View Full Version : Where to start

05/13/2005, 08:58 AM
Hello all. I'm fairly new here but I have been lurking a while and learning so much. So, after taking time off to be with my kids, I am back in the work force and plan on putting the money into my CS. It's in pretty good shape I think, but I'm not expert by any means. Let's just say it looks great from 20 feet away with one eye closed. The guy I got it from saved every single receipt from anything he did so I know it's had some body work done (drivers side door work, scoop replaced) and rear end. It's been repainted, but not very well. There are 2 small rust spots on the front fender over the wheel. The interior is definately showing it's 37 years, but it's not terrible. The healiner has been replaced and the rear bench is perfect. The original 302 4v is gone and replaced with a '65 289 2v that runs well.
So, my question is, where do I start? What is the most important thing to start with? Mind you, neither my husband or I is mechanincally inclined so it will be done by others. We have a friend with a paint and body shop who would love to help us with the project. He suggests gathering everything we need the turning everything over to him to put together.
It's my daily fun car so I'm not interested in show perfection, I just want to make it look nice from close up too!
So, where would you start? It's only a part-time job, so the cash is not exactly flowing, but a slow trickle.

05/13/2005, 09:29 AM
Sara, as I see it the path you take depends on 2 things.

First - how much rusted is the car. Take a good look at all the structural members of the car. Remember that this is a unibody car so the floor is a big part of the frame. Also look at the cosmetic rust. Fronts of doors, tops of wheel arches, all around the front and rear window trims. lower quarter panels, etc.

If you find a lot of either type of rust you may want to consider dipping the car and starting from scratch.

But that is contingent on the second variable. How are you going to use the car when it's restored? Is it going to be a daily driver or a trailerd show queen or something in between? Are you going to want to drive it while you restore it (rolling restoration)? The two extremes are a rolling restoration at one end, where you spend a lot of money over years, and a total frame off restoration at the other end, where you spend even more money a little quicker but not much. Where do you think you fall between those?

I've always been a big believer in getting the car running right first. Start at the rear and work my way towards the front. That means flushing the gas tank, installing a new sending unit, replacing the fuel lines, new springs, new shocks, new rear wheel bearings, new brakes, new u-joints, and so forth, working my way forward. I just start at the rear because I don't like running 40 year old gas tank residue through a new motor so the first thing I do is flush that gas tank, and as long as I'm there I might as well do the other stuff back there since there isn't much of it.

Once ALL the mechanical is done then I go to the body and paint, (if the car hasn't been dipped) if for no other reason than at least I can drive the car to the various shops.

We have a number of members who have recently restored cars and a couple who are in the midst of such projects so I'm sure you will get a plethora of good advice no matter what type of restoration you are looking to perform.

Good luck.

05/13/2005, 09:55 AM
I would also look at the rust issue first. Not only does it have the potential to weaken the car but it makes everything else you do look shoddy. If you put a nice shiny engine in but the tops of the shock towers are rusted it takes away from the effect. You will almost never find just two small rust spots in a car. If the floors are rusted also, you really need to have the car blasted or dipped. It's the only way to do it right and not have it come back, and that entails stripping the whole car. At that point you're just putting it back together with new or rebuilt parts as you have time and money.

05/13/2005, 10:42 AM
Good Info Arlie.
That's what I did when I started my GT Coupe. Started with the back (gas tank, trunk area, rear leaf springs and shackles, new air shocks, new gear pumpkin, bead blasted axle housing and repainted, new axle seals, and brakes). Then I replaced the fuel line and all brake lines and any rubber plugs in the floor pans.

Another important area to look at for rust is under the carpet. Lift out the back seat bottom and check the pans in each corner. Also, lift the carpet in the front around the drivers side and passenger side and check the pans there. Check shock towers, firewall both in engine area and inside of car for signs of rust. Most surface rust can be treated with a good rust inhibitor to stop that. Just a few things to check. Good luck with your project.

Don 8)

05/13/2005, 12:37 PM
Hi Sara,

Thanks for taking the leap from "lurking" to participating (note: more of you "lurkers" should jump in here, too ya know)...

Anyway, WELCOME, and thanks for asking about help with your GT/CS--and thanks for restoring one more of these great cars.

My first priority would be the brakes, and the engine and transmission are running well.

As far as rust--you might get someone to get a look at it, based on the suggestions by the previous posts. These guys are good at what they know, even if it might seem "extreme" -- they are valid total restoration suggestions.

Remember to have fun with your GT/CS first of all, and know that it WILL attract a lot of attention on the road. Keep an eye on it, and lock it up (i.e. "The Club"). The excitement from the attention will help get through some of the more difficult restoration projects.

Again, welcome, and glad to have you! There are no "silly questions" here, so ask away about anything at all.

Paul Newitt
GT/CS Registrar

05/13/2005, 01:59 PM
Hello Sara and welcome to the gang.
I am one of the guys previously mentioned who had his car dipped. My car is still completely apart and many months from driving down the road.
All of the prior suggestions are sound.
One thing not mentioned that I thought I might add. Well maybe two. 1. Another place to look for rust is in the rear wheelwells from inside the trunk. You can easily get a flashlight in there and look around.

2. Depending on the condition of your car my recommendation is to fix it and drive it. If it runs OK, drive it and enjoy it. If it doesn't run, make it run and take it out and enjoy it. You have plenty of time to figure out how far you want to go with resto or not.

My car hadn't run in twenty years and had enough issues I opted for a complete restoration. I have never had the joy of driving my GT/CS down the road.
I wish I had. So me, I have to wait until my resto is completed to get that.
Most of all enjoy your new old car. What ever direction you take

05/13/2005, 03:06 PM
I completely agree with Bill in that a rolling restoration is the best of both worlds. If your eventual goal is to drive your car, and you are one of the lucky ones whose car is in good enough shape for a rolling restoration, then drive the car and enjoy it and upgrade it as you go.

