GM Futurliner 2002 Progress Reports
The following are Don Mayton's progress reports from the work sessions held in his pole barn. To read it in chronological order, start from the bottom and read up the page.
Jim Baker, Mike Ball, Del Carpenter, Fred Carpenter, Marge Carpenter,
Conrad DeJong, Ed DeVries, Bud Dinger, Jeff Dornbush, Ron Elzinga, Wayne
Jackson, Lois Jackson, Don Mayton, Art Meidema, Wilma Meidema, Martin
Reed, Dick Saddler, Wally Snow and John Wiltjer. GUESTS: Laurie
Wilson (Marge Carpenter, who has already buffed a lot of our aluminum trim
parts brought along her friend to show off the Futurliner.) John Atsma and
Sue Weiss (Kettering University Representative).
Lunch was provided by Lois Jackson. Wayne delivered everything and had to plug in the two crock-pots and then serve. Sue our guest brought two banana loafs of bread, Wilma provided salad and Mike made and brought along deviled eggs. Howard and Al provided donuts for coffee.
INSTRUMENT PANEL COMPONENTS
Brad Boyajian, out in California, shipped some instrument trim pieces that we needed for our Futurliner. We appreciate this help. Brad has supported our project even though he is at the other end of the country. Thanks Brad.
Last week Bruce Berghoff dropped off the Futurliner that he had cast from a steel core that we presented him. It is a beautiful job and it looks brand new. We thank Bruce for taking on this project.
Jeff started the process to install the brackets for the limit switches that will turn off the side door motors once the doors are closed.
Wally worked on the electrical panel that houses the Autronic Eye controls as well as other engine electrical control components such as the voltage regulator.
Wally also gathered up a lot of electrical components so he can work on the Futurliner until our next work session in January.
Del along with Dick and Marty installed the wheel/tire assemblies so the Futurliner could be moved.
The entire focus today was to due the final sheet metal work to prepare the body so the final metal finishing and priming can be done at a local body shop over the next few weeks.
Our welders, Howard, Connie, and Art spent all day welding on various fabricated metal sections from the roof down to the inner wheel houses. Right behind them were those with grinders (Ron, Bud, Fred, Don) dressing off the welds to a smooth finish. Howard was a construction welder, welding together high water towers that every community has. He welds as if everything can't ever leak. I know because I was grinding behind his welding. All of our welders do an outstanding job.
Dick and Marty completed the inner wheel well supports and Howard and Connie welded them in place.
REAR DOOR LATCH
Jim continues to build a latch system for the two rear doors.
Mike continues to archive our material. Al, our photographer was busy with his job today.
FUTURE FUTURLINER and PARADE OF PROGRESS BOOK
Bruce Berghoff has picked up some of our archive material and is putting together a book that spans the dream of a Parade of Progress (1933 Century of Progress in Chicago), the actual creation of the Parade (1936) using Streamliners, the 2nd Parade using the Futurliners (1940), and then the 3rd Parade that spanned from 1953 through 1956.
At the end of the day, a large wrecker showed up and the Futurliner was moved from our work location to a body shop about five miles away. While at the body shop the final metal work will be done with the goal that the Futurliner will be returned fully primed. In addition to the owner performing work (paid), we have unpaid volunteers that will be helping. Our volunteers that will be doing most of the body work will be Connie and Art. Fred and Bud will finish up on the grinding the balance of this week. Al will continue the photo taking and others will be called if necessary.
Although a lot of work will be performed over the next few weeks the work sessions here will begin again on January 14, 2003. I will be on vacation for the next 30 days.
Carol and I are so blessed by all that we share in Christ our Lord. May joy and love fill your hearts and home as you celebrate His birth. The Futurliner Volunteers all send their greetings this Christmas season and we all thank you for your support and interest in this project.
Jim Baker, Mike Ball, Al Batts, Stan Bowers, Del Carpenter, Fred
Carpenter, Conrad DeJong, Ed DeVries, Bud Dinger, Ron Elzinga, Wayne
Jackson, Carol Mayton, Don Mayton, Art Meidema, Martin Reed, Dick Saddler,
Wally Snow, Howard Sullivan, Deana Vuyst (Carol's daughter) and John
Wiltjer. GUESTS: Paul Bartz (GMC Motor Coach owner and member of
the GMC Club), Dennis Simpson (GMC Motor Coach owner and member of the GMC
Carol made and served the food with her daughter Deana helping. Howard provided the donuts for our coffee breaks.
Carol and Deana also made a 150 Futurliner pins that we passed out.
PARADE OF PROGRESS POSTERS and FUTURLINER HATS
Don't forget to order your posters and hats for friends and family. A great conversation piece and it helps support the project.
SPARE ENGINE RESTORATION
Although Bill Bicknell does not come on Tuesdays to work, (he lives near Dayton, Ohio --- a five hour drive) he is busy working at restoring a spare engine for the Futurliner. Early on we decided to have a spare engine for two purposes; 1) To have as a display because once the Futurliner is restored it is impossible to see the engine as it is buried in between the frame rails and behind the radiator and 2) To simply have a spare. The display we plan to set up will ride on a trailer in which the axle will be our spare front dual wheeled axle. In addition, we also will have the spare Hydramatic transmission mounted along with the extra rear transmission. All of these items are buried in the Futurliner and cannot be seen unless we expose our spares as a display.
Bill has removed the oil pan and oil pump and found that the oil pump checks well within factory specs for backlash. No rebuilding of this will be necessary. The parts cylinder head has been disassembled. Exhaust seats will be installed due to wear in the head but the valves look good. The NOS short block has been disassembled down to the bare block and cleaned.
Bill has a hobby engine restoration business and does an excellent job.
MONTANA PAINTS and WYRICK CO.
In preparation for the body shop work that will begin next week, I spent some time with Ray and Cal at Wyrick Products in Zeeland, Michigan. We ended up loading my vehicle with the necessary primer, black color coat, red color coat, white color coat and other supplies necessary for finishing the body work on the Futurliner. We again want to thank Montana and Wyrick for this donation. Without their continued donation of these paint products and supplies this project would have stopped long ago.
We started the day with the outside temperature officially at -1 degree F.
Bruce Berghoff up in Arcadia, Michigan has completed the restoration of the Futurliner steering wheel. It was his intention to deliver it today but living right on the coast of Lake Michigan he got snowed in today. We get that famous lake effect snow with the forecasters have a hard time of predicting. He plans to drop it off when the roads clear up in his area.
In the mean time, Wally took our old steering wheel that we cut off of the Futurliner and clamped it together. Then Howard welded it back together. We need a steering wheel when we move the Futurliner to the body shop next week.
Wally was only here a few hours as he is on Jury Duty.
Jim has sorted out the linkage for the door latching mechanism for the rear doors. He discovered the door handles operated a cam that pulled the latch so the rear doors could be opened. It appears this system wore out and some one later cobbled up a system. Jim will construct a new cam type latch so we can restore it to original.
Howard spent the day welding the rear bumper covers and welding for others.
Bud completed the lower rear side covers that are positioned in front of the rear wheel openings. Howard did the welding for Bud.
There are 40 running lights on the Futurliner. Don spent today drilling 7/8" holes for these lights.
Art did welding for others. In addition, he located the holes for the manual side door locks and drilled holes for these on the left side of the Futurliner. He also metal finished welds.
Dick and Marty fabricated and with Howard welding installed the inner supports for the wheel well rubber. They completed about 1/2 of the Futurliner.
Fred in working to fit the doors discovered that the right front door did not have enough contour at the very bottom causing it not to fit properly. This door we had completely rebuilt the bottom so it was our repairs that needed corrected. By the end of the day Fred had the door fitting properly.
ROOF AROUND LIGHTING FIN
Ed, Ron and Connie worked at fabricating and installing the sheet metal on the Futurliner roof in front of the lighting fin and along the right side of the Futurliner roof. This is a large area and they got it installed and weld tacked in. Next week they will have to complete the welding as there is a lot of welding to do here.
Del and Stan after sending Al to the hardware for more fittings completed the installation of the braking system. They powered (air) up the system today, fixed a few air leaks and were checking out various systems at the end of the day.
The brake light lens for the Futurliner was originally red plastic. John was given a sample and he intends to find a source. In the past John has been able to obtain all our plastic needs. John always shows up at the right time.
In addition John delivered our spare radiator that will be part of the display mentioned above. Weller Truck donated the restoration of this radiator. We thank Weller for this.
Mike continues to store and research information for the volunteers. He and Al are starting to put together the display that we will be having at the Kalamazoo annual February 2003 automotive swap meet. We have been donated a space for our display. We will have Futurliner hats and Parade of Progress posters for sale at the meet. Look us up there in February.
Mike is also putting together a presentation for a potential sponsor for transporting the Futurliner once it is done. Although the Futurliner will be driveable and driven, however if a show in many miles away we will want it transported.
Jim Baker, Mike Ball, Al Batts, Bruce Beimers, Carol Bowers, Stan Bowers,
Del Carpenter, Fred Carpenter, Sue Carpenter, Steve Cordes, Conrad DeJong,
Ed DeVries, Bud Dinger, Jeff Dornbush, Ron Elzinga, Wayne Jackson, Carol
Mayton, Don Mayton, Art Meidema, Wilma Meidema, Martin Reed, Dick Saddler,
Wally Snow, Howard Sullivan and John Wiltjer. GUESTS: Kent Vander
Laan, Jim Kemp, Steve Groothuis, Craig Kemp, Jim Buick, John Bult, Rich
Saddler, Al and Ethel Walters.
Many of our guests purchased Futurliner hats and Parade of Progress posters and left financial donations. We want to thank them for this. However, our weekly expenses of just nut and bolt type supplies exceeded the gifts by 4 to 1.
Carol provided lunch with help from Sue Carpenter and Carol Bowers with desert and Wilma with salad. Howard and Al again provided donuts for the coffee breaks. The food is always great.
Jim started working on the latching mechanism for the right rear door. He had discovered over time there were several modifications made on the latching and lock system. He will have to design and build everything from scratch.
Art continued to cut the skin of the right rear door for the turn signal and brake lights. He also did welding for others needing it, at the rear of the Futurliner.
Bud finished the fabrication of the left rear side access panel and moved to the right rear to work at that access panel.
Howard completed the welding of the bumper cover at the right front of the Futurliner. Don finished the fabrication of the right rear bumper cover and then completed the same on the left rear. Howard welded these panels in place. Don also started drilling the holes for the running lights at the bumper level area.
Dick and Marty continued to fabricate the splash pans for the door gear motors. Next, they started to fabricate a support for the rubber flap that is installed at each wheel well.
Steve delivered more supplies for the brake system. I might mention that his family business, Cordes Tires, has been supplying these fittings to complete the brakes. Del and Stan continued to install these final parts. They believe that next week will be check out time for the system as far as air leaks.
DOORS, FRONT RIGHT AND LEFT
Wayne and Fred worked at installing the inner door skins. Next, they installed the aluminum frames that will have the rubber weather strip installed later. They also are working on the door latch and lock system. They are bringing all the door systems together to make sure that they fit properly.
ROOF @ LIGHTING FIN AREA
With the lighting fin installed and working Ed, Ron, and Connie have been concentrating on building the metal skin around the lighting fin on the roof of the Futurliner. Ed had Sparta Sheet Metal form 8' sections of the roof adjacent to the lighting fin. We do not have the capability of roll forming metal nor can we form anything 8' long. With these long sections they filled in the roof on the left side of the lighting fin. In the process they had to tie into the original skin at the cab and at the rear of the Futurliner. At one location at the rear they ran into over 1" of lead that had been used when the Futurliner was originally built. This lead had to be melted out in order to complete this section.
Jeff Dornbush has designed the system that will allow the electrical cord to travel without getting entangled with the lifting arms of the lighting fin as the lighting fin is raised. He has purchased the materials and is now in the process of building the brackets for this system.
Previously John Wiltjer supplied the plastic lens that will be installed in the lighting fin. With the donation of the California Futurliner we received many parts, one of which was a portion of the original plastic lens. This gave us the pattern to have the letters "PARADE OF PROGRESS" added to our plastic lens. Bud's son has a business of making signs and displays. Bud's son then took our new plastic lens and had the "PARADE OF PROGRESS" lettering applied. We again appreciate this donation.
There is an aluminum grill at the window level at the rear of the cab at each side of the Futurliner. Fred had disassembled this grill and his wife, Marge, had polished it to a beautiful finish. Wally took this grill home and has completely assembled it.
Wally is now working on the panel in which the Autronic Eye control module will be installed. Last week we received the Autronic Eye that John Oldenburg had restored.
Mike continues to archive material and has become our resource in digging out the old photos when we have a question as we put the vehicle together. He is also working on a presentation that we will be making in January to obtain a sponsor to provide resources when the Futurliner goes on the road. More about this later.
Al has been helping with creating our archives by video taping and photographing each of our work sessions. He also is now our runner to the local hardware.
Bruce has taken over the job of creating a display. We have found photos that identify Futurliner #10 (this is the Futurliner we are restoring) with a Fisher Body Craftsman's Guild display on one side. We have not come across what display was on the other side of #10. If we go with this display we will again need the help of you folks out there. The Fisher Body Craftsman Guild encouraged high school young people to build scale model cars to certain specifications. The winners were based on innovation, creativity, and skill. The top award would be a full college education. Bruce already has one of these original scale automobiles. We would like to find more of these original scale model cars so that we can put this display together.
In the near future we have some specific needs for the restoration of the
We will have the Futurliner with a new skin done by the middle of December. Then in the middle of December (2002) we plan to move the Futurliner to a local body shop (B & M Customs) for the final metal finishing work. At the body shop we will have two of our volunteers, Connie and Art, working with the owner (Ron Sall). Our goal is to have it come back with all the metal work done, the Futurliner completely in primer, and the lower portion in its final black. Assuming we get all this work done we can start the process of trimming the lower portion, the seven horizontal aluminum ribs that go around the entire Futurliner, and the rubber bumpers that also go around the entire Futurliner.
We only have $4,000 available to spend for this work. The only person requiring wages is the owner of the body shop at $45/hour, which is a bargain. We do not think this will cover our total wages for this work. Remember this vehicle is almost 12' tall X 33' long.
I know financial times are not the best but if anyone needs to contribute or relieve themselves of some money it would help the cause.
If you cannot spare a contribution, we have a great Parade of Progress poster available and a Futurliner hat. Check the web site for this.
Thanking you in advance.
The local firm that has volunteered to restore our air conditioner unit has discovered that our unit is not repairable. They have committed, however, to build us a new unit. Since we want this to still appear to be the original we need the sheet metal box that encloses the air conditioner. These were standard GM air conditioners that fit in the trunk of the 1952 - 1953 GM cars. Does anyone out there have a unit, even if not restorable that we could have. We could use just the "Frigidaire" emblem and fabricate a box to house an air conditioner with all new components. Let us know.
Jim Baker, Mike Ball, Bruce Beimers, Carol Bowers, Stan Bowers, Del
Carpenter, Fred Carpenter, Steve Cordes, Conrad DeJong, Ed DeVries, Bud
Dinger, Jeff Dornbush, Ron Elzinga, Wayne Jackson, Carol Mayton, Don
Mayton, Art Meidema, Martin Reed, Dick Saddler, Wally Snow and Howard
Sullivan. GUESTS: Richard Chambers, AACA Western Michigan
President; Dick Humpreys, AACA Saginaw; Ted Metiva, AACA Saginaw; Bob
Hadley, AACA Saginaw; Dale Frahm, AACA Saginaw and; Bob Duchaime, AACA
Carol made and served lunch. Our guests from the AACA Saginaw Region provided the salads as well as coffee rolls. Howard and Al also provided donuts for coffee.
Dick Humphreys previously had provided the bronze that was used to make the carriage that drives the lighting fin to its vertical position. He has been a great supporter of this project. He brought along members of the AACA Saginaw Region club. We thank Dick for his support and interest in this project.
At the rear of the Futurliner Jim, Don, and Art worked at fabricating metal and welding it in place at the right rear of the vehicle. Art also started cutting the skin of the lower door for the tail, brake and backup lights. Dick had previously laid out the door. Previously these doors had to have a new skin welded on and the cutouts were laid out by Dick.
At the left rear, Bud continued to work on making the panel in front of the rear wheel opening removable.
At the right front, Howard completed welding in the panel that is over the bumper frame. He then proceeded to grind away all the weld high spots.
Dick and Martin worked at fabricating the left side stone and mud shield for the left door motor and gearbox.
With a new supply of brake parts Del and Stan proceeded to hook up the brake lines. Steve arrived later and worked with them. At one point, they had to send Al to the local truck supply company to pick up brake line fittings and again later to fetch brake air hose lines.
FRONT PASSENGER AND ENGINE ACCESS DOORS
Fred and Wayne worked at fitting the inner doors skins. They also worked repairing the door latch and lock mechanism that is in poor shape.
Jeff provided some engineering expertise in sorting out how to track the electrical lines as the lighting fin raises and lowers. He had to order materials to accomplish this.
Ed and Ron had previously installed springs to aid the motor when the lighting fin starts from the bottom position. They felt however, it needed stronger springs. Ed picked up some American LaFrance engine valve springs at his son's (Ryan) shop. They added these four springs over the existing springs and now the lighting fin even works smoother when it starts to rise. Jeff checked the ampere of the lighting fin motor and now it operates well within its design range.
Ed, Ron, fabricated and with Connie welding installed the sealing metal frame work the runs front to back along each side of the lighting fin. They now have an almost perfect fit along each side of the lighting fin.
Wally continued to work on the instrument panel.
