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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Well ..... I finally got the Opel somewhat "street-able"... !!!! ???? I said street-able "NOT street-legal".

Although this car is quite "strip-worthy it is hardly "street-friendly". Not a surprise!!!!

There was a really special car cruise held this past Wednesday evening at a Sonic not far from where we live. After finally getting the "out-of-state" title (West Virginia) transferred to Pennsylvania and legally licensed I just had to get the Opel to this very special evening.

The cruise was organized by a very active group of drag racers that used to race at Pittsburgh International Dragway. PID was closed in 1976 after being the "place to go to drag race" since 1964.

The cruise was a BIG success with many former drag cars attending (including National Record holders) along with the opportunity to have a picture of your car next to the "original" Christmas Tree that was used at PID.

Anyway..... I was able to get a "temporary" exhaust system made (along with dash controlled cutouts) & wired the license plate to the rear of the car with a coat hanger.

I got to the cruise and back home without any problems or without the COPS chasing me!!!! Like most dragstrip-only cars..... there are NO headlights, brake lights, turn signals, wipers, etc

The car ran pretty good.... but without any lights I was only able to stay at the cruise until "dusk". On the way home a friend of mine drove ahead of me & my wife followed behind on her motorcycle.

Things I noticed that will NEED to be addressed in the future..... the brakes are NOT GREAT. The brake system is NOT power-assisted so it was a strange feeling to apply the brakes since not driving a car without power brakes since 1976. The amount of pressure needed to apply the brakes was something "new" ...... or should I say "old ???.

Currently the car has front disk brakes (stock) along with rear drum brakes (on an Mustang 8" rearend) with each having its OWN master cylinder. So I will be looking to upgrade the brake system over the Winter. Will install rear disk brakes and upgrade the front ones as well.

Would also like to change the front spindles or at least get them re-drilled to a more "common" bolt pattern. Right now they are 4 bolt with 4 1/4" bolt pattern. Would like to change from the CenterLine wheels to a 10 spoke ET gasser wheel.

As noted in another VERY GOOD thread about "cooling" started by member "nitrouspro" (http://www.gasserhotrods.com/forum/showthread.php?106-Cooling-It-Down!&highlight=cooling) ...... there are quite a few of us that have a concern/worry about our gassers "running hot" ..... or at least hotter than we would like them to.

Under normal driving speed the engine ran at a very reasonable 180-200 degrees which I am comfortable with. But after prolonged idling or slow (lugging) driving up a long hill @ 25 mph the water temp rose to 220+ degrees. As 406Rich mentioned in the Cooling-it-Down thread..... "maybe I`m old school but at 200 I get nervous"....... Me Too!!!!

With the engine being set way back (almost 2 feet) it is basically entombed in a box of sheet metal protruding well into the interior. For now I cannot simply remove the "inner fenderwells" because the upper front shock mounts are incorporated in them. Today I'll take some closeup pictures and post them here for you to see what I mean.

I am going to cut some "vent holes" under the hood scoop in addition to holes in the inner fender wells.

I would prefer to leave the engine cover "as-is" for that "old-school" look. But it looks like I will have to "insulate" the engine cover & firewall and then cover it in rolled & pleated material. Afterall..... Gassers of the "early days" were required to have a FULL interior.

Check-out the most famous Gasser of ALL-TIME...... "Stone-Woods & Cook" 40 Willys - Swindler I.



The sheetmetal "box" which covers the engine on our Opel gets really HOT. It is VERY close to the exhaust headers on both sides. After driving the car a few miles you cannot even touch the bottom of the cover. Like a DUMMY I drove it to the cruise wearing jean shorts with
sandals..... OUCH!!!!

I am also going to mount a 12v fan on the engine cover to help "cool-off" the driver.

Last night's cruise was rained out ..... next cruise is tomorrow night. So if there is no rain we'll be going. That gives me more time to make some modifications to make our 'little gasser" somewhat MORE "street-friendly".
:cool:
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Very cool! Looks like you're already having lots of fun!
Thanks..... I am having FUN. Even crawling on the ground scraping up my elbows & knees on the driveway, banged up hands, etc, etc has been worth it! I am really looking forward to get into the "BIG Stuff" once the weather turns cold again. As always, I will miss all the cruises, car shows & drags but this Winter will be filled with doing the many things already on my "to do list"!!!!
 

