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My 1970 Formula Rebuild Project

70formula

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I figured I'd start a thread to document the rebuild of my 1970 formula 400 rebuild.

This car came out of Georgia as a two owner's car.

I had it shipped to me in Oregon, and it was bought sight unseen (I know, huge mistake) lol.

I overpaid, but it's my dream model, so here we are.

A more intelligent man prob would have said it's a project car, but I've always wanted to learn how to weld, replace panels, and complete a project car.

Originally it was supposed to be a project with my grandfather and me, as he was a skilled body man and had built many show cars over his life. Unfortunately, two weeks ago, he passed away.

So now, it's even more personal that I do this car in his honor.

Photos supplied by the seller.

He sold it to me as "numbers matching two owners, running and driving" some of that was somewhat true.

It did drive itself onto the semi, but it's not a numbers match, just the correct engine code (WT), but it's actually out of a 68 GTO.

Photos provided look much better than they did in real life, but thats what I get buying sight unseen from a stranger.

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70formula

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These were the first photos I took, and the discovered that pretty much every body panel needs work.

Quarters, trunk pan, floor pan, roof skin, fenders, and floorboards all needed heavy metal work.

I wanted to learn to weld this car is teaching me.

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70formula

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This is my grandfather.

He was well known here in the PNW and was the owner of Cottage Grove Auto Body, standing in front of his 58 Simca that he built from a rusted cowl and VIN tag.

Every bit he did, custom frame, all the metal work, bodywork, engine work, painting, electrical work, etc.

All while on dialysis.

The kind of man I aspire to be, with a level of grit that the new generation doesn't have.

I know I likely won't be able to do the quality of work he could have, but Im going to try my best and learn along the way, as I promised him I would.

Rip Gerold Van Brocklin.

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70formula

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PHS build sheet.

I won't be putting a rust magnet, AKA vinyl top, back on, but the goal is to get it back to a beautiful atoll blue, with a 4 speed, and done to the best of my ability and circumstances allow.

I am a college student, so certainly not rich, but I will try my best to do good solid work.

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70formula

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Another few bites were taken, and I got the firewall straightened out.

It will get another day with the hammer and dolly after I grind the old paint and seam sealer off to get it straighter and ready to por 15.

We also got the old, rusted stock intake off, got the new manifold painted and cleared, and got the sensors and such swapped over; as soon as the grommet for the valley pan arrives, we will get this bad boy installed and then get the 1411 carb on there and setup.

I also got the exhaust manifold back on and changed the plugs out.

I also have a new collector/downpipe for the exhaust setback.

I also plan to clean up the stock intake and see if I can't get it sold to pay for stuff for the firebird.

It's an original 68 GTO manifold, so it should be valuable to someone trying to do a points resto.

The new cowl shoulder got tacked back on as well.

Someday I do want to do a complete frame off, but for now, while I'm in my FIL's garage, that's not possible.

So just trying to get what I can tackle and do the best I can without entirely going frame off.

The motor ran solid, so we won't be pulling it, just getting it freshened up and hopefully making the car where we can drive it in and out of the garage and maybe around the block.

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70formula

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What a bear this was.

Pontiac intakes are much more interesting to install than a Chevy, that's for sure, but it's on there.

The contrasts between nice blue and rusty and dirty got me wanting to rip the valve covers off and clean the hell out of those next.

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70formula

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I am getting close to being able to fire her back up.

I've been struggling a bit with the build right now, as I know what needs to be done is a full frame off, and that's the only real way to get it perfect, but I don't have my own garage to do that in.

This makes it challenging, as I want to do my best job possible, so part of me is torn debating what needs to be done now and what I should hold off on until I can do things the right way.

I also have so much fun working on it and seeing progress.

I got the intake all setup, the carb installed, the throttle linkage setup, the shifter and pedals back in, coolant system refilled.

I need to set up the wiring for the electric choke and hook up the temp fuel lines.

The intake was quite yea it showed the age of the motor.

Every manifold bolt had to be tapped, and it was quite a bear to get out of the heads.

But seeing into the heads was nice, as they had oil where needed and didn't look rusted or fubared.

Now that we have the exhaust leak solved as well, I'm hoping we can get a better listen when I get the motor running again.

Obviously, this motor will be pulled to clean it deep at some point, but if I can put that off till the metal work is all done and leave it running but not pretty, that works.

The thing I'm finding doing my first build is that a lot of choices have to be made, and organizing it all to do it the most efficiently is a skill on its own.

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70formula

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Then I did the outer skin patch.

This one was a challenge with multiple break lines and several different curves to deal with, and the original was far too rotten to make a complete template.

I had to guesstimate and now will have to hang the fender on the car, make the door gap to fender adjustment, and shave off / fit / finish it off.

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Knightrider189

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This is an awesome build!

I am definitely looking forward to how this progresses!


1989 Pontiac Formula Firebird, 5.7, all OEM
 

TOG

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From the incorrect air cleaner, I am guessing that the car is not a legit Formula and someone just dropped that hood on it.

If there is one thing that brings a car in this condition back to life teaches you, it is to start with the very best car you can find and afford.
 

70formula

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Guessing from the incorrect air cleaner that the car is not a legit Formula and someone just dropped that hood on it. If there is one thing that bringing a car in this condition back to life teaches you it is to start with the very best car you can find and afford.
Ive got the PHS documentation on it, it's a true formula w66 car. originally atoll blue.

I wanted a project, and I wanted to do metal work. Sure its a lot of work, but I'm loving every minute of it. Id rather build the car then buy the car personally, and these cars are notorious for rust issues. I know not everyone can see the vision on it, but thats ok.
 
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70formula

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well, hindsight being 20/20 It may have been smarter to just gotten tubular control arms with pre assembled bushings and ball joints...as that was a bear to get those old ones out and new ones in...but...its done now. the control arms are like new now... new bushings and ball joints, and new springs from umi, and all back together, spindle in, and castle nuts all in. Tomorrow my package from classic arrives with dust shield and tie rod ends....getting close to being able to put her back on the ground! will hopefully have the new calipers and rotors lines wheel bearings and all that installed shortly.


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70formula

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Some nice progress.

I got the new shocks in, new backing plates installed, new bearings packed and installed, new rotors, calipers pads, and rubber lines on.

It's pretty awesome what a sandblaster and por 15 and some elbow grease can get done.

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70formula

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More progress.

Brake link brackets were painted and installed, then hooked the rubber lines up and into the bracket, and the old calipers were finally not hanging out in my photos.

Next steps - New sway bar bushings/brackets/end links will get installed hopefully tomorrow or Tuesday, and then we can get the new center link installed, and new inner and outer tie rods will go on as well.

I did some course measurements to get them close, but an alignment job will be needed.

Once those are on, you can put the wheels n tires back on, get her on the ground, bleed the brakes, and call the front end rebuilt!

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