Mike continues to work on the archives. Recently he gathered up a lot of material for an Italian publisher that is working on a book. Bruce and Al have been helping him with all this material.
VIDEO AND PHOTOS
About a month ago, Al started video taping our work sessions as well as taking digital photos. These will also be added to the archives.
Baker, Mike Ball, Al Batts, Bruce Beimers, Delores Beimers, Stan Bowers,
Del Carpenter, Fred Carpenter, Marge Carpenter *, Conrad DeJong, Ed
DeVries, Ryan DeVries*, Bud Dinger, Jeff Dornbush, Ron Elzinga, Wayne
Jackson, Don Mayton, Art Meidema, Martin Reed, Dick Saddler, Wally Snow
and Howard Sullivan. GUESTS: Scott Hultman - Fluid Connections,
Inc., Tim Lynch - Fluid Connections, Inc., Rocky Rockwell, Duke Kroff, T.
Crandall, Rich and Judy Walkotten.
Delores Beimers made the entire lunch, main, salad, and desert and had husband Bruce bring it and he then served lunch. Howard supplied the coffee break donuts. Thanks to Dee, Bruce and Howard.
Don with Connie welding fabricated and installed the skin around the outside of the bumper frame, on the left front of the Futurliner.
There are panels that closes off both the rear bottom of both the right and left of the Futurliner in front of the rear wheels. We have decided to make this a bolt-on panel as it gives access to the motor that opens and closes the side doors. Bud is doing the work to make this conversion.
SIDE 16' DOORS
The right and left doors now have their metal skin. Howard, Connie and Art have been doing the final fitting, welding and grinding to achieve as good of a fit that is possible on four doors that are 16' long.
To start the day Del, Stan and Jeff jacked up the Futurliner and removed the front wheel/tire assemblies in order to work on the brakes. Remember, last Thursday we had to roll the Futurliner outside to install the lighting fin.
Steve Cordes, yesterday, dropped off more supplies to complete the restoration of the brakes. Today Del and Stan completed the left front brake and at the end of the day put air to it and its works.
Fred and Wayne worked on both of the two front doors, the driver's door and the engine access door. Fred had taken home the doors latch/lock mechanism cleaned it and generally overhauled it. Today they installed the left door inner-panel. Next they fabricated and installed the right door inner-panel.
They along with Wally managed to find most of the components for these two front door latches.
Jim has reworked the fit of the rear doors so that we now have a nice straight line.
Dick and Marty continue to work these doors in preparation to cut the skin for the taillights, turn signals, and license plate housings.
Due to Jim also working in this area, they started another job of building a shield for the left door gear motor.
As mentioned in last Thursdays special report the lighting fin was installed and hooked up. Although it worked great the motor would stall when trying to raise the fin when it was 3" from bottom. Today we had representatives from Fluid Connections Inc., Scott and Tim, for the purpose of figuring out how to add air cylinders to aid starting the lighting fin when going up. After a lot of measuring and discussion with Ed and Ron they suggested pushing the light bar carriage horizontally with two cylinders from each end. They left and were going to try to come up with a design. Meanwhile Ron suggested that instead of cylinders why not install springs at the ends of the carriages just as the lighting fin gets to the bottom of its travel. After Ed and Ron did some measuring they were off to the local hardware. They returned with four springs and by the end of the day the springs were installed and working. Now the lighting fin travels its entire stroke without any problems.
While we have a great group of volunteers working here on Tuesday, we also have volunteers working at home. Marge took on the job of polishing the aluminum grill trim that is located at the rear of the cab at the window level. First, these two (right and left) assemblies had to be disassembled. Next each piece had to be sanded. Then Marge went over to Ryan's shop and with his guidance spent hours and hours buffing each individual piece. Fred brought the pieces back today and they looked like jewelry.
Yesterday the Autronic Eye that John Oldenburg restored arrived. When we opened the box it looked like a new unit that you would purchase at a GM dealership. John is a real professional. In addition, John sent us a financial donation. John we thank you for your donation of the restoration of this eye as well as the financial donation. (Click here to read more about the Autronic Eye).
Due to the fact that we had to use a pipe wrench to steer the Futurliner last Thursday we scratched the newly painted instrument panel Wally had painted. Today Wally wet sanded the instrument panel and he and Art applied a new coat of paint. Wally and Bruce (from Don Bratt) brought running light samples that could possibility be used.
Mike Ball, Al Batts, Del Carpenter, Ed DeVries, Bud Dinger, Don Mayton,
Ron Elzinga and Wayne Jackson.
LIGHTING FIN INSTALLATION
Three weeks ago, although we still had a lot of detail work to complete, we chose this week to install the lighting fin. While showing my son-in-law Brett the job we had to do and the fact that we were planning to use Ed's fork lift truck to raise the lighting fin for the installation he suggested we use his father's Sky Tract. Brett's father, Paul Altman, is a contractor building storage buildings as well as houses. Brett said the Sky Tract would be a lot more maneuverable, lift higher, and be able to reach further than a fork truck. In this area most building contractors have this type of machinery. It is simply a large four wheel steering vehicle that has a telescoping hydraulic boom with forks attached that can lift up to 6,000 pounds and raise its load over 40' in the air.
We also worked with Gray Bar electric in obtaining the last materials that we needed to complete the restoration of the lighting fin. This was mentioned in the November 5, 2002 report. What I failed to mention was the fact that Jerry at Gray Bar worked with COOPER LIGHTING as well as GE LIGHTING to not only obtain all the materials as a donation to the project but rushed them to us to get this job done on time.
Since winter weather is fast closing in on us here in Michigan, it was imperative that we do this job as soon as possible. The job had to be done outside because of limited ceiling height inside the building in which we are restoring the Futurliner. Based on all the local weather forecasts we picked Thursday, November 7, 2002 as the day for installation.
I informed Brett of the day and he in turn contacted his father, Paul, to obtain the Sky Tract. Although I did not know it, Paul's Sky Tract was tied up on a job in the county south of here. Paul, however contacted the lumber warehouse where he purchases all his lumber (Kenowa Lumber) and convinced the owner, Dennis Fuller, to loan us their Sky Tract.
At 7:30 AM the Kenowa Lumber truck arrived towing on a construction trailer their Sky Tract. Shortly our volunteers showed up. Due to the nature of this job we had to restrict the number of volunteers. If we would have asked everyone, everyone would have showed up.
First, we attached a special bracket from the trailer hitch on my Chevrolet pickup plow truck to the front axle on the Futurliner. Del installed the hub of the original steering wheel and using a large pipe wrench did the steering. We slowly pulled the Futurliner out of the building. Next, the lighting fin on its cradle was positioned parallel to the Futurliner. Previously lifting hooks were installed onto the lighting fin. The Sky Tract was positioned, a chain was attached to the lifting hooks and to the forks of the Sky Tract. The lighting fin was raised above the Futurliner with its aluminum arms hanging vertical under the lighting fin.
In preparation for this job one track section had been removed in the roof, as well as the two acme worm shafts. The front carriage was lowered, slipped into its track. This was a long and tedious job as the clearances are very tight and the lighting fin had to be perfectly inline in three directions, up and down, north and south, and east and west. Next the front acme threaded shaft was slowly turned into the carriage nut. When we started to perform the same operation for the rear acme worm shaft we discovered the motor and gearbox had to be moved out of the way. Once the second carriage was in place, then the one track that had been removed was inserted. At this point, the weight of the lighting fin was on the Futurliner. However, we kept tension on the forks of the Sky Tract for safety reasons.
Next, the acme worm screws had to be timed so that the lighting fin would be positioned in the center of the roof opening when closed. The motor was hooked up and we first lowered the lighting fin, using the motor, about 1/2 way down. Then we tried it in the up direction. Everything worked perfectly. Next we lowered it to within six inches and again ran it up and everything worked smoothly. We finally ran it to the bottom but this time the motor stalled when trying to lift the fin again. When GM designed the roof for us two years ago they told us that we should add lifting assist cylinders to lift the lighting fin for the first few inches of travel as there was too much torque being applied to the lifting mechanical system. Ed had already designed this assist lift system but we needed to find out exactly the distance the lift cylinders had to assist the drive mechanism. We determined with the assist of the Sky Tract that once the lighting fin was 3" from bottom the lifting drive train easily raised the lighting fin. Ed plans to install 4" lift cylinders. We also aligned the lighting fin front to back by disconnecting the coupling and turning the front acme worm shaft. We had to do this two times to get the lighting fin to drop into the roof opening.
We completed the day by lowering the fin into the roof. Next, using the pickup truck, we tried to push the Futurliner back into the building. However, even in 4 wheel drive it just sat there and buried itself in mud. Along with the truck and help using the Sky Tract we got the Futurliner back into the building.
A very successful day putting a major piece of the Futurliner back together. Thanks go to all the volunteers as well as Dennis Fuller at Kenowa Lumber, Paul and Brett Altman.
Bud Dinger and Don Mayton.
As a result of receiving the last six fluorescence light fixtures late Tuesday Bud did not get them completely installed. On Wednesday Bud and Don worked for about two hours to complete this installation as the next day it was planned to install the lighting fin on the top of the Futurliner. These fixtures were installed and checked by powering them up. However one fixture did not work. After checking this one out it was discovered that internally in the fixture one wire was not hooked up. Once repaired all the lights functioned. In addition the lifting bars were installed on the top of the lighting fin.
Jim Baker, Mike Ball, Bruce Beimers, Stan Bowers, Del Carpenter, Fred
Carpenter, Sue Carpenter, Steve Cordes, Conrad DeJong, Ed DeVries, Lynda
DeVries (Ed's daughter-in-law), Bud Dinger, Jeff Dornbush, Ron Elzinga,
Wayne Jackson, Carol Mayton, Don Mayton, Wes Myrick, Martin Reed, Dick
Saddler, Wally Snow, Howard Sullivan, and John Wiltjer. GUESTS:
Mike and Julie Lamb (Wes's daughter and son-in-law), Brenden Pellton
(Wes's great grandson), Clyde Poll, Earl Bultema and Robert Mulder.
Carol made lunch with Sue providing salad and Lynda providing the desert. Howard and Al brought donuts for the coffee breaks.
Jim continued to work the door opening area for the two rear doors.
Marty fabricated and had Howard weld in metal at the right rear wheelhouse. He is enclosing the gear mechanism for the doors to build a stone and dirt shield.
At the left front Wes, Don with Howard welding finished the body skin up to the door that enters the engine compartment. Next they moved to the right side and completed the body skin up to the door that leads up to the driver's compartment.
On the top Ed, Ron, with Connie welding, installed two sections of the skin for the roof that is adjacent to where the lighting fin will be housed.
RIGHT UPPER DOOR
Ed, Ron and Connie completed applying the metal skin to the right upper door. Howard, between welding jobs continued to grind the welds level.
GRAY BAR ELECTRIC-DONATION
Jerry at Gray Bar has really worked hard to obtain donations from various companies for the lighting fin. We have received over $2,000 worth of fluorescence light fixtures and today we received the bulbs for these fixtures as well as the 110 volt sealed beam flood lights. Then Jerry called at 2 PM and stated that the last six fixtures arrived. Bud got in his truck and picked them up. Jerry had to pull some strings to get these here today as we are wrapping up the lighting fin construction. We plan to install the lighting fin in the roof in the near future. Since we have to do this out doors, we have made a plan around a weather window. We sure hope that the weatherman is right. Today the weatherman said no rain until tonight. It snowed all day today, go figure!
We want to thank Jerry for all his help. Now if the weatherman is right we will be putting up the lighting fin shortly.
Last week we told you about the original lighting fin plastic lens with "PARADE OF PROGRESS" had arrived with the shipment from the California Futurliner that Brad Boyajian had sent. With this original plastic lens and with new material supplied by John Wiltjer, Bud has spent time this past week with his son's company finding a way to print onto the new plastic "PARADE OF PROGRESS" using a font almost identical to the original. Ed had ordered new aluminum strips to insert this lens into once the printing is completed. With all the material that arrived today Bud, Jeff, Ed and Ron had lots to do. First, they installed the aluminum strips that will contain the lens. Next, they installed all the new fluorescence bulbs. Then the four 110 volt sealed beam spots were installed. Once this was all done everything was tried out and the lighting fin (even though it is on its back on a cart) lit up the whole Futurliner barn. We also tripped a breaker as drills and other lights were on at the same time. There was a rumor that Zeeland had a brownout.
As mentioned above the balance of the fixtures arrived late in the day. The crew got them partially installed but will finish them tomorrow.
Jeff also designed, purchased the material, and installed the electrical wiring for the lighting fin motor which sits up inside the rear of the Futurliner. Next he tried out the motor without it being hooked up mechanically to the gearing and it works fine.
Del, Stan and Steve worked on the braking system. Steve also delivered the spare front wheel/tire assemblies mounted. This crew then installed wheel/tire assemblies on each of the four corners. We are preparing the Futurliner to roll it outside to install the lighting fin.
HEAD LIGHTS AND TAILLIGHTS
Wayne's order of new components for the head lights arrived. He worked at putting together all the components to build the rear tail, brake and turn signal lights. He will have to make all this from scratch as we do not have any of the inside of these assemblies.
Fred is working to install the brackets and housing to install the front and rear door latching assemblies. He has to repair the old metal housing, clean and repair the latching mechanism and also locate two outside door handles. We have the inside door handle for one door. For the rear doors we have to start from scratch.
Dick worked at straightening or should I say putting the arch back in the rear aluminum casting that housed the tail lights, brake lights, and turn signals. This aluminum housing is about 18" X 18". He had it fitting to the contour of the rear door by the end of the day.
Wally continued to work on the instrument panel as well as the wiring for the instrument panel. He also spent time reading through the instructions that was sent by John Oldenburg (see below).
John returned a radiator that Weller Truck had restored for the project. The radiator had to be recored as well has having extensive repairs to the tank. We thank John and Weller truck for this donation.
We received from John Oldenburg a detailed report of the work he had to do to put together a working Autronic Eye for the Futurliner. He has restored everything to original so that it will work as it did in 1953. John has spent considerable time doing this as a donation to the project and we really thank him for all his work. It is obvious he is an expert on Autronic Eyes so all you GM antique car nuts if you want to get that Autronic Eye working you need to contact John at email@example.com
Mike, Al and Bruce continues to file material and catalog the material in our archives. Mike is also working with an Italian publisher that has requested information. They have downloaded our web site and asking for copies of specific photos. In addition we are still filing material that we acquired from the Paraders this past September. Al also had to make a run to the welding supply store as both our welders ran out of Argon within 10 minutes of each other. We always have a full spare tank but we need both welders running as we keep these guys busy.
POSTER AND HAT
Look for an announcement shortly as to how to purchase our new PARADE OF PROGRESS poster and Futurliner hat.
Jim Baker, Mike Ball, Al Batts, Bruce Beimers, Carol Bowers, Stan Bowers,
Del Carpenter, Steve Cordes, Conrad DeJong, Ed DeVries, Bud Dinger, Jeff
Dornbush, Ron Elzinga, Wayne Jackson, Carol Mayton, Don Mayton, Art
Meidema, Wilma Meidema, Wes Myrick, Martin Reed, Dick Saddler, Jerry
Sigler, Audrey Snow, Wally Snow, Howard Sullivan, Wendy (Howard's daughter
and grand daughter Kristin) and John Wiltjer.
Carol made and served lunch with salads being provided by Wilma, Audrey, and Wendy. Carol Bowers provided desert. Howard again provided donuts for our coffee break. We eat good.
DONATIONS - AUTRONIC EYE
John Oldenburg out in Galena, Illinois is an Autronic Eye expert. He originally sent us a comprehensive manual on the Autronic Eye that he had written. He recently volunteered to restore the Autronic Eye that was part of the Futurliner. Unfortunately, this Futurliner's Autronic Eye was missing. The control box was still mounted on the Futurliner electrical panel. Over the past several years, the volunteers had gathered up several Autronic Eyes at swap meets. We packaged everything up and sent them off to John. John sorted through all this "stuff" and found out that we had components for both 6 volt Autronic Eyes as well as 12 volts systems (the Futurliner is 12 volt) and different year's components through out the 1950s. Out of it all he said he will be able to give us a working unit. Thanks to John out in Galena.
For those of you out there wondering what an Autronic Eye is, it is an automatic headlight dimming system that GM brought out in the early 1950s. It was an option on many of their cars. It was mounted on the dash, to the left of the driver, and it did look like a large eye. When the Futurliner's were updated in 1952, GM added the Autronic Eyes to each vehicle.
DONATIONS - FUTURLINER
Through the efforts of Dave Mikol (Royal Oak, Michigan), John Martin Smith (NATMUS), City Loan, Brad Boyajian (California), Dean Tryon our editor, Ron at GM's Power Train Division, and many others, the parts of the donated Futurliner arrived today by semi-truck. Ed brought his fork truck on a trailer and did the unloading. The parts will really aid us in completing the restoration as some missing parts we had no examples of. For example, all the rear door hardware was missing as a result of our Futurliner being rear ended sometime in its life. Also we had only one piece of the rubber bumper that goes on the center front and rear. Now we have all pieces expect one. However, these are in very bad shape. Our first attempt will be to restore what we have. If that does not work, they will make excellent patterns.
Already Ed took the two rubber bumper front sections home to see if he can put the arch back in them with his hydraulic press at home. Dick took home the aluminum casting that was mounted on the door to see if a pattern can be made to cast two new ones. The one we received is badly bent. But, at least we have a pattern. Also included was one rear door handle. We had none to go by.
