Daily Archives: September 13, 2011

Latest arrival to the dance

What do you do when you have a couple of old cars that you can’t drive? Why you buy another of course.

This is Terry’s latest project, a 1969 Chevrolet El Camino. Last year I did the paint and bodywork on Terry’s 1962 Austin-Healey Sprite restoration and I guess he liked the work because he is back for another round.

Terry is also the first customer to take advantage of my vehicle inspection service. This is the third car he had me look at. His first selection I was able to warn him off of because it had a lot of hidden damage and was going to need extensive reconstruction work. The other vehicle was in much better shape, but he decided on this El Camino instead.

There is a bit of a story behind this car. Terry owns the Austin-Healey seen on this site. But he also owns a survivor 1965 Lincoln Continental with less than 30,000 miles that is in, well to be honest, fantastic shape. It may be the finest unrestored slab side Lincoln in the southeast. He also owns a 2008 Dodge Challenger, one from the limited run that was offered the first year they came out.

The problem with all these cars is he can’t, or won’t, drive them. The Healey is too small, and with a top speed of about 50 mph, too slow to drive anywhere other than just putting around country roads. The Lincoln and Challenger he is afraid to drive lest someone run over him and destroy their intrinsic value. Considering that he has had both his daily drivers in the shop for repairs, one of them twice, from accidents that were not his fault, I can see why he would be nervous about that.

Anyway, he wanted an old car, a toy, that he can drive anywhere at anytime without worrying about being crushed by semi-trucks or damaging and losing his investment. Therefore, enter his El Camino. I know the car looks rough, but it is actually a pretty solid old car. A perfect place to start for what he has planned … too far gone to want to bring back to original condition, but still in good enough shape to not need a total rebuild to make into something nice.

Not to give too much away, but he has big plans for this car including extensive upgrades to make the car run and drive more like a modern car. He doesn’t care much for the blue and white with red splotches color scheme so the car will be redone in our High Performance Finish … though the primary color is still being considered.

The first series of pictures, dated August 10, show the car as it was delivered to my fabricator. Like I said, it looks worse than it is. The car will need new pans and toe boards, and a bit of rust repair here and there, but nothing major.

The second series of pictures, dated September 12, show the car partially disassembled. Some substandard repair work has been performed in the past, which while annoying, isn’t irreparable. Over the next 2 to 4 weeks Kelly, my fabricator, will cut out and repair all the rot, strip and prepare the car for the final bodywork and paint, and test fit or install the drive train and other major component upgrades. The car will then be transported to my shop for said bodywork, paint, and reassembly.

I am excited about this project. One because I like these old Chevelles, Malibus and El Caminos, but also because this is the first project that I am able to document from purchase to delivery.

Let the fun begin!

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