Hot Number in Red, in Distress, Enter White Knight!

May 28, 2012

Well, I’m bummed.  Excited that the Great Race is almost here, but despite pushing hard, the little red Speedster won’t be ready.  It’s often said that in any project you want Quality, Cost, and Speed – but at best you can only get 2 of 3.  I was shooting for Quality and Speed.  The Quality is there.  And when it’s done it will be grand; but it will have to wait for 2013’s Great Race – instead of its 80th birthday, the speedster with go on its 81st (I like perfect squares better than even tens anyway, that’s why Sue and I celebrate our 1st, 4th, 9th, 16th, 25th and -this year- 36th anniversaries!).  Oh well.  I hope I can con Dave into one more run…

So, how close did we get before calling out Ol’ NO XQS, the mighty White Knight, 61 Imperial Crown convertible?  Well here are some shots that show:

In & Out the Engine -PIPES! Dry Fitting Quad Carbs

The chassis is nearly set to go – all cleaned, painted, lubed.  As the image above shows, it still needs carburetor linkages; but once I knew the jig was up, I stopped here and decided to tweak it a bit more (and meanwhile turn attention to the Imperial).  But, GAWD, don’t those Pipes look Cool?!?!? (cue Bill Cosby routine here).

Here's the Place for the Pipes! Note the hole at top center of grille (more below on that). The bodybuilding work continues on this stand-in for the real chassis.

So can you see it yet?  Imagine those four carburetors in that engine bay (oh, also imagine the body is Fire Engine Red).  Here, like this:

The Goal: a Hot Number in Red - still a ways off...

For a bit, I got excited enough that we’d finish, that I worried about an emblem for the top of the grille!  Yes, I looked for the original Buick item, but none to be found.  What to do (can’t go racing with an empty mounting hole there, right?).  I found a place that makes custom medallions, so all that remained was to choose a design (why stick with Buick?).  After some thought, it occurred to me that the ancient family motto “Forti Tene Manu” might do – it literally translates to ‘Hold with a firm hand’ (no doubt referring to defending some king’s interests or lands long ago), but in this case a looser translation seems to fit: ‘Hold On Tight!’

Here’s the design, with the Corey arms at center:

Our Emblem. I figure we can still go with this - a hand-out for kids along the way (hey, I got 100 of them)!


You can see why this isn’t done yet:

Quality Takes Time - a Detail of handformed Cowl-Door Junction

it’s become a coachwork tour de force, not just a rally toy.

Here's the Safety part...

In this view, looking back into the twin-fairing boattail, you can see the massive structure for the roll hoop and the spare tire well in the floor.  All hand-formed: time, time, time…

Boattail, Going Away

So, here’s the tail-end view – the ex-Caddy ex-fenders are in place and tacked, but this is as far as we got before calling the match.  Of course, the work continues (and I’ll blog its progress again after this year’s race blogs),

but for now: it’s NO XQS: White Knight to the Race-cue!

Our Trusty Imperial: NO XQS, a.k.a. the White Knight

So, we’re turning our attention to real race prep now.  Here at our home, Pennywise Plantation, we have two teams in prep: Dave and I, also known as “Old Age & Treachery” and my son Ethan and his navigator Nick, a team also known as “Youth & Skill”.  We hope to settle the age-old question: Does Old Age & Treachery beat Youth & Skill every time?  Here’s a shot of Ethan and his ’66 VW Type 3 (Squareback).

A Young Man and His VW

He’s done a superb job of prepping it – changing out every worn part and assuring a reliable start & run (the start part had been iffy for years!).  This car was his great-grandfather’s summer grocery-getter in Maine; and is unrestored, with just 40,000 miles so far.  Last week, he had this car in the filming of ‘Muhammad Ali’s Greatest  Fight,’ a movie in production nearby.  Youth & Skill look to be formidable competitors!

Off to the Races!




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