|Well, I suck at this whole journal thing so far...I keep forgetting to update it. I'll be as brief as possible without leaving out any details on whats been happening since my last post.
1st & most importantly, my new seatbelts arrived. WOO-HOO! Top notch product, beautiful chrome buckles & plates, 40 lbs of big ol' beefy bolts, washers, reinforcement plates, & other various mounting hardware, and very detailed instructions. After seeing the actual bits & pieces, I think what I'll be doing for the rear seats is mounting the retractors in the trunk & opening up the rear package tray big enough to pass the remaining hardware & webbing through, then mount the shoulder anchor point to the package tray itself with the supplied reinforcement plates. That'll make for the safest belt, best appearance, and actually not be much more difficult than mounting them to the package tray itself.
My girlfriend & I started stripping the interior, the headliner, roof insulation, door pillars, and trim pieces are all out of there now. I was surprised to find underneath the trim pieces that the "tan" headliner was actually a very nice shade of baby blue to match the original interior...and all soft & fuzzy. I bet it was quite nice 50 years ago. A couple things I learned in doing this:
1) Wear a mask & keep it on, the dust from that insulation is just plain nasty. I sent my girlfriend inside to feed the dogs while I ripped down the thick insulation so her asthma didn't flare up on us.
2) The early version of interior panel clips was some type of ribbed nail like a decking nail only smaller. Imagine my surprise when I pulled the fabric off the B-pillar interior panels to expose screw heads only to find nail heads instead! I got 'em off with a pry-bar that spanned either side of the nail & a very gentle touch so as not to bend the metal I was prying against.
3) old thread is fragile! My girlfriend laid backwards on the dashboard to reinstall the screws for the rearview mirror (gotta love a car big enough that your girlfriend can literally lay down on the dash) and when she sat back up the whole dashpad had split at its seam. Not the end of the world, its a blue dashpad now & we're going to recover it in white anyway.
4) Forget about using the old package tray as a template for a new one...its so brittle there was no way to lift it out of there in 1 piece. It came out in about 30...40 maybe. If I had it to do again, I think I'd score the thing so that it came out in the pieces I wanted it in. I do have 1 good radius intact, so I'll trace that on some butcher paper, measure the length of the shelf & estimate my new template of paper, then lay it down in the car & see how close I come...trim as necessary on the paper, & lay it down on the new backing for the shelf when the time comes. No biggy.
So, everything is ready now for the seatbelts to go in, I pulled the rear seat cushion out to plan where I'll be putting my anchor points, and now I can't get the dang thing back in again...I have no idea how to push it far enough back to get the little hooks back in the holes in the floor. So, I decided while its out I should take advantage of this opportunity & get a new carpet too. I ordered one from Trimparts & holy cow did it ship fast!!! It took like 4 days. I pulled the carpet out & its laying out on the floor right now to regain its shape. The package said 12-24 hrs, I'm at about 24 now & the rear carpet is looking good (trans tunnel raised up into form) but the front carpet is looking a little picasso-esque, so I think I'll give it a little more time to take its shape back. One nice thing about the molded carpets from Trimparts, I was worried about where I'd find the right type of padding to go under the carpet...but its already glued onto the carpet in the original places where it belongs, so thats 1 less hassle to worry about.
Next up, I'll pull the seats & sill plates out, remove the old carpet & padding, clean the mess out of the interior & see what I've got to work with. If I see what I'm expecting, which is a nasty 50 year old floor with maybe some light scaling or at least surface rust...I'll be wire brushing the whole thing & putting down a rust converter followed by some dynamat or some kind of insulation. Then the new carpet (after transferring all the holes for bolts & everything necessary from the old carpet of course) which they said is cut way larger than I need so I'll be able to trim it to fit. This is my first carpet so it might be a pain in the butt...but the instructions are good so I'm optimistic.
Then, I'll install what I can of the seatbelts (everything except the B-pillars which require welding) take it up to the body shop with a nice easy job for the guy to do, and be a step closer to a new interior.
I found some pretty nice seat upholstery kits online for like 300 bucks that have the tuck & roll look I want, a headliner for like $150, and matching pleated vinyl & flat vinyl to stitch my own door panels together with at 20 & 10 bucks per yard respectively. Still haven't decided if I'll be making my own dash pad or find a premade repro somewhere online, and I'm a little clueless about the steering wheel. Its badly cracked & blue/light blue...I want it in good shape & black/white, so hopefully I'll find a good epoxy putty to fill the cracks with or somethin' & then like a plastic dye or really really really durable paint. I dunno, we'll see.
Last, but not least (well, maybe least effort), I had started a thread in the exterior forum asking about ways to make a flat black paint glow nicely without botching it up. I've heard WD40 from some people, but most say that its the worst thing int he world to put on flat paint. So, after discussing it at great length in the forums, I decided to use an alternate suggestion, lemon pledge. It came out looking BEAUTIFUL! Only problem is it takes a lot of finesse to get even coverage & no streaks. That & the fact that when you start putting it on a big ol' '55 cadillac sedan, it takes almost an entire bottle of pledge & like 2 hours of rubbing to do the job. But check out the pics, it came out gorgeous!
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