This is another one of those “classic” vehicles that, while cool, I’m not sure who the buyer is. There’s a lot of rust, and since I doubt there are a lot of companies making restoration parts for old milk trucks, it’s going to take a lot of fabrication to repair it. It’s almost like the seller needs to find a retired milkman who has enough sentimental attachment to his old ride to take a flyer on this. Regardless, it’s still a neat bit of functional-yet-attractive design, and harkens to a bygone era – and since a lot about collector cars is driven by nostalgia, that might be the seller’s best hope. Not for me, but still a cool find.
Monthly Archives: April 2013
I dove back into my carburetor project this week, starting with the intake manifold. If you’ll recall, the leaking carburetor combined with oil wicking up the threads of the manifold bolts had stained my pretty Pontiac Blue Edelbrock intake. After tearing apart my tool box and basement looking for my teflon tape (that stuff is never where you last left it), I busted out the masking tape and newspaper. Before long, I had a shiny blue engine again:
You may also recall that the fuel line from the pump to the carb is partly rubber and I intended to replace it. I jacked up the car and rolled underneath, ready to face my nemesis: flare nuts. Yet again, my attempts to use the correct tool for the job were thwarted by a stubborn line nut that wanted to round off when I used the right flare wrench. I broke out the vice grips again and didn’t make any headway either. The offending connection is now soaking in penetrating oil; I’m going to give it one more shot before I let sleeping dogs lie for the time being.
Moving on, I turned my attention back to the carburetor on the bench, and finished buttoning it up. I ballparked the APT setting, assembled the new accelerator pump, slipped in the new air horn gasket, and mounted the air horn back on the carburetor:
It was almost too easy – the pessimist in me is starting to think I forgot something. I’m sure I’ll either think of it at 4AM or remember it when I’m stranded on the side of the road, gasoline pooling at my feet. Anyway, all that’s really left is to hook up the throttle and transmission linkages and the various fuel and vacuum lines, and we should be good to go. Unless a rogue flare nut knocks my eye out or something.
Maybe I’m just on a big car or Olds kick lately, but I absolutely love the sleeper vibe of this car. It’s got a great, unassuming color, black steel wheels with dog dishes and raised white-letter tires, and the perfect stance. I also like the juxtaposition of the airy bubbletop greenhouse and the relatively slab-sided (albeit sculptured) body. It has a real old-school hotrod feel to it without being contrived or overdone. It also has lots of new parts, and if the “minimal Ohio rust” isn’t as bad as it sounds, this is a real steal for a car you won’t see at every cruise-in.
It’s been about two months since I spent any meaningful time in the garage, and I finally mustered up the energy this week to revive my dormant carburetor rebuild. I cracked open my repair guide book, put some appropriate tunes on the stereo, and got to work. I immediately noticed that I was missing the air horn to the carburetor. As it turns out, I had soaked it in Chem-Dip back in February, drained the cleaning fluid, and left it in a sealed metal bin under the workbench. Unfortunately, since I neglected to rinse off the dip residue, it had dried to a crusty, sticky coating. Cursing myself, I spent the next 2o minutes re-cleaning the part. I liberally hosed everything down with aerosol carburetor cleaner (only squirting myself in the eye twice!) and then blew everything dry with some compressed air.
Moving on, I mated the carburetor baseplate to the main body with a new gasket, screwed in the larger jets from another Q-jet I had lying around, reseated the accelerator pump check ball, installed the fuel inlet, dropped in the needle and seat, hung the float and set it at precisely 1/4″ below the gasket surface, and gingerly installed the power piston and primary rods – which tested my patience by refusing to drop down through the main jets.
With that done, I’m probably about halfway finished with this thing and it should be leaking gas back onto my intake manifold in no time.
Deathtrap alert – although I think the seller’s own words say it best, “yes you can get it to wheelie!” Any time you see that in a car advertisement, you know you’re on the right track. I also appreciate his blunt honesty: “I don’t need the money, just got a bug up my butt for something different.” I like that. It’s yellow, it’s got big wheels and tires, and it has to sound like Zeus gargling a chainsaw. 15 large isn’t couch cushion money, but this looks like a whole lot of fun – or fright, depending on your disposition.
Yes, this is your Father’s Oldsmobile. And I just realized I’m referencing an ad campaign from over 20 years ago f0r a car brand that’s been defunct for a decade. I’m not sure what that says about me, but I do love the GM “bubbletop” roofline of this era, especially on the less common Buick, Olds, and Pontiac cars. The car is complete and drives, but I’d want a closer look at the “weak” paint and interior; it’s nice that the car is mechanically sorted, but the real money lies in paint and interior work (which the average hobbyist can’t do alone). Either way, I think $12,500 is a bit on the high side – NADA values are nice, but that assumes an interested buyer with cash in hand. I don’t see much call for off-brand non-muscle cars with bad paint and interiors. Still, for the right price, I’d have no problem driving this one.