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1937 Pontiac 6
Model 2619
4-Door Touring Sedan 

'Mildred'

  • 6 cylinder flathead engine
  • 3-speed floor-shift
  • Radio, Heater, Clock
  • Fog Lights
  • Ash tray
December 7, 2014 - Bad Timing? -   Five weeks in Africa, a trip to Florida, and a week in DC have all combined to keep me away from getting cars worked on.  Now that I am home for a while, I am trying to get Mildred's overheating issues sorted out.  Talking with friends in the Tidewater Region AACA,  another potential culprit has been identified.  It turns out a bad distributor can cause overheating by not advancing properly at higher RPMs.  It just so happens that I have a New Old Stock distributor for Mildred still in the GM box, complete from drive gear to distributor cap.  I'll get it cleaned and adjusted and drop it in.  Could be the radiator was never the issue at all!  We'll find out soon.
August 31, 2014 - Shiny, But Still Hot -   After 4 months, I finally got Mildred all back together with her new center hood chrome strip and ornament, plus all the cooling system items.  The hood paint suffered a bit due to my occasional clumsiness, but I plan to have her repainted anyway.  However, my initial happiness at having her ready to go was squelched by the first test drive - she is heating up exactly the same way.  This despite a cleaned radiator, new thermostat and hoses,  verified water pump and distribution tube, and fresh 50/50 antifreeze.  Between the cracked top tank and the total lack of improvement despite a claim that the radiator was half clogged makes me suspect the radiator shop.  At this point, it looks like a new radiator is required.  Oh, well.  At least she got a good bath.  And the second removal should be easier.
August 10, 2014 - Tick Tock -   The weekend was spent on Mildred - I got the radiator back in, cleaned and reinstalled the water pump, put in the new thermostat and hoses, and checked her out.  Idling for fifteen minutes in the garage, she stayed at 180, which is the middle of the gauge.  Unfortunately, she also developed a 1-inch seeping crack in the back tank seam, which I have hopefully fixed with JB weld.  Next came the rebuilt clock, which took more effort than I expected.  The glove box had to come out and there was no wiring for  the old clock which was missing parts and installed for show.  I had to remove the FM converter and do some rewiring of the radio and lights, but the clock is now ticking away.  I also got the hood back on, though the center strip will take some work - it has a definite bow that makes lining up the mounting holes difficult to impossible.
August 8, 2014 - Cool Looking Radiator -   I took it to Beach Radiator on the recommendation of friends in the AACA.  The folks there determined that Mildred's core was about half blocked with crud.  However, the radiator was in excellent shape, having been recored sometime in the past, and they were able to hot-tank it and get it completely clean inside and out.  They also gave it a nice paint job, so it looks new.  I ordered a new lower radiator hose from California Pontiac Restorations, and located a NOS Thermostat still sealed in the box on eBay, both of which arrived before I picked up the radiator this morning.  With luck and some effort, I may get her back together this weekend.
July 27, 2014 - Off With Her Hood! -  I have decided to get the radiator done, and also need to get the new chrome center and hood ornament installed, so I pulled the hood today.  It looked like it would be an easy job, but after undoing all the bolts I thought held it on, the front would not budge.  So I thought the hood ornament was holding it on and struggled to undo the ^%#! square nuts holding it in place.  However, just before I got the back one off, the whole assembly popped free - turns out the front studs were just binding.  Anyway, the hood is off and I can start work removing the radiator.
June 20, 2014 - Time to Flush? -  I'm looking for a 155-160 thermostat for the Pontiac, but I suspect the real culprit is the radiator.  Kenny had the old one checked and flushed years ago, but the car has always had an issue running at 55.  I got a call from a friend in the Pontiac club who also has a 1937 Pontiac 6 - running at 55 and pulling a trailer in hilly country puts his temp gauge at 160-170.  Mildred runs normally at 180-190, and heads for 220 when you run at speed.  Looks like I need to pull the radiator and get it checked - and possibly go for a new core (ouchie).  Still, the car is a great driver other than the heating issue, and it's worth it to get her right.
May 26, 2014 - Hot Head -  The Pontiac was running well, but hotter than normal, during the long Square Car Tour.  Even keeping the speed to no more than 50, she was pushing 210 degrees.  I used an infrared sensor to verify the temperature gauge (it was dead on), and then pulled the thermostat and flushed the cooling system.  No change.  Oh, well.  The radiator was redone by the previous owner, but she may need one with better cooling capacity.  She is fine for most driving, though.  I'll start looking for another radiator to get rebuilt for the future.
May 4, 2014 - Square Deal -  After sitting for a few weeks, Mildred fired right up and was eager to go for my antique car club's annual 'Square Car Tour.'  The tour was originally designed to allow cars from the late teens and twenties to participate.  However, increasing distances and speeds have moved the average car age up a lot.   Mildred was the second oldest. losing out only to a 1935 Chevrolet coupe.  We drove close to 160 miles total including getting to the start, the run back from Gates County NC, and a side trip to my parents'.  She did great other than some high temps from the extended highway miles. I have a lot of small things to do for her - the new hood chrome, clock, and refinished dash face.  They were all 'winter' jobs, but it looks like summertime work now.
