|My '55 Limo is
enjoying its warm garage in Simi Valley and all the extra
attention it gets since I don't drive a half an hour to
visit him. I decided to name my limo "IKE"
after President Eisenhower. Since it was suppose to
be an Embassy vehicle in France, he may have sat in it!
Besides my Limo has its battle scars too! Fortunately,
they have been repaired.
from North Hollywood to Simi Valley was without
incident. But it was strange with no (side) windows
or interior. No mirrors either. I took my
bathroom mirror, set it on a towel and taped it to the
windshield. The electrical was by-passed some time
ago, due to all the loose wires, so no gauges, lights,
signals or speedometer. I did pretty good on the
speed limit by estimating. My brother-in-law
followed to make sure it was a safe trip. He said I
ranged from 58 mph to 62 mph.
With no carpet or even a mat on the floor boards, it was a
louder ride than I'm used to. We traveled at 8:30 AM
on a Sunday morning, so there was very little
traffic. On the next drive, as I took in the new
neighborhood, a chunk of rubber the size of the palm of
your hand came off the right front tire! Good thing
it didn't happen on the way from North Hollywood - I
don't have a tire jack in this car! Another item the
mechanic lost, such a jerk!
So, IKE has 5 brand new 8.20 X 15" tires with 3
5/8" wide white side wall tires. The factory
spec is 8.90's, but no one had any. The difference
in diameter is 1". So who will notice? They're
B.F. Goodrich Silvertowns, just like the ones I have on my
1960 LeBaron, but with wider white walls.
I couldn't just put them on. I took out the spare
and jacked up the rear to remove those tires. I
scrubbed and polished both sides of the rims, scrapped off
the brake drums, sprayed them with rust converter, then
had my new tires mounted on the rims at a local tire
dealer. I took the '60 to deliver the tires and
rims. Three on the first trip, two on the
second. My '60 LeBaron was more than willing to help
out his big brother!
They now share the garage. The '54 is in the RV side
yard, covered right behind my '88 LeBaron (remember the
Last weekend, I decided to remove the rear tires of the
'54 to clean and paint the brake drums, as well as to
clean up the wire wheels. After all, the prior
weekend I took care of the '55's! I jacked up the rear
using a floor jack, then removed the left and right wheel
bolts. The '54 uses bolts that screwed into the
threaded brake drums. They have *R & *L on the heads
to identify which side they are for. The last person
to work on the brakes put the right housing on the left
side! Yes, it was the same jerk mechanic that screwed up
the limo. Do I sound bitter?
Anyway, I couldn't get the tires off - they wouldn't clear
the fender! After looking under the fenders to see if
something I didn't know about was supposed to be removed
first and looking over the shop manual, I had an
First, you wouldn't have a floor jack out on the road in
'54. So, with the floor jack still supporting the
rear end, I hooked up the bumper jack. Guess what?
The bumper jack lifts the body first then the axle.
So after a few seconds on cranking on the bumper jack, the
tire was clear enough of the fender to remove the
tires. The things you learn while playing with your
The rear brake drums have been cleaned and painted.
The rear wire wheels have been cleaned and polished (both
sides). In addition, I used rust converter on the
spokes that were corroded and then used bumper chrome
paint (it's a very bright silver) applied with a hobby
paint brush to each one! That's as good as it gets until I
can afford to have them replated. I've heard that'is
$300.00 a piece!