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Old 01-14-2010, 04:58:06 AM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Queen Creek, AZ
Posts: 93
Justin's '73

Hey, Nasty Z28 has saved me more times than I can count during my ongoing restoration process, so I thought I might as well chime in! I'm a 21 from Arizona, and bought my '73 for $3000. It didn't look pretty, but it drove home and passed emissions. Not an amazing deal, but an okay one. It's a fixer-upper alright, but the rust is minimal. Nothing special, no Z28, no RS or SS, just a sport coupe. My dad owned a '69 and a '75 when he was my age, and this time last year we bought a 1984 Berlinetta Camaro that we restored into a drag racer. (350 with a TH350 rated around 460hp) That was my first resto-mod project, but the classic car insurance doesn't let me drive the car on the street until I have 6 more years driving experience, so it's more my dad's car than mine.

So, I bought myself the '73 because I was really freakin' jealous of my dad.

I'm still in the tear-down process. I buy all the stuff and do all the work myself, and my dad just watches to make sure I don't screw up big-time. My ultimate goal with the car is to make a modernized-muscle car for my daily driver, with a/c, turbochargers, and some modern seats. Of course at this point in the project, it's all dreaming. In the interest of keeping its original value, I'm avoiding doing any permanent cutting or modification that would prevent me from easily bolting back in OEM stuff.

Some interesting stories so far...

-The car, as we got it, was an automatic transmission. A TH-350. The guy who owned it before me did a little hot rodding to the car, and it had a floor shifter. After we took out the engine/tranny, we noticed a bracket on the steering column for a column-shifter, so we assumed OEM was a column-shift. The week after that, after tearing apart the suspension for polyurethane bushings and new ball joints, we found the end of a clutch boot in the firewall, connected to nothing. After some dashboard-diving, we found the remains of the clutch pedal. The guy had just cut it off!

-The transmission was supported while in the car by a hunk of wood bolted to the bottom of the frame.

-The last owner didn't have a big enough spacer for his fan, so he used an assortment of small spacers, large nuts, and washers. Backyard mechanic much? o.O

-The car has evidence of being restored sometime in the 90's. OEM paint was a golden brown, new paint was blue, and then the car began to get surface rust, so primer was haphazardly sprayed over it.

-The quarters were patched with a combination of sheet metal screws, fiberglass, bondo, and duct tape. Those are getting replaced.

Progress so far... The front end has been entirely rebuilt with new springs, bushing, linkage, and frame paint. The entire underside of the car has been stripped of dirt, rust, grime, and whatever else, and shot with frame paint. All of the rust has been sanded off or cut out and replaced with fresh metal. One quarter skin/trunk drop off/wheel housing has been replaced, the second one is almost done. Bought an LS1 out of a 2000 Trans Am, see pictures below.

Slightly outdated photo... No longer on the car: Engine and tranny, tires, brake system, or suspension system.

Looking forward to updating this thread! Thanks for all the info you guys post!

Update: November 5th, 2010
Look what I brought home today for $360...

LS1 price cost so far:
$360 - 80%ish complete motor (minus intake manifold, oil pan, two bent connecting rods, ECM, wiring, or belt system & accesories)
$90 - Block cleaning & fresh cam bearings
$200 - Intake manifold w/ fuel rails, Z28 throttle body, extra set of heads, T56 flywheel, box of spare parts (craigslist bundle deal, going to sell the extra heads)
$400 - Complete 4.8 motor out of a 2000 GMC Sierra, ECM, wiring harnesss and all
+$140 Sold old Edelbrock Carburetor
More to come as progress is made.

Last edited by Hotshot : 01-06-2011 at 03:14:12 PM.
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Old 01-14-2010, 06:04:37 AM   #2
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Welcome to the site, I wish i had a dad that cool
My car also started as a plain jane Camaro
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Old 01-14-2010, 08:58:50 AM   #3
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welcome to the site. Good Luck with your project
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Old 01-14-2010, 10:38:15 AM   #4
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once you get that baby restored, your dad will be the jealous one lol

welcome to the site, i'm also new here isn't it awesome, we all love pics so if you can document everything done to the car with pics that would be awesome to.

