'66 Imperial Convertible Rebuild: A Fresh Start

Member's Projects & Restorations

  1. garyh

    garyh Active Member

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    Any Decent Auto Uphostery shop can make a Vinyl center section.
     
  2. Boomer

    Boomer Active Member

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    Hey gang - been a while? As usual, things here have been busy hectic, etc etc. No doubt i'm not the only one who has issues with life constantly screwing around with my free time and projects. The wimmins keep me running, the cute little 3 yr old daughter is now SIX years old, sheesh!

    ANYhow....some movement to report on the Imp. Not being able to work on it here I was finally able to locate a shop that deals pretty much exclusively with old cars rods & customs as well as restorations. Had a chat with the owner a couple weeks back, he came over friday before last and picked the old girl up. She's going to get a complete brake rebuild, new tank & sender, new tranny filter/gasket/fluid, oil change, coolant change, tune up, and differential service as needed.

    PLUS - they are going to install the new hood insulation pad and hoses for the convertible pump to get the top working again. I'm also planning to pick up a set of tires for it since it's been sitting on these since 1986 or before.

    I had all the parts on hand except for plugs and wires since there was a local father/son garage who offered to do the work over a year ago. Repeated trips and calls there were inevitably met with 'We'll get to it in a couple weeks, gives us a call to make sure'. After losing track of the visits and calls, I decided to move on. Really hate to beg anyone to take my money.

    Got to pay a visit today, had to drop off the brake shoes that I hadn't dug out when they picked it up.

    Discovered during the visit that my 80s-vintage exhaust is in need of replacement too. The Cherry Bombs are rusted through and one of the pipes is also broken. Hadn't planned on doing that yet but need to get it roadworthy.

    The shop is HUGE, two long warehouse-size bays with full size loading dock doors on each end, chock full of old cars, trucks, bikes. So the Imp is in good company. Been a while since I posted photos but I'll give it a try.

    ImpShop3.JPG ImpShop2.JPG ImpShop1.JPG ImpShop4.JPG ImpShop5.JPG
     
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  3. Boomer

    Boomer Active Member

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    She's in good company - here are some of the other contestants she's spending time with.

    I wish I'd found this guy a year ago!

    Cars1.JPG Cars2.JPG Cars3.JPG Cars4.JPG Cars5.JPG Cars6.JPG
     
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  4. Mr C

    Mr C Senior Member

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    It's hard to make an Imperial look small, but that garage pulled it off! Cavernous.
     
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  5. garyh

    garyh Active Member

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    Glad to see the Imp being worked on ! Your Conv. looks to be the same color (Ruby) as my Coupe ! 07292013014018.jpg
     
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  6. Ripinator

    Ripinator Senior Member

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    Hey Boomer! I remember when you first posted pictures of this car, and have wondered what was happening with it. Glad to see you are moving ahead. Where is this shop you found? Is it in Manassas? And are you planning on Carlisle this year?
     
  7. Boomer

    Boomer Active Member

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    Heya Rip! How ya doing? Yes, it's finally moving forward. Haven't really had much time to do a lot with it other than track down parts like a set of original hubcaps and a few other trinkets. Got the trunk open and found the original AM/FM wonderbar radio and have been tinkering on that. Actually have a few $$ tucked away so decided to get the stuff done that I haven't gotten (and won't get) to. It really needs to be driven, not sitting in the woods.

    The shop is in Manassas, maybe 5 miles from my house. It's in what looks to be an old trucking terminal/warehouse with several other car businesses and a moving business. Never saw it because I've only taken that street maybe twice since moving here and it's not really well marked.

    When is Carlisle? If it's before July I may get up there for the day with my buddy in something cool like his '61 Fury. Doubt I'll have anything ready by then. We're staring down the barrel of another move this summer, so that will be my primary focus and a big reason why the car stuff needs to get sorted.

    Mr C - you could park helicopters and small aircraft inside this place. I missed the best shot of the Imperial when I came through the side door, sitting up on its lift looking like it was on an island 100 feet from the door. But this guy has two bays this size and both are full of vehicles.

