Summer Internship Objective:

Every year LeMay Restorations has at least one feature car restored for their annual car show in Tacoma, WA. This year we have two 1956 Powell's. Our goal is to have these cars restored and driven onto the show field on car show day, August 28th 2010. Will we complete these cars on time? ...

Keep checking this blog to find out!

Quick Note:

LeMay Restorations is a completely separate entity from the LeMay-America's Car Museum. The two Powell's are family owned and restored at their private shop. The museum is a not for profit organization.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Tuesday, well we're running out of days very quickly. I sanded down one of the doors on the wagon. We had sprayed some sprayable filler which sands remarkably well. The door should now be ready for primer and then paint. I sprayed DP primer and coat M on the tailgate for the wagon and the headlight bezels. I also sprayed some coat M on the bedsides again and the back of the cab. I left to spend some much needed time with my mom, and napping. I came back to the shop around 8 to do some more painting on the inside of the cab after Tom undercoated the whole thing. After I got back I also noticed Tom had undercoated the wagon, which also has fenders and a hood being fitted to it. Nothing major has been put on the Powell's so there isn't any pictures today, unless I put the one up of my white hair after I had sprayed for two days. I looked older than my mom, but wiser at least.

3 more days...

Monday, August 23, 2010


Today I wet sanded the bedside and sprayed coat M on it. I also wet sanded the yellow on the quarter of the truck. We got the other engine and both flywheels today so now we attached the bell housing and next is the transmission. Merrill and Don started the front suspension on the truck and more gingerbread stuff got done today. Mainly we have to work around everyone working and spray the bodies. Tomorrow I'm going to wet sand the bedside and some of the volunteers can start laying in the oak bed liner.

Coat M on the truck. Tom said I have a natural talent. So I guess I should keep up with this. I like making things shiny.


Today was kind of uneventful on my part, however when I came into the shop in the morning Tom had sprayed the yellow on the roof of the truck. All the little gingerbread things are getting done everyday. We got one of the engines in, and one of the volunteers started putting it all together.

I checked in on my car today and helped the mechanic with the timing gears, chain and harmonic balancer. All looked well so we decided not to change it. Routine check up from there, brakes, new brake fluid, oil change, tune up, blah blah blah.

I put the number decals on the odometer after I took it all apart. Kind of scary since I have never taken one apart before. Wet sanded a little bit but didn't paint anything.

John, Dave and Ted putting the engine together.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

6 days and nights left

Well to say its been a roller coaster ride is an understatement. Its been more like a 24 hour endurance race at LeMan with only a few pitstops.

We're under the gun here at the shop getting these interesting looking vehicles done for their debut public appearance a week from today.

We got the engines today and we're going to set one in the truck tomorrow. We had a problem with getting the water distribution tubes out of the engines. And then it was just a process to find and get them here.

Everyone has been so gracious and helpful during this whole experience. Nancy has been hosting lunches and dinners for all the volunteers who help her prepare for carshow. I don't know how anyone can get back to work after we get full bellies though.

Not a lot of people think we'll get these cars done but we're pulling through and making leaps and bounds to get them done. What do you think? Can we get them done in time?

This was taken a little earlier in the week

Here is my unfinished cluster. Have all the parts now so that's my goal for tomorrow. I picked out the red to match the interior and Tom and I decided the dash should be Coat M instead of silver since the cluster's bezel is silver and wouldn't stand out.

Tom has been giving me a lot of painting projects this week which has given me a lot of practice. Especially with realizing that you can't always get a perfect paint job. Lately I've been priming or more recently Tom's been letting me paint base coat and clear coat (yay he trusts me!) and we've been getting a lot of fish eyes in the paint. We think something is contaminating our compressor because its happening with a bunch of different substances. We've been using fish eye remover. Tom is now letting me set up the gun to adjust the fan, air pressure (which is a big deal since you have to go with sound since we don't have a regulator), and needle adjustment. 

Jeremy has been moving around like a mad man trying to move around his area will all of us around him with bondo spreaders. He's been getting everything aligned, Denny made new fenders with a buck he made and Jeremy has been hammering out the wheel wells, welding, grinding, fixing and perfecting everything. Jeremy was kind enough to set up the fender for me to prime today. 

I also primed up two doors and sprayed some Coat M white on the finished door and the front and rear of the Ultra Van. The railings for the wagon and truck were sprayed silver and clear coated by me as well. Tom says I'm a natural at it and he seems proud of me. I think I really am going to miss the organized chaos of the shops and all of their interesting volunteers. Everyone is quirky in some way and I feel like I've fallen somewhat in line with them.

