PROJECT W-31 DONE

Muscle Car Review - - Tech -

1 Tom McCloskey de­liv­ered the un­re­stored W-31 frame in “as re­moved con­di­tion,” with the bolt-on parts taken off. Note the black paint on the front part of the frame. Stephen Mi­nore ad­mit­ted he did that in 1994 as part of a spray-bomb restora­tion.

2 At right is the start of the frame’s sand­blast­ing process. Spend­ing its early years in Ken­tucky helped the W-31 to avoid much pit­ting on the frame. 3 The com­pletely sand­blasted frame in Wal­ter Damm’s Cheshire, Con­necti­cut, “Garage-Ma­hal” sand­blast booth, as Mi­nore de­scribes it. Damm has done the sand­blast­ing on many of Mi­nore’s restora­tion pro­jects over the years, so when it came to Mi­nore’s per­sonal car, he wel­comed the job with open arms. 4 Damm coated the W-31’s frame in PPG in­dus­trial-grade epoxy black paint, then stored it for a cou­ple of years. Here it is after the crew at Garner Cus­toms and Restora­tions brought it to their Sara­sota, Flor­ida, shop.

5 The W-31’s orig­i­nal idler arm, coated in years of grease and road grime. 6 Mi­nore cleaned the idler arm of its 40-odd years of war paint. 7 The idler arm was painted with Sey­mour high-tem­per­a­ture, 1,200-de­gree-re­sis­tant paint in the Cast Blast color. Ken Garner prefers this fin­ish on most of the front-end com­po­nents, in­clud­ing the cen­ter link, tie rods, sleeves, spin­dles, spin­dle arms, and coil springs.

8 Prep­ping the con­trol arms for in­stal­la­tion. The next step will be press­ing in the lower ball joints. 9 Us­ing a spe­cial lower-ball-joint C-clamp tool, Ce­sar at Shep­herd’s Tire Pros in Braden­ton, Flor­ida, helped in­stall the new ball joints and con­trol-arm bush­ings. 10 The lower ball joint was in­stalled with ex­tra care so as not to tear the grease

boot. 11 Ready for paint. Garner prefers to in­stall the sus­pen­sion com­po­nent parts first, then do the fi­nal paint on the parts. 12 Garner used a 3:1 mix of Kirker Hot Rod Black ure­thane paint and re­ducer to get the cor­rect semigloss fin­ish for the con­trol arms. 13 Garner care­fully ap­plied the fi­nal coat of Hot Rod Black on the front lower con­trol arm with a grav­ity-fed Binks FLG-4 spray gun. 14 The front-end com­po­nents are ready for fi­nal as­sem­bly. Garner likes to use a rug on the shop floor in the as­sem­bly area to keep the chip­ping of fin­ished and new parts to a min­i­mum. 15 Some of the crew at Ground Up

Restora­tions in their 40,000square-foot fa­cil­ity in Nau­gatuck,

Con­necti­cut (L to R): Ware­house Man­ager

Phil Threlfall, Mar­ket­ing Di­rec­tor (and son of the owner) Joseph San­toro, Owner/Op­er­a­tor Ken San­toro, and Stephen Mi­nore.

“As­sem­bling the front-end com­po­nents can be tricky”

16 Among the parts pur­chased from Ground Up were up­per and lower con­trol-arm bush­ings, up­per and lower ball joints, re­pro­duc­tion spi­ral shocks, and these tie-rod ends. Note the cor­rectly ori­ented grease fit­ting, a must for a con­cours restora­tion. 17 The re­pro­duc­tion spi­ral shock ab­sorbers from Ground Up were fin­ished in the cor­rect color and even come with cor­rect lower mount­ing hard­ware. 18 As­sorted orig­i­nal fac­tory bolts that have been freshly coated in black phos­phate were sup­plied from re­spected Olds col­lec­tor/re­storer Fred Man­drick from Scotts­dale, Ari­zona. Other front-end hard­ware and many other cor­rect restora­tion com­po­nents came from In­line Tube in Shelby Town­ship, Michi­gan.

19 Frank McEvoy, lead as­sem­bly tech­ni­cian at Garner Cus­toms and Restora­tions, pre­pared all the parts for the re­assem­bly of the front end. 20 The fin­ished lower and up­per front con­trol arms look new with all new bush­ings and ball joints in­stalled. 21 Garner in­stalled the re­stored up­per con­trol arms, tak­ing ex­tra care to not scuff any newly painted parts. 22 Here’s how the up­per and lower con­trol arms, spring, and spin­dle looked once the as­sem­bly was back to­gether. 23 This fi­nal shot shows the front end com­po­nents as­sem­bled with the man­ual steer­ing box. Those of you with sharp eyes will note there are no grease boots on the in­ner tie rods. They were added after this photo.

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