Sheetmetal decisions, restore or recycle? - Impala Tech
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-08-2020, 02:37 AM Thread Starter
 
 
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Unhappy Sheetmetal decisions, restore or recycle?

Well, as they say, I've really got to fish or cut bait; just don't know what to do with the '67 convertible. fix it up (and it DOES need work) or sell for parts and scrap metal? It doesn't even need to be close to perfect but is it really too far gone? dunno, there appears to be a fair amount of good body and then the usual horror of floor pan and trunk pan rust. it's a long story of how it got to this point and there may be some options I don't know about. do we have any knowledgeable members in the Austin Tx area who might could take a look?

Thanks folks!
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-08-2020, 07:21 AM
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I'm too far away to take a look, but I will say the 58-64 Convertibles have become a hot commodity. People are going as far as taking an almost gone convertible and hacking the convertible onto a 2 dr hardtop. The 1964 GTO was what let people realize a lighter car with the same drive terrain as the big ones were definitely the way to go. The follow up generation doesn't have the racing or hot rod backing the previous one did as GM had A-bodies and X-bodies that were on the hot rod side of the spectrum leaving the B-body cars as a family/luxury car, not to mention GMs aversion to motor sports at the time these cars went into production. Then they threw the F-body into the mix and that was the end of ever looking to beef up the performance of the B-body car. I don't think the 65-72 generation of B-body will ever have the following the earlier B-bodies do, but they do have a solid following and when it comes to luxury nothing beats a drop top. Production numbers of convertibles are low and right now you can pick up 2 door and 4 door cars of your year for a song if you look and that makes it easier to fix up your convertible.

1969 was the last year of a factory 4 speed in a B-body. 1970-1972 the only manual option was a 3 speed behind a straight six. At the time manual transmissions were what racers wanted.

If it is salvageable within your means I would fix it up. You may never get a chance to own a 67 convertible again. I have yet to see a convertible depreciate after 15 years of age or so.

1963 Impala Convertible (Frame off resto-mod in progress)
1963 Impala 2 door hardtop (Pro Street build in progress)
1963 Impala 4 door hardtop (Parts car)
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-08-2020, 08:20 AM
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If you have to ask then it is economically decided against. This is a hobby fobby for retired body men and those who want to learn how to be a body man. I never learned because it involved far too much work, and I was more interested in pulling G's either accelerating in a straight line or turning on a road course to care what the car looked like. My cars were lucky to get washed never mind wet sanding paint.

Big Dave
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-08-2020, 08:27 AM
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If it can't be restored, use it for parts or sell it to someone who would use it for parts. The '67 Convertible is rare and and will have many hard to find parts on it. Would love to have it if we were closer.

-Parting Out over 75 '58 to '73 Full Size Chevy Cars-

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-08-2020, 12:48 PM Thread Starter
 
 
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I have both the '65 SS convertible (bought in 1996) and '67 convertible (bought in 1992) and honestly prefer both over any other year. The '65 was bought with an original 70k miles, original paint, etc. It's not getting touched and may one day get passed down to my daughter.

The '67 however was bought while in the Navy in Maine/New Hampshire and already had some patches done. Drove it all the way home to Texas, no problems. Couple years later started having issues, so started working on it just before my career got really busy and got married and bought a house and started a family and ....... (you get the idea)

-Fuel pump went out so I learned to rebuild the engine (~1993-94) and did it (still sitting on the engine stand in garage, wrapped up)
-rebuilt the Powerglide while I had it out (~1994)
-started some bodywork (~1994), got a job offer (1995) and moved cities for career (bought a house, etc)
-bench seats recovered, seal wrapped and placed in garage (~1996)
-bought a business (~1999), things are looking up
-frame starting to rust, replaced/repaired frame (~1998), installed PST front suspension, body mounts, and disc brake conversion (~2000)
-DotCom implosion (~2001, lost a lot of $$$ in that) business went downhill from there
-everything came to a screeching halt and has stayed there since (it's been a long time digging ourselves out of that economic turndown)


The Good
trunk lid, hood, most of the trim work, entire front clip, firewall, under rear seat pan, doors, glass, upper rear quarters

The Bad
floor pans, trunk pans, lower rear quarters, dash under windshield


I don't mind doing the work myself because as Big Dave said, it's a hobby. If I had to do this for a living there would be no joy in it. The problem is I've never done bodywork. My expectations over the years have gone from clean restoration ("Bondo? I don't THINK so!") to nice job to "I'd like it to be a solid driver I can learn on". I think there's a good project here but just don't know. I know one of the biggest problems is just getting the sheetmetal and I know it is NOT cheap. I also have the Hollander Interchange 39th Edition manual so I know very little sheetmetal interchanges between 65-70 and within the various models.

Ideally, I'd like to find another '67 to salvage but, as mentioned, these beasts are rare and I would hate to cut up another survivor. But finding another survivor in better shape with a bad frame? I have no problem combining two (or three) if necessary

I've got pics but there's nothing quite like in-person inspection from a knowledgeable hobbyist who knows these vehicles
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-08-2020, 10:46 PM
BA.
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My vote would be to save it but I'm decidedly biased. Some of my build pictures are blocked on my blog here but I started with a bit of a rust bucket, absolutely zero bodyworking knowledge other than some old Car Craft, Hot Rod and PHR magazines. Ditto for painting.

I ended up with a presentable, nice driver that gets looks. I did not want to dive into full floor-pan or trunk pan or quarter panel replacements (too much time and money) but I did patch the hell out of everything and learned to weld in the process too!!


Hope you save it!!
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HOW A NOVICE REBUILDS A 66 IMPALA CONVERTIBLE:
http://www.impalas.net/forums/blog.php?u=1432
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-09-2020, 12:33 AM
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I agree. Now that I read some of the details on it, it sounds reasonably restore-able.

