If Rick Adams had it all to do over again, he says he probably wouldn't. Even though the gorgeous 440 Six Pack Coronet R/T is one of only 98 equipped with a four-speed (112 came with automatics), the Pinkney, Michigan, resident isn't convinced the car was worth saving. "The car was bad. I probably shouldn't have redone it," Rick says. "It was really bad," he says again just to drive the point home.
How bad? For starters, there was the problem of the paint. Between first rolling off the line and 1986, when Rick bought it, the car had acquired six coats of paint, each with an accompanying coat of primer. "There was a coat of paint and a coat of primer for each repaint the car received; except between the last coats of Sassy Grass and Lime Light. They must have put the Sassy Grass on thinking it was Lime Light and just repainted over it," Rick says.
Then there was the interior. At some point a previous owner must have thought there was too much road noise, so they set about adding insulation to quiet things down. Not sound deadener-insulation. "Yeah, you know, the pink stuff that's in your attic," Rick laughs. "It was in the doors, inside the quarters, and behind the back seat. There were also roofing shingles under the entire carpet, and at least a couple of cases of spray-on undercoating everywhere, including up underneath the dashboard all the way to the windshield. You couldn't even touch the wires without your hand being black." Rick doesn't know who added the construction-site cast-offs, but it apparently had never seen use on the road, at least not in the rain. "That would have rotted the car had it ever gotten wet," Rick adds, "but it never did," as evidenced by the fact that the car's sheetmetal wasn't rotted to the belt line
That's not to say the sheetmetal on the car was pristine. In fact, it was far from it. At some point in the car's life, it had been hit in the nose-hard. When Rick started taking the car apart, he found that the driver-side framerail was twisted, the inner fenders were visibly twisted and hammered, the driver-side firewall was pushed two inches back and the torsion bar mount was twisted. "The front sheetmetal was shimmed a lot, but it drove straight down the road," Rick says. It was at this point that he began to question the gains of restoring the car. That's the kind of damage that insurance companies total vehicles over!
"I had a buddy that replaced the whole front clip on his GTX, so I had him help me. We used a Satellite as a donor for the whole front end. It was very straight-forward, but it was a lot of work and took a long time," Rick relates. At this point, Rick was really beginning to get mired in the depression that comes with having a project go from bad to worse-which explains the 12 years of on-again, off-again labor. "I hated that car" he tells us. "I had a beater daily driver at the time that was almost in better shape, and half of that car is on this one: all the glass, all the trim. Everything that came off the beater went on this car and then all the bad stuff went back on the beater. So it was like I was doing two cars!"
After putting the body back together, Rick turned his attention to the suspension and driveline, where most everything was replaced, and more surprises were found. Rick said that the car drove all right, but it seemed underpowered. Somehow, someone had hit the fuel line in an unusual area and had all but collapsed it. "It looked like someone hit it with a ball peen hammer," Rick tells us. "There was no damage anywhere else on the line, and it was a small, neat dent."