Trans Am Javelin Rebuild – A Labour of Love: Final Edition

June 27th, 2017

The last month before going to Gettysburg was very hectic!  Despite what we thought was a very reasonable time schedule, we ran into a few major snags along the way. The headliner was one of those items that was more trouble than we thought.  The original piece was in very poor shape so Harm built it up with fibreglass and resin, topped off with bondo.  After many hours of sanding, it was painted and then the heat resistant adhesive ($80 per can!) was applied to the liner and material.  Instructions were followed to the letter and everything looked pretty good.  There were a few wrinkles but they were mostly hidden by the trim pieces.  Then, Jeff Spratt came over and shared his considerable knowledge of paint buffing with Harm.  After a day long session, Harm declared that he was officially done buffing and I think it turned out very well.


Then came the test drive!  Everything had checked out and it was ready for a run down the road to make sure it was ready.  The tires provided were original with very little wear, but unfortunately once they were put onto the rims and brought up to pressure, cracks began to appear.  Driving it like a little old lady on Sundays would have been okay, but Harm wanted to put it through its paces so Babs would have peace of mind.  He switched the tires from our 1971 SC360 and off they went.  Beautiful, until Harm went to turn around to come home and his brake foot went all the way to the floor!!  It seems again that, although the rubber gaskets looked fine on the calipers, they blew out under pressure.  Thanks go out to Darryl Rae for coming to our rescue (again! - he had already helped to provide master cylinder and some trim pieces).  He had a new caliper and a rebuilt one, as well as a couple of rebuild kits so Harm and Ken Edwards rebuilt and installed the new calipers on yet another rainy day.  This time, Ken took it out for the test drive and came back complaining of a minor engine bogging and vacuum leak in the carburetor.  Back to Canadian Tire for new spark plugs and emailing fellow AMO member, Todd Hiester, who had rebuilt the carb in the first place, to bring his tools to the show.  The TA's original tires and rims were put back on so Ken and Harm could load it onto the trailer for the trip to Gettysburg.  You can bet they checked the tie-downs many times, as well as the hitch, so there were no mistakes!  As they said in Hunt for Red October, "we didn't want this (TA) coming back at us!".


The GPS said the trip to Gettysburg was about 8 1/2 hours.  Harm, Ken, Roberta and I all climbed into our new truck and headed down to Port Hope to hook up with Jodee.  She decided not to bring her 1967 Ambassador so I hoped into her Vibe for the trip down.  We then met up with Dave and Donna Nalepa in Kingston and headed for the border. Dave drove through first, followed the Vibe and then the truck and trailer.  Great!  Have Dave report that we were all heading down to the same event so there would be less questions to answer for each of us.  Unfortunately for Dave and Donna, they were chosen for a random check and, after we sailed through the checkpoint, we waited a half hour for them to clear the border.  Thank goodness they didn't require a strip search!!  🙂  Given a few stops for gas and food, we finally arrived in Gettysburg around 7:30 p.m.  Babs and her son, Marc, arrived a short time later and, without much pomp and circumstance, Harm opened up the trailer for their first view.  They were quite overcome (I wished I'd been there - I had popped over to see other club members for a moment)!  The next day, the car was unloaded and Marc sat it the TA for the very first time!  He looks rather proud, eh?  Babs did her usual inspection and then they set about detailing the car for the Concours Show on Saturday!  Despite many cleanings at home, the car needed a good "going over".










Saturday came and the car was driven off the trailer again to sit in the Junior Javelin Class section.  Heavy rain had fallen the night before so there was a bit more cleaning to do as Marc anxiously awaited the judging.  I am very pleased to report that the car (through the efforts of all involved - Harm, Barb, Jodee, Ken Edwards, Jeff Spratt, Darryl Rae) received a Gold award! 


And now, we've come to the end of our story!  Just in case you've forgotten what the car looked like when we got it oh those many years ago, here you go!!  Hey, Brad Hillick!!  Here's your TA!  I can almost imagine him smiling down at us and giving us the "thumbs up"!  This was truly a labour of love!  


