my 70 lemans 4 door story
i figured i would blurb out my story on my 2nd 70 lemans and my first 4 door. but in order to tell that tale, we must start at the beginning.
in 2010 i was 16 and just recieved my licence (after the 2nd attempt at the test). that summer after my sophmore year of high school, i got my first job as a life guard in edison nj, about a 45 minute drive from my house. this ment i needed my own set of wheels to get me there for the day, without taking my parents vehicles which would have left them vehicle-less for the day. so my mom told me she had been putting holiday money from my relatives away since i was a kid, and i had $2500 of my own money to spend on a car. now new cars never really appealed to me. everyone had them and they were complex to work on or modify, and at 16 with no mechanical experience that wasnt something i was excited for. so i hopped on auto trader classics and started looking for a sporty car in my price range. i stumbled across a mostly original 1983 camaro berlinetta in pa. it was white with a blue interior, and a 350 out of an 86 z28. i bought it for $2500 and it was a great car for me to use not only as a first car, but also as a vehicle to hone in my mechanical skills on. well that car lasted me about a year, and i traded it for an 89 k5 blazer when i went to college in northern PA due to the snow.
that car lasted me about another year, and i traded it for my first 70 leamans, which i named fred. now being 17/18 i was a bit too energetic and i wound up getting way over my head. the car was in pieces when i bought it, was full of bondo, almost everything that could be taken apart was taken apart, had no floors whatsoever, but at 17/18 i didnt care. the car was originally gold with a black interior, and i had all the documentation on it, showing it was a sport 350 2bbl and th350 automatic trans, but the coolest part was it had the GTO interior package, meaning you got bucket seats, and a console and console shifter. well that car was more rot than it was metal, and about 4 months of owning the car i sold it off for $800. (i still kick myself for not keeping the seats, console, shifter, dash, and column but oh well).
2 cars later i was enjoying a profitable job at a honda dealership working as an express tech, and i was browsing CL one night and came across a 70 lemans 4 door. it was in complete condition, minus the interior out of a 72 chevelle 4 door (original blue interior was apparently damaged when the PO got it, and in order to drive the car he put the black chevelle interior in). and a primer white paint job (later found out was a result of him patching the rot holes in the body with bondo).
i purchased the car for $1000 and towed it home to my girlfriends house. i had asked her dad a week before i bought the car if it was ok for my to stash it in the driveway for a week, as i had not told my own parents that i had bought the car, seeing as i already had 2 others at home. being a 70 GTO owner himself he saw and understood my enthusiasm for the poncho brand and agreed. i remember the night the car was pulled into the driveway (it did run, but only had one working brake cylinder, which is why it had to be towed) my girlfriend came out and took one look at the primer car with mold on it (from sitting under a tree for several months) and primer sprayed all over the bumpers and made sure i knew i was an idiot for buying the car.
well the car wound staying there a month, where i got 3 of the 4 brake cylinders working, spraypainted the car black, and did some general cleaning and upgrading. then it went to the shop i worked at, where it lived in the parking lot for a couple months, where it got a custom side exit cherry bomb exhaust hooked up, new headlights, and more maintanance to get it to road worthy condition. after that i finally broke the news to my parents that i had this car, and it was added to the insurance, registered, road legal, and the car finally came home.
i had deduced that the master cylinder must have been bad, because my dirvers front wheel cylinder wouldnt get fluid, which prevented me from driving the car, that and it was the middle of winter. but that spring i did indeed drive it to work up the road from my house a couple times, and then i finally decided i couldnt take having the drivers front corner loose from the rotted core support anymore, and i began to tear the car apart.
now originally the plan was only to take the core support out, repair and replace, but that turned into a whole restoration once i discovered the rotted fenders, fender wells, and the broken bolts. so i wound up tearing the motor apart, and did a cam, timing chain and gears, new timing chain cover and water pump, and converted the motor to a 4 bbl with edelbrock performer intake and carb. i also did lifters, rockers, push rods and new chrome valve covers. being 19 i didnt think the valve seals and springs needed to be changed, so they werent. then i tore the motor and trans out, change my oil pan gasket, rear seal, and refresh my trans, as well as paint my motor. this also led to me painting the front frame and firewall of the car. i also tore the front end apart, replaced all 4 control arms, and put on a disc brake conversion kit. new 2" lowering springs were added, as well as new swaybar end links and swaybar bushings. i also refreshed my wheels with my own paint job (black on the bottoms with the dark silver on the raised portion) and new trim rings and center caps, and they got a new set of BF Goodrich rubbers on em. once i got all that done, the freshly painted motor went back into the frame, with new motor mounts, and a nice set of original replacement exhaust manifolds. once the trans got re-sealed, it was put back on with a new flexplate and factory spec torque converter.
then the biggest step came for the car, the doors, interior, and windows were taken off of the car, and the body was lifted off its decrepped and decayed 45 year old body mounts. from there the frame was relieved of the original rear suspension, and the rear end disassembled. then the frame was scraped and wire wheeled, and it and the rear end recieved a healthy coating of POR15 paint. and thats pretty much where the car sits now. i recently had to tear the top end back off the motor to replace a bad lifter, and decided that those springs and valve seals definitely need to come out, and they are next on the project list, once my compressor tool comes in.
the final plan for the car will be a nice factory looking car with minor upgrades and a decent amount of power. the chevelle seats will be recovered in the proper blue lemans pattern, and the column will be left in the car and will go back to factory atoll blue with blue interior. my game plan is to get the frame looking like a factory display piece, have the body shop pick up the body to repair and paint, then ship them the frame to place the body on, and i will pick the car up in complete restored running and driving condition. i will make a gallery of my pics and post a link, cause posting all the pictures i have for the car will take forever!!!