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Hey John. Looks like you smiled all the way the the cruise???? Great tp see you getting it out and around.There is just nothing like getting a car that you've been working on out in the public. It's great to see you're having fun with it. Mark L
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Hey John. Looks like you smiled all the way the the cruise???? Great tp see you getting it out and around.There is just nothing like getting a car that you've been working on out in the public. It's great to see you're having fun with it. Mark L
For some reason it was MORE exciting to get the OPEL out for the first time than all of the other cars/hot rods/motorcycles we have owned.

#1: One of the reasons is knowing the car came from out of state so NO ONE including longtime hot rod & drag racing buddies ever saw or knew about the Opel Gasser before.

It was also nice to find out how much "chitter-chadder" was going on without me knowing about it. Some of my best friends already knew that I had traded our El Camino.

#2: On the evening after I got the Opel home it turns out my neighbor who lives across the street from us (who has a straight-shot view down my driveway) came over to look at it when we were not at home. So I did NOT even know he had noticed the Opel sitting in the driveway instead of the El Camino.

Well..... he (Don) works at the local NAPA Auto parts store..... one of my drag racing buddies (Dave) owns a auto body shop (one of the guys that gave me the "Milner" nickname). He came into NAPA to pick up some stuff so my neighbor told him that his neighbor "traded an El Camino for this unusual looking drag car".

Dave said to Don "hold it.... I think I know this guy.... Is his name John & his wife is Gina???" So the word is out!!!!! Dave then told the other guy (another Don who started calling me "Milner" years ago). It seems appropriate that the two buddies I have known the longest-42 years) & stayed in contact with more consistently would be the first ones to know about the Opel. (even though they are FORD GUYS....Ha!!!! L O L!!!!)

Well..... the "good news" traveled FAST. By the time I got to the cruise on Wednesday nite there where quite a few of my friends who already found out about the Opel Gasser. So KOOL!!!!

#3: Then I almost didn't make it at all to the cruise. Even though the install of the temporary exhaust system & cutouts went smoothly it took much longer than I had estimated. The cruise started at 6pm and I did not get there to almost 7:30.... hair still wet from the "quick shower" I took. Whew!!!!!

#4: When I FINALLY got to the cruise the parking lot at Sonic was FILLED with car parked all the way to nearby Wal Mart. So when I pulled in most of the people were already there. I came in with the headers "closed" (car is STILL LOUD) & then pushed the button on the dash to open the headers(it worked HA ;)) so needless to say everyone was looking at the "new street gasser" in town.

It was a great evening.... had the chance to see people I haven;t seen for years & to meet others who I did not know.

#5: To top it off the guy who I got the Opel from was also there. He used to race at PID back in the '70's. He drove from Weirton, West Virginia in another street gasser I did not even know he owned..... a '55 Stuebaker!


Sorry for the loooooong post!!! But as Mark said "Hey John, looks like you smiled all the way the the cruise"

It was a GREAT EVENING!!!!

It has been raining here in Pittsburgh practically every evening since Wednesday. Hopefully the "scattered thunderstorms" forecast for today will be outta here before the Sunday Night Cruise at Caste Village Sopping Center (which usually attracts 200 cars or so).

So stay tuned for more about our "Opel Gasser" hitting the streets!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Hey John. Looks like you smiled all the way the the cruise???? Great tp see you getting it out and around.There is just nothing like getting a car that you've been working on out in the public. It's great to see you're having fun with it. Mark L
For some reason it was MORE exciting to get the OPEL out for the first time than all of the other cars/hot rods/motorcycles we have owned.

#1: One of the reasons is knowing the car came from out of state so NO ONE including longtime hot rod & drag racing buddies ever saw or knew about the Opel Gasser before.

It was also nice to find out how much "chitter-chadder" was going on without me knowing about it. Some of my best friends already knew that I had traded our El Camino.

#2: On the evening after I got the Opel home it turns out my neighbor who lives across the street from us (who has a straight-shot view down my driveway) came over to look at it when we were not at home. So I did NOT even know he had noticed the Opel sitting in the driveway instead of the El Camino.

Well..... he (Don) works at the local NAPA Auto parts store..... one of my drag racing buddies (Dave) owns a auto body shop (one of the guys that gave me the "Milner" nickname) came into NAPA to pick up some stuff. So my neighbor told him that his neighbor "traded an El Camino for this unusual looking drag car".

Dave said to Don "hold it.... I think I know this guy.... Is his name John & his wife is Gina???" So the word is out!!!!! Dave then told another guy (another Don who started calling me "Milner" years ago). It seems appropriate that the two drag racing buddies I have known the longest-42 years & stayed in contact with more consistently would be the first ones to know about the Opel. (even though they are FORD GUYS....Ha!!!! L O L!!!!)

