Restoring Popís í64 Lemans - Pontiac GTO Forum
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post #1 of 39 (permalink) Old 03-22-2011, 02:27 PM Thread Starter
 
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Restoring Popís í64 Lemans

Guess it's always good to start at the very beginning.

Back in '63, my dad had just graduated high school. For a bunch of reasons Pop couldn’t head off to college right away. So to make the best of things, he worked an extra field on the family farm in addition to running the daily dairy operation. For that year and part of the next he saved what he made from that field so that he could buy a brand new car – a car that he would love.

With cash in hand he ordered a '64 Lemans from the factory - a Marimba Red convertible with a 4-speed manual. For the next few years the car shared his life and in many ways influenced it. When he finally did get to college, his roommate’s sister needed a ride since his roommates ’58 Ford Fairlane had a dead battery. She was impressed enough with the car (ok, maybe with him too) that they started to date. He was pretty impressed that she could make the Lemans go just about as well as he could, so decided she was a keeper and married her. She still recalls how she knew he was on his way to get her by the rumble of the glasspack muffler across campus.

Pop's Lemans on the farm...


Mom & Pop with the Lemans...


The car stayed with them as she graduated but Pop’s draft number soon came up before he could finish his degree. Since he was a conscientious objector, he decided to do his 1-W Mission Supporting Service in Africa, serving as the maintenance coordinator of a small mission hospital. But with no salary they decided they couldn’t keep the car, selling it to a local family.

They returned from Africa with me in tow, so Pop had to give up convertible coupes for more sensible cars. But Pop always wanted to get that car back in some way and later in life even tried to replicate it with a ’69 AMC Rebel convertible, but it just wasn’t the same.

Flash forward over 20 years later to the mid 90’s. On one of Pop’s birthdays Mom decided to take him for a little drive, visiting the areas from when they first got married. A turn or two later and she pulls into a familiar house - the family that they sold the Lemans to back in the late 60’s. Mom had done her research and found out that they still had the car. With a look of shock (and a ‘yer shi**ing me!’), they led Pop to the garage and there was his ’64. It had survived as the run around for the two boys who had now gone off to college and was just sitting in storage. They eventually got around to asking if it might be for sale and after a little haggling it was a done deal. He now had his car back.

Over the years Pop has had a little work done on the car, but only enough to fire it up every once in a while. It’s pretty much been in storage with the expectation that eventually the car would be passed on to me, as something to take on once my kids got a bit older and I had some space and time to do a restoration. Pop had pretty much given up driving the car again in his lifetime given the demands of starting a small business and being a grandfather.

But funny how things can change. About a month ago Pop spent a few days with another of my Mom’s brothers on a business trip. While he was there he saw a Corvette that my uncle Gene was restoring. Pop was impressed with the quality of work and planted the seed that maybe his Lemans should be the next restoration project Gene takes on. On the way back home Pop stopped to talk to me about the idea. Since it would eventually be my car we talked about me funding a good portion of the restoration. So within a few days Pop had someone to do the work and someone to help pay for it. Restoring the Lemans was officially under way! Pop talked to Gene and the plan was to deliver the car in the fall. In the mean time, I’d start researching and come up with a restoration plan. I joined GTOforum to start tracking some other restorations and get some ideas.

Well, I guess the prospect of getting the Lemans rolling again has lit a fire. Pop called the other day and asked if I could take some time off so that we could deliver the car in the next few weeks!

Gulp - I guess I better get going on that restoration plan. I’ve got a ton of questions about putting together a plan that I’ll post (if any one’s still reading after this long-winded intro)…

Last edited by [miko]; 06-27-2013 at 12:23 PM.
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post #2 of 39 (permalink) Old 03-22-2011, 02:44 PM Thread Starter
 
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Questions, questions, too many questions...

Here's what I've come up with so far:

- Does anyone have a good restoration plan that they could share? How in depth should it go? Does it call out specific products or just goals (Baer 2 pot brakes vs. just calling out that we want to do a disk brake conversion)?

- Anyone have experience managing a restoration from afar? I'm in NC, Pop's in PA and Uncle Gene who's doing the work is in FL, so I think we'll have a challenge or two on that front. Anything to specifically watch out for?

- With a limited budget, what should we accomplish now with the frame off vs. things that can be left for later after the car is reassembled and running for a few years? Once I figure this out I think that I'll be better able to wrap my head around an actual budget.

- Stock vs. upgrades. I know this one is subjective, but I'd be curious to know folks thoughts. If you've done upgrades, do you regret it? I'm leaning towards upgrading the front brakes and possibly suspension (she's not going to be a trailer queen) but don't think I know quite enough to make an informed decision.

I'm sure they'll be a thousand others as I really dive in to things.
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post #3 of 39 (permalink) Old 03-22-2011, 03:12 PM
 
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Welcome to the forum. You are at the right place. The sky is the limit you just have to decide how much you want to enjoy the 64 & spend!!, Meaning if you do a full frame off you might not end up driving it as much as you would like.. LES

LOVE THOSE 64'S
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post #4 of 39 (permalink) Old 03-22-2011, 04:14 PM
 
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Welcome to the heard, Us Lemans /Tempest guys are growing in leaps and bounds. Post some pics of the car and i am sure you will get plenty of suggestions, i say since it is dads you do it back close to original and maybe upgrade to power brakes w/front disk (the 70-74 GM go on nicely and stop adequately and won't break the budget)and power steering. if it is still in good shape a body on resto can be done (like mine), not all of these cars need to be torn down to the last bolt (costly and time consuming). i have been at mine for 6 months all by myself and should have it back on the road in May. Condition of the Floor/trunk pans and frame will usually dictate what type of resto it will need.

