Kerry's '73 Restoration - Part Eighteen

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Weather is wonderful this week!  What a day to drive an Imperial!

Unfortunately the battery was dead.  It had been soft but I attributed it to lots of time with the doors open testing.  This was a supposedly new 850 amp battery that I paid an extra 50 bucks for when I bought the car.  Oh well, a quick trip into town revealed a dead cell so a new battery was soon in the trunk of my little Mustang (won't quite fit in the Imp trunk)

Well, everything is about finished.  I need to get the windshield leak fixed and decide about a vinyl top.  I can order a top from JC Whitney for about 140 bucks after shipping but I'm concerned about installation.  Concrete and Contact Cement do not care about good intentions.  One slip and the top is ruined.  Calling around resulted in a wide range of price estimates 350 to 225.  The place that gave me 225 was the place I expected to be the highest, a local custom shop that has a great rep.  Plus it was right around the corner from the windshield shop I wanted to try.

First stop was the gas station where 30 bucks filled the tank.  It was pretty empty because it had not been filled since I got the car last year and I had run the engine a lot in the shop. She ran great.  Cranks over a little but I'm still getting used to her.  I have no hood or trim, only the rear bumper and tail lights.  The front turn signals are mounted to the top of the headlights with cable ties.  Looks weird but is legal and gets the job done.  Having the hood off is the ONLY way to do any serious work under the hood.  Plus it might save me a few bucks if the windshield has to come out since there is no trim or anything in the way.

The custom shop looked over the car (very positive comments).  The new buckskin top was ordered and should be in by next Tuesday.  Installation is scheduled for Wednesday (hope hope).  This would give me two days to get the trim on and finish up any odds and ends before the trip to Anniston.

Next stop was the windshield shop.  Safelite had handled my company car and done several chipped and broken windshields over the years.  The shop was empty and the owner casually said, "95 bucks" remove and replace the windshield.  Have it here in the morning"  I asked if he could do it today and he said no but he walked back out to the car and admired it for a while.  I pointed out the area that was leaking and said "I didn't know if you could reseal the top or what..."  He replied, "Well, I can cut out the old gasket and paddle in new urethane.  Probably work."  

Thirty minutes later it was finished.  "What do I owe you?" I asked.  "Oh, nothing...really nice car", he said.  I love it!  Worst case will be it still leaks and I have to have the window pulled.  

Time to put the hood on.  By the time I got home my son was back from work and a neighbor was home.  Between the three of us we got the hood on and aligned in about half an hour.  It wasn't as hard as I had feared but having three people to get the initial set is critical.  The hood probably weighs 125 pounds.  Much better. I still have to buff out the hood but it looks great to look out over that LOOONG hood.  My son wanted to drive it so we took it out.  First thing he did was bury the pedal and she bogged bad, then the valves started to clatter.  The bogging was understandable and not a worry because I'll never just floor it from a dead stop anyway and I haven't even touched the carburetor yet.  The valves were a different story.  They had not made a peep before.  Between the hood and a passenger, we added about 400 pounds to the car but I doubt that would do it.  I'll retard the timing and see if that solves the problem.  My Dad always preferred to set timing by road testing anyway.  His technique was to play with it until it clattered just a little on hard acceleration. 

Friday I decided to work on the trim.  I was able to get all the side trim on.  The right rear piece that was on the caved in rear fender was salvageable.  At least it looks OK.  It has a few creases but the alternative was trying to remove the color coded insert and try and get it mounted in one of the spare trim pieces that have black inserts.  Or I could just use the black trim but I really like the gold trim.  It matches the two tone tan and gold leather interior.

As I was trying to get the side markers to work, all power went away.  Quickly determined the starter connector from the battery was not tight.  No problem except that the copper nut was stripped.  To make a long story short, I had to drop the starter and GRIND the nut off, obviously this trashed the starter.  Picked up a new one today and hope to put it on Sunday.  

Getting excited now.

Next Chapter...

Kerry's '73 Restoration Saga Main...

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