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!