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Discussion Starter #1
An old co-worker of mine found a 67 GTO online and bought it sight unseen. Had it shipped from Oregon or Washington, to NJ and then called me to help him restore it. When I saw the car, I was shocked. It was rotted out so bad, even extending up into the underside of the hood, and the roof! I tried to dissuade him from building it, but he persisted. When I had an opening in my garage, we got it in, and started stripping it. We pulled the body off the frame, after reinforcing it with LOTS of tubing, and angle iron!
It's probably the worst car I've ever started on. And I've done cars from the 40's and 50's, that were pretty bad. I tried to get him to decide on how we were going to build it, as a full resto was not practical. Wrong engine and trans, no interior, broken, and missing glass, and trim, no front bumper, grill or surround. I presented many options to him, but we still had to start with buying and installing new sheet metal.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Pretty much anything available for the body shell had to be ordered. Full floors, trunk, quarters, rockers, even the roof. It looked as if it had been junked, and a car placed on top of it, it was so bad.

I'm not a pro shop, I do this as a "serious" hobby, adding to my tools and equipment over the last 40 years. So I've got some pretty good machines. This will help immensely on this build!
Since we had an open book on what type of car to build, I presented Freddy with options. Pro street (too dated), Pro touring (good but could be expensive), 60's street machine or gasser (a bit overdone nowadays), or Kustom (mostly body mods, lowered, perhaps chopped, change grill, taillights, etc). Fred couldn't make any decisions yet, so we proceeded to get the body back in shape.
 

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Don't know how many of you guys do this, or require your body shops to do it, but I prefer to lead in the quarter to roof joint, just like the factory did. Guess being a 50's custom guy has it's rewards.
 

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WOW!! That's quite an undertaking. Your friend would've been better off buying one done with the money he'll have in that one! Kudos to you for helping him out. Looks like you have a good handle on it.
 

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Just fooling around, I had Fred pull one of the Vette's tail lights out of the car, and I made a hammerform to set it back flush into some sheet metal. Doing a trial run of how to form the tail light panel, if we decide to go that route. I kind of like it, it lets us do a sequential tail light set up. Might put a small break or peak through the center of the panel, not sure yet of anything.
For those interested in sheet metal fabrication: A hammerform is a great tool to make a panel with curved flanges, or complex shapes, on a relatively flat panel. You need to cut out 2 pieces of MDF, aluminum, or plywood, one conforming the shape you want, the other slightly larger. You clamp the sheet metal in between the 2 with as many clamps as you can, and then cut out anything you have to, or trim it to the desired overlap ( you can't have too much overlap on a complex shape as it will be hard to stretch/shrink the metal to fit. An open flange, it doesn't matter) The slowly hammer the metal over the edge of the form until it hugs it very tightly. Then unclamp and release. The form effectively holds the surrounding metal pretty flat, no distortion. You can do minor adjustments to the piece afterwards with a shrinker/stretcher tool if desired, or necessary. y (as in putting a second curve into a curved flange panel)

On this piece, we are trying 3 lights on each side. Might go with red, clear, amber lights if the owner decides what type of look he wants, instead of 3 red. Not our final piece, but we can mock it up in place and see if we like it.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The firewall had some damage, and rust too (What a surprise!). Since we're going custom on this, decided to smooth out the firewall by getting rid of the seams, and making a new bead rolled one. It has been welded solid, leaded in, and primered by now, have to get finish pics.
Thought about imprinting the Pontiac 'triangle' in the open area.
 

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The firewall had some damage, and rust too (What a surprise!). Since we're going custom on this, decided to smooth out the firewall by getting rid of the seams, and making a new bead rolled one. It has been welded solid, leaded in, and primered by now, have to get finish pics.
Thought about imprinting the Pontiac 'triangle' in the open area.
Nice. What gauge steel are you using with the rolling dies? 20ga?
 

