The Preparation

 

Preparation of their car, a 1949 Cadillac Series 62 coupe #86 began several years ago with Lloyd’s acquisition of the car from Wayne Watkins of California, the son-in-law of the original owner.

 

 

Preparations / modifications began at the shop of Bob Moran in East Falmouth, Mass with the installation of skid plates and reinforcement of the chassis.

 

Many thanks Bob for a great job well done.

 

Now, after the additional modifications which included an engine and transmission rebuild, Lloyd and his brother Joe are off for a road test which they called their “Shuffle off to Buffalo” (maybe a little shorter trip would have been easier).

 

 

The good news is that all went well, now start the serious Rally Modifications and FIVA inspection. Sometimes it takes a woman to get things moving so Chuck’s wife Lyn stopped by to make sure Lloyd was motivated and working – thanks Lyn …

 

 

Based on Lloyd’s pants, it would appear that some progress has indeed been made. Note the shiny new MSD ignition …

 

 

And the truly remarkable (and complex) fuel delivery system complete with three fuel tanks …

 

 

Of course, those of us who are old enough will recall that ’49 Caddies had a 6 volt electrical system which is being converted but fuses up under the hood do not make it for this adventure so a new switch and breaker panel has been installed under the dash …

 

 

Can’t ride across the Gobi Desert on a bench seat – it’s too heavy anyway – so upgraded seating and rally belts have been installed – Note the missing steering wheel …

 

 

The steering wheel was removed to send the steering box out for a rebuild – the good news is that now that the box is back, Lloyd is still in control of the wheel …

 

 

And then there is the small matter of cooling – well, maybe not so small keeping in mind that we will be spending 10 days in Mongolia and most of that somewhere on the Gobi Desert so a high capacity radiator seemed like a good investment. That’s Dale of J. C. Carroll who prepared the radiator and Lloyd with the finished product on the left.

 

 

Then there is the problem of stopping the beast with drum brakes which are waiting to be redone with riveted and bonded high metallic brake shoes …

The chains over the axels are to limit movement when becoming somewhat airborne going over desert “obstacles”.

 

 

 

This trip also requires special licenses plates, probably to warn pedestrians of approaching danger …

 

 

Then there is all the “other” stuff needed for basic survival – the pile grows each day …

 

 

To rebuild the suspension, a lift became a necessity so we move the car to Chuck’s farm and brought in some outside “ringers” to help expedite the process -that’s Charlie Beck on the right and Chuck Jardine on the left of Classy Chassis along with Big Bob Irrer, middle right, who helps run the farm and Lloyd, middle left who seems to be getting ready for rain. Perhaps a little optimistic Lloyd, the guys just got here and we’re going to work from the bottom up.

 

 

Lloyd, being rightly proud of the fuel system takes a minute to show off his workmanship to Charlie – now Lloyd, if you can just remember what all those valves do and where the fuel goes …

 

 

Mike “The Spring Guru” Eaton of Eaton Detroit Springs, Detroit Michigan was kind enough to provide proper springs for the adventure – THANKS SO MUCH FOR YOUR SUPPORT MIKE, IT IS GREATLY APPRECIATED.

 



 

Unfortunately they had to come back out in order for Charlie, who wastes no time, starts to pull the rear out of the car for rebuild – looks like we have a lot to take apart.

 

 

Dan Mitchell (left) of Mitchell Differentials did all the work on the differential and his Dad (right) rebuilt the drive shaft for the car …

   

    
 

We look forward to their efforts saving us much time and aggravation, to say nothing of repairs, out on the Gobi Desert – thanks guys.

 

Front suspension looks pretty good for a ’49 Cadillac but not to Charlie and Chuck – they did a complete rebuild and added telescoping shocks to help take the beating and offload the standard lever shocks and reinforced the A-arms. Brake cylinders, master cylinder and new brake lines have all been rebuilt or replaced to add reliability to the drum brakes – unfortunately, we can’t change them to discs but those are the rules.

   

Before

After

 

Time for the wheels and tires to be dealt with – Michelin LTX AT/2 tires were selected for their strength and load rating (load range E) and steel rims by Stockton Wheel were added to provide saftey and reliability for the tubeless tires (they didn’t have tubeless tires back in ’49).

 



 

The differential is being installed by Charlie Beck along with supplemental shock absorbers to handle the load in the rear. We decided to keep the chains to limit axel drop as they should be the most rugged and dependable of our options.

 



 

Well, with the suspension all back in place it’s time to see if the wheels still turn, the car can turn and go straight and can stop – Charlie gets the nod to perform the first test run – seemed appropriate. The good news is that all went well – oh, by the way Charlie, something seems to be still missing – look around the shop for any small parts please. And for any of the eagle eyed, yes, those are rubber gloves at the ends of the front bumper – the questions is, what are they for?

 



 

Time to add the TerraTrip to help us find our way … This is a great device designed to very accurately measure distances, compute average speeds and provide all sorts of navigational assistance – the blank spot to the right is for the Garmin 76Cx GPS which is not yet mounted.

 



 

Well it runs and drives so it’s time for our tired Florida crew, Chuck and Charlie (middle) to head home and for Dennis and Bob to return to a more normal existance.

 



 

Chuck and Lloyd – friends for now – we’ll see how that works out over 9,000 miles and 6 weeks on the road …

 



 

And yes, it does have a hood – we are making progress …

 



 

And now we add in the GPS, stopwatch and other useful navigational tools

 

 

Switch panel all wired up, speaker grill back in place, digital clock for accuracy and the MDS ignition control in place – it’s beginning to look like a car again …

 

 

Pretty clean too …

 


 

Comfortable and safe too …

 

 

And then there is all the “stuff” needed to survive – We’re sure the “RO” will say it’s too much but if you bring a bus, you might as well fill it up – all secured in bins, marked and available for use – the tool box is on top and hopefully ready to be unneeded (hopefully) …

 

 

And let’s not forget we have some room for small “stuff” in the trunk – most of which is taken up by the auxiliary fuel tanks and spare wheels and tires …

 

 

Pickup date has finally arrived (July 7) and the list is complete – the car is ready to head to California to be put in a container and forwarded to China – amazingly, the list of “things to do” is complete thanks to a couple of “all nighters” Lloyd pulled – it looks ready …

 

 

Lloyd’s lovely wife Gene came to see the car off and to reclaim her husband – what are you going to tell her now about where you have been all night Lloyd?

 

 

And Chuck and Lloyd are still speaking – amazing! Let’s hope we are still smiling when we reach Paris.

 

 

Going, going, gone on everybody’s favorite car hauler – Intercity Lines – take good care of her Maurice …

 

 

Our next update will be from China sometime in early September – in the mean time, we’ll just have to study the route and pack our own stuff.

 

It’s been fun.

 

Lloyd and Chuck

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 Responses to The Preparation

  1. Jim How says:

    Wow ! Now I can see what you’ve been doing for the last 15 years ! What a great adventure you guys will be on. Wishing you great luck and a safe trip. Email me when you get back if you have time. Love to get together and see your car and boat collection if possible. Great article in the Tribune !

    Again, Good Luck. Jim

  2. Sunna Fulgieri says:

    Amazing! Enjoy the journey! We look forward to the updates and tracking. All the best. You are both in our prayers. Good Luck! Love, The Fulgieri Family

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