The small front, side and rear marker lights that from day one I thought were lights are in fact not lights but reflectors. They are about 3/4" in diameter and are yellow in the front and red in the rear. In this shipment there were five of the forty we will need to complete the restoration.
DONATIONS - 1957 BUICK CENTURY (four door)
We have been donated an original running 22,000 mile Buick. Although this car needs restored it is rust free and just last week was driven by Wes and Ron VerHey from Detroit (4 hour trip). This donation came from Gary Cunningham, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. He asked us to make it one of the "Parade" vehicles to travel with the Futurliner when it goes on tour. Of course it will have to be restored but that will come later.
I will digress here about Wes and Ron's adventure to bring the car back from Detroit. They were assured the car was ready to travel by one of Gary's employees. When they arrived the battery was dead. After jump starting the vehicle Wes noticed the gas gage said zero. They were assured it was full of gasoline. After traveling about twenty miles it quit running right on busy I-75 near Pontiac, Michigan. After purchasing a new battery they then discovered it had no gasoline. Once they had gasoline in the car it drove fine abet the lights and the wipers (it was raining and getting dark) and made it back to Western Michigan under its own power. Today Wes drove it to our work site. Jerry then drove it home to store at his house for the winter.
We want to thank Gary for his generous donation.
DONATIONS - WYRICK PRODUCTS
Last week I mentioned that Wally painted the instrument panel its final color. However, after looking at the paint color we all decided that the color was incorrect. Since I picked the color based on the upholstery material I guess I do not have a good color eye. The color was way off. Wally took an original sample to Wyricks with the balance of the paint and they were able to change the color to the correct shade of green. Wally wet sanded the instrument panel, gave it another good coat and it now has its final color coat.
DONATIONS - THE FILLING STATION
Wayne today called Steve Kassis at "The Filling Station" to order some headlight trim rings and other head light components. While talking, Steve asked Wayne what we were working on. Wayne had him bring up our web site and as a result of the conversation Steve donated to the project all the parts Wayne had intended to order. Thanks to Wayne and Steve at "The Filling Station" www.fillingstation.com
DONATIONS - WHEELS
Steve Cordes this summer picked up all four of the Futurliner wheel/tire assemblies. He had the tires dismounted at his family business (truck tire business), then took the wheels to a company in Kalamazoo, Michigan that sand blasts and paints using the powder coat method. He brought back today the completed products. We now have four beautiful wheels painted in their final red color. Although this operation sounds rather simple in order to prepare the wheels to go through their system Steve had to tack weld the rings on the wheels so they could travel through their automatic system. In addition, Steve brought back two mounted used wheel/tire assemblies so we can put these on the Futurliner temporary. We want to do this so as not to mar the new painted wheels. This way we can mount new tires on newly painted wheels later on. Thanks Steve for taking care of this.
Jim continues to fit the rear doors with welding and metal finish.
Don and Wes with Howard welding started adding skin to the left front lower corner of the cab.
Marty continued to work at the rear wheel openings to make space guards.
Del, Stan, and Steve spent considerable time reviewing the brake system and providing a long list of further components that are required to complete the brake system. Del and Stan also retrieved the air operated windshield wiper motor and got it operating. They then got the windshield wiper air valve that Benedix supplied and hooked it up to the windshield wiper to check out its operation.
FRONT RUBBER BUMPER
Ron and Ed, after unloading the semi, uncrated the boxes. They then mounted the rubber bumper to the front of the Futurliner finding it badly bent. This rubber bumper is a thick rubber casting with steel inserts and is very heavy, so heavy I cannot pick it up. Ed took one of these sections home at the end of the day to try to straighten it on his press.
Jeff temporary hooked up the lighting fin motor and got it running in both directions. He also worked on the lighting fin itself making the connections for the 110 volt flood lights. Bud and Jerry installed four lifting hooks. These will be used to raise the lighting fin to the top of the Futurliner at a later date. Bud also sandblasted the four swivel mounting brackets, gave them a coat of primer and later in the afternoon gave them their final coat of white paint.
In the box of items from California were the original plastic lens that go in the side of the lighting fin that spell out "PARADE OF PROGRESS". John Wiltjer has supplied us new lens however we did not have good information as to the letter spacing and font. Now with the originals we can duplicate exactly what was originally in place. John's son is helping us with these graphics.
With the aluminum casting trim piece that came with today's shipment, Dick now can make an accurate drawing of the door-cutouts that are needed as well as the hardware required at the rear, including the door latching system. On our Futurliner as received there was nothing there to even guess what was needed.
LEFT AND RIGHT 16' SIDE DOORS
Connie and Art continued to cut metal, fabricate, and weld on the outside skin of these large 16' upper and lower side doors. Although most of the large sheets are on, there is a lot of small pieces that must be formed and added.
FUTURLINER DISPLAY - FISHER BODY CRAFTSMAN'S GUILD
Ideally, it would be great to reunite the only original display that still exists "THE AMERICAN CROSSROADS" and the Futurliner when it is completed. Although that is always a possibility Mike, along with Al, and Bruce continue to look at other options. They are beginning to conclude based on photos that we have that on one side of our Futurliner was the Fisher Body Craftsman's Guild display. So to start the process of preparing a display we are asking anyone out there if they have any literature or actual models that were a part of the Fisher Body Craftsman's Guild.
Jim Baker, Mike Ball, Al Batts, Bruce Beimers, Stan Bowers, Del Carpenter,
Sue Carpenter, Fred Carpenter, Marge Carpenter*, Conrad DeJong, Ed DeVries,
Ryan DeVries*, Bud Dinger, Jeff Dornbush*, Ron Elzinga, Wayne Jackson,
Carol Mayton, Don Mayton, Art Meidema, Wes Myrick, Martin Reed, Dick
Saddler, Jerry Sigler, Audrey Snow, Wally Snow, Howard Sullivan and John
Wiltjer. GUESTS: Jay and Mary Lou Huffman (Howard's sister and brother in
law.), Don Bratt, John Vander Heide, Fred Ryskamp (Jerry's brother in
We started the day with donuts provided by Howard. Carol provided the veggie dish, Audrey provided the salad and then Mike ran out and brought in pizza. We finished up lunch with apple crisp that Sue had made.
As we have mentioned before we have a lot of people do work at home for us. Ryan machined two new link arms that tie the two arms that raise the lighting fin. The old ones were badly worn. He also made new special shoulder bolts that are required to fasten these to the upper ends of the two cast aluminum arms that raise the lighting fin.
Marge is working at polishing parts at home. Jeff gathered up more electrical supplies so that the wiring can be finished on the lighting fin.
FRONT DRIVER AND ENGINE ACCESS DOORS
These two doors contain the turn signals. Fred started the process of restoring the inside housing for these lights that fit into these doors. Wayne, after spending 1/2 the day repairing our cabinet sand blaster, sand blasted these housings for both doors.
Jim continued to work fitting the two rear doors. He has got them fitting very good. He will be starting the metal finish work shortly.
When this Futurliner arrived it had been hit in the rear left corner destroying the bottom frame work of the left door and most of the outer skin. Also the bottom of the right door had to be extensively replaced. Originally these doors had aluminum frames that housed the license plates, the turn signals, the running lights, and the brake lights. These frames were completely missing. Dick has started the process to measure and design the a new frame that will have to be fabricated.
Along the front doors there are housings that contain the lights. Fred has discovered that these housings no longer exist and he will have to fabricate new ones.
Don fabricated metal for the left rear 1/4 and had Howard weld these sections in place. Once that was done they started on the right rear 1/4.
Bud and Jerry installed the link arms that Ryan had made. They then repaired a section of the lighting fin that had not been noticed before. The four 110 volt sealed beam flood lights on the ends of the light bar fit into swivel housings that can direct these flood lights in any direction. Bud cleaned and then sand blasted these housings. At the end of the day he took these home to prime and paint them.
Don, during the previous week, had primed and then color painted the tray that the lighting fin sits in while retracted on top of the roof of the Futurliner. Ron and Ed with Howard welding installed additional braces under this tray. When the lighting fin is all the way up in its raised position, the two aluminum arms are vertical and centered in the center of the roof. All the weight of the lighting fin and the aluminum arms are resting in the center of the roof. Ron then proceeded to drill holes to attach the guides for the track that is in the center of the roof.
John Wiltjer procured for the lighting fin the side plastic panels that will have spelled out "PARADE OF PROGRESS" just below the roof of the lighting fin. We thank John for this donation.
LEFT 16' DOORS
Ed had Sparta Sheet metal fabricate the last two panels required to finish the skinning of the left and right doors. Art and Wes with Connie welding finished the installation of the skin for these left doors. They tried a final fit and found out that they had to make further modifications to get these two doors to fit properly.
Wes also proceeded to chalk the brace to skin areas on the inside of both the top and bottom doors.
RIGHT 16' DOORS
This same crew worked at applying the skin to the right side also. In addition, when waiting for the next weld job, Howard proceeded to grind welds smooth.
The 110 volt gear motor on both of these doors are exposed to road spray and water. Dick and Marty are fabricating and installing splash shields to protect these drive systems.
Del and Stan continued to work on installation of the brake pedal components. Del had also taken home parts to sand blast and paint and brought them back done. When he went home today he carted off more parts for the brake system.
Wally prepared and painted the instrument panel its first color coat. He will wet sand and apply another coat next week.
Montana Paints through Wyrick Products continues to supply technical advice as well as paint products for this project. With out this support this project would have ground to a halt a long time ago.
Although we are a long way from finishing up this project Mike decided it was time to get some heads together to plan on what display we will carry in the Futurliner. Unfortunately we have not found out what display this Futurliner originally carried. So Mike sat down with Al, Bruce and two of our guests Don Bratt (a retired advertising executive) and John Vander Heide to draw up a list of possibilities. They reviewed our archives looking at all the displays the Futurliners carried. We welcome your suggestions.
Mike and Al also assembled some of our new posters into frames as we have discovered some people prefer buying them already framed.
Mike will be taking a supply of posters and hats to the National Automotive and Trunk Museum of the United States this weekend. So if you are in the area of Auburn stop in and pickup a "PARADE OF PROGRESS" poster and a FUTURLINER hat.
KALAMAZOO SWAP MEET - 2003
Every year at the Kalamazoo Fair Grounds there is a car hobby swap meet. Fred suggested that we check out about offering the posters and hats there. Although all booths are sold out we already received two offers of using a part of a booth to sell both our new Poster and well as our new Futurliner hat. This swap meet is well attended and we will get great exposure for the project.
Jim Baker, Mike Ball, Al Batts, Stan Bowers, Del Carpenter, Fred
Carpenter, Conrad DeJong, Ed DeVries, Bud Dinger, Ron Elzinga, Wayne
Jackson, Carol Mayton, Don Mayton, Art Meidema, Wes Myrick, Dick Saddler,
Jerry Sigler, Wally Snow and Howard Sullivan.
GUESTS: Wendy and Kristina Schultz (Howard's daughter and grand daughter); Mark Fischer and his father and; Rod and Skip Hudson.
Carol made and served lunch. Wendy, Howard's daughter brought birthday cake and we celebrated Howard's 62nd birthday.
BRAKES and STEERING
Del, Stan and Wayne continued to work on air lines to the braking system. They also installed hydraulic hoses to the steering cylinder. Next, they worked at fitting the headlight module into its opening. Then they proceeded to remove the old left foot rest for restoration. Under it they found the old air operated clutch pedal. When GM retrofitted the Futurliners in 1952 they disconnected the air to the clutch pedal and fabricated a plate to rest the left foot on and installed it over the original clutch pedal.
Today the Bob Hart took the original material that was on the floor of the driver's feet to find material like the original. It is ribbed and looks similar to running board material. We only need a 3' X 3' piece.
Jim continued to work at fitting the doors on the rear of the Futurliner. Don, with Howard, welding worked at fitting rear lower side panels in place.
RIGHT AND LEFT SIDE 16' DOORS
Dick, Art, and Wes, with Connie and Howard welding, fitted sheet metal to the upper and lower 16' doors. Howard also spent a lot of time grinding smooth the many welds that were made.
On top of the Futurliner, Ed and Ron continued to mount the running gear of the lighting fin. They also installed the carriages to each end of the large lighting fin arms that lift the lighting fin. At the end of the day, they removed all the components of the lighting fin that they had mounted in preparation to paint this area.
Meanwhile, at the floor level, Bud, Al and Jerry continued to work to complete the lighting fin. In the process of installing arms that keep the lighting fin straight, as it goes up, they found that one arm was bent and a hole was oblong. Today we took this small arm to Ryan DeVries to have him fabricate a new one.
In the process of looking for some other parts that needed to be found in our inventory, Fred decided it was time to clean house. So he and Don sorted through all the remaining parts, identified, and stored them so that they could be more easily located. It's one of those jobs you hate to do but sooner or later must be done. Thanks Fred. Fred also boxed up the Autronic Eye and their controls in a box. We have a volunteer who has offered their services to restore these components.
Mike put together a slide show for our coffee break of another set of slides that the Paraders donated. In addition he continued to work at storing and documenting material. Bruce also is helping Mike with this work.
POSTERS AND CAPS
Look for details shortly of how to order your Parade of Progress poster and a Futurliner ball cap.
Mike Ball, Al Batts, Bruce Beimers, Stan Bowers (worked at home), Del
Carpenter, Sue Carpenter, Conrad DeJong, Ed DeVries, Phil DeVries (worked
at home), Ryan DeVries (worked at home), Bud Dinger, Jeff Dornbush, Ron
Elzinga, Wayne Jackson, Carol Mayton, Don Mayton, Dick Saddler, Jerry
Sigler, Audrey Snow, Wally Snow and Howard Sullivan. Howard provided our
coffee break donuts. Carol made and she and her daughter served lunch with
Audrey providing the salad, and Sue providing the desert. We will never
starve on this project.
We informed everyone that the local TV was here last Tuesday and a "Positively Michigan" feature would appear last Wednesday or Thursday between 5:30 - 6:00 PM. Well we have been put aside from everything from the Red Wings Hockey Team (they probably have a few more fans) to a opera singing hot dog vendor at the ball games in Detroit. Maybe it will show up this week?
AACA HERSHEY 2002
For those going to Hershey will be our first opportunity to present the PARADE OF PROGRESS poster. This poster, illustrated by John Falter, pictures an historic event called the Parade of progress. GM asked artist John Falter to visit the Parade of Progress and put on canvas what he saw there for the cover of GM's Annual Report (1953) in order to capture the spirit of the show. John Falter (1910 - 1982) was an American artist and illustrator second only to Norman Rockwell. Falter did illustrations for Good Housekeeping, Ladies Home Journal, Cosmopolitan, McCall's, Life , Look, and commercial work for many companies. He also did 300 recruiting posters and he painted portraits of famous subjects - Clark Gable, Admiral William "Bull" Halsey, Olivia deHaviland and James Cagney.
When Falter attended the 1953 Parade of Progress he took many photographs of the Futurliners, the displays, the demonstrations, the Aer-O-Dome tent and the crowds. Then using his artistic license he rearranged the standard Parade of Progress setup into a tabletop mosaic from which he worked to create his illustration. Falter like to "bring out some of the homeliness and humor of mid-western town life and home life, I used humor wherever possible". I think that explains the young boy "Set to Dreaming" in his Taylor Tot stroller.
We are fortunate that Mike, Bruce, Fred Carpenter, Bobbie (NATMUS), Ron, Al, Stan Bowers, Connie, Wayne, Del, and others have worked hard over a years time getting this poster printed and now transported to Hershey to make it available. It will sell for $10.00 and will include a tube with ends to safely transport it back to your home as well as an insert describing the restoration project and facts about the artist John Falter.
Also due to Al's efforts we will have Futurliner hats to sell at Hershey. These also will sell at $10.00 each.
Once the AACA Hershey show is over the poster will be available through NATMUS for the $10.00 (US funds) + $3.00 shipping and handling. However do not send your money to NATMUS until we have everything setup. We will let you know. The hat will be available at the NATMUS museum but not available for shipping.
For those attending the show the poster can be purchased at the following sites (until we run out as we have only a limited amount for Hershey):
* Bruce and Dee Beimers Spot RNG 1-4
* Del and Sue Carpenter Spot RNH - 5-6
* Fred and Marge Carpenter Spot CV -34 - 36
* Conrad DeJong Spot RCG - 29
* Wayne and Lois Jackson Spot 57 - 60 (Note, Wayne will be also selling at Carlisle.)
Since this is an all volunteer effort, 100% of the poster and hat sales goes towards the Futurliner project. Those selling the posters from their regular booths will not be making any money and are simply doing it to support this project. We thank everyone that has volunteered.
Al and Don with Howard welding worked at the rear of the Futurliner adding sections to the skin.
Del and Wayne worked at the grill completing the installation of the hinges. In order for better accessibility to the engine compartment they installed hinges on the frame that the grill is attached to. This will enable better servicing of the engine and its accessories.
Del and Wayne once they completed the grill continued the installation of the brakes.
Wally completed the final metal finishing of the instrument panel and has the final coat of primer applied.
He also has the last instrument ordered, the speedometer.
UPPER and LOWER 16' DOORS
Dick, Howard and Connie completed the installation of the skin on the upper left 16' door. They also have about 1/2 of the lower door with the skin attached. Howard and Connie did the welding with Howard smoothing out the welds with hours of metal finishing. At the end of the day they got started on the right upper 16' door.
Bud, Jerry and Jeff installed 3/4 of the fluorescence light fixtures into the lighting fin. We are waiting for the balance of the fixtures to arrive. They also wired in these fixtures and installed the power cable in the lifting arms. Jeff also worked at designing the limit switches required for the upper and lower 16' doors.
