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69 Grandma to COPO Clone Resto... One step at a time!

698663 Views 3197 Replies 128 Participants Last post by  69z28freak
Well here we go again... One more time with feeling! :yes:

Here is my 69 Grandma car I purchased recently. Bought it from a little 88 year old lady, who was the Original owner. Bought just a few streets over from me, in my neighborhood. Car was purchased new locally and according the little old lady she was the only person that has ever driven the car, until I came along.

I was on the fence about what to do with the car as it is a 6 cylindar car.

Here is the option list.

Here is how it looked just before it went into the shop.

Here is the resto plan, that will be done in stages, as I want to pay for it as I go. My friend has a shop and he is letting me do as much work as I can, that my limited skill set will allow. Mainly grunt and shop schlepper work. I will pay for the parts and he will only bill me for the stuff I can't do.

I call it the 10 step plan. My buddy did not give me an estimate but said he would bill me for each step as we go. That will allow me to drive away anytime and return anytime, cash flow depending.

Step one:
Change Rear Passenger quarter, including Outter wheel well.

Step Two:
Remove rear glass and fix window channel rust, and re install so it won't leak. It currently leaks like a sive!

Step Three:
Fix Front passeneger lower fender rust

Step Four:
Romove front Windshield, fix any window channel rust issues. Same issue as rear glass.

Step Five:
Fix Upper cowl and dash pannel rust

Step Six:
Remove all paint to bare metal, prep and primer.
add front & rear spoilers

Step Seven:
Paint car Original color Dover White

Step Eight:
Prep secondary subframe complete with disc breaks, suspension, steering box, brake lines, fully painted

Step Nine:
Install Big Block in subframe with trans

Step Ten:
Drop current subframe, detail firewall install complete subframe.

This might all be a fantasy and I might only get to step one, but I am there right now and here is what I did today. Cut off the quarter to see what was underneath and determine what parts to order. Going with an 80% panel as they call it. Once we have the part in hand tomorrow, we will decide the best place to cut and mount. Also going to replace either all or some of the outter wheel well.

The repair that was done to this quarter by the previous shop was hysterical to say the least. It has this tinfoil type of tape all over it and bondo as thick as peanut butter, just slopped on all over the place on top of the tinfoil and rust. We got a real kick out of it.

I was actually surprised with the lack of rust on the outter wheel well as I was expecting to find hell inside the quarter. Also the rear drop off looks like it can be used, so overall happy with the results so far.

So like I was saying that I was undecided on what to do with car, as there was so much great advice. Everything from don't touch it at all and just drive it as is, to Todd's suggestion to go with the COPO Clone. Once Todd sent me the article of the 69 ZL1 that looked almost exactly like my car, the deal was done. That was yesterday and today I am well on my way to somewhere, with any luck.

The way I figure it, no matter how far I get I will always be one step further ahead than I am now. The overall plan is to preserve as much of the car as possible and keep as original as possible. It will be a gradual resto that I can drive as often as possible, and I can stop and restart anytime with funds allowing it. No plans to touch any of the interior at all at this point. It will be a basic repair paint and drive train resto, that I hope won't be too expensive, and will give me a nice driver that I won't be afraid to drive anywhere. Who knows anything can change in this crazy world, but for now I am just going to take it one step at a time...

I have to thank everyone on this site for showing such great support and giving me great advice even if I didn't want to hear it. I hope that this thread will continue until it is done. It won't be a really in depth major resto, but I think that it will be one that I can manage and complete, a very important deatil as I attempted to restor my 68, and needless to say it did not make it to completion. Onward and upward...
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Holy crap Mike. You dove feet first into this project. Go with what you want. Good luck with that 1/4 panel.
Thanks John I haven't talked to you for a while. How is your car coming along?

I have learned so much here, and from my last build that I actually feel like I might be making the right choices this time around. I did learn from the last go at it, that I really need a Camaro to drive and enjoy. Who knows, when I strike it rich I may have another idea, but for now it's quarter panel time. Hopefully some good progress tomorrow.

Stay safe John and post some pics of your car.
Hi Mike,

I think your already in better shape then you were with the 68. And she is definitely cleaner inside than I would have thought considering the rear window leak. Stick with your plan and I think you will end up with a real sweet little daily driver. Don't let the grind get to you just come back to this 1st post of yours once and a while to remind yourself where your going and you should be good. enjoy the trip.

Hey Kevin how are you doing? How is the 68 making out? Did you get everything sorted?

