Been gone a while, busy with work and buying more projects I don't need
Can't really afford it, nowhere to put it, too many projects to deal with it, had to have it. Also technically it's a mopar so i guess it's not off topic. Now to learn to drive an unsynchronized transmission.
On topic however, i've had some time to think about what to do about Big Blue. The front stub is junk, but that's an easy fix. But the rear stub is not great.
I've realized how and why it failed. What's weird is that from the rear seat forward, the body is mint, no issues whatsoever. But from the rear seat backhead rearward, it's a disaster. This is really peculiar behavior, with every weld on every structural gusset failing.
My grandfather had a big motorhome style gravel skirt on the rear of the car for ages, with which he drove every crummy dirt backroad in BC, including Yellowknife in the dead of winter. I suspect what happened was that this caused a turbulant air to form in that big pocket, which swirled dust, dirt and all sorts of crud around, and it could only
settle on top of those gussets, such as the open flange pocket that supports the leaf springs. It's also worth noting that that skirt was taken off the car in the 90's, so I suspect it had been driven around in this condition for at least 15 years. As stubborn a car as my grandfather, that's for sure.
I've been seriously studying the frame, and I've come to the conclusion that the gussets can be replaced, and that the primary rails themselves are still very solid. But that the spring hangers in the rear are beyond repair. The springs are all done, driveshaft needs repair/replacing, exhaust system is done etc. And the front stub needs replacing entirely.
Even before I saw the car again, I'd quietly decided that if I can save the car in it's original condition, I would. But if i had to throw out the majority, I wouldn't mind hopping it up some. But I'm in the position where basically the entirety of the structure and running gear needs to be replaced. I can easily repair the body and retain the driveline, but everything else is junk.
Prolink Rear Suspension for A, B, C, and E-Body Dodge, Plymouth, Mopars
And then i found this.
A 'bolt on' 4 link kit that bypasses the leaf springs and relegates all weight bearing to the main rails themselves.
I've always loved trans am cars. Making the most unlikely cars into proper handling touring cars. I'd always toyed with the idea of building a car in that style, but modernized. Specifically including a 4 link setup.
I'm in the position where I don't have the tools/experience to fabricate or transplant a new rear frame. But I have a relatively cheap kit to transform the rear suspension into a serious 'modern' performer, which will be order of magnitude cheaper than having a shop replace the entirety of the rear of the car, merely to get back to stock functionality.
I'm left in this weird place where it actually makes more financial sense to turn the wagon into a proper fire breather than it is to merely repair what's there. So as much as it might gall purists, I think Big Blue's getting the full conversion treatment. It's all gotta go anyway, might as well make it something special.
My battleplan will be to save up the money I need, have a bodyshop sandblast the underside of the car, make new wheel wells and replace the 3rd row footwell, and paint/undercoat the bottom of the car. And i'll take it home and do the rest myself. I suspect all in, that'll be cheaper than having a shop merely sort out the rear alone, which still leaves the rest of the car to repair.
I'll leave the interior and exterior unaltered, as i want to preserve the character of the car. And as much as it hurts to rip up, it has to be done. And imagine having this big old innocuous 'dad car' that'll eat a ferrari for breakfast in the corners.
So there you go, Blue's fate has been decided. She'll live again, better than ever.
Most of her, anyway.