It was a long five days, and all I can say is that I'm glad we survived the ordeal. Everyone knows restoring a car usually takes months, if not years, to actually complete just the metal work. With that in mind, we had what we thought at first to be a hair brained idea, but after some not-so-careful thought, our idea quickly turned into a plan. It was a plan that was developed at the spur of the moment, and up until we actually carried out said plan, it would cause me sleepless nights, hoping we could accomplish it. But here it is. After five days of cutting metal, sandblasting rust, and installing a couple hundred spot-welds, we finally had a rebuilt Dart. But I guess I'm getting ahead of myself.

The original plan/idea was that we would work with the guys at the AMD Installation Center, to completely rebuild the body of a rusty '69 Dart GT in five days. You heard that correctly. Now, there wouldn't be a crew of 20 people working around the clock to build a completed car. Actually there would be two (maybe three on occasion) people working on the car at any given time, and our given time would be between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Since that was the case, said plan was to simply get all of the required metal replaced on the body, so the car could be painted at a later date. Even though the installation center consists of two guys, we were being somewhat realistic, and felt that we could actually do just the metal work in this short period of time. So, the plan was hatched, and it was time to start cuttin' and weldin', and cuttin' and weldin', and...

Day One and a NonProductive Day Two

It was around 10:00 Monday morning when work began at the AMD Installation Center run by Craig Hopkins. The plan was that he and his shop manager, Chris Dyer, would completely rebuild the rusted '69 Dart by replacing as much metal with new AMD stuff as required. When we actually got started, what was required to be replaced was the entire floor from the firewall to the rear seat location, the trunk floor, outer wheel houses, the Dutchman panel, the hood and trunk lid, the driver-side door jamb, front fenders, and the quarter-panels. It seemed like a daunting task, and we weren't even sure we would complete it, but we were hell-bent on trying. Day one had us disassembling and cutting all of the rusted metal off of the car. When we were finished hacking, some of us were questioning our sanity, as all we had left was a skeleton of a car. Some of our metal was bolt on, and the removal of those items was straight forward. As for the rest of the metal, with the help of an air chisel, die grinder, and anything else that would cut, we were able to dissect the car on day one.

What I forgot about when planning this little endeavor, was that even though I say we planned to do this transformation in five days, I forgot to figure into this time frame the fact that the mediablasting guys would have the car for a day as well. That meant we actually only had four days to rebuild the Dart. We weren't worried--at first. On day two, since we had no car to work on, we decided that a trip to Auto Metal Direct's facility was in order. After all, where else could we get all of the metal we would need. We spent most of the day at AMD taking a tour, and getting things around for the car, and late in the afternoon we made the trip to Black Mountain Sandblasting to pick up what was left of our Dart.