Presentation on theme: "Of the 3,867 California Specials that were made in 1968, approximately 100 were shipped to dealerships in the Midwest. Two of those cars had manual steering."— Presentation transcript:
Of the 3,867 California Specials that were made in 1968, approximately 100 were shipped to dealerships in the Midwest. Two of those cars had manual steering and were identical twins. This is one of those two. It originally sold for $3,473.51 in 1968 at Mission Motor Sales, Inc. (Mission, KS) and has remained a Midwesterner ever since. It has been returned to showroom condition after Paul, Brian and Zach gave it a meticulous restoration starting in November of 2003. After completion in February of 2005, it has won many top awards at area shows. The pictures that follow will give you a good idea of what is involved in the restoration process and why this car is a trophy winner.
The first step in any quality restoration is to remove as many of the existing parts as possible. This allows the parts to be properly cleaned, repainted, rebuilt or replaced. Here, the car is shown after most of the major disassembly had been completed. Many more pieces will be removed and/or replaced after it is unloaded and rolled into the garage.
The California Special was a limited edition and, as such, is a rare find. Only 3,867 were manufactured. If this car had been any other 68 in this condition it would have probably ended up being used as a parts car or in a scrap heap somewhere. Rust is a common problem in the Midwest due to the salt and chemicals that are used to treat the roads during the winter. The most notable damage here can be seen in the floorboards. The front fenders, hood, rear quarter panels and one side scoop will be replaced with new metal.
The damage that the elements have caused to the sheet metal over the years is even more evident in these close ups. It is common practice to replace the damaged metal with new, prefabricated, panels rather than trying to repair the damaged areas and it makes for a better finished product. Replacement panels are readily available for most makes and models.
More rust! The sheet metal in earlier cars was prone to decay because the metal was not treated with the rust inhibitors used on today's cars.
A borrowed rotisserie was invaluable with this restoration. After the disassembled vehicle is mounted to the frame of one of these devices, it can be rotated a full 360 degrees allowing full access to all areas. Complete restorations are possible without this equipment but they involve much more time.
After mounting the car on the rotisserie it was media blasted to remove all of the rust and reveal what metal would need to be replaced.
After the preliminary stage of sanding and prep work is completed on the shell of the car, a coat of tinted primer is applied. The rusted areas will be dealt with after the engine bay is painted. At that time, some of the metal will be replaced with used parts and others with new panels. The body and paint on this car is the work of Shawn Unrein of Fineline Restoration, L.L.C.
Painting the engine bay is the next step before fitting the front clip and other body panels back into place.
The rear frame rails were not salvageable and had to be replaced along with the rear quarter panels, torque boxes, rocker panels and floor pans.
Remember those rusted out floor pans? They will be replaced with new metal. This is another time that the rotisserie serves its purpose.
After the new floorboards are in place the undercarriage is painted. The next step is to replace the rest of the rusted metal and fit the body panels in place.
This GT/CS is starting to look familiar after the new quarter panels and good used parts are installed. Many more hours of sanding, priming and filling will be necessary before the car is ready for the paint booth.
Here you can see various stages of the sanding process. Replacing panels isnt as simple as welding a panel in or bolting a fender on.
Other parts are restored as the bodywork progresses. The rear axle is pictured from start to finish here. It is a 9 Ford with 3.25 gears. Before the paint was applied, all mechanical issues were addressed (not pictured).
Before heading to the paint booth for primer, the front and rear suspensions are installed. Notice the amount of detailed work in the suspension.
After many hours of labor and TLC its off to the paint booth for a coat of primer. The paint will follow shortly.
After the original Acapulco Blue paint is applied and buffed out, the car really starts to look like it should.
Friend and engine builder Wayne Rasmussen built the GT/CSs 302 power plant. It is being loaded for transport and transplant in this picture. This engine is bored.30 over and sports flat top pistons, an RV cam, a Ford aluminum intake manifold, a Holley 600 4V carb, and heads that have been polished and ported. Long tube headers will be bolted on to it later.
After all of the accessories are installed in the engine bay, the motor is carefully dropped into place and the front clip is reassembled.
Then the wiring harness connectors are hooked up the lights are tested. Note that the parking lamps are not illuminated when the headlights are turned on as they are on todays production models.
With most of the exterior completed, the interior becomes the focal point of the restoration at the hands of Johnny Valez, friend and interior guy.
One rule to keep in mind during a restoration project is EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED. This used to be an original console before it was damaged in shipping. Reproductions are not available which made it necessary to repair this one. In many other cases, months or years are spent tracking down a specific part.
The car is really starting to look like it did in the showroom back in 68 after the drivers seat, repaired console, headliner, dome light and sun visors are installed.
Johnny fits the door panel in place as Zach looks on.
After the interior is installed the windshield and back window are installed by a local glass shop. The headliner could not be properly installed if either of them were in place.
These pictures of the undercarriage clearly show the level of attention to detail in this restoration.
The decals are now the only thing thats left to complete the restoration before hitting the road! Note the tape in the upper right hand picture. It is used to align the decals to original specifications.
Credits Paul and Brian for their knuckle busting efforts and doing their best Shawn Unrein of Fineline Restoration, L.L.C. for the bodywork and paint Wayne Rasmussen for his work on the power plant Johnny Valez for the interior work Zach for his countless hours of polishing on the bright work