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On the Road to LA—
Preparing for Bugsby's First Concours
Jan.-May, 2008


Flyer that Lynn receives Jan. 10, 2008, with his
invitation to apply for the 3rd LA Concours.

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A Push to Finish


Here is what Bugsby looked like on Jan. 10.
          

Imagine Lynn's delight when on Jan. 10, 2008, he receives the invitation to apply for the 3rd annual Los Angeles Concours d'Elegance, to be held June 1, 2008, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. It has been a goal of Lynn's to show Bugsby in a Concours. Maybe Bugsby has been noticed; maybe not. In any case, the thought tickles Lynn's fancy.

Bugsby has been apart since Jan. 2006 in what Lynn calls his serious freshening. While the car is starting to come back together, it is not yet ready to participate in a major car show. Happily the recent visit of John Lewis has forced Lynn to make significant progress, and the car now runs well enough to be taken out on local streets.

Nevertheless, there are a number of significant steps that remain before the car is ready for a major show. Although June 1 is nearly five months off, this may still not be enough time. Yet this is just exactly the kind of incentive that Lynn needs to complete his reassembly.

Making a List; Checking it Twice


Lynn's color plan for Bugsby as of Jan. 20, 2008.
         

Knowing a thing or two about project management, Lynn uses a spreadsheet and prepares a list of all the things he still needs to do to complete his serious freshening. To each of these 36 items, he estimates the amount of time and expense each item will require and adds it all up.

Yikes! Although he thinks he has enough money, he apparently needs 238 days, or about 2/3 of a year to complete the effort. While some of the items can be accomplished in parallel, there are only about 120 days left before the show. Lynn still has a full-time job so it looks like some adjustments are needed.

Lynn creates a second, reduced list of items that absolutely must be completed before he can credibly go to LA. Now his spreadsheet shows that he needs about 100 days, still difficult, but much more likely to be accomplished in the time available.

Two items with long lead time stare back at Lynn from the list. He identifies installation of a new leather interior (estimated to require 30 days) and powder coating the wheels (estimated to require 14 days) as high risk items on the critical path. These are the items that he must deal with first.

Lynn also establishes a dependency between these two items. Both the interior and the wheels are to be colored green, but Lynn finds that his choice of leather colors is much more restricted than his choice of powder coatings. So he will get the interior done, then match the wheels to the interior.

Interior Takes Longer Than Expected


Bugsby's new leather interior.
         

Based on discussion with other vintage car owners and his interview with the shop owner, Lynn arranges for the interior work to be done by Dino Palermo of Fowler's Upholstery. Delivered to Dino on Feb. 1, Lynn picks up the car 49 days later on Mar. 21.

The new leather interior is beautiful and makes a dramatic improvement in the appearance of the car. Still, it takes about three weeks longer to complete than the 30 days that Lynn has budgeted.

Yikes, again! This extra time for the interior has significantly reduced the schedule contingency in Lynn's plan.

Getting a Round to the Wheels





Bugsby's Buffalo-4 wheels after removing the tires and using paint stripper to expose the tops of the spokes (left). The tires, tubes and liners are cleaned and prepped (left center). The wire wheels are stripped to bare metal before powder coating (center right). Olive-green powder coated wheel mounted on car (right).
         

Having completed the interior, powder coating the wheels is the next critical item on Lynn preparation list. Multiple references lead Lynn to contact Maas Brothers.

Before delivering Bugsby's Buffalo-4 wire wheels to be powder coated, Lynn plans to adjust and "true" the wheels by adjusting the spokes. However, he is quickly dissuaded from this as the spokes and ferrules are a single rusted unit. Lynn makes a mental plan to install new spokes in the wheels at some future date.

On Monday, Mar. 31, Bugsby's wheels are delivered to the Maas Brothers. They predict 10 workings days or less (2 weeks for Lynn's schedule) to perform the work. Within five days the wheels have been stripped and are awaiting the arrival of the powder (olive green, RAL6003), specially ordered to match the leather interior. Like clockwork, the wheels are ready two weeks later.

With a Little Help From My Friends





Brass castings for top rests from John Lewis (left). Fuse box cover (left center) and rear-hatch latch cover (center right) from Joe Leaf. The painted fuse cover installed in the instrument panel (right).
         

Lynn is not laboring alone in his efforts to get Bugsby ready, he's getting help from his friends!

The first pieces to arrive are brass castings from John Lewis for the little rests that hold the top up and off of the rear deck when it is folded down. The next pieces are authentic reproductions of the little cover for the rear deck lock and the cover for the instrument panel fuse box from Joe Leaf. It gives Lynn a great deal of satisfaction knowing that others are interested in and actively participating in his efforts to make Bugsby whole.

         

Lynn with Midnight Oil. The rocket was destroyed in a launch pad fire in Lynn's attempt at an altitude of greater than 10,000 feet in the Black Rock Desert in 1993.
         

Some years ago Lynn would spend untold hours in preparation to get a flawless, glassy finish on amateur rockets he built. In fact he called one rocket "Midnight Oil" because of all the late hours he spent on it. He started to think that a bit of him became part of the things he was building. The more time he spent on a piece the more of him leached into and became part of the object.

Lynn suddenly looks at Bugsby in a whole new light. A number of people have spent an enormous amount of their personal time getting the car to its present state. The car, as it exists now, doesn't so much represent one man's effort, but that of a expanding community that stretches back in time to 1924 and beyond. Lynn's pleased with that thought.

Andrew Helps Lynn Tie One On



Andrew (left) helps Lynn (right) mount the fenders on the car.
         

Lynn's son Andrew has helped at a number of critical points in the serious freshening of Bugsby. Once again he serves as an extra back and pair of hands to mount the fenders on the car.

It takes father and son about four hours to get the fenders attached to the car.

Although it was a fairly straight forward process to loosely hang the fenders on the car, it takes Lynn another day to properly align, shim and finish the work to his satisfaction.

It takes Lynn two more days to mount all the remaining sheet metal on the car. As he carefully performs the work, he thinks that the workers in the Kissel factory could not have taken this long to build the car in the first place!

At 2 AM on Apr. 22, the reassembly of the car reaches a new plateau. It now is equipped with all it's body panels, a new leather interior and the newly powder coated wheels. Lynn sits alone in the garage and admires the masterpiece. For the first time, he thinks to himself "I'm going to make it to LA after all!"

The Rough Work is Done




After installing the headlights, the car is in it's final configuration for LA.
         

Lynn completes the refinishing and installation of the headlights on Apr. 27. This is the last large component he plans to install before the car heads to LA.

Connecting the headlights to the electrical system was a breeze thanks to the junction blocks that Lynn had installed at all four corners of the car.

Three Weekends and Many Details Left

Lynn has a list of about 20 items that still need to be accomplished before he leaves for LA. Fortunately these are all relatively small details and it seems likely that Lynn will be able to complete them in the three remaining weekends available to him.

There are other items that Lynn will tackle after he gets back from LA. First among these is the soft top. Still Lynn feels some satisfaction with the work that has been done.

He suddenly realizes that, to a significant degree, this is the instantiation of the serious freshening that he set out to accomplish in Dec. 2005. Has it only been 28 months? It seems like it's been going on forever!

Now Lynn (aka "Showboat") will do what he likes to do best, stand next to the car at a show and pontificate and wax poetic to anyone who doesn't run away. Have fun, Lynn!

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Last updated: May 24, 2009