    That's a nice coupe, Gary. Believe it or not this Imperial is actually black. Someone did a cheap resale red paint job on it back in the 80s which has been peeling off since before I got it. Sent a big chunk down to Wollfen as a joke a couple years back, it was peeling that badly. It's low on the list right now, but eventually it will be black again. Right now I want to get the mechanics sorted out, new tires and new top on it so it's safe & dry. Then comes a replacement rear bumper, then a paint job.

    Can't wait to drive it!

    Resale Red.JPG Chips1.JPG
     
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  8. Boomer

    Boomer Active Member

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    Got to looking through progress photos today and realized there are a bunch I thought I had posted but apparently never did. So here goes -

    These are some shots of the replacement gas tank. The one on the car was full of crud and when I thought about the time and expense involved with getting the old tank off, having it cleaned and seal and back on, I opted to spring for a new tank from Van's. Got a sending unit at the same time and was able to locate some original locking rings as many have warned of the problems with the repops being too thin. Sure enough - placing the NOS next to the repop seemed to show the better part of a 16th inch difference. Definitely a good 32nd or more. I could feel a difference in the heft as well. Test fitting both on the new tank w/gasket and turning part way confirmed this.

    Have to say, I was under the impression that the new tank was galvanized but if so, it was showing little rust spots after sitting in the garage for a few months, so I decided to paint it. Photos attached.

    One curious thing came up today: I also purchased one of those rubber collar gaskets for the neck assembly, but the guy from the shop called today to tell me it doesn't fit. This is the one that looks like a big feed-thru grommet. Not sure what's up there but we'll figure it out.


    Tank_Kit.JPG Tank1.JPG Tank2.JPG Tank3.JPG Tank4.JPG Tank5.JPG Tank6.JPG
     
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  9. Boomer

    Boomer Active Member

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    Also found some shots of the original radio that was waiting in the trunk once I got it open. Was really happy to find that it's the AM/FM auto search model #420.

    Unfortunately when the PO decided to update it with a snazzy new Jensen cassette deck and speakers, he cut the original speaker and power connectors off the back. The speaker was easy to splice - just added a short length of black and green hookup wire between the two ends, soldered and sealed with heatshrink tubing. Came out pretty well.

    Power connector was a bit trickier since it was cut so close to the connector. As luck would have it, I had recently replace the bulb socket and wiring in one of the doors due to a broken/missing spring in the socket. Though the colors were exact (yellow and red vs orange and red), I went ahead and clipped the connector side off and spliced it to the radio. Added benefit - a few extra inches of wiring to make hookup and disconnecting easier.

    Had the radio working great off a battery in the garage but the solenoid isn't(yet) working for the search function. Got the piston freed up so it at least works manually, will track down the rest later. It'll look great back in the dashboard.

    Before.JPG During.JPG Clipped.JPG soldered.JPG heatshrink.JPG Done.JPG
     
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  10. Zymurgy

    Zymurgy Old Man with a Hat FCBO Gold Member

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    I have a 66 300 and this was the single biggest pain in the butt thing I tried to install. I have big hands and I failed. My local mechanic is a small man with small hands and was able to install it on a lift.

    I have a feeling it is correct, I got mine from Steele
     
  11. Boomer

    Boomer Active Member

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    Yep, I got the wrong one. Bought it online, it specifically said 1966 Imperial, but doesn't look at all like the one Steele has listed. Just ordered one. Bet it'll go back together better now. :D

    Had some errands to do this morning so I stopped in to visit the Imp again. Things are going well - front brakes are off and being rebuilt, exhaust is removed, and the gas tank is off. New shoes on the way, should have them by Friday. Looks like a kilobuck to get the exhaust done including labor, about $1200 if I want stainless. It will be new 2" pipe from the manifolds back, no silencers, and mufflers that sound good but don't drone. Will also have correct fishhook tailpipes instead of the pimped up straight chrome slide-on tips the PO added. Wasn't expecting to do the exhaust just yet but it is what it is - and the system on the car is/was trash.

