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Restoration Tips from the Pros

Look good and go fast with Car Craft's Ultimate Guide to Muscle Car Resto-Mods

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Look good and go fast with Car Craft's... Ultimate guide to musclecar resto-mods

`Yes, beaters are cool, and yes, primer is finer. But still, there will always be a part of our brains hard-wired to respond with longing desire to a smooth coat of paint, a neatly installed drivetrain, and a clean interior. To satiate those needs, we present to you the latest version of the CC restoration guide. Over the next several pages, you will see how a top professional approaches a full restoration, how one guy fogged his way to an ultraclean engine bay using aerosol cans, and how to overhaul your gauges. We'll wrap up the section with advice from you, the readers, on restorations you've done and what you've learned from personal experience. Musclecars are slowly disappearing: Whether they're being snatched up by nouveau riche collectors never to see the road again, or simply losing out to the ravages of time, the end result is the same. It may be time for us to consider that these cars we love will not last unless we help them out. Ask an old guy and he will tell you that Chevelles and GTOs were nothing special in the '60s and '70s. Those same guys will tell you in their next breath that they wish they still had their old Chevelle or GTO. Hopefully, we will inspire you to take the next step, whatever that may be, with one of your cars. We want to see musclecars on the road for years to come.

A pro's perspective

While swimming the sea of shiny Dodges, Plymouths, and Chryslers at Mopars at the Strip in March, we stopped dead in our tracks when we saw a jet-black '69 Charger with a pearl and candy red bumblebee stripe on its tail. Like one of those things you can't quite put your finger on, all the elements of the car seemed right. We blew right past the owner to talk to the builder, Angelo Munk, who was happy to show us the work he did on the car. Two weeks later we visited him at home in McKinleyville, California, almost on the Oregon border, to see his shop and get his advice on restoring cars. As you'll see, it's all about the details.

When starting a new project, Angelo says he looks over every inch of the car so he knows exactly what he's getting into. It's a good idea to strip the paint if you're not sure what is underneath. Give yourself as much information as possible before starting to work so you have an idea of what it's going to cost, both in time and cash. Also, Angelo recommends taking extra steps to keep from doing more harm to the car while working on it. For example, before this '68 RS/SS Camaro body goes onto his rotisserie, Angelo will weld braces on it between the cowl and the rear suspension mounting points. He says this will keep the unibody from twisting while it's on the rotisserie and while it's being transported to and from the soda blaster.

Have a look in mind but no one makes it? Make it yourself. Angelo points out this e-brake bracket he made to connect the cable from the pedal to the Lokar cables running to the rear wheels. Also, look at the Camaro's rear suspension. Angelo minitubbed it before kits were available, so he made all the parts needed to widen the wheelwells and relocate the leaf spring and shock mounting points.

Mass-produced cars often sacrifice elegance and beauty for ease of assembly. Angelo says he likes to fill unused trim holes, smooth firewalls, weld body seams, and reroute wiring and hydraulic lines to clean up the engine compartment and chassis.

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