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Want to know what's up with Project 33? This area is updated monthly to let you know where we're at with the project. The latest Articles are featured in the What's New? area of this site and are in reverse chronological order. To follow the build up  from "day 1", go to the From the Start link and keep clicking on "Next Article". To view Articles on a particular subject, use the Search option of this site with the area you wish to explore as your keyword.

   10/08/03 Update

Even though it may not be obvious, Project33 is starting to look more like a drivable car every day. You may have noticed that the exhaust that took up residence on the floor under the car for about a year is no longer there. That's right, it's bolted to the car! The only thing missing are the side pipes. I'm having Big Moe "tweak" them for a better fit before I install them.

There are several other areas of the car that are in the works that have yet to be shown on the site. I'm only holding the Articles back because I'd rather wait until I can complete the segment from start to finish instead of skipping around and confusing the project's followers.

I also have a bunch of stuff farmed out. These are things I couldn't do myself or that I don't have time to spend working on. Dakota Digital is milling a shifter bezel for the new center console as I write this update and Big Moe Products (MRI Machine) is fabricating the area of the console (in steel) between the seats. When I get both of these pieces home I'll continue on the console. The console houses switches, so it needs to be completed before we can wire the car. I prefer to start at the switches, lights and motors and wire my way to the fuse panel.

I've placed a bunch of fabrication in the hands of Maury at Big Moe Products. They're also fabricating new lower cowl panels, a vacuum bulkhead for the firewall, anti-roll bar mounts and a door over the quick-change. I may be forgetting something else.

My friend Kelvin has offered to help mill the throttle linkage and a couple other small items and I'm going to line up someone to finish the inner fender panels and start prepping the body for paint. It's really getting close!

Someone on the Forum recently asked where I found the money and time for such an undertaking. My answer was: "No sleep, no social life, no savings and Ramen meals (11-cents a serving)." While this may sound funny - it's more true than you know. When this is finished I may sleep through the whole first year of rod runs!

Every weekend for the past couple months has been filled with marching band competitions. This is our second marching band daughter. Our oldest played saxophone and the middle one plays trumpet.

Even though being a "band parent" takes me away from the project on the weekends, I wouldn't trade these moments for anything. You have to prioritize and my family is a notch above the car on my priority list. (the car is a close second ;)

Lately I've been working straight through the day without breakfast or lunch just to keep up with my workload. I spend the evening hours with my family and after everyone's tucked into bed (the wife and kids) I head to the garage and put in a few hours on the project before heading off to bed myself (at about 2am). On the bright side, after a couple months my pant size has gone from a 34" waist to 31". I call it the exhaustion diet. My wife calls it an opportunity to buy me new blue jeans without holes and grease stains :)

Oh yeah, I have to tell you!
I think I've mentioned how poor our Durango's gas mileage has always been - 8 mpg in town and 12 highway. The best I think I've ever gotten with this Durango is 13.9 on the highway.

When Thommy was visiting from Sweden a while ago, we left Big Moe's and headed out onto the highway. I floored it and instead of up-shifting, it reached the rev-limiter (ouch!). After that it wouldn't up-shift under full power unless you took your foot out of it.

I took it to the Dodge dealership (5 days after the warranty expired!) to have it looked at and they ended up putting a new valve body in the transmission and re-calibrating the computer. After picking it up it's obvious that I drove the first 30k with a bad transmission! It feels like I picked up an extra 100HP! The thing goes like a rocket! and get this - gas mileage has increased dramatically. A couple weekends ago we drove to Marshall, MN for a high school band festival and AVERAGED 17.1 mpg! We're now averaging about 12.5 mpg in town. I'm starting to look for excuses to drive it!

Speaking of Rockets...
My friend Lee (Lee from the Forum) and his family drove down to Sioux Falls from Minneapolis for a visit and to show us their new Volvo S60-R. What a car!!!

This was the first Volvo I've ever ridden in or driven. We don't have a Volvo dealership in town (or Porsche, Rolls, etc.) so you just don't see them in this area.

Lee insisted I drive it and let me tell you - I was impressed! This has to be one of the most electronically advanced cars I've ever seen - it drove awesome. It kind of made me wonder (just for a spit second) why I was building a street rod when I could have a couple of these in my garage instead.

The interior held an arsenal of new ideas to "borrow" someday for the project. Fit and finish were superb.

While we're talking about Volvos I should tell you about an e-mail I received the other day from a gentleman in Sweden named Anton. He shared that a headlight wiper motor taken from a mid 80's Volvo was the perfect fit under the upper valance of a 1933-34 Ford. There aren't many Volvos around here but his tip may help others in more Volvo-populated areas. Thanks Anton!

Okay, so they're not Dakota Digital gauges - but they're sure pretty!

Well, that about wraps up the October Progress editorial. I expect a lot of action to take place on the building front in the next few weeks. My short-term goal right now is to get the side exhaust back, install them and roll the car outside for a photo shoot! It will be the first time the car has been off the stands since we moved (3 summers!). I know it's a trivial thing but I'm REALLY looking forward to it!


Until next time - Keep the shiny side up!


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