Details – Red Lodge Project
This was the condition of the body of the Red Lodge coach when it came to us. There had been a layer of masonite board placed over the exterior panels, but this was the original paneling underneath. This coach had run in Red Lodge for many years and had an Indian tepee painted on the driver’s box sides.
An interesting aspect of restorations is finding identifications, such as this coach’s serial number, 24631, and the smith’s name, W.I.McDonald. These Yellowstone touring coaches are all numbered and it is not always common to have uniform numbers. Often times coaches were combined from wrecked coaches to put together a serviceable vehicle. This vehicle does have all uniform numbers.
We have the same number on the axles as well as the driver’s boot irons.
The body was dismantled, only to discover that everything was rotten; even the main frame. I did salvage the rear panel, but the old body merely became patterns for a new body. Pictured here is the old body in the rear and the new body being replicated along side.
Here we have the body panels on with the driver’s box also replaced. You can also see the rear panel reinstalled. In restoration work, if there is anything structurally sound, we will maintain it as part of the vehicle.
Even though we needed to replace the seat bases and sides, we were able to salvage the backs, and of course, all the original iron work. Here the rockers are refastened (what rides on the thorough braces) and we’re ready to begin the paint process.
The painting involves a series of steps and this show us in the middle of the process.
We now have the painting done on the body, new leather seat backs in place and the initial black border stripe on.
The undercarriage must also undergo a complete dismantling. Every part is disassembled, sanded, irons sandblasted and any identifying marks documented.
Once the undercarriage is reassembled, it undergoes the same priming and painting process the body undergoes.
Striping is applied before assembly so each section is accessible.
And finally the undercarriage is ready for the body.
As the body is elevated to reassemble to the undercarriage, you can see the number – 126 – has been painted on the driver’s box. This was discovered under one of the Indian tepees.
Finally reassembled, after about 960 hours, Red Lodge’s Yellowstone coach, number 126, serial number 24361, is back together again. Thanks to the Red Lodge Rodeo Association for recognizing the significance of this coach and trusting its restoration to Engel’s Coach Shop! And thanks to the Carbon County Historical Museum for housing it for the enjoyment of others!