Well, after two-and-a-half years taking up space in two different garages, I decided enough was enough and fired up the car yesterday. I was able to get the engine running well enough that I went one further and slapped some rubber on it and dropped it off the jack stands.
It actually runs like crap. You might recall that I had some fuel issues, and I had to run half a can of carb-cleaner through the fuel pump before it was de-gummed. The only way to keep the engine going was to pull the #3 spark plug wire, otherwise it backfires up through the carburetor and stalls. Furthermore, I have to keep the choke closed down otherwise it leans out and stalls (which might be the fuel pump). It only runs on three cylinders, but it idles, and, hey, the speedo and tachometer work! So does the check engine light.
But, whatever. It runs like crap, but it runs. And I re-did the brakes, so they outta work. Let's take this baby out!
I had a pretty good hunch that I'd end up pushing the thing back home, or towing it behind the WRX. Actually, the worst part of the drive was the dusty windshield and low afternoon sun. I had to pull an Ace Ventura and drive with my head out the window half the time. I have to do a lot of throttle work to keep it going and it stalled once (it wasn't my clutch work, honest). When that happened, I thought my fears were realized and I'd be pushing it home, but I managed to get it fired up again.
The things that I've fixed feel really good. It handles great and the steering is sharp. The brakes work like gangbusters. The rebuilt shifter is tight, and the short-shift kit is very quick. For only using three cylinders and having poor timing, it sounds really good. It's nice and loud. No doubt the neighbors thought, "Hey, the wack-job next door finally got that heap running". I passed a son and dad while on my drive and got some stares.
I didn't want to encounter any traffic, or have to push it a long way home if it totally died, so I only took it out for a mile or so. Plus, there were safety issues what with the windshield and lack of seat belts.
Clearly, it still needs a lot of work. I thought I had fixed that coolant leak, but no. Now that the car is down off the blocks, I need to torque the front suspension and insert the cotter pins to keep the bolts in place. I need to time the engine with a timing light, and figure out why cylinder 3 misfires. And I need to work out why it runs so lean. But it was a good maiden drive. A little tuning up and there will be a lot more.