Progress on the $150 1960 utility trailer

Picking up where I left off, my partner scrubbed the entire exterior with Simple Green & a Scotchbrite pad. She got some of the white paint off and all of the grime & moss, but it still looks like hell.

While she was at that I cut off the old coupler and safety chains, ground down & repainted the tongue, and installed new ones. The first foot is restored, now I just have to keep working backwards. I also started running new wiring.

I also used some spare brackets that came with the new coupler to make some trailer light mounts. Still need to drill holes to mount the lights to them.

I need to run the wiring & install the lights, then locate some better tires and it will at least be safely towable.

Cost so far:

$150 – Trailer

$35 – coupler

$25 – chains, bolts, links

$1 – scotchbrite pad

$0 – trailer wiring loom(from spares box)

$0 – tail light bracket(spare coupler brackets)

Total: $211

Car Culture ruined my favorite car show


The one car show I look forward to most is the yearly car show at The Steelyard in Providence. I’ve been going for a while(pics from ’13 here), and it has been a really nice show full of an amazing selection of cars in a great setting.

Last year it was so popular I showed up 15 minutes after it started and had to park the truck down the street.

This year I didn’t bother bringing the truck (motor is acting up and I haven’t gotten the new motor together yet), so I parked a block away and we walked up. I took the picture above and turned the corner, to find this:


It is hard to see, but the crowds around the entrance are so big they have filled the sidewalks and parking lanes and are spilling into the street. Nearly every person had a beer in their hands, and they were shouting at every vehicle to “do burnouts!” As we walked up a ratty Camaro obliged and started doing a burnout on a public road while big crowds pressed in on it from both sides. As soon as he moved on they started shouting at the stanced BMW behind him to do a burnout. When he didn’t they kept yelling at him until he drove away.

I looked at the drunken mob and realized there wasn’t going to be room for me to look at and photograph the cars without getting crowded on all sides. I decided not to bother going in, and we turned around to walk back to the car.

When we got back to the xB I was standing alongside it unlocking the door when a F250 brotruck pulled alongside and intentionally “rolled coal” down the length of my car, engulfing me & it in a black cloud.

So instead of wandering under the gantries of the Steelyard looking at amazing vehicles I am sitting at home with a bad taste in my mouth(literal & figurative).

Rusty utility trailer video & photos.

1Here is a walkaround of the $150 Trailer made from a 1960 Bell Telephone truck, that I bought and am attempting to get functional. Pics below.

3 I need to figure out who makes/made this latch so I can try and get replacement parts & locks for it.


Think I can get a few more seasons out of these?


Original Labels inside.


The rear-end of the mystery chassis.



Last weekend I finally picked up my “new” engine for the truck, that I’d bought just before breaking my collar bone. This weekend I bought a engine hoist so I could unload it and start working on it.2

It is a Chevy 250 inline(to replace my 230) that was rebuilt in 1998 and has racked up all of 18K miles due to the truck being parked a few years later due to frame rot. I heard it run before it was pulled and it was smooth, but had a destroyed water pump bearing.3

The plan is to re-gasket it, throw a new water pump on, have the flywheel re-ground and assemble it with a new clutch and a 3-speed overdrive manual, they stuff it in the truck this summer.4

Oil coated and rusty, sooo tasty.

I bought something stupid…

It is a trailer made from the back half of a ‘50s Bell Systems utility truck. Judging by the one hubcap it might be an International chassis.


I paid all of $150 for it, and the guy is delivering it to my house. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it, but if nothing else it’ll be good for annoying my neighbors.2

It needs new tires, to be rewired, a lot of cleaning, not a small amount of rust repair, and a coat of paint. It might end up painted like a Vault-Tec vehicle, or restored to the original color.3

Here is what it would have looked like when it was a truck:


I am a lucky guy

1Having broken my collar bone, there was no way for me to swap over my summer tires. I was expecting to have to drag them to a tire shop just to get them on. Instead my partner offered to do it for me.

2Other than showing her where tools were, she did the whole thing.

3A competent partner who enjoys both car work and helping me. And who happens to be beautiful, intelligent and lots of fun. Lucky, lucky me.


Shocker, motorcycles can be dangerous.


