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70 GS Stage1 Convertible in Tealmist Gray


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This isn't "my" Buick, but it will be an ongoing restoration thread.  I thought some of you here on the BCA site would enjoy following.

 

20 years ago, this car was completely blown apart.  I mean, if it unscrewed, it came apart.  The chassis was painted, and the body was media blasted.  New aftermarket quarter panels were grafted on while the body was off the frame...and as a result of insufficient (read: none) bracing, the quarter panels buckled when the body was dropped back on the frame.  The project was abandoned until it was picked up several years ago and stored away again.  A couple weeks ago, it arrived here to be completed.  The intention is to get it to MCACN 2020 in November next year.  It's a nearly impossible order for me, but I am up to the challenge after last year's thrash on the 72 GSX.

 

The first thing I did was install the doors to make sure they were still going to line up with the body, and there was no damage to the integrity of the body shell.  Everything lined up perfectly, and all measurements came out good when I checked various spots on the body for square.

 

New aftermarket quarter panels from The Parts Place are on the way, along with a dump truck load of other parts.  Since no one makes quarters for convertibles, I will be using aftermarket hardtop quarters.  They will be cut near the top of the body line and spliced in properly.  The current quarter panels are welded in using a lap joint, and those can be questionable on longevity if any moisture gets in behind the joint.  If you look inside the trunk, you can clearly see the joint where the old one was cut off and new welded on.

 

Now that I know where we stand, I am hiring a dustless blasting company to come out and hose the body shell, doors, and fenders.  Once that is complete, I can replace the quarters.  I'll then brace the body and remove it from the frame.  The chassis will be redone while the body is off.  Thankfully, the rest of the body is in great shape.  All it needs is cleaned up and hit with epoxy to keep it from rusting while I mess around with the quarters.

 

More to come...hopefully soon...

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Edited by Smartin (see edit history)
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So I was finally able to get a mobile blasting guy out today...yes, Sunday. Since the weather is turning to crap, he obliged. I'd rather work in 65* and sunny than 30 any day.

The condition of the body tub is mostly as expected. A few little pin holes showed up in some jamb areas, but nothing major. Doors and fenders look solid. Once I extracted (nearly) all of the media from the car, I started poking at the quarters to see where my first move would be. I cleaned up the metal at the top 4" of each side so I could see what I was working with. Driver side was welded up a bit higher than the passenger side. My intent is to save the top several inches of the quarters so I can graft the new hardtop quarters in at that point. This is where the body lines/curves differ from convertible to hardtop. So, it appears that my best bet is to completely replace the quarters at the factory seams everywhere but the top. This will allow me to regain the factory weld appearance along those areas. I see they replaced the left trunk drop when they did the quarters. I went ahead and cut out the main section of LH quarter to get some motivation going..

One item of note, check out the quarter marker light location. It is stamped out, but not cut out. This is a sure sign of those Tabco/Sherman/etc replacement quarter skins.

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I spent some time this evening peeling the old quarter panel off at the factory welds.  I will cut the old repair off at the top, but retain as much of the original quarter as possible so I can try to keep that contour that is specific to the convertible body.  I can then bring the aftermarket quarter in to match.

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Another cool project, Adam....... I know it’ll look great after your personal touch!

 

I am about to do a large panel replacement on my truck and have decided to use a state of the art

panel bond adhesive.   It seems this material has really gone mainstream: both for new manufacturers and repair

shops.  

 

Wondering if you've thought about trying it on any of your restoration projects?  

Mike

 

 

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59 minutes ago, Roadmaster75 said:

Another cool project, Adam....... I know it’ll look great after your personal touch!

 

I am about to do a large panel replacement on my truck and have decided to use a state of the art

panel bond adhesive.   It seems this material has really gone mainstream: both for new manufacturers and repair

shops.  

 

Wondering if you've thought about trying it on any of your restoration projects?  

Mike

 

 

 

I am also getting ready to replace the area above the rear tires on my truck where they all rust out.  I am planning on using the structural adhesive.  I have finally been converted that with a step flange tool and the adhesive, it should come out with the least amount of metal work after the attachment.  It is also permanent unless you heat it up with a torch.

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I've used panel bond...did it on the red 72 X last year in a couple spots that I couldn't effectively weld.  One of them was at the lower front of the quarter where it meets the top of the rocker.  Be sure you are prepping the metal with enough "bite" for the panel bond to hold onto.

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I continued hacking the old quarter panel off enough to start fitting the new one this evening. I'm at the point now where I can scribe the cut line on the new quarter inside along the edge of the old one. The new one is fitted where the door gap is about perfect. The body contours line up really well.

To clarify about the top "indent" on the convertible quarter panels vs. hardtops, they both have that dip...just at a different angle back-to-front. The second photo posted shows that inside curve at the top of the new quarter, but rises too quickly and disappears into the C pillar...or what WAS the C pillar. My intent is to tease the new one to meet up with the old one. It may require some hammer/dolly work, but I think we will be in good shape.

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LOL Funny thing is, I had to get another tank halfway through your job.

 

I think it's time to upgrade to a bigger one. 

 

I was able to get all of the spot welding done yesterday, though.

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Back at it with a full tank of gas...

 

LH quarter is finished, and RH quarter has been removed to start trimming the new quarter in.  I decided to leave the door jamb portion of this quarter panel alone with the factory jamb, instead of using the whole replacement quarter.  The factory seams and panel gaps are perfect on this side, and the aftermarket quarter -to-door gap is not as clean.  Driver side worked out pretty well, but I will have to work the door edge a touch to make it right.

 

I have one more full day off work to get this quarter panel hung, then it's off to MCACN Friday morning.  Back on Monday, but likely will not do anything in the garage. 

