The Yankee Express.

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  • #71734
    Randy
    Participant

    Another thing that would need attention was swapping the column shift to a floor shift. Careful attention was paid in where and how the Audi console body needed to be  supported with fabricated mounting points in order for the front of the console vertical tower to attach correctly to the dash body and align with it. . The floor shift linkages needed to be sourced and connecting arm from lever to torque shift shaft had to be figured out for length and shape. Since I wanted to have a short throw pistol grip auto shift handle, and didn’t feel like paying $200+ dollars for one, I fabricated my own out of plate steel and a hunk of black walnut limb from out in the woods. The problem of how to make a reverse lock out/release lever was solved, after much thought, by sourcing an “Inland Shift” handle assembly and disassembling that handle to extract the push down, spring loaded, reverse release mechanism. That mechanism was then modified to fit the handle I built and welded to the handle in such a way as to align the tang with the toothed gear locating plate and be long enough to extend up to the bottom of the pistol grip so I could push down on the release with the heel of my hand as I held the lever. It was a lot of fooling around and trial and error but it worked out! The console had to be installed and removed several times while getting all of this figured out. The dash as well. The Audi auto shift lever chrome base plate had to go, too modern looking, so I ditched it which left a square hole in the console. I had a left over 4×4 shift lever rubber boot from an 86 Power Ram that mounted right in there like it was made for it. To look at it assembled you would think it was a 4 speed. lol.

    The Audi had these nice plastic door frame wiring pass through boot frames that snapped in and rubber sleeves. They also had these little rectangular lights on the bottom and rear of the doors for a puddle light and a red marker light. I resolved to move those over to my doors as well and set about deciding exactly where to place them so they would do the job and not interfere with anything else. They are pretty trick looking on that old car. The door elements from the Audi ended up on the top edge of the doors and included a small speaker, the door release pull lever and a faux wood trim piece inset. This placed the release lever another  approximately 18″ away from the mechanism latch and on a slanting upward angle. I had some 3/16″ steel rod setting around and spent hours fooling around inside those doors to get the length and shape correct to where they would release the door reliably when pulled. But they work and don’t interfere with the windows or lifts. The door pull handle/armrest from the Audi panels was another setback in that it was a piece of plastic and was mounted to the Audi panel via melting in of plastic tabs to a plastic card. No plastic in a Coronet door…

    So, I made a form from steel to fit the shape of the pull base and screwed it into the base in a few places where there was enough meat to take and hold a screw. The Audi door also had some fancy curves on the panel and the Coronet door is dead flat. So small platforms to rest under the front end of each pull had to be made from wood and attached to the card.  Getting the shape to be pleasing and ergonomic was fun. Not.

    The Audi doors also have a ‘cubby’ along the bottom that tilts out and is about the size of a small glove box. It also housed a small panel with electric seat presets. laying out the placement of these on the large Coronet door card was interesting but I came to a pleasing set up eventually that looked good and also didn’t interfere with the window glass or the seat sides when the door is closed.

    A lot spray foam went into making those Audi door elements work on a flat Coronet door panel. All will be covered in the end with vinyl.  I wanted to place a heat and noise shield down under the carpet and in the doors, firewall and roof. The cost is ridiculous.  Covid came along and we began to order meals by mail. They came with these panels of insulated foam to keep them cold. They unfolded to a rectangle and were exactly what I needed and I now have dozens of them, free. Bonus!

     

    #71735
    Randy
    Participant

    Having worked all of that out I tried to decide what to do with the back seat. I didn’t want one.

    I was looking at B Body interiors and came across a 67 Plymouth Sport Fury. The rear seat topper is a plastic formed piece that resembles a set of wings and hugs the tops of two bucket seat backs. perfect! i bought one from a friend and propped it up behind my Volvo bucket seats on a cardboard tube resting atop the quarter window frames. Then i sat around thinking about how to close out that space from the topper to the rear glass. The topper dips down in the center to a tray about a foot wide and 3/4″ lower than the ‘wings’. This reminded me of a 59 Corvette roadster panel set up. I thought that I could manage to hammer into shape a set of sheet metal panels that bowed to match the shape of the seat topper ‘wings’ and a tray for the center section. So I got the metal and got to it. After three iterations I had a working mock up. It’s in a photo above in this thread. This gave me a covered space to place the battery box, a spare tire and other stuff. The front to rear width of the Audi dash being so wide worked out because that placed the seat backs right even with the rear edge of each door opening and coincided perfectly with the seat topper positioning too. The panels will be covered in vinyl as well.

