Mike, My best friend of 20 years surprised me the 23rd of December when our families met for breakfast. As we left the restaurant I noticed an Apollo sitting next to my Regal in the parking lot. They are somewhat uncommon, and over the past few years when he and I come across them I usually comment that I should buy one of them. Having owned several GS's, Rivieras and Skylarks, I thought an Apollo would be a fun driver car because they don't have the stigma of the high dollar muscle cars. As we neared the Apollo in the lot, I turned to Mike and made the smart ass remark "Ah, you bought me an Apollo for Christmas." to which he replied "Why yes I did". He pulled the keys from his pocket, handed them to me and said "The title's in the glove compartment." As I stood in shock he told me to go ahead and climb in. Since I already have 15 cars, my wife did not share the same joy or enthusiasm as I did. Mike and I climbed in, cranked it over a few times, tried to leave a few times (kept dying). Thinking that my wife would follow us home, I was surprised to turn and see her driving through the intersection... :-)
Off we finally went, with the rain beginning to fall, no turn signals, no heat or defroster, mmm no wipers, and no wife running defense...
Mike pulled the car from a field where it had rested for 10 years, and purchased it for $250. After reinstalling the rear window (who knows why it was removed?), replacing the distibutor, the master cylinder, the alternator, and some wiring (due to an engine fire) he had it roadworthy enough to present to me for Christmas. I immediately disposed of the steel wheels (after the sledge hammer to socket removal of the wheel locks protecting those black steel wheels), opting for 15x7 and 15x8 Buick Rallies. Then tinkered with the wipers to get them operational. Freed up the rusted climate control unit. Pulled the AM radio in favor of a cheap Kraco (until I come across a factory AM/FM), and a week later drove it to work for the first time.
Despite some minor rust, the body and paint wasn't in too bad of shape. I figured a good buff job would make it look unembarassing at least.
By now, I was now driving the Apollo to work about one day a week. I installed new front gas shocks (fortunately had air shocks in the rear which allowed for the 15x8's and 255/60 tires), and installed an 1.25" front and 1" rear sway bars. So by this point the old Apollo was not looking too bad, and was driving and handling pretty good. With the 350 2bbl and 2.73 gears it was actually getting decent (16-18) mpg commuting.
Tired of hunching to avoid the torn and sagging headliner, I broke down and ordered a new preformed headliner. Stripping out the moldy, mouse nest infested headliner (complete with LOTS of feces) made for a great Saturday project...
Well, you know how these things go. When I came across an ad for a free interior with power split bench seats from a Buick Regal Limited, I figured those seats would probably be more comfortable, what the heck-not going for a restoration.
The advantage of getting a car that has sat a long time is you have years of zero mileage, so despite 33 years, only 156K on the clock. This is nothing on a Buick motor, and the compression and bearing wear was still very good. The lifters were another story/ I added a shim to the oil pump relief spring in an effort to quiet them, but still the periodic lifter ticking. And it's a real shame when you have a 2bbl that is just choking the performance on your V8. So...the part hoarding begins. Looking for low-buck, low miles used. First comes the Poston cam, then the T/A Stage 1 Intake manifold. Then new Rhoads Lifters, Crane pushrods, and Cloyes double roller. Hmm, what's that a free set of headers! Not sure they will fit, oh well let's try...that's where I am today.
Every time I wonder if my wife really loves me, I just look at messes like this that pile up in the kitchen until I get time to install them...
As the interior slowly progresses, I snapped photos of the old seat and headliner. Note the comments on the headliner.
The Regal front seats have been installed, they are nice and comfortable, though my wife thinks it looks a little pimped out now.
I am most of the way with the headliner install. Still need to do some minor trimming, then repaint some of the trim prior to reinstalling.
Until I can set aside an entire weekend, the motor mods will have to wait. So the engine will stay iron clad with 2bbl carb for now,