Thursday, November 3, 2005

She's Coming Into Focus!

 NOW--! Here she is with the new top!

After 6 days at the shop, Ruby is home with a beautiful new top! Since nothing is ever simple--especially with old cars--once my mechanic had taken the old top off, a new set of hitherto unknown problems surfaced. The wooden (yeeeeees, wooden) tack strip that the top attaches to above the back window was crumbling and needed to be repaired, the top pads that protect the top from rubbing against the metal frame were shot, and the metal frame for the top was rusting in spots and needed scraping and repainting. Since I don't intend to do this anytime again soon, NOW was the time to get it all done in one fell swoop.

My mechanic said he hadn't done a convertible top in many years but he was game if I was, so I closed my eyes, gritted my teeth, crossed my fingers and said, "Go ahead...". He and his three other guys swarmed all over the thing for 6 days and did a beautiful job. He did call me down to show me the newly discovered problems partway through, and it is really disconcerting to see your car taken so completely apart--no seats, no top, no convertible frame.

It was also discovered that the hydraulic pump that raises and lowers the top needed possible rebuilding. We were unsure of it's condition because it had sat for so long without hydraulic fluid in it and the seals had dried out. Once he got it back together and refilled, I discovered that it was working perfectly, and I got to drive around with THE TOP DOWN! The car was turning heads again, this time for all the right reasons.

For about a week.

Then...well, things started to get hiccupy and reluctant. The last time we put the top down we very nearly didn't get it raised again, and then only with J. manhandling it into position while I held down the control button. So for now the top is up to stay, until I can save the money to have the top motor rebuilt. *sigh* It's always something...at least we found a place up in San Gabriel to rebuild the motor.

N. loves to ride in it and is constantly asking for the top down, and to her the best part was when we went for a drive just after dark one warm evening...the breeze, the lights--it was just magic for her. She has also taken a liking to my George Harrison tape and keeps asking to hear 'Blow Away' over and over again.

So next will be the top motor rebuild, then paint--I'm pretty sure Ruby will return to her original Marine blue color--then upholstery and carpet. This is going to stretch out for a while, since all of these cost serious money, except for the carpet which curiously enough is only going to run about $135.00 and is readily available. Plus the carpet is easy to install and can be done by us in an hour or two without major disassembly of the car.

I can't beleive what a boost being able to put the top down on the car again has given me. It reminded me once again of why I bought the car in the first place, that instant falling-in-love feeling. I know it's dorky but I can't help it.

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