    The Audi steering wheel shaft had to go and I bought two Flaming River ‘D’ shafts and a Borgeson shaft knuckle and connector. Cut and paste later and it hooked together just fine. The telescoping and tilting wheel even works.

    Back to the outside of the car another Coronet feature I disliked were the fake side scoops.  What street car needs side scoops on it anyway? Rather than cutting them out I decided to ‘open them up’ by curving the lead in panel to each one inward about 1 1/2″ and finishing them off with a wire mesh. I got the idea from Chip Foose’s Imposter Impala front fender openings. Hey, if it’s good enough for the Ridler Award winner. It’s good enough for the Express too.

    Next up was ditching the gigantic gas filler door on the left quarter panel. What an eyesore. Why didn’t they put it under the rear bumper like everyone else? I removed the spare tire well from the trunk floor intending to do just that but suddenly had another idea. What if I placed a fuel cell in the trunk and pop up motorcycle caps on top of the quarters near the trunk corners? Would it work, look good? It Does. In spades.

     

    #71736
    Randy
    Participant

    I got the idea for the filler caps from watching an episode of Kindig-It’s Bitchin Rides. They installed this pop up cap in the rear Pontiac round medallion on the quarter. The medallion became the gas cap. It was super trick and I was sold. Having just one on the left side looked awkward so for the sake of symmetry i placed another on the right. Both lead into the fuel cell. One flat trunk floor later and done. I tubbed out the rear wheel wells. Moved the leaf spring mounts under the frame with a Mancini Racing relocation kit. This gave me 15 1/2″ of width in the wheel wells. big shoes….

    Another 67Coronet feature I disliked was the design of the tail lights. While I liked it that they extended the trim all of the way across the rear face it was overblown design wise. Had they not ever SEEN a 1966 Thunderbird before?

    The tail lights were a hit. Why didn’t they incorporate the 66/67 Charger lights into the Coronet? Massive, massive fail IMHO.

    So I resolved to rebuild the rear of this car to accept the 66 T Bird light bar and trim. The Coronet trunk flowed down from the lid to the top of the rear bumper and the center trim section of the tail light treatment bolted to the trunk face overhang. Ugly with a capitol U.

    I cut the entire rear face of the car out and tossed it aside. I pulled the quarter tail extensions off and set them aside as well. The T Bird light bar/base was set into place and  I sat around thinking up how to rebuild everything around it so the trunk would close and seal. It was an involved design that took a long time to fabricate. Lots of parts.  It had to look good, fit in with the overall car look, operate correctly and be water proof. I spent the whole summer of 2018 working on the ass end of this car. You can see in the photos above that it worked out pretty well indeed. It’s a ‘one off.’ The look reminds me of the “Millennial Falcon” space ship rear end as it flies away from the spaceport.

    To complement that tail light look I needed a different bumper than the ugly stock one. I looked at many but kept coming back to the 70 Road Runner rear bumper. I had seen a Road Kill Garage Road Runner with the exhaust placed in the those oval back up light mounting holes in the bumper. Super trick. Again, I was sold. So I hit up Gary again, as he was in the process of building a Plymouth Super Bird 1970 Road Runner and would not be using the bumper he had.

    I hung it on the rear of the Coronet and stared at it, trying to figure out why it didn’t look right.

    Finally it came to me that the ends were short of meeting the extension curves. It had to be lengthened. I ended up doing it twice to get it to just the right length where the upsweep of the bumper ends flowed directly into the upsweep of the extension sides. Once right, it was sublime. It just looked like it came from the factory. It looked “right”. It reminded me of Troy Trepanier’s 57 Ford Del Rio wagon where they lengthened the doors and tilted the B pillar to match the rear window pillar angle. It just looked right. Perfect design. The Coronet bumper mounts wouldn’t work with the Plymouth bumper and the Plymouth mounts were the wrong size to place the bumper where I needed it to be. So there was some fabrication to correct that issue as well. The bumper also had to be re-bent at the ends to meet up with the Coronet quarters snugly. The quarters had to be cut out around the bumper ends and reshaped to match them and reinserted on the quarters. I wanted the trunk lid to be on gas lifts so I bought a set of lifts and fabricated the mounts to make them work. The mount blocked the placement of the gas tank filler tubes so I cut holes in the mounts for those tubes to pass through them. trick.

