Cleaning Time - 10/06/2013
Now that the engine has been dropped off and the parts removed from the back area, it's time to get the car cleaned and do some quality of life adjustments on it.
Funny sight: 2 vintage cars, separated by 5 years but practically the same color.
Kind of messy from the pepper tree and engine move.
Shop vac makes quick work of most of the trash.
The tail gate switch is finicky. This is the culprit. The plug for it is a little toasty and the connections have corroded. The metal clamps holding it firmly in place have also fatigued loose. I used a dental pick to clean this all up and bend the prongs back into place, then re-attached it all with a firm clamping action inside the spare tire housing (picture didn't turn out, hard to see this area). I went to open and close the gate 3 different times over several hours and it didn't have any problems doing it, so hopefully it will be fixed permanently.
3rd row seat underneath has some junk that needs to be cleaned out.
Found the hold-down bolt and washer for the spare tire floating around, put them together.
This is the lower area where the tail gate slides down into. Note how junk is easily trapped. I will have to open up the access holes on the bottom and clean it all out. Hard to believe that this was designed like this, but apparently it is with no drain. No rust or rot down here fortunately though. I lubed the heck out of the mechanisms and tracks on this gate and now it opens and closes like a dream.
Not what I was expecting... the factory rear speaker for an AM "stereo" is apparently a 4x10 in the back?
I mean even my '67 Catalina had a 6x9 in the back... Guess a dual voice coil 4x10 is in my future and dual 3.5" speakers in the front. Won't be kickin', but will be functional which is what I care about. I guess I *could* cut out holes for 2 6x9s on each side, but I'm terrible at cutting and making things not suck. I'll dig through the drawings and see if 6x9s were optional this year or not.
3rd row seat up and cleaned out. That hump is worthy of a Wednesday.
2nd row seat put up and cleaned out. I just love the base black belts... color matched belts were $10!
Ooh... that's crusty. Dome light cover removed and bulb pulled out. Bulb ohms good... but let's be serious for a second and not consider putting it back in.
Crusty here too. One of the prongs fell out, so some more love is going to be needed here. Looking at all the plastic, it appears that the driver's side window was left down for some time and let water in as the car was maybe a mile from Long Beach harbor, not enough to rot the floors or damage the carpet, but enough to put a nice fine coat of surface rust on everything in the car. The car sat for many years and wasn't driven very often, which explains all the strange rusty spots up high.
A stack of receipts were in the glove box. Receipts for the registration going back to the first day it was sold, tires, batteries, etc.
4 tires were $91 back in 1982, and the owner even got them balanced and mounted for free!
I don't normally post previous owner info, but this is pretty fascinating. This is the original temporary window sticker for when the original owners bought the car (with 9 miles on it) back on September 27th, 1974. This car was a very early model year build. The original owners paid $38 in registration fees that year. I ran a Google search and found 2 people matching the city and owner names. They were born in 1911 and 1913 and died in 1996 and 2005 respectively, which I believe is the same owners as this car as the first name disappears from the registrations starting in 1997 and the car was only owned\registered by the 2nd until 2006 (along with smog certificate from 2002). That would make the buyers of this car in their early 60's when they bought it. I can only imagine a 60 year old man walking into the dealer at the absolute height of the Arab oil embargo and energy crisis and saying "I want a base Catalina, but I want the biggest engine you've got for it. I also want it to seat 9! And I want a set of rally gauges too! Base radio is fine, nothing good on the airwaves these days anyways. Oh, and none of that shiny chrome trim or woodgrain nonsense either!"
This car also has some interesting mileage backers: it shows 81k miles now. In 1983 the receipt for shocks (Sears Roebuck & Company specials for $25! Still on the car when I got it) showed 54k miles. In 1988 the receipt for a battery showed 63k miles. A smog certificate from 2002 shows 72k miles. So that would indicate that the car has never flipped its odometer over. Not that it means much, but it is interesting to see history documented so well. No receipt for a timing chain, so I might be wise to pre-emptively do that ahead of time just in case it is still the nylon teeth chain...
So, progress! But still much more to go to get everything back in tip top shape. The dash switch doesn't work the rear tail gate and neither does the fuel gauge or AC controls. So plenty to do.
Return to 1974 Catalina Wagon
Last updated October 6th, 2013