Actually I also started a bit on the rear window channel today and so far it is really good except for one hole where it leaked. I still have to remove all of the window goo from the bottom. That stuff is hard as a rock and to to get out. I hope I get lucky.

I would love to hear about any progress you have made on the car, it has been a while now, and your build was looking really good last time you posted.
Well when it rains it pours. I just got back from the shop working on the car, only to know find out that I should have got full quarters. What else is new. I was concidering that. A full quarter will cost $300.00 more. Unfortunatly I have the 80% piece of crap already, that I wanted to send back right away. My body guy says he can make it work, and says to only replace part of the outer wheel well that is rusted around the edge not the entire piece. He is 72 and has been restoring Show cars all his life, not a repair shop. He said since I am building a driver he can make it look great with the 80%. I will discuss with him tomorrow as per the advice expressed here and see what he says. The only downside to getting AMD full quarters, Could be a few weeks for delivery to Canada, which would seriously affect the progress of the project. Also note that the drivers side quarter has already been changed and lap welded in place before I purchased the car. New outer wheel wells replaced as well. With that said, I am thinking it will be ok to have both 80% quarters. Don says he will but weld up a storm and I will never know the difference. He says if I was doing a serious resto on a serious car he would do the full quarter without question, but given the circumstances he says this is an acceptable plan. Obviously if I am smoking the pipe let me know before I make a fatal mistake!!!!

He are some pics from today.

Check out the old original quarter. I figure no matter what I do it will be a huge improvement over this disaster.

Trunk drop off, he says does not need to be replaced.

Outer Wheel Well rust

New Piece of Crap. I was told that all skins are crap and there is no difference really between all of them. I was told that full quarters are better quality. IS that true?

Made a window cover to keep crap out of my interior

Good news and bad news. Bad news, this is the the window channel rust. Good news, this is the only problem area in the channel. I was expecting much worse, if you can believe that.

The car is pretty rough and I am not going to do a full resto, as it will just be a decent driver, with fresh paint and rust fixed. Call it a budget build if you will. So far the only cost has been the horrible sheet metal that came to $200.00. I am ready to be set straight. Let me have it!!!
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Wow I hope my body guy agrees to do the quarter. I will have a talk with him about the options. Since budget is key, if a full quarter is the cheaper way to go and it is not to late to stop the train, I might be in luck. Either way after what I had for a quarter before, I will be happy with an improvement.

I would also have to factor in the extra work that will need to be done to strip the rest of the quarter. Standby for a report of what the boss says. I will respect his opinion since he is doing the work and letting me use his shop for free. I will check availability of a full quarter and post how I make out at the end of the day.

If you thought the quarter was bad, wait till you see the front fender!
Mike, is that waves in the bottom of the new 1/4 panel or is that a reflection? I bought all new skin from Firehwheel Classics, I might have told you that already in a older thread, my body shop has completed the re-skinning but they too had fitment probs, but it was very minor compaired to other jobs I've seen. Your back window area looks just like mine did. The full 1/4 is the way to go. Everyone I talked to about high dollar skin compared to cheap skin seems to think there is no difference in quality so I bought the repo's from Firewheels and have really been happy with the quality. They will have to wipe a few spots but its not major at all. Hope you get a good piece and it fits well. Your 69 is too cool!!:thumbsup:

Hey Jason thanks for the feedback. Yes those are waves. I wanted to send it back as soon as I saw it, but my body guy said he would pound it straight. I will find out tomorrow if I can switch to full panel mode at this point. It will involve finding a new panel and returning the one I bought, then removing more than I was planning. But in the end I need to go with what will keep my project on budget and fit the build. I went so far over the top on my last attempt that I restored myself out of a car. I will see if I can take the full panel route as per the suggestions. I am suppossed to start mounting the quarter in the morning. We will know soon enough. Either way I am going to be fine, because I now have a plan and the car is actually seeing progress. For that I am thankful. This time I AM TRYING TO KEEP IT REAL!

Can you post a picture of your car?
Wow!! I know what you mean about restoring yourself out of a car. Best terminology I've heard! A guy I talked to today said he has about $50k in his 69 and its still not finished and he is sick of looking at it. I never want to get to that point! Here is a few shots, even though its a 67.
Hey jason what color is that car Frost, Sequioa or Sea Foam green? I am not up on the paint names. What color are you going to paint it? Remind me of my 68 which needed every panle replaced including the roof skin. Only the floor was ok. Even the cowl was rusted.

Car looks great. Keep me posted on the progress.

I swear I am going to spend as little as possible on the car an just try to drive it as close to stock as possible and change the least amount of parts.