During the week Ed spent time with his son Phil and managed to find in Phil's stock all the necessary chain, sprockets, bearings and steel to finish the installation of the fin motor, gear box and drive system. Next Ed had his son Ryan due the necessary machining on the sprockets and the keyway for the acme threaded drive shaft.
Ed and Ron today constructed the mounting plate for the motor and gear box that operates the lighting fin. They then built the frame work to support this drive system in the rear roof of the Futurliner. They finished up the installation with everything in place.
We we meet again it will be Jeff's turn to wire up this motor.
Art Lewis, Wes Myrick's son-in-law donated a 23 cubic foot refrigerator to house our soda. We had been using Wayne's small refrigerator but had out grown it. Thanks to both Wayne and Art.
The crew will not work the next two weeks as many will be at Carlisle and the Hershery car shows.
Jim Baker, Mike Ball, Al Batts, Stan Bowers, Del Carpenter, Fred
Carpenter, Conrad DeJong, Ed DeVries, Bud Dinger, Jeff Dornbush, Ron
Elzinga, Wayne Jackson, Carol Mayton, Don Mayton, Art Meidema, Wilma
Meidema, Wes Myrick, Dick Saddler, Louis Smiley (Lives in NY state in the
summer and California in the winter. He is a Tin Can Tourist member.),
Wally Snow, Howard Sullivan and John Wissink
OFF-SITE VOLUNTEERS: Bill Bicknell, Steve Cordess, Dean Tryon.
GUESTS: Dan Salas (Local TV 8 reporter), Mr., and Mrs.. Larry Figuirski, Maynard Juell, Betty Juell and Ada Busby, Wendy Schultz and daughter (Howard Sullivan's daughter and grand daughter).
Carol made and served lunch with Wilma providing salad.
As mentioned previously Bill Bicknell picked up the donated military engine and transmission (from Tom Kuhlman) and took it back to Ohio. He started the disassembly of the inline 6 cylinder OHV 302 engine. Bill states that it appears from the minimal wear on the valve stems and rockers and also the small carbon build up on the cylinder walls that this was a low mileage engine. He feels that we should have a good head and other parts to go with the second NOS block. He also stated that because of the spark plugs missing, all the cylinders are rusted. After getting four pistons loose two of the pistons were stuck so bad he had to give up and cut the connecting rods with a Sawsall. They will not be needed anyway as Bill will use the NOS rods from the NOS short block.
Once the engine was able to turn he was able to turn the crank and disconnect the transmission from the engine. The transmission is now in the wooden shipping crate and he will take it to NATMUS. From there we will have the transmission picked up to be taken for rebuilding.
For you INLINERS out there that have been such great contributors to this project Bill still needs the following to complete this restoration:
+ Two Delco 1112300 distributors
+ From a commercial 302 engine an oil pump.
+ Oil pump discharge tube.
+ Oil pan and dip stick.
Bill completely restored the primary engine for the Futurliner. He is now restoring a second backup engine for the Futurliner. Hopefully we will never have to use it. However we are planning to put together a small trailer with the unique front axle assembly (dual front wheels), the 302 engine coupled to the military Hydramatic for display. When the engine is in the Futurliner it is impossible to see it since it is buried down between the frame rails behind a large radiator.
DRIVER'S SEAT and CARBURETOR
Along with the engine it will need a carburetor. We also received with Tom's donated Army Truck a box of parts. Inside the box was more carburetor parts as well as a carburetor repair kit. Dean Tryon, when he came for the Parader's reunion removed the carburetor from this engine. He also removed the back of the driver's seat as one of our volunteers decided it would make a great step to get to the top of the Futurliner and as a result it broke. Dean has already sand blasted the next carburetor he will rebuild and has already repaired the seat. If you recall he is our newsletter editor and lives in North Carolina.
Steve Cordess has taken the wheels to Dave's sand blasting. From there he will be taking them to a powder coating company for painting.
Jim continues to repair the frame around the two rear doors.
Don and AL with Howard welding worked at the left and right rear wheel house fitting the area next to the lower rear doors.
LARGE 16' DOORS
Conrad, Howard and Art continued adding sheet metal to install the skin on the left upper door.
Dick started the skinning process for the lower left door.
GM in China has contacted us with the possibility of working with a tire manufacturer that builds truck tires. In order to communicate the exact requirements for the raised lettering on the tire they requested a full size tracing. Dick took on the task to do this. He laid paper on the tire and using the old fashioned method of pencil rubbing he was able to produce an exact copy of the raised letters on the white side wall of the Futurliner tire. This was then mailed to the GM contact in China today.
To finally build these tires the side wall might have to be electronically scanned. Kevin Strebe from Johnson Controls stated that their company might be able to provide the scanning services as a donation if this is required.
We have gone down a lot of dead end roads trying to get these special tires built. Hopefully this one will bring fruit.
Jeff dropped off all the electrical components necessary to wire in the fluorescence lighting fixtures. However, prior to doing this the bottom of the lighting fin had to be painted. Connie, Art, Bud, Ron and Al spent time doing the final preparations for painting. By lunch the bottom of the lighting fin was finished as far as its final coat of white paint. With the hot sun it was dry enough in the afternoon so that Ron and Bud installed the large aluminum legs. They had some fit problems but corrected the alignment of the shafts and had the arms where they moved freely.
Meanwhile on top of the Futurliner; Ed, Wes and John were engineering the placement and necessary hardware to adapt the new motor and gear box to the lighting fins mechanics. Going back to the start of this project in order to remove the fin, due to the fact everything was frozen, one end of the acme threaded shaft had to be cut. The first job was to measure and weld this shaft back together. They make a jig to align the shaft and Howard did the welding.
Wally continues to work in the cab on the instrument panel. He has all the instruments positioned and fitted in their correct location except the speedometer. He has now located a speedometer and it is being shipped.
John Conroy, a retired 3M employee, heard about the project and called 3M. Mark Algie, 3M OEM manager, shipped a box of grinding disks that we are constantly in need of. We thank both Mark and John for making this donation possible.
John Wissink took a 1930 Dodge Housecar (today we would call it a motor home) to NATMUS and donated it to them with the understanding that if it was sold the the proceeds would go to the Futurliner Project. We want to thank John for the NATMUS donation.
POSTER and HATS
In order to provide some revenue for the project Mike continues to work to put all the details together to sell POSTERS. He also hosts all of our visitors, including the TV people this time, and tries to keep up with Futurliner research and cataloging everything. Also Al is working hard to get a second batch of Futurliner hats produced in order to sell at Hershey.
HEAD LIGHT BUCKETS
Wayne continued to sand blast head light buckets and rims and then painted them the final black.
Del, Stan and Louis worked at the front engine compartment so that the grill section can be swung out on hinges for better access for installation and service.
PARADER'S REUNION DISPLAYS
Fred loaned us tables, stands and other equipment so that we could set up the Parader's displays. He came to break these down and load up his van as he will need these at Hershey.
On Monday, the day before the work session, Carol received a call that TV 8 wanted to come out to do a story on the Futurliner Restoration project. When they heard that we would be working the next day they said they would be there when we started at 9 AM. Sure enough at 9 AM Dan Salas arrived with all the necessary equipment. He interviewed several people. He stated that it should air on TV 8 (Grand Rapids, Michigan) sometime between 5:30 - 6:00PM, Thursday 9-19-02. This is their prime news time and this segment is called "Positively Michigan". Although Dan spent 3 hours taking photos and interviewing he stated the TV segment is only 2 to 2-1/2 minutes long. So watch closely or you won't see it.
Jim Baker, Mike Ball, Al Batts, Conrad DeJong, Bud Dinger, Ron Elzinga,
Wayne Jackson, Don Mayton, Art Meidema, Jeff Miller, Dick Saddler, Wally
Snow, Howard Sullivan and John Wiltjer.
VISITORS: Kevin Strebe and his son Curtis. Kevin is a project engineer at Johnson Controls.
is the Futurliner work session report for September 3 & 4, 2002. This
is our first work session for the fall of 2002 and it was a bit unusual as
we were getting ready for the Parader's Reunion taking place on September
4, 2002. For the Parader's reunion most of the men's wives also came. The
Parader's Reunion report will follow.
VOLUNTEERS (Names for both days, most volunteers were present both Tuesday and Wednesday) Jim Baker, Mike Ball, Al Batts, Bruce Beimers, Bill Bicknell, Stan Bower and wife Carol, Jim Buick and wife Betty, Del Carpenter and wife Sue, Dick Chambers (Western Michigan Region Antique Club of America President) and wife Carolyn, Conrad and wife Judy, Jeff Dornbush, Bud Dinger and wife Bea, Ron Elzinga and wife, Wayne Jackson and wife Lois, Tom Kuhlman, Carol Mayton, Don Mayton, Art Meidema and wife Wilma, Wes Myrick, Dick Saddler and wife Janet, Arnie Seeger (Arnie and his wife Shirley came up from North Carolina), Jerry Sigler and wife Deloris, Wally Snow, Audrey Snow (Local Buick Club of America President), Howard Sullivan and wife, Dean Tryon (Our newspaper editor and his wife Les hail from North Carolina), and John Wiltjer.
PARADER'S REUNION PREPARATION
One display that bears mentioning is the Parader uniforms that Raffee Johns loaned us. If you recall Raffee still had his original lecturer uniform as well as his work uniform. In order to display these uniforms properly Bud (used to be a manager at Roger's Department Store - a local clothing store) went there to borrow two mannequins. In the mean time Stan (used to be a manager at Sears) also started looking for mannequins. Rogers suggested to Bud to bring the clothes to their store so that they could size the mannequins properly. Bud managed to get the two mannequins dressed minus shoes. Then he managed to find some size 12 shoes at a Good Will store. So Bud started our work session by polishing two sets of shoes and putting them on the mannequins.
In the meantime, Stan got Sears to donate two mannequins. The final display ended up with three mannequins, one dressed as a Parader lecturer, one as a Parader worker, and one with the donated rubber rain coat and hat that has been donated by a Parader.
(As a side line, the fully clothed mannequins were delivered to the Futurliner barn while I was on vacation. When I got home I walked in a corner of my darkened barn and was scared out of my wits when I confronted these characters.)
Although most of Tuesday was spent setting up displays as well as memorabilia there was some work performed. I will not detail the displays other than to say that the Paraders have supplied us a treasure house of memorabilia that we show cased. We also put out all the mechanical and electrical components restored.
The volunteers worked all day putting all the displays together.
Jeff Dornbush delivered the newly purchased 120-volt motor and gear box required for the light fin. He picked it up at Holland Electric.
In addition, Wayne and Connie traveled to Wayne's house to move an engine off of a rolling heavy duty stand. Bringing along this rolling stand they then went to River City Electronics and picked up the restored generator, completely rebuilt control panel and the tested and pronounced "OK" three transformers. We want to thank River City Electronics for their work and agreeing to do this work at cost (actually it cost them more than their cost) and the local GM plant for paying for this restoration.
Bud and Ron started the installation of the fluorescence light fixtures in the lighting fin.
EXTRA ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION
As mentioned earlier the donated military drive train, a OHV 302 six cylinder gasoline with a four speed Hydramatic transmission, had been previously dropped off by Tom. Bill Bicknell was scheduled to pick it up Wednesday. However, while it was there Del discovered that the plumbing on the engine indicated that the air compressor was water cooled. Our NOS block does not have the block ports to properly plumb this. However, by the end of Wednesday Del along with others had figured what changes must be made to properly cool the air compressor. Bill, Tom, Del and others loaded the engine and transmission on Bill's truck. The reason Bill must take both the engine and transmission is the fact that the engine is stuck and to separate the engine from the transmission the engine must be free.
Tom also included the radiator from the Army Truck donation. Although we already have the original radiator restored we will need a radiator for the for the spare drive line display. John Wiltjer just stopped and picked up this radiator already receiving John Weller's (Weller Truck) approval to have it rebuilt at his shop.
brief update of the Futurliner Restoration Progress as of 8-28-02. Even
though the volunteers have been off this summer work progresses.
The lighting fin electrical components cannot be installed until the lighting fin itself is installed.
Thanks Jeff for taking a day of vacation to do this work. Jeff is an electrician at a local manufacturing plant and lives in Fennville, Michigan.
River City Electronics continues to work on the generator and control box. We should be picking these components up in the next few weeks.
We thank River City Electronics for getting this work done during a busy work schedule that they already have.
SPARE ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION
As previously mentioned Tom Kuhlman has donated an old GMC Army truck that has the same drivetrain as the Futurliner. Tom just recently pulled both the transmission as well as the engine from this truck. He plans on delivering the engine and transmission today. Thanks Tom for doing this work all by yourself.
the volunteer Futurliner crew is busy with other summer and family
activities things are still preceding as outlined below. Following is a
brief July update:
We are seeking someone in the tire manufacturing business that can find us a used truck tire mold for a 10:00 X 20 tire. We have a commitment from a GM Die Build plant that they will machine into the mold the letters for our Futurliner tires. We have an original tire in which the side wall raised letters are in excellent shape (the tread is cracked and worn). Just as a reminder the original tires were white walls, with the raised letters "GENERAL MOTORS", "PARADE OF PROGRESS", "US ROYAL", and "FLEETWAY".
In addition, we have a commitment from Coker Tire that they will make the tires.
NEEDS - PARADER'S UNIFORMS
We have been loaned both the "dress" and "work" uniforms that the Paraders used. We have priced out the cost of reproducing 20 sets and it is about $5,000. These will be used to once the Futurliner goes on the road. We need a sponsor that would like to benefit by picking up the cost of these uniforms.
GM World was a monthly publication of the GM overseas operations from the 1930's up into the 1960's. This publication covered all of GM's worldwide business and had articles covering many countries that GM did business in from Java to Russia. It is a treasure of the automobile business activity in the world in this era. GM Operations had these monthly editions put into yearly hard bound editions.
If you are a automobile historian these GM World editions cover much of the automobile world. After reviewing these issues it appears in addition to the GM overseas automobile and truck makes (Holden, Opel, Bedford, Vauxhall, etc) that the vehicles GM exported and assembled overseas were Chevrolet cars and truck and Buicks.
For you old car enthusiast they would be a treasure to find.
Victor Garske, Parader, has taken the time to go through these and identify those issues containing Previews of Progress, Caravans, Parade of Progress, Streamliners, Futurliners and related information. In addition he located the original hard bound year sets of the editions that contained the above information and borrowed them and sent them to us so that our web site manager, Jim Crame, can add them to the web site. After the specific articles are scanned and added to the web site we will return them to Vic so he in turn can return them to the owner. We want to thank Victor Garske for the effort to obtain these articles so others may enjoy them.
Our large industrial generator is at a local company River City Electronics. I stopped there this past week and the generator is complete and was on their test setup. It has already been run up to 900 rpm and everything checks out ok. The control panel is nearly finished and River City Electronics has been able to obtain instruments and controls that match the original. They also have wired it with period looking wire. They have already spent a lot more than what their cost estimate but are going to finish it with the money that the local GM plant supplied.
There were no drawings or information for River City Electronics to go on but their skillful engineers, technicians and electricians have figured out all the wiring diagrams.
We want to thank the folks at River City Electronics as well as GM for making all this possible.
We received from Dave's Sandblasting and his brother's paint shop (The Refinisher) several sandblasted and painted parts including the door that is on the inside rear of the Futurliner and the metal guard for the pulley system that drives the above generator. Thanks to Dave and his brother
This September we are hosting the "PARADERS" reunion. We have borrowed Parader uniforms, both the work uniform and the lecturer uniform as well as been given the heavy rubber rain coat used by the Paraders. In order to display these at the reunion Bud Dinger has worked with his old employer Rogers Department Store and obtained the use of a couple of manikins on which to display these uniforms. Thanks to Bud and to Rogers Department Store.
Bud had also taken home the brackets to mount the fluorescence lighting fixtures in order to complete their fabrication. These are now done and in primer.
Jeff Dornbush has been working with Holland Electric Motor to get the lighting fin motor repaired. It appears it is not repairable and Holland Electric is now getting us a quote on a new gear motor.
....NOW THE REST OF THE STORY
... as Paul Harvey would phrase it. This sequence of events goes back to many weeks when several of you that are following the Futurliner project alerted me to the fact that there was a Futurliner for sale on E-Bay.
This Futurliner like all the other Futurliners that have not been restored is in terrible shape due to rust, neglect and many parts missing.
Dave Mikol one of our faithful supporters that lives in eastern Michigan not only e-mailed me about the Futurliner but called me several times. Dave asked me if we could use the Futurliner. I stated that we did not need the Futurliner but we really need some parts from it and that we could save a lot of money by having those parts and not having to remanufacture them. Dave suggested that he bid on it. I told him that it could go for any price and do not waste your money on it. After further discussion Dave suggested that we see if the folks that had it on E-Bay would give it to the museum (NATMUS).
Dave spent the next week with many phone calls and e-mail messages talking with the folks at City Loan (Ross Tesser) about the possibility of a donation to The National Automotive and Truck Museum of the United States. Finally, working with John Martin Smith, the President of NATMUS, an agreement was made for a donation.
While the above was going on I talked with Brad Boyajian in California who also has two Futurliners and like us at NATMUS needs parts for his restoration. He of course is in the same predicament as we are needing specific parts. Brad working with us agreed to move the E-Bay Futurliner to his place and we would share the parts that each of us needed so that both restoration projects would benefit. Not only that but Brad found a friend that as a donation is willing to remove the parts.
