Thursday, June 22, 2017

Mail Call

Regular visitors to the Amberlight Garage and readers of my blog know that I get interesting emails from time to time as I have written about them more then once. From cool products sent to me for review to unabashed solicitation for "guest" blogger articles, my inbox never ceases to amaze.

The latest email was a bit of a surprise for me. It seems like more praise is being heaped on the old Amberlight Garage! A very nice lady decided to include me in her list of Top 10 Automotive Bloggers on the Test Facts website. As the sole writer and malarkey producer of Frank's Classic Car Blog, it is an honor to be featured on any list, as long as said list does not involve Homeland Security or the IRS!

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more unique stuff and articles that you won't find anywhere else!

Click Here for the Top Ten

Thursday, June 1, 2017

It's The Little Things

When it comes to working on cars, I am the king of getting side tracked. I refer to these interruptions as "micro projects". This is when you are already working on a project and get sidetracked on another, smaller project. Sometimes micro projects can balloon in sub-micro projects. Sub-micros are when your micro project leads you into yet another micro project, so you end up getting distracted even more! As you can see, it can quickly spiral out of control which is probably why my projects seem to stay projects way longer then I expected.

Another category under micro projects is what I call Domino's Law. Domino's Law is the result of The Domino Effect and Murphy's Law colliding together in a most abnormal way, almost as if a Hadron Super Collider was used to join these two forces. This bastardized marriage usually results in wallets being emptied and/or heavy credit card usage. Domino's Law is very prevalent in my latest project car, a '56 Chevy called "Plan B". Plan B seems to be plagued by Domino's Law, even though I am continually offering up monetary sacrifices in an attempt to keep it at bay. It seems like every time I even look at the car I find something that needs attention. I think I subconsciously avoid working on Plan B because it seems like when I am replacing something, all I have to do is look at the surrounding area and I will find a problem! Loose bolt, wore out bushing, missing screw, rust hole, leaking gasket, etc, etc. I think you get the picture and I am sure many of you have experienced the same thing. Well now you have a name for it, Domino's Law!

Domino's Law is unavoidable unless I were to put on blinders or worse yet, ignore the obvious. Gasp! I can barely type it let alone actually do it. I am just too much of a perfectionist. Now when it come to the micro projects, I just need to manage them better. Regardless of how many micros or sub-micros I encounter, I need to keep the original project goal in sight. Now if I can just convince the perfectionist side of me to stop being so critical of every little thing, I might actually get something done!

An oil leak that I noticed when I was supposed to be tearing down the steering linkage...


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

More Doors Galore

Stop the presses! The number one authoritarian influence in hot rodding has declared four door automobiles "more fun". That's right folks, none other then Hot Rod Magazine themselves have deemed more doors "cool". I can remember not too long ago when certain editors loathed four doors. You were lucky if they gave a nod to your long roof (station wagon), but those were usually treated with the same disdain. It seems like their new editor, Evan Perkins, has a different opinion. That or the magazine has come to realize that unless you inherit a classic car, two door muscle car era vehicles are becoming a rich man's game.

Just when I thought there was a beacon of hope for my B body more door, Hot Rod's new found lust for quad doored vehicles seems to be regulated to mid sized vehicles with absolutely no mention of their battleship sized brethren. While this was not all that surprising to me, it was a huge risk for this still wet behind the ears editor to actually go on the record promoting more doors. I have long sought their inclusion in the mainstream automotive media but there are many others that have extremely negative reactions towards them and may take to social media in protest. As for me, I have sung the four door blues before when I wrote about this very topic in a piece called Land of the Lost.

For those who think like me and can't get enough of the classic four doors, I have amassed a small collection of pictures aptly named More Doors Galore. You can view the collection here. Like I have always said, If two is better then one then four is fantastic!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

FranktoidTM No 17 - The Man Plate

Summer is coming and my man plate is getting full. What's a man plate you ask? Is it a distant cousin of the man bun? Brother to the man cave? Uncle of the man purse? Actually the man plate is all your current projects combined together whether they be mechanical, wood, landscaping, or household. Basically all guy stuff. Man plates have no room for video games or sports, unless the latter is hunting and then I want to hear a Tim Taylor grunt! Move over Brawny Paper Towels lumberjack, the man plate is piled high with a heapin' pile o' man stuff.

Currently my man plate has two project cars, a half finished garage reorganization, interior trim painting, front door replacement, and a side yard that needs landscaping, but I will probably farm that out because I loathe yard work. Pile on some regular vehicle maintenance and unexpected emergencies and my man plate is pretty darn full! With so much to do it's a wonder that anything gets done at all, but I just plug away at it little by little. The key for me is not to get burnt out on any one thing so I will bounce back and forth between projects to keep things fresh.

Don't judge a man plate by it's "size" either. It is not about how many projects you do or do not have, but rather where they place on the man meter. Confused? Let me explain. If you have a few energy saving light bulb changes and some weeding in the garden on your man plate, you might be lucky and rank about a 2 or 3 on the man meter. On the other hand if you have an oil change on tap, firing up the chain saw to cut some fire wood, and changing out the wax ring on the toilet, you just scored an easy 8 or 9 on the man meter! Be a man and man up your man plate.

So now that we know all there is to know about the man plate, what's on yours?

