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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
(Editing Note: This thread was peaced together of numerous installments on other car forums to have a complete run through from the time I started until the current time and placed in this one post. If something seems incongruent or contradictory, it is because what you are looking at and the words typed may have been typed over a year ago and not edited for consistency.)

A 1968 Ford Torino had been appearing on Craigslist for several weeks in Angier, NC and the price was slowly coming down... as I am a student at Campbell University, which is very close nearby, I went over one day after class to check it out. At the time, I was finishing up my freshman year and my parents bought the car as a restoration project for me on April 9th, 2009.

The car had a rebuilt 429 out of a 1969 Ford Thunderbird with a C-6 (3 speed) automatic, on the column. The 390 engine that came with the car had spun a bearing and the previous owner sold it. A 390 would be purchased later to go back in.

I plan to repaint the car Wimbleton White. If it were anything but an original GT (body code 63D!!), I would probably go for a 4 on the floor and bucket seats. But as it is, it's an original GT. The previous owner was going to try ot hoko up a floor shifter.. that's coming out and I'm welding some metal over teh whoel he drilled. I plan to go back to as original as possible... restoring a muscle car to a bench seat and column shift automatic, because thats how this one came.

Here are the required pictures.... first, a few from the first day...

Land vehicle Vehicle Car Sedan Muscle car

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A dent in the drivers side front fender...

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The interior...

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And the dash...

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So here are a few more pictures. I was outside taking some of the trim pieces off and working on removing teh taillights when my mom came out and wanted some pictures of me with the car...

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Here are some pictures as it came apart...


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And the 429 in the compartment...

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I got teh hash marks (the chrome behind the windows) off, and the C stripe, plus the bumpers... then I did some stripping on the interior.

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And when the carpet was pulled back, I found some bad news in the drivers side floor pan. It will have to be replaced for sure. The picture doesn't really show you how badly rusted out the drivers side pan is. The passenger side has a lot of surface rust, but a few rusted out places as well. Both will probably replaced, the passenger side probably will just be paritally replaced.

Rust Soil

Rust Floor

And I also removed the front fenders. This is about as far as I plan to take the car down... except for removing the engine and working on everything to get it cleaned up. I'm not going for absolutly better than showroom perfection... just good enough to look good at shows and nwo to teh point that I'm scared to drive it as to ruin the work. Now it's about time to start doing the real work.....

Land vehicle Vehicle Car Muscle car Sedan

I have been doing alot of work on cleaning up parts (like window crank handles, door handles, chrome glamor rings ,center caps, alot of work polishing and cleaning the grill, the headlight glamor rings, etc.). I don't have any before/after shots though. However, teh car is now completly stripped to a hull (or atleast, as much stripping to a hull as I'm going to do.) The engine and tranny have been pulled. I got to work on getting all of the grease off of the undercarraige so we don't set teh car on fire when we cut and weld the new floor pans in. Plus, it had ot be cleaned to be painted anyway. So here are the pictures as of the two month anniversary.

Here is a picture of me underneath the car with a metal grinding wheel and an air drill cleaning the grease off.

Footwear Shoe

My mother took that picture and I came out for this one. This was around lunch. You should seen me by nightfall when I came in.

Smile Sitting Photography Jaw

And here are some before and after pictures of the undercarriage.


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And here is the engine bay, which I have done some minimal cleaning on.

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And she now longer rests beside the garage... it is now under the carport.

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First, I had to cut out all the rusty metal on the car so that it could be replaced with fiberglass panels and filled in. Heres a picture of me doing that with an air cut-off.


We also had to cut out the drivers side floor pan and toe board completly since it was so rusty.

The white stuff that you see here is stuff called Rust Doctor. It chemically converts the rusty metal to magnite, which is an inert metal, or so they say. That magnite is also black. However, the stuff goes on whtie and dries to black. It seems to do a really good job, and it should for $100 a gallon. After cutting out the rusty sections and preparing to lay in the new pan, I treated the surface rust on the remainder of the metal with the rust doctor and while I waited for it to dry, I took this picture.

Motor vehicle Vehicle Car Vehicle door Bumper

The passenger side was not nearly as bad as the drivers side was. A thin section along the door jam and a hole almost the size of a baseball was rusted out. I cut out just that side and treated it with Rust Doctor.