Of course parts in California does not do us any good for a restoration in Michigan. Again volunteers have come to the rescue. Dean Tryon, our Futurliner newsletter editor, called a Vice President of GM that he used to work with. This division will ship the parts on the back of one of their trucks that do not have a full load.
Although I described this in a few short paragraphs you cannot believe the communication efforts that went on to make this happen. Calls were made to some California Car Clubs to help in removing part and we were even discussing at one time to send a crew out to California to remove the parts until Brad came through.
This is truly a work of volunteers and I cannot thank enough all the people that contributed to this effort. I just hope I did not leave out any names of those that deserve thanks: Dave Mikol, John Martin Smith and his son Thomm Smith, Brad Boyajian, Dean Tryon, Ned, Ron, Ross Tesser, and others that we contacted and those that actually volunteered to go to California but did not have to.
This is our last work session until September. There will be updates as
other things are completed. Even though we will not be meeting officially
things will still be happening.
VOLUNTEERS: Jim Baker, Mike Ball, Al Batts, Carol Bowers, Stan
Bowers, Del Carpenter, Fred Carpenter, Sue Carpenter, Conrad DeJong, Ed
DeVries, Ryan DeVries*, Bud Dinger, Jeff Dornbush*, Ron Elzinga, Bob Hart,
Wayne Jackson, Tom Kuhlman, Carol Mayton, Don Mayton, Wes Myrick, Martin
Reed, Dick Saddler, Jerry Sigler, Lou Smiley**, Wally Snow, Howard
Sullivan and John Wiltjer.
Lou Smiley makes his winter home in California and his summer home in Troy, New York. He yearly attends the TCT (Tin Can Tourist) get together at Dearborn Park near Milford, Michigan (the east side of Michigan). This past weekend was the annual TCT event with over 50 antique trailers and motor homes participating. Lou travels and lives in a blue 1940 Yellow Coach. If you recall the Futurliner chassis were built at the GM - Yellow Coach facility in Pontiac, Michigan in 1940. Lou discovered while here, working on the Futurliner, that the front steering arms were the same as on his Yellow Coach. We told him he better not leave it or we might have to borrow some parts off of the front of his coach. (Carol and I attend the same event with our 1936 Buick Roadmaster pulling our 1936 Bowlus Road Chief Travel Trailer.)
UPPER and LOWER 16' DOORS
Jeff stopped prior to us starting in the morning and dropped off the right side motor that Holland Electric repaired for us. We want to thank Holland Electric for their service. Wayne and Lou then installed it. Ron had to fabricate spacers to raise the motor to get proper chain adjustment. Later it was run and performed fine. As mentioned last week the crew working on the timing of the doors were frustrated in their attempt to get the doors timed to close properly. Ed and Ryan, at home, constructed two new upper arms that were adjustable. Then, this crew, consisting of Ed, Bob, Ron, and Wes, proceeded to install these upper arms on the left side of the Futurliner where the doors were greatly out of time. In the process they discovered that the original upper arms were of different lengths. In fact after further investigation they discovered that there were three different lengths of these upper arms. These upper arms are a little less that 2' in length with a bored 3/4" hole in each end for a pin. Although each arm was different in length of less than an inch it made a big difference in the timing of the doors.
The left doors were timed using the adjustable arms. They were tried out and closed perfectly. The arm lengths were recorded. Next the adjustable arms were taken to the right side and the same process was followed. We will end us with four upper door arms each a different length specific to that corner of the Futurliner. Probably for these doors to close properly every Futurliner was different.
Next the left door had a fit problem at the center of the 16' length. This was also repaired. Connie did the welding.
Del, Stan with Lou helping next started to work on installing the grill section to add hinges to make the engine compartment more accessible. They designed and started the fabrication of the hinges.
Jim and Art worked at the rear fabricating and installing sheet metal around the rear door openings. This is another area that requires a lot of work since the Futurliner had been hit and damaged in this area.
Wes brought the donated Lighting Fin fluorescence fixtures that we received as a result of Jerry's efforts at Gray Bar Electric. Bud and Al then started the process to make mounting brackets in order to install the 24 two bulb light fixtures. In the afternoon Connie applied another coat of primer on both the inside and outside of the light bar. Bud took the brackets he was working on in order to finish them at home.
Mike made several runs to keep everyone working today. First he had to go to Wyrick Products to pick up some special mixed "green" for the instrument panel and the gray in order to paint the electrical control cabinet and all its parts. Next he has a run to the local hardware. We again want to thank Wyrick Products and Montana Paints for their donations.
Last week Bud had taken the control box for the generator to Dave's Sandblasting. Dave got the sandblasting done and had his brother ("THE REFINISHER") then apply a coat of primer. Bud picked up the primed control box and all its parts. Next, Connie and Art prepared the components for a final coat of paint and did the painting. We want to again thank Dave and his brother for the fine service that they give us.
Jerry and Fred worked on the lower cargo doors. They had to correct some alignment at the right rear of the Futurliner where the door motor sits. At the right front and the left front Jerry fabricated and had Howard weld in metal that will have the rubber bumper material attached later.
Dick and Marty continued to drill holes and tap them for the floor.
Wally completed the preparation of the instrument panel for primer. Connie then painted it with primer. Later when the paint was dry Wally inserted the instruments to see how they looked.
Between helping others on their projects Wayne continued to sharpen drill bits. I think he is caught up now.
Jim Baker, Mike Ball, Al Batts, Nancy Batts, Bruce Beimers, Stan Bowers,
Del Carpenter, Fred Carpenter, Marge Carpenter*, Conrad DeJong, Ed DeVries,
Bud Dinger, Wayne Jackson, Carol Mayton, Don Mayton, Wes Myrick, Martin
Reed, Dick Saddler, Jerry Sigler and Wally Snow. GUESTS: Rose Boldt
(Rose is the retired executive secretary to the plant manager of the local
GM plant.), Larry Boldt (Husband Larry, is the retired purchasing manager
of the local GM plant.), Vern Palmos, Ronald VanFarowe, Robert VanFarowe
and Richard Meyer.
Carol prepared lunch with daughter Daena helping. Nancy provided cookies for our coffee breaks. Rose brought quite a variety of "Dutch" deserts.
DOORS (16' upper and lower)
Jeff left us a message that the side door motor and the lighting fin motor are still at Holland electric and will be done this Thursday. He will pick them up and deliver them next Tuesday.
Ed brought from Sparta Sheet Metal the door metal skin sections that had been flanged and hemmed really to install. However the first business was to hook up the left doors and open then to check for clearances. The motor that operates the doors had to be moved from the right side to the left side. The crew working here included Ed, Wes, and Don. Several interference points were discovered and corrected. The motor opened and closed the doors smoothly but did not close so that they were in time. After much discussion, several trial and error tries without success it was decided to think about it for a week and work at it next week.
Jim worked at fabricating and welding in metal around the rear left access doorframe.
Del and Stan continued to install valves and tubing for the air brake system.
Marge, at home is busy buffing the large aluminum grill. She started by sanding it to a satin finish. Next she then used the power buffer to take it to a mirror like shine. In fact I received a call this evening stating that she has finished it. It will be delivered tomorrow.
GENERATOR AND CONTROL PANEL
Bud picked up the control panel that was disassembled by River City Electronics. Bud and Al further disassembled it to prepare it for sand blasting. River City Electronics is making good progress on the generator and wants the control box back in final paint. Del, Stan, Mary and Dick then worked determining the clearances around the rear guard for the electrical generator. Next they dug out of storage the door that closes off the main display area of the Futurliner from the generator. Then this door was disassembled. Once all this was done it was loaded onto Bud's truck and taken to Dave's Sand Blasting.
With all the floor sections in place Dick and Marty proceeded drilling and taping to fasten the floor sections permanently.
LOWER CARGO DOORS
Fred worked at building and installing adjustable doorstops for the right cargo doors. Jerry also worked at fabricating the box end sections for these doors. They discovered a misalignment at the rear of the right side and had to correct that. As they stated it is good to be working getting things aligned now.
Bud, Al and Connie continued to work at the outer surface of the lighting fin as well and the inner.
Wayne at home built a shelf to hold the drill motors we have. He and Wes installed it today. Wayne received a "Drill Doctor" machine for Christmas. He took it upon himself to sharpen over 50 dull and broken drill bits today. Thanks because we were running low on good sharp drill bits.
Wally continued to work on the instrument panel.
Bruce donated a glass cabinet to display some of the memorabilia that has been donated. Bruce and Mike then installed this cabinet. Next they started the planning for the "Paraders" reunion. We want to be able to display as much material as we can.
Mike Ball, Al Batts, Nancy Batts, Bruce Beimers, Carol Bowers, Stan
Bowers, Del Carpenter, Fred Carpenter, Conrad DeJong, Ed DeVries, Bud
Dinger, Jeff Dornbush, Wayne Jackson, Carol Mayton, Don Mayton, Art
Meidema, Wilma Meidema, Wes Myrick, Martin Reed, Dick Saddler, Jerry
Sigler, Audrey Snow, Wally Snow and Howard Sullivan. GUEST: Rich
We had great help in the food department today. My Carol made and served lunch with Stan's Carol providing brownies for desert, and Audrey and Wilma providing salads. Nancy provided cookies for coffee breaks and Howard and Marty both brought donuts.
I mentioned our trip to the GM-Tech Center and the outstanding help we received in getting the roof built. However I did forget to mention that the design area that originally designed the roof came from the Design section of the Metal Fabrication Division. Paul Jankowiak was the person that conceived how the roof should be designed and Mark Cwik is the formability engineer that created the computer design of the roof. This computer design is what was used to construct the roof. We want to thank Paul and Mark for their contribution to this project.
Art continued to fabricate metal and weld in in place at the rear of the Futurliner.
Ed borrowed a steering wheel from his son Ryan's collection of Fire Engine steering wheels. (Ryan restores Fire Engines for a living.) Guess what, it fit! So at that point Ed donated it to the cause. (Ryan does not know this yet.) Although it fits the steering shaft perfectly it has to be totally recast. We had a volunteer lined up to repair a steering wheel but he is not capable of totally recasting one. So again we ask anyone out there that is in this business or knows how to perform this work we need your help. Also the ring needs repaired and welded. Thanks to Ryan for the steering wheel.
Every time I saw Howard today he was welding on a different section of the Futurliner. He started on the left rear wheel house, next I saw him on the roof braces, then I saw him finish welding the rear bulkhead. He also did some welding for others requiring it.
Bud and Al continued to make repairs on the underside of the lighting fin. Connie also worked at the ends doing body repair. The ends had been beat up over the years.
Jeff stopped early prior to us starting to work to pick up the motor that only growled last week. He will be taking it to get it fixed. Jeff works night shift as an electrician so he stops on the way home from work.
Ed, Wes, Don and Bruce worked at aligning the right side 16' doors. They also removed the last interference that was causing a bind when the lower door was fully opened. According to Ed's engineering we will have to change the pivot point of all of the lower doors to get them to close better. They also moved to the left side and cleared away all the interference points so the doors would close smoothly.
Jerry continues to box in the sides of these doors and align them with the top doors. He has the left ones done and just started to work the right cargo doors.
Marge continues to work the aluminum grill section to final polish it. She has completely sanded it and taken out many imperfections. The grill is much too heavy for her to handle on a buffing machine so Bud brought his portable cable powered buffer for Fred to take home. Marge does the work on the Futurliner at her home. By the way she used to race sports cars, ask Fred how she did.
Due to possible interference with the brake tubing and valves the grill sections were fitted (not installed) to check out everything. Del, Stan and Wayne worked on this area. Once everything was checked they continued to install parts.
Wally and Fred worked at fabricating an electrical panel that is mounted in the left front door opening that houses the controls for the Autronic Eye and several fuse blocks. Wally also worked on the face of the instrument panel in the cab.
Dick and Marty completed the wood floor at the rear of the Futurliner and installed it in place.
Mike again had to make his run to the local hardware. He also brought alone structural steel (angle iron) that he purchase during the week for one of the crews. Mike continues to archive items. He now has started to plan for the Parader's Reunion.
Jim Baker, Mike Ball, Al Batts, Stan Bowers, Del Carpenter, Fred
Carpenter, Conrad DeJong, Ed DeVries, Bud Dinger, Wayne Jackson, Carol
Mayton, Don Mayton, Art Meidema, Jeff Miller, Wes Myrick, Marty Reed, Dick
Saddler, Jerry Sigler (welcome back from Florida), Audrey Snow, Wally
Snow, Howard Sullivan and John Wiltjer. GUESTS: William Osborne,
LeRoy Boender and Warren Vruggink.
Lots of help today with lunch. Howard again brought donuts for our morning coffee break. Mike went to town for subs. Carol had mixed veggies and Audrey provided fresh chocolate chip cookies.
Jim, Art, and Connie continued to fabricate metal and weld it in at the rear of the Futurliner.
Bud and Al repaired several areas on the underside of the lighting fin. They fabricated a section of the flood light lighting ring.
Del, Stan and Wayne continued to install brake tubing. They focused running tubing up into the cab to the new air brake pedal. They made a bracket for the air horn.
Wayne also installed some badly needed shelving in our work area for storage of tools and parts.
Jeff stopped by to check on progress and to see if the brake crew needed anything. He was working (his real job) and could only stay for a short time.
LOWER CARGO DOORS
Fred worked at fabricating and installing adjustable doorstops so these cargo doors can be lined up with the body and the lower 16' doors.
Jerry started the fabrication and installation of the vertical box ends for these doors.
Dick and Marty continued the cutting and installing floor sections. They had to move to the back of the Futurliner as there was too much activity in the center where they have laid down the entire floor but have not fastened it permanently.
RIGHT SIDE 16' MOTORIZED DOORS
Ed, Wes and Connie worked at aligning the right side doors. After getting them aligned they discovered that there was a sag in the right upper door. They corrected this by cutting some of the vertical braces, taking a section out, aligning the door and then welding the door back together. Next they hooked up the motor to these two doors but the motor would only growl. They found with a pipe wrench the shaft turned easily. They then moved the motor from the left side to the right side and got the two doors running simultaneously. In the process they found some interference's and corrected these. There is still some alignment to do before moving to the opposite side. However today was another first, the right doors moving under power.
Wally continues to work on restoring the instrument panel. He is working on the metal finishing portion presently.
Howard spent the day welding in sections on the sides of the roof. Most of the braces are now installed in the roof. Howard has them all tacked in and he is finishing with the final welding.
LEFT REAR INNER WHEEL HOUSE
Don fabricated sections to repair rusted holes in this wheelhouse. Howard performed all the welding.
John Wiltjer also stopped to see if we needed anything from Weller Truck.
Paint supplies were again picked up this past week from Wyrick Products (Montana Paints). We again thank them for their support.
is a special update of interest to the followers of the Futurliner
While Bud and Al have been doing the physical work on the lighting fin we have also been working with Gray Bar electric to size the numerous fluorescence lighting fixtures contained in the Lighting Fin of the Futurliner. Jerry Blouin of Gray Bar (Grand Rapids) has been working with Jim Swiatek of Cooper Lighting (Elk Grove Village, IL) to size the fixtures and obtain them. Jerry has made several trips to our restoration project and has sent samples. Now that the style and type of lighting fixtures have been determined Cooper Lighting will be donating over $1,200 worth of equipment. A big thanks to both Jerry at Gray Bar, and Jim at Cooper Lighting.
"Parader" Victor Garske mailed to us a package of material that has allowed us to fill in a lot of blanks of GM's shows: Century of Progress, Caravan of Progress, Parade of Progress, Previews of Progress, Futurama, and Motorama. Following is a summary of that information. Also to put all of this information on our web site we need your help in finding the original publications that Vic sent us since they are copies that he had saved.
We will start by quoting the letter that Vic sent to Dean Tryon, our Futurliner newsletter editor.
"Dean A. Tryon,
The central or featured live 45-minute stage show, inspired by "Boss" Kett, in the Parade of Progress spectacular original pole-less tent was called Previews of Progress and was designed to create public interest in technology. The Science and engineering demonstrations (sequences) were selected and engineered by E. Barton Blett (who worked on the Century of Progress show of GM, Caravan, Parade, and Previews). The script for the Previews show of the Parade was written by John W. Reedy (who worked on the Caravan and was the director of GM's Previews of Progress). Buying of available scientific equipment for the Parade's stage show was coordinated and assembled by William A. Cobb and myself. Unique equipment, for demonstrating the scientific principles involved, which was not available for purchase, was fabricated by Bill and me.
Later I built, scripted, and trained lecturers for the educational Previews of Progress science shows operated by GM subsidiaries in Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, South Africa, Syria, Turkey, Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand, Venezuela, El Salvador, Brazil, and Argentina.
After obtaining this material I called and talked to
Vic. He spent considerable time working GM's Previews of Progress
traveling to 38 different countries.
Here are the issues that Vic sent copies of the pages from the GENERAL MOTORS WORLD publications that pertained to the above GM shows.
Here is where we need your help. All of the above material from "GENERAL MOTORS WORLD" should be added to our web pages. However the copies that Vic sent us were from old copies. We need everyone to look for the above originals so we can get them to the web pages for everyone to enjoy. Thanking you in advance.
We have also received a new batch of high quality photos of the first series POP (1936 - 1941) showing the Streamliners and the set up at the Parade of Progress shows. Also included were new photos of the 1941 POP with the Futurliners and the Aero-Dome tent being erected. These are of high quality that we can add to the web pages.
