Gosh, it's been a long time since I've added anything to this Blog. Let's see....We had major rain this spring in CA and without a garage I was pretty stuck...but I guess that's just an excuse. Truth is, I have been working along on it but have not been good about updating this site.
Biggest problem for me has been the floorpan. Cutting it out was no problem (LOL!) but welding the replacement in was major work. I know...I know...you welding gods would have done it in an afternoon, but for me it was major. I ended up ordering another piece form Classic...a toeboard from a Camero that was the closest fit I could find. Welding old body sheetmetal is no picnic. Turns out that the zinc dip they use makes it extremely hard for amateurs like me to work with. FINALLY...I got a decent (by my standards) weld and the floor is done.
If you look upper right you will see where the Camero and the Nova pans do not match. I will stuff those gaps with some sort of sealer.
Next week I will get the block back fro the machinist. It is a 2-bolt Gen. II roller cam block bored 0.030 so I can stroke it to a 383. I am only planning a street build...300-350 HP...so 2-bolts are cool with me. I am also thinking of going Tri-Power just because it looks boss (that is an oldie word that translates as "sick" to you young folks).
Working in the driveway when its 105 degrees, even under a canopie, is a total non-starter for me. In other words, I heven't gotten much done lately.
The block is back and it is beautiful! I absolutely love a fine piece of machine work ... I'm sure you know what I mean. So now I have two seperate lines of work goin on: (1) the engine build-up; and (2) the body work.
I have been mostly working on the body stuff early mornings when it is still fairly cool. The front suspension is out now and ready for new bushings and bumpers. I'll post a pic when I get it done.
Settled on a paint color at last ... Volkswagen "Gekko Green" which is not to be confused with their "Cyber Green" on the older Beetles. Their color code is LA6K/L9 which is slightly lighter ... creamier according to my 16-year-old daughter ... and will look like a modernization of one of the original factory colors (Light Yellow Green code 42-42). This is a 2006 base/clearcoat color and will look really good with a camel colored interior.
Got the subframe back in last weekend with help from some folks at StevesNovaSite. When I took it out last summer to clean and paint it I threw all the bolts and washers in a baggie. When it came time to reinstall it I had forgotten where the two thick spacers went! Turns out they go on the FRONT mounts. Thanks Guys!!!
Next step was the subframe connectors and...once again...problems. The connectors from Competition Engineering are straight, and they are prevented from going in by the foot wells in the back seat area. Looks like it is going to be BIG HAMMER time again!
The third thing I need to get it rolling is a rear-end. I junked the original 8.2" 2.56 open and will replace it with a Ford 8.8" 3.73 posi/locker with 31 spline axles. I think that will handle the modest increase in power from the mild 383 I'm building. A friend (who is a far better welder than I am) should get the new spring perches in this week.
Finally, I have had the disk brake conversion kit for 6 months now, and will start mounting that as soon as possible. The with new coils front and new leaf springs back and I should be rolling.
Wow! A year ago today I called AAA and had my �new� �71 towed to my driveway. At that time I was planning on a 6-month project, and had even (foolishly, oh very foolishly) told my 16-year old daughter it would be ready for her to drive to school in the fall. It had been running a few weeks before and the body was fairly straight and appeared pretty rust free; a typical California 350/350 with just a few holes and dents left by a first owner ham radio dude and by a second owner who carried bikes on the roof. Get it running�pop the dents�take it down to the local cheapie paint shop for a quick once over�replace/restore the destroyed front seat. What could be simpler??
Well�to start with�I�m bad about leaving �well enough� alone. Then after digging into the project � let�s just say it wasn�t quite as straight as I thought. The first hint of trouble came when I went to change the oil and about 2 quarts of water came out before the oil! Then I pulled the rubber mats and there, before my eyes, was ���. my driveway! The seal around the steering column to firewall flange had been leaking under the rubber mats for about 35 years with predictable results.