     

    #71737
    Randy
    Participant

    The engine is a 1972 440 Magnum big block Chrysler motor from a Charger. It came with the aforementioned 1986 Power Ram truck and was the reason I bought the thing. I wanted that particular motor. I knew that a local car lot owners son had stuffed that mill in between the narrow truck frame rails after hopping it up many years ago. He raced around with his hair on fire for years in that truck. I saw it sitting one day at a local junkyard while looking for a dash…I asked the owner, What would he take for it? $700 bucks cash. I bought it after checking that the motor turned over and ran.  Turns out that the motor had a cam lobe flattened out and the lifter cupped. The old Crane Cam was toast. But…..the engine was fine. Had a forged steel crank at 0.10 over stock, heavy six pack rods, TRW pistons, the Crane Cam, lifters, dual springs and titanium 10* locks. HP push rods and exhaust manifolds. An Edelbrock RPM intake and a 750 CFM Dual feed carb. Taylor Racing 8mm plug wires and a Mallory electronic distributor. Chrome timing chain cover, valve covers water neck etc…I parted out the entire truck except the radiator, engine and trans cooler.

    The engine sat around the shop for a year or so next to a motor home 440 on another stand. I sold the MH 440 and sent the 72 big block up state to RPM Racing Engines for some TLC. The crank got polished the block align honed, cylinders, squared up , decked and a head repaired where a freeze plug hole was boogered up. They sourced the best rings, pistons, and seals for it, along with a HV Melling oil pump and replaced the cam bearings. I bought a Comp 21-306-4 cam and lifter set for it.

    I polished and ported both cylinder heads, matching the intake ports to the gaskets. I unshielded the valves and ground the angles too. The carb got a full rebuild and a new chrome fuel rail with integral fuel pressure liquid filled gauge. Ribbed valve covers, wrinkle black, the power steering pump restored and painted to match in VHT High Temp wrinkle black as well as the MH water pump, which, incidentally has a sewer drain sized water passage compared to the car pump housing which has one the size of a #2 lead pencil diameter. The block got VHT High Temp Hemi Orange paint, likewise the valley pan. My old Weiand Xcelorator single plane intake went off to the powder coater, @Phoenix Specialty Coatings, in Tennessee for Leanna to apply some clean up and bodywork then coating in Alien Silver with Black letters. She is hands down the best coater in the biz, bar none!

    I assembled the motor myself. I hope it runs…lol.

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 1 week ago by Randy.
    #71739
    Russ McLean
    Participant

    Love it, thanks for the update.

    Russ

    1962 Volvo PV544 mild custom. A 55 year old dream come true - with much help from Smooth Engineering in Phoenix, AZ (Many thanks to Ed Smoot).
    Still trying to navigate this site.

    I am the frequently deleted TrailerTrashToo on the HAMB, a little nervous if I am "on-topic" here.

    #71742
    Ian Gibbons
    Participant

    Thank you! It has been fun. mostly..

     

    HAHA. I think everyone can relate to that last part. Welcome and thanks for sharing.

    #71743
    Mild Mitch
    Participant

    Welcome “aboard”. Lots and lots on work and creativity there.

    Mitch

    #71744
    Randy
    Participant

    No doubt!

    #71745
    Randy
    Participant

    Thanks, Mitch! Yes. it has been a lot of fabrication and trial and error. Hunting down parts is always a pain with this particular year model. If you own a 1968 and newer you are in hog heaven as far as parts availability, but 67 and older? Not so much. You have to find someone parting out a 66/67 to buy the used 54 year old parts and refurbish them. Very little is repopped. Fortunately there are forums for these cars and FBBO is one that i’m a Gold Member on and they have a very healthy site with tons of participation daily. Lots of guys in similar straights looking for things. There’s a lot of horse trading going on there…

     

    Say, is there a way to boost an industry supplier on here? My powder coater is fabulous. I imagine there are many custom guys and gals who seek out such a person who is the tops in her game. Just curious…

    Randy.

