Archive for August, 2010

A Night with Derek Bell

Posted August 29, 2010 By jack

Last night, my dad took me to a dinner at a local car club he belongs to. The featured speaker of the evening was Derek Bell, the famous British racecar driver. In case you’re not familiar with him, here’s a little background. Derek started racing a Lotus 7 when he was twenty-three, and quickly worked his way up to racing Formula 1 cars for Ferrari. Among his most impressive achievements, he has won Le Mans (the oldest endurance car race) five times, and 24 Hours of Daytona (an American endurance race) three times.

We arrived towards the end of the dinner, because my parents were attending their friend’s fiftieth birthday party, which also marked his fifth year as a cancer survivor. Derek hadn’t spoken yet, so we inhaled our Caesar salads and short ribs (which were excellent) while introducing ourselves to the others at our table. After dinner was cleared, the president of the club introduced Derek, who began by talking about some of his experiences racing. He started by showing us what it was like to race in Le Mans; he narrated as we watched some video taken from a camera attached to his car on a qualifying lap. I cannot begin to describe how exhilarating it was watching a POV shot of him doing 234 m.p.h. on the Mulsanne Straight. Moving on, he spoke about the making of the 1971 movie Le Mans, which he starred in with Steve McQueen.

After he finished with his presentation, he opened up the floor to questions from the audience. Although I don’t remember all of them, they brought up some interesting topics, such as why he was so successful with some of his teammates, especially Jacky Ickx, with whom he won Le Mans three times. He also talked about his son, Justin, who decided he wanted to become a racer. When the questions were finished, Dad approached him after the event and asked if he could sign a few books (of course, he brought four). Mr. Bell thought it was great that Dad and I are rebuilding an old muscle car, and he gave me some advice on driving a Mustang (they handle terribly). He was incredibly nice, and he showed a lot of interest when you were talking… he wasn’t always babbling about himself. I was glad to have an opportunity to meet him.

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Improvisation

Posted August 28, 2010 By jack

Having taken a break quite longer than we had planned, Dad and I finally got some work done at the garage. Quite a bit, if I might say. While I dismembered my pony, Dad finally got around to finishing some items on our never-ending garage to-do list.

With the engine in pieces and awaiting a trip to the machine shop, I was able to start tearing out the interior. I started with the rear quarter-windows. Once again, my minimalist restoration book led me on a wild goose chase, failing to explain all of the steps necessary to remove the windows–so I improvised. The bottom window hinge cover was beneath the C-pillar interior panel, and was secured with some sealant goop, even though it contained holes for screws. Dad’s denatured alcohol didn’t suffice to de-goopatize it, but WD40 came in handy for this. Before I could get to the cover, however, I had to remove the rear seat cushion, which was most easily accessible when the front seats were out. To remove those, I had to jack up the car, pull out the bolt plugs in the floor pan, and unbolt the seats blindsighted.

Can't quite see the road...

More next time from Three Lions Garage…!

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TLG closed for the weekend

Posted August 12, 2010 By dad

The Three Lions Garage will be closed for the weekend because Jack and Jonathan are on the annual pilgrimage to the Monterey Peninsula.  If you’re plannning to attend the weekend festivities, look for us during the days at Concorso Italiano, the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion vintage races at Laguna Seca and the Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance on Sunday or the many auctions during the evenings.  Hope to see you there.

The Management

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Machine shop, here we come

Posted August 10, 2010 By jack

Ollie providing moral support from the sidelines (check out his cool socks)

This past Sunday we finished our engine disassembly. With only a few steps left, we powered through the rest and now await a trip to Al Hubbard’s Machine Shop of Hayward, CA. Ollie came along and played with his new animation software while he kept us company.

We started our home stretch by removing the piston rod caps, making sure to mark each one so we could reconnect it with the corresponding connecting rod. Then we banged the pistons out of the cylinders using a mallet handle and a hammer. I reattached the rod caps (keeping the bearings inside), while dad took of the main crank bearings. The soda bottle racks held the pistons just perfectly. Once the main bearings were removed, the crank came right out.

The machine shop can do the rest (oil plugs, cleaning, etc.). Unfortunately, they are taking this week off, and I start school next week. Oh well.

crank

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Relapse

Posted August 3, 2010 By jack

After a grueling 34 days of withdrawal, my dad and I relapsed from our sobriety and fell back into our dirty habit: working at the garage. Having been on the wagon so long, we’re putting the pedal to the metal to try and make up for lost time. On Friday, we stopped by to clean up a little, but we didn’t have enough time to do any work on the project. The next day, we brought Ollie along to help out.

Mustang detritus

On Saturday we started by removing the oil pan; Ollie took half of the 22 bolts and I took the rest. We left two bolts screwed half-way in, on opposite corners, and then pried it loose from the block using a gasket scraper and a mallet. The oil pan was exceptionally clean, but inside we found a piece of a bearing and a few small metal scraps. Next off were the oil pump and gas pump. Then we flipped the engine over on the stand, and jammed a mallet handle in the crankshaft to keep it from turning and removed the crankshaft pulley.

Dad and Ollie longboarded over to Walgreens to grab some 2 liter soda bottle racks for the pistons. When I tried to remove the crank bolt, I kept hearing the wooden handle crunch under the pressure of the crankshaft, so I switched it out for a stronger one. After removing the crankshaft pulley, Dad attached the harmonic balancer puller. When that came off, we removed the timing chain cover. The timing chain looked like it had a little too much slack, so will probably end up replacing it. With the timing chain and gears sealed up in a gallon bag (and properly labeled), I could unscrew the cam stopper and pull out the camshaft. Unforturnately, Dad was too busy worrying that I would scratch the lobes that he didn’t think to grab the camera and get a picture (thanks Dad!). After we wrapped the cam in some clean paper and taped it up, we cleaned up and headed home.

Yesterday, Ollie and I stopped by after getting a haircut to catalogue and put away the parts from the previous day.

Until next weekend…

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