Well, this weekend saw some good progress on getting The Green
Car into shape. Saturday, Rob Keller came by with his very straight
'64 MGB; I demonstrated my bodyworking skills on the only flaw
on the car (it appeared that a pole or heavy beam had fallen on the
driver's side fender, making two nearly parallel creases in the
metal and cracking off the paint). After a few minutes with the
hammer, the fender profile was very close to normal; I left it a
little low so that one could either fix it properly with a good
set of hammers and dollies, or simply use a very small amount of
body putty (not even bondo) and sand it smooth. Rob was duly
impressed, so we took the bonnet off The Green Car and Rob gave
me a very encouraging ride in his '64. Good to be reminded of
why I'm doing all this... I just wish my dash and door caps
were as cool as the early ones! I set out after that for a
shakedown cruise in my new acquisition, which I'm still trying
to peg; it's either a poor-man's E Type or a rich man's GT6.
If the California plates wasn't limited to strictly alphanumeric
characters, I'd consider getting it plates that read GT6++, but
I'm tempted to borrow from Ed's plates on his M-word and call
it "JPNZ GT6." Or there's Rob's comment on seeing it: "Well,
it's half an XJ-S anyway!" (Just remember, guys and gals, I
didn't trade a British car to get it!)
Sunday saw Tim Pettenati and Daren Stone arrive, Tim in his
beautiful and melodious Jensen-Healey and Daren in the famous
Redcar. We moved Miq's equally famous Car Zero out of the
garage to have room to work on my B, and realized that we had
left the tow rope and video camera at Daren's house. Too bad;
we were going to make a video that started out with us looking
sadly over the disassembled engine in The Green Car. Dialog:
Scott: "Gee, I guess I'm not going to get to go on the Britcars
tour with you guys, it's just not coming together..."
Daren: "Hey! Let's drive Mikey's car! He's in Oregon! He won't
Cut to Car Zero accelerating off down the street, leaving wide
stripes of Goodyear autocross slicks in its wake...
Tim wrestled manfully with the B's starter, and eventually we
got it out of the car. He also identified what might be a
cause of an intermittent starting problem I've been having,
viz. a broken wire to the starter. Charming. I'll strip it
and solder it to the connector before it goes back in.
We got all the bolts off the motor, the mounts, and all other
entanglements. Drained the oil, took off the oil cooler lines,
took out the radiator shroud and radiator, drained the coolant...
and realized I couldn't find the chain to hook to the top of
the motor to pull it out.
So we adjourned after a few more ESBs, pushed The Green Car back
up into the garage, and cleaned off as best we could. I tried to
think of another excuse to take Odette out for a drive, but could
only manage a short one.
And I had the best reminder of the weekend about why I'm doing
this to the green car: Tim's Lotus-powered Jensen sounded just
wonderful as he motored down the road in the late afternoon sun.
Daren and I nodded and smiled over the way it sounds.
Then Daren started the Bugeye. We're all nuts about our own cars
for whatever reason, but for me, one big factor is the way the stupid
BMC three-hole exhaust sounds. It's an unmistakable sound. As W. C.
Fields once said about sex, "There may be better things, and there
are definitely worse things, but there is nothing exactly like it."
When Daren accelerated away, I had to run back into the garage to
get the wire-wheel hammer to pound down the goosebumps. One of
I spent Sunday making some much-needed improvements to Odette. I
put some Lexol on the leather seats, installed a Wheelskin, and set
the tire pressures to 32 PSI at all four corners (up from 17 psi
where they'd been set at the dealer's lot). What a difference.
New tires and shocks can now wait months instead of weeks, and I
suspect that unless I take the car on course at Crow's Landing (a
naval air station with roughened concrete, which gives excellent
traction but eats tires at an alarming rate), the new Y382s that
the previous owner put on will last me, as street tires anyway,
for a couple of years.
It's still eerie, though: I've had that car three days now, and
there isn't a drop of oil under it. I checked, and it's actually
full. Just doesn't seem right... On the other hand, it's got
one thing that's almost familiar. When you close the door, the
interior lights don't turn off right away, but rather they stay
on for about five seconds and then slowly dim to nothingness
over about ten additional seconds. Cute, but hey, I've had
cars that did that when you left the doors OPEN!
About 6:30 Sunday, Kim and the girls arrived. Torrey, bless her,
as interested as she was in the shiny white 280 ZX, still went up
to the MG (which has been down for two months now) and patted
it gently on the passenger's side door. "I remember this car,"
Torrey said. "THIS is my favorite car. We used to take it to
school all the time." I showed her the motor and told her my
plans, and she reserved the first ride in it when it's running
The best news is that now that the Biscuit Tin of Steel is out of
my life and I have an enjoyable car to commute in, I don't feel
so rushed to get a motor back into The Green Car with all haste. So
I'm currently entertaining the thought of preparing it for either
vintage or Solo I use -- actually, Solo I has a vintage class, which
might be enjoyable. That'll mean cleaning off all the old crud
and painting the engine bay, working more on the cosmetics, and
doing the rest of the brakes and suspension (including the installation
of my heavy-duty shock valves). Then in a year or two, maybe Daren
and I can drive to La Carrera in tandem and you folks will hear
two accounts, one about Redcar and one about The Green Car!
Many, many, many thanks to Rob, Daren, and especially to Tim, who
was the oiliest guy in the garage this weekend. Wouldn't have been
able to do it without your help; the SOL come through again!