Update from the Garage: May 2021


Welcome friends. Satori!

When I last updated my readers, the Alfa had been purchased but not yet arrived. That changed on April 7th when the car carrier arrived after leaving Los Angeles. As my brother in Law Joe and I push it off the truck, my son Jae did the driving.

It was delivered as expected; significant rust on the sills, front wings, rear fenders, floorboards and door bottoms. Some of the most challenging repairs will be the front windshield frame as there isn’t much left to work with and the dimensions have to be exact. But first things first, the crew got it into the shop where its about to be completely disassembled and purpose built for long distance historic rallies.

The Crew: Picture Shy Lori and Maria

I didn’t expect to purchase the Alfa when I did, but there are few project cars of this make and model on the market, and the whole concept of Satori! is that time is ticking and not to wait to chase my objectives, so I bought it. That said, the shop was not ready. I knew if I tore into the car I’d never finish the shop. So I developed a list and gave myself the goal of completing the shop by 31 May, wrapping up loose ends in June and beginning the car disassembly by 1 July.

I make lists

I have been working on readying the shop since September 2020, but nothing like having a rusty hunk of metal sitting there to accelerate the process. The bathroom was hideous in the shop. It’s now painted, clean, brightly lit and filled with appropriate artwork thanks to my wife, Maria. It seems insignificant, but when guests come over it’s nice to offer a clean bathroom and not some filthy workshop toilet (I think this means I’ve been domesticated).

The Head

Lighting and Safety had to be addressed. I need light, lots of light, as my eyes aren’t that good in the best of conditions. The car sits in a U-Shaped area and I filled the area with lights, all run with 1/2 inch EMT conduit and code compliant. The loft had no safety rail, and that was built, capped and a handmade wooden flag given to me by my brother in law, Charlie, looks down and out over my workflow.

Tools are not an issue. I’ve been managing machinery maintenance for the better part of thirty years, and in that time I’ve come to develop my opinions on what is necessary and what isn’t. You’ll never find huge toolboxes in my shop. I like my tools close, I like my kit compact. I have what I need, and I take pride in coming up with creative ways to get the job done. I did add this rolling cart specifically for this build. I’ve stocked the cart with my metal shaping and fabrication tools, and the work bench itself will have my 20″ metal bender, my metal shrinker and stretcher, and my heavy-ass vise (technical term).

Rolling Metal Working Bench

I’m really down to one item I want to finish before I start on the car: a 220V circuit for my air compressor and running air filters and air line outlets. I’ll wrap that up in June but because I don’t need the compressed air right away, I’m going to stick to my plan and start disassembly in June.

The Order of Operations will be to pull the doors, hood and trunk lid, remove the bumpers, lift the front end gently to allow the transmission to be unbolted from the cross member and to pull the engine and transmission for rebuild later. With the weight off the car I can assess if the car in its current state is strong enough to support its own weight when I put it on a rotisserie, as the name implies, a stand that allows the car to be spun 360 degrees to allow for easier access to the hard to reach areas for the tedious metal work and welding ahead.

I plan to keep and weigh all the metal I cut off the car and replace. It’s going to be several hundred pounds of rust coming off this frame and body.

It’s not about the carpentry, the metal work, the tools or the bathroom. Satori is the awakening that time marches on. My wife Maria and I celebrate thirty years together this month, my son is 21 and his life is moving forward. My job, always busy and full of challenges, has been incredibly rewarding to me. I have a million excuses to not get anything done except sleep and work. Satori! Find time for the things that matter. A few minutes here, an hour there. I start my days early and I pack a lot of work into each day. I’ll rest when I’m dead, right now I have my capstone projects ahead of me and I have a list.

Next update in June, the start of disassembly. Thanks for reading.

Feel free to email me: Anthony@Satori.Blog

Published by Anthony

My name is Anthony and I was born in Niagara Falls, NY in December 1966. Life is short: We live, we love, we die. Make the most of it. I came to this reality, you can say a sudden awakening (a zen concept called Satori!) or an ah-ha moment in 2019, upon the death of my dog and a reality check about my own mortality. I am exploring the last years of my life in a blog, where I pursue the Capstone projects of my life, the tasks and adventures that required a lifetime to prepare for.

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