There's been several bumps in the road getting to this point but I'd rather just put all that behind me. My truck restoration is completed to my satisfaction so I can now turn my attention to the cuda.
The car is a yellow and black billboard 71 convertible 340 bought from another member here. It needs a ton of work (which I knew getting into it). There is probably not a single large piece below the style line that will not need some type of work. It does not have the original drivetrain and the 340 block that came with it turned out to be no good. With all this in mind, I plan to keep much of the car factory original. Same colors, same hood, keep it a column shift auto, put another 340 in it (once I find a good one), keep the suspension original, keep the rear the same, etc. However I do plan on making some modifications. Primarily, I'm going to stiffen the body, not to race specifications but enough that it won't flex under normal driving conditions. I'm probably going to modify the 340 by boring it and possibly stroking it. Maybe some modern heads, different cams, etc. We'll have to see when we get to that stage but again, trying to make it 'look' closer to original than not. I have a friend that will blueprint the build for me but the engine will be the last stage of the build. I have looked at fuel injection and will probably stick with a carb because I like the sound (and have never had much issue with my other carb'd vehicles) but I'm not opposed to these types of advancements in engine performance/ reliability. My goal isn't to make a street racer though, just something that retains its original style with tweaks here and there to make it better (in my opinion) or just a tiny bit 'meaner' without compromising the original intent. I'm going to put modern disc brakes on the front, it came with all drums. I will likely put an extra spring in the back and a little more aggressive tire size on the rears. Nothing crazy but enough to change its stance.
At this point I am stripping it down so that I can put it on a rotisserie and send it out for blasting... then see how much of it comes back. There is some significant rot at the base of the a-pillars as well as at the connecting sections of the front floor cross member. I currently have shims under the frame to negate the sag it is already experiencing. I have new door hinges on order and once the doors are back in and lined up with the body shimmed to straight I was going to weld in a temporary brace (two square tube bars along each side tacked at the a-pillar, b-pillar and top wheel housing. Then bolt in X braces between them as well as a vertical X brace between the b-pillars.)
I have a few questions starting out...
- I don't want it twisting on a rotisserie. Its probably over-engineered but wanted to see if anyone thought my bracing plan wasn't enough. Or if there is an already established, preferred method for bracing these convertibles?
- I'm going to be scanning the site and web for a used rotisserie but if someone close to southern nh had one they wanted to sell I thought I'd put out a feeler here.
A couple things on my mind following media blasting...
- Does anyone produce a high quality full front floor pan with the cross brace already attached?
- Is AMD superior to other manufacturers in terms of fit? Are there general concerns with fitting sheet metal from a variety of manufacturers or does one generally stick with one company to minimize fitment issues?
- I've been looking at frame stiffening kits. XV motorsports has some pretty nice looking components but they seem to always be out of stock, at least of the sub frame rails. Are there others out there that have really worked well for people?
- I'm going to need a fully detailed factory manual but didn't want to pay the $80+ on ebay. Anyone know a cheap source for these books new or used? I don't use the cd versions.
That's it for now. Trying to not get too far ahead of myself and where the car is at.
I take a lot of photos for personal reference and post them on flickr. My truck resto pics ended up helping a lot of others restoring the same odd-ball truck that doesn't have a lot of documentation and it also documents the build. So I figured I'd start up another one for this cuda if you'd like to follow along...http://www.flickr.com/photos/15695344@N00/sets/72157635254103467/