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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Faithful Restorations

Blatantly ripped off from Tony Foale on the USCRA list. If you don't know Tony Foale you don't know one of the premier minds in motorcycle frame and suspension design. You also don't know a genuinely nice guy who is happy to share thoughts and insights about his work. Check out these books. Warning: They are not cheap, but they are worth every cent if you are serious about this sort of thing!

Those of you into faithful restorations may find the following guidance inspirational. Although written by one more interested in cars than bikes, the methods outlined are equally applicable and set the standard for others to follow. Tony

Boy, it really galls my threads when these ignoramuses go off about how the Corvette crowd is 'over-restoring' cars! I say, restored means "exactly* as the factory did it, no matter what. I spent 95 weeks last year doing an accurate and complete ground-up restoration on my '67. And, let me tell you, some of those rubber and glass pieces are *really* hard to restore after grinding them up!

For some folks, simply applying a bit of overspray while painting is 'good enough.' I scoff at this. I meticulously copied onto the mufflers, droplet by droplet, the exact overspray pattern that was there originally. Even the runs and sags at the bottom of the door panels were duplicated. Your average 'restorer' will just slap some new paint on, calling it 'original' if it is the same color. Jeeez. I chemically removed every vestige of *the original paint*, then broke it down, reformulated it, and re-applied it. Sure, I had to use substitute volatile carrier (thinner), but since it evaporates anyway, I claim that it was not originally 'on the car' when it left the factory gates.

Some folks think using the 'correct' fasteners is good enough. Ha! I made sure to cross-thread the left rear upper transmission crossmember bolt, just as the (sometimes inebriated) factory worker was known to. I removed the third from the right lower grille attachment screw, which a previous owner had erroneously installed, in spite of the well-documented fact that none of these were installed at the factory until after 3:43 pm on October 17th, 1966. I made sure to scratch the frame in the appropriate places, just as the handling mechanisms at the factory did. Some previous owner had removed the scratches, in an effort to make the car 'perfect.' What was he thinking? I even installed the #3 cylinder's exhaust lifter upside down, which was a rare (1 of 3 such built), but documented occurrence. Sure, it runs like hell, but hey, it's _original_!

Some folks get a new set of tires that LOOK like the originals, and call that good enough. Not me. I got THE ORIGINAL tires out of a landfill, ground them up, and restored them. I was able to find about 91.7% of the rubber which had worn off, by vacuuming the roadside dust over the roads the car had travelled, and separating out the correct molecules from the other debris with a mass-spectrographic double-diathermic isopropadiaphanometer molecular identifier. NOT cheap, let me tell you. But, correct is correct. Some folks put on new valve stems and caps, and away they go. We purists know that it IS important to align the seam line on the valve cap to the correct angle, just as it left the factory ('indexed' valve caps, Section T-26-B.5 of the Official Sniveler's Guide to CORRECT Corvette Assembly).

Changing the oil is considered routine by some 'restorers'. They throw out the old, slap in some new, maybe even 'improved' oil, and a new filter. Not a real purist. I have the original oil broken down and re-refined. The old additives are removed, restructured, and re-added. I even recover as many molecules of the burned or dripped oil as possible, and add them back in. This means the filter must be dismantled, which ruins the case, so it has to be remelted and reformed into a filter. Re-using the original paint, of course.

Some bozos throw in a Sears Die-Hard, and off they go. Some so- called restorers buy a reproduction 'tar-top' battery, and call THAT good enough (*scoff*). I found my original battery and remanufactured it. No wimpy replacing the innards with new, either. I melted down the original plates, then recast them in the correct factory molds. Saving the original electrolyte, of course. Now, you might think, gee, that seems pretty far-fetched, this guy is extreme. Well, you ain't seen nothing yet. I also was able to procure the original ELECTRONS which had come with the car, and reinstall them. It seems that over the years, the car had given and recieved a few jump starts, and some of the original electrons had thus transferred to other vehicles, and some from other cars had contaminated my car. Thankfully, there is an electron sorting and ID accessory for the molecular identifier, which allowed me to correct this blatant slap to true originality.

One thing holds me back from being 100% correct. Some fool of a previous owner had changed the tires, and did not retain the original air. I know, hard to believe, but it happened- some folks just don't 'get it.' Now, I have located about 24.6% of the original air molecules with the Mass-Spectragraphic double diathermic isopropa diaphanometer, but many of them have been sucked into other engines, combusted, and turned into CO, CO2, NOx, etc. If anyone is aware of a device to spot the correct air molecules after they have been broken up and combined in other chemicals, please let me know. I guess I COULD settle for some air molecules from the Bowling Green tire-mounting area vicinity, captured about 9:47 am on September 5th, 1966. Ah, well, it's only a few points off at showtime...