1973 Z28 Restoration "Lilith"

Jerry73Z28

Veteran Member
Gold Member
Nov 1, 2017
229
Greeley, CO
Today, we worked on patching a couple places that looked to have some pretty serious rust.
I don't know the proper name for the area, but I think of it as part of the frame of the body. The piece starts under the back seats, arcs up over the rear axle and goes all the way to the rear. The rusted part can be seen here:
1Ej5iXh.jpg


There is 3 layers of metal in that area. I cut through the outer layer and found the 2nd layer is a bit pitted, but when cleaned up is still in pretty good shape, and solid.
Y0UOGgz.jpg


Dad scared up some sheet steel and made up a patch in a couple hours, then welded it in. I think he did a great job - it would have taken me a week, and wouldn't have fit nearly as well.
xnUY0FD.jpg
 

hubedobeedo

3rd times a charm
Jul 18, 2013
1,006
Huntertown,IN
Today, we worked on patching a couple places that looked to have some pretty serious rust.
I don't know the proper name for the area, but I think of it as part of the frame of the body. The piece starts under the back seats, arcs up over the rear axle and goes all the way to the rear. The rusted part can be seen here:
1Ej5iXh.jpg


There is 3 layers of metal in that area. I cut through the outer layer and found the 2nd layer is a bit pitted, but when cleaned up is still in pretty good shape, and solid.
Y0UOGgz.jpg


Dad scared up some sheet steel and made up a patch in a couple hours, then welded it in. I think he did a great job - it would have taken me a week, and wouldn't have fit nearly as well.
xnUY0FD.jpg
that is the rear sub frame rail , looking good nice patch
 

hubedobeedo

3rd times a charm
Jul 18, 2013
1,006
Huntertown,IN
Ok, here goes. I've been lurking this site for a year and a half or so, and my project has been off and on (more off than on) for about 18 years. I've finally got a location, the tools, and a source of knowledge and experience to really get serious about doing this.

My Camaro came into my family the same year I did, in 1976. My Dad was working as a mechanic at a dealership in 1976 when this 1973 Camaro Z28 came into his bay with a broken valve spring. The owner was apparently a teenager, and we suspect the car was driven hard. My Dad recommended replacement of all the valve springs, but the parents elected to only have the broken one replaced. Needless to say, it was not long until the car was back in the shop with another broken valve spring. This time, however, the owners elected to trade it in.

My Dad bought the car for my Mom before it could go back onto the lot.

VE9l7ra.jpg


Mom had wanted a Firebird Trans Am, but she soon fell in love with her new Camaro. She wanted it to be blue, though, so Dad changed it from Silver and Black to Blue and White for her.

My parents split when I was 6, and she kept the car. I remember the love she had for her Camaro since I was very little. Many years later, needing work done, the car was parked, but she couldn't bring herself to sell it. I don't recall how long it sat undriven.

I joined the Navy in 1994, and re-enlisted in 2000. I got a pretty good re-enlistment bonus, and shortly after, Mom decided it was time to sell her beloved car. She gave my Dad and I first dibs on buying it. I took the opportunity while I had the money and bought her car.

The next time I was home on leave, while transferring from Everett, WA to a Navy school in Norfolk, VA, I managed to get the Camaro running with just a new battery. While home, we got the title transferred, and got her insured and registered.

wzEN8Yu.jpg


The years sitting had not been kind, though. The front window had developed a leak, and the carpets were ruined. She also had the usual rusty places behind the tires and on the quarter panel in front of the rear tires. I also figured that the suspension, at least, needed a lot of work. All the bushings I could see were very badly dried out and cracked. The exhaust system was also pretty much shot.

I bought a trailer and pulled the car all the way to Norfolk for school. I drove it there quite a bit, and am probably pretty lucky I didn't get any tickets for driving a basically unmuffled V8.

When done with training, I put her back on the trailer and towed her all the way back to Washington state, this time to the submarine base in Silverdale. I found a duplex with a garage and put the Camaro inside to try to start the work.

As I imagine happens a lot, the more I took apart, the more I found that I thought needed to be done. It wasn't long until I'd decided to take her completely apart and start from the ground up. It wasn't long after that when I realized what a daunting task I'd taken on. That, and other interests, and finding the woman I eventually married, and the car sat in pieces in the garage without much work being done. Also, the humidity in Washington was making it very difficult to make progress. I would sand off rust one night, and the next night the shiny metal would already have orange spots growing on it.

Then, in 2006, I got out of the Navy and prepared to return to Colorado. I loaded the body onto the trailer, and packed it and the bed of my pickup with parts. When I got home, I parked the trailer and car at my mom's. The "temporary" apartment we found has no garage, so there she sat. Extra funds were scant, and the "temporary" apartment became not so temporary.

ldOQrGZ.jpg


Finally, about a year ago, I started spending a lot more time with my Dad, and he suggested we start work on the Camaro together. It's something I've been wanting to do for a long time. Though I spent a lot of weekends with him as a child, there's always been a lot of things I wish we'd been able to do together. As he says, we're finally doing the stuff together we should have been doing 30 years ago.

