Batmobile #6 Project Bat!
Bringing New Life To An Old Bat!
HOLY CIRCUIT BREAKERS BATMAN!! ITS TIME TO GET THIS THING TO B&B FOR A REWIRE JOB BEFORE WE HAVE PROBLEMS! THE BAT-COMPUTOR IS BONKERS!
Well, I'm sure Robin (actor Burt Ward) never said that to Batman (actor Adam West) but we do have one of the original Batmobiles here at the B&B wire shop (or should we say "Batcave") to get an completely new custom wiring system installed from Headlight to.. Afterburner? This particular car is one of the originals that George Barris built back in the late 60's, and we were hired by the owners Pat Orsillo & SIL Jay to completely replace & upgrade the entire wiring system and add in a few extra goodies like back-up camera, better tunes, and re-install a few more Bat-accessories. I've wired a lot of different types of Cars, Trucks, special interest, and Streetrods in my 49 years of wiring, but this is a first for me with a Batmobile. I like it cause' its something different. And different it is!! Follow along as we post a few pics of the on-going re-construction of the electrical system in the old Batmobile. She's long at 19 feet!
Yes, we have the Spagetti, but we're missing the meatballs and sauce! A quick glimpse of the underdash wiring in the Batmobile, and you can tell it needs some serious help here! Wires, wires everywhere! Some wires not even connected to anything, just added to the confusion. Carefully removing the wiring out from the dash, didn't take to long. My only worry was not getting choked by the wiring and JoAnna finding me dead under the dash with wires wrapped around my neck. LOL! I've seen a lot worse though in my 49 years of wiring vehicles. Some you actually scratch yer' head and wonder "how did this thing actually run?" Amazing...
An underdash shot of just some of the wiring that needed to be replaced and upgraded. We need to start from scratch here and get this ole' girl back in shape!
Left- As with the underdash, the engine compartment was wires, wires everywhere also. Again, some terminated and not connected to anything. And, lots of electrical tape! I must have removed a whole roll of electric tape just in the engine bay. Even the tape had tape on it! LOL!
Above left- The Ignition circuitry was a mess from the electronic control module (ECM) to the Distributor. The coil had wire ties holding it to the engine block. Must be a light weight thing...
Above right- Bundles of convoluted tubing covers the wiring and cables for charging and starting systems. This will be all replaced with some nice, neat organized wiring.
At the Bellhousing area, we have a malfunction at the junction! At this point, the only thing that was correct was the ground strap to the firewall. I think that was the OEM one to. That's also going to be replaced.
I designed a new fuse panel and a new circuit breaker panel for the Batmobile. Because this car has so many Bat-gadgets on it, this called for a serious fuse and circuit breaker center. Using my pal Mike Mannings Highway 15 fuse panel (owner of American Autowire) to handle the chassis wiring functions, I combined it with a custom built circuit breaker panel that I designed to handle all the electrical components on board the Batmobile. I then mated these two panels together to make one large control center for all the electrics.
Once the two panels were joined together and wired, the big control center was mounted under the dash. One thing with this car, it had a lot of room under the dash! Twice as much as your average Streetrod and that was a plus for me. The older I get, the tougher it is getting under cramped dashboards!! Once mounted up under the dash, I started to run the main charging circuitry from the new 3G Ford Alternator that I chose to do the charging chores. At close to 100 amps of output, this unit should take care of the charging chores for this beast.
Alternator output circuitry along with the Alternator's "voltage sensing" circuit is run through a grommet in the firewall and run to the main junction block. Main Battery power will be distributed from this junction block to take care of every Bat-gaget this car has. The circuit breaker panel to the right handles the Bat-aesthetics, the fuse panel to the left handles the car's chassis, engine, and lighting systems.
Once again, because this particular car has lots of lights, beacons, accessories, and so on, I designed a grounding panel to mount in the center of the dash. This will take care of all grounding for inside and outside lighting, interior functions, and Bat-accessories. This is tied directly to the chassis Battery. Because the body of this car is all fiberglass, we need to use the chassis and some of the reinforcing square tubing that keeps this body nice n' tight and tie it all together to the deep cycle Battery I spec'd out for this application. Gotta' have grounds to make things work!
Two big bus bars will handle the grounding chores for everything inside the car.
