David Dodd 2:33 a.m., May 19
So there it was, a beautiful, blue 1952 Chevrolet Styleline Deluxe 2 Door Sedan. Dead. The clutch would not disengage the engine.
My plan is not to use this engine, transmission or rear end… just to roll it around like this for the summer until I can afford the big switcho-chango. You know, have a little fun until it’s off the road getting the drivetrain upgrade. Having to invest in a clutch right now is painful – I hate doing things twice, especially when it means spending a few hundred dollars.
A new clutch assembly and the install at a shop will run me at least $400. Not an option.
I started searching Craigslist again, this time looking for a replacement transmission, complete with a bellhousing and clutch. Lucky for me, the fine folks at Chevrolet used the same transmission from 1938 to 1954 (I think, maybe longer!) Craigslist was a waste of time so I started calling friends. Keith had the clutch and the transmission, Shane had a transmission… and a complete ’52 rear end.
The parts from Shane were gracious gifts; the transmission & clutch from Keith were traded for an 8” Ford rear end out of a ’76 Granada that I got from George in exchange for some website work (confused?).
I had the parts so one fine Saturday, Tony and Johnny came over to help me swap the clutch. We jacked up the car with my crappy, little, Kragen floor jack. No way was it high enough to do any work. Johnny was off to George’s house to get a good floor jack and taller jack stands.
Once the car was finally in the air, Johnny and Tony assessed the situation… after a couple of beers and an hour or so of taking parts off the car we realized that there was no way that this job could be done in my driveway. The torque tube was just too big a pain in the ass. It would have to go to a shop. Oh, well – I had a good time crawling around under my car with my friends. We buttoned it back up.
The next week I stopped by Car Connection to talk to Luis. He gave me a fair price on the clutch job. I had it towed down to his shop in Barrio Logan... a couple of days later I had a driver!
I was hoping that having the clutch replaced would take care of the horrible racket that was really not the clutch – it was the rear end and the transmission. I decided to ignore the noise and enjoy the car for a bit.
I drove it to work for the first time. It was hard to think about servers and virtual servers knowing that my ’52 was waiting for me in the parking lot.
I took my wife out for a cruise on a perfect San Diego night. We rolled around down in Mission Beach and then up to La Jolla. On the way back home we stopped by Brian’s in Hillcrest for desert and coffee. We shared an amazingly large slice of strawberry topped cheesecake.
While the car was down waiting for me to collect the parts to get it fixed, the boys had a chance to play in it. My 5 year old and my 1.5 year old love pretending to drive, bouncing on the seats or just hanging out in all the old cars that I’ve had; but I really think that they love this one. There is something special about this Chevrolet.