    The first shot is out of focus bit it gives a better idea of the size of the place.

    Brakes1.JPG Brakes2.JPG Brakes3.JPG Brakes4.JPG Tank1.JPG
     
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  12. Clay Harrison

    Clay Harrison Active Member FCBO Gold Member

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    Boomer can you share the name of the shop in Manassas?
     
  13. Boomer

    Boomer Active Member

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    Certainly - Rob's Customs & Restorations, 9128 Euclid Ave. Well worth a visit if you need something taken care of that you can't do or get to yourself.
     
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  14. Ripinator

    Ripinator Senior Member

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    Boomer: I see those guys indicate they do "restorations." Does that mean they do quality paint and body work too? I'm asking because I'll be looking for those services some time in the not too distant future.
     
  15. Boomer

    Boomer Active Member

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    Heh, I was just posting in your rebuild thread when the alert popped up, Rip. Too funny!

    They do everything, and if they don't, there are numerous other shops in the same building. The place is HUGE, like a giant car & hot rod incubator. I'm heading back over in a few to drop off a part, I'll ask Rob for specifics.

    EDIT: Rob was busy when I stopped in today but along with what I saw in the shop, the front door indicates they also do paint & body work. Photo attached.

    ShopDoor.JPG
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2019
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  16. Boomer

    Boomer Active Member

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    So on we go....

    The new tires arrived Friday and were dropped off Saturday. I left explicit instructions that the aftermarket granny spoke hubcaps were not to go back on the car, bare nekkid lug nuts would look better to me. In reality, I tracked down a set of original caps last year but just haven't gotten to them yet. They need to be cleaned and repainted. Now that the project is moving forward including new tires it's probably a good time for this.

    Spent yesterday taking them apart. Today was busy with other stuff but hopefully tomorrow I'll start getting the pieces cleaned and repainting started. Will be doing them black & black: black bowl as seen on three and black center as seen on one. Getting the rest of the old paint off will be the worst part. That and dealing with the chickens. While a couple of the center emblems are passable, none are great and two are downright nasty due to paint loss.

    If anyone has any beater caps out there with decent chickens, I'd like to hear from you. They were used on 1964 and '66-'69 years at the very least. Maybe others as well. Not looking for Pebble Beach quality, but some paint would be nice.

    Caps1.JPG Caps2.JPG Caps3.JPG Caps4.JPG Caps5.JPG Chicken1.JPG Chicken2.JPG
     
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  17. Boomer

    Boomer Active Member

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    Here's the latest -

    Stopped over yesterday, car was down off the lift but still awaiting the tank installation & exhaust. Brakes are all done, new tires are on, transmission has new filter & fluid. Not sure if they're done the coolant and oil changes yet.

    When they pulled the right rear drum to do the brakes, they made another discovery. Seems all or a lot of that fluid I thought was brake fluid from a blown cylinder was really hypoid from a leaky axle seal. The bearing was shot as well, wobbled around sideways on the axle. So that was addressed along with a bad seal on the differential.

    Shooting for a test drive on Saturday. We'll see if we get there. Might be sans exhaust.

    Also spent time cleaning up the hub caps for a quickie repaint. They won't be perfect since 3 or the four are fairly dinged up, but at least they're be clean and look a lot better than those granny spoke faux wire covers it came with. The center emblem chickens will get cleaned up and repainted as well, hopefully some good ones will come along when I find better hub caps.

    A few shots of the progress....

    FrontDone.JPG NewTire.JPG Rear Brakes.JPG Axle.JPG AxleBearing.JPG
     
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  18. detmatt

    detmatt Old Man with a Hat FCBO Gold Member

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    I’ll check my stash for the wheelcover “chickens”.
     
  19. garyh

    garyh Active Member

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    EAGLES DAMNIT ! LOL
     
  20. C Body Bob

    C Body Bob Old Man with a Hat FCBO Gold Member

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    I like that test instrument. Who makes that.