Call for Officers – AGM

As you may or may not know, a number of officer positions are up for re-election/election this year at our Annual General Meeting on June 10th, 2017 after Rambler Rama.  (Note;  At this point, we do not have a location for the AGM but can certainly ask Haugen's for a quiet location in their dining room).

The following positions are up for re-election with the current occupants:

President - Jodee Scott has announced her retirement from the club

Vice-President - Henry Joneit

Secretary - Gail Putz

Website Editor/Social Convenor - Barb van der Veen

It is unclear at this point if any of the above will be continuing in their positions, besides that of President.  If we want to ensure this club continues, it is important that we get involvement from some of our other members.  Duties are not onerous and you'll find great satisfaction in being engaged in the running of the club.  Please think about volunteering and come out to the AGM on June 10th (or provide your proxy vote to someone who will be there)!


Barb van der Veen

Trans Am Javelin Rebuild – A Labour of Love Part 2

Written by Harm van der Veen

Since we last left you, the entire engine has been installed together with transmission, drive shaft and rear axle.  All the brakes have been rebuilt and synthetic brake fluid used to bleed the brakes (this was a job that required two of us – Barb pumping up the brakes and me, under the car, releasing the fluid.  It can be a nasty job but after so many years of doing this together, we’ve got it down to a fine science).  This will avoid future issues with water in the brake lines and rusting out components.  All the fluids were topped up and we readied ourselves for our first engine fire-up in 15 years!  The motor was not disassembled and rebuilt as it had very few miles on it from the original rebuild Brad Hillick did.  We had our fingers crossed that all the seals and gaskets would stand the test of time.  Ken came over one Sunday and we started the process of bringing that big 390 back to life.  My first words to Ken when he stepped in the door of the shop were “Assume nothing!”.  All the fluids were rechecked, hose and electrical connections rechecked and the charger put on the battery to make sure it was up to the job.  After verifying all systems “go”, we started cranking over the sleeping giant!  We had trouble getting fuel from the remanufactured fuel tank to the carb so we pressurized the tank slightly with a blow gun to force fuel to the front of the car.  Once we verified that we did indeed have fuel in the carb, it only took one more crank and she came to life.  I was totally surprised that we didn’t see any evidence out of the tail pipe that it had sat any more than a day, let alone 15+ years!  A few minor adjustments and Ken had her purring!  After letting her run and come up to temperature, we shut it off and crossed our fingers on the restart which it did without missing a beat.  Again, with a few more adjustments on the choke, she was as reliable as your daily driver.

Engine compartment

The next challenge was to get all the gauges working!  We had spent hours going through the wiring harness clearing bare, twisted splices by soldering and heat shrinking them and then rewrapping the harness.  However, there were still some surprises left before we could get all the gauges working.  Sometimes corrosion isn’t as obvious as we think it is – it can be as simple as a minor film that stops an electrical connection being made.  It took a few days to get these “gremlins” sorted out and sometimes some head scratching, but finally it got to a point where everything is working according to the shop manual specs. 

Barb’s main focus was bringing back the interior from some pretty significant mold and mildew on the vinyl seats especially.  She washed them with mild soap and warm water, dried them off then treated the material with leather conditioner.  This treatment had to be applied a couple of times as the vinyl soaked it up quickly.  There will be more of this for the front seats, sail and door panels.  Again, these parts have been out of the car for many years, traipsing behind us as we moved three times!

Back seats cleaned and installed
Harm "playing" with side glass to get it rolling up and down properly
More adjustments!

A lot of interior work has also taken place.  Harm had earlier applied Dynamat to the floor of the car and rear luggage tray which will help keep the heat down when Babs is out and about in Atlanta.  The carpet has now been installed together with the rear seats, seat belts and rear door pads.  As the dash was rather faded, Harm picked up “Bumper Coater by SEM” which is actually a dye and painted the dash so it looks brand new.  He also used the same dye to colour the steering column.  This dye is very different to paint with!  Although it comes in a spray bomb, it is unlike any I’ve ever used before!  I found you had to “mist” the contents onto the part you are colouring.  If you attempt to spray like a normal spray bomb with a nice, wet coat, you’ll find it actually creates severe orange peel.  The mist coat lays down rather nicely to a smooth, even finish after you’ve walked away.  But boy – is it difficult to walk away!!  I found the end result to be very satisfactory and, according to my supplier, durability is excellent.  He told me of one customer that I know who changed the entire colour of his interior, including the seats, and has had no issues with peeling or showing through after three years of summertime use.  It’s a product I would highly recommend, but be patient when you’re applying it.

