Saturday, July 30, 2011

Here We Go Again: This one followed me home. Part 1.

I was on my morning walk late this week, and lo, here is this cute little number poised coyly at the curb. Without the sign, I would have looked carefully and continued on my way. But the sign, oh the sign. My heart flubbed a dub.

I came back an hour later and winched the little darlin' onto the truck and now I am flirting with Fleet Status.

She's pretty much toast, really, except for running gear. But that's a seductive blank canvas. Already there's a sketch on my desk of something that might resemble an army mule.

This comes at a particularly busy time. I think she will be reduced to usable components and salted away for a stormy fall weekend. Gentlemen, start your dismantling!

Monday, July 11, 2011

From lawn mower to parade vehicle, part 4: Semifinal!

The badge is badged. It is good; it makes the vehicle go faster and better. So well, in fact, that as soon as I got it attached, I went for an enthusiastic test drive and, sput sput, ran out of gas. Back to base was mostly downhill, but the part that wasn't was more memorable.

The original nameplate read, "Oil O Matic" and was from a furnace, evidently. Purchased on ebay. The color was just right, but it was, alas, too big to fit on the nifty oval grille (from a roaster pan) so, after lengthy internal debate, I nipped off the oil. "O Matic" was cutesy enough but still too undefined and awkward to read and say. Especially when I'm doing upwards of 14 mph.

Enter the brass "Ned!" badge which had been waterjetted by a business neighbor long ago and was clanking about in my desk drawer. Bingo!

The machine is parade ready but for a cupholder. I have it, I just can't find the right site for it. So that will eventually occur. All I need now is a couple grandchildren, due this weekend, so I can hitch up the trailer and tour the neighborhood of a summer evening. Loudly.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

From lawn mower to parade vehicle, part 3

"Final Shape" is a lovely phrase. It suggests an ending, but not quite. An accomplishment, but not a certificate. An idea realized but not completely released.

Such is the paractor. There is one essential element which is, at this writing, in the United States Postal Service and due to land at the end of the week. That installed, late next week no doubt, will be a ribbon on the package.

Meantime, we have "final shape." The machinery is operative, the main aesthetic details are in place, and when it is in the driveway, people walking and even driving by tend to stop.

Shown is the dashboard above. With everything irrelevant except the choke and the ignition switch, the space remains a blank canvas. Current dashboard component stock is in depletion because of completion of dashboards for Bjorn's Christmas gift and the Steampunk Master Control project at the library. We may hit the road with a blank instrument panel for the time being.

So, the only question to you is, what is clearly missing? And, as a hint, can fit in a small Priority box?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

From lawn mower to parade vehicle, part 2

In the next to topmost image you can see the BSA motorcycle muffler peeking out from the right running board. An afternoon in George Blackman's well-equipped welding heaven gave us the new header and nicely segmented chrome duct down to the silencer, which astute motorcyclist/hot rodder/Bonneville competitor Martin Doerfler called a "quietdowner raris." My neighbors would agree. Mothers grab their children and rush for the cellar when they hear me coming.

The hood and nose come from a vertical barbecue/smoker called the "Smoke'en Grill." (See above.)

The grille itself is from some cooking pot device, still marked "25c" from the thrift store where I scored it.

The chrome plate on the side of the airbox is functional--it, too, did culinary duty in the long ago, in this case as a cheese grater. Look at yours--it's just a bunch of louvers, right?

The faux radiator cap is yet to be painted, probably brass. It is designed to move about gently as the vehicle makes its leisurely way down the thoroughfare.

There, first articulated, is the aesthetic goal of this mechanical melange.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

From lawn mower to parade vehicle, part 1

Innocent enough: A ten year old riding lawn mower. Fairly well attended to, but destined for a much higher calling. Mechanical condition: quite good. Body: oxidized, but neither rusted nor banged up. Tires: Not for highway use. Or much use, really. But we'll try Slime first.

All in all, great potential. First order of business was to remove all the cutting parts, which might amount to about a third of the weight of the thing.

Originally, the next step was to be simple, or not so simple, embellishment. But there was something about the look with the hood removed that headed us both in a different direction.