US Road Trip Epilog: 19th August 2005

Back in the Riviera and back on the road. Thankfully. 130 miles along Highway 70 to Jackson, and though it's a bit hot quite a nice drive.

Along the way the intermittent vibration returns, of course. Precision Autohaus told me that any vibration was normal, but then their speciality is old Mercedes and maybe those old Mercedes don't have the build quality of a '63 Riviera. Either that or they're just lying rodents. I wonder which one it could be?

It has to be said, though, that when the vibration isn't present the car is running smoother than it has for a long time. I think the idle is set a bit low - it almost stalls at one point waiting at traffic lights - but apart from that this is one fairly happy old Buick.

Getting passed on the Interstate by an older car
Getting passed on the Interstate by an older car. I think that's a first for the road trip, and it's great to see an old car being driven (especially at speed) and not sitting on the back of a trailer.

On arrival at the Best Western in Jackson I can take advantage of the free internet access (car parking is also free, which is nice). Having worked-out that getting that harmonic damper rebuilt is unlikely to happen as quick as I need it to, it's time to look for a good used one. Once again the ROA come to my rescue and I'm soon on the phone to Tom Telesco in Stamford, Connecticut.

Tom has a good used harmonic damper and, even though it's getting on for 5 p.m. on a Friday, will do what he can to get it to the motel I'll be staying in over the weekend in Memphis. Thankfully I've pre-booked the motel and so can tell him the address. As far as paying for it, he's happy for me to wire him the money when I can get to a post office. I've said it before, but these Riviera people are just amazing.

As well as running Classic and Muscle Automotive, engineering custom parts for older engines, Tom has been known to drag race a '64 Riviera. One he's owned from new and over 300,000 miles. To read more about it, and it's quite an interesting story if you're into old cars, see and

You may be wondering why I'm so concerned to get this problem sorted. From what I understand - therefore probably wrong - the job of the harmonic damper is to stop internal vibration in this big old 401 CI (6.6 litre) engine. Internal vibration in an engine is obviously not a good thing, and will cause damage elsewhere if allowed to continue. Of course, there's still a chance that the harmonic damper isn't the cause of the problem, but there's little I can do about that at the moment other than to from remove it from the list of possible suspects.

US Road Trip Epilog: 20th August 2005 >