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Post Info TOPIC: '71 Chevelle Potential Project-What to look for


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'71 Chevelle Potential Project-What to look for
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As y'all know me, I've been through my fair share of '69-72 Chevelles and know my way around them pretty good.  But, I'm looking at this roller as a project car and what concerns me is that it's all in primer and appears to look fairly decent in the pics so there is probably some rust hiding, but one can never tell.

So, if you were going to look at this one, what would you look for other than the usual spots?  Rear quarters, fender bottoms, under the back glass area, rockers, trunk pan etc?

It's had a new rear driver's quarter, one piece floor pan, and supposedly the cowl hood is new.  The trunk pan looks mostly solid but does have pinholes, so probably needs to be replaced.

I've about got myself convinced to go down and look at it tomorrow and maybe drag it back.  They're asking $6700 which doesn't seem too bad IF the metal work is decent.

The vision of the project would be to recreate the '71 Malibu I had in high school in the same Classic Coper, white vinyl top roof, and sandalwood interior but with some SS goodies like this one:

1971-chevrolet-chevelle-ss.jpg

Here's the project car:

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Stan S.-Twin Cities 'South Metro'

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Looking at the work, and the stuff in the background, my first impression is that it was thrown together for resale... which means shortcuts and half-assing things.

Flat black can hide a lot of sins.

That said, where is it? That place looks familiar. I swear I've been there before.

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Derek Kiefer - Mantorville, MN

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Derek69SS wrote:

Looking at the work, and the stuff in the background, my first impression is that it was thrown together for resale... which means shortcuts and half-assing things.

Flat black can hide a lot of sins.

That said, where is it? That place looks familiar. I swear I've been there before.


That's my concern as well Derek.  I spoke with my buddies at Burnsville Maaco about doing the scuff and shoot on it, and they also said the same thing.  I guess the only way to know is to see it in person.

It's at a 'dealer' in SW Iowa.  As you can see of the cars in the background, they are mostly 'project' level/field find cars.  

He told me this Chevelle came from South Dakota, which I guess is a step or two from a Minnesota car since they don't use as much salt there.  But, it's still a 49 year old car.  Lol



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Here's another 4 speed roller in Iowa for $10,900 that seems a little better, but not $4K better!

129096195_476148816692171_6281123995230224867_n.jpg

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129293583_476148806692172_7768687448007736762_n.jpg

129231402_476148800025506_2782793948366542992_n.jpg

 



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The driver's quarter panel gaps look pretty bad, especially to the trunk lid. (on the first car posted)



-- Edited by Derek69SS on Thursday 17th of December 2020 02:44:22 PM

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Derek Kiefer - Mantorville, MN

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I noticed the same gaps as Derek. And that is not an easy fix. Leaving the car all dusty and dirty is another con-man trick. On the other hand, the end goal looks pretty nice, and you have to start somewhere.
Take a bunch of weak magnets and check it all over.
Good luck!

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Are you sure you don't just want to fine one a lot closer to the first picture?! rolleyes



-- Edited by BLyke on Thursday 17th of December 2020 04:07:46 PM

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BLyke wrote:

Are you sure you don't just want to fine one a lot closer to the first picture?! rolleyes



-- Edited by BLyke on Thursday 17th of December 2020 04:07:46 PM

 

Yeah but that level of car is $55K+!  hyper

The Classic Copper color is really hard to find. If I want that, finding a solid roller body is the best path I think. 



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I have paid too much for almost every car I have done and in process.
Green Biscayne, Basket case Biscayne, Blue Elky and probably the white Elky. (I am good Derek)

However, Green Impala Custom, other Green Biscayne with tinted glass were both very good values.
The green 66 Malibu "sport sedan" came out of California had been stripped of drivetrain front sheetmetal, bumpers and deck lid.
Great bones though.

The best "deal" was Probably the white Elky from Derek.
Pretty solid, fairly complete, unique model/options. (also I have inventory for multiple upgrades, in stock)
It still has original drivetrain (freshened) Frame, suspension and multiple additional options.

The body still was/is the greatest challenge to complete.
Floors, lower w/s area, rear cab, rear box corners, plus all cosmetic dents, including a ton of time on inner bed floor and sides.

Blue Elky was the same, frame, drivetrain, suspension intact, plus needed most of the same body stuff, plus a roof.
They are featured in the "Pair of ElCaminos" thread

I look for the following:
Good Bones (minimal rust)
Complete , fairly unmolested.
Unique options or model.
Clean title

Pretty safe bet that the drivetrains are unimportant, as they always seem to get "tweaked" to the taste of buyer.