The evening of April 20th could have gone better. Dumped the motorcycle in a parking lot. Net result was a broken collar bone, and an even more battered bike.

I was driving through a mostly empty Home Depot parking lot. I was leaning the bike way over being silly since it was the first time out this year. Best I can piece together I road up higher on the tread of the brand-new tires where it was still greasy and not worn in at all(first time out on the tires) and the rear tire kicked out. I lowsided the bike and took the brunt of the impact on my shoulder, then skidded for a bit. Proper gear meant no head impact and I scraped the shoulder of my jacket and not my actual shoulder.

The bike actually took the impact pretty well. There are scrapes on several parts(brake lever, headlight ring, turn signal, & engine casing. The mirror broke and the bar end bold is bent. But a friend rode it home from the accident.

I called Progressive and filed a claim. They ended up paying me very fairly for the bike, and let me keep it for a $50 salvage payment to them. As I had already been thinking of upgrading, and wasn’t going to be able to fix/repair it for 4-6 months I decided to sell the bike.

After a week of dealing with craigslist BS(no I won’t take $300, no I won’t trade for your Playstation 4, no I won’t meet you at 5am so you can test ride it) a polite guy named Frank came buy, took it for a test drive, and paid me my $500 asking price. He’s planning to fix it up and ride it, so the bike will live again.

I will probably get a new bike, either once I’m healed or once something interesting comes along. In the mean time nearly every project I have is on hold, which is intensely frustrating as I have $1000 worth of truck parts & and newer engine just waiting to be installed.

The Milkman Cometh

I’m not much for 1:24th diecasts(my 1/64, 1/18, & 1/16 already take up too much room), but when I saw this Ford stepvan looking forlorn at the flea market I knew I had to have it.

It is labeled as being made by Crown Premiums, but some research shows the same van made by Phoenix Unique Replicas. It appears Phoenix sells to the public and Crown made custom-branded versions for giveaways & promotions.

This is somewhat confusing as the only references to Wesner’s Dairy I can find show it did once exist in PA, but is long closed. So why custom-branded trucks with their logo would be made(and end up in RI) is beyond me.

Back to the truck though. In addition to the overall look, it has incredible levels of detail. Both side doors fold open, the rear doors open, the steering works, the engine cover opens, and the seat back folds down.

They also have a battery compartment that makes a light light up when you open the rear doors, and some versions have a bank hidden in a box in the cargo area(mine is missing the box).

It was in fairly rough shape by the time it reached the flea market. I ended up having to drill out & put in a nail in place of a snapped king pin(along with a cut down pen spring). Replace a missing hinge pin with a bent & cut straight pin. Re-glue the exhaust & mirrors, re-install the engine cover & battery cover, and give it a thorough cleaning.

I think it came out pretty good. It still has some significant issues(missing wiper, missing floor panel in the back). But I’m going to be happy to put it on display.

Goes together like Roast Pheasant and a lukewarm Natty Ice.

One way to make yourself a classic convertible is to cut out the middle of a Chevy Lumina and graft in the body of a 1939 Mercury Convertible. Then paint it purple and add lots of 80s Mercury badging.

Not a good way, mind you. More of an”Eye-Searing Horror That Causes Involuntary Rectal Bleeding” sort of way.

Every angle of this thing is horrible. There’s isn’t a part that doesn’t look like a crime against basic automotive design.

But at least you’ll have the very best of 1990s front wheel drive GM technology to power you along.

So, if after looking at the photo below of a stock ‘39 Mercury convertible you decide you’d rather have this rolling horrorshow, you can buy it for only $47,999.00.

Angle grinder burnouts!

Yesterday was the start of getting the motorcycle in shape for the riding season. Top on the list was replacing the dry-rotted tires with new ones. I briefly tried prying the old tire off, then realized I was going to scratch the hell out of the rim getting a junk tire off. So out came the angle grinder and I made some smoke.

You can’t see it well in the pics, but there is a pry bar keeping the tire up off the rim while I’m cutting. I’m a hack, but not a dangerous hack.

Of course it isn’t a proper burnout until you get down to the steel belts.

New tires were installed using the “zip-ties & swearing” method.

I also bled the brakes,I think the front fluid(left container) might be vintage 1996.