I thought it just happened with race cars, but I was wrong. This universal truth, there must always be a “thrash” seems to extend to pleasure cars and pleasure trips as well. Last Saturday, I thought I had everything pretty much ready to go.
I was wrong.
Last Saturday, I had the Model A out making several passes up and down Highway 78, adjusting the timing, checking the brakes and setting the carb. I got it running pretty well, well enough to start the trip, knowing that more tweaking could follow once on the road.
A good friend and fellow A Model owner, Garrett (also an ex-racer, and my usual roommate at the ALMS races) was looking for a place to escape while his wife hosted a tea or shower at their house. He came over to check on my progress on preparation for the trip. He pointed out a slight wetness on the core of the radiator. I had noticed it, but had chosen, for the time being to ignore it, knowing that I had two containers of “stop leak” in my spares and supply kit. I had wanted to make the trip with the car in as near to “as found” condition as possible.
Garrett told me that I should consider replacing the radiator, or run the risk of ruining our trip. I was certain that the stop leak would suffice.
Then Sunday morning when I came down to the garage – there it was: a dinner plate sized puddle of neon green liquid on the floor directly under the radiator. Garrett was right, the radiator must be replaced.
Monday morning I thought I would be able to pick up the phone, order a radiator and have it in the next day. Not so. Most of the vendors not only didn’t have any, they were back ordered. There are only two manufacturers that supply radiators to all of the vendors. I talked to one of them outside of Chicago, and he told me of a vendor in North Carolina that should have one because he had sent them ten just last week. Sure enough, they had one left, and I could have it delivered on Wednesday. But I had an 11:30 am Wednesday flight to Baltimore for the ALMS race there, and wouldn’t return until Sunday.