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Vintage race car from a Junk Yard Dog – Part 3

CARSON CITY, USA: After settling into the new garage I quickly started on the bodywork and metal work. There wasn’t much rust, just a bit under the fenders at the sill caps.

I cut the rust out and welded in some new metal and then sprayed them with undercoating. The driver’s rear quarter was punched in by the previous owner and a really bad bondo (filler) patch was used. I cut the area out and used a donor panel I have from a parts car to replace it.

I used a couple of late-model front fenders as they have larger flares, but they were not in the best shape so it took some time to make them presentable. I didn’t want to use great fenders on the car as it might get damaged on the track.

After most of the bodywork was completed I turned my attention to fabricating the mounts for the late-model two-piece steering column that was replacing the old one-piece item. The two piece is collapsible so in case of an accident it is safer.

I was already using a late steering box so the steering column was going to bolt to it with no issues. I did have to fabricate a mount for the column for behind the dash. This was fairly easy and I ended up using much of the late column’s bracket and modifying it. Once that was done I welded on the receiver for the quick release steering wheel.

Another month went by and I was forced to paint the car a month earlier than I had planned due to an injury that had to be surgically corrected. I first put down a sealer primer and then shot it with a modern basecoat/clearcoat in Primrose Yellow. I had to wait a couple months before I was able to cut and buff the car, but once I did it looked amazing!

I quickly started to reassemble the car. This was easy as I had pre-fitted everything prior to painting it. This process went very quickly and before I knew it the motor was ready to go in. I had a couple friends come to help me install the motor and the ultra-close 5-speed gearbox.

Everything went smoothly with the install but the car didn’t want to fire. We checked everything a couple more times before realizing that the new electronic distributor I purchased was not firing correctly. We swapped in a stock points one and she fired right up.

In the next segment I will be installing the dash, fire system, and putting the final graphics on it.

Words/Phots: Brian Zana.

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