From The Archives #1: A Look Back

17 04 2008

I felt somewhat bad about starting my first entry into the Venus blog with such ugly body work photos (see first entry below). Unless you’ve read the whole restoration section on the website (however unlikely), you really don’t know how far this car has come. Naturally, I started with the chassis and engine, and I am now putzing with the Venus body itself. Here are some photos for your interest from the website! (Click on photo for full-size version).

The chassis is a 1949 Ford shoebox, and the engine is a 1951 Mercury V8 flathead. The clearance with the hood scoop will not allow me to use the air filters…I’ll simply have a screen across the top of the carb itself. The headers (Red’s) will eventually be chrome plated and internally ceramic coated.

Here is a before and after comp of the steering linkage:


Here is another before after composition of the clutch/brake systems. The work-arounds were so mickey-mouse, I seriously considered a T5 transmission and new hydraulic system. But a friend got a hold of me and told me to keep it period-correct. I’m glad he did. I had no idea what I was getting into, but I think the original column shift is going to work fine.

Here’s photo of my Dad with the full-size Venus plug he made by hand, back in 1953 or so. He is the 2nd from the left with the cigar. He was a mere 34 years old when he started this. The last guy on the right is still alive today and we correspond regularly on Venus issues. The blue stuff on the plug is release compound as they are getting ready to make a mold.

Here’s a composite of the engine as found. The old guy said “yeah, we restored it not too long ago”, to which I asked “well which part did you restore because I sure can’t see it!”:

Finally, here’s one of my favorites from the original publicity photos…the Venus next to the Battleship Texas. This is the only Venus I know of that received a folding top, no doubt a custom job.

Thanks for looking; please respond with comments or even subscribe!




4 responses

17 04 2008

Great looking blog start. I really like your header strip!

You’re right that constant blog updates are a drag on you. But it is a great format for keeping people up to date on a project. And getting feedback from like-minded nuts, err… the Venus community, is addictive.

Do you have any date in mind for completion?

17 04 2008

Thanks for the kind words Eric. In regards to completion, I am HOPING to have it ready by spring of next year. The Venus has been invited to show at the prestigious Amelia Island Concours (as it was last year), and I would like to have it on the field. (No, they don’t want the E-Type).

I am trying to do as much of the body work as I can, but at some point, will have to turn it over to the pros, which means money. I will want them to paint the body and mount it on the chassis.

I am seriously considering Custom Auto in Loveland, Colorado. You need to look at this site!
Unbelieveable work!!


21 04 2008

That hotrod shop looks sharp.

I work literally around the corner from Boyd Coddington’s shop (RIP). I bump into their crew (seen on TV’s American Hot Rod) often when eating lunch. Duane isn’t as much of a hard-@ss in public as you’d think.

I doubt I can afford ANY of the top shops when I get to outside services. But you were already burned by multiple body shops. Anything you’re going to do differently when you contract this work?

Spring next year is what I think of as a fast schedule! But not as if you’re starting from sctatch.

21 04 2008

Well, I really know better than to try to adhere to ANY deadline in regards to car restoration. But I’m trying to not let the project languish…it won’t restore itself. I think having it painted and on the chassis is doable. Running with all instrumentation and upholstery….may be pushing it. So we’ll see.

Yeah, too bad about Boyd. Unfortunately, the TV series really turned me off on Boyd’s management style and some of his employees (same with American Chopper). I still like Chip Foose’s work though, seems to be more of an artist than a bully-boss.

It remains to be seen if I can use the Colorado shop, given the distance and all. The paint quote was right though.

What would I do differently? I have learned the hard way that you just can’t leave a project car at a body shop without a firm, written contract where all of the work is spelled out; your expectations; the price estimate (not to exceed 5% or 10%), deadlines, and built-in inspections before the next phase of work is started. For example, you should see the car in primer before final paint. It’s easier for you to write these conditions and expectations up rather than the body shop guy. Take photos of the car on delivery. If he doesn’t get started working on it soon enough to suit you, or if other projects get put ahead of yours, then yank it out of there. Do NOT give any up-front money or deposits. But conversely, you should pay monthly for work that has been done. This helps him make payments on the building and workers’ wages.

Thanks for the post!

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