View Full Version : Whats your opinion
07-23-2005, 05:48:00 PM
Hey whats up I've been looking all over for a place to give me an honest answer to my questions so hopefully you'll can help. Alright, I'm 17 and me and my dad are going to try to fix up my moms old 1979 rally sport camaro. The only problem is that it needs a new engine, transmission, interior, and paint. So thats bascially the whole car. Anyways do any of you have any idea of how much that it is going to cost because if it is to much then I may just buy a used car. Also do you think its possible for 2 people to restore a car like this in a reasonable amount of time. So please answer my question because I haven't found any answers so far.
07-23-2005, 06:47:00 PM
If you really like to work on cars and go throught them than it is worth trying. If you want a good one to drive that you do not have to put any work into I would say look for one that is in great running condtion. There are a bunch of 1979-1981 Camaro's out there to choose from. I am in the middle of refurbishing my 80Z and it is time and money consuming, but I am a mechanic and like to fix things myself.
07-23-2005, 07:01:00 PM
It depends on what condition the car is in.
My '71 was a $100 POS and I've spent over 20 years on it.
It had no engine, or tranny, interior was shot.
If I had known then what I know now I wouldn't have touched it, but I didn't know better so I fixed it anyway.
I still like the old thing:
[This message has been edited by Phil G (edited July 23, 2005).]
07-23-2005, 07:25:00 PM
If you and your dad will be working on it together the time spent will be priceless to both of you.
The cost will depend on how much you do in the way of replacement parts and the degree of refinishing you do.
The engine alone can cost thousands then again if you go with one from a wrecked Camaro maybe only hundreds.
This is a very subjective price matter and it is very understandable why you have received little assistance on the cost of such a project.
07-23-2005, 09:42:00 PM
What are the present engine and transmission? Expense there depends on what they are. 350 SBC is the cheapest to build/rebuild by far (check the rebuild kits at northernautoparts.com). If you have a 350 it can be rebuilt for around $500 including heads and block done by a machine shop then assembling the engine youself.
Depending on the original transmission, a TH350 with a 6" tail shaft is the least expensive automatic to install as it shares the same lenght as a TH200 and the manual transmissions. We've picked up TH350's out of a Gary's U Pull It for $110, put a B&M shift improver kit into it for $40, put a new pan, filter, and gasket on it for $50, bought a Jegs or PAW 2800 stall converter in front of it for $125 then drove it for over five years! I picked up a TH700R4 for about the same investment for my 79 Camaro, modified the cross member (I can send you pics if you're intereted) and used a drive with new U joints from a two wheel drive S10 Blazer, and voila, my 3.08's think they're 4.10 in low and 2.65's in OD!
Interior is all replaceable from many sources. National Parts Direct, Year one, etc. Plan on spending $500+ on new interor parts.
Paint is expensive if done right. Don't skimp on it as you will hate yourself for it. My son spent $3000 on his custom 83 S10 with a 350 SBC in it two years ago and it's sharp.
[This message has been edited by Cardinal (edited July 23, 2005).]
07-23-2005, 10:27:00 PM
It would most likely be a lot cheaper to buy one already in good shape. If you look forward to building a car with your father, do it. It would be something you both could look back on for years and cherish. If you're looking for the cheapest route or don't look forward to all the work involved, buy one already done.
07-23-2005, 11:14:00 PM
Well I'm not sure what I'm going to do. My dad knows a good amount fixing cars but I really don't. This would be a good learning experience for me but I don't know if I have the time and money to do this, cause I really can't go over 10 grand on this. But I don't know, do you'll have any more words of wisdom.
Here's some pics of it just in case you'll wanted to see it.
[This message has been edited by ImM (edited July 23, 2005).]
07-23-2005, 11:36:00 PM
I'm on this message board because I'm building a new engine for the Camaro my father and I ressurected as a father-son project 20 years ago. I cherish the car, and if you and your father spend the same time on this one for you it will mean a lot to you too.
If you can afford to spend $10k on this car, it looks like you have a solid starting point. Make sure you check the rear leaf springs because they often break from fatigue in these old cars. Replacements are inexpensive (check J.C. Whitney, and local parts stores) and rebuild the brakes, replace the shocks, and you'll have a much better understanding of the condition the car is in. While you're underneath the car, check for rust damage on the floor pan. If all looks solid, you've probably got a great starting point. Does the body have a lot of rust, or is the paint just aged? It looks pretty good in the pictures.
Interior parts are probably a lot harder to come by than when I did mine. However, take your time, watch the parts swap section of this forum, eBay, and local swap meets. You can find good stuff to outfit your new car. You can get a crate motor for $2500 or rebuild the engine you have (I'm assuming it's a 350- if it's not, find one) and you can save a bit or have a better engine. My father and I had a smaller budget than that (even adjusted for inflation) and even if you spend $3k on your bodywork and paint, it wouldn't be hard to have an outstanding performer that's utterly reliable for less than the $7k you have left. Just take your time on the non-essentials.
