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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all!

Long time reader, first time poster.
-My Project-
Currently in the process of restoring a 1972 Pontiac LeMans with a 350 on TH350 (recently rebuilt according to paperwork from previous owner)

-A little backstory-
The car was actually an engagement gift from my future father-in-law, as it was how my fiance & I met originally (she tried to sell me the car, i tried to sell her a computer, it's true love)
I liked the car when I saw it, so I did want to purchase it, when her & I started dating, then getting more serious, he (father-in-law) gave us the car.
I want to get it at least 90% complete for the wedding to use as the "Just Married" car.

-Where I'm at-
It's a LeMans, I know it will never be a GTO (nor can I afford one) however I do want to replace the snout for the pignose.
I already have the hood ('72), endura bumper ('71), lower valance, & headlight buckets.
the only piece I'm missing is the Radiator support (and I REALLY don't want to pay $1200 for one)
i wanted to find the radiator support before winter so I can get all the parts on and prep the car for paint for the winter.
The car was free (for me at least) and I "only" have about a grand invested in it in parts. I was contemplating selling it and buying a 242 vin GTO, and building that up, but even then they're a few grand in non-running condition.

I only really have the chance to work on the car on weekends, as I live in an apartment building and the car is not anywhere near me.

We do go to car shows every now and again, usually the fathers day weekend in Kerhonkson, as well as Macungie. once it's running 100% I will be cruising.

-Ultimately-
I do want to get a 400 or 455 for her, but it won't be for racing. I was in a really bad car accident in August that I'm lucky to have walked away from, so I have no interest in reliving that.
I will be swapping out the front brakes for discs sooner rather then later, and most definitely before I drop in a bigger engine.

Welp, I'll get to the pictures now:
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you!
I've used this website a whole lot trying to find what I need, and to try and learn about these beauties.
I figured it was time to quit being a creepy stalker and become a somewhat contributing member.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Currently I have a naked front end
Removed the lower valance, front bumper, and nose.
fitted the GTO headlight buckets I have.
in the last pic you can see my FFIL (Future Father-In-Law) when we realize the hood and endura bumper won't fit without that radiator support.
 

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Seeing it is a Lemans and not a GTO to begin with, your adding a non-stock nose, and you plan on upgrading the engine etc. making it even less than original...... and you don't want to pay $$$$, here is your opportunity to begin your journey as a "hot rodder" like most of us who don't want to pay either and where original is not essential, but workable is.

Why not simply modify what you have? Drop the radiator so you can look up inside, and close the hood to see what hits. Start cutting and modify it. Measure thrice, cut once. A high speed die grinder with a cut off wheel is one of my favorite tools, along with torches, the big hammer, a hacksaw, and vise grips. You can use corner angles and sheet metal screws to hold things into place so they don't move. Get the modified pieces to work and bring them to a fab/weld shop and let them glue it together and weld up any of the small sheet metal screw holes you used to hold it in place. Once painted, who will know or care? Then drop in the radiator to see where you may have to alter it or purchase one to fit.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hi Jim, oh believe me if I could afford to not do the work, I would still probably pick the hard route.
I know i dont necessarily belong here seeing as she isn't a real GTO, but being as it will look like one I figured it would be the best place to look for advice and talk with others.
I'm pretty new to the classic car thing, I'm 25 and have very basic knowledge of mechanics.

I did a lot of research today (when i was supposed to be working) and found the radiator supports are almost identical up until the top of it, so this weekend I will be pulling out the grinder and removing some chunks of it, and hopefully get the nose and hood mounted.
I used to do electrical and construction, the big hammer is and always was my favorite tool, nothing can deny it's "persuasive properties"

Hopefully I get more pictures up this weekend.
I always welcome to advice and tips, again I'm new to this, if I could sheet rock the dang thing I would be better off I think.
 

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You are in the RIGHT place. Although it is called the GTO forum, all A-body cars as well as any other Pontiac, whether Pontiac powered or other, can find a home here and a ton of info & help.

