I knew progress would slow in August. When you live in a place that has long, cold winters, the populace becomes accustomed to getting together literally every weekend in July and August, preferably outdoors, to enjoy our summer. Summers here can be a mixed bag: Too much rain, too little rain, too hot, too cool. Throw in a global pandemic, which created a pent up demand for family outdoor fun, and this summer has been an overscheduled reset. Super spreader events or not, life isn’t worth living if you can’t enjoy time with the ones you love, and another “cancelled” July/August would have been a Greek Tragedy to us snow people.
As August begins to wane, time in the garage has increased. The pause gave me time to think about what direction to take the project, and after much thought and consideration, I’m sticking with my current plan which is as follows:
Remove Hood, Doors and Trunk Lid. Disassemble Engine Compartment Disassemble Interior and remove seats
- Remove Dash
- Remove Shift Lever
- Remove Sway Bar
- Bleed Brakes and Remove Master Cylinder and Reservoirs
Pull Back Wiring Harnesses in Engine Compartment and label Inspect Sills/Floors Break loose lug nuts
- Jack Up and disassemble Prop Shaft
- Remove Transmission Cross Member
- Disconnect or cut off Exhaust just after first flange after Manifold
- Pull Engine and Transmission
The plan has been to get the engine and transmission out before taking a pause to complete more shop upgrades, and as I stand today I think the engine will be out of the car by end of September, possibly sooner.
What have I learned so far? It’s extremely rusty and body and shell repairs will take at least 12-18 months at the pace I work at. Some of the hardest repairs? The window frame and cowl are extremely rusty and that metal work is full of complex curves and will require plenty of shrinker/stretching.
I bought the car knowing it would be a challenge, and when I first looked at it, the feeling of intimidation sweeps over me. I’ve been disassembling since Mid May and I study it on a microlevel, a section at a time. When I do this I’m less intimidated. I remind myself I’m not building a concourse restoration. While the build quality will be nothing but high, this car is being purpose built for long distance vintage car rallying. The shell needs to be straight and sound. Little of the interior will go back in, although I will save the dash and center console.
I’m always thinking about how to build it for its intended purpose. Where to make it stronger, where to make it lighter, how to make it safe but comfortable. When I think about the project I jettison perceptions or false deadlines. When I’m asked how its going, my answer is simple: Well. I refuse to say when it will be done. My objective is to be driving the car for the first time the spring of 2025 and have it rally ready by Summer of 2026. I’ll be 60 in December 2026 and I’m planning Key West to Dead Horse for May 2027. I have plenty of time, I can’t and won’t allow myself to be rushed.
The current phase ends when the engine and transmission are removed. The next steps after that are:
- Engine and Transmission removed.
- Complete shell strip. Every last nut, bolt screw to be removed.
- Remove Glass. Save as much of front windshield metal as possible to use as templates.
- Remove Dash, remaining wiring harness.
- Up and onto jack stands supporting 2 X 6 boards.
- Remove suspension.
- Get Shell onto Rotisserie.
That would end the disassembly phase and start the rust removal/fresh steel grafting. When done, the body will go into primer and ready for dry reassembly.
I won’t think too much past these steps for now. My loose goal is to have on Rotisserie by March 31 2022. When it’s ready to lift off the ground, it will be ready. We are an instant gratification society, and it does take discipline and thick skin to ignore others perceptions of how fast it should be going. My business responsibilities always take precedent. This time next year I’ll be moving my son to Port Orange, Florida as he continues his education. All things in their proper time.
By the time I write the next update I should be close to pulling the engine and transmission. I alluded to some shop projects after that. I’m going to build a bench for welding as well as panel beating and metal fabrication, where I can mount my brake, English wheel, bead roller and shrinker/stretcher. Once I finish disassembly the metal work begins and this bench will make it easier.