The Buick chassis has arrived, safely transported all the way across country. It starts and runs fairly well (the carburetor is not original and seems to lack an accel pump, but no biggie). The first order of business was to take accurate measurements. I had made few sketches based on the pat n Pat advertisement images, but real measures make well-scaled designs possible. Here’s the plan:
So with this in mind, I started doing a little rendering. It looks a little like this:
Whaddya Think? Getting the wires seems essential to me, both for aesthetics and for heavy duty. The wood wheels are in good shape, but just don’t have the right feel. Turns out the hubs will need to be replaced, too. That’s gonna be a search, for sure! I haven’t decided about the open hood sides (visible exhaust pipes) or closed (with visible trumpets for intakes: by the way – I’m going to swap out the single carburetor that came with it for 4 SU sidedrafts – partly to allow the hood lowering, partly just because they’ll look terrific!
Meanwhile, I took these ideas to Bob Ensign of Ensign Restorations in Latham, NY (www.ensignautobody.com, just a few miles from my work in Troy). Bob is keen on coachwork, and he’s willing to collaborate (that is, let me kibbutz and ‘help’ even when the car is in his shop). I still intend to do much if not most of the body-building (maybe we should name the car AHnold, Ahnold Schwarzenspeedster – of course, we’d have to paint it black). But Bob will lend expertise that should keep me from going too far off track. He even agreed we can do this in time for GR2012 (Dave is betting against that). Bob, like me, is a supporter of the Saratoga Auto Museum, the next-to-last stop on the 2011 Great Race. Now – aluminum or steel? Wood frame or metal? I have in mind that the trickiest bits – the pontoon fenders – can actually be made up from existing 30′s fenders, by pairing one left and one right into each pontoon. Here – look at these (’38 Chevy and tell me if they can’t become one rear fender on the sketch above, if trimmed, joined, and rolled under the backs to give the bullet tail end:
If we can source the fenders, we need only make the main part of the body, which is way easier to form. Next Step: Quick Check to be SURE this all fits together (and around two old guys inside).