Thursday, June 21, 2007

Last night we relaxed a bit back at the house. We went for pizza at Jimmy’s Pizzaria – a place I remember from 12 years ago. I was free to order Funghi – mushrooms. Delicious!

We also had quite the storm overnight. It made for very little sleep, unfortunately – but the thunder was quite impressive. This morning it is just raining lightly. We’re on our way down to Stephan’s house in Carbon, about an hours drive from Alten Kirchen where we are staying. This afternoon we will head down to the Auto u. Tecnik Museum in Stuttgart, where we’ll spend most of the day. One of the big attractions there is one of the French Concordes, and a Russian version of the Concorde.
We spent the day at the museum. There are way too many pictures (over 100) to post here. And, many of our pictures didn't turn out quite right as we've been having terrible problems with the camera. But it was an amazing museum. There were many Kubels, and in one shot we were able to take 3 Schwimmers all in the same frame! Of course there were many Mercedes, Ferarris, and more.
We got to tour the Concorde SST and the Russian version - the Topalov. They are mounted on an angle at the top of one of the museum buildings, so you would climb stairs to get to the plane, then UP the body of the plane to 100 stories to the cockpit/nose of the plane. In the Topalov, Vladamir (Stephan's nephew) started to jump up and down, shaking the plane - I had to make a quick exit.

Guten morgen!

Today we woke up early. It’s a little strange here for my body. The clock on my computer says 2:30AM, and we’ve been up for a couple of hours already. Yet, we had a full night of sleep, and it is obviously well into the morning.

This morning we’re going to take the high speed train to Cologne. It’s raining this morning. Not too hard, but it greatly reduces visibility, and of course everything is wet. Stephan is going to meet us up there, so in effect he is going to race the train. He likes to drive fast – we’re often the fastest thing on the road here well over 200KPM. (120MPH+) But even he can’t outrun the train!

The trip will take us about a half hour in the train, but almost 90 minutes for the Audi.

Just stopped at the bank. I got 400 Euro burning a hole in my pocket now for the popout windows I brought. That is our money for the week though – so no spending spree.

We’re on the way back now. We rode the ICE from Montabaur to Cologne. The train only hit about 295KPM (180MPH), slightly slower than it is capable of, probably due to the light rain. We saw Stephan racing down the Autobahn to meet us – and he was flying! Quite amazingly, he made it to Koln only about 15 minutes after we arrived.

In Cologne, we saw the Dom (Cathedral), and walked part of the city. We took a little time out and toured the Chocolate museum. Swiss chocolatier Lindt bought Stollwerk a few years back, a high quality chocolate made in Cologne. The former owners family decided to “give back” and built a $30M museum to all things chocolate.

Chocolate Museum Video (on Google)
We’re in that mode right now where we’re staying awake so that we’ll sleep tonight. Now that we’ve been on the ground a few hours, we’ve had a chance to say hello to a few friends, and begin planning out the week.

We found that the 34hp motor had the wrong generator stand. We’re trying to figure out if they came with a split generator stand, and if the rest of the motor (pistons and cylinders) is still correct, since we have a good block to rebuild back home. So, tonight we’re going to start taking the motor apart and see what we come up with. We’re all a little disappointed that things were a little different from “expected.”

Tomorrow we’re going to take the high speed train one way up to Cologne. Should be lots of fun – and a fast trip! I know we’ll see the Cathedral there, and probably the Laurelay am Rein as well on the car ride home. We’re having a bit of a disagreement with Stevie’s father as to how much we can actually do in one day.

We’re staying at Stevie’s parents’ house, since there is a bit more room here, and it is closer to Bad Camberg. Parked next to Stephan’s blue 67 bug is his brother’s 53 Isetta. Very cool. But the car has been sitting for 10 years, and is unfortunately deteriorating from lack of care. But his nephew, Fredo, may end up fixing it up?
At night we walked around Braunfels. It was a nice time in the town, and we got to stop for ice cream sundays and to have a coffee.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Taking off...

For the next 10 days, Don and I are traveling to Bad Camberg, near Frankfurt, for a vintage VW show. We haven’t even left the airport yet, and our trip is off to a rather interesting start. After hot and dry weather for a couple weeks, a cold front just blew through. And with that front came a storm. With that storm comes delays. So, here we sit at O’Hare waiting for our 6:30 departure, which has now been bumped back to 7:45.

We got a bit of a kick out of the “engine change kit” that drove up at one point.