If the engine in the car now runs, you can get another one to rebuild so that your down time is minimized. You can replace interior pieces as you get them, since your interior is probably at least functional. Since you've got a running car, the only upgrade that will require the car to be out of service for a long time is the bodywork- try to schedule it for the winter time, if you can drive another family car in the snow, slush, and salt (if it applies to you where you live).
You'll cherish the car and the time you spend with your father. I certainly don't regret doing the same thing.
07-24-2005, 01:32:00 AM
if you're budget is 10 grand, then it is definitely do-able... time is another thing... i spent about two years on mine so far... but i do all the work by myself, and only in my spare time... if you really dedicate your time... it could could possibly be done in 6 months? look at those guys on overhaulin, they do it in 3 days... but of course they have 20 guys working on it
anyway, good luck if you decide to go for it - it will be a great experience...
07-24-2005, 11:06:00 AM
I *wish* mine had been a Father/Son project. I love my Pop to pieces but he doesn't know which end of a screwdriver to pick up half the time. He'll be 83 next month.
I guess it's true that talent sometimes skips a generation because I take after HIS Dad (as he's told me often).
Granddad built B-29s for Lockheed and some of my earliest memories are from hanging around with him in his basement workshop *helping* him fix/make things.
He used to give me old clocks and stuff to take apart. For my 10th birthday he gave me my first REAL toolbox (which I still have).
He always told me I'd be an Engineer someday. Just wish he'd lived to see me graduate.
Damn, getting a little misty here...
07-24-2005, 12:33:00 PM
to phil- what wheels do you have, are they american outlaws?? (if you dont mind) how much$$$
07-24-2005, 02:10:00 PM
If you plan on restoring the car over the span of a few years and have a limited budget then its do-able. I would focus mainly on the engine, transmission and all the mechanical stuff first to make the car functional and drivable. The cosmetic stuff like paint, replacing old worn out interior panels, etc., I would leave to do last. Getting the car drivable shouldn't be too hard for two people to tackle within a short time if you have the $$$ available to do it. A decent rebuilt 350 engine and TH350 transmission should be under 5k at the most. Hope this helps! http://www.nastyz28.com/ubb/wink.gif
07-25-2005, 01:44:00 AM
Just a heads up on upholstery, one of the softball moms worked for the arizona department of corrections (State Pen.) and the have a vo-tech school there, upholtstery is one of the classes, I got my seats done for the cost of the material. $75 bucks! You just have to find a correctional officer that will be willing to bring it in for you, and it may take a few months. but they do a very nice job, not stock but for the price you can't beat it JIm
07-25-2005, 09:52:00 AM
Z-WIZZ I actually have NO idea what brand of wheels they are. I bought them from a friend years ago and IIRC he said they were something like Nomo. They're a cast Centerline lookalike and I've gone over the backside of all four looking for a logo or something but can't find anything.
If anybody can ID them I'd like to know.
I like these but have a set of 15"x6.5" Rallye wheels with new OEM trim rings and original round "Corvette style" center caps. Just have to weld up a couple curb marks and strip and repaint them (8 cans of Argent Silver in the garage right now).
07-25-2005, 01:43:00 PM
I took a year to rebuild the engine, do minor (mostly dents, not rust) bodywork, and get my car painted (cheap MAACO), plus take car of basic mechanicals (brakes, shocks) while in high school with a part time job. My dad did help, but mostly did it myself. Bodywork is definitely the big time & money eater--as soon as you have to break out a welder the $$ starts rolling out (esp if you have to pay someone to do it). However, if you can learn to do it yourself and buy equipment it can be a money maker too.
Let us know how you make out.
70 Formula 400
71 Camaro (in pieces)
07-28-2005, 01:28:00 AM
<font face="Arial,Verdana" size="2">Originally posted by Phil G:
Granddad built B-29s for Lockheed and some of my earliest memories are from hanging around with him in his basement workshop *helping* him fix/make things.
