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Restoration of my 1941 Dodge WC16 Radio Command Car


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Got in some work on the command car this weekend. Temps were awesome! 95 or 96 degrees today. Can't beat that in the middle of June!
I finished up on the Military Jr. oil filter housing. After I had sandblasted it, the darn thing had some rust holes in it. I did JB weld the holes and then used some of that fuel tank sealant that I had left over and sloshed it around in there. I think I'm good to go now. Doesn't look too bad:
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That little hole in the center tube is were the filtered oil returns to the engine. Kinda small, but obviously someone designed it effectively. I checked to made sure I could blow air through. I couldn't, so I was glad I checked. I had to clean the hole:
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I painted it up and installed on the engine. Also started test fitting the master cylinder:
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Yesterday, I started taking apart and checking out the front grill arrangement. Lots of pieces. I thought that I would be able to take it apart, sandblast everything, prime, paint and put it back together. Geez...I spent the entire day on it today. Sandblasting took quite a while as well as getting everything painted and back together. I always seem to be an optimist. Here is the project:
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I set it up on one of the engine stands. A lot easier to work on it like this. I let the finished paint bake in the sun for a bit:
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Also fabricated some mounting tabs for the splash guards that mount on the bottom side of the frame on each side of the engine. They were a bit rotted:
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Came out pretty decent:
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Nice to get some body stuff completed... Also received my gauges back from being rebuilt. They look fantastic! Here are the originals as removed:

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Like magic they are new. Actually, I had another speedo that was in decent shape that I sent in. My original cluster gauges were basically toast as well, so other donors were used to bring 'em back to life:

 

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Since the ammeter gauge isn't used in the 12 volt radio command cars, there is a block out plate in the one cluster to the right of the fuel gauge. Thankfully, we were able to save that for use in the rebuild.

 

 

 

Collecting WWII USAAF Militaria and a Few WWII Vehicles Along the Way


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I thought that I would be able to take it apart, sandblast everything, prime, paint and put it back together. Geez...I spent the entire day on it today. Sandblasting took quite a while as well as getting everything painted and back together. I always seem to be an optimist.

 

 

 

 

Zeph,

 

Great updates! I was wondering how it is coming along. Looks great!

 

I completely understand about being optimistic. I have found that when doing a restoration, I never quite complete what I thought I would be doing that day! While working on one issue, it seems like I always find 3 more to add to the list! :D

 

But once you finish the one issue you started, it sure feels good to see he finished product!

 

Thanks so much for the updates! You know I always look forward to them! .....Kat

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Zeph,

 

Great updates! I was wondering how it is coming along. Looks great!

 

I completely understand about being optimistic. I have found that when doing a restoration, I never quite complete what I thought I would be doing that day! While working on one issue, it seems like I always find 3 more to add to the list! :D

 

But once you finish the one issue you started, it sure feels good to see he finished product!

 

Thanks so much for the updates! You know I always look forward to them! .....Kat

Thanks Kat!

 

Well, it is probably better to be an optimist. I thought you would find this interesting as well. I went to Bomber Camp a couple of weeks ago...I know, I should be working on the command car! Anyway, I know you have been working on a B-25. They brought in a B-17, B-24 and a B-25 for the event. I just had to jump in the B-25 for a photo op:

 

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It was a lot of fun, but around 106 degrees everyday. Seemed hotter out on the tarmac. I brought down the WC54. Here are a couple of other shots I took:

 

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The ball turret trainer was really neat:

 

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Loading the bombs for the bomb runs:

 

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Firing the .50 cal's out of the waist gun positions was pretty impressive....and loud. Belted .50 cal. blanks:

 

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Overall, the camp was a lot of fun. That is, if one is into that kinda thing...

Collecting WWII USAAF Militaria and a Few WWII Vehicles Along the Way


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What fun zeph! Your WC-54 fit right in with the static plane displays. The bombs with "genuine" WWII graffiti were a nice touch. Good pix, thanks for sharing.

Terry

to all who have served!