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Firewall, and floors I prefer to do in 16 or 18 Ga. Even sheet metal on older cars I do with 18 Ga. 20 seems to flimsy. If I could find the correct 19 ga. for body fab, I'd buy it! My roller can handle 16 ga, so better off with heavier steel.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
No one makes a chassis for the 67 that uses C4 Corvette suspension, though you can get them for use with more modern Vette set-ups. So we had to struggle along and figure out a way to get it done!
After calling several frame places, the only one who would readily bend us tubing to our specs was Art Morrison. After tons of measuring, and talking to their engineers, I came up with bending 3 rails per side, the perimeters, the rear hump and the front kick-up. Morrison did a great job in mandrel bending the 2 x 4, 1/8" wall tubing to my specs.
I started by placing the rear humps in place. Fit the new floor and trunk floor very well, my measurements must have been right on. Before going further, we dragged in a Vette rear, and figured out ride height, half shaft angle, at rest, and relationship of the frame to the ground, and rear. My rough calculations showed the car would sit 2-3 inches too high, with things as they were. Not a lot we could do with some things, but we took a 3 way approach to remedy this.

First, we would use different bushings to bring the frame closer to the body, gain- about 1/2 to 3/4" lowering. Next, cut off the snubber on top of the Vette's batwing, would give us another full inch by mounting the real higher up towards the rails. The last inch was hard fought. Raise the rear rails 1 inch higher up. this meant cutting channels in the floor/trunk pan, and raising the area above the rear end a couple inches higher.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
We had to separate the wheel wells from the trunk floor, and then make cuts across the floor, front and rear, to add 2 inches to the height of it. Also had to modify the well to trunk hinge supports, and supports to the package tray. We also widened the wheel wells 2 inches to have enough room for the Vette sized rear tires.
 

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Nice work. My buddy has a beautiful 1970 Camaro split bumper RS/SS Camaro he did some mods to and added a low mileage '92 Vette LT1 & trans. He looked into installing a Vette rear end at the time as it was an inexpensive purchase 20 years ago. The fit would have required the same mods - sink the Vette rear frame section into the flooring and tie it all in. The floors on this car are cherry and he did not want to cut them up. So he tricked out the stock rear set-up to lower the car and a tubular a-arm set-up up from.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Once we had the perimeter and rear rails set up, bolted to the floor mounts, measurements were taken so we could reassemble them in the same position, on our frame table. Well, we didn't have a frame table, so off to the local steel store, to buy 2 15 ft 'I' beams, to make one. Had some old ones around to make the cross pieces.
 

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Next step was running back and forth from the original GTO chassis, to the Vette rear, to the new rails, measuring, double checking, and marking off where the wheel base center was, where the Vette batwing mounting brackets go, where the trailing arm mounts go, etc., etc. I even made a jig on the original Vette chassis, locating the batwing mounts to the trailing arm mounts. That way I could weld the new brackets and they would all be in the correct relation to each other. The kick up on the rear rails had to be clearanced a bit for the batwing mounts. I will reinforce this area later.
 

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Next step was running back and forth from the original GTO chassis, to the Vette rear, to the new rails, measuring, double checking, and marking off where the wheel base center was, where the Vette batwing mounting brackets go, where the trailing arm mounts go, etc., etc. I even made a jig on the original Vette chassis, locating the batwing mounts to the trailing arm mounts. That way I could weld the new brackets and they would all be in the correct relation to each other. The kick up on the rear rails had to be clearanced a bit for the batwing mounts. I will reinforce this area later.
Really nice work.
 

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The Vette stock crossmember was used up front, though an aftermarket tubular one is available, around 900$. Measuring one in a stock frame, I found that it mounts at an 11* angle. So I cut our frame to 11* where it mounts, and went through the whole measuring everything a thousand times to get it in the right wheel base, level to 11*, at right angles to the frame, etc.
The crossmember didn't have one plane where it was at 90* to the frame, or car's wheel base. Everything was at an angle. So a bunch of gussets had to be welded in to attach the crossmember to the rails.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Did a trial run of bolting on the suspension and getting the frame on the shop floor. Not really sitting low enough, but later we'll see with the body back on it.
 

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