|A small aside: Joshua and I do not work well together. However, I had
hoped this would be an adult project that would change that. We unloaded
all the boxes of components, set out the tools, covered the fenders with
protective throws, and began.
The engine compartment wiring was first. We took turns reading the instructions
and putting things in place. So far, so good.
At the end of the second day we were done with the engine compartment and
the dashboard. Now the scary part: Turn the battery on. I flipped the switches
one by one; they all seemed to work. Now for the brake lights. Oops! I thought
the people at ERA had wired the back lights, but they hadn't, so I blew a
fuse. I lost three hours trying to find a shop with a replacement on a Sun-
day. Gas stations now sell milk and cookies but not fuses.
We finally found a store that had an auto section with fuses in abundance.
We loaded our pockets and returned to the garage.
I traced the wires and hooked up the lights, and we were in business. Then
came the moment of truth. I turned the key to see if the engine would start.
The engine didn't slowly turn over and make the usual whir. Rather, it exploded
to life. It was as if the eight cylinders had been rudely awakened and couldn't
wait to get on the road.
It was a Sunday night with still plenty to do-the interior, the doors, the
seats, et cetera-but that could wait. I grabbed a seat and put it into the
car. Joshua was puzzled. "What are you doing?" he asked. I told him I was
going for a ride. "Not without me," he said.
He jumped over the car door and sat on the aluminum floor pan. We slowly
drove out of the driveway and then up and down the cul-de-sac where we live.
The little kids all gave us the thumbs-up. It seemed a shame to have to return
to the garage to do the rest of the work.
Back inside, we removed the doors and went back to finishing the interior.
We established a rhythm: One of us painted on the adhesive, then the other
carefully did the installation. We almost forgot to take pictures. Bad for
the memories, but a good sign of work involvement.
The most difficult parts turned out to be carefully bending the aluminum
doorsill molding and screwing it into place. The screws are very delicate,
but Portante had warned us and suggested a technique that worked perfectly.
Finally, we put the seats into place and glued the rubber weather stripping
on. It went smoothly, and by Wednesday night we were looking at our finished
In October, on my 55th birthday, Joshua and I drove the car to Brooklyn.
Going south on Fifth Avenue, he said, "Pop, watch the reflection in the windows
as we drive by." What I saw was a very happy father and son riding
in one heck of a fantasy.
If you are interested in kit cars or replicars, you can contact ERA Replica
Automobiles; 608-612 East Main Street; New Britain, CT 06051; 860/224-0253;
or check the Web at