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Photos of my 3-1/2-year'64 Restoration & Rebuild Process

lars

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 15, 2003
Messages
209
Location
In my workshop bar in Denver
Corvette
64 Black Roadster; 85 Coupe; 09 G8 GT 4-door Vette
I just completed a 3-1/2 year ordeal with the resto-mod of my ’64. This was a very rough car, and it probably couldn’t have been parted out since there weren’t any parts on the car good enough to sell… I ended up disassembling the car and every component assembly down to the lowest possible detail part and building the entire thing back up from the ground. Not a single thing went untouched, from a complete rear end rebuild, tranny, engine, steering box, heater box, steering column, – and on and on – it never ended. The body required major surgery and was a 2-year process by itself. All work was done in my workshop, but I did use a paint booth for final paint application. Things were kept as original as possible and all correct parts were used, but liberty was taken with the engine build and a few bolt-ons to make this a fun car to drive. As it now sits, this thing is simply brutal and a total kick to take out and flog.. Here’s an abbreviated photo journey through the process:

The start: a rough but drivable ’64 with a 350 pickup truck engine. Can you see how rough the bodywork is...?
001-4.jpg


Body coming off the frame:
Scan0002.jpg


Body going onto my body dolly (isn't it nice to have a lift in the garage?):
Scan0003.jpg


Body dolly is rigid enough to correctly align the body and allow doors to open. I made the dolly tall enough that I could get under the car to work on the floorpans, yet do bodywork on the sides of the car without having to bend over - I'm 6' tall: this was a nice working height for me. The dolly was welded up in an afternoon by just taking some simple measurements off the body - total cost was less than $100:
FFFBodydolly3.jpg


Chassis & frame completely disassembled to allow inspection and repair:
Scan0005.jpg


Frame rust was severe:
Scan0006.jpg


Scan0007.jpg


Sandblasted frame with stiffening bars welded in prior to cutting one side at a time:
Scan0008.jpg


Rust section chopped out:
Scan0010.jpg


New section clamped in position for welding:
Scan0011.jpg


Welded up and ready for stiffening bars to be cut off (both sides of the frame went through this process):
Scan0013.jpg


Frame painted and ready for assembly after complete trailing arm rebuild:
DSCN3253.jpg


Rolling chassis complete. Rear end was upgraded to a 3.73:1, and completely rebuilt - gearing choice turned out to be a perfect match to engine:
Scan0016.jpg


Rough body work complete after total strip-to-bare-‘glass and in primer with ’67 hood fitted. The hood is an original '67 factory hood that my good friend Lou found in a junk yard - it was so bad that it was "beyond repair." A week of labor cutting the entire support structure off the bottom of the hood and re-forming the hood to match the car paid off with a perfectly matched '67 BB hood to clear my tall intake system:
094.jpg


Final sanding prior to paint (after 5 rounds of fill primer and blocking):
103.jpg


Transporting to the paint booth. My lift and my trailer are the 2 best "tool" inverstments I've ever made:
124.jpg


Me shooting in the booth:
133.jpg


Engine build in progress - the 350 truck engine was set aside and this engine was built from scratch using a block and crank donated by my friend Matt as the foundation:
IMG_0381.jpg


Engine complete:
IMG_0408.jpg


Engine on the dyno: 496 horsepower and 500 ft/lbs torque. Since I’m using the original valve covers (and a hidden PCV system) I’m telling people it’s a 327… The color of the engine matches the color of the stripe on the hood, which is a 2009 'Vette color.
170.jpg


Body painted and undergoing assembly. Everything was "stuffed" into the body before mating it to the frame, including all electrical systems. The electricals were tested (including verification and setup of the headlight doors, tail lights, ignition system, etc) using a battery and some jump wires. This proved invaluable, since several problems were found and corrected while the body was in this state and very easy to work on:
155.jpg


Rolling chassis complete with drivetrain – ready to mate to body. Note correct factory part numbers/stencils on the frame - everything was done "correctly" in spite of engine mods. Even though the engine had been run on the dyno and was known to be good, a wire harness was made up to allow the engine to be started and run in the chassis to verify that everthing was working perfectly before mating the body to the frame. Everything worked...:
192.jpg


