I let that go after I get my blood pressure back down under control.
The Daytona is covered in dust and dirt.
Time to wash her and get six weeks and then some worth of neglect off of her. I go into the garage to get my cleaning supplies and notice fresh oil under the Daytona where I parked her.
I squat and rub a finger through the oil. It's fresh, last night, and it's from the Daytona.
Why is she still leaking oil?
I close my eyes and sigh.
Maybe it's just old oil falling off, maybe they got some oil on the Daytona when they were changing out the oil sending unit and it's just now dripping down and off the motor. I keep telling myself that because it's what I need to tell myself in order to keep my blood pressure from vein popping levels.
I take my washing and detailing supplies and get to work on the Daytona.
Washed, wiped down, vacuumed out, tops off, windows down and purring like a kitten. The wheel wells are going to have to have some major TLC and that means that one Saturday morning, when I have the time, I'm going to have to jack the Daytona up, take off the wheel and tire and just get medieval on those spaces.
Picking up my cleaning supplies I look under the Daytona to see if she's still leaking oil. Yeah, she's made a small piddle of fresh oil under her since I pulled her out of the garage and parked her in the driveway.
So, she's running but she's still leaking oil and I'm not exactly blown away by the AC repair. I'll have to get her in the shop again Monday to have them look at the oil leak but for now I'm going to enjoy having the Dodge back.
I grab my youngest daughter and we head off to McDonald's for breakfast.
Still a good looking car, still fast as hell. I took off from a stop sign this morning, first gear, then stepped into it just a bit and she broke rubber on the front tires for about ten feet, not a real burn out, just the front wheels barking. This Shelby still has a lot of guts left in her.
During our trip to Morgantown we start to pass a train running parallel to us. I point out the train and my daughter is excited.
"Can you catch the train?" she asks.
"I think I can catch it!" I tell her.
"In this car?"
"Oh, yeah." I tell her, downshifting, putting the loud pedal to the floor and letting the boost spike to 14 plus PSI on the gauge and I hold it there.
I keep the boost in the Daytona Shelby and soon we're racing the train, side by side on the old two lane. We pass car after car, pulling steadily on the train as the Daytona eats up real estate with a quickness and then we're passing the two engines pulling the train. The engineer looks over and we match eyes for half a second. The road curves to the right up ahead and I see a crossing up ahead. He sees it too.
He blows his horns loud because he probably thinks I'm going to do something stupid.
I know I'm going to beat the train to the crossing by a good half minute to a minute so I let the Daytona really buck and ... I pull up to the crossing ahead of the train and slam down hard on the brakes, dropping to lower gears, stopping the Dodge a good car-length and a half in front of the crossing signals. The Daytona Shelby rocks to a stop at the railroad crossing. I could make it across the crossing no problem but I want her to see the train and since there's nobody behind me I can stop here and let the train catch up to us.
Being a cool dad is a lot easier when you have a cool car.
"Daddy! Where's the train?" my daughter asks, looking around.
"It will be here any second." I tell her as I whip out my cellphone, calling up the video option and start recording out the front window.
Just then the crossing signals start clanging, the red warning lights start flashing and the train comes through the intersection all thunder and steel. My daughter's eyes are lit wide and she's staring, amazed, at the train as it blows by us in front of us. We see the two engines pulling the train, the engineer looks out, waves again and blows his air horns. My daughter's laughter is amazing and she's all "Whoo!" and "Cool!"
The graffiti covered 32 car train soon rumbles past us, it takes about two minutes, the signals go dead and silent and, looking both ways, I ease the Daytona Shelby over the tracks.
"Did you like that?" I asked her, looking over my shoulder.
She's all smiles.
"Yeah!" she shouts back. "That was cool! I've never seen a train that close or loud before."
The road to Morgantown and Red Bluff is twisty and curvy, perfect for the competition handling package that the Shelby has and I have some fun on the turns. My daughter is having a ball strapped into the back seat, wind from the open tops and windows blowing her long blonde hair all around. I don't really break the speed limit ... but I don't slow down in the curves either and this Daytona hangs curves like she was on rails. The only thing I have to do is work the gear shift on the curves, low going in, high going out.
Fifteen minutes later we got to Red Bluff and walked around. Here's a picture of the Daytona at Red Bluff on the back side, near the old two lane that is long ago crumbling into the bluff.
On the way back from Morgantown and Red Bluff is when the AC stopped blowing cold completely. No amount of profanity, logic, persuasion, coercion or flattery could get the old girl to blow cold again. I also noticed that when I gave her some gas with the AC on that the air stopped blowing from the dash vents and started to blow from the defroster vents. When I backed off the throttle, the air flow went from the defroster to the dash. I'm thinking that there's a vacuum line left undone or reversed up in the dash. Never go into the dash. Bad things happen when you go into the dash. Things don't work the same after you go in the dash. Never go into the dash.
So, six weeks in the shop and $1400 later and the AC still isn't working the way it should. Life. What can you do? Getting mad doesn't do anything and you have to be nice to the people who fix your stuff. Okay, so the AC still has a problem or two.