Well..... the "good news" traveled FAST. Surprisingly, by the time I got to the cruise on Wednesday nite there where quite a few of my friends who already found out about my Opel Gasser. So KOOL!!!!

#2: Then..... I almost didn't make it at all to the cruise. Even though the install of the temporary exhaust system & cutouts went smoothly as can be it took me much longer to fab than I had estimated. The cruise started at 6pm and I did not get there to almost 7:30.... hair still wet from the "quick shower" I took. Whew!!!!!

#3: When I FINALLY got to the cruise the parking lot at Sonic was FILLED with cars parked all the way to nearby Wal Mart. So when I pulled in most of the people were already there. I came in with the headers "closed" (car is STILL LOUD) & then pushed the button on the dash to open the headers(it worked HA ;)) so needless to say everyone was looking at the "new street gasser" in town.

It was a great evening.... had the chance to see people I haven't seen for years & also met others who I did not know.

#4: To top it off the guy who I got the Opel from was also there. He used to race at PID back in the '70's. He drove from Weirton, West Virginia in another street gasser I did not even know he owned..... a '55 Stuebaker!


Sorry for the loooooong post!!!

But as Mark said "Hey John, looks like you smiled all the way to the cruise"

It was a GREAT EVENING!!!!

It has been raining here in Pittsburgh practically every evening since Wednesday. Hopefully the "scattered thunderstorms" forecast for today will be outta here before the Sunday Night Cruise at Caste Village Sopping Center (which usually attracts 200 cars or so).

So stay tuned for more about our "Opel Gasser" hitting the streets!!!!
 

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Well did cruise night happen, or get rained out last night? The Studey is cool! The old 2dr sedans make a great looking gasser.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Well did cruise night happen, or get rained out last night? The Studey is cool! The old 2dr sedans make a great looking gasser.
Yes.... The "Stude Gasser" is very nice. Old school as old school can be. It is the first 2dr sedan Studebaker I have seen turned into a hot rod.

I assume the two-door-sedans are somewhat rarer than the coupes????? When you first look at it the sedan appears to have back doors.

The guy (Wally) I traded my El Camino to for the Opel also likes to "be different". He also has a 1961 Chevy Bel Air which he drag races.


In addition to ending up with Opel I also made another "hot rod buddy" who like me, likes unusual cars. My El Camino went to a "good home" as well as his Opel has! :=)

BTW.... it's about 5:30pm here in Pittsburgh. It just got done raining. "Thunderstorm Watch" in effect until 6pm. Looks like it might clear up so we can go to the cruise.

I worked all day on the Opel and after being rained out the last two cruises I am looking forward to going. Today I drilled some holes in the hood (there were NONE under the scoop) and also drilled some in the inner fenderwells. Made them look like "lightening holes". I am sure they will help let some of the stagnant air & heat out of the engine compartment.

More later..... goin' to the cruise!!!!
 

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Hey John. Can you get us some more pics of your Opel as far as the interior, firewall, engine and engine compartment? Would love to see how everything is packaged. Mark l
 

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Nice to see the car on the road already... even without lights!!



I saw the Swindler II on My Classic Car this week. What's the diff between them? It looked exactly the same.

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Hey John. Can you get us some more pics of your Opel as far as the interior, firewall, engine and engine compartment? Would love to see how everything is packaged. Mark l
Will do Mark.

I already have a "growing" list of things-to do!!!! I have been sick the past few days. Did not even work on the Opel at all yesterday. THAT's REALLY SICK!!!!!

So far I have been trying to do things that will make driving the Opel somewhat more "street-friendly". It's a LONG way away from being street-legal. Not planning on doing any "major projects" until Winter.

I'll take some pictures & post them soon.

I will also post pictures in the "garage" (a NICE forum feature). I had to wait for "approval to post pics" before I can add pictures being the Opel is an "odd-ball" So hang on. Now that I

Thanks to everyone for your interest in my "gasser" and all the "encouraging words" you always give to me.

This is a GREAT PLACE to hang out!!!
 

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Nice to see the car on the road already... even without lights!!



I saw the Swindler II on My Classic Car this week. What's the diff between them? It looked exactly the same.

Mike
Back when they were running in the 60's the Swindler I and II cars ran different classes. I believe one was A/GS and the other was B/GS. Both supercharged identical Willys, but I believe some engine difference to put one in B/GS. I've read the difference in Gasser Wars, but I'll have to look them up again and see for sure.
 
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