A Slick ’60’s Kind of MLB Opening Day 2012   Leave a comment

Folks that know me know that I’m a sports nut – football, hockey, motorsports of all kinds, and obscure stuff like Olympic biathlon. I even like soccer until I can’t put up with the flopping anymore. But of all sports the one above all others is baseball. Jim Bouton summed it up best in his classic book Ball Four, “You see, you spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time.” I could go on for hours talking about the finer points of the game but that’s not what this is post is really about.

For the past several years it has been my annual tradition to take off from work on Major League Baseball’s Opening Day. This usually consists of waking up a little later, laying in my recliner with a soft drink at hand, and eating various snacks as I watch as many baseball games as I can find on television. But this year had a welcome addition to the normal flow of the day. The afternoon before, Dad called to ask if I wanted to go look at a Slick after work. It might have some parts I need for JP. Knowing I had the next day off and that my baseball festivities wouldn’t start until around noon, I suggested going the next morning instead and so we set a time.

I picked Dad up mid-morning and we made the short drive to where the Slick was supposed to be. Except I didn’t see a Slick. Dad told me to turn down a little gravel driveway and drive up and around to the back of a house on the property. Soon the gravel disappeared but Dad told me to keep driving so I did until we rounded a corner in the field and there he sat.

Now I knew why Dad told me to wear long pants and boots instead of my normal Chuck Taylor’s. And this shot doesn’t even show the briar bushes we had to walk through to get to this point. Some 28 years ago, so the story goes and as apparently verified by the 1983 license plate, the owner had backed his 1965 custom cab into this spot and left it. The Slick had fared better than the building that was apparently near it. You can see the remains on the right side of the picture.

Here’s a shot of Dad as we start to make our way over to the truck.

I asked Dad what he was doing with that rake and he said, “Snakes.” Not a bad idea for springtime in Alabama but I couldn’t help wishing it was a .45. The next picture shows Dad raking the leaves and pine needles out of the floorboard. He may have been getting rid of the leaves and trash but I was looking for movement.

Believe it or not, there is still carpet under that trash. We couldn’t see rust and I wasn’t about to crawl under the truck but I would bet dollars to doughnuts the floor pans are gone. The next picture shows what happens after 28 years under trees when the driver’s window is partially rolled down and the passenger’s side window is halfway broken out.

I noticed a few things in the cab. First was the original steering wheel and horn ring that I need. Some cleaning, paint and polishing and it can be good as new. The trim pieces on the door and dashboard can be used on JP.  The turn signal lever cam felt tight and working as opposed to JP’s which is worn out and needs replacing. Even the gauge cluster looked in pretty good shape.  We’re having trouble with JP’s fuel and temperature gauges so we can swap those out to see if that fixes the problem.  It also had the vent hole covers in the cab in front of the doors (not seen in the picture). I need those, too. We carefully eased the back of the seat forward, again looking for movement first, and the gas tank looked to be in good condition on the outside. It’s probably got some varnish in it from the old gas but it didn’t look rusty. Finally, check out the 8-track tape player mounted below the dash. It can be seen through the steering wheel. I could almost hear Bachman-Turner Overdrive playing.

I then went to check out the bed.

I was expecting the worst in the floor of the bed because of all the leaves and pine straw. The bed must have already been rusted out because the owner had previously put plywood down in the floor. It was rotted too as you can imagine.  I reminded myself that the truck was already almost 20 years old when it was parked. I did have a little hope at the back end because I noticed while the tailgate was down, as in the second picture above, the top edge of the tailgate was in better shape than JP’s. If you’ve looked at my To-Do List you know that I’ve got some holes to patch on the outside of the tailgate. If this truck’s tailgate was in good shape it would almost be worth the cost of the truck by itself. Here’s what I found when I lifted it up.

So much for that. Next up I looked at the cab corners, or at least the one I could get to easily. These are notorious for rusting on old Slicks. Here’s what I found which believe it or not is not that bad.

JP’s weren’t that good. Next up, I wanted to take a look at the motor. Here’s what I found.

I apologize for the quality of the first photo but I’m a little hit and miss with the iPhone. You can see it’s the classic inline six cylinder that came in no telling how many of these Slicks. According to the data plate it’s a 240 C.I. You can see the original oil bath air cleaner in the bottom left corner of the first picture. The second picture shows what I remember from the ’65 we had when I was growing up. Look at all the real estate in the engine bay with that little motor. I can remember Dad sitting on the fender wells under the hood as he worked on ours (I mean his). As I said earlier, the owner said he backed the truck into this spot when he abandoned it so I hope the motor isn’t seized up from the years of sitting. It would make a good little motor for someone else’s project.

Here’s a closer picture of the front.

The hood isn’t actually bowed like it shows in this picture. We got our “snake killer” wedged between it and the cowl so it didn’t shut all the way. From this shot you can really get a feel for the “patina” that is so popular with the rat rod crowd today. I call it rust but to each his own. You can see a dent in the fender that shouldn’t be too hard to fix for someone who knows what they’re doing. The grill, headlight doors, and trim work are in pretty fair shape. I think they can be brought back to life with some buffing and polishing. The bumper is also in good shape and as an added bonus has this on it:

A George Wallace bumper sticker. I haven’t seen one of those in a while.

