Old Man with a Hat
- Jan 22, 2012
- Reaction score
- Pleasant Hill, CA
Verbose that is for sure. No interior pictures???
This 1970 LeBaron has a rust-free, laser straight body. A good body is impossible to achieve once rust starts in - patch panels are just that. This car body needs NOTHING.
Engine starts on first crank and is eager to run.
Transmission works correctly in all gears and there are zero leaks or drips from the car.
Engine has new water pump and the valve covers/intake manifold were off and repainted. Engine is stock otherwise.
This is the first generation "Fuselage" body style, and it is crisp and clean/lighter looking than the 72/73 cars. Engine is pre-smog and is the strongest that I've had in an Imperial (and I have owned at least one of each 1955-1973).
I help run the online club - search "Online Imperial Club", which offers a 100,000 page website dedicated to the archival history of all 1926-1993 Imperials. I know these cars inside and out and specialize in them. I am happy to assist you after purchase to help this guy get back on the road.
This car is an excellent restoration candidate. It is not ready for the street and is non-op (no back fees) with the CA DMV.
What does it need?:
windsheild - cracked. I can source a new one locally for $300 or so if you do not have access to one where you live.
vinyl top - the top is kaput and needs replacement. I can source one locally. If you would like to have it installed locally before car ships, that can be arranged - I have a source. The metal under the top is not rusted as far as I know. No rust visible. Car has been under cover last 10 years.
Paint: Paint seals the car and there is no rust or cancer anywhere. Paint is not original and has checked and cracked over time. I bought this car to keep, and the plan was to remove hood and trunk lid and sandblast the exterior surfaces to get a smooth, flat result. You can sand with a sander, but I suggest saving that for fenders and saving yourself work. I can help you do the sandblasting if you are local. Paint on sides seals and is not checked, but finish is not OK for anyone who likes shiny paint. Redo the paint job. This car is a candidate for an inexpensive paint job that then gets polished out is my advice.
Front end needs redo. The rubber on the control arms is a goner. Redo the entire front end and you'll get a car that handles and feels 2 feet shorter than it actually is. Torsion bar front suspension on this car is its strong suit - with good shocks and rubber, it is a delight to drive and almost modern in its feel.
Electrical - the electrical system and components are all good EXCEPT I was moving it in the yard at night a month ago and ZZOTT - the headlights, power windows, radio, etc all flickered out as I watched. There is a short somewhere close to the battery. I have not found it, and car runs with a jumper to the coil, but runs fine that way. This is probably a simple thing, and I suspect a fusible link going to the bulkhead but have not investigated it.
Headliner is very fragile and has a modest tear in it. Touch it and it will disintegrate. You either live with it or replace it.
Radio - cheapie 1985 Sanyo cassette player looks out of place. Car includes two spare original radios. Suggest you send both to a radio person and have one sorted out before install. The antenna on this car is cast into the windscreen, and windscreen has failed. You won't get another windscreen with an antenna in it unless you find one on an older car. Previous owner installed an antenna into the fender. This could be done better/should be addressed at time car is painted.
Tires - tires are 20 years old and roll/look fine but are not safe for anything over 25mph. Replace them.
Brakes - brakes work well. Calipers are something like $30 each, and the rest of the parts are probably under $150 total. May I suggest that you renew the 46-year old brake system (including soft lines!) for the $200 that will cost?
Oil pressure gauge reading 0. Probably sending unit and/or wire at top back of engine. If so easy fix. Instruments on this year car are generally very good, so I don't suspect the gauge to be bad.
Lowering blocks or re-arch rear leaf springs: Springs were redone by previous owner. Car sits too high but rides fine. I'd put some lowering blocks between the rear axle and the springs for $20 and move forward from there. Easy fix unless you want to really go deep on that.
AC does not function. Parts are widely available.
Otherwise car is great shape. All power windows worked before short, all accessories worked.
What is it like to live with? This car is comfortable and quiet. It has a very masculine feel to it and the view across the queen-sized-bed hood is impressive and commanding. All driveline mechanicals are easy to get because they are the same as all of the other big block cars 1969-1973.
Power steering, power brakes, power windows - everything power makes this car very comfortable and easy to live with. This is the sort of car that would make a great cross-country trip to Vegas seem appealing. Most other vintage cars would be far less comfortable on such a long trip.
Trim is murder to get and may be one year only. Fortunately the car is 100% complete for all trim, and it is in good condition. Car comes with a spare rear bumper that I found, but it is not needed. Chrome and brightwork are 7 out of 10 and still plenty shiny. Only needs redo if you are looking for a top-notch look on the car. Otherwise fine for daily driver grade car.
Add dual exhaust for a modest bump in power. This is a luxury car, remember, so please avoid temptation to put something louder on the car? Stock they are nearly silent at idle, and this is a mature vehicle, not a teeny bopper RoadRunner or Cuda.