-Parting Out over 75 '58 to '73 Full Size Chevy Cars-

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-10-2020, 01:58 PM Thread Starter
 
 
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not the best pics in the world, but then, I'm not a photographer

https://photos.app.goo.gl/eLpizRuHXdAsmGxx9
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-10-2020, 03:41 PM
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The worst part seems to be at the bottom of the Windshield where the Cowl meets the Dashboard. Some vendors are carrying a replacement for this, not sure about the '67 though. If not, I would try to get an original from a salvage yard like Desert Valley in AZ.

The '65 looks pretty nice.

-Parting Out over 75 '58 to '73 Full Size Chevy Cars-

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-10-2020, 03:57 PM Thread Starter
 
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 62BillT View Post
The worst part seems to be at the bottom of the Windshield where the Cowl meets the Dashboard. Some vendors are carrying a replacement for this, not sure about the '67 though. If not, I would try to get an original from a salvage yard like Desert Valley in AZ.

The '65 looks pretty nice.
I'd agree with you about the dash. It wasn't always like that but exposure to the elements killed it. Second worst part is rear quarters and wheel housing where it meets trunk. All other parts are boxed up and in the garage.

The '65 is a whole 'nother story. Nice yes, BUT it almost went the same way as the '67 because of the brother-in-law.....


some people may be asking 'why aren't they garaged?' well, if I didn't have a garage full of junk, along with all the live-in mother-in-laws stuff that I can't convince the wife to sell since she'll never be able to use it again, they wouldn't be asking
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-11-2020, 08:42 AM
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Looking at the pictures I think you have a couple of options.

1. you could part the 67 out to raise some funds for the 65, granted I don't know how strong the market is for 67 parts, but if you are careful and pay attention to the convertible specific sheet metal and parts you could have some pieces that are not reproduced and in high demand.

2. Look for a 4 door that is pretty clean and use it for parts. The lower windshield area should be the same as well as the firewall. I think they make new rockers and quarters for the 67 and it is always more fun to work with new sheet metal instead of old. I probably wouldn't look at making it a show car with my level of ability, but a nice cruiser that you are not worried about sitting in your local walmart parking lot would be a fun ride.

3. Make it a long term project and search for perfect parts for everything and make yourself a show car. From what I have heard a lot of people that go this route regret it in the end. They end up with beautiful cars that they are afraid to drive anywhere. Might look at this for my convertible if my Hardtop is up and running.

4. Sell the project to someone else. Always a painful choice that I still have some regrets over cars I have sold in the past. From my 72 Nova SS to my 69 GMC 2 ton dually, I still wish I had those around considering what I know now and what I knew then.

My choice would be option 2 currently, but I currently have an outbuilding to work in, even if it is full already. It can be easy to loose motivation on a project when you don't have the tools, know how, or space you really need during various steps. Or when you cut out one panel to replace only to realize another panel underneath needs replaced as well.

1963 Impala Convertible (Frame off resto-mod in progress)
1963 Impala 2 door hardtop (Pro Street build in progress)
1963 Impala 4 door hardtop (Parts car)
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-11-2020, 02:04 PM Thread Starter
 
 
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1) nothing really wrong with the '65 except for a tiny dink on fender (the neighbors huge tree that fell over 6 months ago in a windstorm and didn't tell me...for 2 weeks! I took pics, could have been a lot worse. it missed the corner of the mother-in-law's free-standing apartment in our backyard). all it really needs is proper garaging and care.



2) This is the one I'm planning on. They do make a lot of replacement stuff but as you know a lot of it is one year only and model-specific. I have found ways around original equipment by accident. For example, you know how the convertible frame is boxed so the transmission cross-member is different (not as wide) than a hardtop? while searching the junkyard I found a body-less rolling frame. After measuring it and finding it too wide, I figured out it was a hardtop. But then I noticed the x-member was the same shape. Wait, what? Yep, I laid the old rusty one right on top and found it 1"-2" shorter each side. Pulled it, crimped the ends flatter further up the tube, trimmed off the excess, drilled bolt holes, and it dropped right in. Perfect fit!



3) considering the scarcity of parts and it's original condition, it'l be a driver. While I can appreciate an ultra-rare low-mileage trailer queen, I'm not fond of them. and I really don't have the $$$ or desire to drop buckets of money into something like this. These are the kind of cars that are meant to be enjoyed by being driven.

4) yeah, I know that one. talk about stupid, I bought a '91 Crown Vic police car in great shape w/low miles and a 351W motor thinking "Hot rod kitcar, here I come!" Then I found out they don't make kitcars for that form-factor, not even Shelby Cobras....(damnit!) At least I found someone 15 years later (an ex-cop) who wanted the whole thing because he liked them

Wish I had an outbuilding. Retirement property plans include for that option, and I'm talking a couple of rural acres with a about a 24x30 or 30x40 building, that will have a lift and plenty of space for all my tools, including radial saws, drill presses, welding stuff, etc, and storage space inside for it.

As mentioned, my big killer is space and know-how. No space to work inside instead of out in the elements, missing a few tools. Sure, I could use the plasma cutter I found at a swap meet but if I used that outside then the results are exposed to weather. And then when I have to join new sheetmetal, what's the proper technique? I'd love to take hobby courses locally but no high schools in my area offer the option for after hours or summer Adult Education, you have to goto the local community college ($$$ cha-ching!)
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-13-2020, 09:33 PM
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If it were mine id definitely save it even if a couple hard tops had to die. But I also do this kind of stuff for a living anyway which means I’m experienced and equipped to handle it. But even then, I learned by diving in and doing it.
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