March 8, 2014 - 'Sweet' Ride -  Stephanie, a girl down the street that I have watched grow up, asked me a couple of weeks ago if I would driver her to her Sweet 16 party tonight.  Of course I said 'yes', and got Mildred spiffed up for the event.  Many photos were taken around the car, both before and after the ride.  It was fun to have a kid ask for an old car ride, and Mildred was, of course, perfect.
January 19, 2014 - Time for a Drive -  Mildred hasn't been out of the garage for more than a roll around the neighborhood in a while, so I gave her a grand tour of about 150 miles today.  We started with a drive out to a friend's farm in Isle of Wight, then out to Deep Creek for a visit with Kenny and Charlene Roach (who let me adopt Mildred), the out to Richard Hall's to leave off his spare nuts (long story, don't ask), then to my parents' and finally back home.  It was cold this morning and I turned on the heat for the first time.  You can bake bread inside the car when you get going!  Mildred ran perfectly and got many waves and honks.  It's amazing how well she rides and drives to be 77 years old!
November 30, 2013 - Right Time, Wrong Battery -  I had a spare clock for Mildred which I sent off to have rebuilt.  It arrived last week with the old parts (bagged) ready to install.  I had restored the face back in August and included it so it could be installed when the clock was reassembled.    That may be a project for this weekend - I have to pull the glovebox to get access.  However, when I went to start the car yesterday, she was totally dead.  I tried charging the battery to no avail.  The Cougar's battery died just two days ago, but despite thinking I had replaced it, it was the 6-year-old one that had come in the car.  This time I checked the blog and sure enough, I'd put a new one in on August 12, 2012.  I pulled the battery out, ready to take it back for a replacement, when I noticed it had a 2008 sticker.  Huh?  Turns out that while swapping batteries around at different times, I had accidently put an old battery back in Mildred and left the new one on the workbench as a spare.  Happily, it was still charged and Mildred fired right up.  Another recent goodie is a hood ornament that will get sent out for replating.
September 21, 2013 - Scouting Out New Enthusiasts -  Mildred hasn't had much attention the past few weeks, as the TC had to be readied for the Classics on the Green Show, and the Cougar is getting prepped for the big Wings and Wheels show next weekend.  However, today we rolled out to the Virginia Beach Airport to be part of a car display for a visiting Boy Scout Troop.  The Scouts are working on an Automobile Maintenance Merit Badge, and we had four other antique vehicles (including former garage-mate Eleanor) on hand.  The Scouts really liked Mildred's roomy interior - we got half the troop crammed inside at one time!
August 25, 2013 - Practically Perfect 'Ps' -  A visit to Richard's in the Pontiac prompted him to roll out his 1935 Packard 120 Club Sedan for a photo.  It is interesting to see the difference of two years.  Scroll down to September 2012 and see the difference between 1937 and 1939.  Style was changing quickly in those days!
August 24, 2013 - More Cleaning and Painting -   I just bought a decal set for the original clock face, and took the spare clock apart to redo. Once I get the face redone, I'll send the assembly out to be repaired and then replace Mildred's non-working unit.  I also got busy and painted the 'Silver Streak' that runs from her grille to firewall .  It took several steps - the center grooves had to be cleaned and primed, then painted black and clear coated.  I used extra-fine steel wool to get the paint off the tops of the ribs.  Then I taped off the top and did the sides.  It came out really well.  Now I have to swap it out for the old one.
August 17, 2013 - Junior Hobbyists -   Mildred wasn't afraid fo a few raindrops, and we rolled out to the 22nd Annual Khedive Car Show for the day.  She was very popular, and garnered some fans well under driving age who were very happy to see her from the driver's seat.  She ran perfectly and drive great, of course.  I decided to change her oil for the first time since I got her.  It's been more than a year and about 1500 miles.  Amazingly, I have not added oil in all that time and she was just a half-quart low!  I decided to paint the replacement filter black to make it look more like a stock canister and it worked pretty well - you can hardly see it now.  Scroll down to the June 17th entry to see how much the white filter stood out.
August 13, 2013 - Running Boards!   Work was slow today, so I took a couple of hours off this afternoon to see what I could get done on the running boards.  I'd done some research online which really paid off.  I scrubbed both running boards down with Whitely's Cleaner, then wiped them down with brake cleaner.  The passenger side was best (above).  I filled the surface cracks with windshield gasket sealer, and after it dried, painted it with flexible bumper paint.  The jury-rigged board it replaced is above it for comparison.  The driver's side was a bit more of a challenge, as it had a deep crack (right photo) on the outer edge.  I used flexible bumper epoxy repair to fill and seal the crack, then  sanded it down to contour.  A coat of flexible black paint later, and I have a new running board!  (Below)  Both are installed and look great.  This was an afternoon well spent!
