We thought it would be fun to share what is on Chef Michael’s holiday wish list this year. What is on your list?
After 14 months of diligent effort, the restoration of my 1962 Daimler SP250 (Dart) is complete. The full restoration is documented on YouTube if you are interested in the process.
Part 1: Daimler Dart (10 minute video – from car purchase to complete car strip-down)
Part 2: Rebuilding my Daimler Dart (8 1/2 minute video – putting the car back together)
It’s a nice sunny day, so I’m off for another “test drive.”
Spring is here and I am busy trying to finish the restoration of my 1962 Daimler Dart SP250. I can’t wait to drive it for the first time. I bought the car in May 2009 and have stripped it down completely, repairing, cleaning, sanding and painting every part. The chassis and engine are completely restored and we fired up the engine (first time in over 29 years) in February. The body is getting it’s final coat of red paint this week. Next week I will begin putting the parts back on the car and the following week the interior leather and carpets will be installed.
I made a 10 minute video of the restoration process, up to this point, and it is available online at youtube if you are interested in car restorations, click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRhxuFhp8AU
29 years later (a sticker on the windshield identifies that the car was last registered in Arizona in 1981) the engine on my 1962 Daimler SP250 roared to life. It has been quite a journey to this point. I received the car from Los Angeles in May 2009, stripped it down to the chassis and started restoring all of the parts. I am now 85% of the way there. The engine sits on the completed chassis and is mostly assembled.
Last week, I brought together my friend (and auto mechanic mentor) Harvey (and his wife Carol) and my favorite professional mechanic Eric Tolman from Rockport Machine to start the engine. We hooked up an oil pressure gauge, wired in the coil and the battery, jimmy rigged a fuel bag to the twin SU carburetors and connected the starter. As this was my first time rebuilding an engine, I asked what we were looking for as the engine fired up. I was told to “look for minor or major oil leaks and low oil pressure, and to stay away from the front of the car where the fan could fly loose,” maybe they were kidding. After a few “coughs”, the engine fired up and ran well, needing only a few minor adjustments to the tappets. My heart was pounding as fast as the car engine was running. It was 4 degrees F. outside so we kept the doors to the garage closed and the fumes eventually got to the smoke detectors, adding more drama to the event.
The body is sanded and primed, just waiting for the final paint coats. Hopefully we can attach the body to the chassis by mid March and get the car on the road by early spring. Click here to watch a short video I shot while starting the engine.
Work is progressing on my 1962 Daimler SP250. Last week I finally finished assembling the front and rear suspension, installed the brake calipers and slid on the wire wheels. So the chassis is ready for the engine and transmission, and this is where all of my effort is now focused. I picked up my engine from a well established shop that specializes in engine cleaning, camshaft, crankshaft and valve work. They did a beautiful job on the engine and it is now in another shop having the new camshaft bearings line bored. Technical stuff! This week I hope to begin putting the engine back together. The transmission has a few issues that are also being worked on, all rather minor, thank God. The body is off to Walter and is being sanded, sanded, sanded, sanded and then he will sand it. Lots of detailed work to fill the pinholes in the fiberglass body and then sand it smooth. Walter calls it his “Winter Project.” Instruments just came back from being detailed, twin SU carburetors are still in Brooklyn, NY being rebuilt, I have a few parts being sandblasted in Rockland, ME and the interior (carpets, leather seats and dash) is on it’s way from a Jaguar shop in Ohio. It’s like a big jigsaw puzzle!
If I’m not in the kitchen at the Inn, then there is a pretty good chance you can find me in my garage, working diligently at restoring a 1962 Daimler SP250. I purchased the car in May of this year and have been taking it apart completely, restoring each part (or replacing it), and eventually (as of last week) I am putting it back together again. It has always been a goal of mine to restore an old red convertible and the opportunity came along this spring. Mary Jo says I bought a “car in a box” off from Ebay…not far from the truth, I guess! This is my first try at restoring a car, actually, come to think of it, I have never even changed my own oil. I’m a quick learner! Only 2600 +/- of these babies made, so they are quite rare. My goal is to get it on the road next spring. Wish me luck.