With a rolling resoration Paul's advice is right on the money, too. Fix or upgrade anything that, if it breaks, fails, or wears out, will leave you stranded on the side of the road. Leaving your baby along the highway while you catch a ride into town is a horrible feeling.

If a window doesn't roll up and down that is certainly annoying but it won't leave you stranded. Work on the drive train until you trust it to take you across the country. Fix or replace every item that could possibly disable the car, no matter how small or how large. Obviously the big 3 parts (engine, transmission, differential) need to be in good shape, but then there are wheel bearings, starter, alternator, timing chain, hoses and clamps, brake lines, tires, fuel lines, and so forth. Oh, and don't forget the infamous GT/CS taillights and headlight switch. Even a corroded heater core can cause major problems. It will also cause rusted floors.

With a rolling restoration I'd start with items such as those first then worry about shocks and springs and other niceties later. The frustrating part of that approach is that the appearance of the car won't change for quite a while so every now and then upgrade something cosmetic just for fun!

05/14/2005, 07:14 AM
Thanks all for the responses. A lot was done when I first got the car. It was in storage for years (if you consider a carport storage) and hadn't been driven in years. It was a sad sight with weeds growing up around it. I saw it and convinced my husband to do the work in trade for the car (did the Marti report first to make sure it was the real thing). We got it to our mechanic and he had it for a month. I'm afraid I don't know much of what was done (I'm such a girl!) ::) but my husband read the posts and said 'they did all that'. Still, I want to pull back the carpets and check for more rust. The rolling restoration seems the way to go but at some poaint I've got to turn it over to the paint and body guy. Hopefully I can enjoy it for the summer and have enough saved to have that done in the winter.
You all have been great. I'll pull out the digital camera and try to get some pictures up.


05/14/2005, 10:24 AM
See, that's why this site is so good. These guys rock. The most important is the safety of the car while you are deciding. Like Paul said, brakes, lights, horn and anything that is a safety issue must be addressed first. Mechanicallly sound next. Will it pull out in traffic and is it dependable. Hate to lose it now because the brakes were bad and you rearended a semi or it broke down and you had to go get help only to come back and it was stripeed or gone!! Next, invest in a small (small being a relitive term) storage space. If you don't have it at your place, buy a shed or something if you can. When you get ready to take it to paint (and you will SOONER than later, the bug has bitten you) the more you and your hubby can strip and store, the less your buddy with the body shop will charge you. Plus, it gives you a chance really look at all the nooks and crannies. Get better acquainted with the bad spots so to speak. You might even find that some of the small stuff you might decide to do your self, if you have easy access. My .02 cents.

05/18/2005, 05:41 PM
Thanks for all that contribute to this site. I inherited a 68 GT/CS from my late uncle who bought the car off the show room floor in 1968. The car has 67,000 original miles and is in decent shape, (it's been a California car it's whole life), but needs goin through. Like Sara I'll be starting the restoration process and appreciate all the knowledge you share. I hope to have the car delivered next week here in So Cal. I registered it yesterday and will send in all the info for the registry once I get the car here. I'm definitely looking forward to Paul's new book as I haven't had much luck finding any of Paul's old books anywhere. I hope I won't be too much of a pain with all the questions I'll be asking, but I definitely want to keep everything as original as I can. Thanks again for all the info and I'm looking forward to chatting with you all on the site.

05/19/2005, 02:10 AM
I didn't have the patience to read through all the other posts, so sorry for any repeated advice.

First and foremost, before you have anywork done, check the cowl vents for rust. FIX THOSE FIRST. This is a labor intensive job that can be quite expensive, but it must be done first to prevent water from leaking onto your newly replaced floor pans and carpet.

Next, replace your floor pans. I did read some advice earlier mentioning that floor pans where an integral part of the frame, but I don't agree with that. Floor pans may contribute to torsional stiffness, but not to frame integrity. Rocker panels and the center transmission tunnel make up most of the strength.(Corrosion is usually minimal on the rocker panels because they are made of galvanized metal, so this means to be careful to not breathe the fumes while welding the new floorpans back to them.) When you have your pans replaced, have them check your torque boxes for any rust and have them replaced if need be.

Next, start work on your rear wheelhousings and quarter panels. Also have your door skins replaced if any rust or considerable filler inhabits them.

Then, have your car media-blasted if rust is a big issue on the entire car, do not have it dipped or sandblasted. Dipping causes the insides of frame rails to be stripped of any previously applied protective coating and promotes rust where you can't get to stop it. NO SANDBLASTING ever because that will warp the panels if it isn't done right. Sandblasting shops tend to have drone Mexicans working that don't do the job right and make a mess of any previously straight metal.

Finish up with a good self-etching primer over bare metal, and then a good coat of epoxy primer, then have your body man do his magic.

From there its up to you, but these are the steps you need to start with to have a decent restoration.

05/19/2005, 05:05 AM
This last poster hotrod69dfw is the individual who made and sold out very quickly a run of GT/CS restorations videos. (or so we were told)

Not one member on our site bought one of these videos. He also refused to allow any member to preview his video to promote it on this site.

Just wanted to bring this up in case this comes up again. I'm kind of surprised he didn't already.

05/19/2005, 12:24 PM
This last poster hotrod69dfw is the individual who made and sold out very quickly a run of GT/CS restorations videos. (or so we were told)

Not one member on our site bought one of these videos. He also refused to allow any member to preview his video to promote it on this site.

Just wanted to bring this up in case this comes up again. I'm kind of surprised he didn't already.

ding ding

let the mudslinging begin!