Thursday, August 27, 2009

Bruce almighty AKA Client #0005

I wanted to introduce you all to my newest client. His name is Bruce and he is one cool dude. He jumped into this hobby with both feet and no parachute. There is something about his spirit that impressed me, but, I knew as soon as he quoted Tennessee Williams; " There is a time for departure even when there's no certain place to go" I knew at that point we would be able to work very well together. Bruce turned the whole thing into one big adventure and an adventure he got.
The first thing Bruce did was buy a 1964 Sovereign of the Road. He wants to restore it and make a few custom touches not offered in 1964. He needed something to tow it, so he bought 1971 Travelall in Phoenix Arizona and then flew out to pick it up. Right between Phoenix and Baltimore is Southern California where a 1960 Tradewind parts trailer was waiting for him to pick up for the custom touches we were planning on the Sovereign. He towed the Tradewind all the way to me in Baltimore. This guy has salt and I am impressed with that kind of spirit.
Somewhere in the middle of Tennessee, the Tradewind lost the door and two pieces of glass blew out. Bruce patched it up and kept on trucking. Trucking at a maximum speed of 55 mph I might add. He found some baling wire and some plywood and covered the holes. The door is still M.I.A.
As you can see, the door left in a very violent way.
Not much meat for the rivets to go into there. Unlike the upper hinge, there was no plate behind the skin to hold the hinge on to. Most likely the handle was not tied off to the grab handle and when the door came open, it chose to fly away. It is still at large. Did I mention that?
This Tradewind has been ridden very hard and put up wet a number of times. To quote Uwe, at Area 63 Restorations who helped get Bruce rolling in California; "She has been hammered" The Wally Byam's Caravans sign, WBCCI numbers, and bumper mount spare tire mount lead me to believe this trailer went on a caravan at one time. I will have to do a little investigating into her history. We dropped the Tradewind in the yard and he followed me up to Kutztown, PA to fetch the 1964 Sovereign that started all of this.
The Sovereign was sitting rather fore lorn in a campground that had seen much better days. We knew the rubber was dead, so right after I pulled the wheels, Bruce ran out to get new rubber mounted. I stayed behind to pack bearings and get things ready to roll. The bearing contained some very liquid stuff that was grease a long time ago. First hub I pulled...
... second hub, third, and fourth... all four had broken adjustor springs. I got to go out and search for new springs. NAPA said "yeah, we got em'. Have them here by 10" "TEN?" "Yes Sir, Ten on Thursday" I then went off looking for Grimms Trailer in Lyons. Grimms could fix anything. Four springs from the springs bin, four bucks. I went back to the trailer and put the hubs back together. Right as I got the hubs put on, Bruce returned with the new tires. Things were falling right into place.
Next up we got everything secure and turned our attention to lights. At this point the smooth day came to a screeching halt. The sun was going down, none of the lights worked and neither did the very important electric brakes. I had temporary lights, but I was very uncomfortable letting Bruce take off with 31 feet of trailer pushing against his 1971 Travelall. I needed a Plan "E" and it needed to be a good one. I either had to spend the night, drive two and a half hours home and come back the next day, or find a place to run down the electrical glitch. I then realized that Grimms was the place to take it.
I followed Bruce and acted as his brake lights and turn signals. The old 64 looked sweet behind the Travelall. We took it slow and headed over to Grimms.
We unhitched her in the yard at Grimms and called it a day.
For a guy that has gone through so many set backs and change of plans, Bruce handled it very well. He was clowning around and rolling with the punches with the best of them. I headed for home and Bruce headed to a Hotel. I was just too far from home and it was too late in the day to correct this situation.
The next morning Grimms got Bruce fully working brakes and running light fairly quickly. Bruce made it home to Boston without any more issues. He is now going to do the grunt work of gutting her out so I can repair all the structural issues.


  1. Sounds like Bruce Almighty had a wild ride across most of the country. next time he's in Phoenix, tell him to look me up. I, too, would like to know more about this donor TradeWind.

  2. Kudos to Bruce. He has more fortitude than many.