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‘68 Convertible Restoration Guidance

1235 Views 13 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  frankthetank
Hello everybody and takes in advance. Since I’m new to the forum so I’ll mention a little about me and my project, sorry in advance for the long read. I have a 1968 Camaro Convertible in the garage that’s been disassembled for over 20 years. It’s a factory 327 automatic car. Originally the car was my dads back in the day. My dad was a mechanic but not much of a fan for body work so he hired a body man to restore the car back before I was born (I’m 26). I can’t find any original pictures but I do know the car was heavily rusted. It was my understanding that rust was all taken care of with all new sheet metal. The car is even cut in, ready for final paint and assembly. So the story goes, the guy my dad hired to do the work was doing a sloppy job and progressing very slowly making my dad ultimately fire the guy in the hopes of finishing the car himself. Twenty something years later the car remains the same as when he put it in the garage, that was until yesterday.
Yesterday I finally started working on it myself. Im in an ok position now that I graduated college and have a steady job with a bit of money to throw at this project. Unfortunately my dad passed away three years ago so there is a little bit sentimental value playing into this and motivating me too. Since my dad isn’t here to help me I really am missing a big resource to assist me and answer my questions. I’m feeling a little overwhelmed and am looking for some guidance to get me started in the right direction.
So I disassembled what was left of the car and got it down to just the shell. I quickly realized the car isn’t ready for paint like I thought. To my untrained eye this is turning into quite the project. The body guy did some really shoddy work. New quarters over the old rusted out one, undercoating over rusted panels, rusted out inner rockers, rotted out floors, rusted subframe, etc. There doesn’t appear to be any part of the car this guy didn’t butcher.
I’ve already resigned to the fact that the floor pan is going to need replacing and the quarters need to come off for refinement. Just to be clear, I HAVE ZERO BODY WORK EXPERIENCE lol so you can why I’m feeling a little intimidated. I am mechanically inclined and can weld but I have never had to fit a body panel. My concern is that since all the panels appear to be butchered, how can I refit the quarters and not have issues with body lines, glass figment, and symmetry without any OEM reference. I have no measurements to go off of. You can see on the rear quarter how the right ride is a 1/2” out from the left with the gap filled with seam sealer. Are there standard measurements I can use or gauges I can buy to get the proper fitment?
For the floor replacement, especially being a convertible, what’s the best way to ensure the car is square and remains square? Is it better to replace the entire pan or use patch panels? The real problem with the floors is perimeter rot where the panels meet the inner rockers. Im just wondering if I’m over reacting with an entire pan replacement.
I think I could benefit from having somebody experienced in these cars take a look, give me some guidance, and point me in the right direction. Does anybody know of any shop ideally in the Hudson Valley/tri state NY area that I could hire just to look at the car, assess it, and help me out?
If you made it to this point then thanks for reading this essay lol. I know I’m in over my head so please no you should sell it type comments. I’m attached to the car plus there is a lot invested into it already. I have new fenders, doors, hood, inner fenders, and rebuilt engine/trans (although they have been sitting for 20+ years so might need fresh overhauls).
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But anyways, thanks for any tips and tricks you may have.
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I feel your pain, I'm in the process of building a '69 convertible that my dad left me, the car was in pieces. I'm going the restomod route, Good Luck
1 - 1 of 14 Posts