This is going into a blog format (with photos) as soon as I get one uploaded. Until then, this is what you get.
The Latest Developments:
December 16, 2003: Today the Henney got towed away for a short vacation. The rack or the pinion went (which is scarey). Hopefully the nice guys at Revolution Motors (http://www.revolutionmotors.com) will be able to fix it. They said Jonathan Burnette had a Henney in his backyard that he was restoring. How cool. He wasn't there, but the rest of the crew seemed very excited to have an electric car on their lot. They knew about FeelGood Cars. That makes me happy. And they can fix the Dauphine part of the Henny (the rack -- or possibly the pinion -- the brake that doesn't brake, the window washers, et cetera). Getting there was a little fun, though. I thought Aaron had it charged, so I didn't bother to check the charge too closely. Ran the voltmeter on it and saw that it wasn't dead, but it wasn't fully charged, so I put it in REV then FWD and away I went. Six blocks later I was on the cell phone talking with Aaron, trying to get the number of a tow truck. The tow guy was really nice (his five-year-old daughter had written I LOVE YOU!!! on the inside of his truck with a Sharpee marker). What is sad (and yet beautiful) is I walked home from Revolution Motors. They're about a mile or so away. I'm now waiting to see how much it will cost to repair the rack (or the pinion) and get it legal (finally). Aaron had been driving it to and from work for almost two months so I had forgotten how much energy the Kilowatt has. It's such a wonderful car.
THE SECOND WEEK:
October 24, 2003: Friday. This is a rant, not an entry. But what is it about me and car titles? It's a Kafka-esque nightmare everytime we try to transfer a title with the tax office. This time, Mr Bradley didn't sign on the right line. Like anyone can tell which line to sign on without a magnifying lens! What genius decided blue ink on blue paper in a -6 pixel fonts was a great idea? If I weren't already a conspiracy nut who thinks that most bureaucracy that is in place hurts most the people who are least likely able to afford the burden of dealing with it, I'd be one by now. It's like the emmissions law. The people with cars most likely to spew are also those least likely to afford to either get their cars fixed or to pay the fines imposed on them for having a spewing vehicle. And yet I see a diesel bus spew grunge into the air at least once a day (on "ozone action days" this is particularly ironic). Granted it wasn't cap met's fault light rail failed. I blame the shops on south congress, actually. And don't shop there because so many of them were against light rail. And now they're whining because no one goes there b/c the parking is so bad. Gee. No pity here. Grr. Grr. Grr. It's that kind of day. Grrr. But at least I saw a great car at the tax office (picture to be posted later). Makes the whole still not having the car in my name mess not so bad. Stupid Office of Nelda Wells Spears. Gotta make sure those i's are dotted -- tax dollars at work!
October 21, 2003: Tuesday. Battery Day! Got an email from my brother regarding French Revolution (the car shop just at the end of 51st street -- about a mile away -- if that far -- from the house). He liked their cars (which is saying a lot for my brother) and said retrofitting seat belts would not be offensive to the restoration (Aaron made his opinion known -- I was just going to get lap belts, but he insisted that if they fit, we will put in harness and lap belts). I learned the Lotus Europa had a Renault engine. Also lifted 12 very heavy (for me -- they were 71lbs each!) T105 batteries up and into the subaru and drove them to the Interstate Batteries store on Burleson Rd (in south Austin, 447-6185 -- Todd R. is the manager) for fresh new happy batteries (6 at a time -- the subaru is really nothing more than a glorified station wagon). The Henney is now 852 pounds lighter as I'm NOT putting the new ones into the car. The Interstate guys were cool and included a battery lifter with my order, which helped when removing the front six. They also knocked the price down since I was ordering more than six. Each time I pulled one of the six front batteries out, I said: "Please don't let me hurt or scratch or dent anything, including myself." It worked, although I did trip and land on my rear before I got started (which is why I said the mantra). That fall probably caused me to be more careful than I would have been while hauling the batteries out. Replaced the T105s with Interstate equivalents (U2200UT) instead of upping the power (Aaron called it the sacrificial battery pack). I pressed the trip meter and found that the battery store is about 9 miles from the house. I need to start getting a feel for distance instead of time while driving. I usually measure things in relation to time (takes about 15 minutes to get anywhere in Austin that I want to go, unless I have to figure in rush hour). Now I have to think about which roads I can drive 35 on and how far things are from me and each other. Practice now will keep me from underestimating later. After Aaron and I ate din, we put in the 12 6-volt batteries. The width was exactly the same as the previous, but it was still a tight squeeze with the battery holder things (I'm sure there's a technical term for it like "battery hold-downs, but I don't know what it is. If you know, let me know please). Decided not to hook up the conductors today because we both have to do some 'bidness work' and I want some good doggy playtime in (Pico, Hope and the foster pup Maggie May). I think I might want one of those fancy little plastic tubes that fills the batteries up to the fill point and no more since I won't actually get a good view of the upper bank of rear batteries.