Jim Baker, Mike Ball, Al Batts, Stan Bowers, Del Carpenter, Sue Carpenter,
Conrad DeJong, Ed DeVries, Bud Dinger, Ron Elzinga, Wayne Jackson, Carol
Mayton, Don Mayton, Art Meidema, Wilma Meidema, Wes Myrick, Marty Reed,
Dick Saddler, Wally Snow, Howard Sullivan and John Wiltjer. GUESTS:
Dale Buttermore, Wayne Schipper (West Michigan Chapter of the Antique
Truck Historical Society, ATHS)
Carol served lunch with Sue providing the salad and Wilma providing desert. Thank you ladies.
As previously reported the Futurliner has a large generator that is used to provide 110 volt power at a Parade of Progress show. This generator is powered off of the main drive motor of the Futurliner via a PTO shaft. We have had the generator at a local electric motor repair shop where the commercial estimate for its complete overhaul is $13,800. The firm, River City Electronics Company, agreed to do the overhaul at their cost (material and labor). However we still had to come up with a five-figure amount of money for its restoration.
Today I received a call from a local GM plant that I had visited to see if they could help us with this generator. They have offered to pay the bill for the restoration of the generator.
We want to thank both GM and River City Electronics for the help they are providing us in doing this portion of this project. Without their help we could have not gotten this portion of the project done.
The Futurliner carries 10:00 X 20 truck tires that are wide white walls with the raised letters "GENERAL MOTORS", "PARADE OF PROGRESS", "US ROYAL", and "FLEETWAY". Our current plan is to find a 10:00 X 20 tire mold and have a die shop machine in the letters and then get the tires produced. Again GM has told us that if we can find the mold they will do the machining. This machining was estimated by a tire company to cost $35,000. We again thank GM for this offer.
We have had the one good sample white wall tire that we obtained from the folks that restored the Canadian "FIDO" Futurliner at Coker Tire. We made arrangements for Wayne to meet "Cokie" Coker at Carlisle, PA to pick up the tire so we would be able to copy the raised letters into a tire mold when we find one. Wayne strapped the large 10:00 X 20 tire to the backside of his motor home and brought it back to Western Michigan. He said he kept getting CB calls from truckers asking where they could get a white wall tire like this one.
Now here is what we need. We need to find someone in the truck tire manufacturing business that can donate a truck tire mold of the size that we need. They will get full credit as a tax deduction for this donation. We also need them to help with the engineering and then produce the tires once the machine work is done. Does anyone that gets this e-mail have contacts in the truck tire manufacturing business? WE NEED YOU!
Jim continued to work at the rear fabricating metal and welding it in place. Art is fabricating metal at the rear door opening and welding it in place.
Del and Stan continued to work at the installation of the brake pedal with all its air lines. In the process they had to mount the power steering pump to make sure all the brake air lines would clear this area.
Wally continued to work at the instrument panel. He also dug out some old electrical mounting boards so he could start the construction on new ones.
After the work session last week the lighting fin was loaded into my pickup. The next day it was taken to Del's place and Del, Ron, and Don sandblasted the bottom side of it. Del actually did the work and we helped him in the setup. After it was brought back a fresh coat of primer was sprayed on.
Bud also took measurements last week and had Mike pick up some steel for bearing mounting plates. Then Bud took these to Ryan DeVries where he bored clearance holes for the shafts and threaded mounting holes for the bearings. Today Al and Bud mounted the plates, bearings and shafts for the lighting fin lifting arms.
We also received a sample of a lighting fixture from Gray Bar Electric for the lighting fin.
RIGHT UPPER DOOR
Last week this door was installed. Today Connie, Wes, Ron and Ed had to do some preliminary alignment and straightening out one corner of the door. Once this was done, right side roof framing sections were cut and welded in place.
LEFT UPPER DOOR
Howard welded on the piano hinge the full length of this door. Then he welded the frame to the piano hinge. Next Ron, Ed, Don, Howard and Wes using our crane lifted the door into place. Next Howard welded the upper frame to secure this door.
Dick and Marty completed the process of cutting 3/4" plywood floor sections and installing them in position.
Mike continues to be our photographer as well as doing the archive work. He also continues to do the research for everyone. For those that have purchased the book "GMC - The First Hundred Years" you will find his initials "MB" on most of the photos in the Futurliner section. This is the kind of archive work Mike has done for us.
Mike Ball, Jim Baker, Al Batts, Bruce Beimers, Carol Bowers, Stan Bowers,
Ed DeVries, Bud Dinger, Ron Elzinga, Tom Kuhlman, Carol Mayton, Don
Mayton, Art Meidema, Jeff Miller, Wes Myrick, Marty Reed and Dick Saddler.
GUESTS: Jerry Blouin (Grey Bar Electric), Ryan DeVries, John
Wissink and LeRoy Boender
Carol got a break today. Stan's Carol provided our salad. Bruce brought bratwurst and hot dogs and did a cookout for everyone. We thank Carol and Bruce for providing lunch and my Carol for help setting everything up.
Jim continued to work at the rear fabricating metal and welding in sections.
Del, Stan and Jeff continued to install valves for the air brake system. They also piped in a portion of the brake pedal air supply in the cockpit of the Futurliner. They installed wiring connections to the gasoline tanks and sending units.
UPPER 16' DOORS
First, the hinge of the right upper door was installed. Next, the support frame for this door was installed. Then a large crew consisting of Ed, Ron, Don, Art, and Wes using our crane hoisted the right upper 16' door in its location and Art started the process of welding in the frame for this door. A lot of alignment was then started to center this door in the door opening.
LOWER CARGO DOORS
Tom worked at adjusting the latches of several of these doors for better fit.
Bud and Al worked on the lighting fin. They started mounting the bearings for the aluminum arm supports. They had to send Mike off to the local hardware to rent an angle drill motor. Jerry, from Gray Bar Electric came to give us advice of the type and style of lighting fixtures that we will need. He plans to have samples for next weeks work session so that we can see if they fit.
In addition to Mike taking photos, and doing the archive work he started the day with a trip to the local hardware for tools and parts. He is a familiar face at the local hardware. You might ask where the funds are coming from. One of our working volunteers made a cash donation so we could make trips to the hardware to keep the job going. He does not wish to be mentioned.
Dick and Marty finished cutting the spacers and the floor sections. Then at 3 PM they moved everyone out of the Futurliner and started the process of gluing these strips. Next, they will fasten down the final floor.
Jim Baker, Mike Ball, Al Batts, Carol Bower, Stan Bower, Del Carpenter,
Fred Carpenter, Ron Elzinga ,Ed DeVries, Conrad DeJong, Bud Dinger, Wayne
Jackson, Carol Mayton, Don Mayton, Art Meidema, Wes Myrick, Marty Reed,
Dick Saddler, Wally Snow and Howard Sullivan. GUESTS from GM - PPO
(Warren, Michigan): Marvin Benedetti, Chad Seigle, Bill Chmielewski and
Bill Warren. GUESTS from WYRICK PRODUCTS (Zeeland, Michigan): Ray
de Longpre, Cal Vanden Brink and Paul De Haan.
Carol prepared and served lunch with salad from Art's wife and desert from Carol Bower. Thanks ladies.
GENERAL MOTORS PRE-PRODUCTION OPERATIONS
Over a year ago Marv contacted me about the possibility of their operations building the roof frame for the Futurliner that GM Body Design had designed for the project. Of course we said yes and Marvin went to his boss and eventually managed to convince the GM management of the PPO division to do this work. Chad, and the two Bills were part of the PPO team that built the roof, delivered it and even did sub assembly on our site. We want thank everyone from this division for their efforts to make this happen. The timing for this was perfect and we are proceeding to install everything that they constructed.
Ray and Paul, and their boss Cal from Wyrick Products also visited the work site. Montana Paints through Wyrick Products has supplied all the paint products for this project. We appreciate their continued support. Without their support and the support of so many other businesses and individuals this project would have died a long time ago.
Just received was the new publication from Krause "GMC - THE FIRST HUNDRED YEARS", by author John Gunnell. It has an excellent section on the Parade of Progress, the Streamliners, and the Futurliners. The book even talks about our restoration project and we thank them for that. In addition the rest of the book is a gem. It is a great history of the GMC truck line and there are many vehicles in the book I had never known about. It literally spans the 100 years of GMC. If you like old trucks you will not pass this one up. Contact them at 888-457-2873 or www.krause.com
Jim, Don, Connie and Art worked at fabricating, installing and welding in sections in both the inside and outside of the rear of the Futurliner.
Ed and Ron continued to drill and tap holes in the roof structure to mount the tracks for the lighting bar.
Del and Stan finished snaking copper air line tubing from the front to the back of the Futurliner. They continued to install valves. They also took the wiring harness that Wally had previously assembled and snaked it from front to back along the frame rails.
Howard started the process of drilling the many holes in the piano hinge that will be attached to the top of the upper doors. He also welded for others.
LOWER CARGO DOORS
Fred started the process of aligning and fabricating door stops for the lower cargo doors.
Dick, Marty, and Wes cut and installed spacer sections in preparation of installing the final floor. At the end of the day they started cutting and installing the floor sections.
We discovered that the center of the donated steering wheel is different than the original. Wally intends to take it and see if he can get the center machined to fit our steering wheel shaft.
Bud and Al completed the rolling frame for working on the lighting fin. Next they placed the lighting fin in this frame. They then started the process of repairs that must be made to the inside of the lighting fin. New bearings will be ordered for the lighting fin vertical supports.
In addition to filing new photos Mike spent time running to the local hardware and repairing some of our air tools. Mike is also our official greeter for guests.
Jim Baker, Mike Ball, Al Batts, Carol Bower, Stan Bower, Del
Carpenter, Fred Carpenter, Marge Carpenter, Ed DeVries, Bud Dinger, Wayne
Jackson (Just back from Florida and arrived just as we got another 2"
of snow.), Carol Mayton, Don Mayton, Art Meidema, Wes Myrick, Marty Reed,
Dick Saddler, John Wiltjer. GUESTS: Jennifer Fletcher and Tim
Carol prepared and served lunch with Carol Bowers providing the salad and Marge sending along desert. Thanks to the ladies for all their work.
Jim and Art continued to fabricate metal and repair the skin at the rear of the Futurliner.
Del and Stan continued to thread new copper tubing brake lines through the chassis of the Futurliner. The inside of the frame is looking like a lot of noodles.
As the roof is being prepared to accept the lighting fin the lighting fin itself must be completed including final paint. We had previously restored the outer skin of the lighting fin and put the first coat of primer on but had not repaired the inside or installed new lighting fixtures. Bud and Al set to work building a cradle to hold the lighting fin in an upside down position protecting the outer surface while at the same time being able to work on the installation of the new light fixtures. The cradle is 90% complete and they will finish it next week.
The power step originally had a shield to prevent dirt and debris from getting into the mechanism. Fred designed, fabricated and then installed a shield and made an important improvement by making it self draining.
Ed and Wes continued to install spacers under the lighting fin track, which is housed inside the roof. I crawled up to the roof, they have the screw carriages in place and they move on the track very smoothly. There is still a lot of holes to drill for the track supports.
Dick and Marty started the process to install the Futurliner display floor. This is the floor that the exhibits or displays are mounted to. Of the Futurliners that we have seen, the floors were wood, either hard wood planking or 3/4" plywood. Our Futurliner had the plywood. To insure longevity we purchased treated 3/4" plywood. Due to the chassis construction, the steel is uneven where the wood floor attaches. Dick and Marty spent the day making spacers so that when they lay the final floor it will be level.
Mike got little done on his regular job as he spent most of his day running to the lumber store picking up supplies for two crews.
From supporter Arnie Seeger we received a notice that on April 7, 2002 there will be the eighth annual A Century of Progress World's Fair in Chicago 1933 - 1934 memorabilia show. Collectors of world's fair memorabilia will want to attend. The reason I am adding this to our notes there is a good chance there could be Parade of Progress material displayed at the show. If there are any Futurliner folks out there that want to attend and look for Parade of Progress material and donate it to the archives we would appreciate it. The show takes place at the Elk Grove Holiday Inn from 10 AM to 4 PM. Admission is $5 for adults.
Jim Baker, Mike Ball ,Al Batts, Stan Bower, Del Carpenter, Fred Carpenter,
Marge Carpenter*, Sue Carpenter, Conrad
DeJong, Ed DeVries, Ron Elzinga, Carol Mayton, Don Mayton, Art Meidema,
Jeff Miller, Wes Myrick, Marty Reed, Dick Saddler, Audrey Snow, Wally Snow
and Howard Sullivan.
Carol made and served lunch. Sue provided the cheesy potatoes and Audrey sent two Jell-O salads. With all the volunteers, we had to use two rooms for lunch.
Tom Raleigh, Parader from 1939 through 1941, and chief mechanic of the Streamliners then in charge of the Aero Dome tent when it was used with the Futurliners in 1941 called again. He again talked about his duties as mechanic of the Streamliners. He remembered some details about the engine that was used in the Streamliner being an inline OHV 6-cylinder engine of 707 cubic inches. That is quite a memory and checking a couple of antique truck sources GMC started using the 707 cubic inch engine in 1933 through 1960. Since I am not an expert on this engine if this is wrong information regarding what years it was manufactured by GMC I would like a reply.
Tom also stated that the dual wheels that is on the front steering wheels of the Futurliner never appeared on any other vehicle. This confirms our information in that we cannot find another highway vehicle with this arrangement.
Jim, Art and Connie worked at the rear on the skin removing rusted metal, fabricating new metal and welding it in place. They also continued to fit the two rear doors.
Al fabricated small sections of steel for closing up some of the areas to prevent future dirt and road moisture from getting into the vehicle. Howard provided the welding service.
AIR CONDITIONING DUCT WORK
Marty took home some of the ventilating grills that were frozen in one position. These are the type of grills that can direct heated or air conditioned air in different directions. He managed to get each of these grill sections working from years of being stuck in one position. Dick and Marty gathered up the air conditioning ductwork, wire brushed the loose rust, and then sand blasted each piece.
Del, Stan and Jeff continued to install the valves and copper tubing for the brake system. Wes also helped in cutting some holes with the torch and drill for the tubing runs.
UPPER SIDE DOORS
Howard fabricated and continued to weld on the two upper side doors.
Wally finished brazing the instrument panel and completed the metal work on it by grinding the surface smooth. Wally will be having eye surgery on Wednesday so we will miss him a few weeks.
Marge works at home and has started the buffing - polishing of the large aluminum grill. This grill is about 30" X 36" and is a huge buffing under taking.
Fred had the not so pleasant job of caulking the under side of the lower floor of the Futurliner. This is to insure water will not get splashed into the interior of the Futurliner on a wet highway. He managed to get this fast setting sealant in his hair.
Ed and Ron spent all day at the top of the Futurliner. After a lot of measuring, they started the installation of the tracks for the carriages that raise the roof. They pushed by hand the carriages the full length of the track to insure good fit. In addition GM - PPO operations (Chad Seigel) delivered the last structural sections for the complete assembly of the roof frame. In addition, they donated some outer sheet steel for the project.
Mike in addition to organizing the material spent a lot of time doing research of the roof mechanism through our library of disassembly photos as well as other Futurliner photos. This library has become invaluable in the assembly of the Futurliner.
Jim Baker, Mike Ball. Al Batts (new volunteer), Stan Bowers, Del
Carpenter, Conrad DeJong, Ed DeVries, Ron Elzinga, Don Mayton, Art Meidema,
Jeff Miller, Dick Saddler, Audrey Snow, Wally Snow and Howard Sullivan.
Our new volunteer is involved in World War II military airplane restorations. He also flies a B-17 bomber. He lives here locally, four miles away in Hudsonville, Michigan.
We welcome Al to our crew.
Carol was fighting the flu so Mike went out and got us sub sandwiches to go along with the great potato salad that Audrey sent via Wally.
Jim continues to cut out rusted sections of the rear skin, fabricate new sections and weld them in place. Jim also has kept a logbook of everything we have done on the Futurliner. This has been invaluable when things were torn apart three years ago. Today he had to go back into his notes for us to figure out the lighting fin mechanical as we prepare the roof section for the screw mechanism and motor.
Dick had a friend (of whose name I forgot and will add next week) build a new outer skin for the left rear door. At the rear of the Futurliners there are two people access doors to get to the generator and the electric control panel. These were badly damaged by rust plus they had been smashed into. At the top of these doors was a compound curve that matched up with the feature line on the roof. The right door was not damaged or rusted in this area. This door had to have its bottom completely replaced from about 1/2 way down the door. However the left door was smashed and the outer skin was rusted beyond repairing. Dick's friend took his English wheel and made a new outer skin for this left door. Today Connie and Art assembled the skin on the previously repaired inner doorframe. They hemmed the skin over the inner frame. Next they mounted both of these right and left doors on the rear of the Futurliner. Then they proceeded to align the doors and make more modifications to get a good fit. They then hemmed the bottom of both doors to get proper alignment.
Ed, Ron with Howard welding, fabricated and installed the lighting fin pan inside the center roof frame that had been installed. This pan runs the entire length of the Futurliner where the light fin sits when it is in its lowered position. This pan separates the elements from the inside of the Futurliner. Also to be installed in this pan is all the mechanism that operates the lighting fin. Next they started gathering up the mechanical components and installed the rear bearing supports.
Dick and Don took the original lighting fin track and prepared it for installation by removing all the old grease and dirt, wire wheeling the brass guides, and then attaching the track onto angle iron.
INSTRUMENT PANEL AND TRIM
Wally, with Al helping, worked on the instrument panel. Next, they completed the installation of the buffer. In the afternoon, Wally started the buffing process for the aluminum trim pieces. It will take many, many hours of buffing.
Del, Stan, and Jeff continue to install brake lines and valves. Every time Jeff shows up, he brings more components that must be installed.
