Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Harbor Country Cruising - Open House Event.

I am looking forward to the spring months so that I can drive the Clenet all over Harbor Country, Michigan. The Clenet lives in Harbor Country as Mario and I feel it's the better area to garage it. We have become somewhat local celeb's as we motor about the communities of New Buffalo, Michicana, Lakeside, Union Pier, Harbert and Sawyer in the Clenet. With Mario being a Realtor in Harbor Country, he is well known in the business community. He also serves on the Chikaming Township Planning Committee, so more of the locals are familiar with him as well.

Most people identify the Clenet as being Mario's car as he has more opportunity to drive it than I do, given that I live in Chicago Monday through Friday afternoon. Every so often when I'm behind the wheel, someone toots their horn or wave and shout "hey Mario!" I merely wave and motor along, enjoying the view from behind that long hood!

Speaking of Harbor Country and the communities that comprise the Southwest Michigan area, the local Realtors have teamed up to host a HUGE open house event. It's called: HarborCountryOpenHouse and has it's own website where you can learn more information.

In any case, here's what I know:
HarborCountryOpenHouse event on April 25th
Over 100 homes will be open to prospective buyers.
12:00 noon - 4:00 pm - maps available.
After the open house event, there are after-parties at the Round Barn Winery and St. Julian Winery in Union Pier, just off Exit 6 on Union Pier Road. Admission to either after-party is by invitation from your realtor. If you are not working with a realtor, you can contact my brother Mario Zarantenello by going to his website: to get more information.

Mario is not only by brother, but he is also my Harbor Country Realtor and found me the perfect Weekend House in Three Oaks about two years ago. I now spend all of my weekends in Three Oaks, being a short 75 minute drive from my Chicago nieghborhood, Sandburg Village in the Gold Coast.

So come out and perhaps you'll see me cruising all over Harbor Country in our Clenet during the HarborCountryOpenHouse event!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Winter Updates...

The Clenet has been getting some updates over the long winter hibernation, one being swapping out the vinyl spare tire cover with an original metal cover painted to match the fenders. We found one through fellow Clenet enthusiast Len in Washington State. When Clenet did a two-tone paint scheme, typically the spare tire cover matches the fenders along with the interior and top. Given our car has a red leather interior, we chose to repaint the fenders red which gives the car a new look without any of that 70's garishness some manufacturers chose to do.

The three-piece cover arrived primed and ready for paint about three weeks ago. Mario and I took the cover to the bodyshop in Union Pier where the car was repaired compliments of last summer's collision. Mike at the shop had copious amounts of paint leftover from the fender repair/repaint and we gave him the task of painting the cover.

Mario retrieved the painted cover a few days ago with the intention of us installing it onto the spare tire this weekend. The car is currently at Ken's house instead of the garage we are borrowing for the winter in Lakeside. At my request, Mario brought the car to Ken's last Sunday during a mild sunny winter morning. Within hours of Ken and I taking the car out for a winter drive, Lake Michigan coupled with western winds brought us heavy lake-effect snow that caused us to quickly abandon our jaunt and get the car out of the falling snow. There wasn't any time to return to Lakeside. The XK8 was quickly removed from its winter storage and the Clenet now has that space. No worries, we took the XK8 to Lakeside where it will remain until the roads are clear and the two cars can be swapped back.

Friday evening, Mario and I ducked into the garage to install the tire cover while Ken was preparing dinner. I removed the original vinyl tire cover to test-fit the new hard-shell cover. We were both very perplexed when the cover would not fit over the spare tire. Everything we tried, including letting the air out of the spare kept us from getting the cover over the tire. Darn it! The tires we had installed last summer are obviously just a bit larger than the originally fitted tires. Being disappointed, we decided to reconvene Saturday morning to address the problem.

After breakfast the next morning, Mario and I removed the spare wheel from the car and took it and the new tire cover to Sears in Michigan City to purchase a replacement spare tire. The goal was to find a new tire that would fit into the hard shell that was a similar in size to the Coker's on the car.

About a hundred dollars and two hours later, we now have a spare tire mounted on the wire wheel that allows us to utilize the new cover. The red cover completes the new two-tone paint scheme and gives the rear end a more substantial look.

The next addition will be hand-painted gray pinstripes along the fenders and encircling the spare tire cover to balance the gray body color.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The weekend in S.W. Michigan was very warm by February temperature averages. Saturday brought us much needed temps hovering around sixty degrees and into the fifties on Sunday. I was able to take my XK8 out on Saturday, with the convertible top lowered. I finally washed the car outside to remove some road-film that accumulated back in November when I parked it for the winter months.

Sunday afternoon with its bright sunshine gave Mario and I the opportunity to drive the Clenet. We originally visited the garage where it is stored to test and replace a tail lamp that didn't illuminate last weekend after reattaching the lamp assemblies. I prayed the problem would only be the bulb as neither Mario or I wanted to attempt removing the assembly and wiring. Copious amounts of RTV sealant were used on the underside to keep the wiring and assembly free of water.

We arrived with new bulbs and removed the red lens. The light illuminated as it should and we both were very relieved that additional work was not required. I opened the overhead door and we both looked at each other and said in unison...Hey, let's take it out!

I drove up the Red Arrow Highway from Lakeside to Sawyer where we topped-off the tank. I told Mario to take over behind the wheel and we jumped onto Interstate 94 for a few miles. We continued the hour-long journey, picking clear streets to motor along.

This little jaunt did wonders to lift my spirit, especially seeing the looks and reactions from oncoming drivers and their passengers.

We had fun.

Monday, February 2, 2009

We're still spending time with Cleo...

.This past Saturday, Mario and I spent a few more hours with the Clenet. We were lucky that the temperature in Lakeside climbed well into the mid-30's giving us a "warmer" garage to do the work. The only task we chose to complete was installing the rear fender-mounted tail/stop lamp assemblies.

The original pieces sourced by Alain Clenet on the Series I Roadsters are actually from Harley Davidson. Last Summer I had posted an entry on this blog where Mario and I added chrome sleeves on the rear tail/stop lamp assemblies. The chrome sleeve added a bit more chrome to the rear fender to help balance the sheer amount of chrome up front and the sleeve helps cover the clear window on the lens that is originally used for the motorcycle rear plate illumination.

Reattaching the tail/stop lamp assemblies to the rear fender is not merely tightening a few screws and wires. The task is just a bit more involved and requires an added ground wire and copious amounts of RTV silicone sealant to ensure the assembly and wiring are watertight.

The process began with us raising the car and removing the rear tire to gain access to the underside of the rear fender. Mario chose to work on the underside while I worked on the outer side. In tandem, together we accomplished our goal in about three hours.

We will most likely spend more time with the car before the spring season arrives here in the Midwest. We are hoping to upgrade the original roll-up windows to power and are awaiting an original metal spare tire cover for the rear continental kit. That will be another blog entry!

The car is now road-worthy and we are eagerly awaiting a clear spring day to take the Clenet out on a leisurely drive!