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

698628 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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I think this will turn out SWEET! Can't wait to see the final product-- heck it will be fun to see the transformation too. Don't be shy with that camera. We want pics! We want pics! :hurray:

Here's the movitation you can use any time you get down or think it's too much. Click below:
x3 :D You will be able to hide all the plug or spot welds (whichever the bodyman chooses) all on the factory seams--not in the middle of panels. Full quarter gets my vote too. :thumbsup:
Kevin-- great to see you on here again. I know those legal battles can't be fun or easy, but chin up, you'll plow through it all. :thumbsup: We will still be here when you dive in full throttle again. :beers:
Hi Todd,

the rotisserie looks good. I got some good news today, cautiously optimistic about this thing coming to an end. It's mainly why I have been holding back on her to find out which way things where going to land. It's really looking like I will come out OK on this one at the end of the day knock on wood.

Knocking as I type. I wish you the best man! :beers::yes: That's great.
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) :)
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. Had the same idea for the quarter. Doh!

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

Just call me the "Pit Boss". :D
Sorry about that Gary. You are correct. That may have been misleading on my part. Todd sent me a picture of a ZL1 that looked a lot like mine. When I said COPO I was refering to just a big block but I should have made that clear. Now that I think of it it must have sounded like I was building a ZL1. Well that won't happen in my lifetime, unless I get rich real quick. Sorry if I gave you the wrong impression.

What! That's it, I'm cancelling my subscription to this tricky thread. No ZL1 now? Hmm!:mad:

Lol! just teasin' ya Mike. l:) I am sure whatever engine choice and color choice you end up choosing that it will be a stunning Camaro to look at and enjoy driving. I am still torn myself, on which color I will go with at this point. Frost Green or Sunset Burnt Orange....
Mike-- I like the quality of worksmanship I see there. Excellent job! You picked the right shop to bring it to IMO. The outer wheel well turned out sweet and neat! Moving right along there. Nice!:)
Wouldn't dream of it. I was just joking about that... ;) See ya over in my thread. There's some news to be learned. :cool:
Thanks Kevin. I am having a hard time stayin within my low budget plan. I keep wanting to do way more and change more parts. Hopefully I have the control to stay on target and not have my car off the road for an indefinite amount of time. It is so hard to resist as you go along finding all the problems and imaging how great everything look if it was new (Are you getting this Todd?). Anyway I will post todays progress...

Being a perfectionist, I get that perfectly. That has been the story all along with my restoration. As soon as I noticed some damage or rust, I evaluated the whole panel and made decisions for new all the way. I have, however, sold off quite a few parts from this car to recoop some dough along the way--which worked out quite nicely.:)

Your '69 ZL1/COPO/GRANNY/STOCKER Camaro ;) is really turning out sweet! I am enjoying be able to watch the speedy transformation take place. You've got to be excited about it. :yes:
:popcorn:Your getting there....:thumbsup: Great pics. Keep 'em coming.:yes:

Seeing that straight 6 makes me miss my '68 six-banger even more. It was a snap to work on and so roomy in the engine compartment. At one time, I was tempted to make my '69 Camaro a 6-cylinder driver JUST so I can afford to use it every day. It would still be nice, but I would crave that stomping V8 power most likely. Can't have both I guess.....

The progress is coming along nicely. A few bumps in the road I see, but nothing Don and you can't tackle. Listen, before you go and dump $300 on a pair of inner wells, check around because I bought mine for only $89 each. The current prices on Goodmark inners are around $90-$110 at the most each. Are you chosing the $150 ea. parts since they are local and the shipping from the less expensive sources would kill you on the shipping? That would be the only reason I could imagine. just lookin' out for ya...

Here's just one example. Mattsclassicbowties out in California may be the closest US supplier, other than Classic Industries or maybe NPD? Check out the price!
Thanks Todd I will start to tackle the inners on Monday. I will take a closer look and see if they can be saved. I am just concerned that I may spend more time on them than they are worth. They would need to be stripped and painted which will most likely be several hours each. What do you think. Would you try to save yours? Wait a minute. You replaced everything. Nevermind!

