I don’t know that everyone who knows I’m rebuilding a car with my Pop realizes that I’m actually rebuilding a whole car. Taking Mavis totally apart, cleaning, fixing or replacing every piece and reassembling her to be a greater version of her former self. Yes, Mavis is taking some time. My 48th birthday this past July marks two years since I came up with this wack-job of an idea. But I’m ok with that. In fact, here is a pic of me in my car, just enjoying the process, thinking about the damn good time I’ve had so far and how amazing the finished product will be.
Actually, a lot has happened in the last two visits down to good ol’ Eddyville, KY. Best way to describe the progress would be to say that once we put the tires back on Mavis, she’s rolling. Now, she has no engine or seats to speak of, but she has her back end up, front end together, brakes, steering and suspension. Mavis and I could literally be pushed down a hill and I could steer us to safety and stop, sans injury. This, in my book, is progress.
First things first, we (I) finished the scraping and sanding of the engine compartment. With our previous welding reinforcements and patching we were ready for paint which was VERY EXCITING as it was my first time using the spray gun that Pop has spent months teaching himself. A coat of Rustoleum, a couple coats of glossy black and we’re set to go. We’re a good team, as Pop takes the ‘easy to reach’ areas and I lay on my back to get in the nooks and crannies.
As you may recall, the brake situation stumped me and Pop for quite some time. Went with the 9 inch drums in the back and took a chance ordering a disk brake kit for the front. We knew going in that we had a spindle issue, that being that the 4 lug kit we wanted would only fit on ’65 Mustang spindles. NOWHERE is there a front disk brake kit for a ’72 Maverick that we could find. It was all about the bearings, inner and outer, not being the correct size for the spindles we currently had on Mavis. We found a shop that at first we thought could machine down our spindles to meet the needs of this disc brake kit, but when that proved to be impossible we bit the bullet and ordered the ’65 Mustang spindles off eBay for $75 a piece. Everything we read said they should work. These things showed up while I was back in Denver and Pop said that they were the wimpiest looking set of spindles compared to the Mav’s. But he also said that he’d never heard of old Mustang wheels just ‘breaking off the car’ and we’d probably be ok.
By being smaller, the spindles allowed the steering wheel to turn way too far to the left and the right, resulting in the soon-to-be installed tires rubbing on the soon-to-be installed fenders and that wouldn’t do. So, as we tend to do, Pop and I came up with an ingenious little adaptation by adding an extra piece of metal rod to the stop on the spindle arm.
We shaved down both sides of the two rods to a flat surface and had our buddy Curt weld the shit out of it. It’s not pretty, but it will do the job.
Before installing the brakes we had to get the suspension in place. This part of the project was a test of both of our coping skills. Attempting to squeeze a massive metal coil down enough to fit in a small compartment and then releasing the insane amount of pressure on that coil so that it sits correctly in that compartment without crushing your finger off is quite the challenge. No fingers were lost, but I do seem to remember at one point the car shifting on its stands, me leaning against it to keep it upright while screaming, “Pop! Put her down!!!!!” Not one of our better moments, nor decisions, but the good news is we got the fucker in…both sides.
Brakes went in pretty easily, as Pop had already done one side to ensure that they would actually work with our dinky spindles. Because we went with drums in the back and discs in the front, we did need to install a proportioning valve to ensure the pressure to the back and front brakes was correct. Pop and I installed the master cylinder (came new with our disc brakes,) connected the lines, put the discs on, bled the system and voila, we got brakes!
Next up, wheels refinished and on, then tires. See? We’ll be rolling down a hill in no time!
I’ll leave you with yet another of my video creations. On a visit to Curt’s, we were dazzled with a display of his new toy. Enjoy.