One of the biggest moments in any project comes when body and frame are reunited-this is almost a religious experience because it signifies a resurrection is imminent .I actually skipped the part where the body and frame were separated as a public service because some of our readers are in mid-build and… it doesn’t take much to drive unwilling car-project volunteers underground.
The ‘lifting of the body’ event actually happened several stages ago in the restoration. Lifting a body off a frame without any mechanical help is a lot like building Aztec pyramids-actually the Aztecs used more advanced technology. I decided to invite 8 of my dumbest and physically strongest beer-drinking buddies to come out and do a dead lift on 1000 pounds of metal.
This was a great idea until we figured out in the first lift that my brother and I had 800 pounds and the other 6 guys were responsible for the other 200 pounds. Somehow we managed to gently set it down again without ripping a gizzard-no mean feat because I’m pretty sure a prime time Lou “the Hulk” Ferrigno would have had his hands full.
An intelligent shift in personnel made the job a lot easier.
In other words we threw away the Daffy Duck playbook.
Wally had a better idea for the “body goes back on” part. He studied ancient Greek technology and came up with a pulley and a rope. Man, it’s no wonder those cats were the cradle of civilization thousands of years ago because this actually worked with no apparent risk to the participants-next stop, the Bronze Age.
Wally had the car in serious primer mode a few days after it was stripped to bare metal-he had the bare metal meets water = rusty mess part figured out a lot better than the legendary Right-On John. ‘P’ for paint day came really fast and we started early in the morning at the paint booth-that, in itself was huge because Wally and I were on the same late night clock so we weren’t exactly brimming with personalities full of early morning sunshine but it was such a big job time was irrelevant. I won’t bore you with the details-paint went on car turns red but I can tell you that the old Wally-meister laid down a great coat of Viper Red.
After that, Wally had to do some serious buffing and that, in effect, was it for this charismatic genius of the restoration fraternity in my world.
Yup, it was time to say farewell to Wally, the face of all that is warm, friendly and charitable in this world. I still get misty thinking about that goodbye-it was right up there with Humphrey “Bogie” Bogart’s in Casablanca but it had to happen because it was at a point where I could put this project in my own hands where the hourly rate was lot friendlier.
It was now up to me to put this Detroit refugee back together.
Was that the end of any more problems with suppliers and automotive experts?
Are you kidding? Stay tuned for next week’s installment.