Image

Archive for Projects

The 442 is done!

Easton Muscle & Custom has finished Phase 1 of the assembly on the 1972 Oldsmobile 442. The owner has taken his 442 home to enjoy driving this summer for the first time in four years. He took it to its first car show and got a Participants Choice Award. All the other car owners at the show also voted it Best of Show. In his words “Could not have done it without you guys – absolutely the best craftsmanship! I am so grateful that you took the opportunity to work on my car!”

The continuing plan for the 442…. Easton Muscle & Custom will redo the hood and some period correct additions – and anything else that shows up between now and then.

442 Nearing Completion

The EMC 442 “finish it” project is nearing finalization. At EMC we enjoy working with a client to feel his dream and put it into reality by finishing his/her project.

The “not-so-fun” part, is trying to make someone else’s inferior work look acceptable. The really bad part is having to point out to the owner what was improperly done and what should have been done by the “other guy”. We usually find that the “other guy” didn’t do something wrong intentionally, more like he just was not properly schooled on the “right way” things in custom projects need to be done.

Some of the “right way” things that weren’t done on the 442 project: No excuse to put new paint over old paint. The paint application on the 442 was good; but for correctness and longevity, painting over old paint never works! Remember: “Nothing is more expensive than a cheap paint job”! Another serious problem is evident that the panel mock up wasn’t done before painting the car. Fitment, alignment, body gaps – all need to precede final paint application. Otherwise, you most surely damage the paint during final assembly. This was really evident in the hood latch mechanism. No thought of how or what type of latch was going to be used before the paint was applied. This caused us serious problems. Another big mistake – the door/fender alignment was not done correctly in mock up. The gap between the fender/door and the windshield post on the left side is about ½ an inch bigger. This cannot be properly aligned now, because the door and fender were skim coated with bondo and block sanded flat. If you try to move the door/fenders to the right, the flatness disappears.

Improper alignment

These are the “little” things that weren’t done and make this project a nice “ten footer” rather than “flawless”

What do you do when the restoration of your dreams hits the skids?

Or – Why did my “restorer” finish the easy stuff and stop when it came time to the hard stuff?

Or – Why did Wes bring his 442 to Easton Muscle & Custom?

As Wes told me, he would like to drive his 442 sometime this year.

After I inventoried his boxes of new and used parts, I saw that he brought us all the pieces. I talked with the heart of my team, and we came up with a short and a long term plan to get Wes on the road in his 442 by May/June 2019. An aggressive plan – but one we feel comfortable completing.

This is what we specialize in – Finishing the Job – and getting the project back to the customer to enjoy. Picking and choosing the easy stuff, and ignoring the hard stuff, is what other shops do.

Stay tuned, as we work to get Wes and his 442 out to shows this summer.

1974 Datsun 260Z Stage 3

To view the beginning of this project see 1974 Datsun 260Z LS-1

In this installment of the 260Z project we began to focus on the fenders, and especially the quarter panels where custom fender flares will be installed. When the uni-body was media blasted, it was very apparent all the panels had been replaced some point in the past. It was the methodology used to replace these panels that will be an impediment to proper fitting and finishing future metal components.
 
Gaps between the fenders and door panel were incorrect regarding width measurements and vertical alignment characteristics of the door relative to the contour of the quarter panels. Further inspection revealed the previously replaced panels were lapped-over and spot welded. Over lapped panels not properly sealed will eventually invite moisture with corrosive issues and quite possibly bubble the paint. While this method is considered acceptable by the industry, proper fit and finish is better accomplished by butt welding the seams, and smoothing the metal for a seamless appearance. See Photos 1 & 2

Photo 1

Photo 2

In Photo #3,  the passenger side new rear quarter panel is butt welded and the fuel door is also covered. We offered our client choices regarding fuel cell and fuel pumps especially given the choice of a LS engine. The fuel cell with components and its placement will be in a future article. Stay tuned.

Photo 3

In Photo #4, the driver door is attached for alignment purposes and gap measurements before we begin the process of finishing the newly attached rear quarter panel. This procedure is critical because it establishes the defining lines of the car. As the rear quarter panels and front fenders are finished and massaged for an aesthetic appearance, then the door will be hung for final adjustment.

Photo 4

In Photo #5, the driver side door was not repaired adequately as is revealed in the lower portion of the photograph. After sanding the door, locating the highs and lows of the door skin,the holes were sealed and the metal finished. In the upper portion of the photograph, the repaired door is correctly installed with even gaps and uniform alignment to the front and rear quarter panels.