Looks like she's going back in the shop on Monday.
I take my daughter back home, run to O'Reilly, buy some cheap gray floor mats (Kraco) and put them in the Daytona more to save the carpet and as placeholders than as replacements for the well worn originals. I'll have to find some better mats later but that's kind of low priority now. $9.99 for a set of front and rear mats, yeah. Can do and they almost match the carpet and interior color so bonus. I also bought some pretty bad ass aluminum wheel cleaner in an attempt to at least do something better for the wheels that are on the car. I didn't like these "pumper" wheels at first glance but they're growing on me. I liked the C/S "crab" wheels but they're actually smaller than these wheels so ... love what you got.
I take the Daytona home and wipe her down again. I don't know why but after being without her for so long I just want to spend time with her so I really clean her out. First up is trying to clean up 25 years of neglect on the factory aluminum wheels.
The factory aluminum wheels aren't damaged or scraped or scuffed but they are still pretty rough with years of brake dust baked into the inside rim and heavy oxidation on the outside. I tried to clean them and brush them down but it was a lost cause. Two applications of the aluminum wheel cleaner and I realize that this isn't going to be the "you just spray it on and wash it off" kind of cleaning. (I did find a mobile aluminum wheel repair / refinishing service operating in MS so I think I'll give them a call and see if they can bring new life to the old wheels.)
Giving up on the aluminum wheels for now I go for the interior. I use a furniture beater on the rear carpet to get out the stubborn stuff. It takes about ten minutes and two or three going overs but I finally get the rear area looking a lot more factory new than it did before. I take out the T-top harnesses and lift up the rear to check on the spare and look for any rust or corrosion. It's the first time that I've been this "deep" into the Daytona ... never had the time or opportunity before so I'm excited and nervous.
What will I find.
What did I find? The factory spare has never been on the ground. I doubt it's ever been out of the car. There is no rust under the carpet or in the spare tire well which is a really good sign. I took some pictures, cleaned up the area with a damp cloth and put everything back the way it was.
Here's a neat option that I don't remember my '86 Dodge Daytona Turbo Z having ... rear sun visors. These may be a T-top option only and they're for use by the rear seat passengers as even with my long arms I can't reach behind the driver's seat and raise or lower them.
Here's the sun visor lowered. Neat feature.
This was neat. I found the original Cars and Concepts notification of modification. Daytonas were shipped to C&C to have the T-tops installed because Dodge didn't do their own T-tops like GM did ... they used an outside / aftermarket contractor. This Daytona was built in 9/88 and shipped to C&C in 10/88 for the T-tops to be installed.
This matches what John told me about the history of the Shelby. From what I've come to read, finding a Daytona with one of these stickers is kind of rare since most of these stickers wore off a long time ago.
The original info on the driver's door. Build date 9/88.
The hood latch could use some cleaning up. Might as well. Two bolts and some elbow grease ...
Steel bristle brush and rattle can to the rescue. Begone, surface rust.
The hood latch area cleaned up. Now I've got to replace the underhood light bulb there and maybe find a new heat blanket as this one is getting a bit tatty. I may just make a custom one out of some aircraft grade firewall material.
There. Much better. It's the little things that add up in the end. Total time spent ... 15 minutes. That's fast dry rattle can, by the way. Flat black.
New AC lines (the old ones were literally rusted and splitting apart), new compressor, new evaporator core, new cycling switch, fresh R134A, switched over to the newer refrigerant ... and she's still got AC problems. As you can see, I've still got a lot of cleaning and detailing to do.
While I was at it I took the build plate off, sanded it free of the invading surface rust, painted it flat black, sanded the plate home free, and put the plate back. It looks nice, painted flat black, contrasting with the red. That's bare metal there, the real skin of the Daytona. I sanded the surface rust off of the hood bolt hole / catch as well and off the striker plate. That odd black square is part of the factory installed (extra cost option) comprehensive vehicle alarm system that the original / previous owner ordered. I'm not sure that this part is hooked up since it looks like it takes a hood pin of some kind and the empty spot along with the drilled holes in the leading edge of the hood lip tell me that something used to be there but that it's long gone now.
My toys in my big boy toy box which I call a "garage".
That's the 97% restored 210 horsepower 5.0 liter Tuned Port Injected 1986 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am (Recaro factory interior, WS6, T-tops, 700R4). Next to that is my '04 115 horsepower, ram air, PGM-FI, liquid cooled, DOHC, 16 valve, six speed Honda CBR600RR. On the far right, of course, is the 174 horsepower 2.2 liter turbo intercooled 5 speed '89 Dodge Daytona Shelby.
I've got to free up some more room because it's a bit crowded in the garage right now. All my toys go inside when they're not being used because that keeps Mother Nature (and God) from doing bad things to them.
The posters on the wall are classic Pontiac advertisements (including one for my TA) blown up from magazine size to poster size. There's a few more posters on the side wall (you can't see them unless you're in the garage). The '86 TA ad is to the left and the '87 yellow Formula 350 ad is to the right. Since you can't really see them, here they are.
I want a yellow '87 Formula 350 but where would I put it?
Where would I put it ...