"Installing Hood Lace"

        Working on 30's cars is fun, but can be a real challenge, with parts becoming more and more difficult to find.  If you're going to keep your car, you need extra parts on the shelf.  In the continuing saga of our '36 Packard Coupe, an opportunity came up this month to buy an extra engine "complete", and, as luck would have it, it was in the Palm Beach, Florida area (tough trip, but somebody's got to do it!).  The engine appears to have a good bottom end, which is fitted with modern insert bearings and an iron head in good shape!  The seller was a Packard guy and had a '47 Super 8 coupe (rare) and a
'37 Super 8 convertible, both beautiful cars.  

        We also found a transmission that had been removed from a '37 Super 8 and sat outside for some time.  Although complete, it was frozen up and would not shift. Restorer Charles Butts cleaned and removed the top plate, exposing the gears and shifting rods.  The problem was rust on shifting rods, so they were removed, cleaned and polished with emery cloth, then re-installed.  The old grease was removed and replaced with the original type, #636 still available from Mobil Distributors in 5 gallon buckets.  It is a heavy grease and is also used in the rear ends of these cars.

        While waiting on the original engine parts to come back, extensive painting has been done, and much of the rubber replaced.  The hood lacing was incorrect, and had to be replaced.  The exact dark brown type with a wire running vertically through the center, was bought from Glenn Vaughn (208-773-3526).  It runs around the cowl and the radiator shell.  We had our '37 Super 8, which is an original 64,000-mile car to use as an example.  The fasteners to hold down the lacing look like small electrical wire staples and were not available, so we made them by putting a cotter pin in a vise and hammering the head down flat, then sanding out the hammer marks.  We then placed the new lacing on the car and marked the position of the fastener holes and punched them with an awl for each leg of the cotter pin.

        The lacing was now ready to go on.  The cotter pins push in the cowl holes and on the inside of the cowl, are tightened down by wrapping the ends around a brad.  This pulls the lacing down tight.  An adhesive can also be used if the lacing doesn't lie flat.

        One of the rubber parts we replaced was the rubber around the cowl air vent. On our'46 Chevy Panel truck it was easy-we just pulled out the old rubber, cleaned the surface and put the new rubber in.  Not so with the Packard.  We first taped the newly painted cowl and covered it with masking paper, then removed the vent by taking out the four screws in the hinges and pushing the adjuster bar off its track, allowing us to push the vent out the top of the cowl.  With the vent out, the screen and underside were painted with semi-gloss black enamel.  With clear access to the opening, all old rubber was removed and the surface was painted car color.  The new rubber is available from Steele Rubber (704-483-6650), and was installed using weather-strip adhesive. (We used masking tape to hold it in place.)  After the adhesive dried, the vent was re-installed.  It looks and works great.  It's amazing how new rubber parts really make a car look good.
Well, there is more to tell, but we will continue next issue.  Keep 'em driving!