Photo 5

 

1970 El Camino Resto Mod

1970 El Camino Resto-Mod

1970 Chevrolet El Camino Resto-Mod
Our shop was recently selected to undertake a project that was started but was discontinued after some disassembly. After consulting with out new client regarding his vision for the car,  we recommended a variety of options to enhance the overall project.
We are very excited that out client agreed with some of our suggestions to advance this project to a new level. This new direction will include a big block engine, 4-speed transmission, after market suspension, 4-wheel disk brake conversion, Vintage air conditioning and SS badging,  as a few of the long list of items planned for this project.
The following photos show the very early stage of this El Camino before its arrival to our shop. Stay tuned for updates as our staff begins the process to Rejuvenate-Restore-Transform.

1970 El Camino Resto-Mod
1970 El Camino Resto-Mod
1970 El Camino Resto-Mod
1970 El Camino Resto-Mod

 

1974 Datsun 260Z Stage 2

To view the beginning of this project see 1974 Datsun 260Z LS-1

After a complete disassembly the Z uni-body was carefully media blasted especially in confined areas of factory overlapping metal. As is typical with any uni-body design, the passage of time and the invasive power of moisture, can cause serious levels of metal degradation.

In picture #1 and #2 the floor pans clearly are prime candidates for replacement. Some portions of the floor pans were so rusted that the metal flaked-off under minimal pressure. Fortunately, the transmission tunnel was in very good condition which will be helpful when modifying it for the LS-1 engine and new transmission.

1974 Datsun 260Z

Photo 1: The floor plans are prime candidates for replacement

1974 Datsun 260Z

Photo 2

Before the new floor pans are fabricated, custom made frame support bars were designed and installed to reinforce the existing frame from twisting under acceleration from the potent LS-1 torque levels. Pictures #3 and #4 illustrate the placement of the frame support bars running parallel under each side of where the new floor pans will be installed.

1974 Datsun 260Z

Photo 3: Custom made frame support bars were designed and installed to reinforce the existing frame.

1974 Datsun 260Z

Photo 4

With the supports in place our metal shop crew measured, designed and fabricated floor pans with a heavier grade of steel than those available from after market panel manufacturers. When a project has multiple phases in the metal shop we will consult with our client with options that are OEM designed versus those that take it to a more serious level of restoration; hand skilled custom fabrication. Picture #5 displays the custom made passenger side panel ready for installation.

1974 Datsun 260Z

Photo 5: Our metal shop crew measured, designed and fabricated floor pans

The combination of thicker floor pans and frame supports adds a stronger dimension to the structural integrity of the Z uni-body. In picture #6 driver side and picture #7 passenger side, the metal work is near completion.

1974 Datsun 260Z

Photo 6

1974 Datsun 260Z

Photo 7

 

1969 Chevy C10 Resto-Mod Stage 4

We begin this installment of the C-10 resto-mod with focus on the cab and replacing the rusted floor pans. Depending on the condition of the floor pan and the desired level of restoration, multiple options are available for any budget consideration. After discussing some options, our client selected a full floor pan replacement which will compliment the detailed fabrication already completed and other areas targeted for replacement in the cab.

Picture 1: shows the original floor pan and its deteriorating condition especially around the perimeter where the metal overlapped the lower walls of the cab.

1969 Chevy Resto-Mod rusty floor pan

Pic 1: Rusty Floor Pan

Picture 2: new painted/coated heavy 16 gauge steel preformed one piece floor pan ready for installation.
Preparing for the floor pan install, structural bracing was fabricated in our metal shop to align the C-10 cab to fit precisely to the new floor pan. This step is critical and not to be underestimated.

1969 Chevy C10 Resto-Mod's new pan

Pic 2: New Pan

Picture 3 : bracing attached to the cab and ready for the next phase of the install.

1969 Chevy C10 Resto-Mod's cab with braces attached to it

Pic 3: cab with braces attached to it

Picture 4: new floor pan pictured behind the cab and ready to be attached to it.

1969 Chevy C10 Resto-Mod's new pan seated behind car

Pic 4: new pan seated behind car

Picture 5: C-10 cab on lift with braced floor pan positioned underneath on rolling dolly to ease placement of both components.

1969 Chevy C10 Resto-Mod's cab on lift, new pan on dolly underneath

Pic 5: cab on lift, new pan on dolly underneath

Picture 6: the new floor pan was perfectly aligned to the cab and then attached to it with ease. Use of the bracing was instrumental and guarantees a better than factory fit.

1969 Chevy C10 Resto-Mod's new pan attached

Pic 6: new pan attached

Stay tuned for the next stage!

