Charles Glenn Petersen

1946 - Terril Years

Cars (continued)

I got my driver's license shortly after turning 16 in January and the next summer I spent $45 hard earned dollars to buy a 1934 Chevrolet Standard 2-door sedan from our neighbor to the immediate south. Besides being now able to go to Arnolds Park at anytime I wanted, I spent most of that summer learning automobile mechanics. The brakes didn't work very good and I discovered that this old car had mechanical brakes, no hydraulic fluid, no power vacuum assisted braking. The brake pedal was connected directly to a pivot rod that went across the car just under the driver's feet. This rod had short bars extending out from it on both sides of the car. Each bar had connecting pieces connecting to both the front and rear brakes on both sides of the car. All of the bar and connecting pieces were rusted and basically frozen in one place with only the minimum of movement. Since the amount of movement controlled the amount of breaking pressure applied to the brake shoe at the wheel, there was only the minimum of braking or stopping ability. No matter how hard you pressed on the brake pedal the car would only slow down very slowly. No panic stopping of any kind. After several applications of penetrating oil and working the rod back and forth I had brakes, at least as could be expected with this kind of system. The next thing that happened was the engine over heated. The radiator was all plugged with calcium from the hard water that had been used in it. Out comes the radiator, off comes the top and bottom so I had only the core left, then I pushed a thin piece of metal up and down each radiator cell cleaning them out. After soldering the top and bottom on and reinstalling the radiator I now had a cool engine. The next problem I discovered was the engine using a lot of oil. Overhaul time. Off came the head of the overhead valve 6-cylinder engine so I could grind the valves and the valve seats for a nice smooth fit. Off came the oil pan, out came the pistons, on went the new rings and I put it all back together learning more every step of the way and it ran fine and I had wheels I could take anywhere safely.