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Old 15th August 2009, 07:54   #76
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Originally Posted by the mole View Post
Hi Tonarg did your team have previous experience working on vintage /classic cars prior to this?
Yes, but not when they were considered as vintage or classic cars. First, some of the older members of the team, such as the chief mechanic and the electrician, had worked in other garages before joining the government, where they had worked on a wide variety of older cars. Moreover, the government itself used to be a treasure house of vehicles. There used to be those that were donated by UN agencies; for instance, the UNICEF brought in a large number of Renaults, (which seem to have totally disappeared). There were Land Rovers, Jeeps and several other vehicles with the government. The food department even had an Alfa Romeo van; it was unfortunately sold for scrap in 1988. Where the team required a little bit of fine tuning was in paying heed to originality, or to watch out for detail. This is where I came in.

I think the most important attribute they carried was discipline. They knew that the car had to be finished by a particular date and worked without let up to achieve that deadline.

I'll try and put in the dates. But by now, if I recollect, we were about half way through the project. About thirty days had elapsed.
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Old 15th August 2009, 22:16   #77
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Timelines for photos:
(1) Pages 2 & 3: The car as found; 28 July 04,
(2) Page 3: towing the car, 17 Aug 04,
(3) Page 3: dismantling the car, including upholstery, 18 Aug,
(4) Page 3: cleaning the cosmetic parts, 20 Aug,
(5) Page 4: last picture of the finished seat base, 31 Aug,
(6) Page 4: removing windscreen and dashboard, 18 Aug,
(7) Page 4: tinkering of the wheel arches; 22 Aug,
(8) Page 4: removal of the floorboards, 22 Aug,
(9) Page 4: final finished photos of the floorboards, 31 Aug,
(10) Page 5: first photos of door, 22 Aug,
(11) Page 5: finished photos of door base, 31 Aug,
(12) Page 5: first photos of running boards being fitted, 31 Aug,
(13) Page 5: final photos of finished running boards, 12 Sept,
(14) Page 5: first photo of part between dumb irons, 18 Aug,
(15) Page 5: completed part between dumb irons, 24 Sept,
(16) Page 5: first photos of front wings: 18 Aug,
(17) Page 5: final tinkered front wing and scraped bonnet: 12 Sept,
(18) Page 5: dismantled sump: 22 Aug,
(19) Page 5: the exposed engine, 31 Aug,
(20) Page 5: engine with radiator fitted (it was running when the photos were taken): 12 Sept,
(21) Page 5: removal of engine: 12 Sept, late evening,
The photos have not been posted in strict sequence, but according to the aspect of the restoration described. However within each post, I have put up the pictures in chronological order.
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Old 15th August 2009, 22:22   #78
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I have posted pictures of the painting as it progressed.
(1) Rear wings, with putty: 12 Sept,
(2) Inside of the engine bay painted: 21 Sept,
(3) Intermediate stages of painting: 25 Sept,
(4) Final painted car (with cloth sheets on front wings and upholstery partly fitted 11 Oct,
Attached Thumbnails
A lightning quick restoration - '48 Chevy Fleetmaster-zzj_picture-227.jpg  

A lightning quick restoration - '48 Chevy Fleetmaster-zzj_picture-228.jpg  

A lightning quick restoration - '48 Chevy Fleetmaster-zzj_picture-245.jpg  

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A lightning quick restoration - '48 Chevy Fleetmaster-zzj_picture-266.jpg  

A lightning quick restoration - '48 Chevy Fleetmaster-zzj_picture-301.jpg  

A lightning quick restoration - '48 Chevy Fleetmaster-zzj_picture-303.jpg  

A lightning quick restoration - '48 Chevy Fleetmaster-zzj_picture-304.jpg  

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Old 16th August 2009, 08:28   #79
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The dashboard and interior fittings were done simultaneously with the painting. By then, I was spending an hour every day scouring the internet for photos of Fleetmaster interiors. I found that Fleetmasters, as indeed many American cars of that era, had a simulated wood grain finish on their metal dashboards. Now we had no clue as to how to do this. I downloaded articles on how to simulate woodgrain on metal from the net, but by then, our painters were fully occupied with the exterior of the car. It was then that my wife came to the rescue. She is a talented craftsperson and artist, but has a tendency to downplay her skills. One evening in her office, I was thinking aloud as to how to go about creating a woodgrain finish when she offered to try doing this herself.

