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Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Puzzle - Where it starts to come back together

     Hopefully this is where the fun begins. In theory this is the be the best part of the restoration process but alas it's another frustrating process. Most of the frustration is my indecision in what I parts I would choose and ideas regarding customization. I need to be grounded and focused if I am to see this through and only time will tell if I am to achieve this. As soon as the car was in the garage it immediately was posted up in jack stands and hopefully a few months later it would be sitting on it's own rubber as it had from the factory 43 years earlier. First we started with Dynamat:

     Once we got the floor worked out and covered with Dynamat Extreme I worked with the rest of the car. From the firewall all the way to the tail lights, the roof, doors and quarter panels Dynamat is there. I wanted a quiet vibration free interior and this was the only way to go. We got carpet fitted into position but once the car is complete it will need to be worked on because of my roll cage placement. I need a professional to work some of the windlace around the rings of the roll cage mounts. Seats went in immediately following and we had a significant hook up on the seats (free) Recaro Style XL's. They are very very nice and quite comfortable but I think waaaay over priced. If you try to get these the cheapest I found was $2100 a seat which is ridiculous. At that price I'd rather find some Ferrari 355 or 360 seats and set them up for the car by re-upholstering (If I were doing another car that would be my plan). I already had the rear seats upholstered so I matched the fronts as best I could and only in direct sunlight and with a discerning eye can you tell the difference. I wanted to still advertise that I was using RECARO seats but I didn't want to blast it out so I stitched that up in black cloth on the black leather. Also to keep with the "old school" look and to match my back seats they have the 1" pleating and I think they ended up looking really good.

     Now that part of the interior was in we worked on suspension and brakes. I ordered from Summit Wilwood's 12.19" 4-Piston Caliper Big Brake Kit. The funny thing is when I ordered the brakes I wanted black calipers with silver rotors but they ended up sending both in black which I was pleasantly surprised with and if I knew if they were available would have opted for that:

     Now installed with POR 15 rolled fenders as well as the Rod 'N Custom Mustang II front suspension

    Time for the Rear Suspension. I ordered a Currie 9" Rear End w/ 3.50 gears with Trac Lock and TCP's G-Bar 4 Link. We had the axle housing's frame supports welded rather than bolted on for added support and had the whole setup powder coated. TCP already powder coats their suspension pieces so I was not too worried about that. 

     I primed and sprayed the pumpkin before installation and figured grey is fitting

    Next time on the blog Pegasus gets her heart but a final photo of what I'm working with


Paint: Heartaches & Headaches

    This is where things start to no be fun anymore. I'm a very impatient person by nature. Complete ADD I've accepted this throughout life and it's been a significant hurdle for me. It's hard for me to trust a lot of people and it's even harder having to wait and rely on people. I prefer to do a lot of things myself but I know my limitations, paint and body are not my strong suits.

     The person will remain anonymous who ended up doing my paint job. The paint itself looks very good there are a few detail items that irritate me a bit but the car hasn't been color sanded and buffed. I'll have to wait to see the ultimate final product but I know there are things I am going to have to get fixed. Still new to this cut throat buisness of classic restoration I usually take somebody for their word but seriously 5 months to get a car painted. My car kept getting pushed to the side so other things could get done. I know this guy did most of this work in his garage but I just couldn't understand it. I'm told a few weeks which turn into a few months. That on top of the entire car prep was rushed and after the car was painted I had to go back and do interior prep and in my limited experience seems pretty backwards. Here is what ended up happening:

    As you can see the paint looks great while in the booth. The Greenish/Gold base coats with the grey over the top is stunning looking. I wanted something different and my friend Robert delivered in getting something unique than what was done with the standard Eleanor. Once the paint cured a few days we towed it back to my house where the real backwards work began.

    She was starting to come together. Due to some issues the decals we used to stencil was pulling paint away from the base coats so we would have to paint the GT500 stripes later no big deal. The floorpan needed some serious work with welding, the cage needed to be painted as well as the dash and the door panels. The interior was very dirty and needed quite a bit of work. Thus started my many days in the garage trying to prep a car that was already painted. What is this backwards year vice backwards day? Here is the process of my many days and weeks of work.

     After all this fun and exciting backwards prep work it went to Round 2 for paint. This time the floor pans needed final welding from all the prep work I did in the driveshaft tunnel. The GT500 Stripes needed to be laid out and the stripes down the firewall. High Temp paint was sprayed in the engine bay and on the front crossmember to ensure they paint would not bubble. Additionally the cage was resprayed along with the door panels to conclude the paint process or so I thought. Here goes with the visuals.

The underside of the hood rolled in POR 15

POR 15 Rolled on the complete interior of the car it was chemical stripped before the initial paint process  and showing the final paint of the roll cage.

And she's finally done now the real fun can begin of putting her all back together again :)

     And there we have it after 1 year and 3 months after having the car assembly could begin. Some people have their cars done even before that time so it was more than frustrating for me. But there was a positive in this whole experience for me and it happened about 2 minutes after leaving with the car on a flat bed. A buddy of ours Art had towed the car in the past and he came out to tow it for us this time. We stopped by a 7-11 to grab some water on this hot october afternoon quite uncommon for us in San Diego. After being in the parking lot for about 2 minutes I was swamped by 6 people wanting to know about the car and what I was going to do with it. That part of the "Eleanor" experience got me really excited! People love this car it brings a lot of smiles and attention wherever it goes. From that point on and on the drive to the garage, people were neck snapping looking at my car and it was just on a flat bed. I couldn't wait to drive her for myself and hopefully in a few months I will be.