Rust Floor Metal

And then we rivoted and welded in a new floor pan and toe board on the drivers side of the car. It came out well!

Vehicle Car Automotive exterior Auto part Engine

I used a $15 piece of sheet metal from farm supply to mold the new floor pan for the passenger side with.

Vehicle Floor Car

I also treated and seam sealed the floor pans in with 3M's seam sealer stuff. The blue looking dust is from where I sanded the black dashboard before taking the picture. The pan is really black from the rust doctor. (no idea why the dust looks blue, optical illusion i assume)

Later, I treated all of hte surface rust inside the car with the Rust Doctor and this is how it looks!

Vehicle Car

I also used the rust doctor to treat all of the surface rust in the engine compartment. It came out looking a lot better.

Vehicle Auto part Engine Car Automotive exterior

Vehicle Automotive exterior Car

I also pulled out the fendars one day and ground all the rust off of them, tehn treated them with rust doctor.

Before and After!!!

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And after cutting out all the rusty metal and treating it, ti was time to fiberglass in some pieces. I haven't finished doing this yet, but here are some pictures of the panels that have been fiberglassed thus far.

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A section of fiberglass in teh trunk!

Rust Auto part

And heres one I did all by myself! Dad this one originally, but we forgot to put enough hardener in the fiberglass. I toe the piece out, cleaned it, and replaced it myself! The metal you see in the fiberglass is a piece of expanded metal from farm supply that I cut with an acetelyne torch so that the fiberglass could have something to hold onto and mold to. I made this piece all by myself mixing fiberglass and using the torch to cut it out and mold it without dads help! I was so proud..


I also repainted the dash. You can look back at some ofthe pictures of floor pans above and see the dahs before it was painted.

In this first picture, you can see my 1 run between the radio and ignition cut outs. Overall, I think I did a good job!

Vehicle Car Automotive exterior Bumper

Since there is a run between the radio and ignition cut outs, always view the dash from this angle.

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And some other pictures of the dash...

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Also, it took a whole day, but I got all of the c-stripe residue off and sanded that area smooth (also on the fenders while I had them out). Heres how the body looks today:

Land vehicle Vehicle Car Classic car Sedan

And one final thing. One night before going in, I went out to the storage shed and pulled out the gauge cluster. I cleaned it up as best I could, and zeroed the odometer. Thats a very tedious process, but I did it!

Auto part Vehicle Gauge

have been doing some priming on the c-stripe to get it taken out for repainting. I have filled in some rusted out spots. The undercarriage is painted, and brakes are on. Right now, however, progress has been brought to a crawl as I am off to college again....

So anyways, here are some pictures and some explanations.

It was agreed that the 429 was too large for this car. The spark plug wires were wedged into the shock tower, and the torsen bar wasn't right. A 390 was found, plus a matching transmission, that can go back into the car. This also makes the car more original as it is an original 2v 390 car (Y code.)

Vehicle Car Tractor Auto part Engine

This was after some body work had been done on the car. We were preparing for some priming. You can see all the fiberglass and bondo places here.

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And here is another picture of the side of the car.

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Then the car was primed, which helped fill in some places and help us to see where we need to do a little work before painting the car.

Here is the right side of the car in comparison.

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Some of the same body work was done over here...

Vehicle Tire Automotive wheel system Car Automotive tire

And then it was finally time to do some priming....

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In this picture, you can see why the stripe had to be primed and blocked out. The residue is still there. It was later blocked out and will be primed again.

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And here is a shot of the guy who primed it. Dad kind of showed me how to do it and then turned me loose. I did pretty much all of it.

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And then there were a couple of places I should have photographed before I began working on them. One place on the radiator support bar on the front of the car was rusted otu, and the place behidn the right front tire where water splashes up had rusted out. Both of these places had to be filled in with fiberglass, kitty hair, bondo, and were primed and painted with the undercarriage.

This is the radiator support. after being filled with resin and cloth, then some kitty hair.

Tree Plant Rock Vehicle

Then after it was filled in, sanded smooth, bondo'd, and sanded smooth again, it was primed!


Then there is that spot behind the right front fender...

