Headrests

I bought some headrests from fellow roadster enthusiast Sam Griffin and they arrived today. Sam is a member of the forums at 311s.org, is currently liquidating his 1970 parts car, and is always ready to lend a helping hand.

Funny story: Although he’s a fellow Texan, I found Sam on craigslist San Francisco–he was advertising out there because there are more roadster owners out there and I was searching for parts out there because there are more roadster owners out there. Anyway, he gave me a great deal on a pair of original headrests that will find their way onto the finished car. Thanks Sam!

The Tank is Clean!

I spent some time cleaning up the gas tank and now it looks much better. I just used the hose, some Simple Green, a wire brush, a toothbrush, and a small putty knife/paint scraper. Oh yeah, and some elbow grease.

There is a cap on the top of the tank that removes by turning counter-clockwise. The float mechanism that runs the fuel level sender is attached to the underside of this cap. My float mechanism is in excellent condition. The PO may have replaced it, or it has just aged very well. I also had an opportunity to peer inside the tank and the surfaces that I can see are pristine. Not a sign of rust and no debris. This is a very good sign and now I am thinking I won’t need to seal the inside of the tank at all.

I used more Simple Green to rinse out the inside of the tank to get it as clean as possible. It took about 30 rinses before bubbles stopped coming out, but I figure the effort is worth it. I don’t want any soap mixed in with my gas. I read that it is very important to get the inside of the tank totally dry to avoid rust. I rigged-up a hairdryer to blow air (on the “cool” setting) down through the sender-mounting hole and into the tank. It seemed to work pretty well out under the hot Texas sun. My girlfriend, however, was not pleased when she emerged from the shower unable to find her hairdryer.

Next up is to prime and paint the tank and it will look like new!

Consoles

Today I continued to work on removing the interior, making my way up towards the dash. There one piece of carpet remaning resides under the console and covers the transmission tunnel.

The console came out easy enough; it was just bolted into the tranny tunnel from the inside and there were a couple of electrical connections. The radio console was a bit trickier because it had a few more electrical and mechanical connections in addition to being bolted in.

Turns out I will need to remove the heater before that last piece of carpet comes out.

I don’t think I’ll get anything done tomorrow because we have plans.

Dropped the tank

Well I pulled my gas tank this morning. Overall it was fairly straightforward. I found detailed instructions on how to do it on the forums at 311s.org and took some pictures to add to the post for posterity’s benefit. I believe the write-up, complete with my pictures, is available as a brief tech article on that site.

The tank itself was absolutely covered in nearly 40 years worth of dirt and road grime. The canvas straps (I believe they are canvas) that hold the tank in place were afixed to the tank by gunk and got pretty shredded when I pulled them off the tank. I guess I’ll be looking to buy/make some new ones before the tank goes back on.

Once the tank was free I was able pour out a bit more gas that I couldn’t get by siphoning. The gas is pretty clear, with no real chunks, and smells like gas (not varnish), so I’m thinking I will just use it in my lawnmower. That way I won’t have to worry about disposing of a hazardous material.

Now to spend some time cleaning off and cleaning out the tank. I’m thinking I will order a gas tank sealing kit from POR 15 to make the tank better than new.

No Turning Back

I took the day off from work to play with my new toy. It started off innocently enough. I wanted to peak underneath the carpet to get a sense for the condition of the floorboards. The good news is that they are very solid (though I won’t see the real truth until I get under the undercoating). The bad news is that the carpeting was fairly wet and there were some moldy spots suggesting that they have spent some time being wet.

So, it being clear that the carpet would need to be replaced, I jumped right in and started tearing out the interior. By the end of the day I had removed the seats, carpeting, and most of the vinyl. I’m saving as much as I possibly can, but anything gross is going into the garbage. I haven’t tackled the doors just yet, but here’s what she looks like now.

The seats are in decent condition. One has been re-covered and one appears to be original. I will be in the market for a pair of headrests, as mine are missing.

Day One

I met the car-carrier driver at a truck stop at 7:00 AM this morning and took possession of the roadster. After testing the breaks I decided it would be best to have it towed to the house because the breaks were just as advertised: soft. The tow-truck driver smiled as soon as he saw my new little car.

First order of business was to get that top off. After pulling it the sound of water rolling around inside the top was audible, so I propped it up outside to drain and dry. The car definitely looks much cooler sans top. I plan to invest in a soft-top eventually.

I got a pretty good look underneath and it looks dirty but good. There is some surface rust on the frame and the exhaust is pretty badly rusted (typical for an exhaust), but structurally it looks pretty good. Here is a shot of the driveshaft with the exhaust visible as well:

Acquisition

I purchased roadster #SRL-31101633 on March 28th, 2005. I had been watching the bidding for the car on ebay throughout the week and on Monday afternoon the auction was approaching its end. The price had been $3900 for a couple of days and I was willing to pay more, so before I left work I placed a bid for $3950. I was surprised to find out that I was the high bidder. I drove home, and was again surprised to see that I was still the high bidder with only five minutes remaining in the auction. Fully expecting to be sniped in the last seconds, I watched in disbelief as my lone bid won the auction! Click here to see a copy of the ebay listing for the roadster. Be sure to click “View Large Photos” to see all of the pictures.

Here is the car, loaded up for her trip from Seattle on April 8th.

This is how she looked when she arrived the morning of the 14th, right at home in the garage.


I met the driver at a local truck stop. To be on the safe side, we had her towed back to the house. The breaks were very soft.