We started out with having the dashboards, window & quarter glass cappings, wind screen and rear screen surrounds painted in a light brown shade (Photo 1, 8 Oct).
Attached Thumbnails
A lightning quick restoration - '48 Chevy Fleetmaster-zzj_picture-1.jpg  

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Old 16th August 2009, 08:32   #80
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She then concocted a darker shade of brown, mixing brown, red and black and even a dash of yellow, in a bath of thinner and applied this concoction by hand using a cloth swab, over the brown painted metal. After a few trials on waste metal, she began to get the hang of it. The results looked excellent. She started work at 9 PM on the dashboard parts, and it was well past 1.00 AM when she finished. I was only there to provide humour, music, drinking water and food. Our dog, Biscuit, watched for some time, but lost interest. He was fast asleep when we laid out the parts to dry in our living room. (10-11 Oct)
Attached Thumbnails
A lightning quick restoration - '48 Chevy Fleetmaster-zzj_picture-2.jpg  

A lightning quick restoration - '48 Chevy Fleetmaster-zzj_picture-6.jpg  

A lightning quick restoration - '48 Chevy Fleetmaster-zzj_picture-7.jpg  

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A lightning quick restoration - '48 Chevy Fleetmaster-zzj_picture-8.jpg  

A lightning quick restoration - '48 Chevy Fleetmaster-zzj_picture-9.jpg  

A lightning quick restoration - '48 Chevy Fleetmaster-zzj_picture-10.jpg  

A lightning quick restoration - '48 Chevy Fleetmaster-zzj_picture-11.jpg  

A lightning quick restoration - '48 Chevy Fleetmaster-zzj_picture-12.jpg  


Last edited by Technocrat : 17th August 2009 at 13:24.
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Old 16th August 2009, 08:35   #81
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The next day, we gave these parts a coat of clear lacquer and the end result was impressive. (11 Oct)
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Old 16th August 2009, 08:43   #82
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In the meantime, I was able to pick up a good Fleetmaster clock from the Gujri. The rest of the instruments were cleaned and restored at home. The photos show my working table (11 Oct). Usually, I started after dinner to the wailing guitars of Pink Floyd, with my cat Columbus for company, who firmly believed that he owned my roll top desk and rented it out occasionally to me. The faces of the rectangular ammeter, fuel gauge and oil pressure gauge were beyond repair. So I painted them and got decals for their faces screen printed and stuck them on. One cannot make out the difference, I dare say. I still have a few extra decal sheets with me, maybe Harit might need them.
Attached Thumbnails
A lightning quick restoration - '48 Chevy Fleetmaster-new_001.jpg  

A lightning quick restoration - '48 Chevy Fleetmaster-zzj_picture-22.jpg  

A lightning quick restoration - '48 Chevy Fleetmaster-zzj_picture-23.jpg  

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Old 16th August 2009, 08:45   #83
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The central panel of the dashboard comprises of three parts, a top strip that is a white metal casting, a central ribbed panel and a curved sheet below, with the words ‘Chevrolet’ inscribed. I searched high and low for these parts but could not find them. Ordering them from abroad was not an option; we did not have enough time and in 2004, getting parts from abroad was a much more unfamiliar process to what it is now. I did not want to leave the centre of the dashboard bare. So I decided to fabricate these cosmetic parts from scratch.

The central panel was the easiest – I got this part milled from aluminum, using the tiny broken piece that was on the car (one can see this in early photos of the dashboard) as a sample.
Attached Thumbnails
A lightning quick restoration - '48 Chevy Fleetmaster-zzj_picture-24.jpg  

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Old 16th August 2009, 08:47   #84
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I could have asked for the top part of the panel as a sample for casting from my friends, but did not have the heart to put them through the inconvenience of removing it from their car. Therefore, I made detailed measurements of the markings using calipers, made drawings and then cut out parts from sheet brass of various thicknesses, aiming to laminate them together to make up the piece. These photos show the cutting and filing of the base piece of the top part, from brass. The first photo was taken on 5 Oct and the last one, on 8 Oct.
Attached Thumbnails
A lightning quick restoration - '48 Chevy Fleetmaster-zzj_picture-13.jpg  