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Vehicle Auto part

Then the undercarriage was painted. This was done with a rust sealing paint called POR-15. It's supposebly permanent, but we'll see how that holds up. I know that once it's on your hands, paint thinner, acetone, mineral spirits, or nothing else that is in the garage cleans it off. It's shiny and black now though.

I figured if ti was as permanent as they say it is, I didn't want to bother having to sand the overspray off the car.

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Then there is that spot behind the fenderwell...

And the engine compartment as well..

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And then there is that radiator bit...

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The right front fender reflects light very well..

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And then everything was torn down, and I prepared for painting the door jams and the trunk. I masked off everything to prevent overspray...

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And I didn't want any spray on the dash or on the windows either...

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The car is going to be receiving a base coat / clear coat paint job. We tested out how this paint is going to work on the door jams and trunk. I think this car is going to come out quite well...

Base coat:

Clear Coat:


And then the door jam on the opposite side:


I think she's going to be a beauty when the whole car is painted like that!

And here are a few final shots of the floor pans before I painted them...


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And then here is the dilema: I could paint the floor pans with $60 or so in paint the same color as the car, then clear coat it.. or I could use a pint or so of white rustoleum and a brush, not have a big cloud of mist in the air getting on everything, for $6, and nobody will ever see one way or the other when the car is back together. You can see my decision...

Floor Skatepark Flooring Wood

And then in this shot, you can see some of the rustoleum with the painted trunk in the back ground. I did all of the painting on the trunk, my dad did a bit of the door jams.

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(the floor pans weren't painted yet in this shot..

Theres the rustoleum...
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And then here is a shot of the trunk. I never bothered getting it too smooth, since a trunk liner is going to cover it... but it was good practice.

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And then the brakes made their way on.... all new brakes on all 4 wheels, and new brakes lines!

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And then here is the engine compartment. New master cylinder, accelerator linkage reinstalled.... steering column boot back in...

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The starter solenoid and battery box are back on.... and the solenoid is hooked up.

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And an interior shot.. the steering wheel was put on so it could be backed off the trailer, and the ignition, cigarette lighter, and glove box are back in!

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And then here is the car after that was done! Finally on the ground with it!

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First off, the engine was taken down, checked out, and rebuilt. The man who sold it had not lied, the engine had been bored over by a machine shop. It had .030 over pistons, a .010 over crankshaft, and at that point we didn't bother checking the cam. We replaced the oil pump, distributor, thermostats, gaskets, and all of those goodies and put it back together AND painted it!!! Here it is:

Tree Soil


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Machine Gas

Gas Soil Machine Engine Core drill

Personal protective equipment Jeans

I also spent an afternoon getting the rear window dash and the trim (which was repainted with a couple cans of semi-gloss black paint) back into the rear window!

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The next step was to get the body of the car painted. It was a lot of prepping, priming, bondoing, and glazing puddy'ing to get this ready. Here are some pictures of that!

Glazing puddy along the old C-stripe so it won't show up in the new paint.

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And then I had to sand it out with a jitter bug sander and get it all nice and smooth for a final priming!! My girlfriend was over and watched... balacning my time is becoming tricky, so I had to combine a few things...

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FINISHED!!! I stayed up for an hour past sunfall working with a drop light until dad came out and pulled me inside for in dinner one night.

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And then this, the under side of the trunk had to be painted before the car was done so it woudln't scratch the paint installing it.

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So then the car was primed.....

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And FINALLY!!! IT WAS TIME TO GET TO PAINTING!!!!!!!!!!!! (weekend after the priming)

On the morning and early afternoon of this post, this is what was going on!

The paint job was a base coat/ clear coat job. This is a picture of the base coat, which is a very flat, unshiny paint that just gets the color established....

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And a few shots of me painting taken by my dad.

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This is a very interesting shot!! My dad painted all of the clear on the roof and the trunk lid, and I painted the sides. The can ran out while painting the quarterfenders, and while dad was mixing some more clear, I took a few shots. Notice that the quarter fender is shiny, reflecting things around it, while the door is very flat.

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Same here

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Dad painting the clear coat!

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And we were FINALLY finished after nearly four hours of painting!

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And later in the afternoon we pulled it by the front bar out into the yard for a few more shots...

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Land vehicle Vehicle Car Coupé Sedan

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And here at the end I'm going to include some video's via Youtube of priming and painting the car.

