I have been making a document of ongoing progress since we started this project. I will start posting the progress in a single thread to avoid having to many individual ones.
June 2018 1941 Chevrolet Master Deluxe delivered. Goal of this is to be a father son project. I have done basic mechanic work and minor paint work prior to this but nothing to this extent or scale. This is not planned to be a restoration to a show car or to ‘of the assembly line’ condition. It is designed to go to local drive ins and get ice cream. It is going to be a for fun car. Many of the choices will be left to my sons, they may not be period correct. This is a combined experience.
One of the first things done after a good car wash, was buying reprints of all the literature and service manuals for the car. Also lots of You Tube videos have been and continue to be watched as needed. Also joined the VCCA as a great source of information. Before purchasing this car I was already a member on gbodyforum.com. That is a great source of information that I have used for my Monte Carlo. This site also has several members willing to help on any topic they can.
The car came with lots of parts and was mostly complete. Good condition for the age. Last known registration based on the sticker on the window was 1969 in Missouri. Did not run when purchased. New battery, changed fluids cleaned points and it started.
Drove it about 2 miles to verify all the gears and clutch worked. Ran well considering it was sitting for at least the last seven years, if not more. Brakes worked well too. Was not safe to drive to far since the dry rot in the tires was extensive. One tire the inner tube can be seen through the sidewall. The brands on the tires are manufactures that have not been around since the sixties. The test drive was made to help assess what we were going to need to do.
June 2019: After a year the parts that came with the car were sorted through, fenders, trim and most exterior parts where stripped from the car. My sons and I had started the long process of sanding old paint, pulling dents, hammering out dents etc. Got the truck and doors to open and close and line up. Since the fenders where off the car topped off the shocks with fluid. The car now rebounded smoothly instead of constantly bouncing. Found that the car has been hit in the rear corner. Allot of hammering and pulling eventually put stuff back where it should have been. Small amounts of filler were still needed but nothing major, definitely nothing deep. Would rather have a minor impression than a thick amount of filler. Various colors are a mix of filler and skim coat. Sanded smooth. Shot some prime on it to keep it from rusting. We decided to work panel by panel and then tackle the car body. Logic was we were learning and it was easier to redo a panel than the complete car. Also constantly sanding was getting real old fast. Getting some primer in place was a nice break and made it feel like there was progress. Down to bare metal on the rear corners. With the exception of below the right rear taillight it was pretty good. We used a combination of chemical stripper and orbital sanders. The kids never used the chemicals. We used mask the whole time. Ventilators with the chemical stripper.
July 2019 Working on the rear driver’s side now. Also continued removing, bagging and tagging parts as we went. The parts were starting to consume all available storage space on any shelf we had. Several boxes of parts everywhere.
September 2019 Roof and doors in primer. Trunk was shot with primer from a can. Since there was no filler in the rear corners hit that with etching primer also from a can. Was still searching for a compressor so the gun was not usable. NAPA carries the paint we were going to use in both a spray can and for a spray gun. Then we found a 33 gallon Craftsman compressor on Craigslist. With a Harbor Freight gun put the initial coat on the roof and doors. We were still learning and the thought was if we damaged the HF gun then it was basically disposable. It actually turned out to be a good primer gun. Shot an even coat on the car. Then we sanded again. Son’s first time using the spray gun, primed the doors.
January 2020 Removed the hood and all of the inner fenders. No plastic parts here. Everything is bolted together. The firewall is the original paint. Car was originally black. Unfortunately as first time painters we were not skilled enough to attempt a painting black. At this point since it was winter we hung a tarp to divide part of the garage into a paint booth. Primed and painted the inner panels at the end of work sessions so the fumes could clear before we did any more work. The garage heater we installed the prior year was proving to be a good investment.
August 2020 Over the winter did allot of body work on the front fenders also allot of sanding on the car to get it ready for the next coat. Primed the fenders and other parts during the spring using the spay gun. Prepping the car for an even coat of primer Next week was supposed to be favorable weather. I had to paint outside do the height of my ceiling in the garage. Next day Everything primed. More sanding followed. Sons and I agreed to make the car blue. Set everything up in the driveway and painted every panel. The weather turned out to be perfect. Started at sun up and had enough time to get the job completed. Gun held enough paint to do a coat on the car or on all the panels. Had enough time to shoot the panels fill the gun, paint the car and refill before it was time to start on the panels again. Was a nice pace and there was no downtime waiting for the next coat. We used thin coats as recommended. I forget the time between coats but was surprised that it was not that long.
End of August, beginning of September 2020 We decided that since the front clip was off now was a good time to run the engine and see what might be needed. Once again changed all of the fluids. This time changed the plugs and wires and the belt. It fired right up and to our surprise we found no leaks and everything seemed to go smoothly. Plans where to change the hoses when they came in. Let it cool and started it again. See if the heating and cooling would cause anything to leak, nothing. Next morning I had a green garage floor. Water pump gasket went. To my surprise NAPA carries this water pump still. Though at that age replace it too. GM used the same one up till they discontinued the 235 inline 6. Few bolts removed the radiator to get at it easier and changed it out. Hooked everything back up. Son starts up the car and everything seems ok. Then the heater core goes in the car. We unhooked that it was running fine.
September 2020 Rear fenders on. Wind shield and inner fenders on. First of the front fenders mounted. Front clip on, later we would learn the grill should have gone in before any fender bolts where tightened. One of many lessons on the job.
