Top Gear Philippines

After a very brief six weeks, the wagon rolled out of Alfred Motorworks in Kamuning--right on schedule. No delays and no hiccups. I have to hand it to Alfred Perez for being a man of his word. There was more to be done, however, and the remaining responsibilities had to be handled by me. This was how I wanted it to be. Anybody who has restored a car knows that work doesn't end at the body and paint shop. There are still so many tweaks that need to be done, especially when it comes to mechanicals. If you know your car intimately, you will know what needs to be done. Alfred and his boys put my car together really well, but the final adjustments had to be handled by me. If you are really meticulous about your ride, you will make sure that it doesn't just look good. It has to drive good as well. It doesn't make sense to have a great-looking car that isn't road-worthy. And for my purposes, I wanted the wagon to be as safe as it was when it rolled off the factory line in 1976. The people I hold most dear will be riding in it with me, after all. The first order of business was to have the wheels aligned. The suspension needed some sorting out because everything was pulled down. I also made sure that the brakes were working properly. Rust 'N' Pieces photo (chassis front) What the boys at Zafra lacked in finesse, they made up for with results. Here we are eliminating the droop on the driver's side. Rust 'N' Pieces photo (chassis back) I wanted to raise the rear a little bit. This was done by pulling down the leaf springs and hammering them back into a more defined ellipse. Next was to get the leaking intake manifold replaced. While the wagon was at the shop I managed to get a hold of a surplus piece that was in a very good shape. Rust 'N' Pieces photo (manifold) I also took this opportunity to have the carburetor overhauled. This had to be done because the engine was sitting for more than a year. I was lucky to find a very dependable fellow along Kamuning who took care of the overhaul. Look for the sign 'D&DL.' The labor is very affordable and quality of work is excellent. Rust 'N' Pieces photo (air filter) Here we are installing the long-lost air cleaner. I'm glad that I found this piece in the bodega of our house in Baguio. As cool as twin side-draught carbs are, I really like how old engines look when stock. When I was a kid I thought that the air cleaner is the coolest-looking part of the engine. Unfortunately I wasn't able to take any photos of when the carpet and ceiling were being installed, but I was very satisfied with the work. With the suspension sorted, brakes working, and electrical gremlins taken care of, I was ready to do a proper shakedown--a trip to Baguio with the wagon fully loaded with cargo. Did I doubt the wagon would make it? Hell, no. Rust 'N' Pieces photo (loading up) This is the view from the rear before my departure. There are three electric guitars back there, one Hartke 18-inch bass amplifier, two guitar amps, and luggage. My younger brother and older sister went along for the ride. Rust 'N' Pieces photo (sideview) If you thought I was kidding about the cargo, here is a view from the side during a stop along NLEX. Even with all of the weight, the wagon just chugged along. I dare say that we were even pretty quick. Oh, and the nice thing about carrying all of that weight is that the ride is so much nicer. The wagon is like a pickup, you see. It utilizes leaf springs at the rear. Rust 'N' Pieces photo (with the blue wagon) Upon arriving in Baguio we meet a blue wagon at the gas station. See, these cars won't be sold per kilo any time soon. Rust 'N' Pieces photo (green house) We are at home at last! Check out the green and white theme of our house. I love how the wagon matches Baguio's staple house colors. Rust 'N' Pieces photo (in Baguio) Cruising with my brothers was in order. Rolling down all of the windows and taking in the experience is something that I will never forget. We decided to follow our dad's daily route, and it was inevitable that we ran into some of his old friends. Some couldn't believe that we were able to bring dad's old beaten-up wagon back to life. Rust 'N' Pieces photo (family trees) This shot was taken in John Hay with my mom, sisters and younger brother. The family is pleased with the result of the restoration. Rust 'N' Pieces photo (road trip) On the way back to Manila the wagon didn't complain at all. It was as reliable as always. When we arrived, I decided to install the last remaining emblem (which is a brand new piece) as the wagon's reward for keeping me and my family safe during the trip. Rust 'N' Pieces photo (emblem) Here I am making sure that the emblem fits properly. Rust 'N' Pieces photo (emblem) There you go! The glam shots will have to follow, guys. I'm just so happy to be driving the wagon at last! There is more to come, so stay tuned!

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Paulo Rafael Subido
Editor in Chief
Top Gear Philippines' editor in chief is a driving addict, but with a taste for old-school metal. He loves spending the day in the talyer, working on his cars as a form of relaxation.
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