Here is a video of me priming!


And here is a video of me painting. If your pushed for time, I recommend watching this first one, painting the trunk lid, you can really see the base coat going on!


Watch this video closely and you can watch the clear coat make the paint shiny!

So the engine has been built and it has finally been installed. This was a pain!

So here is the built engine with manifolds on it.

Engine Pump Compressor Auto part Machine

Engine Machine Auto part Vehicle Automotive engine part

And this thing was a SEVERE PAIN to install!!!! I had a set of 1968 Galaxy manifolds, and low and behold, they won't fit!!!! So then I got a set of headers. These things are even more fun to install. First, you have to pull the engine part of the way out and then lay the headers in on teh shock towers and let the engine part of the way back down. then you have to hook up the set on the left that go under the cross members to one another and then start bolts in each of the holes. Then these frame mounts are different than anything else I've ever seen. They don't have elongated holes like most do, but have a fixed hole so that the engine is apparently part of the structural integrity of the front of the car. I had to take the frame mounts back loose from the frame and hook them to the motor mounts and THEN set the engine in! THEN I had to take a hammar and pet the things around, then use screwdrivers to pull the holes into alignment, and setting bolts in the holes to hold them in place. It took forever and was even harder than it sounds. but we got it in, and it looked nice and pretty. The transmission was fun to work around the header pipe tips, but I finally got it in!!!! YAY!

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I painted the fuel tank....


And there were some more parts to be painted. I used a tent that we use to keep the '50 Chevrolet in and painted in there. The remaining parts to be painted were the hood, front fenders, quarter fender extensions, and cowl vent.

Vehicle Car Floor Room Furniture

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Alot of work was done that has not been photographed. I buffed the rust off, treated, and jsut shot rough coat of black acrylic enamel on the front and rear bumper supports, harmonic balancer, engine frame mounts, the headlight buckets, the headlight frame (atleast, that's what I'm going to call it...)

I got the headlight pieces reassembled, and here is the front of the car!

Land vehicle Vehicle Car Auto part Headlamp

I finally got some door handles back on the car and the striker plates back in, so the doors open and close again. No more holding them shut with bungee cords. I've also got some of the weather trim back in and working on installing the rest.

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And all of the pieces that go on the dash are in. I reinstalled the headlight, wiper, and ignition switches along with the radio, glove box, and cigarette lighter. Now I need to get the plastic trim on and get the gauge cluster and dash pad back in, plus all of the rest of the interior.

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And finally, a youtube video of my 390 running!


(Boring technical stuff). So during the cold, I've been going out and getting the door panels, the arm rests, and a few other small parts and cleaning them up and shining them to look like new (most everything is cleaning up well, I need to get some pictures and put those up with this stuff this weekend I suppose). I've also been doing a lot of things like installing a starter, which took 3 hours one afternoon a couple months ago because I had to work around a header, and even ended up bending a wrench to tighten a bolt on it. I had to run a vacuum hose to the transmission so it could shift, I had to change out the thermostat housing gasket, I pressure tested the radiator and found it was in good shape, but got to looking at it and figured out it was the radiator that came with the 429 that someone was trying to put in and realized it wasn't going to fit... so I ended up having to get an aluminium radiator. I've been running the hoses, getting the carburaetor finely tuned, and then I had to build a bracket for the shifter. Now, this would not have been necessary had the car come with the right engine and transmission, but turns out it is. See, if I had kept it like it was, on the bottom of the column shift, where 1st gear is, would be park, and the top would be Low. So a bracket had to be built which took about 2 weekends of cutting, measuring, mistakes, making new ones, building and bending new ones, to get it working right. Plus, it's tight quarters and just takes time, patience, and trial and error to get everything to where it won't beat on anything and to actually put everything together (And you front wheel drive Monte Carlo guys just THINK you have a hard time with those rear spark plugs... you really don't know how easy you've got it, friends :)). I've also sealed the gas tank and have it ready to go back in. I've cleaned up the rear seat. So the pictures are here are scarce, but the work has been hard. Enjoy!

The engine, with everything but a few gauges hooked up and the alternator needs to be wired up!

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Here are some pictures of the car running around.

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This is what it looks like inside the car when you are riding.