Greatest fears are:
Structural rust on Frame/Body.
Structural damage to Frame/Body.

The biggest Restoration challenge is the Body. Blue Elky apart 25+ years painted 4-5 years ago.
Remember, I parted four Biscayne post cars to get enough glass and the straight frame for Biskwik.
And it was fitted with all NOS front tin.

Both Elkys' have parts from multiple other vehicles to get them to where they are today.
They were complete running, driving Vehicles.

Stan, have fun in your quest, be fussy.
This is long but hopefully reinforces being pragmatic in your choices.

Curious to see what Mitch responds with.

Karl



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more ambition than brains wrote:

I have paid too much for almost every car I have done and in process.
Green Biscayne, Basket case Biscayne, Blue Elky and probably the white Elky. (I am good Derek)


 

I fully agree with you, for what seemed to be a very solid New Mexico car, that one was hiding some sins that neither of us were aware of... Which goes to show that you never really know what you are getting into until you tear it down and strip it to bare metal. 



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Derek Kiefer - Mantorville, MN

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Good comments by Karl!
My second suggestion Stan, is to look a lot further south than Iowa.
The cost of hauling it here could be a small price for some really "good bones"
Getting a (nearly) rust free Car is something I would like to do one day.

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A 12-hour drive will get you into the top part of Texas

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Good luck with your search.  A friend here in Lake City just stumbled on to a 65 SS sold new in LC in 65, with original dealer sticker.  I would say you would easily get 10K on craigs list.  Has been stored since 84, low miles maybe. Owner just retired and kind of getting rid of everything. Price $1,900.  Just a little more than the trick flow heads I just bought.



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Be a nice weekend drive. He has some interesting cars there.
Karl's list is an excellent guideline. When looking, what's not there can be very expensive, lots of little parts add up fast. Clear title and VIN tags with correct rivets; you don't want to deal with Minnie's DMV trying to fix a title. 

The second car looks to have some original paint on some panels, that's a plus. If someone welded new floor or trunk pans in I'd look very closely at the underside alignment, braces, body mounts and bolts installed, bucket seat brackets, seat belt bolt receivers....... .

You do have that nice shop! It's an adventure!  



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All great advice from everyone!

I had the seller of the black primered one send me more pics of the underside behind the rear wheels, and she's pretty rusty looking.  So, I think you guys are right this was a 'let's replace the floors, throw on a new hood, and paint the sucker all black to look good' kind of car.  I'm off a couple of days next week, so if I get super bored sitting around since I still can't do much with the rotator cuff repaired shoulder until after the first of the year, I may run down to Iowa to take a look but won't take a trailer with me.  lol

I am figuring out that through the chasing of the last 8 Chevelle's in 18 years...maybe what I've been searching for was the memory of my old high school '71 Malibu.  That's why I'm trying to put together a plan to find a decent '71 and have it painted Classic Copper and white vinyl top to match my high school car.  I probably shouldn't have sold the blue/white top '71 Malibu last year and just had it repainted and changed the interior color, but I would have been upside down pretty quick. I guess I'll keep looking.  cuckoo



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You just can't stand having 4 headlights, can you...laughing

I'll second Derek's and Dashboard's comments about 12 hours getting you to Denton, TX. A car from that area will save you hundreds of hours and dollars of sheet metal work. You're very handy with mechanical, but buying a mig and all the cut off and grinding tools to do the level of body work rusty cars requires, also adds to the cost that you could, otherwise, put into a cleaner car to build. 12 hours will get you to the western Dakota's, Wyoming and south to Kansas and most of Oklahoma.

As an aside, I don't remember, ever, seeing a copper Chevelle. THAT is a really nice color and I may look at that for the '38 some day.

You may not have seen, or remember, the 1954 Chev I brought home from Casper Wyoming 4-5 yrs ago. Original paint...2 rust holes behind the rear tires...that's it.

DSC05023_zpsxpsd1bcs.jpg?width=450&heigh

 



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Well, as you know I am 1800 miles south. Find me something I can go look at.

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https://phoenix.craigslist.org/nph/cto/d/sedona-1972-chevelle/7241824550.html

Front signal change you have a '71. Long way for Jon to go look, but this is what is down there.