Dynamat - a great investment!!
Dye - perfect for any interior parts from seats to crash pads, etc.!


I’ve just finished painting the front spoiler, mirrors and a few other small parts of the grill assembly so once they’re installed, I can finally, finally start wet-sanding the car! 

Undercarriage (this was the colour scheme as received, although not original)
More undercarriage
And another shot of the undercarriage


The other big challenge is the headliner.  It was redone previously with a material that had a foam backing which had started to separate.  Of course, it wouldn’t pull off evenly and I found that the fibre board of the headliner was also separating in spots!  I did my best to clean all the loose pieces off it and thought I would be better off to have a replacement headliner, but a phone call to Kennedy’s revealed that they don’t make one for the Javelin.  So, I had to go back to my less-than-perfect headliner to figure out how I was going to make it work.  I decided that the best course of action was to buy up all the fibreglass resin they had in Fenelon Falls’ Canadian Tire (and then in Lindsay’s store) and soak these loose fibres with it to produce some kind of stable surface.  This worked but the unfortunate part is that is was anything but smooth!  So, I’ve done something I’d never done in my life – I started body working a headliner!!  The challenge is not to build up too much material on it, both for weight and trying to maintain the original contour.  At this point, it’s still a work in progress.  We had to order a specific adhesive for high heat areas such as headliners.  It’s rated for up to at least 250 degrees F and is the only adhesive the local upholstery shop would recommend.

We’re now at about 90{9bf56cdcf86fd5e484f7a6c7dd7f10c086072f0abab75d8e87856dbab1800b0f} completion on the Trans Am with plans to haul it down to Gettysburg for the AMO convention and then on to Atlanta.  Ken Edwards and I will be doing that second leg of the trip together.  After so many years away (almost a lifetime for her son, Marc), it will be an emotional reunion to be sure!

Editor's Note:  I should also mention that some parts were heavily corroded and, as NOS replacements were not available, many had to be sandblasted and individually painted in colours as close to stock as possible.   A lot of those paints were available at Canadian Tire.

Needed: Articles for the Website

Good Tuesday morning!  As I write this, I am sitting in the sun after the long Easter weekend.  This is the first major indication that spring has finally arrived.  You may have done some work on your car over the winter or may be just in the process of dusting it off for the many cruise-ins, car shows or attending the international convention in Gettysburg, PA.  Whatever you're doing, if you're proud of your car and want everyone to know it, please send me a short article (a couple of paragraphs - don't worry about grammar, etc. - I'll look after that) and some pictures. 

As well, if you have some technical knowledge that can be shared with members, fire that along too!  I'm sure your experiences will be helpful to others.


Passing of Val Fleming

Many years ago, before the creation of AMO+, there were two clubs - Classic AMX Club of Central Canada and then Northern Ramblers.  Val Fleming was an early member of Northern Ramblers who assisted us with our first National Convention (was that 1994?  I can't recall exactly).  Anyway, after years of working in the States but living in Canada, she made the move to Phoenix, Arizona where she was a member of the Cactus Cruisers chapter of AMO.  The following is from an email we received from John T Elle, member of that club:

"With great sadness, I must report the passing of Valerie Elizabeth Fleming, 58 years old of Phoenix, AZ.  She was proceeded in death by her father, Sydney Mark Kenneth Horn by a matter of weeks.  She passed away due to complications following a double lung transplant, however this did allow her to live another year and half to love and be loved by those around her.

She left in passing her mother, Cecelia Horne-Paul and three sisters, Marilyn, Maureen, Elisabeth and her husband, Allan.

Valerie was an active spokeswoman for what the club stands for and participated for a number of years at the national level in organizing and running the early shows.  She was active at the local level whenever possible and could be found somewhere in the vicinity of her little red racer, a 1980 AMX that she was forever proud of being the owner of.  Her car was one of the unusual and somewhat rare base model versions of the car so keeping it clean and presentable was always an activity that kept her busy.

