A few months ago, my wife Sandi told me that she wanted to go to the Paso Robles show that had recently been moved to Santa Maria. She has attended this show for the last three years, so it really came as no surprise. We have a '69 Chevelle station wagon that is used for a daily driver, but it isn't a show-worthy piece by any means. It needed an overhaul if it was going to be seen by the "kustom kar kulture."
It's a solid car that had an amateur restoration a few years ago, but it was definitely showing it's age, and the banana yellow paint left a bit to be desired. Now, I can paint and I can do a pretty nice job at it, but I have a shop full of cars-and for first time in my life, I have more money than time (not to0 much more, though).
So, with a quick call to my friend, Painter Shak Mike, we came to an agreement: it's getting painted. While the car was off getting a new coat of paint, I started building a new small-block for it. And while I was there, I decided I might as well put a 700R4 behind it, too. Then it all started to go downhill.
Mike got his part of the project done in a timely fashion and its short stint at the upholstery shop was well within my "time budget" too, but the transmission was beginning to worry me. I wanted to put some time on the car before my wife drove it 5 hours north without me. It wasn't until the weekend before the show that I got the transmission. So, we made a mad-dash to tear out the old motor, detail the engine compartment, and stuff the motor/trans package back in. I've mentioned in the past how much I hate rushing things just for a show, but this was for my wife, you know. I had no choice.
The motor and trans went in beautifully, which is always a sign of trouble to come. We had it running by Monday, but couldn't drive it because it seemed that a 700R4 dipstick and a passenger-side dipstick for the motor didn't exist. When the dipsticks did show up on Wednesday evening, no thanks to the parts store, we drove it around with only minor problems. On Thursday, Sandi took it to work, then I picked it up after lunch. It ran good, but there was something wrong ... I couldn't figure it out.
I called an "old-tymer" friend of mine, who has a full set of Chevrolet hammers. Within a short time, we found a crack in an intake runner. Normally I wouldn't have cared too much, but I had the manifold powdercoated, so the financial hole was getting bigger. Luckily for me, I had sent out two manifolds for powder, so we installed the other one. Well, it was cracked, too! It was just in a water jacket instead of the runner, so we fixed that one with some Aluma-seal and shipped it. But then there was the tailgate rubber that didn't show up, the windshield wiper motor that miraculously doesn't work anymore, the brakes feel funny, and the ...
Did I mention that I hate rushing?! In the end, the car made it with no problems and the show was fun. I guess that's all that matters, right?
Until next time-Max