I’m making Thursdays my Dodge Work Days. Joel has Thursdays off of work so I’m just going to plan to head over to his house and help out. I wish that I could get over to Joel’s to help out more often – I am pretty envious that he has the Dodge right there in his garage and can work on it any time – but Joel’s garage is the right place for the Dodge. And, even though I’m not there in person most of the time, Joel is doing an excellent job of keeping me in the loop of what is going on via text messages, phone calls and his great blog posts.
So yesterday I headed over to Joel’s figuring I might get good and dirty polishing chrome or something. It turned out that our work day turned into more of a making connections and hanging out sort of day – but that’s all right.
First, we went out to the garage and spent some time just looking at the Dodge and trying to figure out what we should do next. There are so many options that it’s overwhelming. Our older brother, Don, planned to come over later on and help Joel with some engine work so we didn’t want to do that. We could polish chrome, our original plan, or pull out the carpet. Or lots of other things.
After some talking and much leaning on the front fender and looking under the hood, Joel went to start her up. The engine would turn and turn but wouldn’t kick over. So with Joel in the driver’s seat and his son, Liam, smiling next to him, I poured a small amount of gas into the carb while Joel pressed the start button.
And….the Dodge started….and ran….for a very short second or two!
Joel has seen and heard the Dodge start several times now but this was my first and let me tell you, it was exciting to have everything work together for that moment in time. But it was over soooo quickly. So what to do next?
We decided to buy some parts like a carburetor rebuild kit and some hoses. So we headed in to do some research on where to get them. And we both got distracted (just a bit), and ended up looking online at places that restore classic cars and we found there is a classic car restoration place just a few blocks from Joel’s house. So we changed our plans and decided to walk to the shop and give Liam a wagon ride in the process.
I find that talking to people is the best way for me to gather information. Here’s the cool thing, on our short walk to visit one shop, we ended up meeting people and getting more information than we set out to find. On our short walk we discovered:
- Joel’s neighbor who was out cleaning his garage floor (sure sign of a car guy) is into Muscle Cars.
- The shop we found on the internet, South Side Automotive, specializes in GM restorations and repairs but the owner knows of a Dodge guy who can help us
- We visited Hiawatha Cyclery because, well, it was right across the street and both Joel and I like bikes. We talked bikes for awhile and had fun. We will visit again.
- We stopped into Recovering Room, a little upholstery shop, to ask if they do automobile upholstery. Mavis, the owner, said she does not but she knows a couple of people who do.
So, visits done, we went back to Joel’s and talked about going to a shop to buy parts but Liam needed a little rest so we ended up watching some how-to videos about how to replace a headliner. And then we looked online at fabric choices for when we get to the point of doing the seats, headliner and door panels. And realized that we have a lot of work ahead of us. But we knew that.
Before I knew it, it was time for me to head home. I realized that I never really did any work on Dodge Work Day. But, you know what, that’s okay. Why? Well, the Dodge project is more about just getting the Dodge running and restored. You see, I haven’t spent this much time with my little brother in ages and can’t remember a day that the two of us just got to hang out together. So this Dodge Work Day, even though I didn’t get dirty or polish any chrome, was very much worthwhile because I spent it with my nephew, Liam, and my little brother, Joel.
Just a note: Joel did get out and buy some parts. Our brother, Don, did in fact stop over and told Joel he needed to adjust the Dodge’s points. Today Joel sent me several video clips of the Dodge running pretty smoothly for an old car that hasn’t run in about 20 years. Joel plans to rebuild the carburetor after work tonight. I predict he’ll write a blog post about all this in the wee hours of the morning so you will know the details.