Q&A with Kit Foster: April 18, 2013

Publish date:

Q. In answer to Ron Durkey of Clintonville, Wis., (March 7 Q&A), the rings belong on the rear fender spear of a 1956 Cadillac. See the accompanying photo of my Cadillac. There were nine rings per side, all of them chrome. I have one on my desk as I write this, sort of a souvenir from the day my friend Dean and I searched the salvage yard and removed 11 of them. I hope this helps.

— Anthony J. Roden, Fond du Lac, Wis.


A. It does, indeed. I was too focused on Ford products in my search for look-alikes. Keith Boonstra, of Holland, Mich., and Bob Horn in Johns Creek, Ga., concur with your identification.


Q. In the March 7 issue, Tony Hambach asks how he can return his Edsel’s vinyl upholstery to its original off-white color. The manufacturer “Sem” has a line of interior colors in aerosols designed to be applied on vinyl. If a color match cannot be found in the Sem line, DuPont vinyl color can be custom mixed and installed in an aerosol can by a DuPont refinishing jobber/distributor. I have used and sold both products and find they give excellent service. They will not peel as long as the vinyl is properly cleaned and free of silicone products. I have seen the new coating eventually wear off, in the case of an armrest that was color changed. Kit gives good advice to be careful cleaning with lacquer thinner. I suspect it will re-liquify the existing vinyl color and could damage the stitching.

— Steve Haley, via e-mail

A. Yes, in fact it’s a good idea to test any cleaner on an out-of-sight sample of the material you’re trying to clean. On this same subject, Clay Hoyt of Green Bay, Wis., says he has used “Surflex” for reconditioning leather. They apparently make a water-based cleaner and water-based stain that he has used on his Jaguar. The website www.colorplus.com has photos. Bob Horn adds that Dupli-Color, available in auto parts stores, has vinyl and fabric dyes in a number of colors.


Q. I have a 1966 Mustang and the body tag and the inner-fender number say it was made in New Jersey. It does not have the holes in the rear quarters on which to put the small chrome pieces. I pulled the rear quarter windows to make sure. Do you know anything about this?

— Bob Farrell, via e-mail

A. Your Mustang apparently never had the side trim that fits in the “cove” on the rear quarter panel. Some models (2+2 fastback and GT) omitted the trim, and I believe others could be ordered without it.


Q. I have a 1939 Chevrolet sedan delivery project car that I have owned for more than 25 years. I didn’t get the original motor or transmission with the car. On the dash there is a factory tag that reads “Chevrolet Fleet economy model performance and speed ????? vehicle has been certified to obtain a lower operating cost.” The body number is 892. The car number is 25400. Is this a common thing for Chevrolet to do back then? Can you tell me how to find out more information about this sedan delivery?

— Paul Michael, Naches, Wash.

A. George Dammann’s “75 Years of Chevrolet” (Crestline Publishing, 1986) says that “The Master 85 Sedan Delivery received a new body treatment” for 1939. The rear section was less like a sedan than in the past, probably because the “flatback” sedan had been discontinued. Apparently, 8,090 were built. The serial numbers were in the JB series of the Master passenger cars, from 1,001 to 33,221, into which your 25,400 fits. Economy of operation was important to commercial fleet operators, so the drive train — engine, gearing, etc. — would have been selected with that in mind. You will probably be able to get more information from fellow enthusiasts in the Vintage Chevrolet Club of America (www.vcca.org or P.O. Box 609, Lemont, Ill. 60439-0609, phone 708-455-8222).
Q. In your March 21 Q&A, a Mr. D. Martin is having a problem with his brake system. His problem is that the inner bearing grease seal is leaking. — Mort Hanan, via e-mail
A. I did mention that the problem could be either brake fluid or grease on the lining. Once he pulls the drum, it should be pretty obvious where the substance is coming from.

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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