Q&A with Kit Foster: March 29, 2012

Q. I forever turn to Q&A for answers to my stalled restoration problems. I need some body work done on my ’68 Cougar, but before I even attempt that, I need to rebuild my brakes. The left front is locked, I assume the pads to the inner side of the drum or maybe a broken spring? Short of removing the whole assembly, what is the best way to remove the drum?

Lamar King, Dearborn, Mich.

A. Since you’re going to be rebuilding the brakes, not merely replacing linings, you can be a bit brutal. In cases like this, I’ve always fastened a three-leg puller to the drum (after taking off the axle nut, of course) and pulled it off. With enough force applied, the shoes will be forced off their hold-downs and everything will fall out. You’ll need a brake hardware kit, in addition to new shoes, and should replace or rebuild the wheel cylinders at the same time.

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Q. I have a 1956 Cadillac Sixty Special. It came with seat belts installed the same color as the interior. They are labeled “Rupert Parachute Co., Wheeling, Ill.” What can you tell me about these belts? They seem to be better quality than others that I have seen.

Charlie Bishop, Crawford, Colo.

A. Automakers contract with specialty firms for such components as seat belts. Since the largest initial market for seat belts was the aviation industry, it should not surprise us to see a parachute company supplying the auto industry. I see a few references to the Rupert Parachute Company online. Brothers Ray and Carl Rupert (the name may have originally been Ruprecht) were aviation pioneers in the Chicago area. There are still items in the U.S. Government’s National Stock system listed as manufactured by Rupert Parachute Company, but I haven’t found any evidence of a company operating under that name today.

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Q. I need to replace the short-bristled brushes that contact the windows on the doors of my1952 Studebaker. Can you describe this procedure, and what is the name of that brush?

Dick Winslow, Upland, Calif.

A. The U-shaped component that the glass slides into at the top and sides of the door is called “window channel.” I think you’re referring to “belt weatherstrip,” the fuzzy, single-sided strips on the bottom. It usually snaps or slides into holes drilled in the door, and can be pried off with a screwdriver. Some types require removal of the glass prior to taking off the weatherstrip. It is available in several styles from restoration supply companies. Restoration Specialties & Supply in Windber, Pa. (www.restorationspecialties.com) devotes several pages in their catalog to many different types. Some OEM weatherstripping, however, curves at the ends to match the shape of window openings. These may be difficult to find on the repro market.

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Q. John Adams-Graf, the editor of our sister publication, Military Vehicles Magazine, was asked to identify these fenders for a friend. Old Cars Weekly Editor Angelo van Bogart suspects they’re 1933-’34 Dodge. Other opinions, of course, are welcome.

A. At first glance I concurred with Angelo’s opinion, but on close examination, I see some contrary indications. I think there are three front fenders here, two rights and a left. One of the right fenders, the one with a sidemount well, has a “skirt” behind the wheel opening, similar to many 1934 Chrysler Corporation cars. The others are “open,” in the manner of 1933 cars. Dodges, however, both 1933 and ’34, had a “windsplit” molding pressed into the center of the leading edge, missing on these items. They might, however, be Plymouth fenders instead. Informed readers are invited to comment.

 

To submit questions to this column: E-mail angelo.vanbogart@fwmedia.com or mail to: Q&A, c/o Angelo Van Bogart, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990-0001.

 

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