1914 Cadillac fender reconstruction

This 1914 Cadillac is a very nice example of a well preserved piece of history.

Not surprising though, it did have a small amount of rust problems. I had to make a few pieces for the front fenders, fit them into place.

1956 Jaguar XK140 Roadster Project

The Jaguar XK140 Roadster, in my opinion is the sexiest one the the Jaguar fleet.

This particular example has only about 35,000 original miles on it. The previous owner was not good at keeping it on the road, so it was a bit of a challenge getting it looking the way it does now.

I'm pretty confident that it will stand up to in depth critiquing now that we have got a smooth finish of black on the body.

We are waiting for the owner, who is having the chassis finished. Once we get the chassis back, we can set the body back down on it and get all the sheet metal bolted and fit back into place again. Fitting of all the panels has been done numerous times throughout the process of body restoration. (I just wanted to mention that to those who don't understand the proper process.)

I had to make the rear section of the body, up about 12 inches from the back/bottom. Also a large portion of the left front fender, behind the wheel. I think I got about 5 pounds of lead out of that LF fender, around the side vent area.


Jaguar XK140 Roadster Body Restoration

The Jaguar XK140 Roadster, in my opinion is possibly the sexiest car in the Jaguar line up.

I have the privilege of doing a full body restoration on one that has only about 32,000 miles on it, and the metal is without any corrosion to speak of.

There is a lot of challenging metal work to do on the car, but this one will be without a doubt, one of the finest examples, when finished.

We acquired a new door from Jaguar By Jorge, for about $2200.00. The first example was made from .040 aluminum and the welding was hideous. The skin also had a big hollow that was sunk in about 1/2 inch in the middle. I didn't even check the door for the fit because it was so ugly that it was not fit to use on a quality restoration.

The second door we got from Jorge was a lot better and didn't have the big glob welds like the first example did, but rather, the skin was dimpled at the edge as it was done originally when these cars were built. It was also made from .020 as was original.

I will have to shrink the skin as it is bulged out quite a bit, and I have had to reshape the ends of the inner shell panels, as well as remove the top inner so that I could trim about 1/4 inch off the wood in order to allow the panel to be riveted to the upper part of the skin as original. They actually installed two channels up against the inner side of the skin, and tried to glue them with epoxy. This kind of thing does not work on a panel like this because if it is actually glued to the outer panel it will cause uneven expansion with temperature change as would be the case with the car in the sunshine. A severe distortion issue would be the result.

Fortunately, they welded very little of the door compared to the original, therefore I was able to completely disassemble the door by just drilling out rivets. I did have to cut the welds loose on the ends of those channels that were installed and cut in two, one that was integrated with the hinge nut panel that they made. This panel did not have the gusset braces like the original.

I am using a lot of the original shell components and discarding a good portion of the $2200.00 door. The parts of that door that I am using are all being reshaped to make them functional.

I purchased a rear body panel from Jorge as well. It was unusable, and I returned it and was charged a large restocking fee for that piece of junk.

He claims that his parts are "fine for most people" and that I am just one in a million. I feel that a car of this caliber especially, should be restored to a level much higher than a typical ammeter would do in his back yard.

I guess I just don't do the type of work that is "fine for most people", as he put it.

You can tell I am very disappointed, to say the least. Enough ranting now...

Let's look at some detail of the project.

Discard pile from the new door.

Thickness variation had to be corrected.

Plywood was more than 1/4 inch too high.

Here it is after the clean up and reshaped ends.

The original will be cleaned, painted and installed in the new door.

Now the panel has the proper bracing, bolt spacing etc.

Some of the new and some of the original parts to be used.

The door is now back together and the skin is shrunk down flat enough to surface it properly. It was bulged out about a quarter of an inch. I used four of the original door pieces to make this door usable. Shrinking a .020 aluminum door skin is a two man job. You can't possibly set the torch down and hammer it before the heat dissipates, trying to do it alone. You only have about three seconds to shrink, once you have heated a spot with the torch.

I have the metal work pretty much done on the doors now and remaking a portion of the left front fender to match the front of the new door and to eliminate an old repair that contained three or four pounds of lead.


Synthetic Oil and Overdrive Transmissions

Hi Doug,

I have a question for you. 

I have been trying to find out if it is okay to use synthetic oil in the early Borg Warner T series 3 sp with od transmissions. I work on Hudsons, which use the R10 OD unit, then later the BW T86 and Studebakers which used the BW with OD transmissions.

Years ago I was told you could not use synthetic oil in them as it was “too slick” for the OD to work correctly. Now I understand that the oil needs to be compatible with brass parts that are in the transmissions and the Redline brand that I use is compatible
with “yellow metal” in transmissions and rear ends.

What is your thoughts on using synthetic oil in these units?

Thanks so much for your time!

