize that he needed help. Many failed promises came from my father and in hindsight he lacked as a father. A brilliant artist, a dynamic character, a walker of his own path but not a great father.

30 years after the fact I am left with some serious self evaluation with my old man and my son being the measuring stick of my fatherly ability.

It would be easy to maintain anger towards my father and I have a right to keep it if I choose. Some of the anger and hatred will stay with me, there's no way around that. But I know consioulsy hanging on to the past won't float my boat and will end up making me less of a father.  I have been given unintentional gifts from my father that have proved worthy over the years. I have learned to be self reliant, strong and confident. I have learned that relationships need constant work to maintain; blood lines are not enough.

My son will surly view me through harsh eyes from time to time. I accept this. I understand my just being his father does not buy his love and respect. I have to continually earn this. I understand him and I have our "jeep" failures. I understand that to help another person grow you have to extend yourself and at the same time kill part of your self. I accept paradox exists.

My father left me with some intentional gifts as well and he had moments of fatherly brilliance from time to time. I'll do my best to leave the bad stuff behind and hang on to the good.

  • Even though he probably stole it from Norman McLean, he preached "Art is discipline". Up until 6 months ago, he kept a schedule of doing at least 6 drawings per day. His basement is packed with recent artwork.
  • I burned my hand on the mower when I was about 14. It hurt like hell. He looked at my hand and said, "It'll feel better when it quits hurting" and walked away. That single line has become my mantra for so many things and made me a tough competitor on the bike. Very Zen like.
  • He had the wisdom to send me to Ouray Colorado when I was 18. I was heading downhill in Columbia MO. Lots of drinking and getting in trouble. He knew this and sent me to live with his brother. That move saved me in so many ways. I still remember him dropping me off at the bus station. He never cried nor made a big deal of it but I could tell it pained him to send me off.
  • There was a period in my high school life that I was miserable. I would leave school early and walk thru the fields and woods to get home. In hindsight, I was very depressed. I would arrive at home and my father would be working on his art. Him and I would talk at great lengths. He would tell me stories of his childhood growing up in Hutchinson. Fishing and hunting on the "RKansas" river and all his larger than life friends. I think he was not drinking during this period but I remember these afternoons to be very pleasant. He never gave me crap about not being at school. I don't know if this was good or bad.
  • He taught me how to fish and how to hunt morel mushrooms.
  • "Don't be heavy handed with tools". I am still working on this one.
  • "Drive like you have an egg shell under the gas pedal"
  • "Life is generally pretty shitty, but there's some good stuff in there"
  • He skinned a deer for my friend and myself at 2:00 am in the morning. We hit it with a truck. I was truly amazed how he got out of bed without a complaint. How confident  he was with the deer cleaning and how patient he was with my friend and me.
  • He painted my first real road bicycle for me. Tour de France yellow with my name on the bike.
  • He gave me the basics of cooking and taught me a good cook always has a cleaning rag close by.
  • When I was in my 20's, through mostly my own fault, I was being harassed nightly by a local gang. Every evening I would call people up to give me a ride for safety. This went on for weeks. The 2nd or 3rd time I called my father for a ride, he showed up in his old dodge truck. He had been drinking. Even though it was summer, he had tight leather gloves on his hands. He did loops around the parking lot looking for these guys. I'm glad we did not find them, there would have been hell to pay.
  • I have strange appreciation for blue collar workers and work in general. Some of this comes from all the stories of dad working the grunt jobs; grain elevators, salt mines, service stations, slaughter houses.....
  • Appreciation for American Indians and the Irish.
  • He doughted over my wife when she was pregnant. He would bring her plates of garnished food.
  • He was a wonderful Grandfather to my son. My son posted on facebook after learning of Grandpa's death. -- "Hope you crossed the river well grandpa."
There's sure to be more lessons that will come to me through out the years especially when it comes to facing death. His got his wish when it came to dying. He wanted to die in his own home, no doctors, no needles, no fuss, cremated wrapped in one of his favorite paintings and ashes in a Folgers coffee can.

Nolan, I'm sure he crossed well. On a goddamned chariot being pulled by redwing blackbirds fishing pole in one hand and being handed a cold Bush Beer from Bill Branscom on the other side.

RIP Captain Jim - August 30 1936 - May 17 2012

Friday, March 16, 2012

in paint

Since we found our paint skills were lacking we took it to a pro. Poor Boys paint shop just East of Columbia.  We spent a week sanding and doing some more minor body work. The paint guys told us had we spent another week on the car, we'd have a show quality car. I'm taking this as a compliment. Stripes will be added in 3 months, once the paint has fully cured.

Nolan got to help/watch the paint process. I went on a bike ride.

Loading it up.

In the booth and a coat of sealer laid down

Youtube Video of car

Home again.

catching up - garage addon

Ok so it's been a bit. Since the failed paint job we moved the car home. I took a week off and built a better work space at the house with the help of a friend.  Temps were in the 60's all week. Not bad for the first week of Feb.

Tearing the old one down.

Muriel making sure we stay on task.

I picked the windows up on the curb side.

Engine Build and 12 bolt

Nolan and a friend are doing the engine build. More specs soon.

We purchased a used 12 bolt from a feller in St Louis.
4.11 gear
GM 3x Series POSI
Tom's Axles
Welded tubes.

In the next few weeks, we'll remove the old rear end, drill out holes on the control arms for the sway bar, box them in, put in new bushings and install this on the car.

Followed by rally wheels with new tires.
255x60-15 on the rear
235x60x15 on the front.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

2 steps forward 3 steps back

We prepped for paint and painted. Too bad it did not go as planned. It was too windy and there was way too much debree in the air. We had pre-mixed the entire gallon of paint so we shot it anyway. It was good paint practice. One of the fenders bit the ground that day. Dented pretty bad. It took a while to refix that one.

The car is truly ready for paint now.

We will sand down and begin again. It did give us pause to return to some body work we had skimped on. Like welding on the doors to close the gaps.

Getting the tail lamp/trunk panel gap correct.

Other random pics. Reprimed doors and fendor after more body work.