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And here is a picture of a happy driver!

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And the videos!!!!!!!!! If you have time for just one, I recommend this first one!

So the dashpad had come last summer, but it was finally dyed black. The black ones tended to absord too much heat and mess up... so I made it black ;)

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I finally found the source of my agony when it comes to the leaking floor pan. This was fiberglassed in and bondoed to make sure it would seal, then painted over... hope it holds. It was in a spot that was REALLY tough to get my hands into. So far, it has stopped the water from leaking. It turns out, the outside cowl tends to rust where it welds to the body of the car.. .the leaking water resulted in the rusted floor pans. This spot is in the left front corner of the interior, near where the left front fender is on the car.

Water Auto part Wire Electrical wiring

The grill had been polished out earlier, ti was a bit tarnished from the years and the black parts of it were in pretty sad shape. I polished out all the chrome, cleaned all the old, faded, chiped black paint off, and then taped off all the aluminum parts with lettering tape and repainted it.

Wood Bumper Musical instrument

The steering wheel had several spots where it had taken some heat, and section of the plastic broke off the metal rink. I used JB Stix to fill in the majority of it, sanded it down, then used glazing puddy to smooth out, sand it down again, and then repainted it semi-gloss black.

Steering wheel Steering part Spoke Wheel Rim

I also dyed the center piece black again, and sanded and repainted the horn ring.

Steering part Steering wheel Rim Auto part Spoke

In the dash pad for these cars, some cars ahd a tachometer and others had a clock in the 4th pod... many came with a blank where one of these two things would go. Dad and I had the idea to the take blank and cut three small holes in it for the water temperature, oil pressure, and voltage gauges. I know a lot of people bolted them under the dash, but I didn't like that idea very much... I wanted to put them somewhere, and dad had this idea (I was thinking more along the lines of a tach, but this works too!)

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We also got the dash lights working as well. This shot was taken at night, but it does work.

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It's also running down the road on it's real, metal gas tank.. not a red plastic jug with a long rubber hose dropped in it.

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The fenders have been installed, but they are not tightened yet... we are waiting until everything is in and we ahve the hood aligned properly, and all the fit and finish done right before doing the final tightening.

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We got the hood and the rear bumper bolted up...

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A lot of electrical work has been done. This car has all kinds of neat tricks. When you pull the headlight switch, two lights in the front of the car come on along with two in teh back. When you push the dimmer switch down, all 4 front lights come on and a high beam indicator in the dash lights comes on. When you step on the brake, two bright lights in the back come on. When you turn the wiper switch, a motor runs that will eventually pull these metal blades with rubber on them across the windshield. Plus, when you turn the key, you can start the engine with it. A cable was run for the manual choke and it was mounted under the dash, so the car can be controlled almost 100% from inside the car! The throttle springs are hooked up, everything is a go (almost)

So then on the anniversary, I used all of this technology to back the car up and wash it, and take a few pictures (the hood was also installed, as you can see in this given picture.....

It's been a happy year... I hope we have many more together!

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Land vehicle Vehicle Car Sedan Classic car

I decided to use dynamat along the back of the car to keep the sound down from my loud pipes and road noise. I lined it all and installed a door panel.


Vehicle Automotive exterior Car Family car

For the back seat, there is a series of pieces of carpet that go in so that when you open the trunk, you see carpet. There gives the car some more sound deadening quality. These pieces of carpet were steam-cleaned and reinstalled.

Vehicle Car Automotive exterior Bumper Mid-size car

Then the back half of the back seat was ready to slide in and bolt down.

Vehicle Car Automotive exterior Family car

Along with dynamat, aluminum backed heat shielding insulation was placed along all of the floor pans and up the firewall of the car to help keep the heat down. It has worked well since driving it, as even on 90-100 degree days, the car isn't too bad to drive unless you are stopped.

Vehicle Car City car

There are then another series of pieces that go down to hold the carpet in place. They feel like tar.

Bumper Automotive exterior Auto part Metal

On top of that went the carpet. It had to have relief cuts made in it, screwed down in several places, trimmed to fit, and holes for the seats and belts punched in it. Here it is.

Vehicle Technology Car Trunk

Vehicle Car Automotive exterior

Then the rest of the back seat could be snapped into place.