John Martin Smith, the President of the National Automotive and Truck Museum of the United States purchased on e-bay another Parader's deck of cards and card case. We thank John for this donation. In addition, we have received another pamphlet of the GM exhibit in the 1939 World's fair. This event is linked to the Parade of Progress in that similar displays were used and there are a lot of similarities to the Futurliner exhibits. Mike now has a never ending job that he cannot keep up.
We have taken our large generator to a local electrical motor repair service, River City Electronics Co., Grandville, Michigan. Up front, they said that they could not donate the repair of this since it was a large job. However they stated they would do what they could. They tore down the generator and tested every component. They found that the windings were all bad in the rotor. In the stator, they found that although the windings checked good the installation was brittle and was flaking off and they recommended that these parts be rewound. They were able to find all the components to repair the large control panel. The three transformers checked out ok. They came up with a standard quote to completely repair the generator and control cabinet of $13,800. They said that they would do the job at their cost, which is a lower number (for competitive reasons I do not want to quote the number). We are going to have them do the job, however we will have to raise the money first. They will start the job with 1/2 of the money raised. I will be working on raising these funds as in our account at NATMUS we only have about $1,800.
is a progress report for the Futurliner Restoration project. Note there
were no work sessions for last Tuesday (3-5-02) or this Tuesday (3-10-02)
due to our being away.
VOLUNTEERS: Bud Dinger, Steve Cordess (Tin Car Tourists), John Ujvari (guest)
While here, they both went over the Futurliner and its progress. They offered to look for standard truck parts that we might need.
One of the recent discoveries on this project was the fact that the rear transmission was at one time shifted from the cab. Del Carpenter discovered this while working on the brake system. When we received the Futurliner, the rear transmission had to be shifted from the left outside rear of the vehicle. I explained this to Steve and John and they stated there was a system that used cables or rods to do this from the cab. Both of these men work with large trucks and they stated they would try to find such a system on an older truck.
Bud Dinger has made contact with one of the local air conditioner repair shops. Bud stopped by today to pick up the conditioner's compressor and condenser. He plans on taking it to this local business to see if they can repair it as a service to this project. Not only do our volunteers physically work on the project but go out to local businesses to solicit their help with their products or services. Thanks Bud.
Mike Ball will be busy again next week as we have received new material. Dave Zimmerman from Maple Park, Illinois has sent us photos of one of the Futurliners being towed out of the lot that Joe Borts had it stored in on its way to a warehouse in Indiana. From this photo, we have identified it as the Futurliner that currently is owned by Brad Boyajian in California. Thanks to Dave for helping us to fill in more history.
From my sister (Sandy) and her son's girl friend, Robin, came an original pamphlet that is titled "AGAIN CHEVROLET LEADS THE PARADE OF PROGRESS." Robin purchased this pamphlet on e-bay. Now here comes the mystery. The pamphlet is announcing the new "1933 Chevrolets". The first Parade of Progress occurred in 1936. The idea of the Parade of Progress came out of the 1933-4 Worlds Fair in Chicago and it was called the "Century of Progress." In the pamphlet, there is no further reference to the Parade of Progress or the Worlds Fair or the Century of Progress. Does anyone have a clue of what is pamphlet is referring to. Thanks to Sandy and Robin for the pamphlet. Now we need someone to clear up this mystery.
We have also received from Tom Van Voorhis his Parade of Progress card case minus the cards. It does have the original gold colored mechanical pencil and is identified with his engraved "T. V." initials. Tom, thank you for this donation.
GM through Chad Seigel plans to ship the balance of the steel shortly for this project. Again, we want to thank the GM-PPO operations and all those that contributed to designing, building and delivering the roof.
I had a conversation with Parader Tom Raleigh. Tom lives in Michigan and was on the Parade of Progress in 1939, 1940 and 1941. Tom is 85 years young and served as a mechanic on the Streamliners. He stated he performed all maintenance on the vehicles. The Streamliners were powered with a large GMC gasoline inline 6-cylinder engine coupled to a manual transmission. They had large tires but did not have dual wheels. As a result of not having duals they frequently got stuck in sand and mud. The Streamliners had an interior floor made of wood for the displays to be mounted upon. When at a show they would be positioned in two groups of three Streamliners parked parallel to each other. The side doors were raised by a hoist. The public would enter at one Streamliner and travel through three Streamliners looking at the displays and exit at the third Streamliner. The public would then walk to the next group of three Streamliners. Note, this arrangement can be found on photos on the web site.
In addition to being the mechanic on the Streamliners, he drove the wrecker that traveled with the POP. On one trip, he was the passenger in the wrecker with Bull Davis driving. The wrecker was a short wheel base vehicle and Bull lost control, took out a telephone and then went into the woods and flipped on its top. Later using the winch truck they turned the wrecker back on it wheels and caught up with the Parade. Tom also said that they had lots of tire problems with the Streamliners. There was a lot of weight on these vehicles and they tended to blow out tires.
The Paraders typical day consisted of driving vehicles (Streamliners, support vehicles, GM cars), parading the vehicles down main street when they arrived in town, setting up the show, changing clothes, and then doing the lecturing. After several days at each location the show would be torn down and off to the next town. Everything the Paraders owned was carried in their Parader's streamer trunks and a two suiter. When preparing to leave a town they packed all their worldly belongings in these containers and then left them in their hotel rooms. There was a crew assigned to pick up the steamer trunks, carry them to the next town and haul them up to their rooms. Upon arrival Tom said the room key would be handed to them, there was no check in or waiting. Tom said that they received a $100/ month, all their food and lodging, and clothes cleaning.
By 1940, the Streamliners were well used and many had been in accidents. Tom gave accounts of Streamliners hitting the edges of bridges, automobiles and buildings. In the summer of 1940, the Streamliners were retired. The Paraders were split into two groups, one group going to New York for the GM show and the other group going to San Francisco to that GM show. Tom went to the San Francisco show. The Paraders there were housed at the Hill Castle hotel. He stated that they lived like kings.
Later that year (1940) after the San Francisco show was over he was transferred to New York at the yearly car introduction show that was held at the Waldorf Astoria.
Tom then was sent to join the Parade of Progress show that was to open in Florida 1941. He was sent to Pensacola, Florida where they were in charge or developing the procedure for raising the new Aero-Dome tent that GM designed (received a patent) and built for the new Parade of Progress. He stated it took some time to work out the details. He stated that it took a large crew of men to raise this tent. (Note: The erection of the tent is on an old GM movie that has been converted to a video and shows the raising of this tent in this era.)
Tom also stated that each new Futurliner had a 4 cylinder 2 cycle engine known as a 471 (This stands for 4 cylinders with each cylinder having 71 cubic inches.). On the new Futurliners the chief diesel mechanic was Pat Hanna. (The engines in the Futurliners were changed to the gasoline OHV 6 cylinder 302 engine in 1952.)
Next they were off to Miami, Florida for the official opening of the new Parade of Progress in April 1941.
One thing Tom does not know is what happened to the eight Streamliners. We are still looking for at least one. We thank Tom for this valuable information.
We have a vendor that wants to make a limited number of Futurliner models. Part of the financial proceeds will be given to the Futurliner restoration project. However, the vendor must receive GM licensing to proceed. We need a volunteer lawyer or whomever that is willing to work with this vendor to get official licensing from GM. Here is another opportunity.
Mike Ball, Stan Bower, Del Carpenter, Conrad DeJong, Tom Kuhlman, Don
Mayton, Art Meidema, Jeff Miller, Marty Reed, Dick Saddler, Howard
Sullivan and John Wiltjer.
Howard worked on the large upper door both fabricating and welding in sections to strengthen the doorframe where there had been extensive rust.
Phil DeVries made at home new latches for the large side doors. The old ones were badly worn and in some cases, the shafts were almost rusted in two. Connie installed three of the four new latches.
Don, Dick and Tom worked at fabricating additional 45-degree supports from the front roof bulkhead frame to the main Futurliner frame to provide additional strength to the roof. These supports angle through each side of the engine compartment. Conrad did the welding.
Art fabricated frame sections for the rear roof bulkhead to the upper main Futurliner frame. He then welded these sections into place.
Both Connie and Art worked on the sheet metal on the front of the cab. They were putting in finish welding where the skin had been previously tacked in place.
Dick and Marty worked on the components for the inside of the cab. Although most of the interior sheet metal can be reused since it is all covered with upholstery, there is a lot of repairs to be made. In addition, all the access doors that lead to things like the window washer bottle were missing and have to be fabricated.
Del, Stan and Jeff worked on the brake valves and lines. First, to make the area more accessible the wheel-tire assemblies were removed from all four corners. Next, they worked at installing more brake lines. Then they worked at installing more connections at each junction point.
Phil DeVries fabricated new brackets for mounting the front brake chambers. Del took them home today to give them a final coat of black paint.
First, I want to thank those that have contributed to our project and those that continue to contribute year after year. Also we want to thank the businesses that continue to supply services and products. Fortunately, the contributions have always arrived so that this project has never been held up due to money. Again thanks to all.
Tom delivered the steering wheel that he removed from the Army Truck that he donated to our project. Although it needs restoring, it is in relative good shape. The outer wheel handgrip area is in good shape with a few cracks that need addressed. The hub at the base needs completely restored.
John Wiltjer again stopped to see if he could help us with anything.
Bud Dinger plans on stopping later this week to pick up the air conditioner compressor and condenser and take it to a local company that he knows with the hope that they will do it for nothing. We will see.
IS THERE ANYONE OUT THERE THAT NEEDS A NICE HOMEWORK JOB OF RESTORING THE FUTURLINER STEERING WHEEL? (Free shipping provided!)
Jim Baker, Mike Ball, Stan Bower, Del Carpenter, Conrad DeJong, Bud
Dinger, Don Mayton, Art Meidema, Marty Reed, Dick Saddler and John Wiltjer.
Carol took a break and Mike ran to Burger King for lunch.
Here is where we could use some help. We have the air conditioner condenser and compressor as well as an extra set that the FIDO (Canadian Futurliner) folks gave us. We need an air conditioner shop to take these components and make one good set work. This is the early 1950's vintage air conditioner system that GM put on its Cadillac's and Buicks. Is there anyone out there that can give us a hand?
Tom Kuhlman who donated his 1950's Army Truck to our project called today and has pulled the steering wheel from this truck with out having to destroy it to get it off. He will be bringing it up for us to restore and use. Thanks Tom.
John Wiltjer had Weller Truck go through all its old vintage parts and brought with him today a double needle air tank pressure gage, a tachometer and a speedometer. The air tank pressure gage is the correct type and size and we will be using it. The tachometer and speedometer are larger than the originals. When Wally gets back from his trip, we will determine whether we can use them. Thanks to John and Weller Truck.
Del and Stan pulled copper brake tubing through the framework of the Futurliner. In addition, they worked at installing fittings and valves.
When we received the Futurliner the transmission that is located in the rear had levers that came out of the side to shift this transmission from the outside of the vehicle (of course the vehicle would have to be stopped). Today when Del was installing the copper brake tubing he came across remnants of brackets that at one time held rods that came from the cab to shift this transmission. Apparently, this original system did not function properly and then everything was changed to the side of the Futurliner. Does any Parader remember the arrangement that was originally in the driver's cockpit? How about the un-restored Futurliners? What is on those vehicles?
Stan also worked and cleaning all the threads on the two upper doors with a die thread tap. There are 49 holes per door so that is almost 100 holes he ran a thread tap through today.
Mike again did a lot of miscellaneous jobs from the archive work, photographing our progress, to installation of a cup holder in our break room. Mike is involved in sprint car racing and recently bought a sprint car and is restoring it with a group of volunteers just like the Futurliner crew.
is a report of a special Futurliner Work Session for Thursday
February 14, 2002.
VOLUNTEERS: Del Carpenter, Ed DeVries, Don Mayton
Ed had previously brought his high-low fork lift truck. This center section of the roof was scheduled to arrive at 10:30 and at exactly 10:27 the truck from Warren, Michigan rolled in the drive way. The driver advised us the easiest and safest way to unload his truck and that was promptly done. Ed is Chief Engineer on the roof and side doors and he had pretty much planned today's session. Del and I were the helpers.
Next Ed's high-low was chained to the Futurliner and the Futurliner pulled out of the barn. It was a very windy day here in Michigan and we had to make sure everything was done safely. Ed had his plan. After unloading the many pieces of steel for the right and left sides of the roof (some assembly required later), we chained the new center roof frame to the forks of the high-low. A safety chain was attached to the mast of the truck to prevent the chain from slipping off the end of the forks.
With ropes attached to each end of the 16'-6" long center roof frame, and Del and Don guiding, the new roof frame was lifted and placed at an angle to be slid in between the rear bulk head and the old roof of the Futurliner. It was a very tight fit and we had to use the porta-power hydraulic jack to raise the old roof as well as a come-along to slide the rear section in its place. Then with Ed maneuvering the high-low he swung the front of the new roof frame in between the front bulk head and the old roof section. Next, the new roof frame had to be slid forward to be secure over the front bulk head. This was done using the porta-power hydraulic jack and a come-along. Both of these tools were used to center the new roof frame right to left.
As I stated Ed had planned the entire operation and from the truck arriving and getting the roof in its rough location it took only three hours. Next, metal must be trimmed off of the old roof at both ends and the new roof frame raised about two inches to be in its home location. Ed is leaving for Arizona for a few weeks and I know while he is gone he will have planned everything in his head. I told him it will be waiting for him. We have plenty of other work to do until he gets back.
We want of thank all of GM-PPO employees for the great job that they did and how it fit perfectly on top of the bulk heads that they had previously fabricated and installed. I also want to thank the volunteers for today that set the roof in place.
Again, without all our volunteers and the individual skills that they bring to this project this Futurliner would still be sitting some place rusting away.
Jim Baker, Mike Ball, Stan Bower
(just retired from Sears, welcome), Del Carpenter, Fred Carpenter, Sue
Carpenter, Conrad DeJong, Ed DeVries, Bud Dinger, Carol Mayton, Don
Mayton, Art Meidema, Jeff Miller, Marty Reed, Dick Saddler, Janet Saddler
and John Wiltjer. GUEST: Howard Sullivan. Carol made and served
lunch. Sue provided the desert. Janet sent along cookies for our coffee
We received a call from the History Channel that they we be airing once again the program on Modern Marvels which is on buses and modern motor home coaches. Included at the end is some old GM footage of the Parade of Progress back in 1941 and later in the 1950s. It is airing on February 28, 2002 at 1 PM and at 7 PM Eastern Standard Time. I do not have times for the other time zones.
Received a call from Dave Zimmerman in West Chicago. He and his brothers own the storage yard in which several Futurliners were stored from the mid 1980s until the last one was towed away in 1993. At one time, there were five (5) Futurliners stored at this location. They were owned by Joe Bortz. He has photos and will be sending them along.
Mike continues to file away material and act as a resource when we need to dig out old photos to determine how the original Futurliners were built. He has been invaluable in providing this service. He also is our parts finder when we have to sort through boxes and storage racks for the original parts.
GOEBEL BREWING COMPANY
Today our guest, Howard Sullivan, who lives in Muskegon, Michigan brought along a post card of the "GOBEL LAND CRUISER". This post card has two photos of the same Futurliner that was converted to advertise the Goebel Brewing Company. It shows the two doors open on one side with a lecturer and on the other photo both doors open with a miniature brewery display. Howard's Father, Glenn Sullivan, was a promoter and included in what Howard brought was a letter from Goebel Brewery dated July 30, 1958.
While we were studying the photos Ed reminded us of the Goebel Brewery literature we found buried behind the cockpit rear seats when we removed these seats. At the time we thought this was trash. As we studied the photos further, we noticed attachments on the outside of this Futurliner that was not original and where we had holes that had to be filled on our Futurliner. We have come to the conclusion that our Futurliner was used by Goebel prior to being used by Driesbach Cadillac.
Old Cars Weekly News and Marketplace has an excellent article on page 12 of their February 14, 2002 issue about the Parade of Progress, the Streamliners, and the Futurliners. This article was adapted from Old Cars Weekly's long awaited book "GMC-The First 100 Years" which is currently being published. It is a 168 page book covering the many vehicles that GMC has made celebrating their centennial. Copies can be purchased for $29.95, plus S & H from the Krause Publishing Book Dept, 888-457-2873 or www.krause.com
Bud continued to work at the rear on the right side door jam area. He fabricated metal and had Art weld it in place.
Jim continued to fabricate and weld metal at the left rear belt line.
Don, with Connie welding installed metal at the left front of the side door. Also metal was replaced in the same area inside the cab.
Fred took over where Ron left off on the large 16' upper doors. Fred fabricated and had Art weld in many sections on this door.
Ed finished installing the angle gears that operate the side doors. He then hooked up the wiring on the side motors and tried out the motors running the jack shafts, right and left, and the worm drives. Next he timed the worm drives to make sure they were synchronized. Next he installed the arms to the lower doors and again tried out everything and everything worked without problems. When I speak of these lower doors I am only talking about the door frames as we have not skinned them yet.
Del, Stan and Jeff worked on installing the brake Valves and tubing today. In addition they installed the tires back on the Futurliner in preparation on receiving 1/3 of the roof.
In addition to the driver's seat in the cab there are two passenger seats with arm rests on both sides, an air conditioner unit, and all the duct work that supports the air conditioner. Dick and Marty spent the day gathering all this material together and laying it out on the floor to determine what needs to be done to restore it, what brackets must be installed in the cab and generally the method to restore everything. Every piece is in deplorable shape and much will have to be completely rebuilt or built new.
