Jamieg285's '79 in the UK


Veteran Member
Jul 15, 2004
Luton, England
In the summer of this year I will have had my car for 10 years. I've been active on this forum for most of that time, but it is only now that I've thought that it would be a good idea to post a project thread.

Over the years I've done quite a lot to the car, it's a shame I didn't post it on here. To begin with I didn't have the knowledge or bravery to do stuff myself, so for the first few years I had bits and pieces done for me, but now I am happy to take on anything (except paint).

I've had plenty of sub-projects, some small, some fairly big, but I'm just starting out on the biggest one yet, which is why I've decided to document it on here, and hopefully be able to get some useful advice along the way.


Veteran Member
Jul 15, 2004
Luton, England
Here's a summary of the last couple of weeks and where I'm up to.

My Camaro failed it's MOT this year, and requires some major surgery to the spring mount areas under the floor and outer rocker area. As I've been looking at it more, there are more things that need sorting out, and this is the best time to do it.

For the MOT pass, I will need to replace the Outer rocker panel and the torque boxes into which the front of the rear leaf springs attach.

I know from basic examination so far that I will also need to do some remedial work on the inner rear wheel arches and the passenger foot well.

I'll start with the Outer Sill. Here you can see the rusted patch I'd put on, and the holes made in the paper thin metal (maybe just a layer of paint) by the MOT tester, and the same a bit closer.


This shows the torque box and how it fits together:

And here's how mine looks, fore and aft of the passenger side spring:


The sub-frame connectors could be the biggest problem, shown here at the front, middle and end



Spent some time today pulling out the interior in preparation for the coming work. I'm well practiced at this now, so it didn't take long:

Overall, the floor pans look good, but the passenger footwell needs replacing. Lots of rust and some holes:



More woes at the back, where the rockers join the rear arch. The water and cancer that has destroyed the rocker has also attacked the arch:




Plenty to think about there. First thing I need to do is work out a plan of attack, work out the order to do things.

I already have the rocker panel, but it I will need at least the 2 torque boxes and 1 front floor pan, but as I work through things I may find I need more, and want to avoid having to order more than once. I've also got to work out the best source for the panels. Surprisingly, the best price for the outer rocker was from one a local US parts dealers. I'm hoping that will be the same this time.


Veteran Member
Jul 15, 2004
Luton, England
The good news is that I've found a shipping company that will get stuff to the UK by boat and save me a fortune in shipping costs. The downside of that is the time it takes to get stuff and that it's a couple of months between shippments at best.

Parts wise I was looking around the specialist suppliers, who charge more, especially for the shipping. What that did do though was get me the suppliers part numbers. I did a direct search in Summit/JEGS with the part numbers and found that both of them do supply the bits I needed after all, with the bonus being lower shipping rates.

Anyway, after tons of reading on here, and having another closer look at the current damage, I've worked out exactly what panels I need.

The rust in the passenger footwell extends up the toe boards, and there are only 3 panels which cover that piece:

1. Replacement Firewall (to match original panels) - Not going to do that
2. Half pan with toe board - strong possibility
3. Full length pan with toe board - possible, but expensive. The middle section of the floor is actually good, so I don't actually need the full panel.

The deciding factor though, was the holes at the back corner, behind the rear seats. Turns out there is only 1 panel available that includes that bit - the full panel (#3 above), so that was decided. This also means that I have a full length outer seam to match up with the rockers.

I'd read that the inner rocker is a fairly basic piece and could probably be repaired. However, looking through the holes in the worst section of the outer rocker, I'm not sure there's much of it there to repair. The sensible option had to be to get the replacement panel. As above, this means that the floor/inner/outer seams that join will be all new metal.

It goes without saying that the torque boxes will also need to be replaced, but there are only a couple of places selling these at the moment and I've not been able to identify the make or part numbers, so wasn't able to find them at Jegs or Summit.

So, the order has been placed with JEGS for the floor pan and inner rocker.


Veteran Member
Jul 15, 2004
Luton, England
Just a small update today. I forgot to mention that I'd dug around the tool kit to find the spot weld cutter that I bought a couple of years ago (in preparation for this job)

I also went out and bought a decent spot weld chisel:

I had a short 45 mins to work on the car last night, so had a look at the front end in regard to removing the front fender. Removed the front headlight and the mounting bucket behind it (which I plan to clean up and repaint before re-assembly) to look for some of the 'hidden' bolts at the front of the fender.

I also removed the battery to get a good look at the main fender to fender extension joint, and spray some WD-40 at them. The inner fender is not in good condition, in fact I'm not even sure it's still in one piece.