Vehicle Car Car seat cover

And the front seat belts and the front seat could be installed.... this was a slightly bigger pain than it looks like, trying to punch holes for seat belts and seats in the carpet, and then find them with the seat belts and the seats.

Land vehicle Vehicle Car Car seat cover

Then the dash pad could be made ready. The panel that lights up and tells you where the head light, wiper, and heat controls are was installed, plus the gray strip with the red, white, and blue bars was put on the dash and it was ready to go!

Room Bumper

Then the dash was installed. Clips hold the front, and it screws into the metal dash from its bottom. All she needed now was a good steering wheel.

Land vehicle Vehicle Car Classic car Sedan

And here is a picture of my gauge cluster lit up at night.

Vehicle Car Gauge Auto part Automotive lighting

In North Carolina, it is legal to run a same-state, same year tag on a classic car. So I purchased and repainted a 1968 North Carolina license tag!! Although this picutre doesn't show it reflecting as well as it should, it was sprayed with reflective paint from Home Depot

Font Automotive exterior Vehicle registration plate Signage Auto part

I then painted the wheels. These GT wheels came in chrome or painted varieties, and mine were the painted. On a white car, for some reason, I mysteriously prefer the painted. I sanded them down and bought some spray cans of metal color, spray on wheel paint from the parts store and painted them.

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And it makes a heck of a difference on the car...

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And now for a long story. We kept getting our paint mixed on a basis of when we needed it, we went and got it. We painted the trunk and door jams in August, body of the car in October, then the fenders and hood in about January-February, and when we bolted it all up, the body didn't match anything. We finally figured out after repainting the hood, fenders, and quarter fneder extensions a few times that the cars body must have been mixed to the wrong color. So we finally just bolted it all together, the paint store finally gave us a gallon of the right color mixed, checked, and re-checked it, and sprayed the car bolted together. Here are the pictures from that time. Base/clear coat PPG paint.

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I put the wheels back on, slapped a steering wheel on it, and was ready to start driving it!!!!!!

Here is the interior.

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Then here is the car painted, the wheels back on, but all of the trim is missing. The grill and headlights are installed here, but there is no trim on the side. I would have to hunt down teh barrel clips and speed nuts for these pieces.

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The GT logo was installed in the front though...

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The back end of the car, with no trim on it, just holes for it.

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Then the back end of the car completed. That would include the Ford letters on the trunk, the aluminium bar across the back, and the Torino GT fake gas cap.

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I got a set of speed nuts and installed the Torino logos...

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With some barrel clips, the 390 logo was installed on the front fenders.

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Here is the front of the car finished, with the Ford letters on the hood and the piece of aluminum trim across its front.

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I was held up a couple of weeks on the hash marks. These things have two types. If it were the barrel clip type, it would ahve been no problem. Mine has these little nail looking things sticking out of the side of the car that a clip slides over and then drives down over nad holds that way. They switched mid year to the barrel clips and when teh clips rusted out and Ford had to replace them, they drilled the nails out and put in barrel clips. I couldn't get the other hash marks or the right clips for my own. So I talked to a couple of body shops about if there was a problem with this plan, and moved forward. I filled the marks with bondo. I then used a drill to drill out where the nails go, and used the black mounting tape (similar to what the logos on all modern cars are held on with) and taped them to the side of the car. This is my girlfreinds picture.

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And here are a couple of pictures of the Torino at its first car shows.... waiting on a C-stripe.

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More cars would show up beside this thing later... there were about 30 behind it at this point in another row

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Then the tripe came. We taped it on the car and used a grease pencil to mark where it is supposed to go.

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Then the rest of the stripe was put on.

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The last touch would be the aluminum fender well trim going on. With the stripe done, the car was finally completed, and my quest to restore the Torino was finally finished.

Land vehicle Vehicle Car Classic car Automotive exterior

Land vehicle Vehicle Car Muscle car Classic car

Land vehicle Car Vehicle Muscle car Full-size car

I am now working with another man to build a 1974 Ford F-100 that has been in the family for 30 years. Working on Fords has officially kept me busy for over a year!!!! :)

109 Posts
That was very good show, love the car. I have one in the back of my shop that looks as bad when you started. It is my sons, so I don't have work on it. The work on your car does look outstanding.
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