The Rebirth - 07/13/2013

In my quest to find the parts to repair this car one thing was repeated over and over: it will be easier to find another car complete with everything rather than be nickle and dimed to death over all the little pieces you need. Combining this with the fact that most of the parts people had were from the east coast, making shipping prohibitively expensive or not an option, getting all new front end parts was just not in this car's future any time soon. So I started scouring craigslist for complete cars, finding that people wanted a LOT of money for cars missing a LOT of parts. Eventually I noticed this '72 Luxury Lemans for a not unrealistic price (finally, someone who isn't stupid pricing their car). Once I got over the color (yellow was once a car color, hard to imagine I know) I realized that it looked pretty solid and if it ran and drove all right, could make a nice source of parts to fix mine! Frame swapping and all. I then went to look at it...

A deal was reached - I didn't argue price, the car was valued very fairly. I know a deal when I see it, I won't hesitate to pull the trigger. Especially considering 4 or 5 people had already looked at it and wanted parts from it, but weren't sure they wanted to pay the asking price. Funk that, the asking price for a mostly complete runner and driver is worth it. You can't even touch a car like this on the east coast for the asking price without expecting to replace and fab a ton of sheet metal parts.

The body is extremely straight and original. It was garage kept for much of its life the owner told me.

Interior is in buckets and pieces. Apparently after driving home from work one day, the owner left a window down and then it proceeded to rain and flood the car. After noticing this several weeks later, he decided to rip out all of the mildewed carpet and the rest of the interior just followed. Project then stalls. Perfect example of a large scale project taking out a car due to time constraints. Bucket seat and console car, power windows and sport mirrors too!

Rear window not too shabby. Original blue plates are just icing on the cake and I'm a sucker for things like that.

One of 3 buckets of parts. Apparently 95% of the trim has been removed in preparation for painting the car. Front windshield is cracked and leaks, rear windshield has shifted, requiring replacement.

After driving it home... it's time to find out why it runs so awesomely bad! It's lean as hell and wants to die when returning to idle. Time to play "spot the problems." Most obvious is no AC box and duct tape covering the air intake. Plastic filter flying in the air makes me nervous. Nuts and feces all over the core support and engine are indicative of a squirrel playground. Part of the hood insulation was used for this. On the drive I would hear nuts and junk falling off of the engine and cooking on the exhaust manifolds. It was great. Astute viewers will note the odd hole in the cowl - the windshield wiper control arms have all been removed. They are supposedly still in the boxes. Even if not, they aren't super difficult to come by fortunately.

This nest is quite awesome. I removed a giant one on the front of the engine before driving home, the squirrels had taken the hood blanket to use as nest material. Note the power brake line is stretched REAL far, JUST enough line used. It is hard as a rock and split in 3 places.

Edelbrock shiny! And aluminum intake shiny! This is a Carter AFB clone carb, not bad but not exactly great for the application either. The original engine is a 350 2bbl. This has an electric choke. PCV hose is dry as a bone and cracked too. Fortunately under the oil fill cap the engine is not gummy or nasty.

MSD go-fast coil and distributor per the CARB sticker on the core support. Not really sure why necessary, points can only do ~25kV and the MSD coil isn't much different than stock. Yellow wire is to clear the steering arm on #7 and makes that cylinder double its HP output.

This is scary. The original vacuum tree on the old carb is tied to a vacuum port on the carb, the temperature controlled carbon filter vent, the carbon filter itself, and atmosphere. This means the tank vent is tied directly into carb vacuum... which is bad. Fortunately it is open to air which means it is a giant vacuum leak. Still not great. That's 3 major vacuum leaks so far. Car has "wild cam lope at idle via vacuum leak" syndrome bad.

TCS solenoid is hooked up to vacuum, teed off elsewhere, but ultimately vented to atmosphere too. Oops. All of this will be corrected to get the car idling and driving well.

Car had vinyl top at one time. This car is obviously not a Monday morning or Friday afternoon car, it has a decent amount of paint applied from the factory here so it didn't rust or rot.

Rear package tray is in good shape except for the elongation of the 6x9 speaker holes for some reason. No rust or rot back here indicates the car was cared for.

Back windshield is kicked off to the side a bit more than it should be. No biggie, oddly enough the windshield channels look REALLY nice. Most A-bodies came with the "rusty rear window" option from the factory.

Only rot on the windshield channel so far. Not bad, MUCH nicer than on my '72...

This is a rot spot. The ONLY one on the entire car. I am supremely impressed. Hence why I bought the car (in addition to the bucket seats and power windows). Finding a 40 year old car with this little rust and mostly original paint is NOT easy. And very welcome.

Some stuff to do to get this car runner and driver certified, but nothing too outlandish. I plan to get it in driver shape and drive it around for a while before making a decision on what happens. I'm thinking since it is in such nice shape only needing a repaint and interior, it might make a wise candidate for my existing '72's parts to make this one nice car. The speedometer reads 5MPH fast per the random speed trap signs placed, I think I have a reason why. The car originally came with 14" wheels (hubcaps in boxes). It now sports 15" Ralley II wheels with trim rings and center caps (score!). Laughingly enough, all 4 tires are different sizes. 245-60R15, 205-75-15, 235-70-R15, and 225-75R14. That's right folks, 3 15" wheels all differently sized and a 14" rim to boot. I'll be fixing that, there's a 15" Ralley II wheel in the passenger seat too.

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Last updated July 13th, 2013