Hydralic Jack Bottle Release Valve made easy (for old guys)

I was going to title this tech post “easy release for old folks” or “easy screwing” but that may be construed as something that should belong in a different forum.

I don’t want to date myself or anything but some aspects of playing with cars can be hard on the old body for those of us that are not getting any younger. These days I find myself checking more than twice before I head down on the creeper to make sure I have ALL tools needed for the job. Otherwise, I have to get back up again!

As some tasks can be harder to do with things like arthritis I always look for ways to make it easy for myself. One thing is fore sure: I am are not giving up my favorite hobby!
I have tried collecting stamps…you know what? It’s not working for me! Curling…kinda sux too. Old cars is what it is about.

Hydralic Release valve

I always found the release function on hydraulic jack bottle less that practical for several reason. As you know, these things are found on the engine hoist, the press and other devices. For one, I have to remove the lever tube from the jack in order to release the pressure and that can make for a lot of back and forth especially if you are for example trying to install an engine carefully. Second, if I try to turn the tiny release valve with my arthritic hands it can be hard or impossible or you end up turning too much or too fast.

Maybe you find this “tech” solution silly but if it can help even one person it is worth it.

Hydralic Release Key Fab

Use a tube with a slightly larger inner diameter than the valve screw body. I then drilled a hole slightly smaller than the pin on the screw.


Hydralic Release Key Fab hole

Use a cutting disk to split it just past the hole.


Hydralic Release Key Fab handle

Add a handle.


Hydralic Release Key Fab Tap

Tap to install.


Hydralic Release Key Fab turn easy

Turn with ease.


Bellevue Ford Meet 2013

These shots are from the spring Bellevue Ford meet and it took this long to get them posted. I have no excuse…but who cares? These cars are timeless and can be enjoyed anytime.

Hot rods in traffic

As always the drive to and from the event is usually the best part. Hot rods stirring up traffic in the busy city is great fun.


1937 Ford Sedan unmolested

 Let’s start with a beautiful low mileage, all original, unmolested 1937 Ford Sedan…in black of course. Even the tools, spare and wood board were still in the trunk. What a treat.


1935 Ford Coupe

1935 Ford Coupe

1936 Ford rear

1936 Ford Coupe

1947 Ford convertible

1947 Ford Convertible

1947 Ford convertible rear


1947 Ford convertible interior

1947 Lincoln front

1947 Lincoln

1947 Lincoln


1947 Lincoln rear closeup

In the “The-Don’t-Make-Them-Like-They-Used-To” Department:  Check out the detail work on this Lincoln trunk handle. Absolutely beautiful! …and you thought third brake lights were a new thing!


1947 Ford COE truck

1947 COE truck. CEO = Cab Over Engine.

1947 Ford COE truck side


1947 Ford COE truck interriorThis truck is perfect inside and out.


1950 Ford Convertible front

1950 Ford Convertible


1950 Ford Convertible rear

These Fords have great lines. I still don’t know why they call them shoebox Fords. Sure doesn’t look like a rectangle box to me!


1950 Ford Convertible interior

Interior looks great on these as well.


Buick wagon

Just because you have a 1951 Buick woodie wagon you don’t have to be a surfer dude. This guy is obviously a canoe dude.


1953 Ford sedan

You don’t have to limit yourself to two doors in order to look cool. You would look good driving this 1953 Ford sedan.


1953 Ford sedan rear

Looks good from any angle.


1955 DeSoto Convertible

1955 DeSoto Convertible


1956 Dodge

1956 Dodge. This was a very nice car BEFORE the restoration but the owner decided to go all out anyway. NICE!


1956 Lincoln Mark II front

1956 Lincoln Mark II. This was the most expensive car in 1956. $10,000. That was a lot of coin in 1956.

 1956 Lincoln Mark II rear

1956 Lincoln Mark II interior


1956 Lincoln Mark II rear closeup

Here is another “The-Don’t-Make-Them-Like-They-Used-To” example. Take a look at this Lincoln trunk emblem. It is pure art!  You could frame it and hang it on the wall but that would probably upset some Lincoln purists. Today’s trunks get some plastic adhesive chrome letters at best like “LS” or “ES” and that stands for…nothing.

 1957 DeSoto Firedome 4 door hard top

1957 DeSoto Firedome four door hardtop. Wow, check out that rear end. That is some kind of rearend. Classy car with all the right colors. “Me want” factor on this one!