Famous Last Words...

But I mean it this time!
As Master Yoda would say, "new quarters lead to dollars, dollars lead to a little more money, a little more money leads to nice Camaro. Smiling, you'll be, when nice, your Camaro is." Mike-- Yoda has a point. Go for the little extra now, it will take you a long way. Save time, look tighter/cleaner in the end. Full quarter is the way to go. You'll love it.:beers: My .04$ (conversion factor to Canadian) :)
Hey Todd we will see in the morning how I make out with the last minute switch to full quarter idea. If it was just me it would be no problem, but Don is being such a gentleman I am going to confir with the master of this build. I just do what he tells me to do, seeing as he has built who knows how many award winning cars and I have built how many???

I gree it is the way to go, it will on one hand create more work right now as I am ready to mock up the skin tomorrow, but it will save me having to patch the window channel and bondo up the seam of the butt weld etc.

How do you feel about only replacing part of the outter wheel well? I was thinking since most of it is solid I would keep as much original solid metal as possible. But which would be more work to replace the entire piece or replace half. It gets funky to have to change the whole piece I was thinking if I don't have to. I Had the same idea for the quarter. Doh!

Also curious about the drop off. Fix or replace.

It is a little confusing because on one hand everyone says how bad the new sheet metal is, and then on the other, it's don't fix, but replace.But use original first if you can repair. Ok now I am really confused!
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The partial replacement on the outer wheel well makes perfect sense if the rest of it looks solid. That sounds right to me. Have you checked out jamesfreddy's informative videos on his thread yet? He did the same exact repair on a '68 Firebird on it's outer wheel well too. Turned out awesome and that's a part you really never see since it's tucked under the quarter anyway. Going to bed, I'm beat like a scrambled egg! :)
Thanks Todd. I'll post tomorrow night and let you know how I make out. Your advice in invaluable and enjoyable.

Good night John Boy!

The guys I used for my parts are just an hour away from you and have 95% of all the parts I ordered in stock including the two full quarters I bought. They do stock the AMD stuff, its where my AMD trunk lid came from as well.

Hey Kevin I am going to call them in the morning. How did you find the AMD quality?
Mike, Make sure you cover all your glass or remove it. The sparks from the grinding wheel will pit them. Ask me how I know:mad: Looks good.Keep up the good work:thumbsup:
Hey PAt. Rear glass is out as I am only working on the rear right now. I will take your advice and cover any glass in the areas I am working on. Front glass is coming out as well.

We should get together agian some time that was fun to hang out. You car looks great and the sound of the big block sold me right away.
When I went down to pick up my order they had four lids to look at 3 were metal and one was glass. I had no interest in the fiber glass lid so did not bother looking it over. The other 3 were all metal and I can not remember where they said the other two originated from. I do recall there was a price difference between all of them and it went up with the quality. By far and away the AMD product was the best stamped. You could physically see the difference and feel it, the AMD was a few pounds heavier due to heavier gauge metal. It was no contest I brought the AMD part home with me, it did cost an extra $85 but well worth it. The other AMD parts I have bought and or looked at seem to be a superior product as well hopefully they keep doing what they have been doing so far.
Thanks Kevin I will make sure to order AMD for any other panels I may need. Not sure if I need any at this point but I will find out soon enough!

Well as luck would have it when I got to the shop this morning Don already had both the quarter and outter wheel well mocked up and cut up, so I am stuck with the crappy quarter. But I am not worried I think Don will do me well.

Here is the rough mock up. It is going to need a lot of work. Now I finally know what everyone has been talking about the whole time. Look at how high the top of the quarter sits. Dons says no problem. I guess I will see how he works his magic.

Cleaning up inner wheel well before covering in gravel guard.

Removed the factory undercoating. The only way I could remove it was to heat with a torch and scrape it off with a putty knife. With out heating it, it is like solid magma and will not budge, event with a grinder. Another trick I learned from Don today. The inside and outside of the inner wheel wells as well as the inside of the Quarter will be sprayed with gravel guard. It will act as a rust prevetative and sound deadner. I hope! The good news is that so far everywhere I have removed the factory under coating, the metal underneath is like brand new. Too bad about the other rust areas.

Salvaging the original rear drop off

Cut the outter wheel well in half for the mating

Here is a surprise I was not wishing for, but Don is calm and says it is no problem. I am learning a lot from Don and only three days into it.

Cleaning up the rear quarter seams

My new home for the next little while. A simple Goal... To Finish!