Body being lowered onto rolling chassis:
200.jpg


Mated!
IMG_0543.jpg


Engine in place. Yes, that's a "Tuned by Lars" decal on the air cleaner, courtesy San Antonio Corvette Club:
208.jpg


Ready for dash. That's not zinc chromate on the birdcage: the "birdcage" was stripped down, epoxy coated, and then painted with a catalyzed urethane that I mixed and flattened to make it look like zinc chromate. The epoxy/urethane is more durable than the old chromates, so this birdcage will never rust for as long as I'm alive...
IMG_0576.jpg


Dash, wiring & instrument panel was installed in factory sequence (thanks to JohnZ for the info on this). This allowed complete installation in less than an hour. All instruments were rebuilt, including the clock (with quartz movement) and the radio (which was upgraded with an MP-3 jack and a good speaker under the stock grill). That's the original "Saddle Tan" interior that I prepped and painted with my own color-matched formula to match the Al Knoch leather that I bought for the seats:
IMG_0590.jpg


Interior in. MP-3 jack wire can be seen sticking out the passenger heat vent. Yeah, it's a Hurst shifter - so shoot me. Original Muncie shifter is rebuilt and in a box in my shed, where it belongs:
227.jpg


Final assembly complete. The hood isn't latched in this photo - it really does line up:
228.jpg


232.jpg


235.jpg


I don't ever want to see another piece of sandpaper again.

Lars
 

XLR8

Gone but not forgotten
Joined
Jun 23, 2004
Messages
6,662
Location
Mississippi Gulf Coast
Corvette
2003 AE Convertible, 1998 LCRM Convertible
Beautiful! The Midyears have always been my favorite Corvettes... yours illustratates the reason "why" nicely!

Maybe one day the cosmic forces will align themselves properly for me to have one. :L

Thanks for sharing the photos of the process.
:wJane Ann
 

lars

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 15, 2003
Messages
209
Location
In my workshop bar in Denver
Corvette
64 Black Roadster; 85 Coupe; 09 G8 GT 4-door Vette
Thanks, Jane Ann! All it takes is time and money...:L
 
Joined
Jul 26, 2005
Messages
836
Location
Colorado
Corvette
08 VR Convertible 2014 TR Coupe
What a great restoration - you did good. Don't be surprised if a guy (me) in red corvette stops you if he sees you on the road to admire your work close up. I will be looking for you now that I know you are in the neighborhood (Denver area). Of course, my vettes don't come out for several more months.
Barrett
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2007
Messages
2,723
Location
Oregon Ohio
Corvette
2015 Z06 Callaway White, 1967 Corvette RestoRod
Great progress photos Lars. :w You have a beautiful looking Corvette.
 

Toms007

Moderator
Joined
Sep 24, 2004
Messages
6,479
Location
Southwest Kansas
Corvette
2007 Atomic Orange Coupe
Wow Lars, what a transformation! :cool!: I think that the 'liberties' that you took were well worth it.

Did you know the frame was that bad when you bought it? Was this a Colorado car originally? Do you have more pictures? We'd love to see some more of the details of the build.

Thanks for sharing....it is beautiful.:happyanim:
 

lars

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 15, 2003
Messages
209
Location
In my workshop bar in Denver
Corvette
64 Black Roadster; 85 Coupe; 09 G8 GT 4-door Vette
Yes, I knew about the problems when I bought it - the reason for my low-ball price offer that offended the previous owner, who was unaware of the issues and problems. The car was originally an East Coast car - the reason for the condition.

I have a lot of photos, but most of the details would bore a person to death - I featured the highlights, which make the build almost look easy...