A 3G late model Ford Alternator was my choice for the charging chores on this 19 foot land barge. At almost 100 amps of available output, this puppy should do the job. Took me a little while to spec a unit out that would work in the old style Ford bracketry. This replaced the 35-40 amp OEM Motorcraft Alternator that was sitting in the brackets. That poor Alternator didn't know what to do with all that went on behind it! Its amazing that it wasn't in "melt down" but I think it was pretty close to being so. All the convoluted tubing bundles are gone, and right side engine bay in a nice neat order. The round cylinder in the middle of the pic is an electric lift for the hood. I still need to wire that up yet.
With the new Alternator installed, and all the new charging circuitry in, things are shaping up under the hood. In the foreground you can see the new 175 Mega fuse holder, and the new HD Standard Blue Streak Starter solenoid.
MORE TO COME!
MORE TO COME!
BAT ENGINE/UPDATE 11/16
Holy Transformation Batman! After much hours in cleaning the grease, grime, body shop overspray, and heavy rust, the ole' Bat 460 took on a whole new look! With all new custom made fuel and PCV lines, a paint job in Ford Blue, and new Edelbrock Carburetor, the 460 cube big block Ford engine is ready to rock n' roll once again! Ready to go out to do some crime fighting. It still needs the sending units installed along with the cooling system needing to be buttoned up, but its almost there! A BIG difference from the previous pics up above.
BAT WIRING UPDATE 12/16
Rear Tailight wiring, electric trunk motor (lifts the deck lid) back up camera, and turn signals are all wired in. Also located in the trunk is the Batcomputer which also is wired in. Little by little we're gettin' there with this project. Next is installing the sound system for the Fighter Jet Turbine sound to make the ole' Bat sound like an F15 Fighter Jet like it did in the Batman series. I'm working on designing the controls to increase and decrease the sound. This should prove to be interesting! This system is designed by Glen Redenshek of Real Sound. ([email protected])
Check out the cool "QQ" Historic NJ License Plates. BAT 1. Yup! They're real!!
1931 Ford Victoria Coupe
A project that I've been working on in between all the other stuff I'm doing is this 1931 Model A Ford Victoria project. This is my own project, and this car has replaced the Tan 29' Ford pickup that you see on our front page. I've had the 29' for 24 years, and I always wanted a "Vicky" since I was teenager, but never could find one that was in nice shape that I could afford. This one came along and I almost passed up on it, cause' it came at a bad time. (they always do!) But, JoAnna talked me into buying it, and I sold the truck to help finance this new project. I'm sure glad she talked me into it! The body on this car is just amazing with only two patch panels on each side of the lower cowl section where they always rot out. The rest of this super sano body is all Henry Ford! We've had this car about 4 years now, and the new frame that sits underneath it is made by Total Cost Involved (TCI) with an independent front suspension and 9 inch Ford rear housing sporting 3.50 cogs. Four wheel disc brakes will bring it to a halt. Any Model A guy will tell you a Victoria is a very rare car and I'm lucky to finally find one. I'm not getting any younger ya know.
The Ford Victoria was named after Henry Ford's wife Victoria. The name carried on throughout the years of Ford history
Powering the Vicky will be a Chevrolet 4.3L V6 engine. This engine is .030 over and is pretty much stock all the way through. I decided to go with the same combination that I had in the 29' pickup we sold because these engines run like a V8, but only take up half the room in the small Model A engine bay. On top, I decided to go with an Edelbrock 4 bbl manifold, which has a Vintage Speed 4 bbl. adapter to two 97' Stromberg Carburetors. I always liked these old time Strombergs, but never messed with them that much. I decided to go with a pair of those, so I purchased a set off e-bay and proceeded to rebuild/restore them and bolt them to the adapter. A couple hiker plates under the carbs for a little better fuel atomization, and our induction is complete! A high energy MSD Distributor sends fire to the plugs.
The Transmission of choice is a GM 2004R Overdrive. Again, the same combo that I had in the 29' the proved itself over n' over with all the miles the truck had on it. With the frame all assembled and painted the same color the car will be, the motor and trans are lowered into the new frame. The power booster and master cylinder will operate the 4 wheel disc brakes. The brake petal as you see comes up through the floor. When there's no body to deal with, the engine and trans drop right in!
Stay tuned! More Pics to Come On Project Vicky!
