Monthly Archives: November 2012

What I Did on Black Friday

As I’d mentioned previously, I’ve been driving the Tempest as often as possible over the last month.  I’d hoped to make it into December, but overnight freezing temperatures brought out the first of the salt trucks over the weekend.  I did manage to give it a quick bath before tucking it away for the winter:

It’s nice to have a clean car again, even if it is just garage art right now.

I also previously mentioned that I intend to get a new exhaust installed in the spring.  Well, thanks to a black Friday deal at Summit Racing, I now have this box of shiny 2.5″ snakes to trip over in the garage:

I hope to get the garage cleaned up this week so I can start tearing into the carburetor before Christmas totally takes over my life for a while.


As Seen on Craigslist – 1981 Toyota Tercel

I normally stop my Craigslist searches in the mid-70’s, but sometimes I find something interesting from the malaise era that catches my eye.  More than anything, this caught my attention for two reasons: first, the three-door hatchback is nearly extinct these days, and second, one of my favorite toy cars from my childhood was a Tercel just like this.  It was a copper color, and it was pretty nondescript until the day I left it upside down on the outside patio.  My dad walked outside, promptly stepped on the car, and skidded halfway across the porch on it.  As a result, the car looked like it had actually been in a real accident – scraped paint, half-crushed roof, and a cracked windshield.  I’m sure it’s in a box somewhere at my parents’ house; maybe I should dig it out for my kids.

Anyway, this is kind of an odd vehicle for anyone to save for this long.  It has lots of hallmarks of the early 80’s: black rubber bumpers, tape stripes, a blue interior, and a woeful lack of power.  It probably gets great gas mileage (albeit not nearly as great as the EPA sticker would have promised), but Asian cars of this era were not particularly rust proof or all that good in a crash.  I wouldn’t call it a collector car by any stretch, more just a curio of a largely forgotten era in automotive history.  You could make the argument that we’re right to forget it.

As Seen on Craigslist – 1963 Ford Galaxie Convertible

I will never get tired of posting bright blue full-size convertibles, it seems.  Here’s another, this time a Ford, in what looks to be good “driver” condition.  Really, all you should care about with one of these cars is that it stops and steers, and everything else is gravy.  Sure the trim may be a bit wonky and the interior needs a good cleaning, but who cares when the top is down and the sun is shining.  It’s not the sexiest beast (especially with those fender skirts), but I would have no problem driving it.  Bonus points if anyone can explain why Ford spelled “galaxy” like that.


Just wanted to brag that I’m running errands in the Tempest on a sunny day less than a week before Thanksgiving.


Turbo 350 Transmission Project – Close Enough for Government Work

Since I got the car running, I’ve really spent most of my time actually driving it for a change.  The late fall weather has actually cooperated, and the car doesn’t seem to mind the cold mornings at all.  I took the car for a nice hour-long drive shortly after getting a few leaks and other minor issues sorted out, and despite the coat-hanger-tethered exhaust scraping over larger bumps, it ran great.  In fact, I’ve driven it farther and longer than I had since the night I bought it.  I still have to hook up the kickdown cable, and the modulator valve needs adjustment, and the pan has a slow leak, but it’s been pretty great to spend some time behind the wheel.

While I plan on driving it as long as the weather cooperates, I’m actually excited to work on some smaller projects over the winter.  After the long slog of putting the transmission in, I don’t want to bite off any big jobs this time around, just take care of some nagging issues and maybe make the car a little more fun to drive.  First off, I need to rebuild the carburetor to take care of the tip-in stumble and leaky fuel bowls that make the car less responsive off the line.  I obviously need to get a new exhaust installed, but I think I’m going to wait until spring and have somebody hang that for me.  I plan on replacing the el cheapo brake pads that came with my disc brake kit, because they squeak and leave dust like crazy.  The turn signal switch needs replaced, so I’ll be tearing into the steering column.  Lastly, I’ve wanted to build a small console to hold a stereo unit and a couple gauges, so I might try my hand at that too.  Ideally, none of these will require the car to be immobile for long periods of time, and I can get it out of the garage in the spring instead of the fall next year.  For now, I just need to get to work on cleaning up my disaster of a garage and workbench.  I’d take some pictures, but I’m frankly too embarrassed.

As Seen on Craigslist – 1973 Moskvitch 412

I don’t know why you want a Soviet-era Russian car (or any Russian car, for that matter) beyond the kitsch value, but in case you were looking for something to complete your Leonid Brezhnev shrine, here’s what must be the only one I’ve ever seen for sale.  Likewise, I don’t know what the current market for Cold War automotive relics is like, so I can’t tell you if $20k is reasonable or not (I assume it is not).  I do know that it’s about ten times what I would pay for the car.  Hey, at least it’s a jaunty color.

As Seen on Craigslist – 1966 Dodge Polara

I get the allure of a “barn find” – the idea that a classic car was driven hard and put away wet in some shed somewhere, left unnoticed until some intrepid explorer found it years later.  But in what kind of barn was this car stored?  It looks like it was pulled from the pig sty, not the barn.  Of course, it’s hard to tell from the vaseline-lensed Craigslist photos, but maybe you could just hose off that mud, pigeon droppings, and whatever else is caked on the body and find a nearly pristine old convertible.  Knowing my luck, that stuff would require a DA sander and 45-grit sandpaper, and all I’d uncover was some Bondo-bucket with a ruined soft top.