Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Instrumentation for the Nautilus, Part 3

I finally sent some gauges in to North Hollywood Speedometer (aka NHS) for rebuilding.  I expedited shipping (with tracking) and put some insurance on the package to hedge my bet on an event free transaction with our friends at the US Post Office.  After a month of waiting to hear something from NHS, I called them only to be told they had no idea if my shipment had delivered, and if so, where it was on the premises.  The call ended abruptly, but an apparent scramble ensued at NHS to locate my stuff.  Back in Denver, it slowly dawned on me exactly how calamitous the loss of these parts was for me.  My blood pressure rose precipitously. I had to repeatedly stifle bad thoughts and words.  Not only had I included the dash/gauge components normally found on the Type 34 for rebuilding, but I had also included my reproduction Type 34 tachometer and a NOS '63 speedometer to use as a model.  After four hours--and right at the end of my tether--NHS called me with the welcome news that my parts had been found.  Immense relief and gratitude on my part was swiftly replaced by disappointment as I then came to realize that a whole month had passed with no gauge restoration work done.  Yeah--it definitely took a few minutes for everything to fall into perspective, for me to downshift and then give them 'the go-ahead' to finish the job.  I know the folks at NHS are good people and their work is legendary, but why do the mix-ups always have to happen with my stuff?

Moving forward a month or so, and my stuff is back from NHS.  I had NHS make three special Type 34 speedometer cables and they did a really nice job on them.  These speedometer cables are held to the back of the speedometer with a metal screw-on retaining collar, rather than the plastic collar so often seen.  The cable insertion depth into the speedometer is perfect. The axle end of the cable uses a circlip retainer rather than a cotter pin, which I'm a bit neutral about, but the cable length is right at 1100mm, which is exactly to spec.  Hopes riding high, I moved on to the rest of the shipment.

Dissatisfaction has set in while inspecting the restored gauges themselves.  Yes, indeed, all the gauges are beautiful in comparison to the parts sent in for restoration.  So, what's wrong?  Disappointingly, NHS needs to correct some inconsistencies and damage caused by their workmanship.  For example, the chromed outer ring that holds the bezel and lense in place on the multifunction gauge is cracked, dented and overly stretched.  I can forgive this because sometimes these things are hell to remove in one piece.  But they should have called me if they needed another ring to finish this gauge off correctly, or pulled one from their stock, even if they charged me for it.  Another issue is that the color of the inner bezel on the multifunction gauge and '64 speedometer is not the same 'champagne' color as the NOS '63 speedometer I sent them to use as a model.  NHS got the inner bezel finish absolutely perfect for the reproduction tachometer and clock, so I have no explanation for this lack of consistency in detail. So, back they go for another try.  I know NHS can get it completely right, given a little more time.  And I do have time.  Go through all the posts in this blog and you'll note that re-work has been a common theme with nearly every aspect of the Nautilus' restoration even though things eventually get corrected to my satisfaction.  Patience and understanding on my part remains key.