1959 Edsel Villager station wagon front

Need to pick up groceries in style? How about a 1959 Edsel Villager station wagon.


1959 Edsel Villager station wagon

Rocket outlets in the fins a la Buck Rogers.

 1931 Scotts Ford Model A Hot Rod

Scott’s un-chopped Model A. This one is equipped with an inline overdrive. Cool car.


Hot Rods at Scotts

Scott and his wife was nice to host catered BBQ food. Thanks Man! Your humble Editor’s shiny but pretty stock 1937 Ford Cabriolet sticks out like a sore thumb among all these traditional hot rods. Oh well, that’s how we roll!

Good Day!

Drive a vintage car, really!

1958 Impala front black

I drive a late model car during the work week because of business and I need something that can handle the hectic city traffic.

BUT…I can’t wait to park the car, and use exclusively vintage cars for evening and weekend enjoyment. Some days are more enjoyable than others, this turned out to be one of those days.

I was going up north to visit a friend on an island. Normally I would leave in the early morning on Saturday, but I was able to break away from work on a Friday mid afternoon. It was about 80 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. That about 27C for you metric dudes.

I opened the shop to get the 1958 Impala. There it was…almost two tons of American steel, stainless and chrome. Ever since I watched American Graffiti for the first time back in Sweden, I was determined to own one. Yes, I wanted a piss-yellow deuce coupe as well, but the American cars of the late fifties are something else. Unlike the Graffiti car, mine is black. The mostly original paint looks good twenty yards away, and the chrome is rather shiny.

1958 Impala lights

One thing it does have in common with the Graffiti Impala is the six 1959 Cadillac tail lights that replaced the original rear lenses. Also, the “poor mans lowering kit” (two laps off the front coils) ensures that it has a tasteful rake.

I take a seat in the black tuck and roll covered sofa, pump the throttle twice, and…ignition. The unmistakable burbling sound of an American V8 echoes between the walls. It is not hard to hear it, since all the windows are down. Other than a top down convertible, any American hard top looks at their best with all windows down.

1958 Impala rear

I back it out and leave it running while I close up the shop. When I get back to the car, the hot afternoon sun has already warmed up the metal and interior, justifying today attire: sandals, shorts and a T-shirt.

I slow down outside the house to waive good bye and then I hit the throttle about half way. The Tonawanda V8 lifts the left front fender a bit, as it effortless propels the heavy cruiser down the road. The 52 year old Powerglide shifts in to second gear, and we are on our way.

I roll through town and hit the freeway. I have a CD player hidden in the glove box, and I grab a CD in the pile. I find Eddy Meduza, a legendary Swedish rockabilly artist that unfortunately passed away too young. He enjoyed poking fun at common folks (himself included) as well as celebrities and politicians. He had a fondness for American cars motorcycles, and his songs reflected it. I pop in the shiny disc, and the first song is about a guy buying his first Chevrolet! How about that?! It is easy to enjoy the music, as the cabin even with all windows down is rather quiet, with virtually no buffering, even at freeway speeds. For some reason most American hardtops have very little wind buffering with the windows down. Try rolling down the windows on a Eurobox, and you get your head blown off.  I always wondered about that, did they design it that way, or was it just a fluke?

I have to get on a ferry in order to reach the island, and as I sit in line the usual interaction starts. People slow down to look at the car, and some folks come up and ask something. I get ready for the most common questions asked of a 1958 Impala owner: Does it have a 348?  Since it has a 283, it is one of those “I can’t win questions”…if I say, no, it has a 283, some folks walk away like I disappointed them or something. Sometimes I just lie, and say YES, of course it has a 348…and SIX Strombergs, Oh Yeah…

Owning an old car is a sure way of meeting people, if you want to be left alone, get an econo box.

I arrived at the island and continued up on a two lane black top that seemed to be made for a classic car drive. It was a GREAT day.

Have one yourself!

photo: Chris Shelton


Jet powered 1932 Ford Roadster!

So I met this “old” guy…


I went to the LeMay open house, to attend the old car auction. On my way to the auction site, I stumbled across this cool looking ’32 Ford. It stopped me in my tracks, and it didn’t take long to notice that the car did not have an ordinary engine.

It was powered by a jet engine !


