Abandoned for 40 years: 1968 New Yorker 2 DR

Isaiah Estrada

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Some of you may or may not recognize me from my other threads, so I’ll give a quick introduction of myself and a background on my car!

I’m 20 years old born and raised on California’s gorgeous Central Coast in the 805. I grew up around a lot of old cars and always loved them. When I was 18 about to turn 19, I decided I wanted a car for myself!

I told my good friend, who has since become my mentor, about how I wanted an old car!! He then took me to one of his neighbors who had “a TON of old cars.” Me being Mexican American I only ever really knew Impalas, Monte Carlos, Caprices, Galaxies, Chopped Mercs, T-Birds, Lincoln’s, Caddies etc etc. Basically GM and some Ford cars but no Mopars! I had my heart set on a 68-69 Impala or a 66 Galaxie; but when we arrived at my friend’s neighbors house - there in the corner of my eye was what would very soon become my favorite car ever... a 1968 2 door New Yorker!

I’d only ever seen one fixed up before and I really liked it (it was a 2 door 68 Newport) but I didn’t realize how much different it was to actually see the car up close! The gent who had it gave me a basic run down. It didn’t run, had no trans, trashed interior, but is a solid mostly rust free body. Best of all - it still had the original 440 (I didn’t know anything about Mopars at first but I KNEW that had to be a powerful motor!) The guy said $1,500 and it’s yours! I bought it in a heartbeat.

When I finally began to tear into it, I didn’t know exactly what I was getting into... not only was the car not running; it HADN’T ran in 40 YEARS! It came from Tom Merkel’s Cuyama Car Garden. I knew of this place! 1,800 cars left to rot in the open California Desert. It was supposed to be some weird abstract art project... but these cars have been sitting for decades rotting!! When I went to see about registering the car; they told me it hadn’t been registered since 1980.

My friend said it wouldn’t be hard to find a 727 trans for the car. I’d need that... a cap and rotor tune up kit, spark plugs, wires, and a carb rebuild kit and we should be good! Well the engine wouldn’t even turn over by hand. Not even after waiting weeks with marvel mystery oil down the spark plug holes. I was crushed that I’d have to wait to drive my car... but it turned into a full restoration because as my friend and I said... “We might as well!” I’ll continue this thread with another post...

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Isaiah Estrada

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I turned 19 about 3 weeks after I bought my car in early January of 2020. I didn’t do much to the car while I was 19. First, I began to remove the interior. The dash was terrible!

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After sitting in the desert for 40 years, the interior became very brittle. Seat foam was hard and crumbly! If you sat on the seat, it would just turn to dust. Not only that, but this car became a rats nest. INFESTED with mice from top to bottom. The amount of urine and other feces they left was disgusting. Because the car was left with windows closed, it was like a greenhouse effect of rat piss evaporating and tarnishing any of the stainless / aluminum finish in the car. My floors rotted out as well! I tore out what was left of the carpet. It was pretty bad


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i found that my floors were rotted pretty bad! Especially after I removed the rear seats


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All in all... you could say my interior was pretty trashed (still is as I type this )

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Detroit Iron

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Cool story. Thanks for sharing. So you're learning that these things are like a can of worms. One repair leads to another. It takes a long time to get through the stuff and get the bug worked out. But the good thing is a car project is like a "pay as you go" method. Enjoy!
 

Isaiah Estrada

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Cool story. Thanks for sharing. So you're learning that these things are like a can of worms. One repair leads to another. It takes a long time to get through the stuff and get the bug worked out. But the good thing is a car project is like a "pay as you go" method. Enjoy!


Thanks! You hit the nail on the head with that one I really did open a can of worms... a BIG can
 

Isaiah Estrada

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As we know, my interior is inferior (didn’t mean for it to rhyme LOL.) How’s the engine look? Well - it’s mostly clean, especially for being parked 40 years! Nothing too bad. There was however a LOT of hard rat poop dirt, mud, hardened oil, tar and other obscenities all over the place. What could I expect for a car I only got for $1,500?