August 12, 2013 - More stuff!  - The running boards and bumper guards arrived today from Washington - the running boards are definitely in usable shape, though I'll be doing some repairs, cleaning and painting before they go on Mildred.  The bumper guards are perfect, just needing the center stripes painted on.  Some tape and satin black paint took care of that, and they bolted on in a few minutes.. 
August 12, 2013 - Dash it all - step 3 - Now for the moment of truth - getting the flat Mylar decals installed on the contoured plate.  I sprayed the plate with Windex and then set about getting the top decal positioned first.  I used tweezers, a plastic squeegee, paper towels, and a razor blade to get everything in position as best I could, then worked the Windex out so the adhesive could grip.  I am very pleased with the results so far.  I have to let the rest of the Windex traces evaporate out, and then go back around the edges for a final seal.  Then I can clear-coat the whole thing for an even surface finish that will blend the edges of the decals.  Even without that, you can barely see them. 
August 11, 2013 - Dash it all - step 2 - With the metal cleaned up, I wanted to fix the pitting on the bottom.   I used glazing putty and allowed it to dry a half-day before I went back with 400-grit sandpaper.  Then I cleaned off the plate and applied the first coat of gray primer.  (The original panel was done in an off-white with a light tinge of gray).  The primer revealed some leftover pitting, so another fine layer of glaze was added and sanded smooth.  The second coat of primer revealed an acceptable surface, so after waiting until night, I applied the color coat (Honda Frost White NH538 - Duplicolor BHA0950).  I had matched the paint to the back side of the panel, which still had some relatively clean paint on it.
August 10, 2013 - Dash it all - step 1 - The first step in restoring Mildred's instrument cluster is stripping off the old paint.  This spare piece means I can take my time, and more importantly, not risk damaging Mildred's moderately decent dash.  As you can see, it was pretty far gone cosmetically, but is still very solid underneath.  I matched up some paint to the back side, and then stripped it to bare metal.  There is some light pitting in the metal at the bottom which needs to be repaired.
August 8, 2013 - More Shiny Stuff - Lots of nice stuff for Mildred is showing up.  I picked up the replated front Silver Streak from Royal Silver, and some nice hubcaps and restoration decals for the dashboard.  And some decent original running boards should be arriving over the next few days. Lots of work to get it all done, but nice to have the parts ready to go.
July 20, 2013 - Hazy Days of Summer - I washed and dried Mildred and the Cougar last weekend and had them both nice and sparkly.  I covered them up to keep them that way, but had an unpleasant surprise Thursday (18th) when I uncovered them to take Mildred to the car club dinner meeting, they were both covered with an oily haze that smeared when I tried to wipe it off.  I had to wash both cars today with a strong dishwashing detergent solution to get the film off, which apparently came from the car covers!  They are impregnated with some sort of oil to make them waterproof, and it stared breaking down in the heat.  All clean and shiny now, and I also replaced the license plate bracket in front.  It was starting to crack, and I mad a new one from thicker steel.  New lightweight and un-oiled covers are on the way.
July 14, 2013 - Points! - Mildred's performance has been off for a while - I noticed an occasional stumble when I took her to see our Tidewater Region friends  (including Sophie!) off for the 2013 Lincoln Highway Tour across country on June 20th.  I took her out this morning and the stumble seemed worse.  My first suspicion was correct - the points had closed up.  It's been more than a year and lots of driving time since I got her, so it was well past time to clean and adjust.  I was surprised to discover the point gap (.020) was not in the owner's manual, and I had to really search the shop manual to find it!  Anyway, some emery paper and a careful adjustment and Mildred is full of pep again.  I gave her a good bath as well, and filled the gas tank.  All ready to go...  somewhere.
July 12, 2013 - More Red - The back emblem looked so much better I decided to paint the front one as well.  It was harder to get to, but I was stubborner than the nut. I should have the center 'streak' for the hood back from the chrome plater in a week or so.
July 8, 2013 - Playing Games - Back in 1937, prospective Pontiac buyers got more than a sales folder - the Pontiac Safety Drive Game was a full-featured board game with little Pontiac sedans (even a red one like Mildred) that you 'drove' around to earn Pontiac dollars.  It promoted safe driving habits, and of course, the superior Pontiac automobile!  I got just the board a while back, but this game is new and unused in the original package!  Another eBay find.
July 5, 2013 - Bumpers and Seeing Red - Mildred's back bumper has seen better days - it had a big dent in the middle and the plating had come off part of the left side.  I picked up a replated bumper off eBay a few weeks ago and finally got it on today.  Took some work with the mounting bracket, as it was bent as well.  I also took time to repaint the trunk nameplate lettering, bumper guard accents, and a much better Indian Head medallion with correct red inserts.  Pretty time consuming, but the little things make a big difference.