So after one year exactly, here is where the project stands this morning:
Body and Interior: A friend had offered to loan me a rotisserie but it got caught up in another of his projects so it was jack-stands all the way. Lots of holes (from the ham radio dude and from removing the side molding) filled or welded; 98% of the dents beaten out or filled (my long board sanding keeps revealing new ones, and there is one really awkward one I�m saving for last); first coat of hi-build primer pretty much sanded down; subframe out, cleaned up, repainted and put back. Interior stripped out, sheet metal painted with rust bullet; learned how to weld zinc-coated floor pans, scored �new� front seats from an old Sunbird or something similar. Learned from my daughter that I was terribly mistaken in my taste for colors and that the correct color for this project will be 2006 VW Beetle Gekko Green, which I bought last week and will shoot over DP50LF sometime soon (I hope). I have decided that DIY bodywork is sort-of like mowing the lawn, it is never really finished and it gives you lots of time to think.
Drivetrain: Left the old 350/350 under a tarp, and started over with a late 1980s Gen. II small block ( L98 )bored .030 and machined for a 383 stroker kit. Iron Eagle crank and rods, KB dished pistons, GMPP Hot cam and valve train except for the Comp roller lifters, Scoggin-Dickey vortec heads, Edelbrock Performer manifold and a Holley 670 cfm Street Avenger on top. Will use a Mallory HEI distributor to light the candles. Looking for a pump-gas friendly street thug that will make around 350-375 horsepower. Torqued the heads down yesterday and finished the valve train last night (hey, what else is there to do on New Years Eve for a 60-year old college prof?? ).
Was planning on rebuilding the Turbo-350 but, once again, I just did not have my priorities straight and my daughter was happy to correct my error. So now the T350 gets replaced with a built WC-T5�along with new pedals and linkages, a (unique, of course, for Novas) bellhousing, 11� 26 spline clutch, and the column out of a �72 floor shift Monte. Of course that meant replacing the one-legged 8.2� 2:56 rear end, so now it has an 8.8� 3:73 posi out of a 95 F**d Exploder. The Exploder rear came with disk brakes, and I had already replaced the front drums with power disks. I also popped for new 4-leaf springs, subframe connectors and Cal-Tracs. Since F**d uses a 5 on 4.5 lug pattern I opted for chrome ralleys that were already drilled for both 4.5 and 4.75 patterns (yep�10 holes in all), vintage derby covers and 235/60R15 white lettered Firestones all around.
In all this process I have met some really nice folks, like Ben and the guys down at Ned�s Paint and Body Supply, the nice lady who answers the phone at Eastwood, Tim at Morgan�s Machine, and all of the folks at Steve�s Nova Site!! I�ve learned a lot, met lots of nice folks, and sitting here looking out the window at that heap of car parts I�d say it is coming alive � just another 6 months, honest!!
Happy New Year to Everyone!!
Well, time for my annual project update! LOL! For a project that was originally intended to take only 6 months, here I am 2 years into it and still going. So what all has happened over the past 12 months?
1. The entire drive train is finally in place. Changing over from an automatic transmission to a manual clutch transmission was a LOT more difficult (and expensive) than I thought it would be, but it is all done now.
2. The air condition kit from HotRodAir should arrive in a few days. This includes the accessory brackets so I can finish up the front of the engine. I will swap locations for the AC compressor and the alternator to reduce the number of hoses running around under the hood. After those go on I can complete assembling the radiator and the rest of the front.
3. I have decided not to try doing the upholstery myself, although it would have been fun. The original rear seat frame is OK so I will just have that recovered. I found front bucket seats from a 1991 Camaro that will be recovered also. I have recovered the door panels and the rear package tray myself in saddle-tan fake leather.
4. Moved the battery to the trunk (mostly to help clean up the engine compartment) with the help of a Summit battery relocation kit.
The biggest job this past year, one that literally took months, was the body work and painting. There were lots of small dings and dents...the sort of damage that a car accumulates in almost 40 years of being driven.
With a lot of guidance from knowledgeable friends, I straightened everything out, filled the blemishes, and shot the whole thing in Dupont DP-50, a light grey sealer/primer.
Then I finished it with VW Gekko Green and 4 coats of clear...all in my driveway! I think it looks pretty good. It is, as they say, a good 5 foot paintjob and something that I got a lot of satisfaction out of. See what you think!
Then, since I had the paint all ready to go, I started painting everything in site!!
The biggest impediment now, of course, is the weather. This entire project, as you can see, is happening in my driveway under a CostCo canopy. I am really really hoping to get it done enough for the spring Good Guys show in Pleasanton.
2 Years 2 Months 29 Days!!
Finally on the road and down to the Good Guys show. No, it isn't done yet, but at least it is moving on its own.
What a terrific feeling.