Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Deconstruction Begins

Our nephew Brendan came to stay this weekend, and helped us make the first real progress on "Project Matilda". After Teri Lynn and Brendan met us in south Salem, we made a quick trip to Harbor Freight to get the finest breaker-bar India has to offer. On the way to Corvallis, we were surprised to not only see, but be passed by a Fiat 850 (pretty much Matilda's Italian cousin) doing seventy miles an hour down I-5. We took it as a good sign of our impending automotive adventure.

Saturday evening didn't get us too far. I'd been working on getting the passenger side axle nut broken loose, and after breaking Chad's 1 1/4" socket and my new breaker bar, it still didn't budge! However, after a delightful Sunday morning breakfast, the day was looking up. I decided to forgo the luxury of a removable drive shaft, and just took the whole hub loose. While I toiled on the boring mechanical stuff, Brendan started on cleaning out the new, rust-free car. We hadn't done more than peek inside of it since we got it home from Madras. We were pleasantly surprised to find a plethora of spare parts (including a third usable carburetor) and even an abandoned vehicle notice from the Madras Police Department. It's dated 2001, so it's probably from another car, but it's still pretty cool.

Brendan made short order of the interior, removing the seats, carpet, seat belts, and just about anything else that wasn't floor pan. We did find a few small spots of rust under the back seat, and driver's side sill plate, but it's nothing a little rust-converter and Duraglass can't fix. So far, this car is in excellent shape, and will be ready for jamb-painting any time. By the time Curt and Teri came down this afternoon to get Brendan, the engine/transmission (as they are one unit) was nearly ready for removal. After a little wiggling, and lowering of the jack, it came free, setting the stage for next weekend's project: engine tear-down. —GP

PS: Photos from this weekend's progress have been posted to Matilda's photo album.

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