Mark Fords “MF/MF” Model A at Austin Speed Shop

Austin Speed Shop is doing its fair part to bring some automotive shenanigans to a city with a history of ambivalence toward hot rodding. It doesn’t hurt that Jesse James of West Coast Choppers fame is now involved. Among the sweet rods that roll out of the their South Lamar shop is this ridiculous Model A.

Mark Fords “MF/MF” Model A at Austin Speed Shop.

via Mark Fords “MF/MF” Model A at Austin Speed Shop.

With a Little Help From my Friends

The Cut-dawg session got a shot in the arm as last weekend as ATX posse came into town for an all-out thrash. We got a lot done. In performing a details-oriented renovation up to americanrevolution standards, for all the glamorous stuff readily visible there are tons of smaller, less obvious details that must be attended to. The ATX posse knows how we do it, so their help was much appreciated. Here’s how it went down:

Up to this point, our coverage of the extreme engine makeover has been teardown; now it
time to get some shine on. Using lots of rags and solvent, we cleaned up the engine block from top to bottom in preparation for a coat of shiny gold paint. That’s right, the Olds is gold and thus the driver of the Cut-dawg will be known henceforth as The Man With the Golden Gun. Having already removed most major fixtures from the engine for polishing or painting, we had only to tape off hoses, headers, intake, etc. in order to cover the mighty 455 in gold. Then we put the Cutlass in the air in order to paint the bottom side gold, because we don’t do it halfway.

Next, to finish up on the topside, we repainted
the Edelbrock intake manifold. While we are generally leery of cheap silver paint jobs, our colleague Big Block Ray has had success in this realm (on another 455 no less) by utilization of Dupli-Color’s high heat aluminum aerosol. While many are tempted to leave performance aluminum intake manifolds in the au-natural state in which they arrive, the porous surface becomes stained with petroleum products and dirt in short order. A classy coating of aluminum paint seals the pores and makes it easy to clean for odd Friday night show-and-shine. See the pics for the method and the final result. And that

is just the beginning.
You will notice the valve covers still look a little worse for the wear. Not too worry. We removed them for a redo, and were pleasantly surprised by what lay beneath. Our lead photo tells the story–a couple of nice banks of Competition Cams roller rockers, pushrod guides, and screw-in studs with adjusting nuts. Sweet. After gushing over this new discovery for a bit, we packed up the valve covers for shipment back to ATX with the posse for the treatment. See the results next time.
The crown jewel of the Rocket Olds is the mighty Demon carbueretor. As far as we can tell, its a 760 CFM Speed Demon which was in need of much attention in the asthetic department. Big Block Ray was on the task with a teardown to clean and ensure proper operation, followed by a major polishing session to maximize bling factor. Upon reassembly we set it upon the engine and the look was most astounding. Clearly the Cut-dawg will be a case of a primered menace housing a mountain of style backed with major substance.

So much more awaits. More updates to follow soon. Stay tuned.

Shiny Objects

The theme of our latest foray into the workshop was bling bling, as we sought to make some noticeable headway in the absence of new tires. While the Cut-dawg continues to roll on may-pops, it is well on its way to getting its groove back if our Tuesday night thrash is any indication. In this installment, you will learn how americanrevolution gets the shine on like professional, as well as how to keep your cool when problems arise.

We shall cover the problems first. A great man (actually I think it was Joseph Stalin, who was not so great) once said that sometimes it is necessary to take one step back in order to take two steps forward. We prefer to take no steps back, but we find that the choice is rarely left to us when it comes to hot rodding. And so it was, as our work session began, that we determined it necessary to rectify the problem posed by insufficient lighting in one corner of the workshop. New lights were henceforth installed. And we were immediately unhappy. Lights have a way of exposing problems heretofore unnoticed, as in the case of the paint we sprayed under the hood “with so much abandon” as we discussed last time. We found that it actually did not look fine as a result of a bad case of fisheye that promulgated throughout the sprayed underhood areas. This is the result of poor surface preparation, which is a byproduct of being in a hurry. This in turn results in us having to do the job twice.

Enter sandpaper. Take note of how we attacked the radiator surround, inner fenderwell, and frame with 220 grit paper. Unless you seek a show-quality finish, no finer grit is necessary for things to look presentable. Once we complete the sanding, several light coats of Krylon semi-flat black will be applied instead of the reckless thick single coat approach americanrevolution foolishly utilized previously. And it will look good.

(more after the jump)

Note the polyethelene (plastic) inner fenderwells, another example of the goodies we inherited with the car. Remember, never paint polyethelene, because paint has approximately the same adherent qualities to this plastic as water does to oil.

So now that we are well on our way to solving that problem, we can talk about the next one we encountered–a big leak. We truly did not see this one coming. The general smell of lubricants and solvents is not uncommon in workshops, even clean ones like ours. But something was little overpowering at times, and at last we found out that the tranny is leaking. It must have been the puddle extending from underneath the car that finally garnered some attention. The unsettling thing is that americanrevolution performed a tranny fluid and filter change before the car came into the shop, and it has not been run since. We opted to react with the “that’s a problem for another day approach.”

The third problem is the fact that our tires are probably still growing on a rubber tree in South America. But you already knew that. So on to the fun stuff.

The fun part of a project is getting the parts ready for reassembly. Generally, some of these parts will be modified, revamped, or otherwise renewed before reinstallation. To bring back that shiny new look, a wire wheel/buffer was brought in courtesy of Big Block Ray to make the job easier. The first candidate was the nasty old alternator, a genuine Delco Remy OEM piece. The aluminum case showed the usual oxidation and grime-staining, which was no match for the mighty wheel of steel wire. See the before and after pictures, and notice how the after picture demonstrates that too much shiny equates to cheap, amateurish finish. It has since been bathed in a nice coat of our favorite Krylon semi-flat black in pursuit of a more understated look.

The wire wheel was exchanged then for the buffer, and the real fun ensued. Since the vast
majority of the parts we will be polishing are aluminum, we chose buffing compounds matched for softer metals. Ideally, a separate buffing wheel should be used for each compound, but we determined to get by without buying an extra $7 wheel. It worked beautifully on the aluminum parts, namely the carb-to-intake adapter. The perimeter was cleaned up with the thicker compound, then the fine compound brought up the sheen dramatically, making the polished aluminum look almost like chrome. To finalize the adapter, the mating surfaces were block-sanded to ensure a leak-free fit, and the inside surfaces were roughed up with a fairly coarse grade of sandpaper to disrupt airflow and thus facilitate better air-fuel atomization. The theory sounds good at least, and americanrevolution insists that this little trick will be worth at least a hundredth in the quarter!

Because the buffing session went so swimmingly with the aluminum parts, we determined that it had to work just as well with the few chrome components. So out they came, and americanrevolution got busy. Unfortunately, our decision to not purchase an extra buffing pad turned out to be crucial mistake, as the coarser compound left over from earlier left some indelible scratches in the chrome. The final product turned out nice nonetheless, and when you see the final product you probably will notice these scratches only because we pointed them out here.

Summarily, in one night we made considerable progress in spite of some mild setbacks. We are certainly on the cusp of more breakthroughs in the renovation process, though the holidays doubtless will break up the momentum a bit. You will know all the latest as it happens, and first and foremost when the tires arrive with much pomp and ceremony.