June 17, 2013 - Mildred Moos - One of the only 'treasures' I found at the Richmond swap meet was a duplicate of the 'Cattle Caller'  horn I have on the Studebaker.  These are cable-operated and are designed to sound like a bellowing cow.  I cleaned and painted this one up and was able to install it using an existing firewall bolt and wiring it into the existing Town and Country horn power circuit.  I was even able to dig up some cloth-wrapped red wire to match the rest of the harness.  Silly, but fun, and only $15!  Plus an 89-cent can of paint.
June 16, 2013 - Positive Follow-Up - I tightened the ground cable, but it felt OK.  So I retightened the negative (power) connection.  Between the two, the connection issue is solved and she starts right up.  I also replaced the hardware on the hood support latch, so she is all back together.
June 15, 2013 - Road Trip and Trophy! - The fuel filter solved the starting issue, and Mildred did great except for a few things vibrating loose during 300+ miles on the road today.  First up was a trip to an antique car show in Richmond, VA where Mildred won First Place for 1930s cars.  From there we went to Mineral, VA to visit friends who raise miniature donkeys.  Just after I took the picture with the donkeys, the electrical system went stone dead!  I think it was a loose ground cable, and the hood prop bolt had also come loose and fallen out!  Guess I need to make the rounds to tighten things up.  Except for that one glitch, the trip was uneventful and Mildred got about 16 mpg!  The speedometer is dead on, and she ran between 190 and 200 degrees, which I figure is about right..
June 12, 2013 - Fuel Filter - Mildred's previous owners believed in doing everything right.  That includes the fuel filter, which is a fuel injection type with o-ring seals.  No rubber hose and clamps here.  The old one might not be bad but it's one more step in troubleshooting the slow starting.  Naturally, the battery was nearly dead from lots of cranking earlier and no driving, and she went flat before i could get her to go.  Happily, I keep a fully charged 6-volt battery on hand and swapped it out.  She fired right up with the fresh battery, so things could be improved.
June 11, 2013 - Costly Chrome - I dropped the divider off at the local premium chrome plater - they will build up the pits with copper, fix the few dings and dents, and provide show-quality chrome - for $275!  Ouchie!  While that was painful, the Silver Streak' is a very large piece of shiny stuff, and having it properly plated will make a big difference.  Considering that I paid $150 to have a horn ring done for the Studebaker some years back, it is actually..  dare I say it... a bargain!  On a more functional note, Mildred started up pretty well on her own after I replaced the plugs, but still took a lot of cranking.  I am going to install the NOS pump assembly I have on hand and see if that helps.  Ethanol does bad things to rubber, and the diaphragm in the current pump may be losing strength.
June 6, 2013 - Spark Plugs and Sparkle - I'm working through a complete tune-up for Mildred in hopes of curing the hard starting she recently developed.  First step was easiest - replacing the spark plugs.  O'Reilly's had the correct black base AC plugs in stock, so I checked the gaps and put them in.  The old plugs actually looked fine, but they were a little rusty and incorrect cadmium plated.   I picked up a new fuel pump rebuild kit and fuel filters for the tune-up at a flea market in Carlisle PA last weekend, so I should have her sorted out this weekend.  Also today, I got in the new 'Silver Streak' divider for the hood.  Mildred's has a lot of pitting, and removing it is a lot of work.  Plus, platers are notorious for taking their time, and the car would be out of commission until I got the piece back.  I picked up a spare off eBay some months ago, but it is pretty rough (top one).  I lucked out and found another last week that was almost useable as-is!  However, it has some very minor pitting and areas where the chrome has worn off, so I'll have it redone.
May 19, 2013 - Carb Tricks and Car Shows - I decided to take Mildred over to a nearby car display for the Norfok Rotary Club, but she was not quite in the mood.  First off, the throttle linkage has been hanging up when you push it all the way to set the choke.  I discovered the value of the easily removable hood side panels, which open up the entire  side really well.  I discovered that a linkage rod (highlighted in red) had gotten bent and was rubbing the inside of the black top cover.  A quick fix with some pliers.  But then she did not want to start in the driveway after I gave her a quick bath, and the battery went dead.  Happily, I had a fully charged spare in the trunk left over from the Spring Tour and got her going with the help of a shot of starting fluid.  It was a beautiful day despite dire predictions - I had put a bicycle in the back and rode it home with the intention to do some work.  But I ended up driving the Cougar over instead.  She needed a bit more starting fluid to fire up for the trip home - something is definitely not right in the fuel system.  I may need to replace filters.  In any case, she did well and got lots of attention.
April 28, 2013 - Center Stage- As with most glamorous starlets, Mildred only had to sit there and look good for the film shot.  She was placed center stage while the 1950 Chevy and 1956 DeSoto came sweeping in on either side of her. 