VICKY UPDATE: 9/16
Its been a while since I updated some of the pictures on our "Project Vicky" so I thought I would post a couple pics to bring the project up to speed. During the Summer, I did manage to get the new firewall, trans tunnel, and flooring in between all the other stuff going on around here. The hole for the Master Cylinder isn't cut in yet in this pic, but it wasn't to long afterward the floor came out and the holes for the Master and the Shifter were cut in the floor. I also got the rear seat mounted in with the help of Brother Jim while he was out from Chicago. After the rear seat was mocked up and installed, I moved to the front seat mounting. I mounted in a set of aftermarket seat risers to 1/4" steel plate which I mounted down through the floor and into each frame rail for a super strong anchor. The seat risers were then bolted to the steel anchor plates and set up so they would slide forward for access to the rear seat. That took a while to do and a lot of measuring and in and out with the seats. I musta' had them seats in and out two dozen times! But, that's what it takes to build a nice Streetrod that's comfortable for driver and passenger. I designed a new heavy rear floor that bolted right into the subframe for the rear seat to anchor to. The floors are just about done here.
VICKY UPDATE: 10/16
I designed a new heavy rear floor that went around the rear coil over shocks and bolted that into the subframe of the car. Brother JIm and I mocked up the rear seat and I made mounts to anchor it to the new heavy floor. This heavy floor also acts as a support for the new RCI 17 gallon fuel tank that I mounted behind the rear seat which will feed the 4.3L V6 up front. I custom bent the fuel lines and directed them out through the floor and down the passengers frame rail.
VICKY UPDATE 11/16
Well, the interior is starting to take shape, and with Ole' man Winter knockin' on the door, I did manage to get the steering column in, along with the new made up steering shaft, lower column support, and u-joints to the steering box. I now can steer the car with the steering wheel instead of grabbing one of the front tires to turn it! LOL! As you can see the 32' dash and gauge cluster is mocked in along with the red primered dash rail, column drop, and rear support behind the dash which the column drop anchors to. Front seats are bolted in temporarily till it time to take em' back out to install the sound deadner & insulation, and when the car goes for to the body shop. Still have a loooong way to go yet, but we're gettin' there! Back on it in Spring of 2017...
Project "Styled" WF
1950 Allis-Chalmers Model WF
One of the many model Tractors that you really don't see to often is the Model WF. They came in an "Unstyled" and "Styled" versions. Both versions are very popular to collectors. When I first saw the Styled version of the WF, I just had to have one of them boogers for my collection! Unfortunately, there wasn't any around to be had! Thanks to my good friends Chuck & Calvin in Canada, Calvin found this beauty for me. For the price of the Tractor, I couldn't beat the deal! Especially since it had a brand new set of tires on it. With the cost of tires now a days, I basically bought a pair of new rear tires and a Tractor came with it!! Here are a few pics of the WF when it arrived in New Jersey, and after about 4.5 years (and still under construction) are some of the pics as it looks as the restoration moves on. Enjoy!
As you can imagine, the ole' girl was pretty rusty and crusty, but in the eyes of an old "wack job" like me, there was a thing of beauty sittin' there waiting to be restored to almost mint condition. Now I don't always get alot of time to work on my hobby projects because I work on everybody else's projects but my own! So it does take me some time to get these "works of art" together and looking better than it was new. I'm either nuts, or its a passion. Ahhh... its probably a little of both!
A shot of the Starter motor and the instrument panel. The rust worm really worked over the instrument panel, but it was savable.
Getting things torn down took some time, but with all the nuts n' bolts involved, I only broke two bolts on disassembly of this Tractor! Amazing...! As you can see in this pic, the ole' WF is getting down to the bare bones. The engine was next to lift out after the left frame rail was removed to get the rest of the drivetrain out of the frame rails as well. The frame rails went off the the sandblaster along with a handful of sheetmetal parts, frame brackets and front end.
Speaking of the front end, the king pins were so worn out, I had to send the front spindles and hardware to my machinist to come up with new king pins. He wound up using and modifiying king pins from a 37 Chevrolet. After doing his magic, we had a new front end! He is amazing himself.
The original hand crank is still mounted to the left fender. (what's left of the fender) Both fenders were pretty much trashed, and a pair of WC fenders with some mod's done to them should be able to take the original old WF fenders place. Canada's weather was pretty rough on the ole girl!
