By Paul Laguette, Photos by the Author
A few months have passed and summer has now turned to fall. Over the last few months, my 1961 Cadillac Series 62 project car wasn’t the first priority of the shop I chose to hire, so the progress I had hoped for is slow at best. That’s alright, I wasn’t in a rush and they had far larger pressing client work that included trips to the race track to research and develop Miata performance parts, getting a classic VW square-back up and running, and carb work on an old Ranchero, all of which took priority. Through it all, my car did get some attention. It was lifted up on jacks, taken apart and evaluated from stem to stern for what parts would require rebuilding or replacing altogether.
Keep in mind that the point of this rebuild wasn’t to make the Caddy into a show car, but to keep it stock and have a safe and fun weekend car for drives up to LA or down to the beach for lunch. As the car was disassembled, I was amazed to see how much of it had remained original. For example, a lot of the key brake components had seen better days, like the front wheel cylinders. Over time, the parts and service list was completed. I was happy to find that all the parts required for my modest (safety) overhaul could be found just a few clicks away on the JCWhitney.com website.
As several weeks went by, the parts were ordered and made their way to my office. Every day felt a little bit like Christmas morning. I was so excited to see all the boxes stacking up; wheel bearings and new seals, brake shoes and hoses, etc.
The new brake and suspension components fit perfectly and will make sure the Cadi stops and steers as good as new and give me peace of mind when my family goes cruising. I also chose to replace the original gas tank as it was rotting.
Sadly, these boxes ended up sitting for longer than I anticipated. Making a positive out of a negative, it gave me the needed time to renovate my garage (minus a giant classic American car) into a nice art studio / work-space. Please refrain from the phrase ‘Man-Cave’. I’m not handy with wrenching on cars, but give me some wood working tools and an empty garage as my blank canvas and in no time I can create a personal oasis that would make any car enthusiast jealous. The garage studio was shaping up nicely, down to the custom giant oversized vintage 60’s movie posters I installed directly onto the walls.
As I kept myself occupied at home in my garage studio putting up drywall, building cabinets and hanging posters, the shop pulled the gas tank out of the Caddy. I was given two options; the first one would mean sending the tank out to a specialist to be refurbished, the second was to simply purchase a new one. Both options seemed to cost around the same price, so I went with the latter of the two. They also started working on the brake system and replacement of the front wheel bearings. Removing the huge and heavy brake drums from all four corners was like stepping back in time. Lucky for me, all of these parts from a bygone era are still available. It was also noted that the brake master cylinder needs replacing, as it is no longer fully functional. Progress is slow, but the full evaluation and to-do list is complete, and the restoration can finally begin. Starting with the removal of the fuel tank and the front left brake disassembled, the car has started its journey to becoming road-worthy once again.
Yup that’s the only progress I have so far. Perhaps my next write-up will be about the headway I’m making with the garage transformation. I’m currently pricing cabinets, counter tops and a window air conditioning unit that I’ll be installing myself.
To see the Centric Brake Shoes installed please visit: http://www.jcwhitney.com/centric-premium-brake-shoe-sets/p2022540.jcwx?filterid=d3401y1961g2j1
To see the Centric Wheel Cylinders installed please visit: http://www.jcwhitney.com/centric-premium-wheel-cylinders/p2022562.jcwx?filterid=d3401y1961g2j1
To see the Centric brake hoses installed please visit http://www.jcwhitney.com/centric-oe-replacement-brake-hoses/p2022564.jcwx?filterid=d3401y1961g2j1