May 2018

This is today’s to-do list. It isn’t much. Doing a parts run right now and will continue wrenching in an hour. I should be able to do all this in 10 hours, right? The goal: a single lap around the block tonight.

All of the carpet is out of the car, and nearly all of the damned fuzzy carpet pad is scraped out, giving me my first look at the floors in the Mustang. Aside from all of the random holes in the floor drilled or tapped by a previous owner (nearly two dozen, what the fuck?), there are three areas of concern. The left rear passenger footwell has a seam that is rusted through, and the two front passenger footwells have a lot of surface rust — but no holes yet — from the water that keeps leaking into the interior from the ancient windshield seals. I’ve got a feeling that I’m going to disassemble the car for metal work and paint once I get back from Alaska…

Living the 80’s suburban dream! It’s raining, and I’m fighting electrical gremlins, but I decided to drive the Volvo for Friday night anyway. I’m slowly collecting a list of things I need to fix on the car as I drove the car on and off for the week, but nothing so major as to stop me from driving the car… yet.

Removing the carpet from the interior of the Mustang. I did manage to release the brake and fuel line clips from inside the car, so I can finally finish the replacing the rear brake line. And since I’m ripping out the carpet anyway, I have a new carpet kit for the car to install. It’s the scourge of scope creep, but I’m still optimistic I’ll have the car running and driving by my new goal of “end of the month.”

I was going over my budget when I realized that the YTD expense for autocross entry fees was unusually low for this time of year. Oh yeah, I haven’t done a single timed autocross run yet this year. In fact, the $40 tagged under autocross entry fees are the two cancellations I made for the Pittsburgh Match Tour and the New Jersey Pro Solo. What a sad state of affairs.

I was at Dollar Burger Night with friends when Sean came back inside and informed me that there were some really sweet cars parked next to Kyle’s also-sweet Jeep Comanche. When I left the bar to go home, I swung around the back of the lot to take a look. There was a clean lowered VW Caddy sitting right next to the older relative of my Volvo, a Volvo 145 in nice driver shape. Makes me wish I was tootling about town with my Volvo right about now…

Current status: working on the braking system. Brandon and I gacked up the brake line going to the rear drum brakes, so I’m attempting to replace them. That means unclipping the brake line from the underside of the car. Naturally, I gacked up the clips trying to remove them from the underside of the car, so now I’m attempting to remove them from above — which means I’m now tearing the carpet apart in the interior. Progress?

During one of my daily lunchtime Craigslist browsing sessions, I came across this car, up for sale right here in my neighborhood. Intrigued, I sent the seller an email on Thursday morning and arranged to see the car on Friday afternoon after work. After work, I stopped by the bank and withdrew some cash just in case I decided that I wanted to buy it.

I arrived at the seller’s garage, an older gentleman by the name of Bob, and took a look at the car while he relayed the car’s history to me. Bob bought it off the original owner, a fellow in Arizona, who had owned the car for 36 years. The original owner bought the car and kept it in Arizona, and the car has some dealership add-ons such as these funky yellow plaid seat inserts as well as air conditioning (which while weak still works!). Car has no rust, though the left side of the car was hit early in the car’s life, so the original owner had the left side of the car repainted, and the repaint is showing its age now. Car has a 4-speed manual with an electric overdrive, though the overdrive doesn’t consistently stay on when switched on. There are a couple of little things here and there, but overall, it’s a really nice example of an early Volvo wagon.

Bob brought the car back to Michigan and parked it next to his beloved Volvo Bertone 262C. As you can probably tell, this guy loves his Volvos. He had always wanted a wagon, having bought sedans in the past, so when this car popped up, he grabbed it. Unfortunately, he’s getting older and it’s getting harder and harder for him to operate a clutch, hence the sale.

I had always liked the idea of owning an old Volvo wagon, having spent a lot of time carpooling to school in a friend’s Volvo 240 wagon, but was unsure about the wisdom of putting another car in the fleet so soon after getting rid of the Morgan. At the end of the day, I figured that the car was only 6 grand, and if I ever needed to get rid of the car, I could probably recoup the purchase price as long as I don’t ruin the car (though I admittedly have a tendency of doing that). So cash changed hands, and I took this car home on Friday night.

As a friend said, “congrats on the long term rental.” He’s exactly right, haha.

One step forward, one step back. I was super excited that I finally got the driveshaft into the Mustang, at long last. Well, this evening, I took it back out.

The little clips holding the brake line and the fuel line underneath the car and in the transmission tunnel are kicking my ass. After hooking up the parking brake, I decided that I needed more space in order to deal with the clips, so I undid the parking brake and removed the driveshaft. I still haven’t managed to remove those little clips yet. Fuck me.

At this rate, I don’t stand a chance of getting this car running in time for the local autocross this weekend.

The frustrating thing is that there really isn’t all that much left keeping the car from driving out of the garage. It’s just literally taking me weeks upon weeks to do simple things that most competent wrenches could turn out in a single weekend. Here’s the list of things I need to do to make the car drivable:

  1. Install the driveshaft.
  2. Hook up the parking brake.
  3. Install the exhaust/
  4. Tuck in the wiring underneath the dash.
  5. Replace the brake lines, bleed the braking system.
  6. Hook up and bleed the clutch hydraulics.
  7. Install the center console and shift lever.
  8. Install the seats.

Like I said, not much needs to be done. At this rate, though, it’s gonna take me another three weeks to finish the car…

New driveshaft yoke was installed on to the shortened driveshaft that Mike gave to me, so a piece of his old Mustang lives on in mine. I need to replace some of the hardware before I can state that the drivetrain is completely done, but I can smell the finish line now. I can’t wait to drive this car with an overdrive gear, gear ratios that make sense, and a limited slip diff in the back. The race is on to see if I can get this car running and driving for the local autocross event this Sunday at Schoolcraft…