The time has finally arrived-it's 6:00 a.m. on Thursday the 3rd of July, 2009, and that leaves four days until the All-Chrysler show at Carlisle. The body is painted, the glass and the dash is partially installed, and that's about it-yep, we can make it.
As the garage door opens, the unfinished Sport awaits us, the deadline looms, and there is a sinking feeling that we might not make it, but we can't think about that. We have to make it, and the threat of Paula standing over me with a large motivator isn't the only reason I say that. I say that because one year ago, I said we would make it. So now that it's 6:05 in the morning, we start by installing the exterior items, and hope for the best.
The hardest part of re-installing the previously installed exterior items is not scratchin
With new paint, there was no way we were installing used and not-so-nice exterior trim items. We didn't have any NOS items for our '75 Dart Sport lying around, so we had to rely on reproduction parts. Over the years, reproduction items have gotten a bad rap, and rightfully so, but as of late, the restoration parts market has improved its quality, and thanks to places like The Paddock, quality reproduction parts are available. Items like new door handles, exterior mirrors, and some other trim and the required clips were a welcome sight when they arrived. Focusing on the outside means buffing paint, installing items like the hoodscoop, the rear wing, brake lines, bumpers, and all the trim. Since we're not routing the brake lines in the factory fashion, this required custom bending and flaring. If you remember, we previously showed you that we tossed the factory rear bumper that protruded from the rear of the car for one from a '72 Duster that we got from Stephens Performance. It made for a cleaner look, since we could tuck it nicely up into place. Installing this earlier-year bumper required a few modifications to the factory '72 brackets, but it was definitely worth it.
....New parts from companies like The Paddock are a must when reassembling a freshly paint
We decided to take a break after a while from installing the exterior trim, as we were seriously contemplating the use of a hammer, and that's bad! We figured it was time to focus on the interior for a while. It didn't take as long as it could have, because we were simply returning everything that we took out of the car prior to the paint job. It was all fairly new anyway, so why replace it? But making sure that it was all clean before it went in, and touching up some details with a little paint did take some time. It's amazing how many little items can be missed and not detailed until you finally need to install them. Another issue is: Where did the bag of clips I now need end up after disassembly, because I can't find them. One thing I was painfully reminded of is that it's not as easy as it used to be to climb out from under the dash of a car once it's installed.
After several hours of throwing carpeting in, installing the headliner, seats, door panels, adjusting the windows, and hooking up all the interior electrical, the clock told us it was 10:00 p.m., the end of day one. We didn't quite get all the exterior items installed, but tomorrow is another day.
The tailpanel is not available in reproduction form, so with a little elbow grease, polish
Day two arrived a little earlier than I thought it should, but nonetheless, it's again 6:00 a.m.-or something like that-and we're off. We pick up where we left off in regards to installing the exterior items, and by noon, all the trim is polished, and the new parts are installed-the Sport is starting to look like a car. This is also the day that a couple of friends stop by to check on us and let us know that they don't think we'll make our self-imposed deadline-more incentive to get it done. Apparently, they're used to failure, but they're Chevy guys, we're not.
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