 

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What fun zeph! Your WC-54 fit right in with the static plane displays. The bombs with "genuine" WWII graffiti were a nice touch. Good pix, thanks for sharing.

Terry

Hi Terry, it really was a lot of fun. I hope to go back next year and be a part of the event. Here are some photos I tried to make into a vintage look. Not very good at it, but they have somewhat of an aged look:

 

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Collecting WWII USAAF Militaria and a Few WWII Vehicles Along the Way


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What's with that Dutch/Flemish phrase on the bomb lower left in your picture???

 

It says: "That'll give you some headache, F**k**g Kraut"

 

Gee whiz...I don't know. All those phrases were written on the bombs by the cadets. I had no idea what it said. I do recall there was one cadet from the Netherlands. I would suspect that that cadet may have been the culprit. That photo is actually one I copied from the Bomber Camp Facebook page since my WC54 was in the background:

 

https://www.facebook.com/Bomber-Camp-1685004951744442/

Collecting WWII USAAF Militaria and a Few WWII Vehicles Along the Way


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Zeph,

 

I am so jealous! That looks like it must have been the most amazing experience! I LOVE the picture in the B-25!

 

...Kat

 

Hi Kat,

 

Yes, it was very enjoyable. Other than the heat. B)

Collecting WWII USAAF Militaria and a Few WWII Vehicles Along the Way


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Same group that flies into Boeing Field from time to time.

 

Yes. The plane are rented from the Collings Foundation for the event. I've never rented a WWII bomber, so not sure what the going price is nowadays. I'm thinking fairly costly.

 

Thanks for the pics of bomber camp! I read about it a couple of weeks ago and glad I got to see some pics of it. Looks (and sounds) like a great experience!!

 

No problem. I think I mentioned that they are recruiting cadets for 2017. :)

Collecting WWII USAAF Militaria and a Few WWII Vehicles Along the Way


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I Couldn't wait and decided to install the front grill assembly and radiator:

 

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I sandblasted a few more parts as well. Started thinking about the headlights and other bolt on pieces:

 

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Also, today I was able to finally get the body to the sandblaster. I was thinking he was going to get right on it. Nope...he said in a few weeks...that was a bit of a buzz kill. I think there are only 47 days to go to the Military Vehicle Preservation Association's annual convention. The window to get this completed enough to take down there is closing....:

 

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Collecting WWII USAAF Militaria and a Few WWII Vehicles Along the Way


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Just going for a ride is way outside my budget. It's nice that they just show up down the hill from me.

 

I used to go see the WWII planes when they would show up in our area for years. Then one year I just felt the urge and just had to catch a ride. I thought I would regret it, but I didn't. If I ever pony up for another ride, it will be on a B-29 Superfortress.

Collecting WWII USAAF Militaria and a Few WWII Vehicles Along the Way


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post-32632-0-06084000-1466975442.jpgpost-32632-0-55138100-1466975324.jpg That is one incredible project Zepher. The photos are especially nice and clear.

So here I go back to the other tangent. The fly boys will be back in town for the

4th, and a picture of a command car from 1941, just to bring this topic back

on point. :)

"They'd rather be alive than free; poor dumb bastards."

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Zeph,

 

The grille looks amazing! It really makes your command car look like a car! :D The headlights look great too. Good luck getting the body sandblasted.

 

...Kat

 

It does. Thank you! I'm really looking forward to getting the body back together!

 

That is one incredible project Zepher. The photos are especially nice and clear.. So here I go back to the other tangent. The fly boys will be back in town for the 4th, and a picture of a command car from 1941, just to bring this topic back on point. :)

 

Thank you! I shoot all my photos with my iPhone. They end up like 2mb, but I snip them to shrink them down to about 94kb so they don't take up much storage.

 

While I bide my time I finished up my headlight buckets. I had to ream the brass fitting out where the original connectors met at the bottom of the bucket:

 

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I love my screw gripping screw driver. Makes it handy to get to those tight areas:

 

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Hope everyone has a happy fourth of July holiday!

