Here is with all the front trim, grille, bumpers and most of the side trim removed. I also took off the nice wheels and tires and put the old rollers on that I used when I painted the convertible. Until I can get the convertible to storage, this car will have to sit outside, so I won't be removing any of the glass until I can keep this one inside.
The hood is very straight, and with no cancerous rust-through, it's worth doing some effort to save this one. Also it has these cool-looking fake vent openings. The trim pieces from these openings look pretty good, and though I will have to re-paint them, I won't need to get them plated, which would be expensive because they are so large. The bumpers will be expensive enough.....
My 'solid' car has turned out not to be so solid after all. I knew the driver quarter had some putty, and some small, old, low-quality previous repair work, but it goes a little deeper than I thought. I removed the trim and a long section of the lip is rusted away, and I can see some kind of cheesy looking home-made panel edge that had been concealed by the trim inside the back wheel opening.
I won't know exactly what I'm dealing with until I can keep the car indoors, and then grind off all the paint from this panel. I'm still hoping to do a small patch or two, and not replace the whole panel.
I'll start disassembly here. I've already ordered a reproduction plastic grille center panel, they call it a 'stone shield', because the bottom edge of mine is broken off. The aluminum grille-surround trim is coming loose, the tabs have broken off, and I'm not sure how to go about fixing them. New ones are about $60, so the old ones might not be worth too much effort.
The hood has never been repainted, and the southern Kansas sun has burned through the original paint. I'm going to have to figure out how to remove or neutralize all this surface rust. I remember one of my fellow journal-keepers on this site removing surface rust from a roof, and I'll go look to see how he did it before I try anything.
Here is one last batch of "before" photos before I started taking the car apart today. The rear bumper core I bought from the swap meet happens to be painted a similar color as my car. It makes it look bad, like a demolition derby car. I much prefer the look of new chrome, and hope to restore it back that way soon.
I removed the tattered seat cover, to reveal the tattered original seat beneath it. I've ordered a repro PUI seat cover for the front seat.
Right now it sits in a friend's climate-controlled, dark, empty warehouse. It has not seen sunlight in a year and a half, and I have not started the engine in six months. The gas is bad and the battery is dead.
What a warehouse! If it was mine, I'd have it filled in a year. I'd have them jammed in and stacked to the ceiling inside it.
It sat here with the rear bumper missing for awhile, as I had robbed it off to get replated for the '71 convertible I just finished. At the big Riverport swap meet, I met someone who had a rear bumper core I could buy for $40. He warned me about the dark turquoise paint, but it's ok, I'll have them re-done. $40 was a little more than I wanted to pay for a core, but what the heck, I want to get started, and there was no labor involved to get it.
One amazingly straight quarterpanel, with no rust-through! These Nova wheels will look great.....on someone else's Nova! I sold them on ebay for $125 and shipped them to Florida.
I bought a couple of inexpensive cans of engine degreaser, hosed the engine down real good, took it to the high pressure car wash, and it cleaned up a whole lot.
I scrounged up the proper 14" painted Cutlass wheels over the same period of time I was digging them up for the bronze convertible. One of the bent wheels from that car will become the spare for this car. Two others came from the local pick-and-pull, and the two on the passenger side I bought on ebay for $60. The seller told me they were from his long-gone 1973 442. They happened to be the proper color, I didn't even have to paint them! The whitewall tires were taken from the Nova wheels, they are fairly new, so I kept them and had them transferred to the Olds wheels.
For another $80, I bought new rear coil springs and shocks. It looks a heck of alot better here with a normal stance, and without the customary old-GM-car sagging coil springs squat in the rear end, and leaning over to one side.
The car has cleaned up well, mostly retains it's original-looking appearance, and looks good photographed in this favorable light. I'm kind of formulating a plan on this car, get it done fast, keep it simple, get it done. Make it pretty, enjoy for a very brief time, and then sell it. I feel like I'm losing track of how many cars I have squirreled away various places throughout the St. Louis metro area, and it's time to cash-out, and thin the herd a little.
This will be a pretty basic restoration, without any mods. I hope to actually 'build' a car someday like many of you other journal-keepers are doing, and though mine is pretty standard, I very much love, and spend alot of time reading and looking at your projects.