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Thank you!

 

I finished the right quarter today.  I still have to work the top contour just a little bit on both sides, but it's minor.

 

Leaving for Chicago tomorrow early and coming back Monday afternoon. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Epoxy primer on the body shell, and a good heavy coat of high build on the quarters.  Now to brace the body and figure out how to get it mounted on the rotisserie...

 

Priming all those crevices in the body is about as fun as painting a chassis.

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On 11/30/2019 at 3:31 PM, Smartin said:

Epoxy primer on the body shell, and a good heavy coat of high build on the quarters.  Now to brace the body and figure out how to get it mounted on the rotisserie...

 

Priming all those crevices in the body is about as fun as painting a chassis.

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Those quarters look excellent! 

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Body is mounted on the rotisserie...waiting on a schedule from the blaster. I'll be doing some disassembling on the chassis before he gets here. He is thinking sometime next week...although I might be able to coerce him to do another weekend run.

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Looking at the multiple positions for the transmission crossmember makes me wonder if this frame was universal for other A body cars for the era. Can anyone elaborate on this?

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I had the blaster out yesterday so we could get this done before a nasty winter storm rolls through today and tomorrow.

 

There was am undercoating on the body that was like a hard plastic.  Similar to truck bed liner.  We were worried that it wouldn't come off with the blaster...but had high hopes.  It actually blew off pretty quickly.  I had him clean up the rolling chassis while he was here, as well as the underside of the trunk lid.  I now have the chassis in the shop ready to disassemble.  The body is in the house garage where it will stay until I finish the chassis.

 

There is one ugly spot on the body floor that needs attention, and a couple really small spots where seams overlap.  Other than that, it's really clean.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Black epoxy made its way into the frame today. I have it completely disassembled, finally.  Tomorrow, I’ll have the steering box and shaft detailed.  Hopefully I’ll get the top coat on the frame, too.  Lots of new lines and bushings coming daily...

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Edited by Smartin (see edit history)
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Today, I tackled all of the control arm bushing removal.  All 16 of them.  Fun times!

 

I finished the steering box as well.  I'll get it mounted tomorrow, along with a few trinkets that have been painted already.  I'm waiting on all of the new control arm bushings to install, so I haven't painted any of those yet.  I blasted through (literally) my last sandblasting tip today, so hopefully my order from a few days ago gets here soon.

 

I topcoated the frame with Eastwood Chassis Black today.  It is really close in gloss level as just putting two coats of black epoxy on.  This adds just a touch more gloss, though.  I like it so far. 

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Very nice -- so, how did you restore the steering gear to make it look pristine (even the fasteners)?  Did you bead blast and clear the box, or is that paint?  I assume the rag joint is new...

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I cleaned every bit of oil, grease, and paint off the steering gear manually as much as I thought was not a complete waste of my time.  Mostly I was trying to get down to bare aluminum for the top cover.  As soon as that was clean, I made sure the holes for the hoses were plugged well...and then blasted the rest of it lightly.  Enough to get everything out of the nooks and crannies.  On the big cast housing, I used some Duplicolor cast iron spray that was left over from another job.  The end by the rag joint is actually chrome paint...just out of a spray can.  I left the aluminum top cap bare, and used flat black paint on the bolts to simulate black phosphate.

 

On the rag joint - that is the original one.  I bought a new one from The Parts Place, but the finish was a gold cad, and I didn't like the look of the two bolts that came with it.  So I blasted the original one clean and chrome painted the steel bracket.  I satin cleared the rest of it.  Bolts and nuts are flat black to simulate black phosphate again.

 

I left the long part of the steering shaft bare, and clear coated it.  The top coupler is painted a kind of cast color to simulate grey phosphate.  I disassembled that and cleaned everything up, then re-greased and assembled.  The rubber boot is in good shape.  They do reproduce those if needed.

 

95% of the fasteners on this car will be new and have the correct plating on them.  Some stuff like this I have to get creative, because if this entire steering box and shaft were completely disassembled, plated correctly, then reassembled (also assuming box is being rebuilt by a pro), then you'd be into it for like $1k time and material.  I just have a few hours into this and it looks and performs perfectly. 

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36 minutes ago, Smartin said:

Some stuff like this I have to get creative, because if this entire steering box and shaft were completely disassembled, plated correctly, then reassembled (also assuming box is being rebuilt by a pro), then you'd be into it for like $1k time and material.

 

Thanks -- I appreciate sharing the 'tricks' to yield a really authentic appearance.  I particularly like the flat-black bolt treatment; that is one thing that really caught my attention in the photos.  Too often the 'chunks' are restored and then assembled with original hardware that still looks 'old'...

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Santa came today with a pile of parts!

 

I made some progress on assembly, but not a ton.  Santa didn't come until 4pm.  I basically had everything ready to go beforehand, so I didn't miss a beat when they did come.

 

Tomorrow, all bushings are pressed in, and hopefully this weekend I'll have the chassis on the ground.

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I pulled the front upper control arm bits out and started fitting them together, and found out that the "faux" rivet kit from TPP for the upper ball joints is a total joke. The heads are so small they go nearly through the holes in the ball joints. Oddly enough, the size of the heads are correct if you install them upside down...but that's contrary to the idea of having the look of riveted ball joints. So I took the bolts that were supplied with the ball joints and ground them down until they resembled something like what was on there from the factory. Great...next!

The big convex washers that came with the shaft kit for the upper control arm bushings had a gold cad-like finish on them. I'm pretty sure these were just zinc or silver cad originally, so I just took them to the buffer and zipped the gold coating off. Magic!

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