What Did I Do? September 6 Edition

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What Did I Do? is where I tell you about what I did to my car(s). WDID is not intended to be overly technical because technical can be boring and then you’ll get distracted and go look for home recipes for Screaming Yellow Zonkers. I may or may not have had this happen.

I intend to drive the 1971 Corvette convertible to Sonoma next year when my wife and I take our annual August trip. We’ve taken it down there a couple of times and now that it has air conditioning, it should be even more pleasant to drive through a 100 degree Corning, CA. Two years ago while driving home from Napa in my wife’s Boxster S we had a flat in Southern Oregon. This taught me the importance of having a spare tire. Southern Oregon apparently hasn’t caught on to the whole cell phone thing, so AAA was not an option.

I removed the spare tire carrier from the Corvette years ago when I put in a new rear spring and new rear wheel bearings on offset trailing arms. The back of the car looked so much cleaner without the carrier that I couldn’t bear to cover up my work. Not being stranded wins out over a nice rear end (this applies to cars only, by the way), so the spare goes back on.

The spare tire carrier consists of an upper and lower portion. They come together in a clamshell manner and there are some bolts to hold everything in place. In the years since removing the carrier, many of these bolts have been misplaced. What to do? God forbid I have to make a trip to the hardware store.

Fortunately I have a magical bin. I shall explain how the magical bin works. Whenever I need a miscellaneous part, let’s say a bolt, I look for it in the magical bin (“MB”). The first time I look in the MB, I won’t find the part. I then look elsewhere for the bolt, knowing I won’t find it. It doesn’t matter where I look. The garage refrigerator is a good go-to as I’m also likely to find a grape soda. After searching for said bolt in the refrigerator, I go back to the MB and look again. This may take several cycles, but inevitably, the bolt will show up in the MB. Today, the MB literally turned up every bolt I needed. It was stingy in giving up its treasures, though, as I hoofed it to the fridge about eight times.

The magical bin.

As an aside, I also have a magical wife. If I stand in front of the kitchen refrigerator and stare, she will ask what I’m looking for. My response might be “pickled asparagus”. She will tell me “It’s on the second shelf, in front of your nose.” The pickled asparagus then appears out of nowhere on the second shelf in front of my nose. Tomorrow I am going to spend the day in my garage staring into the magical bin and when my wife walks in and asks what I am looking for I shall reply “bars of gold”. Barrett Jackson, here I come.

The spare tire carrier got bolted into place without too much trouble. Now I just need a spare tire to place in it. That’s a WDID for the future.

Next, I moved on to the air cleaner. When I built my new 355, I installed the original dual snorkel air cleaner for a factory look. I took the Corvette to the Kirkland Classic Car Show, won some admiring glances but no trophies and went home and did some more tuning. I have a 14″ open element air filter with a chrome lid that I will use for regular driving. It allows a bit more air into the engine, is generally considered to make the tiniest bit of more power and it looks fine. I’m all about the tiniest bit of more power, so in it went. I’ll use the factory air cleaner for car shows.

The last task of the day was to put on the stock gas cap lid. I got a LeMans style gas cap several years ago, below.

IMG_3120 (1)
LeMans style gas cap cover.

I like this gas cap cover, but as shown in the picture, the Corvette has a luggage rack. The Corvette has no trunk and very little storage behind the seats. Utilizing the luggage rack will give us a bit more storage capacity for our two week trip to Sonoma. Several years ago I bought a vintage Louis Vuitton suitcase specifically for loading on the Corvette luggage rack.

Louis Vuitton luggage.
Louis Vuitton luggage.

The only hitch in all of this is that the gas cap release digs into the luggage because the luggage rack isn’t high enough to clear it. My solution is to put the factory lid back on the car. Both gas cap covers are held on by four screws and it only takes about five minutes to switch back and forth.

Stock lid.
Stock gas cap lid

Thus ended a fulfilling day of putzing around in the garage.

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