Fast forward a year or so, the rear end, front end, frame rails and new front tires were all put back together to make a rolling frame again. The rear rims were a project in themselves to get all cleaned off, but with some elbow grease, and a box or two of Rolox cleaning pads, the wheels were a success. All new grade 8 hardware was used throughout the rebuilding of the Tractor.
At this time, the new brakes and brake hardware was installed along with new rear end seals. Next the engine and drivetrain was re-installed, and it started to look like a Tractor again. Gettin' excited!!
With the engine and drivetrain back in, things are starting to take shape! Holy Smokes! I didn't think this thing would ever get back together again the way my schedule is. With the steering column redone and re-installed, along with the steering drag link attached up front, the steering is now all back together.
Air filter installed along with the rebuilt Marvel Schebler Carburetor and new intake hose, the induction system is taken shape also. Now comes the sheet metal, along with the fuel tank, radiator, hoses, belt, and Generator. Wee doggy! She's taken shape!
Radiator, front grill shell, hoses and other engine components are starting to fall into place. Fuel tank on, along with a new B&B fuel line to the Carburetor, we are cookin' with gas now! I found a neat Model T Ford steering wheel on e-bay that was mint. Had to purchase it to put it on the WF. Yeah, it isn't Allis, but there's a lot of things on this project (as with others projects) that aren't OEM, but that's what makes it a little different from the others.
A new Battery box and support bracket were installed. The original Battery box support was dust to say the least. This is a brand new repro from Fred Wilke of PA. Quite a bit of frame rail work was done on this left frame rail because of the Battery acid problem that this Tractor had at one time in its life. I did manage to save it after a good sandblasting and some added body filler to fill in the heavy pitted frame rail. It came out awesome, and I was very happy with the outcome.
Clutch rod was hooked up before the install of the Battery box and support bracket. Still have a ways to go, but it was a far cry from when it started out about 5 years ago. JoAnna is patiently waiting to drive it down the road! I'll get the engine fired up this summer.
Taken in about the same spot as when it arrived 4 years prior, the Model WF has really taken a big change from the first picture up top! Little by little, the ole' WF is taken shape, and soon to have its engine fired up this summer in 2016! Still have to put in the fluids in the engine yet, but we're getting close! I'm sure JoAnna won't have any problem taking the ole' WF down the road for a test drive! She's been patient I must say.... LOL!
MORE TO COME ON PROJECT WF!
Project Model T Coupe
1926 Model T Ford
Well, just what I need! Another project. I always wanted a 26T Coupe for a Hotrod. So, instead of buying a rusty, empty body shell to try to make something out of it, JoAnna thought it was a better idea for us to purchase a complete T Coupe already painted. Couldn't argue with her on that one because painting cars today is so damn expensive! Not only that, by the time you purchase all the little crap that's missing off the body shell, its a small fortune to say the least! This little Coupe came along, and after selling a few restored Tractors, we purchased this little beauty. Runs n' drives, and like all Model T's don't stop well! I had to learn how to drive a Model T with its 3 foot pedals on the floor. After watching a youbube video on "How to drive a Model T", I self taught myself, and before you know it, I was braving it down the street and around the corner! Well, after the Vicky is done, this will be my next Hotrod project. Collecting some little stuff for it right now, so when the time comes to do it up, I'll have all the little stuff that I need to make it a Hotrod.
I'm gonna keep this one pretty simple though. I already have a nice spare chassis to use for the Hotrod foundation. Plans for this puppy is a Chevy/Mercruiser 4 cylinder inline engine for the power backed by either a TH350, or an OD Transmission. Should be a fun little car to play with and run around the town in. Basically, I'll be lifting the body off the chassis its on and putting it on the Hotrod chassis when I get that built. I will then sell the complete Model T running gear that was under this car. I did the same with the Victoria when we purchased that. Yup, more projects!
The "Covid" Model T Project......
Soooo, who would've known that the year 2020 was gonna be the year of the Covid 19 virus which threw a monkey wrench into every person's life in America, as well as the world! Being locked down, no where to go, and stuck home, what's a red blooded 68 year old Italian American supposed to do?? I know! Build a hotrod chassis for your Model T that's what!! Well, this came actually a lot sooner than expected. I had this originally slated after I retired this Spring of 2021, but what the Hell. Might as well get started on it! I had this spare 26-27 T chassis from another project way back when and kept it for whatever project that might come down the pike. Well that project came up a couple years ago as a Model T Coupe, so I figured I might as well get started.
