I drove this car to work for a number of years. When I got my shop finished at our house in Escondido, and finally collected all my junk in one spot, I finally figured out what I wanted to do with this one. The engine that came with Martha's Deuce was a 390 FE, sporting a Thunderbird tripower setup. I figured this engine, with a TKO 5-speed, on the old sedan frame that had the early Corvette IRS would do very nicely in this car. Of course, there was a lot to do to make this happen.

I donated the mystery frame, tired old 350/350 chevy stuff to Justin Baas (who promptly installed the drivetrain into a T-bucket and sold it to someone in Japan!). Kept the rear end, which was a 53 Olds unit. Very neat and just the thing to go under the 34 Sedan tow car. Some previous owner had channeled this body. A subsequent owner, I think, then constructed the mystery chassis and, instead of replacing the floor in the body, simply built angle-iron braces to mount the body. So it looked like a normal cabriolet from outside but there was hardly any place to put your feet once you were inside. Odd. The gas tank was a VW item with the filler up on the body, behind the driver. Cute, but it burped and spilled a lot. The fenders were fiberglas and in pretty poor shape so they are now landfill, as are the almost running boards (which you couldn't step on cuz they were pretty flimsy).

So I pulled the frame from under the 34 sedan and took it and the body to Jordan at Super Rides by Jordan, in Escondido. He replaced the floor and the firewall and mounted the body. He also fixed a lot of rot on the body. At some time, someone had replaced the lower doorsills with a piece of tubing welded to the body sheetmetal. This horrified Jordan, who called me to come look at this blasphemy. After some discussion -- and sincere promises that this was to be a driver, not a show car -- he agreed that it actually was a pretty clever way to replace the rolled bottom of the sills. So he replaced both sides with tubing.

Jordan (and Dave and Jordan Jr and ...) also installed the engine and transmission. And a pair of Glide seats. And so I took it home to finish up...

We moved to Texas late in 2006 to a home on an airpark. The attraction of this particular home was the 65' x 35' hangar, slightly larger than my shop in Escondido. We moved six cars (we towed the Mustang behind the Durango when we drove out), a couple of engines, several transmissions, car parts, and tools -- which pretty much filled the hangar. On a later trip out to San Diego, I disassembled my lift and brought it (and a ton of work-related stuff) back to Seguin. And there it sat.

The Mustang began to consume all of my time. I had not properly cleaned it after the 2006 Bonneville since I had a ton of stuff to arrange and pack for our move. Turns out, that was a mistake. We made an abortive run at Bonneville that next summer and had to pack it in. So that fall I began to completely dismantle the car to fix the various gremlins and salt monsters. Ended up just barely getting it back together for the 2008 meet. But that was the meet where I finally broke 200 mph! And so it went. Work on the Mustang until it got too hot to handle, go inside and waste time until the next day. Plus, I was doing some consulting work for NOAA. No progress on either 34. Did some fixit work on the 28 and built and installed an engine in Ruby (which turned out to have 4 bad cylinders so I ended up pulling it out again). All the time, wishing I were working on the cabriolet.

For 2010, the toploader in the Mustang was broken so Jim Best and I pulled the TKO out of the cabriolet and put it in the Mustang. There it sat until I got the lakester chassis out from California the next spring and pulled the engine to install in the new racecar. Seemed like a good time to get the 390 engine freshened up, however, so off it went to Rick at Parks Engine Service. Got it back and ... time to work on the lakester to get ready for Bonneville.

Here it is, spring of 2015 now. I had thought that I would be driving this car in the fall of 2007. Hasn't happened. But, dammit, I want to drive it. So I've scaled back some of the things I planned to do on the lakester, moved the other cars to the back of the hangar, and I've started work on the cabriolet. Goal is to be driving it this fall. Only 8 years late!

My old neighbor, Jim Greenwood, has decided to start working on the 56 Chevy he's had parked beside his garage for the past 20+ years. In talking about it, he mentioned wanting to lift the body off to work on the chassis. I had attempted, with some help from my sons, to get the body off my 34 -- without much success. In exploring the web, I found lots and lots of ways NOT to pull a body and lots of very expensive or time-consuming options. Then I ran across
Accessible Systems (they have just closed down until summer for some reason but I'll put the link up anyway), who offered a body lift gizmo that fits in your engine hoist. Jim got one on order (just in time, I guess) and brought it down from Austin to me. My son, James, and I set it up the next week and pulled the body off inside an hour, total.

The lifting frame is an H-shaped piece that hangs from the engine hoist with an eye in the center. You use nylon straps at the four corners of the H piece down to the body corners to lift the body. The only "tricky" part is adjusting the position of the straps on the H to balance the body so it hangs straight. Sligthly fussy but certainly simple enough.

The engine and transmission are mated and waiting to go in. I need to do some cleanup on the chasssis, install the ESTOPP electric parking brake I bought from Randy Clark at the LA Roadster Show a couple of years (!) ago. Run the brake and fuel lines, install the engine, clean and paint under the body. and put it all back together again. No sweat!