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Comet Tales


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

It is time to update this page. Well, it is way past time to do it. Summer is hot and rainy here in Nebraska. We had a water event (flash flood) in Fremont, Nebraska. Our street was a flowing river for several hours after the rain stopped. Hadn’t seen that in the 25 years we lived here. Well, that meant moving some things out of the basement to lay new flooring. Yep, into the garage where all car activity came to a halt. Sometimes it is hard to find the space even when you have the time. I thought I would have a lot more time after retiring from my regular job, but no, I just get older so it takes longer to do each thing. So time does not equal getting things done.

On the other hand, plugging along, some things are getting done. The parts I bought in Phoenix for the Comet have been taken apart and are getting ready to replace rust. It is always a choice of how much of the replacement sheet metal to use, what to fabricate new and how to maintain or increase structural strength in the uni-body car. This is not going to be a “completely original” restoration. More of a case of creating a nice driver while maintaining the overall 1965 Cyclone. However, I like to do the upgrades that can be removed if someone wants more of an original.

My big news for the months of June and July, a 1940 Ford Coupe. In the car talk there is an article about the ’40 Ford Sedan I drove to school. But, like a lot of guys, I really wanted a coupe. And, in the 1960’s it would have been reasonable. But I just never found one and over the years they became expensive to say the least. Usually they had been worked over or partially restored so there were and are few that are mostly original. I was at a sale in Minnesota where an original ’40 Coupe that would at least start up (although it didn’t run long enough to get to the purchasers trailer) brought $20,000. Then in June I was at a sale near Omaha Nebraska and a ’40 Ford coupe was my prime interest. It has some bad floors and needs brakes. It did not start at the sale but the claim was that it runs. Again I thought this is a pretty straight and original old Ford and it will likely be out of my price range. However, always willing to at least get in at the start, I began bidding. To my surprise, just as I thought it was going to go over my limits, the bidding stopped. I had bought the car!! So 56 years after the forty sedan, I got my ’40 Ford coupe.

I didn’t even have a trailer along to bring a car home. That’s how sure I was that I would not be in the price range I needed. So guess again. I was able to borrow a little two wheel utility trailer to the car got home in one piece. Since then, we have had extreme heat (indexes over 100 which leaves old men like me inside), and flooding, which means while inside I have something to work on as the basement needs re-floored. I did get a chance to go over some things pretty well. The rusty floor, while it looks bad, is actually not that bad. What appears to be a larger rust hole is really rusty seams and a missing section. So 90% of what looks like a big rust out, because of the tattered edges, is mostly a missing floor section. Easily bought or fabricated. Repairing the edges of the panels around the missing section so they will accept and hold new screws will take a bit more work. But it is flat work so new sheet is easy to ad. Another issue that really looked bad was the driver door. When opened it sagged and the lower hinge was bad. Inspection showed the hinge stuck and the door rusted and broken away from the hinge. Again, mostly flat work and mostly internal inside the door structure. Takes time, but not a difficult fix. So now we are back to installing a new battery, cranking and running a fuel delivery test and a compression test. We’ll have a good idea of what it will take to make it run after that. So we’ll add some updates later. Our overall plan is just a fun street driver and with out a lot of pretty do dads. Pretty much the car I would have driven to high school on a zero dollar car budget. Just having gas was cool then.