PROJECT W-31 DONE
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.