Before I could begin to clean the block, I needed to punch out the old core plugs, clean around the cylinders, and flush out 50 years of crud collected at the bottom of the water jacket. New core plugs were seated, and now I could start chipping away at the caked on grease and dirt with a chisel and wire brush. This took a few days. While waiting for everything to dry up before the next application of degreaser and pressure washing, I took the doors off.
After removing the chrome and panels, the door opener and window regulator were removed, cleaned and oiled. The window guides were replaced and all old rubber parts around the windows were renewed. The panels were scrubbed clean and Armor-alled (new verb). The old steering wheel was removed, the trafficator cleaned and oiled, and the new steering wheel installed. Continuing to scrub away at the engine block and front frame, I slowly removed all the old grease and dirt. The original paint was exposed and no rust was found. Thank god for oil leaks, huh. The pan was removed, all the dents pounded out, fiberglassed and painted. Once the block was clean enough, I painted it. With everything off, it was easy to get the paint can into position to cover the complete block.
While it was drying, the front suspension was scraped and scrubbed clean, painted and all the tie rod ends were covered in new rubber. Wheel bearings were repacked and suspension greased. Doors were reinstalled and adjusted. New rubber on the sway bar. Steering gear cleaned and packed with constant velocity joint grease. Took a couple of days to clean up some missed items and replace windshield rubber. After engine paint had cured, now the fun stuff began.
New gaskets were installed as the head, manifolds, carbs, starter, ignition, generator and oil filter went back on. Started to look like a motor now. Exhaust, radiator, hose and wiring were reinstalled. This was the enjoyable time. Valve train was installed and valves adjusted. Oil and coolant were added to check for leaks.
One bright morning in February, I got up and said, "Today is the day I fire up the beast”. Having already installed the battery and checked out the famous "Lucas electrical system”, I had discovered that all lights, gauges and motors worked perfect, so the test would come when the generator and voltage regulator were added to the system. After a few ignition adjustments, the beast fired up and ran beautiful. The generator and voltage regulator worked perfect. Tightened up a few clamps, made a few adjustments on brakes, etc., and then drove it out of garage and around the block. Back into the garage to finish all the cosmetic operations.
A different top was installed, the bumpers reinstalled and I was ready to head to the DMV to license the machine. Sounds like everything went according to plan, right! WRONG!!! There were many backtracks to cover something missed or not right. Throughout the following months, I continued to work on small things that were not quite right or could be made better. On advice of some club members, I decided not to paint the car even though the paint was crazed and checked. Seems like the "patina" of an old paint job has a certain cache. Finally, ran out of things to fix on it and lost interest. Sold the car to a guy in England over Christmas. Looking for something new to play with.