Before leaving for the shoot, I was able to get her spare engine and transmissions out of the pickup and safely stored inside.  A good thing since it is supposed to rain all this coming week!

April 27, 2013 - "I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille"- I took some time today to get Mildred ready for her movie debut in 'Miracle of the Murderers' - not a major blockbuster to be sure, but you never know who might be the next Steven Spielberg.  The Studebaker got screen time in a previous shoot - this will be a short pick-up sessions for an additional scene.
April 26, 2013 -Gifts from "Mom' and 'Dad'- Mildred's previous 'parents' have been graciously storing a good spare engine and other parts for me for almost a year.  I took the day off and went over in the Mazda.  Kenny had the engine ready to go on a hoist, as well as three transmissions, a really nice steering wheel, and some other small parts that have turned up. 

I took a chance on some generic aftermarket hubcaps from the 1940s on eBay - they were near perfect for $21.50 for all 4!   I'll be taking Mildred out to Portsmouth on Sunday to be part of a movie shoot!  Still need to get the hood center removed and replated.  Where did the winter go?

April 5, 2013 -Another Flea Market Find- This time I went all the way to  Charlotte NC for the big Charlotte Auto Fair and national car show.  It's a huge event, probably more than half the size of Hershey.  However, I scoured Hershey last October for a hubcap for Mildred and came up empty handed.  Not so this time - I was able to locate a fairly decent hubcap for $5!  Some fine steel wool and polish really brightened it up, and it has much of the original red paint in the outer rings.  I bought very little this year - wiper blades for the Studebaker and an air cleaner decal for the Cougar, plus some weird but cheap stuff for fun (electric power meter for $6)
March 2, 2013 -Flea Market Find- I drove Mildred to our local antique car club's annual swap meet today, and lucked out with a correct folding jack handle that I have needed for a while.  I have had the correct jack for a long time, but the handle you need to operate it.  (I keep a hydraulic jack in the trunk for actual use).
February 23-24, 2013 -Mildred on Tour! - My local antique car club had a tour to North Carolina this weekend, and I decided it was time to give Mildred a good run.  She had been set up to be a tour car, and our planned tour last Fall got cancelled.  This weekend turned out to be pretty wet - it rained all day Saturday and some of Sunday, but what the heck - it rained back in 1937, too.  Mildred was by far the oldest vehicle on the tour, with the next oldest being a 1956 DeSoto.  However, she had no trouble rolling along at the posted speed limits, and did the entire 220+ mile tour without a single hiccup.   The only issue was the lack of sealant around the windshield - something I'll take care of before the next wet trip. 
January 26 2013 - Goodies for Mildred - I received the cigarette lighter socket today - pretty good shape, and I should be able to adapt it for the new power socket I set up for GPS and cell phone charging.  Something else that came in recently was a 1937 Pontiac 'Safety Drive' game board that was given out by dealers.  Sort of like Monopoly, but you drive your Pontiac around town.  Although I just got the board, a friend in the car club thinks he has all the pieces and cards!  It would be fun to set the game up.
January 22, 2013 - So what am I, chopped liver? - Poor Mildred has been largely ignored due to holiday activities, a busy work schedule,. and more to the point, the frenzy of a new stable-mate.  However, I have got things rolling to get her big chrome 'Silver Streak' grille and hood diver replated.  I also just got in new exhaust manifold gaskets to work on a slight leak in the engine bay.  Oh, and I just picked up a correct Pontiac cigarette lighter housing off eBay!
November 12, 2012 - eBay Goodies - The tour to Charlottesville got delayed until next year thanks to the rather rude interruption by a hurricane named Sandy.  I've gotten Mildred out for a couple of short jaunts since, and got in a variety of items for her from eBay.  A nice period key case will take on primary duties from the original that came with her, and i have a factory dual heater/defroster control assembly to swap out for the aftermarket switches.  A decent horn button will give me one to play with, while the radio blanking plate was a waste but was cheap and looked nice.  The big thing was a correct set of headlight rims with trim rings in good shape (shared with 1937 Olds and Chevys).  I forgot to cancel an eSnipe bid and ended up with a Pontiac set minus the trim, so i have spares.
October 21, 2012 - Bright lights and 12V power - Mildred and I are off on a tour to Charlottesville next weekend, and I wanted to improve her forward lighting and make it possible to have a GPS along.  I picked up halogen bulbs for the headlights and fog lights at Hershey last weekend - my big purchase of the trip ($94!).  However, they really make a big difference.  The brightest incandescents you can get have a yellowish glow that doesn't go far.  I installed the halogens today and they made a big difference tonight.  The other item involved wiring in an insulated accessory socket to the existing 12-volt converter than powers the FM radio conversion.  It works great, and means I can use the GPS or charge my cell phone or iPad on the trip! And I can hide it when it isn't needed.
