Lookin’ Forward to 2012!

2012 New Years Car Resolutions

I always look forward to starting things fresh each January. While most people focus on life goals –  I love making garage goals. Looking back in my archives for the last “wish list” I wrote – I was surprised that it wasn’t written last January but for 2010! Seing that it’s been 2 years, I’m glad to see that I’ve accomplished most of the list. Before sharing my new list, let’s review the old one:

The Old List

1.Get A New Exhaust System: Check. I was lucky enough to be part of the process in custom bending pipe and even making my own headers and mufflers thanks to B&C Industries.

2. Work On Suspension Components: Check. I rebuilt my entire front suspension with the help of my favorite mechanic Tommy. Because it was a rushed job, I didn’t get to do as much as I wanted to (the crux of my job dealt with cleaning all of the parts before reassembling!) But I did get the opportunity to be part of upgrading the front suspension in one of my car club gal’s Comet.

3. Add Seatbelts: Ummmm…I didn’t want to do this. I know, I know. I put it on the list because I know safety is important. But at the time I listed it, I wasn’t satisfied with adding lap belts and wanted to do the whole shoulder-belt thing. As I sit on Stude’s bench seat, I just can’t stomach the idea of having a shoulder-belt on. Finally, I’ve decided I’d compromise though and put in lapbelts…but I still need to do it!

4. Seal Her Off: Still needs to be done. Ugh! This is a very aggravating problem – and is currently 2nd on my Stude’s priority list (after fixing my fuel problem and getting her back on the road.) Sealing her off refers to the rubber molding surrounding my rear-quarter windows. When it rains, water floods into my rear seat wells and eventually leads to completely fogged windows which make Stude unsafe to drive. The parts for this job only cost about $140…but lately that’s been hard to come by!

5. Better My Brakes: Check. I had vowed to do this BEFORE losing my brakes over a year ago (I hadn’t upgraded yet.) Well…I lost my brakes and that certainly wasn’t fun. But I was extremely lucky and didn’t crash into anything! Since that time I’ve upgraded my master cylinder, replaced the rubber lines with steel-braided ones, and inspected all other braking components (which reminds me…I’ve gotta publish the stories on all those adventures!)

3 out of 5. Not bad, but could be better. Hopefully I’ll be able to knock out this entire new list within 2012…so here goes…

The New List – 2012 Car Resolutions

1. Fix Fuel System. With Studie’s Fuel Mystery, I have the job outlined as needing a new fuel pump (I run electric,) new fuel lines, and drop & clean the fuel tank.

2. Seal Her Off. Like I said, this is 2nd on my priority list – I’ve gotta stop that water pouring in when in rains!

3. Get Drag Race Ready. Drag strips require vehicles to have seat belts and a radiator overflow container as minimum safety requirements. In addition to adding those things to my 1955 Studebaker, I’ll need to do a little tuneing up also. And if I can get my hands on some beefy back tires and a manual transmission too, that would be even better!

4. Replace Trunk Hinges. Being the original hinges, I’ve already replaced one and now the other one is gone. For the past year I’ve only been opening my trunk 10″ or less. It’s about time I fix that. I’d like to get more modern hinges (that don’t require holes in the trunk lid.) Doing this should also remedy the slight offset that Studie’s trunk has had since replacing the first hinge.

5. Rebuild Falcon’s Engine. I’m already on my way – but I’m looking forward to this achievement…my first engine rebuild!

6. Complete a Motorcycle Driving Course. I’ve wanted to do a class and get my license for awhile. After getting the opportunity to drive a dirt bike out at El Mirage this past year, I’m even more motivated to make this happen. I think driving a motorcycle out on the open road (outside of LA) would be a great feeling!

7. Get More Bodywork Experience. I haven’t had much opportunities with body work. I don’t want to touch my Studebaker (although I did get to try my hand at metalflaking her roof this year.) And the Falcon is in perfect shape. But I loved taking Gene Winfield’s metalworking class and the other little bits of body work I’ve done…I wanna do more!

I’m thankful for my car club, blog readers, and all the other friends and people who help and encourage me along the way – thank you! I know you’ll be a part of the process in completing my car resolutions this year! What about you?? Leave a comment and let us know a garage goal on your list?

Happy Trails,


4 Responses

  1. JP Kalishek

    RE: Motorcycle course.
    I ride a lot. in fact, until this past November, I was two wheels only for about 3 years. I finally got the truck back on the road, but I really prefer the bikes.
    I currently have three bikes on the road. The first bike is my old 1980 XL250s I got to save money (The truck was running near $50 a week for gas) when I was in financial straights I had to scrimp hard to save the few hundred bucks to buy it but I can get to and from work for a week on a tank and it only holds 2.5 gallons. On the way home, from buying it, the suspension on the truck broke.
    My daily ride has been a ST1100 sport touring bike. I have been to Michigan on it twice, and with saddle bags and a trunk on it can carry a weeks groceries on it.
    It needed transmission work, and while putting things back together I ham-fisted the alternator and cracked it.
    I was looking for a replacement part and found a bike laid over for the right price and decided to fix it up, use it as the full dress touring bike and make my broke bike a Naked ride.
    I managed to repair the crack and hopefully it will hold. I should have the bike running this weekend, and possibly on the road if I get the headlight and relay mounts sorted out (I may pull apart the wire harness to mount them in various places).

    Since I moved to Texas, I have not transferred my Driver License. Texas requires me to take a riders course and test to get my Motorcycle endorsement even though I have it on my Louisiana license. Now they do not force regular DL retraining and testing, and they use the same tests as the ones I took to get it when living in New Orleans.
    So I have to find the time to take the damned classes and they are always early morning things and I work nights.

    Other than that, the bikes have been a grand time and I love working on them almost as much as riding them.
    I love to go play in the snow on the XL250. Maybe we will get some soon. West Texas has had more than normal, but we’ve been warmer than usual so far.

  2. The Gear Head Skeptic

    About those non-existent seat belts…

    My ’50 Chevy had lap belts and a bench seat in the front when I got it, but I always had that little voice in the back of my head about shoulder belts too, but I really didn’t want to strip the interior out of my car and start cutting and welding on a finished car to put in the shoulder belt mounts on the B-pillar. I found an alternative that may work for you too.

    (Warning: non-traditional parts mentioned below)

    Several late-model GM small SUVs have front seats with integrated shoulder belts. The GMC Envoy and Chevy Trailblazer for example. I think even some Caddy sedans have them too. They are bucket seats with no arm rests. I grabbed a pair of those and will be swapping them into my Chevy this winter (leather seats with 6-way power!). Watch for a tech post on TheGearHeadSkeptic.com later, but in the mean time, have a look around for new(ish) seats with integrated shoulder belts. Pick-n-Pull would let you have them for dirt cheap. No cutting and welding, better seats, and WAY safer than lap belts alone.

    Downside is that you would loose your bench seat in the front, which is pretty cool, and would have late-model seats in your vintage ride, if that sort of thing bothers you. It bugs me a little, but I’d rather not compromise on safety issues. I’m too pretty to eat a steering wheel.

    • JP Kalishek

      Convertibles as well are good sources for Belt in seat set ups. As someone who has bounced around in a few accidents (both on racetracks and in the street) I prefer to have a good set of belts and they be somewhat tight on me.


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