Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Typical unexpected finds in restoring a classic car.

I thought I would share one of the unexpected finds in restoring the Gran Sport. In restoring any car that has been on the road for 45 years you expect to find issues that need attention. Some require just your labor, but most require your labor and money. The following is just a very small example of why nice Classic Cars are not cheap. People who have never restored a car and are looking to purchase one have no concept of the amount of hours required to bring a car to a good showable condition. I typically put in about 200 to 300 hours in a car's restoration. I work cheap but not for free. With the Gran Sport you may have noticed in the pictures that the car had an aftermarket radio/CD player.


In my opinion these aftermarket units really takeaway from the original appearance of the interior and also value. When I was looking at purchasing the Gran Sport I asked the owner if the dash had been cut to install the new radio and was told no. Cutting the dash in a classic car can create a huge problem in terms of repair cost. With this car the owner still had the original radio and it was in exceptional condition. Very often when a newer radio is installed the original is thrown in the trash. I was very fortunate that the prior owner kept the radio. A radio in this condition that still lights up and works is easily worth $500 + if you can find one.  I am one who does not listen to the radio/CD when driving a classic as I get more enjoyment listening to the V-8 working and enjoying just driving the car. My advice to anyone who is purchasing a classic car is to leave the original radio in the car, even if it does not work, and if your want to upgrade to a modern high performance sound system then install the new unit in the glove box and that way you have the best of both worlds. So with that said I proceeded to remove the aftermarket radio and re-install the original.


I was very fortunate in that the GS had a separate bezel to support the original radio.   Many classic cars have a solid dash with the holes precut by the factory for the knobs and faceplate to fit in and are very specific to the factory radio. As I attempted to install the original radio I noticed the bezel had been cut.


The 1969 Gran Sport with the 400 cu.in. engine and Ram Air is somewhat of a rare car in that only 7,602 cars were produced for 1969. So trying to find a quality replacement bezel took me almost three hours on the internet as none of the Buick parts catalog stocked them. This little square of plastic cost $75 plus shipping. I will also need to be repainted and lettered.  This is something a typical purchaser may not even notice or understand the value it added to the car. This is the original radio installed and how it looked from the factory.



As I stated above if you would like to upgrade the sound system in your classic the glove box is a great place to install the new unit.  As you can see the JVC Stereo/CD/IPod player fits nicely into the Gran Sport's glove box.


This is a perfect car for this setup as the console has an additional storage compartment for insurance document, CDs etc.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Buick Gran Sport 400 in the works

My next project is underway. It's a '69 Buick Gran Sport 400. Here's a slideshow of some BEFORE restoration shots.