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I happen to be in a fortunate situation especially being a young man starting out in life. I work a good job that pays handsomely and I have hardly any major bills to pay. Given my car’s poor state, everyone told me “You should save up your money and fix this car up the RIGHT way and enjoy it!” They meant a full on restoration. It is not uncommon in the world of Lowriders to build Chevy’s from the ground up... because they literally make every part in the aftermarket! Us C Body guys aren’t that lucky. Back to where I mentioned it earlier when I said “I didn’t do much to the car while I was 19”.... I DID actually spend good money of sourcing out parts, and cosmetic pieces too! I’ll get to that later though ;)


To think of rebuilding an entire car scared the life outta me. How could I, a young adult who knows NOTHING about cars resurrect a C Body from the dead? I don’t mean to brag but I am quite handy and I do work hard when I’m determined to do something! I learn quickly and do the best I can. Having many people on the forums online helps a lot, but I send most of my thanks to my friend Mark and other people like his dad and other friends who have REALLY made this happen for me. Their knowledge and willingness to help has made this car slowly come together. In order to bring this girl back from the dead, I had to make sure the drivetrain was in order. First things first, to pull the 440 out and send it to be rebuilt!

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no more engine!

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Isaiah Estrada

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I forgot to add, before the engine was removed - we had the car on a display rack (like from a dealership) as a stand and I was underneath the car power washing, wire brushing, scrubbing and cleaning the heck out of that undercarriage!!! I only got the drivers side done, as the passenger floors are severely damaged. It appears that at one point in the cars life - it was lifted with a forklift. They must’ve not known the car had no transmission or driveline! OUCH. I don’t have very many pictures of this stage but I do have some pics of the final results on the one side. We have to cut out and weld new floor panels in and do some other body modifications anyways for my plans with this baby.


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58Desoto

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Car actually doesn't look that bad compared to how rotted most stuff back here is in Chicagoland. The floors you repaired look really nice!!
 

MetalManiacAZ

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Wow! Keep at it dude! Just be thankful it was sitting in CA for all of those years instead of cruising the salt/slush of the Midwest. I'll take our southwest dried out crusty interiors over patch panels any day. The guys on here have a ton of knowledge and wisdom and we are all more than willing to help. If you don't have a factory service manual, pick one up on Ebay. I paid $45 for my 68 edition. It will save you a ton of time, cussing, wrench throwing, etc.
 

Imperial dude

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I wish my son had your attitude about old cars

When he was 15(15 years ago) I bought him a 68 new Yorker 4dr HT hoping he would take to it , put down the video game controller,and become a father son bonding thing

No such luck, and this one ran and drove, however it did have a mouse nest in the front arm rest

He's 30 now, and drives a ford explorer, I disowned him years ago, just kidding :poke:




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stubs300

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I happen to be in a fortunate situation especially being a young man starting out in life. I work a good job that pays handsomely and I have hardly any major bills to pay.

That handsomely paid job doesn't do you diddly squat when 90% of it goes to pay your basic living expenses! Good Luck
 

live4theking

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Thanks! You hit the nail on the head with that one I really did open a can of worms... a BIG can
When you find the bottom of this can of worms let the rest of us know where to look for it at.

I wish my son had your attitude about old cars

When he was 15(15 years ago) I bought him a 68 new Yorker 4dr HT hoping he would take to it , put down the video game controller,and become a father son bonding thing

No such luck, and this one ran and drove, however it did have a mouse nest in the front arm rest

He's 30 now, and drives a ford explorer, I disowned him years ago, just kidding :poke:
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What happened to the NYer?
 

Imperial dude

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When you find the bottom of this can of worms let the rest of us know where to look for it at.


What happened to the NYer?

remember this was 15 years ago and before I had ever heard of FCBO and knew someone might actually want parts off it
But, I sold it for what I had in it $500
 

SportFury70

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Good to have another young gun like myself into the ol C-s! Although I like all the C's I am mainly a Plymouth guy though, lol. I too am itching for a C but unfortunately at this time there is no room at our place with all my stepdads cars, and I mainly wanna save up a little bit more money too.

Keep up the good work and I am looking forward to seeing more progress!
 
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