My car is in the shop and I'll be working with the mechanic to do the timing chain, gears, and harmonic balancer tomorrow. The mechanic was nice enough to offer me to help in his shop since he knows I'm going to school to learn that stuff anyway.

(this is our advertisement for the show. Its a 1922 Hudson Firetruck. Alicia sign letters and pinstripes some of our cars and she'll be recreating the "Dicks TV service" and other labels on the wagon. She also signed this truck freehand.)

One week to go, I'll be posting every night from now until show day so you can see how fast these things come together.

Monday, August 2, 2010

August 2- Truck work almost done

Today went by really fast. I was out giving the rest of the gauge faces to "Signs By Tomorrow" for them to re-face with their vinyl decals. Then, I pretty much spent the rest of the day with the stainless steel. It's amazing how long it takes to get the scratches out of the metal without adding more scratches. After you wet sand it, you have to take it to the buffer, and if it still has some scratches you have to go back to step one.

Lately I've been wondering where my place is in the automotive restoration community, or even if I have one. It's been a real tough road going through school with a bunch of hormonal boys but after a while I seemed to get used to their comments. I felt weak and depressed this past semester at school and kept wondering if I should quit because this life isn't worth this deep sadness. I have figured out a few things during my internship and gotten some really good advice from important people in my life.

First, I figured out that if this dream of mine was easy, it wouldn't really be a dream. It would have just been something to do. You have to work for your dream, and thats what makes you happy, once you accomplish it. Part of accomplishing a dream is the journey it takes to get there. If the journey was easy the dream doesn't feel half as good.
Second, I have no passion for anything else but putting all those rust buckets back on the road.
Third, I'm a lot stronger than I let myself believe.
and last, I'm not a quitter.

So I'm going to hang in there
and be strong
...and happy

And that's whats been going on behind the scenes.

Tom gave me a great piece of advice the other day, and I really took it to heart. He said that this business is really hard, but if you can find your edge and be great at several things, you can make a living on cars. He also said its hard for a woman, so be smarter. He told me to read....a lot. Which is great because I love to learn about cars.

This week we're going to finish up the metal work on the truck so we can start putting it all together. Jeremy is going to be working on the wagon like a mad man while the rest of us skim coat some filler and make the truck a rolling chassis.
As I promised, the diamond in the rough, after it was washed.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Lots of things to get done

Recently, we've been trying to get the metal work done on the truck so we can move onto the wagon. The truck needs to be finished so we can push it out of the room and do the skim coat of filler on it. We're running out of time and thus we are working about 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. I've been hammering out the dents and dings in the stainless steal trim and polishing it all up. Some of the pieces were grinded on and incorrectly finished so I had to go over them again, and wet sand the deep scratches out.

The gauge faces finally came back. They're about 98% perfect but there are one or two things I would have done differently if I had more time. Overall, no one is going to notice and they will look wonderful regardless.

One nose cone is in primer, the other is fitted onto the truck body for fender and hood alignment. All the little odds and ends are being completed. Tom is priming and painted just about every day. Merrill has been working on the wagon suspension and finishing up the frame so we can put the body back onto it.

Jeremy is mainly the metalworking guy so he pretty much stays in his room all day and night. Today we were getting a nasty oil can, dent and scratch out of the driver side front fender. We used a stud gun which shrinks the metal a little bit, and you can attach a puller on it and knock out the dent in some cases. We got all the oil cans out of the fender and used large angle iron to support the rest of the dent, to get it smooth again.


Jeremy and I bought a 1954 Ford Mainline Ranch Wagon for $100. We're going to do a modest hot rod restoration of this car and has 2 of them for our shop after I graduate.

AND!!! I went to my first Goodguys show...and I thought it was pretty spectacular to see. I got a lot of ideas for future cars I might restore, ideas for hot rods, and saw just some beautiful rides.

The "Tonka Truck" is looking more like something you drive that has four wheels and an engine. Instead of a hunk of sheet metal.

These are my gauges after "Signs By Tomorrow" heated vinyl and stuck them on the originals. I think they look great! They are even doing the odometer decals. This is something nice for those people out there that restore old gauges that aren't ford and have their own decals. Plus the cost to make three sets of speedo, odometer, amps, fuel, temp and oil faces was only about $200. So its about $12 a gauge.

I'm kind of in love with this new wagon so I had to post a before and after of it. This is obviously the before we washed it picture.