The Green Monster – Diesel Chevelle

I haven’t updated my blog for four days now. That is the longest break I have taken since I started writing. In that time, I went to the gym for the first time in a while, built the frame of a workbench, worked on my metal shaping equipment, studied Chinese, and relaxed. I also got to take some better shots under the hood of my neighbor Danny’s green diesel Chevelle.

Danny is pretty cool. He adopted one of the cats my wife and I rescued from in front of the Korean fried chicken restaurant. Sidenote: if you haven’t tried Korean fried chicken, do whatever is necessary to try it now. You will want to thank me later, and I will create an internet payment system to let you do that easily.

I think I met Danny when I was dating my wife, and I never really got to know him well. I still don’t know him well, but I can remember his name and our common interests. He basically daily drives a 71 green Chevelle with a Nissan Bluebird motor. The bodywork is atrocious. That having been said, the car has character. It’s a four door, with nary a straight panel on it, with a Japanese sedan’s diesel heart beating deep within, and I still think it’s cool. Maybe I’m weird. I wish I could say more about it, but I think he bought it like that. I have to ask him about that. I took these pictures a while ago with my older phone, and the quality isn’t great.

Last time I saw him he had it up to work on the brakes. On the left front drum brake, the support which holds the pads and cylinder in place had ripped out. It looked like it had been welded once before. It’s times like these where I am thankful for the auto parts stores in the states. I have no idea how he will get parts for this car, but I offered to help. That’s my next adventure – as if I didn’t have enough to do.

I told him that maybe he could swap in disc brakes if he was going to replace the parts and take it apart anyway. But from what? Ideally, bought from a local store, but no such thing exists here. Second option – the internet. Obviously, there is vague access to Ebay and Amazon here, but delivery is hard, and expensive, and the parts are far more expensive in comparison to what people earn. As an example, this costs 475 dollars. No complaint here. I will assume the merchandise is somewhat adequate. Here’s the rub (in my 1940’s detective voice): minimum wage here is about 1750000 Guaranies a month. That’s 300 dollars. You add in shipping and for a working man – I don’t know how much Danny makes but it can’t be kilo-dollars – even small upgrades turn into huge ordeals.

The idea of swapping in another part has problems too. All of the other GM A-, F-, and X- body cars are rare here too. Again, look at the pictures – it’s very likely this car would have been put out to pasture anywhere in the U.S. and possibly Europe. Very few people hot rod 4 door Chevelles. Very few people hot rod Chevettes, too. Unless they live here, where old American iron is respected because it has the reputation of being strong and tough. The advantage here is that fabrication is not as expensive as in the U.S. because there are machine shops everywhere, as many parts that would be bought in other countries need to be fabricated here, due to – drumroll please – lack of replacements.

I want to help out because a. I am a nice person and b. I like to learn about cars, and this is good opportunity. So the plan, in my mind is, to take accurate measurements of the suspension components and geometry and then go to the junkyard with a ruler and list of measurements, and see if we can’t find something usable. Peugeot 405’s have front disc brakes. So do Chevy trucks. If we can find something a little more common, so Danny can have access to parts in the future, using Google Sketchup to make some drawings of an adaptor shouldn’t be impossible. Don’t fail me now, college drafting courses! And fabricating it shouldn’t cost thaaat much money. There are plenty of holes in this plan, but, there aren’t alot of other options. The other options are to weld the part back together as was done once before or try to buy something from Brazil. Any constructive advice?

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