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

New Years Revolution

It's a New Year's "revolution" here at the Amberlight Garage, with lots of stuff revolving around. I thought I would post an update on some of my projects as I have been a bit remiss in my blogging duties. This particular post is kinda special as it is my 100th one! It's a little hard to believe I have actually written that much stuff. Well, without further ado, here is the latest:

Project Scotchlok, my '72 442, has been mainly collecting dust in the garage. I did manage to find a complete 455 big block out of a boat. After the initial tear down I discovered the bores were already .060 over! The machine shop confirmed that the cylinders were tapered and some had rust pits that would not hone out. The block was magged and was in good shape, so I pulled the trigger on 8 sleeves and had the block bored to .030 oversize. You're probably wondering why I didn't leave it standard being I was starting out "new" again. Well, when I was pricing forged pistons, the standard size was almost double the price of .030 over pistons! Besides, a little more cubic inches never hurts. The crank was .010/.010 and was in good shape, so it was micro polished. The big end of the rods were reconditioned, new rod bolts were installed, and they were pressed onto the new pistons. The entire assembly was also balanced. The short block is just about ready to assemble, all I need to do is pick out a new cam. Because I am looking at putting a hydraulic roller in it, which costs about as much as I have in the block so far, it might be awhile...
Now I just have to put it together!

Among the things preventing me from working on the Olds is my newest acquisition, a 1956 Chevy 210. As with all my project cars, I had to come up with a name for the '56. A lot of folks refer to tri-fives as "shoe boxes" and I can't afford to completely restore the car, (which was my first choice) so I came up with the name Plan B. The "B" references "box" and the fact that I had to go with my second choice for restoring the '56, hence Plan B.  Turns out Plan B needs a little more work then what I initially thought. Oops, who could have guessed that? The plan (no pun intended) was to work on it and get it back on the road as soon as possible, with safety being the priority. I discovered the front suspension was shot, along with the steering box, along with the steering column, along with the brakes, along with plenty of other stuff but I stopped looking because I ran out of money for parts. The jury is still out on getting Plan B on the road soon, but one thing for sure is that I need to get it into the garage and out of the elements.
Now I just have to take it apart!

The first major project of the new year won't involve working on cars, it will be making room for them! The Amberlight is going to get a make over of sorts. Maybe a "move over" is more appropriate as I will be moving a lot of stuff out of one garage and into another. The goal is to house two vehicles in the detached garage instead of just one and move the engine building and entire parts inventory into the main garage. (I have a lot of parts, aka "stuff") This will give me a clean room of sorts for the engine work and free up a lot of room in the Amberlight so it can actually hold two cars. Stay tuned for more posts on these project cars and who knows what else, possibly another one? I just happened to hear a story the other day about a Camaro that has been stored in a garage since 1983... Wait, I don't have anymore room, or do I??

Now all I have to do is move this "stuff"!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Amberlight Accolades

Christmas came a little early here at the Amberlight Garage in the form of some great news! I was informed that this blog has been chosen as a Top 25 Automotive Blogger from the website Thoroughly Reviewed! To say I was surprised would be a complete understatement. Not that it is that hard to tell, but I only write as a hobby, and it is a part-time hobby at that. I am so grateful to have been chosen. Thank you Cheryl C. and the entire Thoroughly Reviewed Team!

Top 25 Automotive 

Sunday, October 30, 2016

FranktoidTM No 16 - Another Incredible Barn Find!

After my last barn find adventure I never thought I would actually run across another barn find, yet alone one that I would be buying! Although this particular find wouldn't exactly be considered the "Holy Grail" like discovering a Shelby Cobra or split window Corvette, it's more along the Holy Chalice level. Not quite the Holy Grail but pretty darn close. To be honest I still can't believe that car is actually mine. These things always seem to happen when you are least expecting them. It's not like I was actively looking for a new project or even in the market to buy one, but then I heard a rumor...

Well, maybe not an actual rumor but more like someone who overheard someone else's conversation. The story was that one of the guys at work had heard of an "old car" that had been sitting in a garage for over 25 years. The car was owned by the widow of an old hot rodder who had fixed up the car originally and she still had it in her garage. After finding out that none of her kids or grandchildren were interested in it, and enough time had passed after her husbands death, she felt it was time to sell it. Of course the first question out of everyone's mouth was "what kind of old car?" "An old fifty something Chevy" was the response and that really piqued my interest. My mind instantly conjured up images of 55 Chevys and 57 Belairs, maybe an old straight axle car or even an ex drag racer. I have wanted a tri-five forever but they are just totally out of my price range. The ones that I actually could afford are nothing more then rusty, bare body shells that need literally everything. I really wanted to know more so I asked around work to find out who the person was so I could talk to him. After a bit of back and forth and several weeks in-between, I finally found out and tracked him down to get him to divulge some details. Low and behold he had just purchased the car, which turned out to be a 1956 Chevy 2 door post. It was such a good deal that he decided to buy it. Damn! I missed it!

So, I missed out on an incredible barn find, or did I? Well, the story doesn't end here. The '56 needed work, maybe a bit more work then he was planning on. Heck, any car sitting for 25 plus years is going to need some work, that's just a given. He told me if I was really interested in it to come out and take a look at it and make him an offer. You don't have to ask me that twice! As soon as I saw the '56 I knew that I wanted it, but I didn't want to seem too eager so I said I would think about it. Just knowing he was interested in selling it was driving me crazy because that meant that anyone could potentially buy it at any time. I decided to make an offer before it was too late. All I can say is that he must have picked up this car really cheap because I got an incredible deal! I'll just let the pictures tell the rest of the story...

The car right after we pushed it out of the garage.
Getting it loaded on the trailer.
The interior complete with 20 plus years of dust!
Washing off 20 plus years of dust.
Getting ready to start working on it.

It's still hard to believe that I now own a tri-five! I have a lot of things planned for it but the budget will determine what gets done, with safety being the priority, as I want to get it on the road as soon as possible. Stay tuned as I discover what mysteries have been hidden for over 20 years!