Hey Phil, if you still have any interest in the B-29s, check out the Commemorative Air Force B-29/B24 Squadron (http://www.cafb29b24.org/). Unfortunately the B-29 is still down & out for repairs, but the B-24 will be in Greenville, SC (Greenville Downtown Airport TACAir) Aug 22-29. I hope to be there myself. http://www.nastyz28.com/ubb/biggrin.gif
Back on-topic; I hope to actually begin the restoration of my '74 Camaro (http://www.atvtrailguide.com/cgi-bin/dcforum/dcboard.cgi?az=list&forum=DCForumID23&conf=DCConfID4) soon. I've been talking about doing it and "planning" on doing it for a long time, and I have already collected a lot of parts for it. The project really got shoved back when we moved from Colorado to Tennessee, but hopefully I'll be building a bigger garage so I'll actually have a place to work in couple more months. Heck, it's too hot to do much of anything right now anyhow! LOL
1974 Camaro Type LT (http://www.my74camaro.atvtrailguide.com)
1999 Dodge Ram 2500 4x4 CTD QC SWB (http://www.atvtrailguide.com/dcforum/DCForumID25/2.html)
07-28-2005, 11:18:00 AM
Tim my Dad and I got to tour Fifi when they were at PDK for an airshow a while back.
Very emotional experience.
07-28-2005, 07:11:00 PM
I know exactly wut your going to have to go through. I'm 16 and have had my 75 camaro for 5 years everything thats been done to it could have been done in about 2 years most likely but right now I love my camaro. It may be cheaper to find a nice used car but you"ll never have as much fun with it. I got my camaro for free basically but the actual price of it was $700 since then i put a whole diferent interior into it which I got out of a parts car that $100 dollars was paid for since then I've been working on it, and putting all my money into and even askin for everything I need for it for birthdays and X-mas. All together I've put about a thousand dollars into the car now and $1800 including the price of the car and parts car. About $500 was spent on things just to make the car more to my style like just about everything chrome on my engine and racing seats and a racing wheel. So I would say to try to find a parts car and spend whatever you have on the car it'll be worth while.
07-28-2005, 08:25:00 PM
You know you might wanna consider buying a project that was already started. If you look on eBay, you can find a really nice project car that has had a lot of work done to it already. Or collectorcartrader has a project section. Every car is different, but if you take a look they range from complete powertrain overhauled to all the bodywork done. I just helped a buddy of mine get his hands on a 69 firebird that had a really good running 326 that was hopped up a bit, with a rebuilt Turbo 350 with a shift kit with 500 miles on it. Also, all the accessories were updated, rust was already patched up, and interior was complete, but not restored. He was driving the car daily for awhile and it only cost him 3200 to purchase her. All the glass is in perfect shape and the body is straight as an arrow. It does have a dent in the passenger fender, and it is in primer, but the previous owner put way over 5,000 in parts in the car. If I could make a recommendation, I personally like the cheap muscle cars like the 70-72 regular nova's, 68-72 pontiac lemans, 70-72 buick skylarks, 70-72 montecarlos, 67-73 firebirds/camaros (doubt you'll get a good deal on the camaro though as prices are pretty high these days), 78-81 camaros/firebirds (I know this is a 2nd generation forum :-)), El camino's from most years, and 55-57 4 door chevy's (150,210 and bel air). Keep your eye out. If you get a good base, you can still do the project with your pops and have a sick ride, but reducing the workload on the two of you. Thats just my two cents, hope it helps.
07-29-2005, 01:53:00 AM
Well I'm pretty sure that we're going to fix up the camaro now. See my dad is friends with a camaro fanatic and he came over to our house yesterday just to look at the car cause he said that he would help. And when he came over he brought a magazine that had a long block crate engine for $1200, which is a lot cheaper than I thought it would be. He also said that he would pay for half of and engine crane because he is working on a 69 camaro right now and that way we woln't have to worry about renting one.
07-29-2005, 05:19:00 AM
if you live in northern cali i'm willing to part with my engine crane for $150... it's foldable and onluy used twice... once to take my engine out, and once to put it back in after i rebuilt it..
07-30-2005, 02:11:00 AM
No I don't think that we could do that because I live all the way across the country in NC. But anyways does anyone know a good website to order the engine or transmission. I already looked of jegs but I really couldn't find anything, but mabye you'll know somewhere.
07-31-2005, 11:50:00 AM
Check Scroggin Dickey, Summit and gmpartsdirect. Don't forget to include shipping when comparing prices. You may also want to check your local Chevy/GM dealer. I just bought an engine 2 weeks ago and once you added in the shipping from the other places, the dealer was almost the same price. Plus, I could pick it up the next day instead of having to wait for shipping.
1981 Z28 - Original owner
Numbers matching 305, 4-speed, hardtop
1972 Sport Coupe
GM Performance Crate Engine 350 automatic w/Vortec heads, Hooker Super Comp headers, dual Flowmasters, Custom Auto Meter Cobalt gauge cluster
07-31-2005, 03:13:00 PM
car dosent look too rough. For starters, get somthing like an old chevy van for the motor and tranny (maby even the seats) and use it as a driver. Then do more when you get the money.
I'm off the antifreeze and the car is tipsy,
On the offramp doin bout a hundred 'n fifty!
71 camaro 427BBC 500+ Hp
Check out My cardomain page! (http://www.cardomain.com/memberpage/814239)