We have been driving our 1949 Chevy Deluxe for the past few months, and along the way have had to do some running repairs, and as many upgrades as time allows. The exhaust manifold was removed, and split, so that we now have dual outlets on the factory exhaust manifold. The factory front brake master cylinders were replaced with new ones that were purchased from Ecklers. All four brake pads were reconditioned, and all four shocks replaced. One day in late December the water pump started leaking and on the same day one of the front bearings went bad. The four front bearings had been modified sometime in the cars past, and now take a small Russian Lada bearing, and a large Russian Volga bearing. The rear axle is from a Volga 24, and uses Russian Volga bearings. All the wheel bearings were replaced in early January, and hopefully we will be able to modify the front suspension so the original bearings can be installed.
The day the car was getting its first lube job we noticed the fuel tank was leaking, so it too was replaced with one that we had ordered for the 1954 Chevrolet 210. It is a handmade stainless steel unit made in Havana, and cost $120. We took advantage of the tank replacement and installed a sending unit, and we are going to try to repair the original fuel gauge. Yes, in Cuba there are electricians who repair those parts. There are shops in Havana that specialize in reconditioning spark plugs! The valve cover and the oil pan were replaced with some old ones I had found that were in good condition, and new Fel Pro gaskets are helping to keep the oil inside the engine. The old stovebolt 216 was leaking oil like crazy! The original vacuum operated wiper motor stopped working, so now that’s on the “to get” list.
The 1954 210 is almost out of the body shop. Next up for that car are new windows and hardware, door locks, and paint. The engine is being rebuilt, most of the parts are already in Havana, including a custom-made fuel injection system from Hamilton Fuel Injection. Stay tuned for out February update!
By Frank Gonzalez