Saving the VIN tag on a Honda Trail 70, plus some Ford race car stuff | Redline Update #79 - Hagerty Media
Since Davin’s balancing multiple projects, there’s always something exciting happening in the Redline Rebuild garage. Occasionally, however, a week passes without any first starts or newly-arrived parts—and Davin still finds ways to make progress. In this episode, the Honda Mini Trail and the ’37 “Snowball” race car both move closer to playing in the dirt.
The paint on the stamped-steel frame of the Honda is in pretty good shape; Davin, ever the perfectionist, isn’t satisfied. A repaint is in order but, even after Davin unbolts everything, the frame isn’t completely bare: The VIN plate remains riveted in place on the headstock. A slap-dash repaint is equally unsatisfying, so Davin opts to remove the plate and reapply it after the paint is done. Using a small burr on a rotary tool, he carefully carves down the heads of the rivets down they can be punched in and the plate pried off for safekeeping while the frame goes into the sandblaster.
With the Honda thoroughly disassembled, Davin turns his attention to the ’37 Ford race car. The engine and transmission have mounts, but the car isn’t going anywhere without its rear axle and suspension. The setup with which it arrived at the garage might have worked, but Davin isn’t a “good enough” type of guy. He wants this car to work like a race car should, so he leverages his extensive track-side experience to make the suspension function better than ever.
For starters, he locates the axle and mocks up the fit before taking the leaf-spring packs out and disassembling them. By removing, shifting, and flipping the leaves, Davin tunes the suspension to give the car the traction and handling a driver would expect from a car like this. For the uninitiated it doesn’t seem like Davin changes much, if anything; but those who know can witness to the significant effect of these seemingly minor changes. When finished, this Ford will look good—but it will be much more than a show pony.
The last item for the week is a call for help. The Chrysler 440 that came with this racer appears to be a mismatched pile of parts—the cylinder heads, for instance. One side is a late-’70s smog head and the other a 1968–70 vintage. Davin could do a little work with a die grinder to make the two match, but a coolant passage is stumping him. Mopar experts of the internet, now’s your time: Leave a comment detailing what you think is the best course of action for this engine.
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