Wellborn, FL

Hello Kerry,

I don't have experience with the Redline Brand, but I do have experience with the Royal Purple. I know that you should not use the Royal Purple with yellow metal. It will turn your oil to a metallic yellow. In my case, it was dissolving the syncro rings. 

In my "stand alone" Borg Warner OD unit. I do use the Royal Purple for the reason, I believe it will withstand greater temperature than conventional gear oil will. The OD unit generates a tremendous amount of heat because of the large numbers of moving parts in a small space.

In standard application, whereas it is attached to the back of the transmission, it can dissipate the heat more efficiently. 

If your Redline Brand is compatible with yellow metal, I would say it is probably going to be a good thing to run, if you are pushing your transmission with more power than it was originally designed for, however if you are using it in standard application, conventional oil is probably adequate.

If you have a leak, it is generally more of a leak with synthetic. 

Hope this helps,

Vintage Art Deco DeVilbiss Air Compressor

This vintage Art Deco DeVilbiss Air Compressor, I believe, was made somewhere around 1936.

It is a portable, but it isn't something you'd want to carry around much. Although the outer housing is made of aluminum, and it only measures 18 inches long, 14 inches tall, and 9 inches deep, it is quite heavy. In fact setting it on the bathroom scale, it weighed in at 80 pounds. It actually has a 1/2 horsepower electric motor in the bottom center that has a shaft out both ends to drive each of the two compressor motors.

This was my prize purchase at the swap meet in Bremerton WA this last weekend.

Ask Doug Nite Owl Tail Light Lens

February 13, 2014


I have a 1935 Dodge Coupe with a Nite Owl tail lens for one side only. I would like to find another one for the other side.
I see you have used these lenses on a project. Would you happen to know where I could find another one?
These lenses have the two screw mount holes directly across from each other, the same as 1933 - 36 Ford Cars have.

Best Regards

Tony Waters


The Nite Owls are really cool aren't they?

A friend has collected a couple of them, but as you probably know, they are extremely hard to find, and I am pretty sure he would not even consider parting with them.

You know the saying, looking for a needle in a hay stack?

Thanks for the inquiry though, and good luck with the hunt.


Borg Warner Overdrive Installation in Torque Tube

Installing the Borg Warner R 10 Overdrive in the torque tube.

Cut out flanges to fit both ends of the overdrive from 3/4" plate,and cut the center holes to accept your torque tube.
You'll need to gather a coupler for the input and output shafts. Some machine work will likely be required to fit them to your shafts. The rear one will be welded to the drive line and a seal will need to be fit at that point so your overdrive lube will not run to the rear end. The output shaft will slide into the fixed coupler on the rear driveline. This will allow easy installation of the complete unit. Weld the front coupler to the front portion of the drive line. This end will be pinned to the input shaft on the overdrive unit so it doesn't travel forward.
You will need to install a fairly large vent out the top of the overdrive unit, similar to the rear end vent but more like a 1/4" to 3/8" vent. The overdrive will generate substantial heat and therefore the use of synthetic gear lube is recommended.
The custom, extended speedometer cable will need to be a sealed casing as the oil will travel up the cable. Cap the speedo output on your transmission.
You will need an overdrive relay unit. I used a Ford or Merc. relay.  The relay is triggered by a governor on the overdrive unit, that grounds the trigger circuit at 25 mph and sends power to the solenoid by 10 gauge wire, which will allow it to go into overdrive mode if your cable control is at the "in" position.
I used a Packard cable as I figured it was a little longer so as to compensate for the overdrive being back in the middle of the torque tube. I formed the mounting bracket for the cable so that it slides down onto my shifter and acts as a tapered, compression fit.
I use a toggle switch to break the governor circuit, to the relay, so I can split gears. Cable in, switch on, 1st- clutch- 2nd- throttle off clutch in- 2nd over throttle and switch off, throttle off for 3rd-throttle- switch on, throttle off for 3rd overdrive, now you're cookin'.
 I use clutch for the second over but not for 3rd over. It's a little to snappy or violent for second over in my opinion without the clutch. This will get you down the road in a "wow" fashion. At least that is what everyone says that rides in my truck.
Get very accustomed to the shifting before you try to speed shift.
You must not pull the cable out of gear when you are in overdrive mode and you must not engage cable when the solenoid is engaged.
It is best to not move your cable when in motion, until you have very good understanding of how the system works. I take it out of cable overdrive after I have switched it off and come out of solenoid overdrive and snugged the gears forward.
If you are not completely confident with your understanding of the shifting sequence, it is just safe to not move the cable when in motion. The only reason to pull the cable out when in motion is to take it out of "free wheel". Normally it was not designed to do that and had a built in safety device.
I have put 35,000 miles on mine at this point and it is still working great. There were trials and errors but if you follow my directions here, you should have a fail safe installation.
Doug's Classic Coachworks