Headlight and mounting bucket removed

To reveal the hidden front bolts on the fender

The inner fender doesn't look healthy

And the core support will need some work

Now, I've hardly got started on this yet, but already I've taken the decision to extend it into a bigger project.

I won a partially restored front sub-frame on eBay for 99p a number of years ago and it's been stood in the garage ever since, waiting for the opportunity to be swapped in. It's not a small task to change - Remove everything from the front - hood, engine, fender, nose, suspension; cut out the SFCs and then re-assemble it all. As the car had been a daily driver, and required for ferrying kids about, the chance to do it never arrived.

Now though, a number of these jobs have to be done in order to do the work required for the MOT (remove hood, fender, SFCs). Also until the car passes it's MOT, it's not like I'm taking it off the road to do it. It just makes sense to do it now. (There were other jobs that were considered, but had to be postponed due to lack of budget to get more panels).

While the front end is off, I am also going to tackle any repairs that need doing to the front core support. You can't but these new yet, and there's a restored one on eBay now, for a measly £400 It seems obvious that the best thing to do is repair my own whilst I have the chance to do it.

The biggest hurdle will be working out where to put all the gubbins while they are off. I'm hoping to be able to clear a bit of space in the garage, but it's already overflowing.
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Veteran Member
Jul 15, 2004
Luton, England
Spent a little time removing a few more bits and trying to work out how to remove the nose.

Drivers side inner fender is even worse than the other side. There may be an inch of joined metal, but I doubt it

The rest of the front end bits out

A bit too rough trying to remove the wiring for the side light.

That might need a new headlight. :mad:


Veteran Member
Jul 15, 2004
Luton, England
This weeks update...

Spent most of the available time this week tidying the garage to make room for removed parts (i.e. hood, fenders). I surprised myself with just how much space I was able to reclaim, just by re-ordering stuff, although all spaces are now stuffed to the gills. I really need to have a proper turn-out.

Anyway, following some research on body mounts, I figured it would be a good idea to give the replacement sub-frame a good check over before doing a loads of work removing the old one, just in case it was bent. Fortunately the clear floor space was just wide enough to lay it down for measuring.

It all measured up OK, but I did spot that the rear most holes where the body mounts go are a bit mis-shaped, so these will need to be repaired. A couple of patch plates and a suitably size hole saw have been sourced.
I spent a few minutes adding an extra layer of paint to the upper side. In a couple of days when it's dry I'll flip it over and do the under side.

Whilst the paint was drying, I turned my attention to the car. Aim for the day was to remove most of the bits and bolts that would allow me to remove the nose in one piece, ready for when I have a helper to get it lifted off. A number of these were hidden from view, but most came out with ease. The trickier ones came when I'd worked out that the front spoiler spats were linked to the nose and fenders, so would need removing.

The passenger side was a complete pig. There are 4 bolts through the lower fender and bottom of the nose, and all 4 of them sheared There were 2 screws going up from underneath and one of these is seized solid with the head starting to round. Then there are 3 screws on the back edge, 2 of which were also seized, however the fender extension was so rotted that one has fallen out, and the other won't take much persuasion.


What did surprise me was that I managed to free both of the fender extension support braces, which have a reputation for being paper thin and breaking as soon as you look at them.

Moving to the drivers side, I was expecting more of the same. This time though, all 4 bolts undid OK (well one just pulled through the urethane nose, but that was because it was the wrong bolt and no washer). One screw came out OK, the other was already hanging where the metal had rusted away from the main panel. I got the spat off OK, but the fender doesn't look too good.

The fender extensions look to be toast, but I'll give them a proper assessment later when they are off the car. The pictures aren't really showing how bad they are.
Worst case is that they will need replacing, however I have got a pair of NOS that have been sitting in the loft for a number of years.

As usual, not enough time to make any decent steps, but at least it's moving.

Parts update, I've ordered a set of solid body mounts and rear spring mounting hardware. The torque box plates have also been ordered. Thinking ahead, I've also bought a new engine oil pan from RockAuto, to be put on whilst the engine is out. Hopefully it will cure some, if not all of the oil leaks.


Veteran Member
Jul 15, 2004
Luton, England
I've removed the hood latch mechanism to try and make lifting the nose off a bit easier. Had another go at trying to remove the battery tray, but still no luck. Have taken to spraying rust penetration oil on it regularly in the hope that it will help.

Me said:
It all measured up OK, but I did spot that the rear most holes where the body mounts go are a bit mis-shaped, so these will need to be repaired. A couple of patch plates and a suitably size hole saw have been sourced.

