It has been suggested that I start a blog, of sorts, to document what Dave and I get our hands greasy on. If you've not followed any of my builds I'm a 65 year old car guy with lots of time and lots of space to work on cars. Dave is a 60 year-old life-long mechanic that has worked on some of the world's finest cars with Rolls-Royce a specialty. I'm always astounded by his depth of knowledge. Dave's circumstances led him to become a mobile mechanic. I had met him years earlier when he worked on my Mark II, replacing a transport-damaged bumper after being straightened and re-chromed. He fell back into my life with the Ruxton build. We were due to participate in a press event with our 1955 Continental Cabrio. I couldn't get it to reliably start so I called a friend with a similar car and asked for an expert. He had been using Dave's mobile services for years and gave me his number.
Normally, I would have chased the problem myself, but I was physically and emotionally drained from a potentially catastrophic problem with the Ruxton. My friend Greg, another old wrench, had been taught by the best, but neither of us could figure out why the car wouldn't run. I placed a call and Dave got back to me, He said he'd be by my house by 8pm, but showed up at 10:00. He woke up the neighborhood with his muffler-less Lightning pick-up. That was my first experience with the late Dave B. He operates on a completely different astro plane than the rest of the world. Most days he'll show up just before I leave and work until 3am. He prefers to work alone, but recognizes that some jobs require two people. That's where our Venn graphs come together. That's when I kinda direct things and set goals for the night's work.
Dave sized up the problem with the Porsche to be a loose ground and had the car started in no time. Fortunately the car was on a storage rack at home so he didn't have to work on the ground. He was in his mid-50s then and that kind of work takes it's toll, so he was thankful to have the lift. I was hunched over under the lift with him and lamented that after 5 days of desperate trying I could not get the Ruxton's inline-8 engine to run. It would fart and snort and spit, but would not run. I knew the front wheel drive car's engine ran backwards and was installed backwards. What I didn't know was that the #1 cylinder, up against the firewall was used for ignition timing and the valve timing was done off of #8. How many of you knew that? I sure didn't. He did. In 2 hours he had it running. He had found that the engine, in order to run backwards like a second boat engine, had some different parts. The cam and distributor were different cut gears for running backwards. The cam lobes were 180° off. I understood all of that. What I hadn't realized was that the cam gears were the same for both directions, but the timing marks were in different positions. I had been setting the timing of the valves for an engine that ran in the other direction. I was able to memorialize the moment Dave joined the team.
I was in business for 40 years. 20 years ago my business got boring and easy to run so I started building cars and fixing machinery, just to keep me at the office so I'd be there when needed instead of being home making my wife of 45 years crazy. Since I retired I let people work on their cars here. In turn, they do favors for me. I also have friends that aren't mechanics and have a need so I put them together with Dave. He works directly for them so I'm out of that picture. I do all the parts ordering and these days pretty much act as Dave's helper since the Zephyr crash. We've reversed rolls, in a big way. Over the years in business I've amasses a large tool collection, a 7,000# lift, a 10hp 120-gallon 3-phase compressor and a huge sand blast booth I made, so I can do just about anything here in my toy box.
Since we have no current cars in restoration it might be better to post a bunch of small projects, if there's an interest. To start things off we have a very nice Italian car visiting that seems to have some hack work that needs attention. This is a pair of brake lines. What's wrong with this picture?