This fall the tent that I used to store the ‘73 shredded. I moved the car to the shop I co-own now and have decided to stay late on Fri and Sat nights to make progress on the car.
Knowing that this car will be my “hot rod” I’ve been acquiring go fast parts for it. So far I have a set of Bilstein HDs, a Weber 38/38, an IE 292 cam, a 3.91 LSD, an IE stainless header, ansa full exhaust, a 320is steering wheel, and high bolster bucket seats from an ‘84 Ford SVO.
Since I moved the car to the shop I’ve been picking at when life doesn’t keep me from staying late.
I installed a replacement L/F floor pan from WN. I also fabbed and installed a patch panel from the A-pillar to the pedal box and wrapping around the bottom of the pedal box.
Over the last few weeks I’ve been working on the replacement L/R floor pan- repairing holes, replacing the outer mounting flange, and trimming it to fit the car.
Yesterday I also installed the 38/38 Weber and modified a 2bbl air cleaner to fit.
Progress on the 02s has been slow. I’ve been placing orders here and there for little things mostly-hardware, rebuild kits, exhaust, seals, etc. The type of stuff that you forget about until it’s 10:30 on a Sunday and you realize you don’t have enough clips to install the trim.
The ‘73 now has both right side floor pans replaced. I’ve also replaced the last 18” or so of the frame rail on the right side. There is still some welding to do on those pans but I want the car in the air for that so that I can massage alignment from within the tunnel. Things are plenty strong enough to prevent movement now as is.
I welded an outer wheel housing back on this car and put the quarter panel back on as well after removing the arch. I’m still pondering how to connect the quarter and housing. The easy route would be to fold things over and weld it together. Not being one to take the easy way out typically I’m thinking about getting some 1/8” or 3/16” rod and bending it to create a rounded transition between the housing and outer skin. I believe it will also help to hold the shape of the outer skin as I massage to housing to fit.
I removed the tail panel and the remains of the trunk floor earlier this year. That was a quick project since there were only a handful of inches of seams at the back panel still attached and leading edge cut quite easily. The panel forward of the diff support will be replaced as well. The panel collected water for too long and thinned considerably. It has several large holes as well. I salvaged the replacement from the ‘69 shell.
After re-attaching the right QP I attempted to start the car so that I could flip it around in the tent only to realize the clutch was stuck. 3rd gear, one foot on the clutch, one on the brake I hit the key. The rear end climbed and then *POP*. The car settled back down and was running in gear with no forward motion. I let my foot out of the clutch and nothing... no clunking, no dragging noises, no movement. 😳 I pondered what might have happened while I pushed the car around by hand in the yard. Looking under the car I could see that the guibo was still intact and the driveshaft spun when the car was pushed. Peculiar addition, the clutch pedal was now rock hard; the only movement being the play in the bushings. For the next few days I contemplated the possible failures- sheared input shaft, broken clutch disc, broken pressure plate, internal shaft failure in the trans. When I finally jacked the car up to repair the failure I was relieved to see that the clutch slave was fully stroked. A gentle tap with a hammer rewarded me with a fully operational clutch and a car that once again moves under its own power. This car hasn’t been moved in several years and the clutch slave does not currently have a boot on the piston end so there ya have it.
Feeling a little flush with cash the other day I sprang for a rebuild kit for 2bbl Solex. The car doesn’t wanna idle and I don’t have a spare Weber laying around for it so for $26 I’m gonna make this one better for now. The carb body is currently soaking in a bucket of cleaner awaiting a rebuild. Some of the passages were almost 100% plugged with varnish.
My current goals beyond rebuilding this carb is to get the outer wheelhouse back on the ‘68 along with the new right rocker and tack in the trunk/back seat divider panel, tack on the quarter that I will repair for that car, install the complete rear suspension from the ‘69, move that car to a storage space off site and bring the ‘73 into the garage for major work over the winter. All I need is time now.
Since the right rockers are now whole again and the quarter panel is still off I decided the next order of business was the floor pans. They are all almost a total loss.
LF: The plywood does a good job of covering the bulk of the hole.
Removing the rear seat support was a quick task as only the welds on the top of the tunnel and the sides of the rockers were holding it on. Started by removing the outer seat rail. I then used a body saw to trim out the rotten RR pan from just behind the subframe push bar to the flat portion below the front seat. The flange attaches to the rocker is still clean metal so I left that. I cut just below the seat belt mount and the seat rail on the tunnel. I removed the donor pan and test fit/trimmed it until it fit well enough to weld it in with all of the ribs reliefs matched up. I left the leading edge and about 5” back from the front loose so that I can match it up with the rest of the panel still to be removed the the ‘69 floor. The welding isn't finished in this pic, but that pan isn't going anywhere for sure.
In my opinion the worst part of the floor is the LF. The frame rail essentially doesn’t exist anymore, the pan is only held on by some rust scale under the seat. The A-pillar is pretty bad, the outer rocker is just a few flakes of iron oxide and the inner has some major damage.
Tons of work still to come, but it's getting stronger every day.
I liberated the right outer wheel housing from this car last year to help save the '68 that was T-Boned. After looking at all 3 outer wheel housings this spring I decided I had enough metal that I could make two parts...
This is really where I decided to commit to saving this '73. I have no intention of building a trailer queen from this pile. It's going to be a safe/sound driver that I'm not going to be paranoid about. As a college school student I made some doodles of my 1600 with a turbo aero kit and stripes. I've always wanted a turbo kit'd '02. That desire for flares and an airdam lead me to realize that I I don't need the arches... If I don't need the arches then I don't really need many repair panels beyond what I've saved from the '69. If I have an airdam I don't need a pretty nose or a front bumper for that matter... If I don't need a pretty nose I can clean up one of the others and still harvest this clean replacement for the '68.
In the past week I've managed to patch the right inner rocker panel, repair the bottom of the right A- pillar and repair/install the right rocker panel. The front half of the rocker is original to this car. The back half came from the '68 (which is getting a new OEM rocker). After I finish welding in the rocker later this week I'll start on the floor and frame rail repairs on the right side of this car. Both sides are utter garbage but I've still got the floor pans from the '69 so I'm got the majority of the metal needed to fix the soft spots on this one. I'll hand fab the rest from sheet steel as needed.
A box showed up on Saturday steeling my resolve to see this car to completion.
I originally bought 2 cars- a '68 and a '69 in a package deal in 2016. Within a year this '73 popped up on CL as a parts car. It had been stripped of most anything small/easily removed and left for dead after a stalled restoration some 15+ yrs ago.
When I bought this car my initial intention was to harvest a quarter panel, wheel housing, nose, hood, and any other useful sheet metal for patches to repair my '68 and '69s. After I got the car home and cleaned it out I was able to confirm that this car was curiously sound in some strange places- The wheel housings, rear subframe mounts, and the rear rocker areas. The quarters and wheel arches are all nice as well. Everything else is a flaming tire fire body wise. I spent an hour or so getting the car running to realize that the engine seems to run quite well with no smoke or odd noises. I honed the brake master, clutch slave and master, and both brake cailpers, replaced the soft lines, capped off the rotten rear brake line and bled the system. Once I swapped out the rotten pedal box I was rewarded with functional brakes and a good clutch. The car now ran and "drove" ( in the most basic of senses- I didn't have to push it anymore). I drove the car into a shelter in the backyard where it is still resting today. Last fall I removed the right quarter panel with plans to use it on my '68. This spring the '69 turned into a pile of parts with the help of a body saw and a sawsall. Despite all of the rust I think this car is worth giving a second chance. I mean really... It runs, moves, and stops... How hard could the rest be? lol