The TATA goes south - for a while!
Once in Georgia, David started on the restoration right away removing all of the front end sheet metal and the power train
Unfortunately not long after that activity ground to a halt due to other priorities and in 2008 I had the opportunity to re-purchase the car - still in many pieces. In early August 08 David moved it back into brother Phil Boylan's shop, cleaned all of the surface rust off the front frame rails, coated them with Zero Rust and then started on the reinstallation of the power train.
On August 20th I headed to GA with a friend John Oostyen and my trailer in tow. When we arrived mid morning of the 21st we had less than a day to do as much work as we could before turning around and heading north with the car. David had rounded up all the parts for me in advance, all new brakes were installed front and back, a new battery acquired and some rear end repairs were made by David (broken lock bolt in pinion cross shaft replaced, plus new axle seal). We attempted to prime the oiling system of the motor but ran into a bit of a problem, after almost an hour of spinning the oil pump with a drill there was still no oil getting to the top end. We pulled the oil filter and no oil getting to it either. We unbolted the motor and raised it high enough to get the oil pan off, removed the oil pump and tested it in a pan full of oil, it produced a geyser when spun. We suspected a blocked oil passage in the motor and John started probing them with a drill bit, sure enough a a Georgia red clay mud dauber had built a dam in the passage way, a few twists of the drill bit and a shot of compressed air and it was gone. We probably lost about three hours by the time we got the motor back in and primed. At this point all of the loose front end parts were loaded into my trailer, along with the car, and David, John and I headed for the Trans Am Nationals in Dayton Ohio - sort of!
For the past 25 years the Trans Am Nationals event has been held annually in Dayton OH. In 1999 John & Tracy Hugentober, Pontiac buffs who live just outside Lebanon and not far from Dayton, invited any Pontiac e-mail list members attending the Nats for a cook out and camp over at their place. It became an annual event with larger crowds every year, and along the way some annual auto related projects were scheduled. For 2008 what better project for the 10th anniversary of H-fest than the re-assembly of a Tenth Anniversary Trans Am! So here's how it went down.....
The car was unloaded, all the parts strewn out on the ground and various people started cleaning up parts or re-assembling the car. These pictures were taken by some of the attendees.
First up was new frame to body bushings, then the rad support and nose piece were installed. Tri-Power Lenny was seen cleaning up the inner fenders before they are re-installed, Dave Sharp in the red t shirt and blue jeans wins the long distance assembler award!!
In John's shop some others were unpacking the new 3" oval exhaust system from Ram Air Restorations. Greg from Dallas, Ken from Waco, Rob from D.C. and Tri-Power Lenny from Cleveland discuss the installation and modify some parts
Gotta throw a big plug in here for Ron Hoffman of Clearcreek Custom and Classic Restorations, John invited Ron to the Pontiac gathering and cook out on Friday night and he was looking the TATA over. Seeing both front fenders were a bit bent up from some off road excursions by the previous owner, he said, "Want me to straighten those up for you and throw a bit of paint on them, I can have them ready for you tomorrow morning?" ..... and he did!!
Saturday morning the car is up on John's hoist for the exhaust installation. Rob Deker was the man on the torch.
Exhaust is finished in about 3 hours and attention goes back to firing the motor for the first time in 5 years. John Oostyen from ON is adding water and then manning the timing light
The motor starts right up, is run and tuned for a bit and then it's back to installing the body panels, it's now about 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, the goal was to make the Tipp City cruise which starts at 6:00.......missed it by that much.....but we still celebrated :)
Sunday morning and it's time to load up for the trip back to Ontario - what a crazy 4 days!!! A big thanks to all who dug in and assisted, including Dave Sharp, a Trans Am lover from the United Kingdom who was over with his wife Clare doing the tourist thing, but just couldn't refrain from helping out and getting his hands a little dirty.
Thanks also to John and Tracy for putting up the horde again!!
A couple of days later it's back home, unloaded and washed up, almost like it never left.
It's now been 15 years since it was last on the road - restoration pictures to follow.
Back on track to restoration - click here!