So I now have a project (1961 Pontiac Laurentian), a plan and have ordered some parts but what to do while waiting for the parts to arrive? Dive into some of the smaller jobs of course.
First up is that glove box that just will not stay closed. When I purchased the car the release button was missing but luckily there was spare mechanism sitting in the glove-box along with a variety of other small bits and pieces.
One of the nice aspects of old cars is the ability to disassemble and repair small components like this. The mechanism came free by undoing a screw and I was able to combine it with the spare parts I had. Once it was cleaned and lubricated the mechanism was again working nicely. However the glove-box still did not stay shut so I had to dig a little deeper.
After investigating I found that the latch catch would slide back when pressed against. When attempting to tighten one of the screws it would just spin but I added a couple small washers and was able to tighten the screw. Now with the latch staying in place the glove-box now closes as designed.
While the glove-box door is repaired and functional it is time to tackle the inner box. It is made of a cardboard type material which I was able to work into not perfect but much better shape.
It could still use a slight adjustment on the striker latch but now functional for the first time in over thirty years. A small but uplifting victory.
While visiting Calgary I took the opportunity to visit the self serve scrapyard. My mother-in law gave me the excuse I needed as she was looking for a replacement wheel for her Ford Edge. I suspected her vehicle was still too new and therefore it would be a bit of long shot but how could I turn down a wander around the scrapyard? As expected there were no Ford Edges on offer as the average age of the yard inventory is usually fifteen to twenty years old. There were a number of more interesting finds like this 1970 Pontiac Catalina two door. The headlights and related trim had been harvested but it was still reasonably complete otherwise.
This straight six powered 1972 Volvo 164 is definitely a rare find in the scrapyard. A real shame as it looked very solid and complete before hitting the yard. I find it hard to imagine that a Volvo fan would not have taken on this project for whatever small payment the last owner received.
Speaking of Volvos how about this 1982 Volvo 240 with a Ford V8 sitting in the engine compartment? It did not have transmission so not sure if it ever roamed the streets with V8 power or someone threw in the towel before finishing it.
A fellow Canadian market Pontiac! The Pontiac Sunburst is an obvious re-badge of the Isuzu I-Mark and Chevrolet Spectrum sold between 1985 and 1988. Oddly someone had harvested the grill off this one so perhaps there are a handful roaming the streets still.
A brown 1988 Lincoln Mark VII that had not had many parts pulled off yet. No one even wants the grill which is a sad end for a once premium car.
After my wander around the yard I did find myself a set of rims and tires for the Pontiac on the cheap. The yard claimed there were off a Chevrolet S10 but likely the rims started a GM G-body of some kind. The rims themselves were a little rough but the tires were like new. Once the disc brake conversion is complete I will have to see if the stock rims still fit (it is rumored they will not) and then the good tires could be transferred over. The backup plan will be to give these a lick of paint and run both the junkyard tires and rims.
A non-critical but extremely annoying area of the car was the condition of all four arm rests. They looked nasty and brought the vibe of the whole interior down. Not to mention a gross feel when resting an elbow on them. The snag was I literally had no budget room for the Beater Challenge. However something had to be done.
Off it comes. (note this is now the rear door, the rest of the images are of the front door).
The padded arm rest is just wrapped in vinyl type fabric. Not sure if its original but the color did match.
Metal base, hard rubber like core and fabric outside held together with some glue and a couple screws.
I managed to do some dumpster diving to snag some free material. It started life on the back of a couch.
I also had some left over dollar store glue. It was now a case of wrapping and gluing one section at a time.
Not perfect but it does show a little better in person. The most important parts of this repair are that it is functional and a zero cost repair. Oddly the color appears more brown in the photo but it is really dark brown almost black. They could be dyed with vinyl paint at a later date.
The coolant sensor had some missing wiring. I had some left over bits of wiring from a Mercedes 220D parts car that I temporary crimped into place. It will have to be tested after the water pump is replaced.
The speedometer had a crude metric conversion done to it at some point.
Another small but valuable job is applying a bit of lubrication to all the hinges and locks. Amazing how much more quiet and smooth the door opening and closings are. In the next installment we will get to some of the bigger jobs.
