We made it back over to Paul’s garage yesterday and shot a short video update. The engine is almost completely rebuilt- and thankfully- still looks as good as it did before the break. The engine work has happened over in Falmouth, thanks to the support and space from Paul. The rest of the car is in Gorham.
The next step is to finish the dismantling and get the body off. Part of that will include taking out the windshield, which is risky and delicate. The glass is original with some good old stickers, and it would be nice to think we could save it, but the gasket needs to be replaced.
Fingers crossed. Ever taken out a windshield? We’ll let you know how it goes…
Stay tuned for the engine update video. (In my humble opinion) it’s stunning.
Here’s one of my favorite pictures of the car from the 70′s, with one of her first owners, Sabah. Inspiration!
We promised an update, here it is. Check out the history page for a little information on the background of this project.
We haven’t given up, but a few curve balls were added to the mix and slowed down progress. We’re gearing up for another push forward this Summer, and your support continues to make this project possible. Did you ever work on a restoration project that took longer than anticipated? We loving hearing stories!
Did I say I thought we would be done in two years?? HA! It’s not that each of the thousands of tasks takes that long (Murphy: they ALWAYS take longer than anticipated) the problem is that all of the things that normally kept me busy before this project are still needing attention. Seems like I have to mow the lawn every other day! And, oh yeah, how long does it take to stack 5 cords of wood?? Anyway, we are doing what we can, when we can. Have squeezed in a little painting recently, see the before-after pics. I read in a Chevy small block rebuilding book that you should paint the lifter valley with epoxy paint (won’t burn off and wind up in the oil) to make the surfaces smoother. I know, not “correct” but in this case I could care less. There are lots of little improvements (some hidden, some not) I have planned that just make sense. Radial ply tires is a big one. Blocking the exhaust crossover in the intake (and wiring open the heat riser valve) because of today’s altered gas is another. We have also pretty much decided to take the body off to properly address the frame. Much more work (=more time) but most all agree is the best (only) way to a great result.
Winter is over and we are back to work! With a little teamwork Katharine and Barry installed the pistons in the block. Driving is months away but the thought of it inspires us. Making good progress every week
OK, I have been getting antsy about not getting anything done (hands-on) lately so I brought the intake inside, warmed it up a bit and gave it a paint job. Yes, it is the “correct” intake for the (original from the car) engine that we are rebuilding and it did come back from the machine shop wonderfully clean. And there is no mistaking that iconic Chevy orange paint! We are attempting to be as accurate as we reasonably can in our restoration so at some point will try to make sure that the items under the hood that were originally painted orange are again. “How hard could that be”, you ask? The answer is “that depends”. There is lots of info out there about what was painted and at what stage of the assembly, even to the point of “correct” items/areas of over-spray. I made fun of such apparent silliness at first, now of course I am becoming addicted and am willing to spend countless hours playing around with such details. I never would have predicted that an orange engine part would look “beautiful” to me but you know….. it sure does!
The assembly date (aka the “birthday”) of our Vette is March 31, 1959. Therefore it is the next important anniversary in the cue for our family. A little celebration at that time will help us see past the end of winter (and mud season) to the time when an unheated garage is a little more welcoming. The cold weather, and the fact that daughter Katharine (my co-conspirator) sustained a head injury that she is still suffering the effects of, have stopped much of the hands on work on our car. However research continues and reminds us that there is SO much material out there and the more you network the more you learn from those who have been this way before. Anyway, much more to follow and for now please enjoy the picture (again, as Katharine posted it here last year) from the 70′s of the car and my beloved Golden, Sahbah, who happily served as co-pilot as we cruised Southern Maine. I also love this one and wish I had taken more pics back in those days but there are some, thankfully.
Katharine has removed the instrument cluster! I know what this entails as I did it once before in the 70′s. We have labeled everything carefully, the key to reassembly for those of us that don’t do this every day. We did this little project because the tach needs to be sent an instrument re-builder, we found (one of many) recommended by several members on the NCRS forum. We also need to replace the dash pad (now THAT’S a fun project) and the instrument cluster is one of many things that must be removed to allow that.
In this video Katharine and I are picking up our Corvette engine parts August 5th from NASCO in Saco Maine. Bob (owner) has done the work over several weeks. The block has been cleaned, magnafluxed, bored and minimally decked (numbers preserved!), the crank mains and rod journals ground (.10 under), heads rebuilt and the connecting rods checked and fitted with new .40 oversize pistons. The intake also has been cleaned. Bob has acquired from trusted suppliers almost everything we will need to complete our rebuild. Our plan is to begin work at our friend Paul Strout’s garage/workshop first week of September.
The turn signal housing has had a problem of loosening up repeatedly over the years. I was happy to find a fix for this in the restoration handbook that we bought. That project and the fact that the tach needs attention meant that the steering wheel needed to be pulled. Not a big job but you need to use a puller and as with all else, carefully inventory everything, draw diagrams and/or take pics. It is amazing how easily I can forget the details about how things go together when they seemed so obvious when I first took them apart! Not shown here is the horn button that Katharine has carefully cleaned and polished (and tuned up the black lettering with India ink). I saw a NOS horn button on ebay yesterday for “only” $250. Yikes!
A 1959 Corvette lived in our barn untouched for twenty years. This is the blog chronicling the renovation. Click the History link for more information on our project and check out the Media link for more pictures. We love hearing about anything restoration and Corvette related so send questions, tips, tricks and stories to Barry@smithatwood.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. or leave a comment in any post letting us know you stopped by.
Born March 31st, 1959
283/230 4-Barrel Carb
Positraction Rear Axel
Red exterior/White coves