Dienstag, 24. Februar 2009

Lighting up

I started working on the rear lights. They looked bad but this time it was mostly dirt. Thick dark dirt, caked in between the bezels and the frame, filling the small holes in which the screws are recessed. Its amazing how many parts were used to build rear lights back then. On modern cars these lights are often one piece only, here we have the bezels, the chrome trim, the outer trim and the back of the lighting fixture. Two gaskets keep everything dry inside.
It took some persuasion from the trusty rust remover to get everything apart without using raw force so not to damage the old plastic! In an obvious attempt to keep moisture out the previous owner used an ample amount of silicone and other adhesives on the lights which are now quite a pain to remove.

Finally some parts on the 'Cuda that aren't craked, broken, rusted or bent beyond repair. The original light bezels only needed a thourough cleaning with soapy water to look like new again.

I couldn't resist having the chrome trim recromed. Only three very thin frames around the light bars are visible after assembly but I fell for that just as well.

Unfortunately the metal frames that go over the lights did not stand the test of time as well as the other parts. They are not cracked or broken, they are pitted with countless tiny holes around the edges. As I do want to retain the original pieces I will try to work them over with body filler and sand them back down...see where that brings me.

Samstag, 21. Februar 2009

Axles ready

Front and rear axle are in the shelf waiting to be bolted to the 'Cuda body. I'm still waiting for the rear leaf springs but other than that everything is ready, brakes and all.

New tubular upper A-arms will replace the stamped steel originals and finish off the front suspension. the small decal on the outside reads "control freak"...how ever did they know?!?

Donnerstag, 19. Februar 2009


The front brakes and the steering is finished and ready to be shipped.
The steering box is new as well, it's stiffer than the original and more like the steering on contemporary cars. New red koni shocks are fitted to keep the wheels planted firmly on the ground at speed.
To scrub off velocity I dumped the old drum brakes on the front end and replaced them with a set of original spec discs from mp brakes. That shoul supply enough stopping power to keep up with the performance of the big block engine.

Freitag, 13. Februar 2009

Front suspension

The front Suspension is coming together at Doc Stingers Mopar Garage. To beginn with, the lower control arms were boxed for more strength! There are pieces on the market ready to weld on but The Doc decided to build them from scratch to save some money. *good idea*

Before boxing, the control arms allowed a little movement within them, now they are rigid and ready to handle the power of braking and cornering. Of course they are painted black again as well.

Also freshly painted is the K-member, around which the front suspension and steering will be built. The steering incorporates fast ratio pitman arm and idler arm, for less turns at the steering wheel from lock to lock. These parts were originally only used on the T/A Challengers and the AAR Cudas. In addition to that, a new steering box from firm feel suspensions should give more steering response than the old '70's construction had.

Donnerstag, 12. Februar 2009

Framerail connectors

The passenger side frame rail connector is in place. It will give the car more stability and better chassis stiffnes, along with the other bracing and additional welding these parts will guarantee a sturdy frame for possible future suspension upgrades. The welds between the connectors and the floors are already covered by seam sealer.

Beefing up the front end

As the welding is rapidly coming to a close, the reinforcements of the front end are in place. First, the brace above the shock perch were beefed up with an additional piece of metal. Then a massive bar was welded to the brace, leading back to the firewall.
The bars - on both sides of course - should make the front end much more rigid, elliminating cowl shake reducing body flex. In front of the car, a piece of rectangular tubing was added under the radiator support, giving more strength to that area. All of this work will later be hidden under the front fenders, with no braces visible in the engine compartement.

Additional welds around the shock brace will add even more firmness. Note the bent piece of the original brace above the new bar, it was bent to make room for welding and will be reshaped to its original form.

Montag, 2. Februar 2009

Parts search

While it is quite easy to find most of the parts neede for a resto project like mine and there are countless vendors for all types of things , some parts are still difficult to come by. These are the sorry dash air vents on the 'Cuda. There's one on the far right side of the dash, two in the center. As you can see, there are fin missing, the housing is warped and partly broken.
I have no clue as to how something like that can happen and what kind of riots must have taken place in the passenger compartement of the car to leave such damage but those vents do need attention badly.
I will need either the complete assembly or the inside of the vents without the frame. (and try to fix the frames or what's left of them)...
I have read that vents from a B-body would fit as well. Maybe they are not as difficult to find.

Sonntag, 1. Februar 2009

Interior Trim

I started working on some interior pieces. They go around the rear window and over the side windows, from the top of the A-pillar back. They are made of metal and have a structure, or grain on the outside, as if to imitate leather or something like that. The parts around the rear were quite rusty, as the 'Cuda rusted from the inside out and from the rear to the front...

I had the parts media blasted to remove the rust and then I sprayed them with primer so the bare metal wouldn't rust again.

The pieces are now in gray primer, they will later be sprayed in red, to match the seats, the headliner, the carpet, the dash..everything really!

Unfortunately one of the rear pieces was rotted beyond repair. I don't know if the guy at the blasting gun was too motivated in removing the rust or if it couldn't have been done any better, anyway the piece that goes under the rear window now has quite a few holes in it. I decided to prime it, although I will be looking for a replacement.