Classic american car restoration

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03 April 2018

Classic Car Restoration Stories – Bringing to Life a 68 rr Continued

We continue to look back on this classic car restoration story. Previously, we brought you up to speed with the first half of this project, in the article Car Restoration Stories – Bringing to life a 1968 Roadrunner and now we will document what we did during the second part.  We will discuss the work we carried out to the back of the car and how we came to conclusions on what would yield the most effective results.

Work to the Rear of this Classic American Car

You can see a clear view of the repairs to the rear of this ‘68 Roadrunner in the above image – for a complete overview of all our classic car restoration page visit our gallery page. The body shell has been shot-blasted clean in our full size blasting booth. The two chassis rails have been replaced as well as the xxxxxxx brackets. The bases of the rear wheel arches have been repaired in preparation for the fitting of the floorpans. A new rear beam has been fitted and before the lower trunk panel was removed a stabilising bar was tack welded across the trunk opening to ensure it was secured rigidly ensuring the new lower panel would be a perfect fit.

At the top of the photo, you can see the lower rear windscreen panel has been fitted but not yet welded up so it’s held in place by a pair of mole grips. The trunk lid gutter channels have some rust holes which will be individually repaired.

The floor-pans have been tack welded into place. There’s still a lot of repair work to be carried out around the edges of the wheel arches.

The new Roadrunner floor-pans are welded in, the inner rear wheel arches have been repaired and the fit is good. The trunk lid gutter channels have been repaired and the rear windscreen lower panel is welded in place. This is skilled work, it is not always straightforward because the quality of some reproduction classic American body panels can be unpredictable, a lot of tweaking is required before the fit is perfect, this is time-consuming work because even tiny variances in alignment can cause considerable problems during the later stages of the rebuild.

The floor-pans and inner wheel arches are finished and the lower rear trunk panel is welded in place. The left rear lamp panel had to be replaced after all. There are some small rust holes in the original trunk lower lip and some others on the underside of the lid, all these will be individually repaired. One of the great advantages of shot-blasting the entire body shell is there can be no hidden rust.

Transforming American Cars with Good Decision Making

We love welcoming American Cars to our garage and it’s important to note that, indeed for any good restoration, you need a working knowledge of each make and model.

It was decided to replace the entire left rear quarter panel and here it is clamped into place, these are huge panels so a lot of care must be taken to ensure 100% correct alignment. The leadwork over the manufacturer’s original weld (pillar/roof panel) is clearly visible on the left rear roof pillar, there are some small rust holes below the leadwork which will be repaired.

A good second hand Roadrunner transmission tunnel cross beam has been welded in. New floor-pans visible above. Also visible, running longitudinally towards the rear of the car is one of a pair of stiffening bars welded in to provide additional torsional rigidity to this E-Body (correct Mike, or is it a B-Body?) car. On the other side, the right-hand stiffening bar, the brackets which support the cill and the floor-pans will also be welded to the stiffening bar. The cill still needs to be repaired and tidied up.

The huge one-piece front floor-pan incorporates the transmission tunnel and fits well. Once this is welded in most of the structural side of this part of the car restoration will be carried out. The restored 1968 Roadrunner body shell is still mounted on a moveable frame, all repairs completed, fully shot-blasted and ready for final preparations before being put into primer.

Body shell in primer. As can be seen from the previous posts, an enormous amount of preparation and careful work goes into reaching this stage. After re-spraying the body shell, installing the engine, gearbox and drive train is relatively simple, suspension components are straightforward too but the wiring loom, interiors, dashboard, and trims are awkward and time-consuming. Chrysler V8 383 cubic inch big block. The only engine part salvaged from the original was the block, we cleaned it and sprayed it in black Hammerite paint which gives a good smooth finish. Two cylinders had slight damage and they were re-sleeved. Full engine rebuild kit ordered and fitted. Standard heads were discarded for Edelbrock aluminum heads.

Complete & Thorough Classic Car Restoration 

Contact us if you seek the classic car restoration of our dedicated and highly skiled team. We have completed car restoration projects on all types of cars, regardless of their origin, size, make or model. Don’t forget, you can view all images from this project by visiting the 1968 Plymouth Roadrunner gallery page.

Written By

Mike Sargeant

Mike Sargeant, owner of Tornado Automotive, is a professional car restorer and mechanic specialising in classic Amercian vehicles based in High Wycombe, United Kingdom. See company page for more.

Call 01494 531285 to discuss restoring your American classic car

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