Q&A with Kit Foster: April 24, 2014

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Q. What are these washers called? I am restoring a 1937 Buick and there are washers like these on electrical components such as the voltage regulator and horn relay. Most of them are rusty. I can clean them, but it is quite time-consuming. Can they be purchased anywhere?

— Chet Gandy, Strawberry, Ariz.

A. I thought this would be an easy question to answer, but it turns out it’s not. I looked at the online catalogs of several companies dealing in restoration supplies, and specializing in old car wiring. They had plenty of wire and terminal ends for the wire, but no washers of the type you’re looking for. I contacted Rhode Island Wiring Service (West Kingston, R.I. 401-789-1955, www.riwire.com), and they suggested Restoration Supply Company, in Escondido, Calif. (1-800-306-7008, www. restorationstuff.com). Restoration Supply told me they don’t stock the washers either. They recommended contacting two companies that make washers, Boker’s, Inc., in Minneapolis, Minn., and Phoenix Specialty Mfg. Co. in Bamberg, S.C. Boker’s (800-927-4377, www.bokers.com) website says they don’t carry inventory, but manufacture washers to order. Phoenix Specialty (800-845-2813, www.phoenix specialty.com) has off-the-shelf washers, but again, not the type you’re seeking.

Either company could probably make them, but you’d be looking at a significant up-front tooling cost and probably a minimum order that would allow you to restore several hundred cars. I think the reason there are no correct washers “out there” is that they usually come on the components with which they’re used. It seems to me you have two options: contact these manufacturers to see if they can make your washers and how much it would cost, or just get busy and clean up the ones you have.

I did learn what to call them. Initially I thought the one on the left would be a “channel washer,” the other one “D-washer with tag.” Diane McPherson at Restoration Supply called the second one “washer with guide tab,” the first a “square washer” or “shim.”


Q. I have a “what is it” for you to identify. It came from the attic of an old Chevrolet dealer that closed in 1968. I have researched it with no luck. It measures 16 inches high with a 6-inch cast-iron base. Chrome shaft is 3/4-inch outside diameter. The total cast iron arm length is 8-1/4 inches. Arm width is 2-1/8 inches at the shaft end to 1-3/8 at the tip. It weighs 8 lbs. Both the base and the arm have “V16” stamped into them. There are no other markings. I thought maybe it was some sort of stand or brace, but if you apply pressure to the arm it will tip over. There are no mounting holes on the base, so it doesn’t bolt down to anything. The arm is adjustable with a thumb screw. Maybe it is some type of alignment tool? I hope there’s someone out there who knows what it is.


— Ron Durkey, via e-mail

A. Well, “V16” suggests a Cadillac application, but I’m not sure why a Chevy dealer would have one. Does anyone recognize it, and can you tell us what it’s for?


Q. One of the largest classic auto glass sellers is Bob’s Classic Auto Glass, Eugene, Ore. 1-800-624-2130. I’m not sure about stocking a windshield for Douglas Taylor’s ’56 Plymouth (Feb. 27), but I know they have the side glass.

— Randy Mayer, Memphis, Mich.

A. Thank you. That’s closer to the part of the country in which I recall hearing of a glass supplier.

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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