As you can imagine, another decade spent sitting on a trailer, in pieces, didn't do much to improve the condition of the parts. The block and heads, for example, were in such sad shape, even Dad wasn't sure we could save them. We found the end caps sitting in the oil pan, which spent much of it's time filled with water. But we took them, and the crankshaft, to an automotive machine shop here in Greeley, and miraculously, they saved them! The cylinders are bored 0.060 over, and it's been balanced. We let the machine shop install the valves and valve springs into the heads, but we want to do the rest of the assembly ourselves.

CSQd19d.jpg

hWx70zT.jpg

26VpE9P.jpg


We've spent most of the last year insulating and drywalling his garage, but that project is finally nearing completion, and we're now planning on starting the serious work on the Camaro. I bought a rotisserie a couple weeks ago, and hopefully, we'll soon be mounting the body and we'll be able to really see just how much work is ahead of us.

8rvAxpP.jpg


I guess that finally brings us to the present. My Dad's got decades of experience working on these cars, mostly as a mechanic, but he's done his share of body work as well. I can't wait to pick his brain and learn as much as I can.

Our goal is to restore my car as close to original as possible. I don't have any illusions about making her a show car, but I'd like to get as close as possible on my budget. The 350 engine (now a 360), carb, manifolds, the Muncie 4-speed, and rear end are all original. I even plan on going back to the original Silver paint job with the Black stripes.

I'd apologize for the super-long post, but I didn’t force you to read it! It's hard to condense the 42 years of history my family has with this car! I'll be posting updates regularly, so hopefully the posts will be a lot smaller from here on out.
great story
 
Last edited:

ULTM8Z

Veteran Member
May 19, 2000
10,731
Los Angeles
Not a long story at all, loved reading it

Same here!

I can kinda relate since I bought my Camaro from my dad when I was 17 and he had bought it new in 1971. I remember sitting in the passenger seat as a little kid hearing the turbo mufflers and cool it sounded.

Then after I bought it we'd spend time in the garage working on it... definitely some good memories there. He's passed away now for the last 8 years, but I'm glad we got in the quality father-son time.

So as was mentioned before, definitely get in as much time as you can with your dad while you have the opportunity to do the things you both enjoy.
 

thesalboy

Veteran Member
Mar 25, 2017
590
Los Angeles, CA
I'm going to see if I can get a real body man to install the exterior patch panels - I really don't want to risk screwing them up. I'll probably have him install the cowl as well.

It's really easy to feel overwhelmed. I basically back-halfed mine, despite never having done anything close to that substantial before. I can remember days where I was like: What the heck am I doing?! Don't get discouraged. Your work so far looks great! At the least, I suggest digging into the patch panel areas - you won't get a reliable estimate otherwise.

Also, I'd prime the exposed fresh air box (and the underside of the cowl panel) before installing the cowl panel - it's hard to get in there with it installed. I taped off where my plug welds would go, epoxy primed, pulled off the tape, then weld-thru primed the tape lines.

12-Primed.jpg

21-Primed.jpg

01-BackPriming.jpg
 

1978 Z/28

Veteran Member
Jul 17, 2017
597
New Brunswick
1Ej5iXh.jpg

Like the Ford tractor in the back ground, My Grandfathers 1949 9-N was the first vehicle that I drove by myself, got my tractor driving license when I was 14. It was used mainly for hay and straw racking
 

bondora68

Veteran Member
Dec 14, 2014
621
Mobile, AL
Great thread! I love Camaros with family history.. Keep on going. Time will pass and progress will be made. Don't forget to enjoy the journey.
 

Jerry73Z28

Veteran Member
Gold Member
Nov 1, 2017
229
Greeley, CO
It's really easy to feel overwhelmed. I basically back-halfed mine, despite never having done anything close to that substantial before. I can remember days where I was like: What the heck am I doing?! Don't get discouraged. Your work so far looks great! At the least, I suggest digging into the patch panel areas - you won't get a reliable estimate otherwise.

Also, I'd prime the exposed fresh air box (and the underside of the cowl panel) before installing the cowl panel - it's hard to get in there with it installed. I taped off where my plug welds would go, epoxy primed, pulled off the tape, then weld-thru primed the tape lines.

Wow, that is a crazy amount of work! I'm trying hard to moderate my desire for everything to be PERFECT with my budget and time constraints, and doing the best I can for her.
I have primed the fresh air box, and used an inner frame coating (can't recall the exact name of the stuff) to at least put some protection down past the vents on each side and into the channel that runs under the door. I haven't primed the underside of the cowl panel yet, but plan to. I did the same thing with the tape and weld-thru primer.

Thank you all for all of the words of encouragement!
 




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