October 16, 2012 - FBI Film Fest- My car club was asked to provide vehicles to display outside a theater for the local FBI Citizen's Academy Film Fest.  This year's event featured the gangster films 'Dillinger' and 'The Untouchables' and Mildred fit right in.  Actually, she is too classy to have been a gun moll, but that didn't stop the costumed staff from coming out for photo ops. 
October 7, 2012 - Rain and Rewards, Part 2- Fall is a risky part of the year for outside activities - and the second car show in a as many weekends got rained on all day.  I almost didn't go, but decided that it was for a good cause (Fund raiser for GI Care Packages) and took her out anyway.  Although there were a lot of cars there ahead of us, Mildred impressed the guy parking cars so much he put us up in front.  And just like last week, she got a nice second place trophy against some impressive competition.
September 29, 2012 - Rain and Rewards- I had registered Mildred for our big local Wings and Wheels show, and was glad of it when the day turned wet and gloomy.  I got there early enough to get a nice shot of Mildred with Chuckie, the B-17 Flying Fortress, before the rain started.  She also earned a second place trophy against some really nice competition.  The car is remarkably nice to drive even in bad weather - I have her registered for our Fall Tour to Charlottesville at the end of October - should be a fun trip.
September 2, 2012 - Visiting- Mildred and I did some visiting today - first to her former home to drop off a computer I'd fixed up for Kenny and Charlene.  I wanted to see the 1914 Saxon that had prompted Mildred's sale.  The little roadster is beautiful, and when they are done with it, I am sure it will run just as well as Mildred.  They had a box of goodies they'd run across, and found a few more while I was there!   Then it was off to Richard's to drop off some car show plaques.  While I was there, Ken from the car club arrived in his 1939 Mercury.  It's interesting to see the evolution of car design moving so quickly.  The 1937 Pontiac was the first all-steel body, and you can see how styling evolved in just 2 years.  headlights are part of the fenders and a front-opening hood instead of the sides that lift.  But Mildred is prettier.
August 26, 2012 - On Display- As you can see, the headlight bulb had a rather complete burnout.  I had to go through two of the NOS headlight bulbs to get one in and working.  The wiper issue turned out to be nothing more than a loose retainer nut on the windshield arm.  Even so, I treated all the glass with Rain-X, something I do to all of the antiques.  Works better than wipers.  With everything fixed, we rolled out to the TRAACA display at Baylake Retirement Community, postponed from last Sunday due to rain.  Happily, the day turned out to be great despite some threatening clouds, and the residents had a good selection to view.  Mildred was the most beautiful, of course, but we have to give the other cars credit for showing up.
August 25, 2012 - Neither rain, nor sleet...- Last Sunday's display got rained out, so my car club's tour of the FantomWorks restoration shop this morning was Mildred's first run with her new battery.  Naturally, it poured rain.  We sloshed on, though the driver's side wiper linkage couldn't manage the frantic pace of the wiper motor and the just-installed (but 70+ years-old) right headlight bulb went bad.  Hmmm - that's even the one I took photos of.  Oh, well.    Both are minor issues that will be easy fixes.  She ran great, though.  I got a spare left headlight lens in this week, another eBay treasure that gives me a full set on hand just in case.
August 18, 2012 - Blasted Battery!- I went out this morning to take Mildred to the show, and the battery was suddenly too weak to crank her over.  I put the charger on and took the truck over so I could get some photos.  After 5 hours of charging, she was still flat.  I checked the battery date code and saw it was more than 5 years old, so I went ahead and picked up a new one.  The car is much happier and started right up with no fuss.  I'll take her to the car display at Baylake Pines tomorrow.  Oh, that's the battery cover for the Pontiac - her battery lives under the driver's feet!
August 17, 2012 - Lights On- Both the lenses and the refund check arrived today.  The lenses caused a bit of nervousness as the box had one corner crushed in pretty far.  Luckily, the seller had packed them for war, and they were both perfect.  As far as I can tell they must be NOS - not even small scratches.  To make sure they stay that way, I secured the lenses to the headlight buckets using electrical tape and then installed the new rims.  Not that I don't trust the new rims, but, well, I don't trust the new rims.  I did some adjustment to fit the rims better and replaced the brass screws with stainless steel #10-24x1 items from Ace Hardware. All back together and adjusted, just in time for the Khedive Show tomorrow.
August 13, 2012 - Lenses Found- You might have gotten the idea I was a tad upset over breaking the headlight lens.  I did calm down before I contacted the seller, at least a little bit.  And surprisingly, he not only offered to replace the defective rim but pay for the replacement lens as well.  I was able to locate a set on eBay and won them tonight for a total of $139 with shipping.  He is sending me $70 to cover the lens - I can use the rim with a stainless crew and some minor modifications. I thought about deleting the less than happy reaction below, but then figured its all part of the car hobby.  Once I get the funds in hand, I'll be leaving positive feedback for the fellow.