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Old 01-15-2010, 01:37:37 PM   #5
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welcome and good luck.
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Old 01-15-2010, 08:44:44 PM   #6
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More pics !!! Good luck with your project.
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Old 04-05-2010, 07:30:58 PM   #7
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Suspension rebuild!

So, it's taking forever, but I've achieved my first milestone: Front suspension rebuild!

I tore apart the entire front end suspension, removing (see: fighting, burning, prying, bleeding over) old rubber and replacing it with graphite polyurethane, replaced the coil springs and shocks, wirewheeled and sandblasted the control arms, bolts, and spindle, and shot the subframe, arms, sway bar, and firewall with a fresh coat of frame paint. Enjoy!

1973 LS1/T56 Progress thread:
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Old 04-05-2010, 07:41:06 PM   #8
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Hey man....looking good!
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Old 04-05-2010, 09:55:49 PM   #9
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Welcome front end is nice!
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Old 04-06-2010, 12:16:45 PM   #10
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That's awesome a you kid like you doing this project. Can't wait to see your car when it is all done. Welcome
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Old 05-28-2011, 06:03:04 PM   #11
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Wow, first update in forever. Gotten a ton done, I've just forgotten to download the pictures. I've also been busy with graduating college, racing in Pinks All Out with the '84 Camaro, freelance jobs, a friend paying me to get his '75 F250 running again, and going through a couple of relationships with two high maintenance girls. Now I'm back to my first (expensive) mistress, the '73.

I've been doing a ton of body work every weekend. I got two quarter skins done, two trunk drop offs, rear wheel housings, and rear lower valence. I also had to repair some parts of the rear subframe. I opted to use panel bonding adhesive after doing a ton of research and admitting to myself that my welding skills (and my welder) just aren't up to par for cosmetic sheet metal welding. I saw a special on SPEED channel I think about this adhesive about how Lotus builds their cars with the stuff, which eased a lot of my worries.

Alright, here we go...

After sanding down the paint (and bondo) I found all of the bad metal and discovered some old rust repairs in the lower quarter. I kept going until I found consistently good metal and cut it out.

I have to say, cutting into my own car is one of the most terrifying experiences I've ever had.

I found this... thing in the bondo from the last owner's shoddy rust repair.) It looked like a clump of duct tape, bondo, fiberglass patching, and aluminum foil. I don't know.

Dad's helping out with a test fit...

Although I used panel bonding adhesive to do the bulk of the work, I decided it was wise to do a little bit of welding in some places as extra insurance. WARNING: The heat from welding will cause the adhesive to fail! I learned this the hard way. After grinding down the old adhesive and reapplying it, I found this gel-spray that you can spray onto metal around the area you're welding that somehow keeps it cool. It worked, and I managed to weld and keep my adhesive bonded to the metal.

Continuing in next post...
1973 LS1/T56 Progress thread:
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Old 05-28-2011, 06:17:42 PM   #12
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Although I did the passenger side and THEN the driver's side, you get a better view of the inside of the quarter with the driver's side, so we're gonna switch sides for pictures for a bit...

Sheet metal screws are great when you can't hold a panel together with clamps, plus they are invaluable when trying to align a panel during a test fit and recreating that perfect alignment when actually gluing it.

And now we're fast forwarding a few weekends of bondo work... Hey, it's starting to look pretty good!

And the first side...

Quarters are more or less done, so now we move onto rear lower valence...

Cue work montage... Hey wow, that starting to look pretty nice!

And now a break from body work...

While everything was out of the car, I took the time to take a wire wheel to the entire bottom of the car from front to back... That was the most miserable job by FAR, especially in the heat of the day. After two weeks I got it clean and found some weak, rusty spots in the rear subframe. I cut those out and welded in some good steel. Then I grounded down the welds and filled in the holes with JB Weld, sanded it smooth and painted it over when I painted the rest of the undercarriage, and now I can't even find the repair. Woo! Rest of the undercarriage is a nice semigloss black now after being covered in POR 15.

1973 LS1/T56 Progress thread:
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Old 05-28-2011, 07:27:15 PM   #13
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Looks like your doing great,keep it up.
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Old 05-28-2011, 08:54:50 PM   #14
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Lookin good Justin. I'll bet your dad is already jealous.
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Originally Posted by 351maverick
that car makes my balls tingle
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Old 03-16-2012, 03:34:05 PM   #15
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Hey how about an update???
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