Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Gainesville, FL
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Getting started 67 GTO vert restoration
I'm a new member. I just bought a 67 GTO convertible in decent shape that I plan to restore, and I wanted to introduce myself because I'm sure I'll be asking a lot of questions. First, a little bit of background...
I had two 67s (a LeMans and a GTO) about 25 years ago that I wanted to restore, but they were both horribly rusted and rotted, and I had no money to do anything correctly (I was in high school at the time), so I'm excited to start a restoration project with what I beleive to be a pretty solid car and a bit more discretionary cash. Working on these cars with my dad brings back fond memories, and now I have a son who will be involved with this one (OK, he's only 4 now, but this is gonna take awhile).
The car has the correct number matching engine (WS) transmission (W) and rear end (YH). It's been sitting in a garage for about 8 years. The previous owner started a restoration but gave up. The engine hasn't been started up for a few years, but I know for sure that it ran fine before it went into storage (I looked at the car back then, but I didn't pull the trigger). In any case, he had the front suspension rebuilt, added a quicker ratio steering box, and converted to front discs. He also had both bumpers rechromed, and installed a new 4 core radiator.
From the records I was given (a couple thick manilla folders) the car was restored about 25 years ago (the owner previous to the one I bought it from). The engine was overhauled, the car was repainted, and the wire wheel covers were replaced with Rally IIs.
Although everything looks straight (and I couldn't find any obvious prior repairs), there are some obvious areas that need attention. There's significant rust around the tail lights, a couple pencil sized rust holes in the trunk, and a little rust around the winshield. I'm sure there are other issues as well hidden beneath the paint. The seats have some rips, the simulated wood stuff is peeling off the console, and I didn't see the power top stuff in the trunk.
My goal is to restore the car to the point where it is a really solid driver and it looks original. It doesn't have to be absolutely perfect or perfectly original, but I want to know that everything is done the right way--I don't want to worry too much about getting stuck across town with my kids in the back seat, or that it's rusting out beneath the surface.
So here are my first two questions.
1) Do any of you have recommendations of places in central Florida where I can get high quality restoration work done? I'm looking for a frame-off type of job where I can be confident that panels are welded in correctly and where the body work and paint can be done.
2) How far should I go myself in disassembling and reassmbling the car? I would be comfortable taking a lot of the car apart myself and hauling it somewhere for the body/chassis work, but if it's better/more cost effective to let the repair shop do it, then I could go that route as well.