Liz Swain 4:24 p.m., May 24
My 1952 Styleline Deluxe spent the winter and spring sleeping in the garage under a layer of dust. The only time it got any attention was when I needed to get out of the house to actually hear a phone call over the din created by my small sons. I’d sit in the passenger seat, barely paying attention to the caller, dreaming of the day that I’d be able to cruise my ’52 again.
The to-do list:
Wiring: install the complete Rebel Wire harness. The car was 6 volt, the new engine was 12 volt so it needed all new electrical.
Exhaust: the fresh 250 Chevy engine from a ’72 Pickup has a split exhaust manifold; the car needs exhaust pipes to match. I figure that one straight pipe and 1 with a 24” glass pack should sound killer. My buddy David at Chappelle’s Customs will be taking care of that job. He is also going to install a hidden trailer hitch (but he doesn’t know it yet).
Throttle assembly: there is nothing currently mating the gas petal to the pair of glass bowl Holly carbs. In the past I used a b-body Mopar gas petal assembly, the same setup should work nicely on my ’52.
Small bits: The transmission needs a kickdown, the pan bolts tightened, and a bunch of ATF. There are a few things that are needed to finish the brakes. The starter needs to be installed. I need to get the flex-fan and spacer bolted up. The 250 needs oil and to be fired for the first time. There are more small items on the list…
A couple of weeks ago, my friend Karl and I talked about him helping me with the wiring. I kicked around the idea of taking it over the Broadway Auto Electric; they have done good work for me in the past. When Karl offered to do the work for a few carne asada tacos I figured it was a deal that was too good to pass up. I told him that I wouldn’t let him work for tacos, though.
The first Saturday that Karl and I both had free, we were at it. All the old, crunchy, cloth wrapped wires were pulled out. Up under the dash by the gauges, Karl found this desiccated beetle that must have crawled up there and died when the car spent all that time digging for mummies in Egypt. I saved it somewhere in the kitchen; I wonder if my wife has found it yet.
We hit Nando’s taco shop, then were back at it. The old, Delco-Remy voltage regulator was removed from the firewall and the new fuse-block mounted on the inside of the car. Everything mounted up nicely, when you look into the engine compartment, if you didn’t know any better, you would think it was all stock. Karl mounted up the cool new turn signal setup that I got at The Early Ford Store.
The rest of the afternoon was spent pulling wires to the proper install spots on the sedan. We tried to get the wiring for the rear end to go through the stock run in the headliner, but decided to not F it all up and just run them under the car.
For a month or so my ’52 sat in the garage looking like one ladle of marinara short of spaghetti dinner. Karl had been out of work when we started. He found a job, so we had to put the next work session off until he had some time.
July 3rd we hit it again. The gauges were out and Karl started to re-wire all the light sockets. He setup a soldering station on my work bench and went to it. Man, does he do good work! Every piece of old wire had to be removed, the connectors cleaned, then the new wire was soldered in. A little heat shrink tubing and on to the next part.
While he was working, I got busy painting parts and installing the grill, mounting the coil to the firewall and a few other odd things that needed to be done.
Our wives ran out to grab lunch and I watched the boys ride scooters in the front yard while Karl continued to solder away.
We made plans to work again on Monday and Karl took off.
I took some time to wipe the thick later of dirt off my car. Mario’s garage is always full of dust from grinding, welding and bodywork. My garage is just dusty from the big field behind the house. I had not cleaned my sedan since November!
Using a wet washrag, I slowly cleaned one section at a time, careful not to grind the paint too badly with the layer of abrasives that were resting there. There was a beautiful 1952 Styleline Deluxe under the filth! It sure was good to see my car again.
I finished cleaning the garage just in time to make dinner.
The 4th of July was uneventful, I ended up with the bad burrito blues.
On Monday the 5th, Karl hit it pretty hard. He was able to get most of the under-dash wiring finished, the gauges were finished and the turn signals were wired up. I took the cover for the old voltage regulator, cleaned it up and drilled a big hole in the bottom. The horn and headlights will be run off relays and the cover will make a great hiding spot for the ugly, new technology. I also painted the new Hella 12 volt horns. I can’t believe that they thought bright red plastic was a good idea.
After searching all over my garage, I called Mario and asked him to look one more time for the missing bag of bolts that I needed to re-install my bumper and grill. We had pulled them back in December to remove the stock 216 engine and they had been misplaced. 2 hours later, he sent me a text – He had the bolts and screws!!
A few trips to the parts store and 1 to Home Depot for more solder were the only other events of the day.
Maybe one more work session and the wiring will be complete!
More to follow… - Joe