A lightning quick restoration - '48 Chevy Fleetmaster-zzj_picture-16.jpg  

A lightning quick restoration - '48 Chevy Fleetmaster-zzj_picture-17.jpg  

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Old 16th August 2009, 08:49   #85
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The most difficult part was the tiny bowtie logo. It took me the better part of five hours to cut and file out the shape from sheet brass using a very fine fretsaw and jeweler’s files. (7 Oct).
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A lightning quick restoration - '48 Chevy Fleetmaster-zzj_picture-19.jpg  

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Old 16th August 2009, 08:52   #86
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The final parts of the top piece of the dashboard central console, before being brazed together (12 Oct)

However, later on, I wasn’t too satisfied when I got the parts laminated by a tinker. The brazing was done rather roughly and the parts were distorted. I wish I could have got these parts silver soldered more delicately by a jeweler. I wished there was some place where one could learn these skills. The finished piece looks good from a distance, but I’d replace it if I get an original substitute.
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A lightning quick restoration - '48 Chevy Fleetmaster-zzj_picture-18.jpg  

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Old 16th August 2009, 08:55   #87
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The bottom piece was similarly made. I cut out the Chevrolet name from a thin brass sheet (7 Oct) and had it brazed onto a thicker sheet. The final effect was passable, which was disappointing considering the effort that went into crafting by hand what were essentially cast and machine made parts.
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A lightning quick restoration - '48 Chevy Fleetmaster-zzj_picture-20.jpg  

A lightning quick restoration - '48 Chevy Fleetmaster-zzj_picture-21.jpg  

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Old 16th August 2009, 08:58   #88
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The dashboard was assembled by Yours Truly. By then we had just a few days to go and we were working late into the night (17 Oct). The crowning glory was the still unidentified badge on the glove compartment. I had not removed it when we applied the woodgrain finish, for fear that I would damage it. I had merely masked it. I removed the masking and carefully cleaned it with thinner and cotton ear buds. We fitted the dashboard late at night on 17 Oct, with just a few hours to go before the centenary celebrations.
Attached Thumbnails
A lightning quick restoration - '48 Chevy Fleetmaster-zzj_picture-25.jpg  

A lightning quick restoration - '48 Chevy Fleetmaster-zzj_picture-26.jpg  

A lightning quick restoration - '48 Chevy Fleetmaster-zzj_picture-27.jpg  

A lightning quick restoration - '48 Chevy Fleetmaster-zzj_picture-28.jpg  

A lightning quick restoration - '48 Chevy Fleetmaster-zzj_picture-29.jpg  

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Old 16th August 2009, 11:30   #89
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tonrag View Post
In the meantime, I was able to pick up a good Fleetmaster clock from the Gujri. The rest of the instruments were cleaned and restored at home. The photos show my working table (11 Oct). Usually, I started after dinner to the wailing guitars of Pink Floyd, with my cat Columbus for company, who firmly believed that he owned my roll top desk and rented it out occasionally to me. The faces of the rectangular ammeter, fuel gauge and oil pressure gauge were beyond repair. So I painted them and got decals for their faces screen printed and stuck them on. One cannot make out the difference, I dare say. I still have a few extra decal sheets with me, maybe Harit might need them.
Well, thanks for the offer. Actually I need the cluster of the meters. If I get a bad one, I will come to you for the dials.

When sitting in the night and posting or doing any vintage stuff, World Space Orbit rock is playing. BTW, I checked, and found that we are of the same age.
Now you have an exteme situation where the wife helps out and you do not even own the car. Mine is not so understanding.
I am waiting for the final pic. Very good job so far.

Cheers harit
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Old 16th August 2009, 15:35   #90
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Hi Tonrag, thanks for putting up with my suggestions for so long. The job so far is brilliant. I see that the dashboard has been assembled and I also see you have put on the windlace on the door door opening. Can you go into details of that, I see you have used a cloth windlace. I have been finding it very difficult to have cloth windlaces replicated down here in Bombay. If you illustrate you technique it would be much appreciated.

Commendations to your wife on the very nice dashboard wood paintwork, did you finish it with hard laquer?
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