Ginger

Ginger, my Magnum Xe, is in the air ready for it’s Gear Vendors overdrive. However, one of the parts was not the right one, so it was sent back for them to exchange.

I ordered a Four Seasons AC fan from Rock Auto, but the one sent was defective. The motor won’t turn – and you can see the shaft is cocked at an angle. I got the RMA , boxed it up, put a Fedex label on – and its waiting to be picked up.

Trim Back on Ginger

I didn’t send the grill to the paint shop, but masked it off and painted myself.

The grill on a Magnum is chromed plastic, which has its edges masked off and painted over the chrome. I started by washing the grill, then wiping down with wax & grease remover, then carefully mask off the edges needing to stay chrome. Next I lightly scuff with a rough (brown) 3M pad. Some of the paint was very loose and exposed the chromed plastic under it when scuffed.

I sprayed the part with paint adhesion promoter. I started with two light coats, and finished with two wet coats.

A couple hours later I pulled off the tape and it looks like brand new.

The rest of the trim was reinstalled. I’d say that the paint job was a total success. I’m very happy with how it came out. Tomorrow the car gets washed and detailed.

Ginger is Getting a New Suit

Of Poly Urethane Paint with Clear

IN the mid-90s, Ginger had it’s vinyl top Ripped off, scuffed and had a couple coats of lacquer applied. After 25 years, there’s some bubbling happening under the paint. So most of the trim was removed, the car washed, and I went over the car with a magnifying glass to mark any flaw with pink liquid chalk. I dropped the car off to the paint shop. They’ll grind and repair the flawed area, scuff the car with 400 grit wet sandpaper, spray a coat of adhesion primer, and a couple of coats of black poly urethane.

I”ll pick up the car after my road trip to Detroit, to replace the trim – after its been polished. I’ve done a ton of work on the car since I bought in the 90s. Search this site if You’re interested.

Dave’s Magnum – Ginger

Daily Driver getting a freshen up

I’ve own this car for a couple of Decades

My first new car was a 1978 Dodge Magnum. It was triple black with a 360 motor and a floor shifter, but not highly optioned. I’d actually gone to the dealer to order a triple black Diplomat, then saw a Magnum for the first time coming off the carrier. It was the dealership’s first Magnum, and was causing quite the stir so I went out with the salesman to watch it get unloaded. Afterwards, we went inside to place my order for one.

My first Magnum back in 1978 with my wife
It was the car we went from the church to the reception in April 1979

I drove the car for business for about 3 years, selling it with 126,000 miles on it. Over the years I’d bought a couple of nice used ones, but the color, corduroy seats, and/or Granny Shift did nothing for me, and so I flipped them for a profit after cleaning and fixing up.

Around 1998, I decided I needed to find a nice Black car. I located Ginger in Arizona. It was a black car with T-tops, 400ci and leather interior – although the front seats had its leather very hard from being in the south with T-tops. The car had its vinyl top removed and a repaint sometime in the past. I think I paid about $4000 for it, and trailered it back to Texas.

Bringing Ginger home to Houston from Tuscan.

Over the next couple of years I replaced the stock 400 with a forged rotating 400 short-block that was in a local A-body drag racing. I replaced the Leanburn with a Mopar Performance electronic ignition; the iron intake and Thermoquad with an Edelbrock Performer intake and carb; and the V-belt pulley system with a March Performance Serpentine. It’s a very quick Magnum.

I also replaced the 8.25″ rear axle with a 8.75″ Suregrip out or a 74 Charger, and installed 3.55 gears

The single 2.25″ exhaust was replaced with Schumacher headers and a custom bent dual 2.5″ exhaust.

Finally, I mounted a LeCarra steering wheel, the 85 mph speedo dash was replaced with a custom made dash – filled Dakota Digital gauges (much cooler 20 years ago than now) and an Infinity Stereo out of a 99 Durango,

Oh yeah, I bought a set of Keystone Klassics and 235-60/15 Goodrich TAs. I drove the car like this (sparingly) for the next 15 years.

Recently, I’ve made some major upgrades to the care which I will post here, but I wanted to give y’all the background first. Check back as I’ve made a lot of upgrades and will trickle them out.

Ginger Gets A New Dash Panel

Ginger is the name of my favorite Magnum. Twenty years ago I had two beautiful black Magnums, Ginger and Maryann. I gave Maryann to my now 31-year-old son for his 15th birthday. Sadly for ten plus years, it has sat disassembled, waiting for my son to restore. But back to my story, I recently have been freshening up Ginger. I replaced the original leather seats with more comfortable modern leather seats.

Click Here for more information on the car’s freshening up.

Now I’m replacing the digital dash I put in the car about 17 years ago with some nice white faced custom gauges.

This is the current dash with 17 Year Old Dakota Dash gauges. It is for sale if you’re interested.

So I bought an empty gauge panel on eBay, and ordered about $1000 worth of custom gauges close to the size of the holes. I bought a large Speedometer (with Tach) that works off GPS; and a large gauge that has Volts, Oil Pressure, Coolant Temp and Fuel Level to fill the two big holes. To fill the two smaller holes I bought an Oil Temp gauge and a clock.

The two big gauge holes with the sleeves in them were too small by about  1/16″, so I had to cut the welds attaching the sleeves to the panel and pop them out. Once out, the holes were now 1/8″ too big. On the small gauge holes, I had to cut the inset hoods off as the gauges were too shallow for the screw on collars that attach the gauges to the panel to screw on the back of them.

To make the big gauges fit, I made some spacers from 4″ schedule 80 PVC sleeves, by hand sawing about 3/8″ off the end and wet sanding until they were smooth and the same size.

I mocked the gauges up to make sure they fit prior to doing any sanding and painting on the gauge panel. They did, so I glued the spacers onto the panel.

I wet sanded the panel and masked off the idiot lights.

After painting gloss black, it looked too gloss and cheesy. Some of the glue around the rings (that I swore I’d sanded all of the way off) was also showing.

So I decided to leave the coves glossy black, but have the flat portion in a hammer tone black – to tone down the gloss and hide imperfections. So I taped off the coves, sanded some more on the glue around the rings, and wet sanded the areas to get the hammer tone paint.

I hit it with two light coats with an hour between, and then a very wet coat after another hour.

This is where I’m at right now. I’m out of town until Tuesday, which is  little more than 48 hours to cure. I’ll pull the tape off Tuesday, mount the gauges –  and I’ll post some photos of the finished product. Continue reading “Ginger Gets A New Dash Panel”