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02-09-2006 10:53 AM Interior Panels
On this cold 25 degree day I bundled up and pulled the car outside to begin installing the interior rear panels. I had re-covered them some months ago, but they still needed some finessing. I had to poke holes and screw the top lift cylinder cover panels to the lower armrests, assemble the interior light sockets, bezels, lenses. I'm going to put a little bit of sound deadener insulation behind the panels, even though not original.

True to reputation, the reproduction stuff does not fit too well. The holes in the panel boards that accept the clips are in exactly the wrong spot, but I managed to get it to hold anyway. I'm glad I kept the original panels to look at for reference. I installed the windlace strip right along the door jamb edge. It seems to cover the door bumpers, and I'm not sure what that's supposed to look like. If one of you A-body convertible owners would be kind enough to send me a photo of the latch part of your door jamb, I sure would appreciate it.

The minor disasters continue. As I prepare to install the driver side panel, that power window motor decides to go soft on me. It won't even go up all the way. I love going to the old junkyard, but these trips are becoming a little too frequent, and it's driving me crazy because the finish line is in sight on this car.

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  [Entry #79]

02-04-2006 06:55 PM 1971 Cutlass Supreme-the steering wheel
While I'm waiting for the convertible top to be installed, I can get to work on making this blue steering wheel fit in my brown car. The first pic is my old one with monster cracks in it. Earlier, I made an initially lame attempt to patch it with epoxy, then body filler, but it was like, totally not happening, man.

I got lucky at Speedway Salvage in Madison, IL and found this fantastic condition blue steering wheel on a big 1970 Delta 88! The car was pretty untouched looking, so I guess it was original to it. I certainly did not have my old one with me to compare it with, so I took a chance for a few bucks. I got it home, and size-wise, it is a perfect match.

Tonight I scuffed it with a Scotch-Brite pad and painted it. After spending hundreds of dollars on 'interior paint' and supplies which I used on other interior parts, none of which matched, and was totally flat with no sheen to it at all, I determined that Rust Oleum 'Rusty Metal Primer', which comes in an aerosol can and costs $4, is as close to my interior color as anything else. I 'primed' it, waited for it to flash, and then clearcoated it, with Rust Oleum 'Painter's Choice' clear. I hung it from a wire to dry. Right now, it looks a little cheesy-glossy, but I'm sure it will tone down some after it cures. I'll keep you posted on how it looks and how long it lasts.

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  [Entry #78]

01-18-2006 08:26 PM Seats Finished
Wow! What a long time this took. All the seats are finally finished. I covered the bottom half of the back seat this evening. I'm putting in some serious hours on this car because I want it done for spring.

I noticed the bare frame was nice and firm thanks to all the extra springs I added, but the outer frame edge was so rusty that if I sat on it, it would hold its shape a little bit! I wanted to finish it this evening, and the whole thing took another 3+ hours. I used the wire frame from around one of the four door seats, bent it to the smaller shape of my convertible, and attached it everywhere possible. I finished with absolutely the last fastener I had, because I had thrown away the leftover bones of the other seats a few days ago.

Yesterday, I soaked the foam bun down with Lysol because it has mold or mildew. Tonight it was dry, and I attached it to the frame with a couple of rings. Then I made a mistake. I attached the cover at the rear but forgot to stretch the front over the bun first, so I had to use the sidecutters and cut off 39 hog rings I had just finished putting on. At any rate, I finally got it on, and even made a new foam rubber bump pad for the center, over the driveshaft hump. I also installed the jute sound deadener. It's an Oldsmobile, and if I want to hear road noise, I'll drive my Accord.

Here is the finished seat, it turned out well, is not quite as firm as a park bench, and now they're all finally ready to install.

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  [Entry #77]

01-16-2006 06:49 PM Heater Control Freak
More nice January weather in St. Louis. If this is global warming, I'm FOR it.

I intended to spend this cold, rainy day finishing up the seats, but it didn't rain and it wasn't cold. So instead I made a quick trip to the old boneyard, picked up some clips to install the door panels, which I will do hopefully soon. The clips were easy to find everywhere, as GM used them on Nova and lots of other cars well into the late 1970s.

Since the weather was so incredible, I got out the heater controls and put one together using my old parts, and some junkyard stuff picked up on an earlier trip. This is where having the factory service manual is indispensible, it shows where all the color-coded vacuum hoses go, and which wires plug in where. It also has diagrams that explain what position the heater box damper doors are supposed to be in at which control position. Not that I couldn't figure all that out, but it's nice and much faster to have it all on paper. Note the ongoing model of organization that is the surface of my workbench.....

Everything seems to work, except for the cold air door. I have spare everything, but could not persuade the cold air door to close. Maybe I have two bad heater controls.

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  [Entry #76]

01-15-2006 01:50 PM Coming along
Very nice January weather here in St. Louis today, sunny and in the 50s.

I installed the base of the front seat, hooked up and used the power to move it back and forth. I put the steering wheel on, pulled the car outside and drove it around my neighborhood a little. Ah, the simple pleasures....

I'm a little ahead of myself, but I need to drive it a few miles away to get the convertible top installed. Now is a good time of year to get that done. Obviously want at least the driver side seatback installed first. Mostly interior and some odds and ends to do and this car will be finally done.

Later today I'm going to go to the yard and try to find the rubber seat back bumpers, so I can soon have those ready to install, and then the seatbacks.

Last night I finally finished the spring assembly for the bottom half of the back seat. I think I had about 8 hours in just that one frame, and it isn't even covered yet. The back was as big a disaster as the others, as the '72 Chevelle sedan frame I robbed the springs from turned out to have thinner springs. So I just doubled them up with my rusty springs, and a few left over from the front seat project. I think I doubled the weight, and it'll be like sitting on a park bench! We've all seen enough pictures of that particular stage of this project, so I didn't take any more.

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  [Entry #75]

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