The whole Affordable Classic series:
- The Search Is On
- Landed One – 1961 Pontiac Laurentian
- Dragging It Home
- Assessment and Planning
- Little Fixes
- Shocks and Brake Removal
- Disc Brake Mounting
- Cooling and Fueling
- Back into the Brakes and Other Odds and Ends
- First Drive!
- Last Minute Fixes
Right on, nice work! Appreciate the bonus junkyard shots too.
I think these little niggling jobs are my favorite part of old car ownership. I get a huge charge out of taking some little minor function and making it work like it should.
I remember those old GM armrests. And don’t you love what passed for cupholders back then? Every car in America seemed to be built back then with the idea that the glove box door would serve as a place to hold your drink at a drive-in restaurant.
We always used those indents in the glovebox door for holding drinks at the drive in restaurants. The funny thing was when it was time to retire a car, cleaning out the glove box usually produced a ton of old ketchup and salt and pepper packets.
“cleaning out the glove box usually produced a ton of old ketchup and salt and pepper packets.”
And dried-up wet wipes! 🙂
And if you got dry mouth while driving you’d light up a cig as an expectorant instead of reaching for your water bottle (does that even work?).
Fast food drink cups were a lot smaller back then, no ‘super size’, and no ‘free refills’ at all! Could fit on the glove box door, but not when car was moving!
Fun fun. Your glovebox latch and box looked just like the ones in my VW. Fortunately I could buy a new ABS plastic box for 20 bucks, I just love VW parts availability.
That Volvo looks like it should have been on Kijiji with the words “All the hard work done” in the ad somewhere 🙂
That rear armrest will come in handy as an ice cube tray in Alberta around the 5pm mark when you’re ready for an adult refreshment.
I absolutely love the Dymo speedo adjustment. A great solution. If this was the other way around (Canada to US), they would have made all the speeds in black except for the 55 which would have been red…
Small fixes ARE satisfying, as you tend to constantly see them, they clean things up, and they give a huge sense of progress.
I hope you got the light in the glovebox working while you were in there – that’s another “small victory” opportunity as is getting the dome light to come on when you open the doors. I replaced a number of switches in my Peugeot 504 to get this to happen- it was worth it.
That is going to be a great car, you did well. People are so amazed when you show them an old car and all of the little things work. When you do the exhaust, it needs a glasspack. It would be a nice touch for your contest.
The softly cammed chevy 261CID engine n these needs no muffler at all IMO, I’ve never gotten a noise ticket, not even when hauling heavy loads in Bel Air in my old ’46 Chevy truck…
The exhaust note is very musical and pleasant .
Interesting this car has a radio but lo clock .
The Delco radio is almost certain to work fine with only cleaning and a new speaker .
Yup, there’s a ton of low-hanging fruit on an old car like this, and every little thing fixed or oiled or adjusted or otherwise put right makes the car seem in much better condition. And yeah, let’s hear it for repairable glovebox latches!
…is actually a ’73-’75 model, judging by the plastic grille and the trace of what used to be the sidemarker light.
Thanks for the correction. The yard occasionally gets it wrong.
Good job! Nice to get some of the little things working again.
I get a kick seeing the “clock delete?” Funny GM didn’t put a little more effort in covering over the space if you didn’t order a clock. Or….was just a means to make it easier for the dealer to insert the clock if ordered over the parts counter?
I think the “clock delete plate” was made as cheaply as possible so as to make it obvious to everyone that the original owner was a tightwad:-)
It’s not ‘deleted’ if was never ordered, LOL, 😉
Great post! Sad to see the Volvo 164 in the junkyard. I would have adopted it!
That metric conversion may be crude, but as the saying goes, “crude but effective.” My factory bilingual speedo has the metric values below the measurement in miles, and as a result the needle covers up the reading in KPH. A good example of Afterthought Design…
Those wheels were also mounted on El Caminos, and some interweb discussions say different Chevy models use different center caps with different locking rings welded to the wheel center.
Of course, you can mount the wheels without a center cap, but if you’re sourcing the caps from somewhere else, make sure the set you buy clips onto those wheels.
