Well, old number double o thirty
seven is on the road, with still a few minor items to complete.
The few times I have driven
it there have been many thumbs up, waves and people's heads spinning
around to see what that was that just went by. My neighbor lady
across the street said it looks like a cat car. She may be right
and since I am free (and easy) I may give that a trial run. But
not until next summer when our snow is gone.
The construction with the help
of the manual was quite straightforward and looking thru my manual
I only find a couple notes I made that you may be interested in...
To center the wheels on the
rear clip I taped a weighted string to the center mark on the body
at the wheel well. Would the poly bushings between the cross frame
and the fiberglass pockets at the rear clip possibly be too thick,
not compress and cause the horizontal body groove to droop? The
studs on the body portion of the trunk lid are too short. No big
deal; I should have mentioned "hinges."
Some of my changes...
In the corners behind the rear
wheel wells I put in a sheet metal deck and a bulb gasket around
the edges to get a good seal. That was followed by using rubber
wheel well fender flairs to seal between the rear clip and the S-10
body. Foam and fiberglass insulation was put in between the inner
and outer body panels also at the rear wheel wells. The trunk deck
was extended forward to level the pocket where the rear seats used
Looking at the pictures....
After the rear clip was done
the cross braces were removed and in its place the short pieces
of 1x1 steel tube were used to clean up the area for the partition
to go in. Closing the doors feels real solid.
At the A pillar window frame
cutoffs I made the little clips shown and used them as they gave
me a better fit than just sheet metal screws and are more solid.
For my trunk release I used
an aircraft control and put it under the driver's seat.
One day I said to my helper,
"I want to try and put in a center hold open instead of the
two shown in the manual for the front clip, and I am wondering if
an old fishing reel I have would work. A couple days later he walked
in with the seat belt from an older Chrysler product. It works well.
The trunk hold open is just
a reverse of what you have in the manual except I made a longer
prop to raise the lid higher.
Door panels were redone, seats
recovered, Grand steering wheel and the nerf bars I wouldn't leave
home without. Also new carpeting front and rear.
The paint job was the most frustrating
and costly part of the whole project. The guy took it into his shop
and kept it for three months. After about two months he had it all
in red. In my anger I said to leave it all red and get it out of
his shop. When I got home I changed my mind so to add the silver
it took another month.
The wheels are from Early Wheel
Co. of Santa Ynez, Ca. 15x8 on the rear and 15x7 on the front. Rear
back spacing is 4", front back spacing is 4 1/2". BFG
tires 265/50's and 215/60's.
Henry: I'm old and I'm slow
and for most of the project I would take one step forward and two
back, but near the end that was turned around to two forward and
one back. But without the guy I had helping all the way to the end
there wouldn't have been very many steps forward. Enough about him
and me 'cause if it were not for Henry with his ability and expertise
and vision I would still be looking thru the kit car magazines for
something to turn me on. Thanks Henry as with that Rodster I don't
feel as old as I really am.
owners saying about the Rodster® Street Rod?
A Few Words With Bill
(Bill Flynn had just
started building his Rodster when we recorded his first impressions
here. We will follow up with him soon, now that he's completed his Rodster.)
How far along are
you on your Rodster?
I just ordered some parts.
They were incorrect, so I had to reorder them from Chevrolet. And Ive
got an airplane in my garage. I had to wait till I got that into storage,
so Im just barely getting started. I have ripped the back end
apart, or, out of the vehicle, that was done. Beyond that, I really
cant give you any information because thats all Ive
done. Im waiting for the parts to come in so I can go to work
in a holding pattern.
Yeah, just barely at the
beginning of this whole process. Gosh, its really going to be
maybe a month or so before I have maybe something done on it. Henry
says about 100 hours to do all the work. Ill probably go at it
a little slower, I think itll take a little longer.
Henry says youre
building it with your grandson?
He said he wanted to help.
I wont need that much help
just getting the body onto the
car. But as soon as I get into that, Im sure hell be over
How old is your grandson?
He is now 21.
Hes into cars?
Yeah, he has an old car.
But hes mostly into stock car racing. Thats what he likes.
Hes an avid fan.
Actually, Ive been
into airplanes for last 25 years. Ive always had a bug for a little
roadster, something like that. So when I spied that article, that first
article Henry had in Kit Car Magazine, I sent a letter to him and got
going that way. Ive had the kit for more than a year, but I couldnt
get the airplane out. I was trying to sell that thing and I couldnt
get it out of here, so thats held everything up. Also, in this
country, trying to find an S10 Blazer, 2-wheel drive that isnt
all rusty is almost impossible. I ended up going out to Medford, Oregon
to get a Blazer.
