After a long wait, Chris is anxious to get his AAR out on the roads and out to shows.
Don't let the name fool you! Ernie has been restoring muscle cars, hot rods, pro touring cars, and of course Corvettes for years. His vast knowledge and reputation was the cornerstone to my selection, and if anyone has restored a car, they know how important picking someone is. Ernie was fair and was willing to take direction from me. With help from Resto Rick, Jeff Bangert, from Transamcuda.com, and all those wonderful survivor cars at the big shows, I was able to recreate the factory paint processes on my AAR.
Simple things like the fenders, door tops, and the blackout on the hood were done first. The grey primer under the car and the black out in the engine bay were very important steps on my car. Ernie was incredible and paid close attention to the door gaps, body lines, and alignment to ensure the car was straight as a board. He chose to use BASF Glasurit single stage paint.
The Engine Build
After the 'Cuda was in paint, the engine build was next. Doug Lipps from Competition Automotive quickly got started on rebuilding the numbers matching engine for the car. Once completed, the motor was shipped off to Mauro Brocca from Brocca Enterprises and Jeff Cabot from Cabot Enterprises. Jeff was instrumental in painting the engine, K-Frame, rearend, and an assortment of other parts. Mauro is a stand up guy, and knew I was in a jam and lacked the space for reassembling a painted car. He agreed to help me with the final assemble in order to make it to the Chryslers at Carlisle show in 2008. Being that show was only five months away, Mauro dropped everything to help me out.
Fellow Mopar nut and best friend Rick Simpson from Topshelfcars.ca was all too happy to tow me everywhere I went. For my birthday Rick gave me a set if NOS rear taillight chrome trim and the following year an NOS AAR Spoiler.
As the body, suspension and drivetrain were coming together, my interior from Dante's was ready to be installed. Guys like R/T Specialties, Frank Badalson, YearOne, ECS Automotive, and Jim Tanner were essential in acquiring parts.
NOS parts were used when available; however Bias Ply tires in the size E-60 were non-existent. Kelsey Tire was tapped for those. As the melee of restoring parts for final assemble continued, we eventually had everything ready. Mauro spent many hours ensuring all the parts were ready for install and that my timeline for Carlisle was in check--it was completed with one week to spare.
A Dream Realized
Kevin Hamil from Gtaindetail.com came over to help apply the NOS AAR Stripes. I used NOS Stripes because they have a subtle texture to them while reproduction stickers are flat black.
The 'Cuda has truly been a labor of love for me. The friends I have made along the way have been awesome and are ones I will keep forever. The support I got on the car from all sides was phenomenal and was an experience that will live on with the car for the rest of its life. For my first restoration of any car, this is one that I am very proud of and has become a bench mark for the next car I take on. The original owner of 29 years was reunited with the car at Carlisle along with his wife, daughter and grand daughter making this very special. This car is rolling proof that you can work hard toward any goal and achieve it.