Author Archives: John Gunnell

With the hood closed the Packard has a stock appearance.

Packard Hot Rod Coupe

  Jim Gunderson’s business—Classics, Customs and Rods, Inc.—was started in 2002 “At that time, I decided that there was a need for a shop that could help people who had street rods,” he says. Gunderson built up his whole business around repairing vintage cars and street rods. CCR is not an all-in-one restoration shop....

One thing leads to another.

A “Whole ‘Nother Story!”

  Don’t you think it’s absolutely crazy how things go when you start tearing down an old car? You tell yourself, “This time we’re just going to do the brakes” or “This car doesn’t need much more than a tranny overhaul.” But things never stop there, do they? That’s how it’s going with the...

Electrical ties allow color-coded wiring connections. Old wires were color coded, but colors fade or get covered by grease.

What Goes Where?

  Every restorer has his or her own way of keeping track of parts taken off a car. We have marveled at mechanics that take things apart without a single note, tag or photo and then re-assemble the parts into a working machine. Some of them won’t even use a shop manual 90 percent...

The old-car hobby will officially mark its eighth decade of existence in the fall of 2015. In the beginning, “antique” cars looked like this one.

Old-car hobby officially turns 80 in 2015

  We know that people were collecting old cars by 1925, which was the year that the American automobile industry recognized (incorrectly) as its 25th anniversary. Most early car collectors were automobile dealers who took in old cars on trade and realized that they had historical significance. However, there was no formal “old-car hobby”...

The bronze Bonneville Special turned up in a Detroit art show.

Dream Museum

  A day after we did a blog on Chrysler dream cars we received a call from dream car collector Joe Bortz of Chicago. Joe had just called to chat about this and that, but we wanted to ask him a question. In a certain antique auto parts catalog there is a side-bar story...

Joe Sharpnack needs a long, long garage for his Embassy limousine.

BIG Bonneville

  Joe Sharpnack originally purchased his 1966 Pontiac Superior 9-passnger Embassy limousine with the idea of taking the engine out and using it in another car. Then the late Jon Sawruk – a product engineer who was also Pontiac Motor Division’s Official Historian — talked to Joe at a car show and told him...

This cut-down side of a simple staple puller made a great tool for removal of dashboard knobs.

Making Our Own Tools

  If you work on old cars there’s a good chance you have made a tool or two in your lifetime. We recently ran into the need for a tool to remove the chrome collar from a heater control knob on a 1948 Mopar model. The chrome knob was affixed to the D-shaped stem...

Bolting the new fuel tank into the car seemed like it was impossible until we thought about why the bolts weren’t grabbing.

Fuel For Thought

  It was frustrating. A day earlier we had the brand new Triumph Spitfire gas tank all bolted on place, when we realized that there wasn’t enough room to install the “plumbing.” So, we had to remove the tank again, install the plumbing and then get the tank back into position. Easier said than...

A 1966 Pontiac 2+2 without fender skirts has wheel well moldings.

Skirting the issue

  It’s always fun to delve into the little variation that you find in collector cars. Years ago we enjoyed reading articles that got into the difference between, say, a 1937 and a 1938 Ford or maybe a 1950 and 1951 Mercury. It’s even more fun to explore the differences that could be found...