Lars
 

catbert

Moderator
Joined
Aug 26, 2004
Messages
3,487
Location
Tobacco Road, NC
Great job. God, that was a lot of work.
 

lars

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 15, 2003
Messages
209
Location
In my workshop bar in Denver
Corvette
64 Black Roadster; 85 Coupe; 09 G8 GT 4-door Vette
..and that was the "Reader's Digest" abbreviated photo essay - you wouldn't believe the whole ordeal: I get shell-shock flashbacks every time I look at all the photos... I'm so glad it's over.
:beer
Lars
 

Mac

Well-known member
Administrator
Joined
Feb 13, 2003
Messages
5,475
Location
Ottawa, Canuckistan
Corvette
1973 coupe L82 (gone as casualty of divorce)
All it takes is time and money...:L

I'm pretty sure there's skill involved at some point... whether it's your own or hired... ;)

Gorgeous roadster! Well done, sir!

-Mac
 

bill81vette

Moderator
Joined
Jan 17, 2004
Messages
4,316
Location
Troy,NY
Corvette
1981 dark blue metallic
That is a very nice job and sweet looking vette!!!!
thanks for the pics!!!
 

3dale1

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 12, 2005
Messages
158
Location
PA
Corvette
65 convertible L-76
Lars, that's a thing of beauty! I am bringing a 65 365 horse car back from the dead and have hit a mental brick wall with it right now. It made your 64 look like a top flight car when you first got it.


A question about the first pic...I'm looking for the rough bodywork and don't see it. No flares, gaps look good in the picture. What were its' problems?
 

damoroso

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 12, 2008
Messages
240
Location
Jax florida
Corvette
1981 Big Block
Wow, very very nice. Did you do any mods to the suspension, or did you go with stock pieces? The car looks fantastic and I'll bet it's a joy to drive!! Thanks for sharing!
 

lars

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 15, 2003
Messages
209
Location
In my workshop bar in Denver
Corvette
64 Black Roadster; 85 Coupe; 09 G8 GT 4-door Vette
The suspension was kept nearly stock - the factory rubber bushings work very well, and street tires don't have enough traction to put enough g-loads into them to compress them, making urethane a bit over-rated for a street car. I did put a big 1-1/8" diameter front stabilizer bar on it and a set of KYB shocks. The ride is actually very nice, and it corners completely flat with no body roll. Only problem is complete lack of traction on the rear tires due to the torque and the 3.73:1 rear end. Once I burn these rear tires off it I'll mount up some DOT drag radials and make it hook up a little better.
 

lars

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 15, 2003
Messages
209
Location
In my workshop bar in Denver
Corvette
64 Black Roadster; 85 Coupe; 09 G8 GT 4-door Vette
I'm looking for the rough bodywork and don't see it. No flares, gaps look good in the picture. What were its' problems?

If you look at the photo, you can see the entire body is wavy on every panel - somebody took a DA to it and hacked it. Also, the body is actually 2 cars spliced together in the middle, and they didn't get the joint angle right: I had to cut the car almost in half to properly align the rear clip to the front clip in 2 axis. I then bonded it back together in such a way that the seam is invisible. The body side lines (creases) were way off after the car having been hit on both sides. I dug out gallons of Bond-O and rebuilt panels to their correct shape and thickness with hand-layed 'glass.
 

KANE

Moderator
Joined
Mar 2, 2002
Messages
3,244
Location
KY
Corvette
Dark Blue 1982 Trans Am(s): Polo Green 1995 MN6
Lars- simply incredible. :upthumbs

Wow!
 

John Mekisich

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 14, 2008
Messages
48
Location
San Mateo, Ca.
Corvette
1996 LT4 Coupe
64 Resto

Lars,

I tip my hat to you. Always enjoy seeing someone that has the space, tools and ability bring a car back from the dead. Outstanding job. Did you keep a log of time spent on the project?

Lars- simply incredible. :upthumbs

Wow!
 

lars

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 15, 2003
Messages
209
Location
In my workshop bar in Denver
Corvette
64 Black Roadster; 85 Coupe; 09 G8 GT 4-door Vette
Thanks for all the kind comments - very much appreciated.

Did you keep a log of time spent on the project?

I kept all receipts for expenses (which I have yet to add up), but I didn't keep track of hours - that would be a frightening number... it was every single evening after work and every single weekend for 3-1/2 years. That many hours are measured in craploads...

Great 'Vette driving weather out here today: Here's my car after a 1-hour high-speed run in the snow:

85inSnow2011.jpg


:beer
 

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