Last Sunday afternoon, I purchased my first gas pump. I haven't named her yet -- I name all my cars so why not give this heavy machine a name? Whoever she is, this is our journey. I have some tools I inherited from my dad and little to no restoration experience. Please stick around if you enjoy a good dumpster fire.

OBJECTIVE: My girlfriend wants to use the pump as a decorative piece outside her retail shop. I hope to get away with a simple sand & paint as well as replacing all glass/rubber. I'll spray and pray using her company's colors and have a local sign guy make decals of her logo. As of now, we don't plan to illuminate the pump though doing so is undoubtedly the better idea. All internals appear to be present and I only say that because there's a lot of junk inside -- might be missing a flux capacitor or something -- but I don't plan to pump gas so who cares? Lastly, I'm treating this as a "budget build" which means I don't have the money to send it off for a proper resto and I'll be taking plenty of shortcuts (both intentional and accidental).

Thank you to all who have built this forum! May my blunders serve as guideposts for those who come after me.

DAY ONE: Drove 100 miles. Handed an antique dealer $900. Loaded it into my girlfriend's fancy rebadged Pathfinder. Drove back 100 miles fantasizing about gas pump barn finds, like the one two feet behind me USED to be. Made two horrendous picks in my fantasy football draft. Spent remainder of evening reading feel-good articles about my picks, ignored articles criticizing said picks.

DAY TWO: Got it unloaded and all fingers present. It's on a cart so I can move it around "my workshop." Found a palm sander (cheers, Dad) and sanded the doors and body with 50 grit. The first door was barely hanging on and came off with no problem. Second door wasn't interested in my advances.

DAY THREE: Began part shopping with Gas Pump Heaven. Hit a speed bump when I was told I might have a Bennett door. Joined this forum and got some answers (thanks all)! I'm convinced my pump is a Gilbarco 996. If you're new to these, here's what I learned today:

- Gilbarco 996 - Made from 1947-1953. It has either one or two horizontal chrome trim strips by the window glass - my theory is Texaco pumps used the single strip but I could be wrong. The slot for the ad glass is slightly wider than the window glass.

- Gilbarco 906 - Smaller number but was actually made AFTER the 996. Has a V-shaped emblem around the sight glass. The ad slot and window slot are the same width. These base is scalloped, another difference from the 996. Both pumps use size 10 ad glass.

- Your serial number might be on a key plate next to the nozzle slot. I say "might" because mine doesn't have a key plate. The serial number can tell you roughly when your pump was produced if you find a person in this forum that has those records.

"Are the trim pieces interchangeable?" I guess so, but I've read that the 906 uses a smaller sight glass and has a different sight glass manifold. I really like the look of the 906's V-shaped trim but I'm sticking with my single trim because A) I don't like adding holes, B) I'd rather not Bondo the existing holes, and C) I don't even know what a "sight glass manifold" is. Best for me not to complicate things.

Got the second door off.

"How'd you get that door off?" It was a cunning attempt to trick me, I'll give it that. Dunno about the 906, but your 996 should have 3 screws in the top trim piece. The left and right screws hold the trim (the middle one DOES NOT), remove these screws, label them, and keep them somewhere safe (I poke them into cardboard). That middle "screw" actually functions as a latch, rotate it 90 degrees and you should be able to pull the door out.

STATUS: Both doors are sanded with 50 grit and not all paint is removed. It would be great to own a media blaster but I don't and even if I did, I'm not sure where I'd use it without my better half executing me at dawn. 50 grit on my palm sander will have to do. Might attempt a stripper of some sort, maybe even a solvent. Might also grab an Evaporust knockoff if I can find something tomorrow. A previous owner attached a sign to one of the doors, resulting in some pretty gnarly surface corrosion -- my shizz is lookin' like lizard skin, ya'll! Planning to Bondo the scaley bit before hitting it with primer.

ROADBLOCK: Not sure how to remove these side panels. I removed two bolts near the top, each connecting to the frame (front/back), but I'm stumped on how to remove the crank handle one one side and the hose / nozzle slot on the other. Scouring the forums but thrilled if you know the answer...