To follow along with the previous Stages, see Stage 1, Stage 2 and Stage 3.

1974 Datsun 260Z LS-1

1974 Datsun 260Z  LS-1 Resto Mod/Truck Car
This particular project has all the characteristics of a customized car where the owner envisions a contemporary classic with various body and chassis modifications utilizing after-market components that incorporate the latest technology for high performance applications.

The classic profile of this Japanese designed early model Z-class sports car coupled with Detroit horsepower and innovative, race proven products puts this car in a unique class of automobile performance.

As this project begins the creative talents of our metal fabrication crew will focus their efforts on fuel tank design, fender flairs, roll bar, transmission tunnel, engine/transmission mounts and other areas of metal customization.

The previously published photographs on EMC’s web site offered a quick glimpse of the disassembly stage and some smaller details of metal restoration. In the months ahead, we will post updates which will include greater detail of the metal fabrication process. Stay tuned!
Read More→

1969 Chevy C10 Resto-Mod Stage 3

At this new phase of the 1968 Chevy Resto-Mod project, the process begins with prepping the cab and bed to identify metal fatigue and rust on all surfaces. Rigorous attention is especially required for those areas of over lapping metal, tight access channels between the fire wall and the dash and rocker panels are prime examples. The cab was completely disassembled down to the bare mental, and then media blasted which revealed areas that will require new metal replacement parts and some levels of custom fabrication.

Cab before media blasting

Photo #1: Cab before media blasting

Cab after media blasting

Photo #2: Cab after media blasting

At this juncture, the value of media blasting is note worthy for it reveals significant rust and deteriorated metal within the area between the firewall and dash(see photo #3). Considering the age of this vehicle and the known problems of early C10 manufacturing techniques, it is not uncommon to have these rust issues. The photograph below, highlights the rusted sections that will require detailed metal fabrication. Our metal shop technicians will outline a course of action which will utilize a combination of available replacement panels and custom fabrication. For any project that requires metal replacement, after market components and kits are available. The cost factor can be reasonable and most producers are accurate by using OEM dimensions to replicate parts.

Rusted section behind firewall

Photo #3: Rusted section behind firewall

The interior of this cab was in good condition; however,  small spaces of rust along the perimeter of the floor pans and foot boards required attention(see photo #4). Two methods could be employed at this point; fabricate various sized panels or purchase a new complete one-piece floor pan which includes foot boards. After reviewing his options and a very candid discussion with our technicians, our client decided to replace the entire floor pan of his C10.

Interior of cab

Photo #4: Interior of cab

To see the previous Stages of the Chevy C10 , see Stage 1 and Stage 2

1969 Chevy C10 Resto-Mod Stage 2

The crew at Easton Muscle and Custom began the disassembly stage by removing the pick-up bed, cab, fenders and hood. Next the engine, transmission, differential, suspension, gas tank, brakes and exhaust system are removed. Once disassembled, the inspection process begins with an overall assessment of the chassis and suspension components. For this particular project, it was predetermined the chassis would be powder coated and the front and rear suspension replaced with a high performance kit from Classic Performance Products (CPP). This kit contains everything necessary to completely replace stock components.

Upon closer inspection of the chassis, it was evident the C10 had sustained some damage to the front end portion of its frame. After careful consideration, our body/frame technician recommended a course of action which would realign the frame to factory specifications. Use of a hydraulic adjustment tool and multiple measurements easily straightened the right side of the affected front rail of the frame.  

As previously mentioned above this frame received our upgraded powder coating option. All frame subcomponents are reassembled with new coated/treated hardware and torqued to factory specifications.

Next, the optional high performance suspension kit from CPP is installed on the front and rear portions of the frame. Also, the factory brake system was upgraded to disc brakes on all four wheels with new lines and hardware. Notice the tubular control arms, heavy duty tie rods, springs, sway bars, trailing arms and cross member supports. The ride will be amazing! 

Finally our client opted for relocating the gas tank. This is a modification which has become popular with C10 resto/mod owners. Over time owners complained about gas odor and fumes inside the cab especially as the truck aged. Also, side impacts from accidents were known to cause fires and additional injuries to occupants. This fuel cell is well constructed with aircraft grade aluminum and fits snuggly between the rear rails of the frame. Also, it has increased fuel capacity and can accommodate an electric fuel pump for those who opt for fuel injected or heavily modified performance engines.

The next C10 installment will focus on the cab as it begins the next stage in our metal fabrication shop. A combination of replacement panels and custom sheet metal work is next-up for this special C10 project. Stay tuned!