Heres some pics of my Tempest through the course of it...just picked up paint today so in the next month it should have color back on it and start being re-assembled

1966 Tempest pictures by instg8ter - Photobucket

Brian
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post #5 of 39 (permalink) Old 03-22-2011, 04:41 PM
 
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Good luck with your adventure, miko! I loved reading your story. I have a story that goes a little like that too, only the car (a Lemans) was my moms, and it attracted my dad. Thankfully they kept the car though, but I think it's because they couldn't afford a more practical one at the time of my childhood.

Your questions are a little difficult to answer. One mans limited budget is another mans fortune, so it is hard to recommend the right direction to point you towards. If you have a ton of time, then small budgets become big budgets over the years. If you would rather it all be done inside of months, then a limited budget is not going to go very far. Especially with mods.

If I were being budget AND time conscious while the body is separate from the frame, I'd probably focus on correcting anything that is in need of repair, then blasting and painting the frame and all stock components, then immediately put it all back together. These cars have a great platform from the start, so use what you have as a foundation. Anything else you may want later will very likely be a bolt on part, so you won't have to redo anything. This saves you from having to pay for everything (upgraded parts by the $$thousands$$, paint, blasting, new brake lines, bushings, bearings, fittings, filters, etc.) at once. Factory wears items alone seem pretty cheap. Thirty bucks for this... twenty for that.... but if you want to replace all of it, money adds up quick. Trust me. If you invite hot rod stuff to the party to early it is easy to get overwhelmed. Trust me.

That's my two bit's on budget. Sorry it's a bit long but I'm going through this very thing right now with a different project, so it's fresh in my brain.

Last edited by GhostTown; 03-23-2011 at 07:47 AM. Reason: typo!
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post #6 of 39 (permalink) Old 03-22-2011, 05:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [miko] View Post
Here's what I've come up with so far:

- Does anyone have a good restoration plan that they could share? How in depth should it go? Does it call out specific products or just goals (Baer 2 pot brakes vs. just calling out that we want to do a disk brake conversion)?

- Anyone have experience managing a restoration from afar? I'm in NC, Pop's in PA and Uncle Gene who's doing the work is in FL, so I think we'll have a challenge or two on that front. Anything to specifically watch out for?

- With a limited budget, what should we accomplish now with the frame off vs. things that can be left for later after the car is reassembled and running for a few years? Once I figure this out I think that I'll be better able to wrap my head around an actual budget.

- Stock vs. upgrades. I know this one is subjective, but I'd be curious to know folks thoughts. If you've done upgrades, do you regret it? I'm leaning towards upgrading the front brakes and possibly suspension (she's not going to be a trailer queen) but don't think I know quite enough to make an informed decision.

I'm sure they'll be a thousand others as I really dive in to things.
Awesome story!! Getting to do the project with your dad is going to be the best part of it.

First of all, decided what you want the car to be FOR YOU TWO and forget about anyone else's opinion, especially since you're going to keep it forever.

Since you're going to drive it (huzzah! ) if it were me I'd upgrade the brakes and suspension, maybe warm up the motor some --- (or save/protect that original engine and build a "fun" replacement for it instead) --- but appearance-wise I'd restore it to original.

Very cool car!

Bear

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post #7 of 39 (permalink) Old 03-22-2011, 07:05 PM
 
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I wish my pop had a 64 for me>>>>WHERE THE HELL IS NORTH CACKALACK?????????????
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post #8 of 39 (permalink) Old 03-23-2011, 10:31 AM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the input and welcomes - it's slowly sinking in that this is really happening and how lucky I am to share this with Pop now.

Sounds like Pop and I have got some fun thinking to do. It's raining in PA today, but once it clears Pop will take some pictures of the car as she sits. He's got to get it out to put some new tires so we can roll it on the trailer in a few weeks. Stay tuned...

Quote:
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...especially since you're going to keep it forever.
Yeah, this one definitely won't be on the auction block.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dimitri View Post
>>>>WHERE THE HELL IS NORTH CACKALACK?????????????
AKA North Carolina!
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post #9 of 39 (permalink) Old 03-23-2011, 11:25 AM
 
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that car sounds like it deserves to be restored to stock. the only exceptions would be adding 69-72 gm a body front disc brakes. 70-72 gto front and rear antiroll bars and radial tires to make it nore driveable. save the old parts because they can easily be swapped back at a later date if desired.

we need more info to advise on the body. is it rusty?
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post #10 of 39 (permalink) Old 03-23-2011, 06:18 PM
 
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What did your dad do to it back in the day, it would be cool to replicate that, glass packs and the like. It would be helpfull to see pics and know the actual condition before advice is given.
Where is FL is your uncle that is going to restore it?

Burning rubber since 1982!!
My photobucket, lots of dif car pics.
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