00B0B_38S2B6KrIFn_0CI0ik_1200x900.jpg



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Mitch D.   River Falls, WI

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That yellow car appears to have the "good Bones" I was referring to.
They are out there.

beers

Karl



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I dug out the few pics I have of my 307 c.i./TH350 '71 Malibu high school car to see if it looked as I remembered from 40+ years ago...and found these pics.  I've posted a couple before, but this is what makes me so attracted to that copper/white color theme.

Some 'performance' upgrades I did to it as a 17 year old were:

-Installed well used Corvette SBC iron 4 barrel manifold with Rochester carb

-Installed headers with glass pack bolt on mufflers dumping into tailpipes in front of the rear wheels (loud, but I was 17 and thought it was cool!)

-2nd gen F body bucket seats reupholstered in tan pleather and crushed velvet  ooooooh.  lol

-B&M Quicksilver shifter

-B&M shift kit that even with a measly 307 c.i. SBC it would always get 2nd gear rubber

-Painted ET Street 5 spokes with rattle can gold and it had narrow white line tires on the front and the Firestone II's that were L60's if I remember right.

I guess it's these kind of memories that make us all have the same car disease.  oldscool

 

 P.s. The '64 Ford Fairlane in the background is the car I learned to shift a manual trans.  It had a 3 speed on the tree with an electronic overdrive lever under the dash.  



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Stan S.-Twin Cities 'South Metro'

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The CB Radio is impressive, 80s version of the smartphone.

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dashboard wrote:

The CB Radio is impressive, 80s version of the smartphone.


 Yeah, buddy. That antenna should be tall enough to bring in the trucker chatter on I80.

I'm wondering what a Road Runner air freshener scent smells like ???



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Mitch D.   River Falls, WI

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I had a very early set of American Racing wheels with Michelin radials on front and bias ply street slicks on the rear. I painted them rattle-can light copper to match the car.
Real trend-setters, weren't we?

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Larry Lucast wrote:

I had a very early set of American Racing wheels with Michelin radials on front and bias ply street slicks on the rear. I painted them rattle-can light copper to match the car.
Real trend-setters, weren't we?


That's right Larry!  beers

I had to get creative with the budget when making $1.75/hour at the local grocery store! 



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Stan S.-Twin Cities 'South Metro'

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Lost in the 60s wrote:
dashboard wrote:

The CB Radio is impressive, 80s version of the smartphone.


 Yeah, buddy. That antenna should be tall enough to bring in the trucker chatter on I80.

I'm wondering what a Road Runner air freshener scent smells like ???


Good catch Mitch!  Maybe my CB handle was 'Looney Tunes'...????  laughing

I don't recall what the air freshener smelt like.  It hid most of the exhaust and fuel smells from what I remember.   



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Stan S.-Twin Cities 'South Metro'

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Took a nice Sunday drive down to NW Iowa today to get eyeballs on the black primered '71 to see firsthand how things looked.

The Good:

  • Original GM front fenders to the car and doors (drivers is an OEM replacement from another car, and passenger is original to the car) and both door bottoms are solid.
  • Frame has no cracks or signs of impact (looked at front horns, corners, and rear area)
  • The rear passenger quarter is original and in mostly good shape
  • All original glass is there
  • Complete dash assembly (more on that later)
  • Lots of surface rust underneath and original sound deadener.  Majority is solid when doing the screwdriver punch test.  The only 'soft' place I found was on the drivers side of the trunk pan, which is original.  
  • The floor pan supports have heavy surface rust, but are solid
  • Front cowl beneath the windshield under the stainless trim is completely solid (unlike the '72 vert I restored that had a 1" hole all the way across)
  • The drivers side trunk gap is large, but the passenger side is too tight, so looks like some adjustment with the trunk panel would address that.  It has original quarters at that height, so the theory that the drivers quarter was replaced incorrectly doesn't make sense now.  I'm guessing the factory alignment wasn't all that great to begin with. The rest of the rear corner gaps and above the bumper are really good (better than the 72 vert I had) 
  • Inside rockers are solid
  • I negotiated a $200 price drop to $6500 if I decide to buy it

The Bad:

  • Found bondo in the usual places; bottoms of front fenders, drivers side rear quarter that has had a lower quarter panel replacement in front of and behind the wheel opening
  • The center ceiling brace is bent inward about 3/8" and the adhesive in that area has a gap, so that would need to be addressed.  The roof looks flat on the outside though, so not sure why it's bent.  I looked at the rest of the roof skin on the inside, and it looks original so I don't think it was replaced.
  • Found quite a bit of rust on the inside top of the windshield opening that will likely need to be replaced.  It's on the outer edge of the channel, not the part the windshield rests against.
  • Could get by not replacing the trunk pan, but should probably put in a 3 or 1 piece kit to do it right.
  • When the 1 piece floorpan was put in, it was put in on top of some of the original floor pan in the rear passenger footwells rather than remove the entire old floorpan.  The original floor pan metal should probably be removed.