All the way from
Yes, Maam. I flew out
there in May, early June, I guess. Flew out there, looked it over, bought
it and drove it back home. And theres no bit of rust on this car.
Anything coming from out of your part of the country is rust-free. Here
in Wisconsin in the winter, they put some kind of salt solution on the
roads that eats up the metal.
Did you get a good
deal on the car?
I think I paid a little premium
for it, but I was getting anxious to get going. I didnt want to
wait any longer.
What year is the car?
Whats the mileage?
140,000. Ill have to
do some engine work to it. Or have it done. Im not an expert at
What kind of engine?
What about your airplane?
Henry says you build kit airplanes.
I build them from scratch.
I dont like to build kit airplanes. I was on my third one and
decided I had enough of flying. Had to get rid of some of my toys at
my age, so the airplane has got to go.
Did you fly very much?
I used to. I used to fly
my homebuilts a lot.
Thats a lot of
faith in yourself. Driving a homebuilt car is one thing, flying a homebuilt
plane is another.
Its a little different.
But I made up my mind I spent all those years building airplanes, I
wasnt going to let somebody else have the pleasure of first flight.
What was that like?
A little hairy, because you
dont know if its really going to fly or how its going
to handle, or how its going to land. You dont know if maybe
the engines going to quit when you get off the ground. But Im
That must have been
Lets get back
to the Rodster. Henry says youre already working on paint schemes.
Ive been working on
paint schemes for quite a while, because, like I said I couldnt
do anything on the car because I didnt have the car yet. So Ive
been working on paint schemes and getting that all lined up. Got my
wheels picked out and tires and everything. Not purchased yet, but I
know what Im going to use.
Since you havent
built it, can I ask you a couple of questions about the quality of the
Oh yeah, it was in great
shape. I mean, the carton and everything, the shipping crate was in
good shape. It held together real well. There wasnt any damage
or anything. As far as the fiberglass, Im not an expert in that
either, but everything really looks nice on it. A couple of guys looked
at it and said it really is nice fiberglass, the workmanship and everything.
How about the assembly
That was great! That to me
is the bible that makes it easy to build this car. If you dont
the same is true in airplanes. If you get a good manual
with your airplane plan, it really makes a big difference. Henry sends
those out ahead of time if you want them. To me, that sold it for me
when I had that manual from Henry. I was sold on what he had down there
and what I knew I could do. Even a person whos never built anything,
Im sure, could go into that manual and follow step-by-step and
not have a problem.
So you got the manual
before the ordering the kit?
Um hm. Took a look at it
to see just what I was getting in to.
Did you get the kit
Oh, yes. Definitely.
How about dealing with
Caroselli Design? Henrys responsiveness if you had questions
I havent had too much
correspondence with him. I did drive down to Springfield, Illinois in
1997, when I first got wind of this car, because he was at a car show
down there. Thats where I met Henry and had a ride in the car
and sat in it and looked it all over and everything. Henry is a real
fine gentleman. Im hoping hes going to have a Rodster rally
someday so I can go to that. As long as its not way out in California.
But I wouldnt mind driving out there, either.
Flynn was sold after his first encounter with Henry Caroselli and an actual
Anything more about
Not at this point. I think
when I get into putting that car together, maybe Ill have a little
more knowledge and information I can pass on to you.
Okay. Ill call
you back in a month or so.
With airplanes, if youre
building a certain model airplane, you can go to the designer or person
who puts out the plans and say, Hey, anybody in my area within,
say, 200 miles thats building the same airplane, maybe we can
get together and say, How did you do this, how did you do that?
My first airplane was that way, and there was this fellow 45 miles away
from me that was building the same airplane and he was about a year
ahead of me because he had started earlier. Every time I had to make
a business trip down that way, if I had a question, Id stop in
and see him and hed show me what he did and that would kind of
help me along.
Once we get these things
up on the Web, youll be able to check that out.
Well, there might be something
for somebody all over the country, whoever might be building one. If
theyre stuck on something or need some help. Its done in
aircraft, so its something that might work for Rodsters, too.
By the way, what is
Im retired. Im
an old guy. I was a manager for a small acoustical contractor in my
To be continued