Lenny spent a fair amount of time with me, showing the various features of the car. He was fascinated when I told him that I used Ford F-1 shock mounts, split ‘bones etc. on my hot rod. He said: That what we did in the “old” days !




We dig those shocks !


Before embarking on the jet build, he spend lot’s of time racing his car.


Lenny also spent several years racing on the salt flats in the early fifties.


Lenny worked for Boeing in Seattle, so the jet engine solution was probably close to home.


He obviously got a bit of attention from the car magazines at the time.

Once he learned that I was born in Sweden, he told me he worked in Sweden for Volvo Airplane Division in the sixties.

Funny story: Most of the engineers in Sweden at that time spoke good English, but most of the mechanics did not. There was one air plane mechanic that really wanted to learn English, especially the name of various engine parts. So every time Lenny pointed out a part, the mechanic would pull out his note book and write it down.

One day they were working on an engine that was just run, and Lenny leaned in on the exhaust pipe and burned himself. He said “Hot Mother F…..he stopped abruptly, realizing that was not very nice language. As he walked away, he turned around and saw the mechanic mutter to himself while he wrote “Hot Mother” for the English name of the exhaust pipe.

We can only be grateful that Lenny did not complete the sentence !

Cruising Linköping, Sweden, part III

There are actually more things than death and taxes that is a sure thing. We can for example confirm that fall arrives every…fall. This goes for the land of the midnight sun as well. Sweden offers some amazing cruising summers with daylight almost throughout the whole night. On the flip side: Dark winters. What does this mean for classic car enthusiasts in Sweden? Well, great summer cruising and long dark winter to build or restore some amazing cars. It is really not a bad thing. The Swedes builds and restores some of the finest cars on the planet.
For example: I venture to say that there are more American convertibles in Sweden per capita than any other country including USA !

With some nip in the air and fall colors starting to show on the trees our Ace Photographer Lazze Åström ventured out to capture the cruising enthusiast in their natural habitat.


1932 Ford Five Window

Traditional style hot rods are the favorite with your Humble Editor. This 1932 Ford five window is spot on!

Super nice car.

1932 Ford Five Window interior

 The interior is very nice as well. We approve.

1968 Dodge Charger black

There are very few gear heads in this world that did not fall in love with the black on black 1968 Charger used in the chase scenes in the Bullitt movie. To see that almost new super straight car being crunched against the concrete wall was just painful. Here is an example that was spared that treatment and for that we are grateful.

1968 Dodge Charger engine

Super nice engine compartment adds to this clean car.
If I should pick on this car I would say a vintage battery would complete the otherwise perfect under hood viewing experience.


1968 Dodge Charger front

This is one of the best looking fronts…EVAR!

Plymouth Cuda

Knarly looking ‘Cuda resting among early fall leaves.


1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454

1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS-454. It’s red…unless you missed that part!

1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454 emblems

Bold fender badges makes sure that any challenger at the stop light don’t even bother!


1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454 cowl induction

Cowl Induction helps inducting the cowl. Got that?



This GTO is licensed as a 1966 Pontiac Le Mans with 20 owners so far. The car was sold new in Sweden 1966.



1966 Chevrolet Corvair


This Porsche 356 convertible is registered as a 1971 Volkswagen so that tells me it is a replica.

Saab 95 Combi Wagon Estate Custom

Most people know about the Saab 96, the front wheel drive two door coupe. Saab also made a two door wagon called model 95. As opposed to Volvo the Saab engineers was adamant that the car was front wheel drive. The advertising was pretty smart: they compared it to pushing a wheel barrow alternatively to pulling one behind you. What scenario would be more stable? They did have a point.

As unusual as a Saab wagon is it is even more unusual to find a customized version. This 1969 custom model actually looks pretty good although it’s a bit overdone.

Saab 95 Combi Wagon Estate Custom rear


Volvo Amazon Combi Estate Wagon

This 1966 Volvo Amazon Combi was first put in to service the 14th of October, 1965 and has been enjoyed by 12 owners so far. It was last inspected by the Swedish State Inspection May 8th, 2012. That is just a small portion of how much information the Swedish state makes available on line to anyone.

Volvo Amazon Combi Estate Wagon rear

Your Humble Editor grew up in one of these including the light blue color. This car is enhanced with wider rims on stock centers. We dig!

