Helpful distractions / A day at the cleaners

Adrian's '67

Since it’s more important that Jack complete his homework than update our blog, I’ve agreed (once again) to fill you in…

Jack and I set out a very ambitious day for ourselves yesterday.  We were booked until 1:00 in the afternoon on various non-automotive activities (because it’s important to have others believe we gearheads lead a balanced life) and were scheduled to meet my friend Adrian with his wife, Lianne, at the Three Lions Garage at about 2pm.  Adrian and Lianne were driving their beautifully restored classic Mustang down from their home in Marin. They were making the long drive to give us an opportunity to see Adrian’s handiwork and to take us for a drive.

I was confident the visit would help inspire Jack with ideas and give him a taste of what is possible after the many months ahead as we navigate his project.  As an incentive to Adrian for making the drive from their home in Marin, we offered to give them a tour of the Candy Store (a local car collector club).

Not quite street legal

Adrian and Lianne arrived to find Charlie and Ollie putting their refined decorative touches on the Three Lions Garage.  Jack and I were down the block picking up the cherry picker we’d need to pull his engine from Dan at Burlingame Mufflers.  As soon as we returned, we were immediately distracted by the beautiful red convertible just outside the doors. Adrian did the restoration on his 1967 Convertible several years ago and we were really impressed with the quality of the work.  We spent quite some time going over Adrian’s car and he patiently answered dozens of questions. He was kind enough to share many of his tips with us.  These will undoubtedly save us time and trouble as we continue through our project.

Grasshopper steams his pony

We had a plan to steam clean the engine this weekend to prepare for pulling the engine / transmission on our next session.  But we were having such a good time chatting with Adrian about the project, that the day got away from us.  By the time we started to wind down the Q&A session, we had just enough time left over to take a trip to the Candy Store.  Adrian was happy to let me drive the mustang if I let him drive the Carrera (and it sounded like a fair deal to me).

Cataloging the bits

After about an hour and a half touring the collection at the Candy Store, Adrian and Lianne had to leave to head home. I was feeling some pressure to help Jack make tangible progress this weekend before leaving for a business trip to London next week.  Since we didn’t get much done yesterday, we decided to return to the Garage this evening to steam clean the engine.  It was quite a sight to see me drive what’s left of Jack’s car at this point out of the Garage to turn it around (so the exhaust would be directed OUT of the doors) while we ran the engine for a few minutes to warm it up before applying the degreaser.  We let the degreaser sit for about 10 minutes (and ran the big fan to vent the noxious fumes coming off the hot exhaust manifold).   We then went to work with the steamer. After about one hour of non-stop steaming, were pretty happy with the results.

Jack then spent a few hours cataloging the parts we’ve pulled off the car.  This part of the disassembly is easy to defer and it’s not quite his favorite activity.  However, with the *hundreds* of parts we’ve pulled off the car, it is critical that they be cataloged while we remember what they are if we plan to to find the pieces for which we’ll need to source replacements, or that we’ll need to restore before we re-assemble the car. I have heard my share of horror stories of over-eager restorers getting so carried away with the excitement of the disassembly that they forgot to take picture and properly catalog and store all the parts. These poor souls end up with boxes and boxes of disorganized parts that are almost impossible to reassemble. Some of those projects never get finished. Most end up being sold as a heavily discounted collection of parts. A fraction of these ‘parts puzzles’ end up getting reassembled, but the process is ‘much more difficult’. For those of you who have experienced one of these projects, you know that ‘much more difficult’ is a euphemism for “took me almost a decade to complete and ended up costing me more money than my best friend paid for his ski condo”;

Mustang carrion

being the dutiful son of an mean and unreasonable man, Jack isolated each set of parts in its own zip-lock bag, which he numbered and indexed with an inventory list he’s maintaining in excel.  Each part is stored in a numbered bin on a numbered rack, making it easy to retrieve as needed.

We wrapped up the day at about 9:00pm, leaving what looked like a mustang carcass parked in front of the lift. It was now ready for its engine to be removed—which we’ll try to do next week before I have to leave on my trip.   Stay tuned…


  1. Ping from Adrian:

    Thanks for a great afternoon. We look forward to coming down again and this time helping with the project.

    Adrian and Liane

  2. Ping from Barretta:

    Yo Jack,
    Go with the shaker hood. Very nice refined look.

  3. Ping from Jonathan:

    Hey Sal! How’s it going? When are you going to come visit us?