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    #71749
    Randy
    Participant

    Back to the 67 Charger rotating headlights…..

    The stock motors a big ugly clunky things and they are all 54 years old. I wasn’t feeling that for my car.

    So, i sourced two 12 Volt electric motors, modern and small, with the three mounting bolts for stability. Now, for those of you unfamiliar with these the OEM units bolt to the mounting flanges and a pin connects the drive head to the post extending through the alignment donut. Well, the new motors come with a “D” shaped shaft with the one flat section and, they’re much smaller than the clunky 1967 drive post. So, I needed to come up with several tings to make this work.  I needed a way to keep the drive post, with the pin hole through it, that comes off of the end of the headlight bucket, centered in the donut hole, a way to connect that post via a pin to a similar sized shaft AND another shaft that both fits into THAT shaft AND over the much smaller 12V motor D shaft. Whew! Tall order. All of that needed to occur with in a short 2 7/8″.

    I doodled around on paper for awhile before deciding to scrounge around my garage for bits & bobs that might work. I had some 3/4″ & 1/2″ pipe thread double ended pipes around 6″ long.

    I sliced sections out of these that would slide within each other then tested them for fit and measured for length. Once I had the right lengths to attach everywhere correctly I clamped them up and drilled holes through each and tapped threads into those holes. Using whatever clunky bolts I had laying about, rather than nice set screws, I bolted everything together for a test. Worked fine. Now I had to figure out the whole keeping the rotating mass center line in place. I also needed to ensure the buckets remained spaced left to right within the frame work so the faces would align with the ends of the grill to make an uninterrupted grill across the front. A nylon bushing in between the bucket face and the axle hole would do it if it was the correct thickness.

    I figured a hard nylon bushing would work if I could figure out how to make them stay in place. I went to a local hardware store who happens to have a very robust nut & bolt section with lots of different fasteners and special things. I knew that they carried these nylon spacers.

    I bought an assortment, thinking that none of them were liable to be perfect right out of the gate.  They weren’t. lol

     

    I had to carefully sand down each one until they would hammer into place for a nice tight interference fit. The center holes though were the correct size. Bonus!

    So after those went in I assembled it all again and spun the buckets around. Like silk, they moved so smoothly. The following photos show the rough fabrication, they will be cleaned up and smoothed out before installing them. Nice set screws instead of bolts too…lol.

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 1 week ago by Randy.
    • This reply was modified 4 months, 1 week ago by Randy.
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    #71762
    Russ McLean
    Participant

    Nice job converting worn out junk to a smooth operating hidden headlight assembly. Back home (I left Massachusetts in 1979) we called that “Yankee ingenuity”.

    Russ

    1962 Volvo PV544 mild custom. A 55 year old dream come true - with much help from Smooth Engineering in Phoenix, AZ (Many thanks to Ed Smoot).
    Still trying to navigate this site.

    I am the frequently deleted TrailerTrashToo on the HAMB, a little nervous if I am "on-topic" here.

    #71763
    Randy
    Participant

    Lol. Yeah, we still call it that…

    #71764
    Randy
    Participant

    You can see my little doodle schematics on the wood table top..lol. Those flat motor mounting plates are made out of some left over 18 Ga sheet metal from a hood that I cut up. I was going to ditch the rusted out original hood but sliced away the surface first and kept it for later. I just bent them up on my 30″ brake.

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 1 week ago by Randy.
    #71766
    Randy
    Participant

    I’m a HUGE fan of the Art Deco years. Everything including the clothes, the buildings, trains, cars, printed matter and art. Love it all. These pictures are two my favorites…’ I was born into the wrong era…lol.

     

     

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 1 week ago by Randy.
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    #71770
    Tony
    Participant

    I’m a HUGE fan of the Art Deco years. Everything including the clothes, the buildings, trains, cars, printed matter and art. Love it all. These pictures are two my favorites…’ I was born into the wrong era…lol.

    Careful, you are inviting a lecture on the difference between Art Deco and Streamline Moderne.

    Bottom line, Art Deco was French, Streamline Moderne followed.  I know, everyone says ‘Art Deco,’ but it’s wrong.

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