I believe it is only the top of the radiator support that is shorter if I recall a former post that noted this. Modifying to fit is sometimes the only way to go and more cost efficient if you are not trying to go factory original/restoration.

What you are doing is now called "resto-mod." Turning any non-GTO car into a GTO is called a "clone" and others will try to call it a "tribute car." I for one don't care for clones and tribute cars because they are fakes - cars that they weren't. I understand not affording the real thing and wanting to convert to a clone, but how many Tempests or Lemans' do you see at a car show? I am building a '68 Lemans and it'll remain a Lemans. Always see GTO's and way too many Judge's at car shows - hardly ever a Lemans. The '72 Lemans had the GTO nose which could be ordered as an option. I would add all my GTO stuff short of making it a GTO with the decals and keep it a Lemans. Add the rear deck spoiler, hood tach, drop the suspension 2", add 8" body color painted steel rims with the new repro dog dish Pontiac hubcaps, dual exhaust with chrome splitters, and that thing will ooze "race car."

Personally, I would have kept the '72 Lemans nose because I like it over the GTO nose and done a GT-37 remake of the car. I also like the GT-37 stripe kit that was offered.

Keep in mind, it is your car and I understand personalization and changing things to suite what we desire our cars to look like and be. My '68 Lemans will be anything but stock with a 455, 5-speed, and Ford 9" rear - but I am keeping it a Lemans to be different. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Well last weekend was a bust, between the car being outdoors and it rained, and a minor hospitalization, couldn't work on it.
This weekend I plan on cutting the top of the radiator support and mounting the hood and nose somehow or another.
I also got the Ames catalog and boy was that a mistake! Just One More Part indeed...
Already have a wishlist a mile long :D
I plan on dressing her like a GTO, hood, nose, tach, deck lid spoiler, but I will not be badging her as such. I do plan on getting a bigger engine when finances are in my favor, if gas stays under $2/gal that is.
I know clone would be the most suitable description, but if I'm not mistaken I could always call it a T41 Lemans, no? I know the VIN would probably say otherwise, but at least it was an option back then.
Well, thank you for the warm welcome, I'll get something done soon enough!
 

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Welcome out of the shadows and into the light :thumbsup:

I love anything Pontiac, and Pontiac-powered, so don't feel like you have to 'apologize' for not having a GTO.

Holler if we can help you out someway.

Bear
 

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There was a T-37 which was a Tempest that comes to mind. The GT-37 was a high performance option much like the GTO. Like I said, all the GTO stuff was optional on the Lemans short of it being a GTO, so why not simply call it what it is, a Lemans with the GTO optional nose/hood/wing, etc. and you would be right on the money - again, you don't see many original '72 Lemans' with the GTO optional nose so adding it to yours would probably make it a bit "rarer" than an actual GTO.

Like all of us, we never quite finish "the car" as there is always one more part to buy and another horsepower to add - that's the real fun in all of it because you can keep doing your upgrades for a lifetime and still want to add just one more part. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Little update:
Started a little late today, around noon, didn't get a lot done.
cut the top of the core support off, broke my grinder about halfway through, one of the brushes got blown through the side casing.. ended up finishing with the sawzall.
Got the headlights on, got the hood to almost fit, put the front bumper up, and afterwards realized it's a wee bit twisted, so next weekend we are going back and straightening it out a little.
Unfortuantely while it looks a lot better my to-do list for next week is still a mile long.
For next weekend I want to:
-Cut the core support a little bit more at the front
-straighten out the endura nose and mount it properly
-figure out why the hood won't sit flush
-get some angle brackets for the hood latch

Welp, I attached some pictures of how she stands so far, nothing really groundbreaking.

As always, if anyone has any advice or tips for me I would more then welcome them!
Thanks for checking!
 