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It looks like he does nice quality work. Great progress so far, and the quarter skin looks like it lines up nicely (from the pics). Always easier to judge in person ya know... but it looks great! Wish mine was that fast of a repair. Consider yourself lucky with such a solid car (comparitively speaking). It is 41 years old, so it's to be expected. I think you'll be happier than a Happy Gilmore with it in the end. (great movie by the way) :D
Thanks Todd you can live Vicariously through me if you want. Not sure if that applies to me driving my car or having a six banger, and I can live through you knowing that you are doing it the right way, we all dream of!

I am sure there will be more surprises as well as I go, as you know only to well. I hope Jeff finds a car that he can drive and be happy with. I know exactly where he is coming from. Dang, theres that damn parallel planet thang happening again!

Can't wait to see your car roasting over the coals on that fancy Roto/SS. Drool, drool... It's BBQ season!

Well here is todays' progress. Just a lot of prep for the rear quarter. I wish I would have gone for the full quarter but since I resigned to the fact that I am building a daily driver I am over it. I was beating myself up over not using an AMD full quarter, but I am one with the project and will see it through I hope. As we all know these projects take a toll on us financially, emotionally, and at times physically. But I guess that is why we do it, cause we love the challenge it presents and the strong desire we have to succeed and create something we love with our hands. Sorry If I got too deep for a moment. here's the update...

Applied etching primer to bare metal. Wheel well and drop off. Next will apply gravel guard to wheel well top and bottom as well as the inside of the quarter, then mount quarter. I hope to have the quarter done next week. Note the part number stamping on the drop off panel. Other than some major rust issues this car is very original. Still some of welding to do to finish on the drop off patch piece I made today and outter wheel well .

It is but weld city or as Don calls it hammer welding. He used a torch, and hammers the weld flat. He is very old school. He works very fast and really knows his stuff. I am very fortunate to have him teaching me the trade and working on my car. I am amazed at how long and how much work is involved to mount the quarter. Hopefully have it done by day 5. I am kind of freaked out because as I move forward, the deeper I dig the more I find I need to do that I did not plan on. Welcome to restoland my friend...

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Looks good Mike, let me know when you're going to be there working on it and I'll come by and take a look.
Hey Doug I am out there everyday during the day. I will email you my cell number and you can give me a call when you are coming out.
Ive watched a guy but weld before. This guy was talented. Take it all in Mike!!!
HEY Pat were you watching Don weld or another guy?
OK so even though I have a plan I am having second thoughts. My favorite color is Cortez Silver with Black Z 28 Stripes. My plan as too paint the car white because it is a white car. I thought it might be easier and cheaper to paint white and it would keep the car original. But damn I sure would love a silver and black paint job.

What would you do?
So you want a low buck ZL1 (dichotomy 1) that you want to keep as stock as possible (dichotomy 2) and now you're worried about painting it CS, and putting Z/28 stripes on it (dichotomy 3).

Is it just me, or do we have an identity crisis? :)
Identitdy Crisis? Hell yeah! And I bet I am not the first to flip flop around before paint. But great feedback helps in the decision making process. I do have a plan and so far I have been sticking to it, but I do have an oportunity to paint my car my favorite color, so I am going to toy with the idea and see what happens. There will be several determining factors. Financial, practicality, resale value, etc. Either way I am going to be happy in the end because I took the time and reviewed all of the options and explored all possibilities and made the right decision.

Hey, but thats just me. I get fold feet and second guess myself all the time. At least I have a solid plan with only one possible variable. Could be a whole lot worse.

Like I said before. I'll be happy just to finish it, and fix the rust isses. The paint will just be the icing on the cake!

That sounds sweet to me.
Nothing wrong with an aluminum block Cortez Silver with Z/28 stripes resto mod. Sounds like a killer car, just not "as original as possible," and it won't be low buck.

As for resale, if someone wants to buy a CS, Z/28 striped aluminum block screamer , the furthest thing from their mind will be the 50 50 on the cowl tag, or the "3" in the VIN.
Hey Gary there is no aluminum block in the plans. Just a big block. Always a dilemma with a six banger upgrade. No plans for a resto mod. It will be a stock looking car with a fairly stock big big block. Other than paint if I go Silver, everything else will be stock, except the motor and suspension.

So it will be white or silver just as is. I am looking to spend as little as possible and keep it a driver. I know how fast the dollars can burn up in a project. I am trying not to go there if possible.

I know I should go white like I planned, but I just had to concider the option of my favorite color combo. All feedback is very helpful and appreciated.
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