Due to trying-to-keep-the-job craziness, finals, and all that, I didn't make nearly the progress I'd hoped to during the spring semester, so I'm making up for that with daily wrenching lately. But I've been giving it occasional attention and continuing to collect parts at amazing sale prices. For example, I picked up a pair of stainless-steel, titanium-tipped mufflers; normal price: $90/each. My price: $19/each with free shipping.
A pair of stainless-steel radiator hoses in red powdercoat; normal price: $80/each. My price: $5/each.
Awesome sale on this stainless-steel crossover exhaust:
And so forth. Patience and slow parts-collecting earns awesome deals for the frugal.
Speaking of frugal: Yesterday, I did a little calculating and figured that I'll have built my hot-rod Newport for what it would cost to pay the taxes on the car I've always lusted after (1968 Dodge Charger). This includes the original purchase price of the car itself, piles of high-performance parts, a complete new dual exhaust system (with stainless-steel X-pipe), sexy wheels & tires, even a fuel injection system. For the price of tax to buy a restorable Charger that needs several grand more in repairs, bodywork, and paint. And would have less go-power than my Newport will have. That's crazy! Just because the Charger looks sexier? Hmph. I'll be able to transport seven in comfort at super-legal speeds rather than just five or six. So I count that as a win.
So, progress: Today Mike and I removed the exhaust; pulled the old transmission pan to replace it with a new, deep, finned aluminum pan with drain plug for easy fluid changes (the deep and finned = greater cooling to handle the increased engine power); replaced the oil pump with a high-volume unit; finished masking off the engine compartment; and nearly finished painting the block and associated bits Street Hemi Orange (used on 1966-1971 426 Hemi engines and most 383 and 440 HP engines, thus justifying my choice; mostly it's the color I associate with high-performance Mopar engines, and... well, it looks great with the copper of the body, and makes it go faster, too, I hear).
We had an adventure carrying out the drip-pan that ended up catching most of the tranny fluid that spilled out over the oil bucket. Who designed transmission pans that way? You have to undo a whole lotta bolts to remove the pan each time you want to change the fluid, and because there's no removable plug, the fluid goes everywhere. Idiots. Anyway, we're carrying this 3-foot by 4-foot sheetmetal pan out of the garage, and it's full of at least two quarts of red oil. Two can't fit through the door carrying it; heck, one can't. So we kind of mooged this way and that, trying to arrange it so we could hold the ends even though we were holding it by the sides. A natural property of bit sheetmetal pans - especially those filled to the brim with red oil - is that they go boing while you're trying to carry them, spilling oil all over those carrying it, the floor, the bricks outside the garage door, and even the doorframe and walls. We were all "Hahahaha!" especially me, who was less doused in the stuff. Luckily, I had a rug near the door that soaked up most of the oil. Also our pants did a fine job of this.
Now I'm BEAT.
Tomorrow, more of same! But with less spillage.