Model T chassis' aren't the strongest, so boxing this chassis was a good idea, even though I'm still using a 4 cylinder engine for the powerplant. The original Model T powerplant put out about 30 HP. Sheesh, some Garden Tractors make more HP than that today! The 4 banger that's going in this project puts out about 190 HP with its internal modifications, and dual 1 bbl carbs, so boxing the frame was on the agenda. After plumbing out the chassis to make sure its still straight, I went to work boxing the chassis and designing a transmission crossmember. I basically built this chassis from a lot of saved Model A and Model T parts I had in boxes on the shelf. This was actually a pretty inexpensive build! I also had a lot of fun building it to!
Engine and Trans set up in the new T chassis.
ENGINE/TRANS SETUP- Using an old Model T firewall that I picked up from the internet, I bolted it in the stock location of the new/used chassis so I can set the engine and trans up in this little bugger. With the engine and trans set in about where I wanted it, and giving me enough wiggle room on the firewall, I fabbed up a couple engine mounts, and a drop out tranny mount. Because I didn't want to cut up this nice little T coupe, there was quite a bit of engineering that came about so everything original on the outside- body wise, would fit together again without modification. Actually, I think there's more engineering in this with the 4 banger than installing a small block Chevy V8! If you think you're seeing double with the Carburetor, you are! I took two Chevy inline 6 cylinder intake manifolds, cut em' up and designed it to fit the 4 cylinder Mercruiser engine. Hey, its a hotrod. Gotta' have a cool induction system! LOL!
Model T chassis' are not only weak, the darn things are narrow up front! Fabbing a set of motor mounts was pretty straight forward using the threaded boss holes on the boat engine. As the hood closes in on the Radiator up front so does space in the engine box. A pint size Delco CS121 Alternator was called upon to do the charging chores for the T. Fits tight to the engine block and should work out well. Digging through my bins of Alternator brackets that I accumulated over the past 40 years, I found upper & lower brackets from a Forklift that fit the bill to hold the Alternator. A little bit of spacing and viola! Perfect fit!
Simple engine mounts fabbed with a "biscuit type" rubber mount onto a set of Model A chassis mounts. The "CS" series Delco Alternator fit the bill for this applicaiton.
After setting up a Superbell front dropped axle and hairpins for the front suspension, and fitting an S10 pickup truck rearend to bring up the rear, by the end of the Covid 19 summer I had myself a rolling chassis! Being I'm going to use the same tire combo as our Nova Wagon has on it, I borrowed the wheels/tires from the Wagon to set up the ride height. A brake pedal, master cylinder, and brake lines that I had in stock, went right into the chassis and fit pretty nice. I must say, this chassis went together pretty quick especially for having a lot of these parts sitting in boxes on the shelf in the basement and barn. The S10 rear is just narrow enough to set the tires perfectly in the rear fenderwells of the 26'.
Almost a complete rolling chassis waiting for the sheetmetal & body to be moved over.
With the Engine and Transmission set up, the Radiator is next to get mocked backed up in the chassis. I had it mocked up to make sure I had the correct clearance needed to fit the grille shell in along with the lower valance panel.
Running board brackets, brakes lines, shock absorters up front are all in. Still have to install the rear shocks yet. Electric fuel pump mounted in for emergency use, along with fuel filter, and transmission oil cooler all mounted in. Next, the fenders boards and aprons get moved over.
With the engine, transmission, shifter, brake & cooler lines all installed, this puppy is ready for some fenders, boards and aprons to be fitted! Yee Ha!
Oh boy! Starting to look like a car again! I carefully removed the front fenders, running boards and splash aprons over to the hotrod chassis. Because I keeping everything as close to stock as I can, things lined up quite well from chassis to chassis. Even though this will have to be all disassembled again, to finish painting things up and repairing the chips and scars on the fenders, just goes to show what you can do with a little extra time in the schedule. More pics to come soon!
Front fenders, splash aprons and running boards all bolted into place on the hotrod chassis. Things went quite well with the ole' swichero from chassis to chassis.