August 8, 2012 - Lights Out - Mildred's headlight rims are a little dented and rusty, so I decided to spring for a brand new pair of shiny chrome reproductions on eBay that arrived today.  As you can see, things did not go as planned.  I was tightening the ring down, having made sure it was fully seated and secure.  Only to have the tensioning screw head snap off while the lens was still loose enough to rattle.  The ring sprang apart and the headlight lens hit the garage floor.  Turns out the $%#@! screw was made of brass - WAY too soft for a stress point.  Worse, the lens is a hard to find item used only on 1937 and 38 Pontiac, Olds, Buick, Cadillac, and LaSalle automobiles, with different lenses for left and right sides.  Time to hit eBay (Though I'd rather hit the guy who sold me the lousy repro rims!)
August 1, 2012 - Light Duty - One of the problems with the old bulb-style lights is that they aren't very bright.  Mildred had the correct 32/32 candlepower headlight bulbs in her, which were maximum brightness back in many states.  However, the Cadillac and LaSalle used a 50/32 candlepower bulb with the same reflectors and lenses.  I had a 37 LaSalle 20 years ago, and sure enough, digging through my garage turned up not only 4 NOS 50/32 bulbs, but a spare glass lens as well!  Sometimes it really pays to be a packrat.   The new bulbs really make a visible difference.   I've also picked up more eBay treasures:  an NOS fuel pump, rough center hood band and grille section, points, and a new distributor base plate.
July 21, 2012 - Blowing Smoke - OK, even I have to admit this is one of the weirder things I have done car-wise.  However, I was looking for some interesting 1937 memorabilia to put in Mildred and ran across this cigarette pack -complete with most of one 75 year-old cigarette!  And since I just installed a factory ashtray, I needed some period cigarettes, right?  This pack was just about the price of a new one, with free postage, so it's a cheap silliness.  I've driven Mildred a couple of times since the last post - doing great.
July 11, 2012 - Under Cover - Although Mildred lives indoors, she still gets dusty and since I work on other cars out there, there's always a chance of scraping or scratching.  I was able to get a really nice, lined car cover off eBay for $52 including shipping.  Not fitted, but it covers the whole car and has good elastic and a soft fleece lining.   It came in today, and I wasted no time trying it out.
July 11, 2012 - A Shade Off - Well, darn.  The paint looked like a near-perfect match comparing the lid to the car, and even in the garage the match looked good.  But out in the sunlight the wheels are obviously lighter.  Oh, well, they look better than the black did, and when I find  the right color I can just respray instead of having to strip them again.
July 11, 2012 - Lettering - I blasted and primed the last wheels tonight - three are painted and came out surprisingly well, though I got trash in the color coat of the spare wheel and will redo that one.  Anyway, all of the wheels will be done tomorrow, and I decided to re-letter the hubcaps tonight while I was waiting for the compressor to build pressure.  The indented 'Pontiac' is supposed to be painted red, but none of the hubcaps on the car still had any paint on them.  It took a bit of experimenting, but all four hubcaps now have the lettering painted in.  Not perfect if you get close, but unless you squat down and stare they look pretty nice.  I'll probably hold off on painting the red color stripe until I can rig a rotating jig to mount the wheels on.
July 9, 2012 - Prime Time - An attempt to paint the center of the spare wheel directly ended up with curdled paint.  I had to media blast the old paint back to bare metal and then applied a coat of self-etching primer.  On the bright side, I was able to verify the paint scheme yet again as I stripped back to remnants of the original paint and trim stripe.  Basically, the entire center ridge was painted the trim color, or red in this case.  I have to wait until tomorrow to do the color coat.  If it turns out good, I'll try to get the rest of the wheels sandblasted and painted with the body color inserts by Friday night.  I have a car club event to take her to on Saturday.
July 8, 2012 - Switched On - I got the NORS (New Old Replacement Stock) fog light switch in Friday and installed it this morning.  It is an exact match to the heater switch, as you can see in the photo.  I wired it in using correct fabric wire and used black heat shrink to disguise the modern connectors.  Not only do the fog lights work, the switch itself illuminates when they are one.  The next step is to relocate the FM converter, and also wire in an accessory lighter that I can run using the voltage inverter.  That will give me a 12-volt negative ground power port for GPS and iPhone adapters.  Then I took the car over to Advance and brought out an armful of paint cans to compare, looking for the right color to paint the wheels.  The near-perfect match was Ford Toreador Red Metallic.  Then I went back home and pulled the spare tire to experiment with.  Initial sanding revealed the original color band just outside the hub cap area.  Pontiac used a number of paint schemes.  Base models had black wheels with the trim/stripe color band outside the hubcap.  Deluxe models had body color centers out to the rim, which was still black, and the color band.  I need to bead blast Mildred's wheels and use a good etching primer, then do the body color and finally the red stripe.  A red double pinstripe goes down the side molding, but I plan to get that professionally done.  However, it's 96 out with a heat index of 106.  I'm done for the day, at least for anything outside!