Keeping me company as I waited was a family from Colorado. They had two little boys, 6 and 4, named David and Danny. They were very interested in what I was working on here, and found great enjoyment in telling me all kinds of things about going fishing and more.

Hopefully, we’ll be taking off here soon – and I’ll crash for the night as we’ll get in early in the morning for a full day.

Friday, May 18, 2007

One Step backward, two steps forward...

OK, so one of the frustrating things you run in to in doing this kind of work is that sometimes you have to do the same job over, and over, and over. Even when you do a good job the first time. After doing a great job on that huge patch panel behind the rear seat, another friend who was helping out ground the welds down too far, and trashed the panel. So now we're making another one, cutting the hole slightly larger to make everything "clean" and rewelding the whole thing.

That in mind, yes we probably could have fixed the panel we already made - but the bar is pretty high for this project, and we want to keep it so...

It seems like each time I write something here, I get a bit jynxed in that something goes wrong, and I have to eat a little crow. (Mmmmm... Crow...) A month or so ago my good friend Stephan in Germany called me up and told me he found a "never run in a car" 36HP from 1955. It was originally cared for as the pump motor on a fire truck. It would be started regularly, run at a constant RPM, and recieved the kind of care that fireman give their critical equipment.

When it was decommisioned, a man bought the pump to bring lots of water to his garden. He decided to swap the VW motor out for a heavy duty diesel, and there it sat. When my friend found it, the guy couldn't believe that anyone would want it.

So, on a pump there is no transmission and no starter. If you notice the distributor looks a little funny, its because it's a magneto. And the gland nut accepts a crank. By 1954, you could order this on your Deluxe as an option, but few did. That makes an Oval with a crank start a very rare option!

As Stephan was picking up the motor to take it home he noted that it was too bad the crank wasn't still with it. After a short search, the man produced a box with the sheet metal and original crank for it. I guess it pays to ask!

So, now I've got to figure out how to get this thing home. Since we've already got tickets to Bad Camberg, I'm sure it will probably come home with us in some way, shape or manner. The tin is pretty much rust and dent free, so although we set out to just pick up a few more engine parts, other than the muffler I can't imagine not using what we have.

But that whole transportation issue is one I think I can live with!

In other news, the Planishing Hammer is now in. 4000 beats per minute -hope its well worth the extra cost over the inexpensive one we almost bought. We've got to take a break from the car for a while to get the new tools set up in the shop, and to help build some of the stands and jigs we'll need. After all we bought all that steel. ;)

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother's Day

It's hard to believe another week has gone by. Didn't get up to work on anything much this week between work and Mother's Day, but did take a couple of hours out Saturday morning to haul the trailer over to the scrap yard. We had been watching the past few months for the steel to build a new rotisserie. The last one was lent to a friend who bought the Notchback, who abandoned it at the paint shop and never returned it. Argh.

So, the second scrap yard we stooped at had just gotten a whole bunch (15 or so?) of these really nice 3x3 posts about 8-9' long. We also found some nice 2.5x2.5 posts, and some 20' 2x2s. We bought pretty much everything they had since it doesn't come in too often, and there are always tools and stands to make. It ended up being 1600lbs of steel! Each of the sizes nests pretty well into the next.

A couple of weeks back I had bought some 10" pnuematic double bearing casters when Harbor Freight had them on sale for just $10. (Tractor Supply wanted $48 for the exact same brand/model caster!) I also managed to pick up the 18.5" pnuematic rods when they were on sale.

Since the Oval is just the first of the cars that will be going in to paint soon, we're going to build adapters for the two Things, Ghias and Bugs that are all waiting to be next. It will be quite the deluxe rotisserie, but that should be great to help us in the long run when we can roll everything out in the lawn for blasting, and use the compressor to help us raise and lower the shells as we rotate them in the garage.

My friend also got a lot of work done on the template to make the H aprons, and put the order in for the Planishing Hammer this week. We finally decided that even the super cheap $130 of the Harbor Frieght Planishing Hammer wasn't worth it for a glorified air chisel. It had a max of about 220 pounds per minute, and the one we ordered had a rating up to 4000 ppm instead. The higher the better as you seek to minimize the anvil marks and smoothly pound out the metal. If all goes well, we might be able to bring a couple of reproduction aprons to Bad Camberg to see if there is any interest in them...

Monday, May 7, 2007

Long weekend is over...

Well the four day marathon work fest is over - we got a whole lot done, including that large rear panel. No new pictures. I left them on the camera since I didn't bring my laptop today. Oh well. It may be about a week before I can get back up to work some more.