Time Traveller offers tune-up tips

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When that first splash of colour starts to push through in the spring after a long, cold winter, Carnarvon’s Larry Parsons is one of many locals just itching to bring their toys out to play.

There’s another 1947 Ford Coupe, this one a two-door sedan, which Parsons fixed up for his son. His wife, Cheryl, has two cars – a 1964 Checker Wagon and a 1947 Ford convertible. He also has a fully rebuilt 1937 Willys Jeep and is in the process of restoring a 1947 Studebaker.

“I just love old cars, the really classic ones,” Parsons told The Highlander.

He does all the work himself, from fixing the body to replacing the mechanical components. He does all the paint jobs, too.

“Lots of trial and error – if you break something, you just keep doing it until it comes out right,” he said when asked how he had learned.

His pride and joy is his stunning blue Coupe. While most people clamoured for a Camaro or a Mustang back in the 1960s, Parsons wanted something a little different. He stumbled upon the Ford while out in Whitby. It had been abandoned in a field, but the then-teen saw its potential.

“I was pulling in and there was this guy behind me trying to flag me down, so I got out and asked him ‘what’s up?’ He said he had a car just like that when he was younger. At the time, I had 1962 Volkswagen taillights on there, and a Studebaker hawk dash. He took a closer look and decided this didn’t just look like his car, it was his car,” Parsons said.

Before taking any of his cars out onto the road, Parsons has a spring-cleaning checklist he likes to run through to ensure optimal performance.

The first step, he said, is to check the dip stick to make sure the oil level is where it should be. Top up if necessary. While there, he suggested a quick trick to make sure antifreeze hadn’t gotten into the motor.

“If antifreeze gets into your oil and you try to run the car, it can destroy your engine, Parsons said. “Take a wrench and just crack the oil plug underneath the motor. Give it a turn and wait a minute. If there’s any antifreeze in there, it’s the first thing that comes out. If it starts dripping oil a little bit, then perfect, you’re all good.”

He suggested charging the battery, checking the master cylinder to make sure everything is OK – during the winter rodents and small animals looking for somewhere to hibernate may take up shop there, Parsons said he’s had to replace several hoses and belt lines that have been chewed through.

Old wiring can become brittle, break or corrode and become a fire hazard, so Parsons suggests giving everything under the hood a once over. Check all fuel lines and hoses leading from the tank to the carburetor or throttle body. Look for leaks, corrosion and dry rotting. Make sure the throttle linkage is moving freely and not binding up.

Ensure your tires are in good shape and have enough air in them. Lube the chassis, check for play in the steering wheel, and move the front wheel by hand back and forth to see if there’s any play in the wheel bearings or tie rods. Finally, make sure all lug nuts are torqued to spec.

Parsons also suggested giving any aluminum intake a once over with a wrench, making sure they’re snug. After that, fire the car up and take it for a test drive.

The Time Travellers will gather for its first meet of the season June 8 in Minden. The group runs shows weekly on Thursday evenings, alternating between Minden and Haliburton. The club has grown to more than 100 members in recent years, with Parsons saying anyone is welcome. Membership is $25 per year.

For club updates, visit facebook.com/ haliburton-highlands-time-travellers.