At the local level here in Phoenix, she not only was a co-founder of the Cactus Cruisers but an active member of the Mopars Unlimited and the Walter P Chrysler club where one of her favorite projects was to score well in combined Mopar and AMC classes.  She was also a huge help to me when I was a news editor for all three of those car clubs.

Valerie's presence was always able to be observed by her friendly and helpful attitudes and her outlook on whatever was going on.  She was a significant help on the construction a car similar to hers, a 1980 Spirit, built from a derelict source and using an injected AMC 16 motor.  In addition to all her accomplishments, she was also a very good mechanic.

Valerie's health slowly became a larger issue as time passed, but her interest in this hobby continued and she could be found helping others not only in the hobby, but in her second interest in products made with yarn.  She established a successful online yarn store known as CrochetGal and became the source for not only yarn but the knowledge that accompanied them.

She will be missed!  We were close friends for over 22 years.  Losing her has left a large hole in my life, but consider myself fortunate to have known her.

Respectfully shared by

John T Elle, AMO Member 1589

Christmas Party 2016

About 20 of us got together in the party room of my apartment building in Peterborough on November 26th to celebrate and catch up on all the comings and goings since we last met.  Joanne Legon and I had dressed the place up in holiday style and, as folks arrived with their contributions to the pot luck meal and their Secret Santa gifts, I finally started to get into the spirit of the season.  We were able to make use of the Games Room so some played pool, air hockey, cards and board games, while others sat around and chatted.  We had a great deal of fun with the Secret Santa game (as always) with one of the favourite items being a hot dog maker!  The meal was set out in buffet style and was delicious, with more than enough for everyone.  We all had a wonderful time, once again confirming that it's not just about the cars, even though that's what brought us together.  A belated "Merry Christmas" to all and the best for the New Year!!

Irene, Ken, Harm and John sharing a few stories
Angelo leading the way with Roberta, Marty, Sandy, Harm and John picking up the rear!


Looks like they're admiring Angelo's Secret Santa gift!!
Happy Ken!
Gail and Mike with new members (and their relatives) Terry and Andy (they bought Mike's 1969 Javelin)
Enjoying the feast!


Libations, anyone??

Jodee Scott, President

The Little Retirement Project – Update #1

The first part of this story can be found on the website for those who haven’t read it. For those that have, you’ll remember that we left off with a primed car ready for block sanding and an engine being built.

Well, I block sanded the entire car and then Harm came and primed again after I had filled all the little dips and doodles. And of course I block sanded again. Once I finished sanding, which took a couple of days, I invited Gail to come out and have a look. Well, it turns out that her eyesight (somewhat comparable to an eagle) is far better than mine. We went around the car together and she pointed out numerous spots where there appeared to be tiny pin holes in the primer, some that I couldn’t even see with my glasses on.

The only way I could get rid of them was to sand them out which I did, bringing Gail back out to inspect the car only to find a few that I missed. I must have sanded for a week. Then Harm came back and primed again. I sanded again, and Gail found pin holes again. So I sanded for another week or so. By this time, I was seriously thinking of not inviting Gail out to inspect again, and Gail was seriously thinking of never coming into the workshop again J, but it was what it was and it needed to be right.

After some thought and discussion, Harm and I realized that we were probably getting water in the compressor line, so we installed additional filters prior to priming again.

I sanded again (no more pin holes) and continued the process of inspect, sand, fix, review and sand for what seemed like about two months. I was doing that for so long (getting good at it though), that Ken Edwards gave me the nickname of “Dusty Putz”.

Anyway, we finally got it block sanded and it was ready to have the bottom, engine bay and door jams painted.


Which as you can see, has been done and she was ready to go. After that it would head over to Harm’s place for final sanding and final painting.

But first, we had to install the rear end so we could roll it out. It includes 4:11 gears, differential locker, Control Freaks suspension and Wilwood disc brakes.

