As I restored the convertible, I regretted not having better 'before' photos. I'm looking forward to doing this car, and not spending thousands of dollars and a hundred hours of labor installing expensive repro sheetmetal that doesn't fit, and trying to weld it to existing rusty metal.
This was a rural car, and lived it's life on a farm on a dirt road. The engine is noisy, filthy dirty, and knocks when it is revved. The previous owner told me it was not the original engine, it was from a 1969 Cutlass. It has HEI, and an Edelbrock high-rise aluminum intake and a Carter Thermoquad.
The original body-color painted wheels are gone, traded for these Nova or Camaro wheels at some point to a salvage yard just for the better tires that happened to be on them.
I kept if for a short time at my father's place in Grafton, Illinois. The weekend after I picked it up, I took it out for these 'before' photos.
This by far, is the nicest, straightest project car I've ever bought. After all the endless disasters and complaining about the convertible, this one should be the opposite, very easy and a real pleasure to work on.
The body is amazingly straight, and practically rust-free. The quarterpanels and fenders have all had some kind of minor repair done on them, but the doors, fenders and hood all appear to have original paint! Lots of surface rust on the hood and tops of the fenders. I don't yet know how I'll deal with that.
I've actually been sitting on this car for 2 1/2 years. It was listed on ebay, at around $600 when I saw it. I got it for $750. This is the day I picked it up, in Norwich, Kansas, in November, 2003. Doing a little advertising for the (former) slot machine company, by being seen in the company van.
This was a two-family car since new. I have all the paperwork that shows it was purchased new at Vic Yarrington Oldsmobile in Topeka, Kansas, that dealership still in business 30+ years later, under the same name. The car was traded back in there around 1974, and then bought used at that time by the parents of the man's wife who I bought it from.
This is me in front of my new acquisition. I was well into the '71 convertible project at this time, but I was living my base philosophy, "buy it first, figure out what to do with it second".
I drove it up onto the trailer under it's own power, on a nearly flat tire. Idling rough, blub-blub-blub with leaky exhaust and almost no brakes. It has sun-faded carpet, a tattered front seat, and the radio opening is cut out of the dash. The odometer shows 19,000 which is obviously 119, but this is relatively low miles for a 30+ year old car.
Jobless for a month and a half now, I found a guy who was willing to sell me all the parts I wanted from certain cars for $50 per car. I chose this 1967 Belvedere II and a super-wasted 1966 Impala coupe, paid the $100, and spent two days alone in the woods and filled my truck with parts twice. This is what the Belvedere looked like after I took the doors, passenger fender, front bumper and grille, dash pad and a few other parts.
I sold the car parts on both ebay and at the Riverport Swap Meet on April 30th, did very well, and still have stuff left to sell. At the swap meet, I brought one of my antique slot machines, to let people know that I bought and sold them. I met someone who later sold me two slot machines, and later another guy who had the motherlode, 13 old pinball machines. Almost all of them were very rough, so I got them pretty cheap.
I brought home three truckloads of pinball machines to re-sell. It's been keeping me busy.
The car has only been done for a month, and I'm getting a little tired of walking around it in the garage. It's really in the way, and I have to be very careful when I move anything that it doesn't get anywhere near the car.
If I were to sell it, it would bring enough to get another project car and an excellent head start on it.....
But I promised myself I would keep it for awhile.
While digging through a folder on my old hard drive, I found this other 'before' photo, taken by the guy in Lawrence, KS, who I bought the car from. He took it in 1996 when he brought the car home on a trailer, he had just paid $60 for it at a towyard auction. He straightened the frame and installed the green fenders and blue hood before he sold it to me. So I guess this is a 'before the before' photo.
The third photo was taken by me right after I bought it.