Hi David! Thanks for sharing this with us this is really a fun ongoing series. I have to ask though, why the disc brake conversion? They are a lot of work, and properly adjusted and functioning drums work quite well and you could keep your original wheels. I don’t think those wheels would look right at all on such a pretty car.
Who needs opinions tho right? Very cool stuff please keep it coming!
Well we have to navigate some pretty serious mountain grades that are 10-20kms long. I find that all drum brakes work great once and twice but then fade. A few years back we warped the rotors on my wife’s Nissan Quest due to heat buildup. The drums were not in good working order so an overall of some kind was called for regardless. The discs were only a small amount of money. Lots more work but small money difference.
I enjoy reading this, especially your trip to the junkyard. For some reason I enjoy reading about junkyards rather than new cars on the Web these days. It’s too bad seeing that Lincoln Mark VII, especially since it could have been the makings of a nice retro Rod, Fox underpinnings & all
Nice reading, makes me wanna get my hands on a project car again. Not that will happen, because no place to keep it, but hey.
So for me, the burning question is- does the AM radio work?
Definitely a fun project, and don’t worry- you will never run out of little things to repair!
That is easy to answer. No, the AM radio does not work. I have another slightly newer one that could be installed. Not much on AM here to listen to though.
There is exactly one AM station I can receive in my city and it plays gospel. FM isn’t much better here, only 4 are worthy of a preset on my radio. Thank goodness for my aux plug and the micro sd card on my phone for music and audiobooks!
As a Mark VII and Mark VIII owner the Mark VII in the junkyard pic makes me sad.
“While visiting Calgary I took the opportunity to visit the self serve scrapyard. My mother-in law gave me the excuse I needed as she was looking for a replacement wheel for her Ford Edge. I suspected her vehicle was still too new and therefore it would be a bit of long shot but how could I turn down a wander around the scrapyard?”
A wander in the self serve scrapyard. Always fun, never gets old, because treasure hunting and “what if…” dreams always entertain.
Thanks for the happy memories, and bringing us along for the ride.
We tried to mount a wheel from my 66 Parisienne onto the front of a 73..??? Buick century. I can’t remember all the details, but it wouldn’t work.
At the time we were of the belief that a GM wheel was a GM wheel. As long as the bolt pattern matched all was well. Evidently that wasn’t the case.
David, those small repairs are the lifeblood of these projects! I love’m! Thank you for encouraging all of us
I apologize if I missed, but you haven’t mentioned anything about seat belts yet!
Ummm … it doesn’t have any. Not sure what I am going to do there yet. Ironically it is easier to pass a safety inspection without them. I am not sure if its needs an inspection yet so will delay dealing with this until the end.
Good job. Keep the small fixes coming. That’s the whole story. Love it.
Not the “I threw in a new flaming river steering column, and a new currie rear end, to go with the gear vendors OD unit and the 6000 hp crate engine, before having all replacement body panels redone by npd, and dropping it off to paint and a redone interior.” And then having the bulk of the work, being selecting custom wheel design before having them machined out of billet. Barf.
One of the really satisfying “fixes” i have done to a few cars, is to sew on a real leather steering wheel cover.
This could be necessary either because one have a damaged or deteriorating steering wheel, and a new is unobtainable, or prohibitly expensive, or to stop it from deteriorating further. Either way, its fully reversible, but being REAL leather, it gives an amazing feeling, not cheap and sweaty like pu (fake, vinyl) leather does, and looks fairly good. Its also the 1 thing you 100% interact with every time you drive it, so it really is very much rewarding.
Additionally, the slightly added thickness, usually makes for a more comfortable grip, requiring less clamping force of the hand, again, for added comfort.
There might be others offering a similar product, but I got mine at wheelskins.com. I do notice some offering cheaper, but when one dig into it, it seems its always artificial leather. That just dont give the same feel and comfort.
On the wherlskins one atleast, one are able to streach the leather to maintain perfectly the ribbing on the back of these thinner steering wheels, and enhances it.
To me this was a real eye opener, like “whoa”, that was probably the most giving old car upgrade/investment by far.
And since they come in every size and color possible, even off white, even this Laurentian could be done.
Remember, its for the comfort and feel, not the look. Hence why real leather is essential.