Sunday, April 22, 2012

The '63 Comet Moves Under Its Own Power! And Kinda Stops Too

Turn that frown upside down, dear readers, I'm back.  Apologies for the dearth of blog content these past coupla weeks. I think the kitchen cabinet redo, my increasing responsibilities at work, and the general ramp up of activity around the house during a beautiful spring have all helped to slow me down a bit on the blogging.  I promise to make it up to ya, starting right now!

The big news is, I believe I can finally say I have the 1963 Comet Stationwagon project car ON THE ROAD!!

Last fall I replaced the column-mounted automatic shifter handle, and to do that I had to remove the turn signal wiring harness.
New shifter handle where it needs to go

So a couple weeks ago I finally crawled under the dash and hooked up all the wires again and I got the shifter working pretty well.  I also replaced the old gas tank and sending unit last fall and installed a new fuel pump, but the car still wouldn't run right.

Shiny new fuel sending unit mounted in the new gas tank

I tore down the carburetor again and I STILL couldn't get the car to run.

So I finally gave up trying to make the old carburetor work and bought a new/rebuilt duplicate.  It took a bit of searching online but I finally located a one-barrel carb with a manual choke.  I hooked it up one night this week and within a few minutes I had the engine purring like an old cat (steady, with some minor wheezing).  But, while it's been sitting the car developed a slight leak in the brake system.  So yea, it's always something with old cars, just like old houses.  You have to sigh, count to ten, and tackle the problem either directly or after a cooling off period.

So here's the punchlist of stuff still to do on the Comet before I venture very far from the Uncle Atom hacienda:

  • Do some local test drives to make sure the car is road worthy (I have suspicions about the old radiator and the old generator - near-future plans call for replacing the generator with a more "modern" alternator to keep the battery charged and powering luxury items like windshield wipers, headlights, and turn signals.  The radiator I will continue to use until it fails me.)
  • Touch up the rolled-on paint job to fix some blemishes that have accumulated over two winters
  • Figure out what I'm going to do to install newly reupholstered seats and door panels

Friday I plan to take a mental health day and go to the Spring Carlisle auto flea market with some friends, and Saturday I'm planning to go to the Sledfest in Duncannon, Pa., again.  I'm guessing the Sledfest will be bigger and better than the first one last year.  Hopefully we'll see some great vintage cars, pinups, and most hopefully I'll score some goodies from the Old Sled Factory Antique Mall in Duncannon, Pa.


  1. One of the things on my bucket list is to redo an old car. I fondly remember the days when you could still do almost anything yourself with some tools and a Chiltons book!

  2. Yeah, I do like the simplicity of old cars. I won't work under the hood of newer cars, too complicated.

  3. Great news!

    It's always nice to accomplish something on a car. Especially something on one that has been off the road for a while. I'm sure once the brakes are done the old Comet will be happy to stretch its legs on the open road.

  4. YESSS! I can relate to old car posts! I'm so stoked that your wagon is rolling again! The engine rebuild went smoothly on my old Dart wagon. It runs like a champ now, but I landed a job that is two blocks from my house. Now I walk to and fro. It is giving me the opportunity to save on gas, which in turn will be put toward the car's next phase body & paint. We gotta keep these old wagons around!

  5. Is there a ground in the fuel sending unit? No matter how I wire up my fuel gauge it rather reads full or empty.

    Any suggestions?