As for the engine, it was ready for the dyno, something you don’t get to do every day. Harm and I and my nephew Randy headed down to see Joe Fioravanti, (another relative) in Niagara who built my 360 Stroker. After a few runs on the dyno, we were at 503HP and 510 FPT. Man, were we happy with that! Harm and I gladly took the engine home and later, I proceeded to install a very nice serpentine system.

The engine is an AMC 360 Stroker with a 390 crank shaft, custom cam, solid lifters, Edlebrock aluminum 390 heads, MSD Fuel Injection and a March Performance Serpentine system. Obviously I don’t have any more kids to put through college….. 🙂

So, engine and transmission, and front suspension system are ready for installation……

As of today, January 7th, the body is over at Harm’s to be painted tomorrow. Gail and I are in Myrtle Beach for the next 3 months resting up for the future install.

We’ll do another update as progress is made.


Dusty Putz


January 2017!

It's a very cold but sunny day as I sit here in the kitchen, staring outside.  We're just six days into 2017 but already there has been plenty on the go. 

First and foremost, Ken Edwards completed his final round of chemotherapy on December 28th.  Yahoo!  It's been a real trial for both he and Roberta - driving to Oshawa to attend many, many appointments; being plugged in to IV every three weeks to receive the IV chemo (he also had pills for two weeks after each treatment) and then blood tests prior to each treatment; and the typical backlash from the therapy (extreme fatigue, nausea, mood swings).  One unexpected bonus (well, at least for anyone who is follickly challenged - you know who you are!) was hair growth instead of it falling out.  All appears to be going according to plan!  Let's all hope that 2017 is the start of an uneventful year because, as we all know, Ken and Roberta have plans for trips (not the least of which is Gettysburg, PA for the AMO convention).

Harm has been busy working on a few members' cars - he painted Angelo's 1974 Javelin, is working on Randy Weales' 1971 (I think that's the year) Hornet (SC clone) and Mike Putz's 1974 Javelin project.  And somewhere along the line, he (along with some help from me and likely Ken Edwards) will be doing the final assembly of Babs Hillick's 1970 Trans Am Javelin.  He will be trailering it down to Gettysburg and then on to Atlanta to deliver it to her.  As some of you may know, Babs is going through her own battles with breast cancer and we'd all like for her to enjoy this car this year.  A small reward for all she's endured this past year.  His reward will be starting on the expansion of his shop (another approximately 400 sq. ft.) to accommodate his car hoist and the miriade of tools/equipment.  He's been thrilled with how well his shop has turned out but he just doesn't have enough room for all his stuff!  Then, he can start working on his own projects.  He'll be building a 1970 AMX (customized) and hopefully resuming work on the 1931 Model A that I gave him for our 5th anniversary (we'll be married 40 years this July!!).  In his spare time, he'll come out riding with me on his very own horse - Sammy - an 11 year old Standardbred gelding. 

If any of you are working on your own projects, please drop me a few paragraphs (with pictures?) so your efforts can be shared with the group.  It doesn't need to be fancy - I can spruce your words up if you like.  It's just so interesting to hear what others are doing during these cold and snowy winter months.  Even if you're just thinking about your next car, that too would be something to share.

On behalf of AMO+, may I wish each and every one of you a very Happy New Year!  May 2017 bring you peace and prosperity (in whatever form it comes)!

Barb van der Veen

Website Editor/Social Convenor

Reminder – 2016 Christmas Party

Just a quick reminder that, if you haven't already done so, it's not too late to contact Jodee about coming to this year's Christmas party.  She is hosting it at her apartment building (there is an events room available downstairs) in Peterborough.  Just call her at:  705-772-7278 for further details.



Television Crew Interviews Jeff Spratt at Rockford AMO Convention

Jeff Spratt brought his 1970 AMX to the Rockford AMO Convention where it was eligible to judged in the American Heritage Class.  While he was waiting for his car to be judged, he was asked if he would consent to a television interview.  Here's the link to that interview:

As if this wasn't exciting enough, at the awards banquet that evening, it was announced that Jeff won the American Heritage Cup trophy!!  His AMX will now be retired from judging but hopefully he'll bring it to future shows where it will be proudly displayed with other past winners.  Congratulations Jeff!