Well, not nearly everything.... I still have the original fenders, hood, header panel, lower valance, grille, bumpers, cowl panel, doors, and trunk lid. They are all in outstanding condition.

I can save my wheel houses since they are pretty nice too. Just a little rust near the battery tray. But, I got such an awesome deal on new ones, that I bought them just to have a new set as a last resort. I bought a Goodmark set. I paid $85 for one, and $75 for the other at a swap meet in Webster, FL. So, it may not pay to do the work on mine... not at that point yet and they are burried deeply in my storage area.

To save yours will depend on how much work you are willing to do/pay for. Also how deep the pitting or rot is. I saw that hole in one of yours, but large holes are easy to repair if it's just that and not rotted around it. If you have evenly spread rot and heavy pitting, toss them.

Stripped the 2 front fenders today and starting patching the upper dash panel.

Mike--- What technique and process are you using to strip the doors and fenders? I will be needing to do this sooner than later to get mine ready for paint too.
Hey Todd I am using a DA sander with 80 grit sand paper. I used 2 disks per fender. Takes about an hour per fender I found. Its messy. Best if you can do it outdoors. I was going to using those metal stripping disks like I did on my 68, but its only a 4 inch disk. The large DA with the large disks is a much faster way to go.

Don wants to repair and use the original fenders. I was thinking of going new AMD, but he insists original is the way to go. I need a corner patch on each fender. I was amazed at what was under the paint. Lots of little blemishes and minor repairs and dents. He bangs everything and reshapes it with these funky old metal hammers and tools. Very old school.

Here is a question. If it costs the same to repair a fender as it does to buy a new one, which would be the better way to go.


Mike-- If it were my car, I would definitely fix the old. You have such an original car that it would be a waste to quickly jump and replace it just to get it done faster. Keep it as original as you can like Don did for the outer wheel well repair. That turned out nice!

If it were a Camaro that was non-matching and a bunch of mixed parts anyway, AND you were overzealous to get her back on the road, I would recommend going with new fenders.
Thanks Todd that is what I was thinking. Now with that same concept in mind. What about the paint? This car will be 100% original from what I can tell except for the 2 quarter skins and stuff like spark plugs, wires, tires, one head rest. a new package tray and little stuff like that. At least all of the rust will be fixed and that was the main issue. And the repaint will be done right.

It's ultimately up to you. If you know you will drive and enjoy it for a while, I would paint it whatever color you prefer. I would just think about it that way. These cars in respectable/clean condition as yours will be are rare to find in ANY color. That said, I wouldn't worry or think about resale value or what's popular or not, just paint it for you, ... now. It will sell whatever color it is. (if you ever should decide to sell it)

I really like the idea of a Yenko clone, or at least Cortez Silver with satin black striping and tail panel. That look is sweet! Phat! Hype! Mint! Strong! Slick! Fo-real! Whatever anyone can describe it as. :D

I was even considering cloning mine as a Yenko (minus the high-dollar drivetrain until I could afford the big block, 4-spd, and 12-bolt.)
I just checked the classified section and there is a 69 Subframe complete for sale for $1500.00. Does it look like a good deal. It does not look perfect, but perhaps it's a good place to start. Just curious how much it would cost to prep a subframe for installation. Obviously a pre done one would get me the better deal. This one is in Kentucky which is thousands of miles away. My guess is shipping would be expensive. Anyone have any info on shipping or other subframes.


$1,500 for a used subframe! I need to go look at that one....
Is your subframe damaged in any way that you need another one? Maybe I missed reading that in an older post? Have to check....

That one seems like it's a good deal to me, a little pricey, but look at all the original low-mileage and new parts you're getting. And it's done! A drop-in piece.
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