Catching Up

Last time I was figuring out what differential I had. With all that has happened since then, that seems like the easy part.

I got the frame down to bare bones and started thinking how I was going to handle Phase Two: putting it all back together. With all the old paint and minor surface rust on the frame, I decided a good sand-blasting would do the frame some good before repainting. But before doing that, I needed to make sure the frame was ready to go. I didn’t want to go through the effort of blasting, priming and painting the frame just to learn that I had to weld on something new.

I took a hard look at what else I needed to do to the frame and how I was going get there. The list seemed simple enough:

  • Weld any needed material onto the frame
  • Sandblast
  • Paint

As I made this list, I remembered I had no electricity in my garage. It had been disconnected when we removed our old back deck (the electricity to the garage went by suspended wire from the corner of the deck to the corner of the garage). So I needed to get electricity out there. But just 120v? I looked at several different sand blasters and paint guns to find out how much air I would need. Based on those tools, I needed a big air compressor. So big that 120v would not be enough. I had to go to 240v. Same with the welder: to get one with the guts to do real welding, 120v just didn’t cut it.

I looked at my electrical panel: no additional spots. To return 120v and add 240v to the garage, I needed a bigger electrical panel.

This felt like falling dominoes: before I could take the next steps on the project, the preliminary steps kept adding up. And each domino represented lots of dollars. I took a deep breath and went to work.

I hired an electrician to install a bigger electrical panel in our house. A friend helped me dig a trench (by hand) and run underground conduit for electricity out to the garage (no more suspended wires). I wired the garage for 120v and 240v. The electrician signed off on all of it. Whew.

Next: air compressor and welder. No small-ticket items there. I scoured online for the best prices, and then waited for sales. I also trolled Craigslist. I ended up getting a 240v welder with MIG capacity for $170 new at Harbor Freight. I found a 60-gallon air compressor at Menards for $420.

With those home and installed, I first set to work on the welding. Someone had cut a notch by the transmission mount on the frame, so I had the same friend help me get a piece of metal cut to size. I gave him a template traced and cut from a manila folder and the metal, and he had it cut to shape.



 I got it welded in place from both sided and ground the welds on the top to make them flush, then polished it up with a lap disc. It turned out really well.

I then welded up the upper suspension bracket. ( Same buddy had gotten the pieces water-jetted and mandrel bent for me, so all I had to do was knock off the water-jet rust and weld the pieces. Check, check.

Having decided to convert the rear suspension to GT6, I purchased the brackets from Canley Classics ( and got those welded in place.

That all done, I went back to the diagrams to make sure I was all set for the rear suspension. I started doing more research on the Roto-flex and thought harder about Canley’s CV conversion ( I also thought about trying to build my own cv assemblies, but the helpful websites on that topic scared me off.  Too much parts-sourcing.

Everyone has their own particular way of building a project car, and my way used to be to get it done as soon as possible with the least cost. That’s how I built my cars in high school and college because I had little money and no spare ride to let my project car sit on blocks for who knows how long.

Those days are past. I learned the hard way that if I’m going to do it, I just need to do it how I want to do it, the way that seems best, and if it takes more time because it costs more money, then so be it.

Soul-searching done, I decided to go with the Canley system. I don’t have the money to buy it right now, but it can wait. In the mean time, I am going to find a good, used sand blaster, blasting cabinet and paint gun, and get to work on the frame and associated parts. While I’m rebuilding my war chest I can blast and repaint to my heart’s content. And when I have the dough to drop on the CV system, I’ll make the buy and be able to get the car back on four wheels.


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