July 4, 2012 - Dash-ing Good Looks! - Mildred's glove box door (top left0 was somewhat mottled and did not match the rest of the dash.  I was able to get another glove box door with the original factory ashtray (bottom left) off eBay, along with a painted reproduction ashtray.  The woodgraining on both the door and the ashtray had gone nearly black, but some careful use of polish, 400 grit sandpaper, and some clear enamel brought it all out very nicely.  I use the shiny new sliding door from the repro ashtray and put together a very nice looking package that is now in the car.  I also got the fog lights wired in with correct fabric-covered wire.  Just need the switch, which was ordered and should be here by the weekend.  Oh, and I got an original jack and hand crank in yesterday as well!  Both eBay finds, of course.
July 2, 2012 - More Bling! - My big 'bling' purchase was a set of reproduction Pontiac Fog Lights from California Pontiac Restoration parts.  These are duplicates of the original factory options, with individual bulbs and reflectors.  Sealed beams, which are much easier to find, did not come into use until 1940.  I was able to use the original Options catalog to determine how to position the lights, but the license plate was in the way and had to be removed.  I was able to relocate the plate by making  a 'U' bracket that attached to the back of the center emblem.  An interesting reminder of just how old this car is came in the form of the hand crank hole hidden behind the emblem.  (You can see it at the top center of the bumper) Yep, in 1937, people still figured you needed to be able to hand crank your engine.  And yes, I have a hand crank coming!
June 28, 2012 - Bling! - With pretty much nothing needed mechanically, I've been free to plunder eBay for jewelry to present Mildred with.  One of the first and best buys was a set of perfect stainless trim rings (including a 5th for the spare) for $49.  They really dress up the wheels.  Ironically, the one practical item I needed, the spare tire clamp and bolt, came free with some other parts I bought from a generous fellow.  Then I got a reproduction GM locking gas cap to replace one with no plating and only one key.  I have lots of parts in hand or due in now - also, original literature like factory shop manuals.  I may regret buying some of the 'spare' stuff later - I always go crazy when I buy a car, but it's hard to pass up parts for a 75 year-old car when they come available cheap.  I've driven Mildred several times this week, and she has been flawless.
June 19, 2012 - PONT 37 - Mildred's personalized plates came in today and we went for a drive to celebrate. eBay goodies are rolling in already - an original Pontiac glovebox-sized repair manual, NOS Pontiac brackets for driving lights, spare points, etc.  I have a research request in to the AACA Library for the correct trim color and style for the pinstripe and wheels, and plan to pick up some 16" trim rings for the wheels.
June 11, 2012 - Officially mine - Mildred is titled, tagged, and insured in my name as of today, though I have to admit I took her for a run Saturday.  I also did my first work on her - faulty turn signals turned out to be a bad flasher unit, which I had in stock.  She'll have 'PONT 37' for license plates when they come in.  I've already started getting things on eBay, though Mildred came with many literature items I would have gone searching for.
June 8, 2012 - And HOME! - Mildred has a new human, and I have a 'new' family member in the garage.  Neighbor John followed me over in the truck tonight and we gathered many boxes of parts and literature.  The spare drive train will have to wait for another day.  After an exchange of cashier's check for signed title and Bill of Sale, we rolled back on I-64.  I kept the speedometer about 60, and John conformed that was what the truck's speedometer was showing.  Mildred ran straight and true, and I even listened to the radio for a while.  She is a pleasure to drive, and I love the color.  Now to start reading all of the literature that came with her!
June 4, 2012 - Coming Soon to a Garage Near Me (Mine) - I've been wanting to get back into a prewar car for a long time, but also wanted to have something that was relatively practical for driving on tours.  That meant power enough for 55 mph Interstates and hydraulic brakes.  And, with apologies to MG TCs Wildflower and Eleanor, a car I could drive without any bodily contortions.  Several possibilities have shown up, including a really nice 1940 Buick Super.  But I also wanted something with running boards.  Enter Mildred, a lovely 1937 Pontiac sedan that I have seen on many of our local club tours.  Her current humans are venturing into brass car territory, and just listed her for sale last week.  I was interested, and went over tonight for a closer look and a test drive.  She has a new interior, all new rubber, new wiring harness, and a nice paint job in almost exactly the color I chose to paint my long-departed Packard coupe.  So far, so good.  Then I drove her - wonderfully smooth transmission, enough power to be comfortable at 55, and good hydraulic brakes.  And she comes with a large assortment of spares, including an engine, transmission, steering box, and too many others to list.  In short, she is the perfect answer to my desire for a prewar car.  And of course, I bought it.  Well, I have committed to buying it.  We're both juggling funds and garage space, but Mildred should be in my garage soon.