Photo: Lazze Åström

1937 Ford: The car gets more attention

The Flathead Reliability Run is coming up next week so I need to give the ’37 Ford Cabriolet some more love.

1937 Ford Cabriolet blinker

My friend Mark gave me this vintage Auto Signal brand turn signal assembly. It was proudly made in Chicago about sixty years ago. I cleaned it and painted it with Hammer finish but even thought I doused it with paint it still would not “hammer”. However, I like the brown finish so I will live with the end result.


1937 Ford Cabriolet blinker tape

Once I figured out the wiring I wrapped the wires in Friction Tape from hardware store. Unlike electrical tape it has a matte finish so it looks very old timey. The black rubber wheel in the unit goes against the steering wheel and it cancels the blinker after the turn. Very cool.


1937 Ford Cabriolet blinker clamp

The blinker assembly is held to the column with a hose clamp. I covered the clamp with black shrink tubing so it would not stick out visually and it protects the column from scratches. I did have to add a separate ground lead because of this.


1937 Ford Cabriolet blinker finished

After assembly it looks like new.



1937 Ford Cabriolet blinker installed

Here we are. The color works well with the other colors in the car. The cancelling function works great and the car is safer to boot. Now I don’t have tog o down the road with left blinker on for miles like an old guy!

Hollywood Hub Caps…or, do these caps make me look fat??

It is amazing what a difference wheels and tires can do on a vehicle.

1937 Ford Cabriolet with stock caps

This 1937 Ford Cabriolet was found with black wall tires and cheesy (technical term, really!) reproduction 1937 one piece hub caps. The original caps were actually a two piece cap.

They should be called wheel covers as the hub cap is really just the little cap covering the bearing in the center. But we will go with the popular description.

1937 Ford Cabriolet with 1939 caps

OK, moving along…Here is 2.0: These are 1939 caps and trim rings. They look great and the ripple design adds to the art deco look on this car.


16 inch Hollywood hubcaps

I found these on that auction site. These are rare 16 inch “Hollywoods” one bar caps and it looks like they have never been installed. They do have some shelf rash but I can live with it for now and it actually adds to the authenticity. They don’t reproduce 16 inch Hollywoods so I am thrilled to get my hand on these.

1937 Ford Cabriolet with Hollywood caps up close

3.0: Up close and personal…I like!

1937 Ford Cabriolet with Hollywood caps rear

It changes the whole look and feel of the car. I really like it.


1937 Ford Cabriolet with Hollywood caps front

It went from grandpa’s stocker to cool custom in three minutes flat. I am thinking a tasteful lowering job and maybe a spot light would really add to the looks. Some other project is due first but we will continue to work on this. In the mean time, I will drive the wheels off it!

Now get in the shop and build something!

Wouldn’t you rather have a V8?

No, not some juice in a can, I am talking fire breathing, testosterone laden, tire shredding, rumbling good ‘ol American V-Eight?? Of course you do!

You may remember what we started with: A Mr. Goodwrench 350 engine pulled from a van. The engine did not see many miles before the van itself expired. However, the engine was still ugly and it is not possible to just throw this engine in a vehicle without detailing it or the engine compartment. That would simply be un-American! It would also not be compatible with my OCD.

1980 Chevrolet Truck 350 V8

1980 Chevrolet Truck 350 V8 with chrome

All new hoses, belts, water pump, fuel pump, complete distributor, wires and plugs should make for a very dependable truck.  With a healthy dose of chrome and a detailed engine compartment it will also be a pleasure to pop the hood and check oil from time.

I just put the mufflers temporarily on the header collectors so I could go around the block for a quick test drive. It feels very strong and smooth. Oil pressure shows 5 lbs on the gauge. It is a far cry from the gutless straight six for sure. I need to install a complete exhaust system so I can really tune it and put my foot in it.

1980 Chevrolet Truck 350 V8 with chrome wheels

Yes, I know, I have too many signs…The good news: I now have a V8 powered truck that I can haul the six cylinder engine to the scrapper with…fast!

So…let’s get exhausted:

1980 Chevrolet Truck 350 V8 dual exhaust

I opted for 2.5 inch system from start to finish. The crossover will quiet down the note somewhat and also help with bottom end torque. “Turbo” mufflers should give it a nice rumble.

Stand by for duals…wroom-wroom!