Well these past few months have been slow. Busy with work travelling, family visits, holidays ,etc. . Happens to all of us. Now I can get back to the Belvedere again. This past wekeend I finally received my leaf spring parts form Eaton Detroit springs. It took way longer than expected to get my parts (3 months!) but all's well that ends well. I dissassembled the springs and stripped the rust off. I then painted them and applied a coat of rubberized undercoating. They are currently drying before I re-assemble them. I have also ordered the shocks and received the electric fuel pump to supply the LS1 with "go juice." My next move is to install this while the rear end assembly is out.
It's September and I have smoothed the welds by covering them in bondo, as well as the firewall pinch welds along the outside. I have also removed some of the loose undercoating to expose any would be rust issues. Fortunately this car is really solid. I didn't have any holes! I understand these cars liked to rust out so I am considering myself very lucky. (I've looked at some other folks who are restoring these cars and they are replacing frame sections, quarter panels, etc.. I had to sand a little) I treated the rust with Eastwood's rust encapsulating paint and reapplied undercoating underneath, in the trunk and on the floor inside. This week I installed the front suspension again and unfortunately, that'll be it for a month and a half while I am travelling for work. I have to prepare and set up our display for the New York Toy Fair in October, squeeze in a trip to Hawaii, then go to the SEMA show and then back to Vegas the following weekend for a bachelor party. Don't get me wrong- I'm not complaining, but it means I have to set aside the car for a bit.
We got the car back at the end of August. It's looking nice. Since its return I have dismantled everything that was assembled, and started to clean it up. I've used some "bondo" to smooth out the old and new frame sections, as well as clean up the fire wall a little. My wife couldn't understand my efforts in cleaning up the firewall. she just wants it done... I'm a (toy) designer for a living so attention to all the little details are critical for me. Though I will make compromises because this will be a driver and not a 100K trailer queen, I think the engine bay should at least look nice, especially when it's this far apart and considering everything else done so far...
I have also stripped the frame and will apply the Eastwood Company's brand of rust sealing paint. Fortunately for me, this car is not rusted out. I am very lucky to have a clean car to work with. Stay tuned!
Since I have no competant welding skills we decided to trust the welding/ fabrication to a professional. We chose Todd Walton at Walton Fabrication (Upland, CA) to handle the work. We're glad we did. They have some exceptional skills, and have been very reasonable the entire way through. I highly reccomend these guys if you ever need this type of work done.
as you can see they cut off the original frame rails and fabricated new ones to accept a Ford II style front end. They have also located the engine and made engine mounts for it, too. They have made a trans crossmember and are completing the steering with a column from Ididit. Following this I will take it home to handle the rest of the restoration/ hot rodding.
The plan for the car is to be a modern driver. My wife and I are "car" people, and if we have kids one day we want a family car with some character. So, the plan is to add modern goodies to the car to make is safe, fun and reliable. Fuel injection , power steering, disc brakes, od trans, seatbelts, collapsable column, etc... combined with classic looks.
Ideally, I would have loved to add a Hemi or Viper engine to this, but the costs for such an engine are beyond me. I came across a deal on a 1999 Corvette LS1 for only $500. It was in pieces, so I had to reassemble. After settling on the drivetrain I had to find a way to make it fit.