Mentioned a month ago was the fact that the steering wheel had to be destroyed to get it off the column. John gathered up the steering wheel pieces and took them to see if Weller Truck might have an old GMC truck in their yard with a steering wheel that will match.
Ed brought his high lift truck and left it here so when the roof arrives we can unload it. GM-PPO will be shipping 1/3 of the roof in the near future.
Jim Baker, Mike Ball, Del Carpenter, Fred Carpenter, Marge Carpenter,
Conrad DeJong, Ed DeVries, Phil DeVries, Carol Mayton, Don Mayton, Art
Meidema, Jeff Miller, Marty Reed, Dick Saddler, Audrey Snow, Wally Snow
and John Wiltjer.
Carol made and served lunch for fourteen men. Marge made our desert, Audrey made salad, and these arrived via their husbands. We appreciate the service the women provide, as it is a big job to feed everyone on Tuesdays.
We welcome two new volunteers Art and Marty. Art is a welder with many years experience. Marty is another old car collector with about six Studebakers.
One of the very big jobs coming up is the buffing of all the old aluminum trim. Marge has again volunteered to start the preparation of the large aluminum cast grill. It is too large for her to handle on a buffing machining but she has volunteered to start the process by hand water sanding this casting. Take a look at her photo on the web site when she buffed the mirrors.
Ed, Phil, Dick, Connie, Marty, Jim, Don, Marty and Fred spent time today removing the old rotted roof from the Futurliner. First final measurements were made and recorded by Ed and Fred. Next angle braces were cut and installed at each bulkhead and welded in place. More bolts were installed from the front bulkhead to the cab structure by Dick and Marty. Using the overhead crane, a chain was attached to the center of the roof for safety. Next, out came the power saws, the torch and the air chisels. Sections of the roof were cut out that could be handled by one person safely. This process continued all morning. At one point, our torch ran out of oxygen so Mike was sent on a mission for more gas. At the end of the day, the roof was removed. We left remaining some roof sheet metal cantilevered about two feet over the opening at each end. The purpose of doing this is to be able to blend the old roof sheet metal with the new. We now have a convertible Futurliner.
Del and Jeff worked on the brakes all day. Jeff brought the last parts from Bendix and stopped at Western Michigan Fleet Parts here in Zeeland for more copper tubing. Western Michigan Fleet Parts gave us a big break on the price of what had to be purchased. Thanks to Ken at WMFP.
Del also installed more valves and started the installation of the copper tubing.
Mike spent most of the day helping the work crew and running for parts. He managed to find a little time working on the archives.
The Motor Trend article has generated more communications via e-mail. Hopefully some day we can find those last two Futurliners.
Jim continued to fabricate and weld in parts at the rear.
Fred in addition to helping on the roof spent time fabricating metal and having Art weld it in place. He also fixed one of our tools that we use weekly, our metal cutter.
Bud started the fabrication of the rear door jam metal. Originally, this area was filled with about a 1/2" of lead. The lead was chiseled out and then Bud designed the new door jam and started its fabrication.
Bud had spot-welded much sheet metal in place over the past five weeks when Connie was enjoying the warm weather in Arizona. Today Art spent all day doing the finishing welding on what Bud had spot welded in place.
Phil installed the angle gears on the right rear of the two side doors. He also removed, measured and gathered up all the components of the locking mechanism for the side doors. These are badly deteriorated from both use as well as corrosion. He plans to make new ones at home on his CNC mill.
Wally continued to braze and fill extra holes in the instrument panel. He is also fitting in the spacers he made on his lathe at home. The new toggle switches use a smaller diameter hole than the originals did so this space must be closed up.
January 30, 2002
GM-PPO employees visited our work site for more engineering and measurements. They were: Bill Warren, Bill Chmielewski, John Kilian, Chad Seigle & Victor R. Soliz
Their plans are to fabricate the center roof section (front to back), then have it shipped. At that point it will be installed. Once installed then further measurements will be taken and then the two roof sides will be fabricated, shipped and then installed.
For roof installation, we will need immediately scaffolding to stretch along the sides of the Futurliner. We have purchased one section of scaffolding but would like to get a donation of the use of scaffolding. Once the roof frame is installed, the lighting fin installed, the skin on the roof installed, and the electrical installed we will not need all this scaffolding. We do not wish to waste money on purchasing scaffolding. Is there any business out there that can loan us scaffolding for about a year ????????
Jim Baker, Mike Ball, Del Carpenter, Ed DeVries, Phil DeVries, Bud Dinger,
Tom Kuhlman, Carol Mayton, Don Mayton & Dick Saddler. GUEST: Joyce
Baker (Jim Baker's sister).
Carol made and served lunch. Joyce provided cookies for our coffee break.
Just received word from Matt Stone, Senior Editor of Motor Trend magazine that there is an article about Futurliners that Matt wrote that is in the current issue of that magazine. You folks may want to pick up an issue to read it.
We just received another batch of photos that includes the Streamliners, the Futurliners and photos at different Parade of Progress events. Mike has also ordered a book (The 1937/1938 Buick Story) that has some information of the Parade of Progress when it was in California. Mike's job, as historian and archive manager, has become never ending. Jim, with the web site almost cannot keep up with the new material that arrives. What a great problem. Keep sending the information.
Jim has fabricated more metal for the rear and welded it in place. Bud has completed the fabrication and installation of the metal that is just above the back bumper at the rear on both the right and left sides. He then installed the right rear door and then proceeded to measure for the new metal that has to be fabricated for this area.
Dick and Tom located the major braces at the rear of the cab and installed through bolts that tied the front roof bulk head to the cab. This is the bulk head that the GM-PPO folks installed last Thursday. Don installed bracing from the rear structural part of the Futurliner to the rear bulk head that the GM-PPO folks had installed.
Del continues to install brake parts and installed the last valve. He also installed the right gasoline tank sending unit.
Dick continues to work on the hatch in the driver's compartment. In addition, he and Tom had to fabricate and install some structural steel in the rear of the cab to tie into the front bulk head.
Ed and Phil installed the angle gears at the left rear of the Futurliner that operates this screw mechanism. They then tried to turn the lower shaft with a pipe wrench and the shaft would not turn. They then disassembled the center bearing and realigned it, adjusted the rear gears to get proper teeth mesh and then everything turned freely. Next they hooked up electrical power to the gear motor and the screw mechanism worked fine. Next they moved to the front left screw mechanism. Again they found this bound up and worked the balance of the day getting it freed up to work properly.
Futurliner Restoration work session.
VOLUNTEERS: Mike Ball, Don Mayton, Bill Warren (GM-PPO) and Vic Soliz (GM-PPO).
GM-PPO employees Bill and Vic arrived at 8:30 AM after getting up at 4 AM to load up their truck and drive it from Warren, Michigan. At the PPO facilities in Warren the new roof bulk-heads had been fabricated, assembled and then disassembled for transporting in a pickup truck. Once here, Bill and Vic proceeded to unload and, with Mike and Don as helpers, assembled the rear bulk-head. In order to do this, the floor of the main frame of the Futurliner had to be prepared for welding. Also part of the rear floor had to be removed to access a place to weld in bracing. After the rear bulk-head was assembled, measurements taken to assure it being in the correct location and square, it was tack welded in its final location. Final welding of all the joints will not take place until the roof is attached and in its final location.
Next the same operation took place for the front bulk-head. It was assembled, measurements taken and tack welded in its final location.
It was a long day for Bill and Vic. We finished up about 4:30 PM and they still had a 3 hour drive back to Warren, Michigan and then taking their tools and the truck back to their plant. We thank them for their dedication to this project and the GM-PPO operations management for their support of this project
Jim Baker, Mike
Snow and Wally
Carol made and served lunch with the salad coming from Sue and desert from Audrey. Thanks ladies.
Bud worked at replacing the metal just above the right rear bumper. He first had to fabricate sections by using the brake and then put a sweeping arc in the metal by using the stretcher-bender tooling and then weld the separate sections in place.
Jim continued to work at the rear outside replacing and welding in metal.
Ed and Don replaced metal at the right rear 16' door opening. Next they installed the screw mechanism at this corner.
Del installed the gasoline tank sending units. He then installed the rear inside sheet metal that covers the rear floor that had been removed for priming.
Ed and Walt installed the two left rear angle gears that operate the lower and upper 16' display doors. Next they tackled the left 110 volt gear-motor chain and sprocket and got it 1/2 installed by the end of the work day. This motor drives a long 16' shaft that is coupled at each end to angle gears that operate the left screw mechanism that open and close the upper and lower 16' doors.
Walt Davenport who has been a guest before flew in from Brighton, Michigan in his Mooney airplane and worked with us all day. When he landed at Vriesland International airport he called and we picked him up, just 10 minutes away. It takes him an hour flight time to fly from Brighton. We really thank Walt for taking the time and hope that every Tuesday the weather is good so that he can fly in. Any one else out their that wants to fly in and help we can pick you up in 10 minutes as long as you fly into Vriesland.
Dick worked at designing and started the fabrication of the latching mechanism for the hatch.
Wally continued to work at the electrical harness that he is assembling.
Dick removed all the old electrical wiring that was in place for the lighting fin.
Dick has measured all the upholstery material required and it is as follows:
The following is for material 54" wide:
Green and white stripped 4'
The above does not allow for any waste.
Ron continued to weld in sections on the upper door he has been repairing. He then started the repair of the door latching systems. These systems, like the lower doors, have small worm gear boxes that operate latches. First he disassembled all the gearboxes and packed them with new grease. Next all the rods that operate the latches had to be replaced.
I just received word today that the GM-PPO facility has the two sides of the roof fabricated.
Mike again became our runner picking up material from the local hardware in addition to him archiving materials.
Jim Baker, Mike Ball, Del Carpenter, Sue Carpenter, Ed DeVries, Bud
Dinger, Jeff Dornbush, Ron Elzinga, Carol Mayton, Don Mayton, Dick
Saddler, Rich Saddler and Wally Snow. GUESTS: Garret Ritsema.
Sue provided coffee break goodies while Carol prepared and served lunch.
Wally spent the last week at home assembling the front to rear wiring electrical harnesses for the vehicle systems. He has everything identified for easy installation into the Futurliner. Wally also spent time today brazing up all the extra holes that had been drilled into the instrument panel over the years.
Dick and Rich completed the task of measuring all the upholstery for future procurement of the upholstery materials. He plans to summarize this at home, so we can pass it on to our upholstery volunteers. They also spent time designing a hinge and latching system for the roof hatch.
Jeff dropped off the sprocket for the left gear-motor that drives the left door system. Ed and Don installed the left rear door worm assembly. Next, they continued to work out the problems with the fit of the left front lower door. They did finally get a good fit on this door worm assembly and installed it in place. They then with Jim Baker's assistance started preparing the right rear doorframe for the installation of the worm assembly.
Ron continues to fabricate and weld in sections for one of the upper doors. This door has required extensive repairs and he has replaced much of the frame.
Bud continued to fabricate the metal for the rear wheel wells. Once fabrication was completed, he tack welded all the sections in place.
Jim continued to make and weld in sections at the rear of the Futurliner.
Del completed the installation of the brake air chambers at the rear. He then applied shop air, removed the safety pins, and actuated the brakes. We now have brakes on the rear of the Futurliner. He next installed the right side electric fuel pump for the right gasoline tank.
Mike became our runner today for parts at the local hardware in addition to him taking our weekly photographs and filing away material.
This past summer I had shipped the two Futurliner hubcaps that we have to a place in Virginia to get more manufactured. Unfortunately, the person that was going to make them for us got transferred to Paris, France. He then shipped the hubcaps back. I just received a call from Louis Pippin in Muncie, Indiana that he knew of someone that thought they could make the hubcaps. The hubcaps have been now shipped to Louis in Muncie. If you recall the Futurliners started off with one style of a hub cab and then in late 1955 they switched to another style. We have one of each style and would like a set of each if possible.
Mike Ball, Jim Baker, Del Carpenter, Ed DeVries, Phil DeVries, Bud Dinger,
Jeff Dornbush, Ron Elzinga, Tom Kulhman, Don Mayton, Carol Mayton, Jeff
Miller, Dick Sigler, Wally Snow, GM-PPO Chris Daggy, Juan Gonzalaz,
Clifford Ponton, and Bill Warren. GUESTS:Tom Daggy (Chris' father),
Steve Slutter, and Ron Rickson.
Carol prepared and served lunch.
Mike, in addition to keeping up with the archives, has turned into our research person. Every time we need detail information as we work on the Futurliner, everyone turns to Mike. He has also taken on the responsibility of showing our guests our extensive archives collection.
Bud continued to fabricate metal for the outer wheelhouse opening for both the right and left sides of the Futurliners. He has the left side well done except for final welding and is now fabricating metal for the right side. Bud does precision work and is excellent at fabrication.
Jim continues to fabricate and weld in sheet metal at the rear of the Futurliner.
Don worked in the cab installing the drain system on the right side.
Ron continues to fabricate metal and install it on the large 16' upper side door. Both he and Tom performed the welding.
As mentioned in the last report the two lower doors were positioned in place to check for alignment. It was discovered that the front area of the left door we had a very bad alignment. Ed and Phil installed the worm drive for the doors at this location to determine what was wrong in this area. They then proceed to adjust the rear cab opening in this area for proper fit (adjustment procedures included the use of saws, jacks, porta power equipment, grinders, air chisels, etc). At the end of the day, they had gained about 1/2 of the fit they wanted to achieve. Next week they will continue.
Graybar through their representative Jerry Blouin has donated commercial grade strip lighting for working on the Futurliner. We had made some but they were not the best and tended to get bulbs broken, as they had no shields around the bulbs. With the Graybar donation, we will replace five 40-watt bulbs ten 100-watt bulbs. A big thank you to Jerry and Graybar.
As I mentioned in the last report we had loaded into my pickup the generator, two large transformers, one solo transformer, and the electrical control panel for the house power (220/110 volt) system that provides all the power for the lighting and running the displays for the Futurliner. The following week we had 54" of snow and this equipment provided great weight for snow plowing my driveway. However last week all this equipment was delivered to River City Electronics Co. in Grandville, Michigan. They will test all this electrical equipment and give us an estimate as to the price of restoring everything. One of our guests, Casey Kerkstra, had previously talked to River City Electronics about doing this job. Lets hope the estimate comes in at something we can afford.
Wally delivered all the automotive electrical components that he ordered for the Futurliner. He started the process of measuring for the wiring harness that he plans to make up. He took the spools of wire home so he could start the assembly of the wire harness from front to back of the Futurliner. He also delivered a buffer that he purchased so the process of buffing the aluminum trim can be started.
Jeff Dornbush picked up the left side gear-motor that he had taken to Holland Electric for rewinding. Holland Electric agreed to donate their services for the rewinding of this motor. We thank Jeff for working with Tom the manager at Holland Electric for this donation.
Del and Wayne completed the installation of the PTO shaft. This completes the installation of the output of the rear transmission to the pulley that drives the generator. Next, they finished setting the clearances of the rear axle bearings. Jeff Miller came at mid morning and they worked with Jeff on the final drawings of the brake lines and the sizes of tubing required. In the afternoon, Del and Wayne worked at the rear installing more brake components.
Our 11th newsletter is completed and for those getting it via e-mail it has been sent. Those getting it by US Postal service should be getting it shortly. If you have e-mail and are still receiving the newsletter by mail, you may want to change to e-mail. Again, we want to thank our volunteer Dean Tryon way down in North Carolina for doing another excellent job. He manages to do this by collecting the weekly reports, calling me, and asking lots of questions. Thanks Dean.
Chris, Juan, Clifford, and Bill from GM-PPO operations came with their final drawings of the roof. They spent the time measuring and planning their construction techniques as well as installation procedures. They have already received all the material at their operations and plan to start construction on January 9, 2002. In addition to this work, they delivered the roof light bar track adjustment assemblies. This assembly sits along side of the light bar track and is housed in the center of the roof. Also, they brought a care package of safety items; gloves, eyeglasses, and earplugs. We thank Chris and their crew and the GM-PPO operations for their help in completing this project.
Phil delivered the machined nuts assembled into their carriage assemblies. These carriages travel inside a track up in the roof and raise the arms of the light bars so that the light bar itself is 7' above the Futurliner. Check our web site www.futurliner.com Jim Crame has put photos of Phil doing the actual machining of the carriage assemblies as well as the internal threads of the nuts. Phil does this at home on his CNN mill. You other Futurliner owners may want to purchase these nuts as Phil has developed the program and built the tooling for this machine work.
No Dick is not doing the upholstery. However, for our folks that have volunteered to do the cab upholstery all the surfaces and sections of the upholstered areas must be measured. Dick has been patiently digging all the old pieces out of our storage and identifying each piece, its location, and measuring it. Most of the upholstery was originally mounted on sheet metal and then this upholstered section was mounted in the cab. The reason they used sheet metal is that most surfaces had various curves and to keep the upholstery in that curvature it was mounted to sheet metal.
Jim Crame continues to update the web site, www.futurliner.com. He has recently spent 20 hours adding a lot of material including photos that are more recent. If you have not looked at it in awhile, take another look. Also, pass the web site to others and other organizations. Thanks to volunteer Jim for an excellent job.
John Bradfield out in Maine has tracked down another Futurliner. However after he has looked at it several times we are fairly sure that it is the same one that we found in New Hampshire about 18 months ago. John is going to try to get in touch with the owner and take photos for us to verify. John belongs to the INLINERS and this organization has been so helpful in this restoration.
Copyright 1999-2013. All rights reserved.