October 2020 Prepped to install rear glass. Pic is the before. All the glass in the car with the exception of the windshield is the original to the best of our knowledge. If it is not original it is period per the marks on it. Windshield was cracked and could not be reused.
November 2020 Rear bumper on, first time. Unfortunately the bumpers we had where not in the best shape. The rear one was straight but rusted and pitted. Front, pitted and rusted to a greater extent. Original plan was to mount it and see what we thought. If nothing else all of the brackets and the rear bumper shelf would now be in place. Turned out the front was so bad it had to be painted. We took the rear off again and painted it so the bumpers matched. Budget did not allow for us to replace these. During the next month installed the rear tail lights and made the wiring harness for that. Plan to install blinkers so I had to get different sockets. Also installed the license plate bracket and light at that time.
March 2021 Lots of polishing fitting and adjusting took place to get to this next step. Also, hunting for little bits like trim clips etc. Online there is a place called the Filing Station that I have found to be extremely useful in finding parts. Started to the smaller parts back on the car. All the door latches had to be reinstalled, door handles installed, trunk latch rebuilt from two damaged ones. The stainless was put on during this time. Also mounted a new exhaust. Amazingly a Toyota muffler fit the car. Youngest son did all of the inside bolts since he could sit up between the grill and radiator. Used the jack allot to align the fenders as we bolted them together.
November 2021 Between March and now the bumper has been mounted, wiring for the headlights and a lot of little misc. work has been done. Unfortunately the bumper is bent. Good news is it was easy to line up since the bracket for the bumper was also bent to match.
December 2021 Test fitted the seats. Took a break from wiring to do something different for a while. Took the seats from a 1999 Ford Windstar. The rear one in the Windstar was the width needed for the front of the car and the middle bench from the Windstar fits in the rear of the car. We have the original seats but it is not in the budget at this time to get them reupholstered. These were $100 for the pair. We made brackets for them using angle iron. If we get the originals reupholstered in the future its just a few bolts to change them out.
January 2022 Fog lights mounted. Still waiting to get a 6v incandescent sealed beam light. All the other parts are reedy to for the passenger side light. Story of the car. Work on a section till you need to order a part then work on another. At this point we are mounting any part we can to get space back in the garage.
Items to get this on the road: - Finish wiring. Most of what is in the dash is the original cloth. Much of the insolation is gone. Wires need to be run to the rear of the car for the taillights to connect to. Fog lights need a harness. - Clean all the switches. If we are going to rewire everything each switch is getting a good cleaning - Driver’s front break keeps locking up after sitting. May need adjustment. All others are fine. Shoes have lots of meat left and surprisingly all the parts look recent. - Fuel ling needs to be connected. If it is not in good shape it needs to be replaced - Panels given the final alignment - Sticking gas pedal, I think it needs the return spring replaced - Tires changed. I have a road worthy set but not putting them on the car till it is ready to run - Get ice cream. Kids were promised that we are going to get ice cream when there are plates on it and it legally can drive down the road.
When that is done we will start the list of interior items. Seats are what’s needed to go down the road. At this point it will be nice to have a drivable car. As with any old car the vehicle is never done.
The order for the body clips and the headlights came in. The Filling Station had NOS headlights. Wagner made in Newark, NJ. Both boys where surprised to see they where US made and made in the NE. Made me think of how rare it really is to see a made in USA label that is not followed by 'from foreign materials'.
Headlights are in and finished the harnesses for them. Unfortunately the old wires cannot be removed from the dimmer switch. The screws are just to rusted. Removed it from the car and waiting for a new one to come from the Filling Station. Also ordered a headlight switch while I was at it. The dimmer for the gauges only works in one spot. When I initially tested it I thought the gauge must be on or off for the light, then I thought why would it turn so far past on if it was not a dimmer.
Currently we are only removing a few wires at a time so we do not forget something. I know it will take longer this way but it is working so far.
Time to update this thread. A few parts I may have placed elsewhere on the forum but I thought I should make this thread complete.
Fixed the sticking throttle and brake. put the floor plate back in and it should be ready for a test run shortly.
Took the 41 on the road for a 5 mile trip. It starts, stops, and shifts without issue. Temps stayed around 180 for the trip per the gauge. All the gauges (not counting the gas gauge as it was running off a jug) appear to work correctly. Headlights are working (tail lights not yet connected). Suspension was smooth and the engine sounded good. Started after about 30 seconds without anything sprayed down the carb. Did smoke a bit for the first 1/8 mile but that cleared up. Hills did not seem to affect it. Stayed at 30 MPH without an issue, did not try anything faster. The body panels were not even making noises.
Pleased for a first true test of three years' work. We were expecting bigger issues or some problems. Did have some coolant coming out the overflow but we suspect that was due to us overfilling it and not knowing how much to add. Biggest issue was we ran out of gas 6 feet from our garage door when putting it away. :)
The mirrors arrived and we have them mounted. Mounted them to the top of the door frame just over the vent window. The driver's side is ok (not great) for driving use. The passenger side is useless for driving use. The passenger side is great for aiming at the back corner of the car. It will be a great help for backing and parking. They did not fit in front of the vent window due to the door gap being too small. I do like the look of them and the boys are happy too.
Also mounted the wipers. They are not functional yet but they do look better than having the big holes in the body.
Tail lights wired and working. Sons fixed the brake light switch on their own. Currently the wires are run to add blinkers in the future but at this point we are aiming to get it on the road. Will probably finish the blinkers when it is off the road for the winter.