Collecting WWII USAAF Militaria and a Few WWII Vehicles Along the Way


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Sandblasted my front fender this morning. It was a bit hot after I finished, so I hope to get up early in the am to prime and paint before it gets too hot. After 9am is too late:
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Tomorrow I hope to knock out the rear fenders. A few rust outs need to be erased:
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This afternoon I tried my hand at restoring the command car reflectors. Someone had painted this set silver and then over time they rusted a bit. I decided to go with the old tape and glass bead treatment rather than disassemble. I tried disassembling them for about a minute and a half...nope. Not for me:
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Beaded:
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Gave it a go with the other three:
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A smidge better:
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Scratch that off the list. All done:
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Had to make sure they still work:
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Collecting WWII USAAF Militaria and a Few WWII Vehicles Along the Way


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zepher, those reflectors look fantastic! But man oh man, doing all that small tape work must have been tedious :blink:

The command car is really coming along nicely. I think those are the shiniest headlights I've ever seen!

How do you feel about your chances of completion before the upcoming show deadline?

thanks for the progress pix!

Terry

to all who have served!

 

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As someone with as close to zero mechanical ability, I watch your progress on this with pure wonder and amazement. And just a little envy. Keep the pics coming!

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This afternoon I tried my hand at restoring the command car reflectors.
Scratch that off the list. All done:

 

 

 

 

Zeph,

 

All I can say is WOW! My jaw hit the floor at how well these turned out. It is amazing that the bead blaster cleaned off all that paint but left the tape on the glass. You must have a steady hand.

 

....Kat

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zepher, those reflectors look fantastic! But man oh man, doing all that small tape work must have been tedious :blink:

The command car is really coming along nicely. I think those are the shiniest headlights I've ever seen!

How do you feel about your chances of completion before the upcoming show deadline?

thanks for the progress pix!

Terry

 

Hi Terry, thanks. Believe it or not, the taping job wasn't as tedious as I initially thought it would be. Once I got into the rhythm it went fairly fast. Even though the tape had to be removed after the bead blast and put on again for the paint.

 

I think there are about 40 days until the MVPA convention, so time is creeping up on me. I think I will feel good if I can get the bodywork completed and the body installed. Maybe I can get the fenders on as well, so it looks semi complete. I'm pretty set on bringing it down to the show no matter what condition it will be in. Sometimes, I like looking at the "works in progress" better than the completed ones. Maybe others will feel the same. Or it will just look like a basket case.... :lol:

 

As someone with as close to zero mechanical ability, I watch your progress on this with pure wonder and amazement. And just a little envy. Keep the pics coming!

 

Thank you mikie!

 

 

 

Zeph,

 

All I can say is WOW! My jaw hit the floor at how well these turned out. It is amazing that the bead blaster cleaned off all that paint but left the tape on the glass. You must have a steady hand.

 

....Kat

 

I was a little hesitant when I started blasting, but the glass bead nozzle was pretty pin point when up close so I could get in between the individual reflectors. Then at the end I kept the nozzle far away and went over the whole face, so the effect on the tape was minimal. Still had to remove and then replace the tape for the paint job. Like usual, I spend a lot of time worrying about how to do it and then it's not as bad as originally thought. :)

Collecting WWII USAAF Militaria and a Few WWII Vehicles Along the Way


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WOW! The restoration of the reflectors is amazing!

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WOW! The restoration of the reflectors is amazing!

Thank you!
Well, I painted the front fenders today. I found that it's actually kinda tough to paint both the bottom and the top with primer and then paint all at the same time. I figured out how to do it. However, I figured I would go light on the top surface and then buff and lay a nice coat on tomorrow...early. I didn't get out there until like 7am this morning which was too late to get a good paint job due to the heat:
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I finished buffing the top surface and will get out there early tomorrow...like 6am. Supposed to be under a hundred tomorrow, so I'm hoping I'm good to go:
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After that, I dinked around and patched the rust out areas in one of the rear fenders:
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Like I'm sure they said back in the day, It's good enough for government work:
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Collecting WWII USAAF Militaria and a Few WWII Vehicles Along the Way


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