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Have rebuilt and restored over a dozen of the '71 LeMans std nose V8 core supports, 72 LeMans std nose V8 core supports, and all 3 different stamped versions of the '71 and '72 V8 endura coresupports. The '71 and 72 T41/GTO coresupports use a different top plate and a bolt on hood latch plate that drops down slightly in the front. Need pics of a T41 GTO top plate, let me know.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
If you could send me some pics of the top plate I would be greatly appreciative.
Being as I'm modifying what I have I'd like to get it as close to the original as possible.
Also some pics on that hood latch plate if at all possible, as I'm probably going to have to make one of those too.

I'm also wondering if anyone has some tips on why the hood won't line up correctly, it seems to be higher then the fenders on both sides by about a half inch.
I was contemplating removing he hinges and drilling new holes a little lower, or maybe the hinges are different?

Next weekend I'm heading out with my father & father-in-law to try and get the fit finished. Everything is mounted on the car, just some last details before we start prepping for paint, on the nose at least.
My list of parts I want to buy still hasn't shrunk at all, and I've added the ram air hood pan & carb cleaner to it, so I definitely want to get the hoodds to latch this weekend.
Thank you all again for looking and the comments!
 

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Will get you some pics of a topplate and hood latch piece that i have to start on first of the year. The mounted T41/GTO hood latch mtg plate sets lower and if the hood is setting up higher in the front, that would be the problem, I have never tried to modify a stock '72 top plate. Another issue you will run across the T41 hood is heavier and while you can reuse your stock non T41 hood hinges, you will need to replace the springs, with the factory stronger versions.

typically rebuilding a coresupport, I will remove a nice top plate off a "roach" of a coresupport by center punching the spot welds, then drill the spot welds out from the bottom side of the coresupport top plate. Next, will carefully grind the remaining nubs off the bottom of the bottom of the top plate, then line the removed top plate up on a nice donor coresupport upright. Last will jig the top plate up with nice upright, redrill if needed a few pilot holes, then with welding clamps and cleco's, re spotweld the top plate on, starting in the middle, working out. the 1/16" pilot holes on the top plate will have to filled with spot putty, during refinishing.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
New small update for 11/21

Had to take apart the front end today
We found out what was causing the hood to not sit flush, the previous owner installed a spacer between the manifold and carburetor, about an inch thick from what I saw, removed the air cleaner temporarily to get the hood to sit lower, also chopped the hinges and cut the washers to drop the hood the half inch it needed to sit flush with the fenders on top.
Now it sits flush across the top though.

Removed the nose to straighten it, it's almost there, going to be a long road ahead with this rubber snout.
Also found out the fenders won't let the nose line up properly, the headlight buckets line up perfectly with the fenders on the front, but it doesn't line up with the hood, so the front isn't the same length, are the fenders maybe wider at the front?

I'm also thinking I have to buy actual GTO fenders to get this thing to work and line up properly. My wallet isn't going to like this.

If anyone has any suggestions on where to buy decent fenders for a 71/72 (I don't need to have the vents)
Appreciate all comments, thank you!
Have a great weekend!
 

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New small update for 11/21

Had to take apart the front end today
We found out what was causing the hood to not sit flush, the previous owner installed a spacer between the manifold and carburetor, about an inch thick from what I saw, removed the air cleaner temporarily to get the hood to sit lower, also chopped the hinges and cut the washers to drop the hood the half inch it needed to sit flush with the fenders on top.
Now it sits flush across the top though.

Removed the nose to straighten it, it's almost there, going to be a long road ahead with this rubber snout.
Also found out the fenders won't let the nose line up properly, the headlight buckets line up perfectly with the fenders on the front, but it doesn't line up with the hood, so the front isn't the same length, are the fenders maybe wider at the front?

I'm also thinking I have to buy actual GTO fenders to get this thing to work and line up properly. My wallet isn't going to like this.

If anyone has any suggestions on where to buy decent fenders for a 71/72 (I don't need to have the vents)
Appreciate all comments, thank you!
Have a great weekend!
Need photos of the misalignment. I don't believe the GTO/Lemans fenders are any different. The difference may all be in the radiator support? Get us some pics. :thumbsup:
 
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