My first “target” event was the Stray Kat 500, which was to be held the first weekend of May, 2020, but due to the ‘Rona-virus, it got canceled, and I got behind on the panel truck progress. As a way to have a little “make up” date, Mick and the Stray Kats hosted a “Stray Kat Reunion” to have a day of hanging out with friends and old cars. After some negotiations with the missus, she gave me the green light to go.
The plan was to meet up at 5:30am with Mike, Pike, and Quentin, at a truck stop about 20 minutes west of Springfield. When I pulled off the highway, I had steam blowing out the overflow of my radiator, so I was sure that I had REAL issues. I bummed a towel from Mike and put a leather glove on and carefully removed the radiator cap, letting it blow like Old Faithful. Most of it went out towards the driver’s side, but there was a little residual spray on the underside of the hood and front fenders. Pike said I got the rear fender of his car, too.
I went into the store and bought a jug of premixed coolant and dumped it into the radiator. That didn’t even fill it up, so I bought a 2nd jug and got it up to a normal level. Pike was convinced that I had a bad water pump and told me I needed just to leave it there for the day and just ride with him. Being hard headed, I told him I was gonna limp it home and get the coupe. They said they would wait on me.
I took off and drove on home, temp gauge staying rock steady on “Normal”. When I got to the house, I used my infrared gun and shot both heads and they were both under 180 degrees. GREAT NEWS! I tossed my brand new “spare” water pumps in the back, hosed off the fenders, and met back up with them by 6:30.
They told me that they wanted me to run up front so I could set the pace. We started off running around 70mph, but by the time we hit Joplin, I saw my speedometer on the phone reading 79. When we reached Coffeyville, KS, for a bio-break and fuel stop, Pike was giving me a hard time about not babying the old flathead!
It turned out to be a fantastic day. I did discover that the panel truck still gets terrible gas mileage, and suspect that to be a bad power valve in the carburetor, but it sure will go down the highway!