October 20, 2003: Monday. Started the website (hi!). I found a website for a French auto source in Austin, but I didn't know if they were still in business. Then I heard their name on the KUT fund drive sponsoring a business donation. Wow. I called. They seemed nice, and vaguely French. I'll stop by with Aaron to see if I can get the seatbelts and side mirrors (safety retrofitting). I'm not sure about worrying about headrests. Maybe I should just get a bumper sticker that says "please don't hit me" or "just pretend I'm a pinto". I also stopped by the tax office to transfer the title, but found that Mr. Bradley signed the front of the title, but not the transfer. It's in the mail back to Hunt to get his signature.
THE FIRST WEEK:
October 13, 2003: Monday. Aaron called in to work exhausted due to the two days of constantly being "on" for the Green Festival display. There were a lot of people at the Festival. Both lines of the phone rang. Business line (aaron answered) was a telemarketer for me, home line (I answered) was an AustinEV-related call for Aaron. Mr. Bradley got our home telephone number from some website (???) and let us know he wanted to advertise his 1961 Henney Kilowatt on the EV Tradin' Post. He wasn't comfortable with his level of computer literacy, and our phone number was the first he said he found. So he called. We decided to drive out to Hunt, Texas (about 100 miles west of Austin) and take digital photographs for the ad. Driving took longer than I expected (I've never been to Hunt) and once we saw the car, I wanted it. It was waaaaay to cute. Took pictures, drove back (took a wrong turn and ended up at Stonehenge. A sign). I did a little research, composed some email to Henney owners that I found (and my brother) and debated whether the asking price was fair.
October 14, 2003: Tuesday. I decided I wanted to spend the money (but I'd try to talk him down a little, since the condition wasn't fantastic and my brother sent me a link to an auction site with one in decent condition that sold in 1997 for $1,500 less than what he was asking -- although it might have been the same one with a new paint job and some restoration). Aaron called and left a message. Mr. Bradley called back and I told him we were interested in purchasing the Henney and would pick it up as soon as we could (probably Saturday). For the rest of the week during breaks I researched the car. Amazing. Also got an email from my brother describing the responsibilities of a classic car owner. Is he a fanatic? Survey says, "yes!" (it runs in the family).
October 18, 2003: Saturday. Chris Robison called to ask Aaron if he would help put his garage door back together (the door was inoperable since Chris insulated it for air conditioning during Mark Farver's MR2 conversion). Aaron said he couldn't on Saturday morning, but maybe in the afternoon and would Chris like to drive out to Hunt with us (if he wanted) to get the Henney. He did. The AustinEV guys are amazingly nice. We rented a 1/2 pickup and a trailer from Longhorn. There was no cotter pin and the trailer fell off on a residential street, but no harm done and if it was going to happen, I'd prefer it not happening with the Henney on it. We got breakfast tacos from Tamale House #5 (yum!) and late morning (okay, almost early afternoon) headed out. It takes a long time to get to Hunt. It was a mess backing the truck and trailer up the driveway, but there was no great damage. Pushed the car out (Aaron steered down the driveway) and I "drove" it up the trailer (and then acted as the emergency brake). It looked so cute on the back of trailer. Pulled off at Stonehenge again to show Chris and then drove home. Chris and Aaron think the transmission has problems. (fear!) Ate dinner at Ruby's to celebrate (yay brisket!).
October 19: Sunday. It looks so cute next to Dacia's Cooper. Aaron and I pulled out the batteries (okay -- I removed some of the cables and Aaron actually lifted the darned things. They're *really heavy*) and started to make a list of things we'll need to address in the car itself: window seal on driver side, seat belts, all gaskets on windows, front logo, chrome on bumper, minor rust spots, chrome replacement for driver rear inset, bolts on battery frame, the wood fuse holder and battery frame (like to replace that with aluminum if possible). We'll also want to rubber-dip our wrenches (to avoid James' beautiful battery arcs). Don't know anything about the state of the motor, transmission, charger or controller (yet).