This last shot was supposed to be of the other side of the truck but I was afraid to get over there too far because of nails and such (which you can actually see sticking up out of the wood at the bottom center of the photo). I didn’t really want to have to go to the emergency room for a tetanus shot. Or snake bite antivenom.

The picture actually wound up being more about Dad and his willingness to crawl in, over, and under just about anything to find out what he wants to know. If it hadn’t been so dangerous, it would have been funny if a green snake had fallen out of the sagging headliner on him to see what would happen. I don’t know who would have gotten hurt worse – Dad or me when he ran me run over.

And really, that’s what this post is about (Dad, not the snake). Whether I pull the trigger and buy this truck or not I got to spend some time with Dad tromping around an old home place looking at an aged truck that reminds me of my childhood. If Jim Bouton had been a gear head instead of a baseball player, he might have written something about the memories of an old truck he drove instead of a piece of horsehide. Opening Day 2012 was a good day and it had nothing to do with baseball.

Posted April 9, 2012 by jglee920 in General

JP Back in the Day   2 comments

If you’ve read the Slick ’66 FAQ  you may remember that JP was originally painted with a Ford color designated as code H – Sahara Beige. To be honest I’m not a big fan. Actually I really don’t like it at all. I’m too big of a fan of candies and metallics. So there has never really been a thought about taking JP back to his original livery. But for the sake of history, I found a picture of the Sahara Beige and present it here to show how JP might have looked as he came off the assembly line when I was just a couple of years old. Here it is.

Like I said, not very attractive by today’s standards but we would have been proud to have it back in the day.

Posted February 24, 2012 by jglee920 in General

Yabba Dabba Do Pt. 2   Leave a comment

As I mentioned in part 1, we had a lot of rust to fix in JP’s floor pans that resulted in a Fred Flintstone-like condition. Luckily this is a very common situation for Slicks so replacement sheet metal is pretty easy to come by. I placed an order with Dennis Carpenter and in a few days I had brand new pans sitting in my garage waiting to be grafted into the existing floor structure. There are some support beams under the floor but thankfully these were in pretty good shape so I didn’t need to replace them. But it’s a good thing Dad reminded me they were there or they might have wound up on the ground with the rest of the floor as I let the sawzall eat.

I also mentioned in the first part of this installment that Dad had come up with a solution on getting the floors welded in. Fortunately for me, Dad went to a family reunion and ran into a nephew (my cousin) that can weld. In fact, that’s his job at a local manufacturing plant. He had been wanting to put together his own set up at home so he could weld anytime he needed to but was running into some electrical issues. Well Dad, being an electrician from way back, made a deal that he would fix my cousin’s electrical issues with a little boot in return for welding in the floor panels for us. The deal was struck and after a few days of work at his garage, my cousin Josh Lee was set up and capable of doing some welding. And that’s kind of where we pick up in this installment.

Below are some pictures of the latest progress.

        

The first shot is a picture of the floor “platform” under the seat. It was in good shape except for the hole you see in the second picture on the passenger side.

        

        

These pictures are some shots of Dad and my cousin Josh welding in the pans. You can tell these two are experienced. Look how they know to close their eyes instead of looking at the weld. OSHA? We don’t need no stinking OSHA!

Here’s a picture of the passenger’s side pan after being welded in. The silver square at the bottom is a patch panel for the hole on the seat “platform” shown above. Since the floor will eventually be covered with some type of rubber mat or upholstery I didn’t think the 1/8″ or so it stuck up will be anything that will be noticeable. It was a week later before I could grind the welds smooth and rust had already started getting to the sheet metal and welds. It sure doesn’t take long.

        

These shots are of the floor pans after I removed the surface rust and ground the welds down. I then sprayed them with a little primer so I wouldn’t have to deal with the rust again. Don’t tell Josh, but I burned a couple of pinholes around his welds when I got a little heavy with the grinder. I’ll fix those with some seam sealer.

        

These two shots show the pans as well as the newly-painted gas tank that has been reinstalled. If you read part 1, you know I mentioned that the rear of the cab was in pretty good shape. You can catch a glimpse above the gas tank of the little amount of primer I used after some light sanding and mild rust treatment. I’ve gotta do something about those seat belts. Replacements and a three-point system are on the to-do list. We just can’t decide on a color.

That’s it for this episode. I’m back to working on the underside of the floor pans now doing some more grinding and using some bondo and seam sealer to smooth it out before doing the final phase of painting. I’m not quite finished in the cab yet as I’ve still got a hole that needs patching in what I guess would be called the passenger’s side kick plate if this were a modern vehicle. And a slice in the driver’s door skin from who knows what. And a hole in the front passenger’s side fender well where battery acid leaked over the years. Now where did I put Josh’s number?

Posted January 9, 2012 by jglee920 in Interior

CBI Performance Warehouse Open House/Swap Meet   1 comment

A few weeks ago I went to CBI Performance Warehouse’s open house and swap meet. Besides the swap meet they also had a car show so I took the opportunity to take pictures of some Ford iron. Unfortunately, this was the only Slick 60 I saw.