I forgot to take a picture of the original hole in-situ, so here's the remains after I cut it out:

As you can see it's not particularly round. It looks like the previous owner tried to repair it by welding directly onto the edge of the hole, easier to see on the underside.

Anyway, I cut the right sized hole in the new plate, lined it up over the old one and clamped, before cutting through both old and new together. I was then able to butt weld the patch in and grind it down.

After grinding I can see that there's a few spots that need going over again. View from underneath shows that the penetration wasn't ideal all the way round, so I'll maybe attack it from underneath, or just re-cut and re-do the thin bits.

I'm hoping that there will be enough clearance for the mount bushing on that lower right corner. I think that is part of the original frame, so it should be OK. Need to wait until the shipment comes in in April so I can trial fit it. That said, I hope to have the old frame off the car by then, so would be able to test fit the old bush.

I'm getting close to being ready to lift the nose off, and I'm hoping that I can manage it on my own. I suspect that I'll get it off OK, but may need help carrying it down the alley way without knocking it against the wall.


Veteran Member
Lifetime Gold Member
Jul 16, 2010
Berkshire, England - UK
Always nice to see another build from the UK! Oddly enough I was looking at your website the other day and now here's your build!

It's only when you start taking things off you realise just how big the project is going to be! Looks like the underside of the car has suffered in our climate, especially since you've been using it as a daily driver. You've already made a good start though, another member (flak monkey) from Norfolk has recently finished his 1980 build and tackled a lot of the same problems, his thread is here and might be worth a look...




Veteran Member
Jul 15, 2004
Luton, England
Thanks. My website is really out of date now, I've not updated it in years. I've got plenty of things that need adding to it.

I've already seen Flak Monkeys thread and got some useful stuff from it. I found your's yesterday, but haven't read all through it yet, as I can't see the pictures when at work, and the pictures are the bits worth seeing.


Veteran Member
Jul 15, 2004
Luton, England
I managed to get a good 5 hours on the car this weekend, and although I got a lot done, I can't say I've made much progress. I can say that the car now has less rust and has probably lost some weight as a consequence, thing is that rust isn't from where I was expecting it.

I started the day in the interior, stripping out the drivers side so that I could check the inner rocker and inner quarter. I had thought this side was the better of the two, as the outer rocker seems solid, but I wasn't expecting what I found. The the carpet up and the rear seats out I started tapping with a screwdriver and lots started to fall out:

There was quite a bit of damage to the inner wheelhouse, inner rocker and floor:



By the time I'd finished digging, there was a very large pile of rust to get rid of:

I also found a bit of damage to the top of the outer rocker, but I am hoping that this can be patched:

After finding this, I took a closer look at the passenger side and dug a bit more rust out, finding it too was worse than I thought. I've decided to purchase the inner wheel house sections that will patch the vertical panels. The passenger side floor will be covered by the replacement pan I've ordered, but the affected area of the Drivers side isn't big enough (and covers 2 seperate panels) to warrant buying full panels, so I will fabricate some patches to fit.

After those depressing findings, I moved back to the outside and front of the car. Having done most of the prep work during the week, it was just four large nuts and the nose cone/bumber was removed:

The weight wasn't as big a problem as I had expected, but the sheer size of it was. It was too big to fit where I was expecting to put it, so for now it is going to live under the front of the car.

That revealed the core support and showed that there is some repairs needed to both lower corners, but it didn't look too bad overall:


With that removed I had better access to get to the battery tray and fender extension. I'd been using plenty of rust pentrant, but still ran into a number of seized bolts and snapped cage nuts. With a bit of a fight, I did eventually manage to remove the fender extension:

I changed tack on the battery tray and used some diferent tools, getting it out relatively easily. Given the amount of damage around it, it's in pretty good condition and should clean up nicely:

With the tray out of the way, I could clearly see the extent of the damage on the inner fender, and it was worse than expected. There is just an inch of metal holding the front piece to the main arch.

I figured I may as well take it out now. Had problems with a couple of the bolts into the fender, meaning the fender will need some attention later, but it came out with ease - actually it fell out of it's own accord once the last bolt was free:

I'm sure it's not supposed to bend like that:

With this being the 'good' side, and knowing the other side is completely separated, I decided that I would have to order the new replacements now. These bolt to the core support, in an area where the metal has rusted/gone, and I need a solid inner fender to match the repairs up to.

Thankfully I've got 3 days left before the shipment leaves the US, and NPD Florida had the 4 panels I want in stock. They should be there in plenty of time. I'm now wondering if I will be able to pick up all of these new panels in one trip when it arrives in the UK!!