The pictures here aren't real good as the flash on my cell phone kept messing up on me, but you get most of the idea.

I'm going to talk to Maaco in the morning and get their thoughts on the additional work on the rear quarter panel, fender bottoms, and a couple of other small areas to see if I would be allowing enough in my budget IF I bought it.

Everyone talked about 'good bones', and what I found is the frame does look completely solid, the fenders other than the bottoms, doors, roof, trunk lid, new hood, are good.  

Tina and I had a good talk on the drive back, and we both think if I do this it needs to be different than the 8 month frame off thrash that we did on the '72 vert, and give this one a 2 year goal.  I'm older and slower now.  Lol

I'm open to thoughts on my Good/Bad list above.  Keep it coming.

 



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Stan S.-Twin Cities 'South Metro'

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First concern is...does it have a clear, transferable title ?

The steering appears to be MANUAL ? Is the vin for a 6 cylinder or 8 ? I see the engine frame mounts are missing, maybe to hide the fact that it came with a 6 ?

I don't see where the new floor pan is even touching, let alone welded to, 2 of the supports.

Sitting on the old floor pan is holding the new pan too high to sit on the supports and getting the old pan out, would either involve cutting up the new pan, or removing it. Either choice is going to involve a lot of work required because of a really lazy, crappy, install on a car that could be so much better.

The rest really does look like "good bones", but is a full on restoration, and you seem to realize that.

If the front fenders are as botched as it sounds, you would be better off finding clean originals down south, or waiting for a pair of NOS to pop up. The '71-72 fenders aren't as expensive as the, more popular, previous years.

Sorry, I mis read your fender patches as front and they are rear. Again, if the repair is crappy, you may want to consider a quarter skin.



-- Edited by Lost in the 60s on Sunday 20th of December 2020 08:10:06 PM

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Mitch D.   River Falls, WI

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Lost in the 60s wrote:

First concern is...does it have a clear, transferable title ?

The steering appears to be MANUAL ? Is the vin for a 6 cylinder or 8 ? I see the engine frame mounts are missing, maybe to hide the fact that it came with a 6 ?

I don't see where the new floor pan is even touching, let alone welded to, 2 of the supports.

Sitting on the old floor pan is holding the new pan too high to sit on the supports and getting the old pan out, would either involve cutting up the new pan, or removing it. Either choice is going to involve a lot of work required because of a really lazy, crappy, install on a car that could be so much better.

The rest really does look like "good bones", but is a full on restoration, and you seem to realize that.

If the front fenders are as botched as it sounds, you would be better off finding clean originals down south, or waiting for a pair of NOS to pop up. The '71-72 fenders aren't as expensive as the, more popular, previous years.

Sorry, I mis read your fender patches as front and they are rear. Again, if the repair is crappy, you may want to consider a quarter skin.



-- Edited by Lost in the 60s on Sunday 20th of December 2020 08:10:06 PM


Thanks Mitch.

It's titled in the Iowa dealers name, so clear there. 

I figured having the new floor on top of the old was not good, but you confirmed it. I guess a guy could weld them together and add welds to the supports,  but probably not the way to do it. 

I'll have to sleep on it. Right now I'm thinking it's more work than I want to get into, but who knows. 

 

 



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Stan S.-Twin Cities 'South Metro'

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The repro floors don't fit into the originals close enough to get them to sit down tight, or the overlap may not be as much of a gap. I'm curious as to how they welded them on the side too. Most likely layed them on the old and welded them to that, instead of getting the flange under the outer rocker, as original. I've done the work of getting new pan flanges under the rocker, but only with 2 piece floors. I don't see any way to do that with a 1 piece. You could draw the supports up closer with drill screws, and weld them, but it will never be a "clean" install and will be noticeable from underneath.

I know it seems like an inexpensive route to get into a car, but starting with a bare shell is a LOT of work and you would be very busy to finish that in 2 years.

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Sorry Stan, "not feeling it" on this car.

