Jim’s Blog – Checking in with the ACC Garage

Car season is now in full swing, and when ACC’s staff has had time away from working on the magazine, we’ve been hard at work buttoning up a few items with our own cars to get ready for the next few months of car shows, cruise ins, and road trips. Here’s what we’ve been up to:

ACC’s 1964 Chevrolet Nova wagon was fully restored about two years ago, so it’s more or less ready to go at a moment’s notice. This is the car we affectionately call “the one of none” Nova, as Keith added bucket seats, a Saginaw 4-speed, and an SS gauge package to it during restoration — as far as I know, no wagons were built that way. But with its factory 283 and that 4-speed, it’s fun to drive and makes all the right noises.

That car is pretty well sorted out, but there have always been some minor issues with the driver’s door fit and the headliner, and when we woke it up from storage a few weeks ago, a couple of lights were burned out and the oil pressure gauge was leaking. So Keith took the car to Guy’s Upholstery, where it’s getting all that addressed before we really start using it again. We should have it back soon.

Associate Editor Chad Tyson has been hard at work bringing his 1967 Impala 4-dr hard top back to life. He pulled the tired original motor this Spring and replaced it with another 327 small block, and he replaced the leaky Powerglide 2-speed auto with a TH350 while he was at it. Chad needs to build some transmission cooler lines and install a new shift linkage to work that new trans. He says he’ll have it on the road soon – he’s planning a long-distance road trip in it this September.

Word is he’s going to rebuild that original 327 in his spare time, although I tempt him with Big Blocks whenever I get the chance — Craigslist is perfect for that. I already found him a ’69 Impala 12-bolt rear end core. Why not upgrade?

ACC Administrative Assistant and subscriptions specialist Cassie Smith has been driving her 1964 Ford Galaxie Custom Sedan to work pretty much daily for the past month or so. It’s a solid runner, but it needs some cosmetics, and she’s planning on tackling them soon. First up is a driver’s quarter panel — a previous owner backed it into something and I don’t think there’s any fixing it without some new metal. She’s also planning on an interior re-do, likely in its original blue. But I doubt any of that will stop her from driving the car, especially now that the sun is out.

The light resto of my 1972 Chevy Cheyenne Super 4×4 is more or less complete. This week it’s in final paint — time to finish up the driver’s bed side, front of the bed, and rear of the cab. After that, it’ll be time to re-install the pickup box and order up the remainder of the reproduction exterior trim. Other items on my list are new mufflers and an H-pipe, a trailer wiring harness, and a new wood kit for the bed — I may just make my own if I can figure out how. Anybody tried that before?

My 1966 Chevrolet Caprice rear control arm upgrade is all done. I’m just waiting for a break in the weather (and my schedule) to get it out to the drag strip for a few test runs. It’s literally ready to go, complete with the drag slicks mounted on the rear. I’ve been walking past it in my garage like this for over a month now – hopefully this Friday night will be the night I get to see if the work paid off.

And finally, I’ve put about 15,000 miles total on my 2006 SRT8 Charger since I bought it back in December of 2011, and it’s already time for tires. The Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar rubber it wears are directional and different sizes front and rear, so there’s no rotating them. Too bad, because there’s still some life in the fronts. The rears, however, are pretty much polished off. Guess that means I’ve been driving it right. I think they’ll live out the rest of the summer if I’m nice to them, but I’ll be shopping for new rubber before the rain returns to the Pacific Northwest.

What have you been working on? Post photos in the comments below.