Makes me glad that JP is in the shape he’s in.

Here are some shots of some of the other Ford rides at the show.

                

                

I can’t resist putting a Mustang in here.

        

And finally, for those of you who have lived in or near Decatur, Hartselle, or Cullman Alabama this one is for you. Known as “King Penn”, you’ll be familiar with C.F. Penn Hamburgers, the best hamburger on earth.

        

Posted December 21, 2011 by jglee920 in General

LMC Truck Catalogue Inspiration   Leave a comment

Check out this ’66 Slick from the Fall 2011 cover of LMC Truck. It is very similar to what we’re hoping JP will look like. This truck has most of the trim and badging removed which gives it a clean look. Hannah and Sheryl want to reinstall all of the trim which is a good look as well. That’s just another one of those decisions that have to be made when you restore an old truck.

Posted December 9, 2011 by jglee920 in General

Quote of the Day   Leave a comment

        

Ambition                                                                                                      Delusion

“Ambition and delusion enjoy no greater moment than when you hand over the cash to lock in a new project car. It all goes downhill from there, but we choose to ignore that. There’s no Surgeon General’s warning against buying too many cars.” – David Freiburger, Editor, Hot Rod Magazine.

Posted November 21, 2011 by jglee920 in General

Yabba Dabba Do Pt. 1   Leave a comment

Since the last update, we’ve started getting into some body work. There’s still not a lot you can see just by looking at the outside. But we’re starting to get a little closer to some visible paint and body work. I was able to get the rest of the front clip and frame painted and finished as I mentioned in the last repair post. The latest projects to be tackled from the to-do list were some cab work and replacement of the floor pans. I had hoped to just patch the floor but as you’ll see below they were just too far gone once we cut out all of the rust. The holes in the floor would eventually grow to a size that would have let Fred Flintstone drive JP.

 

First up, I decided that it might be a good idea to make sure the cab didn’t slide off the frame at some point. We replaced the four cab to frame mounts with new rubber, bolts, and washers. While we were at it, we changed the two radiator support mounts. I couldn’t get a good picture of the new parts in place on the truck so I just took a couple of shots of the hardware itself.

        

                               Originals                                                                                      Replacements

Next, I took the bench seat out so we could have better access to the floor pans.  Since this also gave us room to get to the gas tank we went ahead and removed it for cleaning and painting.  This also let us get behind the tank on the back cab wall to assess anything we might need to do back there. Fortunately, it was in good shape except for some surface rust that I hit with some sandpaper and rust treatment. Below are some shots of the gas tank.

        

The shots above show the gas tank as it came out of JP. Notice the brown spot in the grass in the first picture? That’s where some friendly neighborhood thieves spilled gas as they siphoned the gas out of the tank. I’m surprised they didn’t just take the tank. I don’t know if I was madder about them stealing my gas or killing my grass. It was probably one of my neighbors getting back at me for having such a rough looking vehicle sitting in our driveway for so long.

        

The finished tank. We also replaced the old gas tank connector hose that attaches to the pipe that sticks out of the cab behind the driver’s door. It had dry rotted along with the rubber grommet that seals the hole where the pipe exits. I haven’t replaced the grommet yet but it’s on the list.

This is a shot of the cab without the seat and gas tank. Like I said, not bad at all. A little sanding, some rust converter, and primer and I was done.  I’ve misplaced some pictures of the cab after I primed it but hopefully I’ll be able to find them for part 2 of this installment.

Now I was ready to get after those floor pans. At some point, a previous owner had tried to fix the floor pans by slapping fiberglass on them. That didn’t look too good and you could really see the bad sports from underneath the truck. This is what the floors looked like when we got JP.

        

The first shot is obviously the driver’s side followed by the passenger’s side. These pictures were actually taken after I had tried an experiment to see if aircraft paint stripper would eat the fiberglass to make it easier to get up. It will.

            

These two shots above are the rust I would have to deal with afterI got the fiberglass up. At this point I’m naïvely still thinking I can get by with some patches. Next up, I broke out the sawzall. That led to a funny exchange with Hannah. When she saw me open up the case and pull the sawzall out, she headed for the house and said, “I’m gettin’ outta here before somebody gets hurt!” Probably not a bad idea.

        

These two shots show the driver’s and passenger’s floors after my first pass with the saw. At this point it became pretty apparent (even for me) that a simple patch was not going work. The rust was just too extensive and to do it right the whole pans really had to be replaced. The problem was finding someone to do it for me since I can’t weld. And that would mean more money. Luckily, once again Dad came up with a solution. I’ll get into that in part 2 of this installment.

BTW, who said old trucks don’t have the creature comforts of today’s vehicles? Check out JP’s cup holders below.

There’s one for the passenger and you can see the one on the other side for the driver. Of course I’ll have to come up with something else when we get the heater installed since those are defroster vents but I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.

In part 2 of this installment, I’ll show some pictures of the finished floor pan work and a few other miscellaneous items we’ve been working on.

Posted November 18, 2011 by jglee920 in Interior

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