1. Incomplete, Basket case.
2. Underside really "crusty"
3. Work that has been done appears to be "patch and dump"

My definition of "Good Bones" again:
Most important, Not rusty or crusty, this car fails in that respect.
The rust pits all over everything do not go away with sandblasting, they will still be there and affect final appearance.
Has title, good.
Complete, not even close.
Unmolested, no.
I will add "affordable" Looks like a rolling parts car.

This car needs a complete Frame off, every nut and bolt restoration.
Don't see any opportunities for any other approach for you to be happy with end result.
You are not building a "Rat Rod" you want to restore some of your past, and fond memories.

If you were retired, had all the body skills needed to do all body repairs yourself, so you are in control, it could be fun.
The two year timeline might be realistic, for YOU!
If you have to find, and pay someone else for those services, I fear it will blow your "Budget" and timeline off the charts.
We know you can deal with the Mechanical issues and build.

I am buried ($$$) in the Biscayne (Biskwik) I would do it again, I restored a very fond memory.
It took 6-7 years with a complete car for a start.
Still adding finishing touches.

White Elky is over 6 years in.
Blue Elky 25 years.

Life gets in the way sometimes, the larger the project, the more possibilities for delays.
So far my "dreams" have not been "Disasters"

Make a list of People you know with projects of this magnitude, attach timelines to their efforts/outcomes.
Ponder long and hard on this purchase.

It makes no difference how long it takes to complete the project, if it is the "Journey" not the completion date.

Got a little wordy, but I care.
Karl



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Lots of good comments, recommend that you hold out for good bones, if this is going to be a keeper car.

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Bruce L. - Lakeville MN

1971 Malibu Convert

 



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With everyone's sage advice...you've talked me off the ledge once again.  I just called the dealer on the black '71 and told him I'm going to pass.  He was totally cool with it, and I'd deal with him again in the future as a stand up guy.  That one would have been more of a body work project than I should tackle with my limited metal working skills, tools, and most importantly patience!

Kind of a sad comment from the dealer is that it's getting really hard to find decent quality build/project cars anymore since they've mostly been picked up.  He said he used to find them all over west and south of Iowa, and now he can't find them hardly at all.  We keep seeing all the 'barn finds' still being discovered out there, but the low end budget solid project cars seem to be few and far between now.

Anyway, I'm reminding myself in these strange times that to be able to walk out to my shop and see any Chevelle in there at all is a blessing, and that I'm still a lucky guy.  Not everyone can say that.  Of course when I walked out and looked at it, I started picking apart the wheel drops behind the rear wheels and finding fault with other things on the underside now that I have a lift.  I know...first world problems.  lol  But, it does remind me that our levels of 'pickiness' change depending on the project and what we want from the car, which is the full range of things.

I'll put the idea of building my high school car back on the shelf, and will keep my eyes open for the 'right one'.  laughing

Thanks again for all the feedback.  Hopefully made for some interesting reading by others that may have gone through the same process in their car journey's.  



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Stan S.-Twin Cities 'South Metro'

1972 Malibu Convertible 2nd time around 

1999 SS Camaro LS1-6 speed

Forum influenced terms: 'Link Paste', 'Stanitized', & 'Revolving garage door...' 

 



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Many of my Cars found me.
Eyes and ears open, often things will fall into place.
Not really looking too hard.

Good call Stan, thanks for sharing.
If you were into "Tanks" big old B-Bodies, (Biscayne's, Impalas, I could help out.

It IS good to be us!!
Karl

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More ambition than brains,

If you have more than 5 of anything, best to stop counting!



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Sounds like a good call on this on Stan.
Hopefully as Karl said the right one will find you and then you can use it to talk some of us from the edge

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Bruce L. - Lakeville MN

1971 Malibu Convert

 



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Yes, looking too hard and wanting what you want, when you want it, leads to mistakes that cost more in the end.


If you REALLY want to work on a Chevelle over winter, have I got a project for you !!!
I"ll LET you replace the entire interior floor and trunk on a 1970 Chevelle. I have a 1 piece interior floor, with rockers and a 1 piece trunk floor. Oh, and there are the trunk drops...and the extension panel too. Dang I just remembered, I have both full quarter panels here for it too. Sound like a deal ?..laughinglaughinglaughing

I have the rotisserie for you to use too.  thumbsup

00u0u_9pmOoHAWMXu_600x450_zpsdesqulgy.jp



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Mitch D.   River Falls, WI

Charter member of the "Cars apart Club"

Some Assembly Required

1964 Chevelle SS 230 M35

1966 Chevelle SS 396 M20

1970 Chevelle SS 396 M20

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