Author Topic: Opinions on restoration - 68 327 base model  (Read 1398 times)


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Opinions on restoration - 68 327 base model
« on: July 27, 2019, 05:50:20 PM »
I have a 68 327 base model coupe.  The L37 210hp, 2bbl, 3 spd manual. It's all original.
I bought it from the first owner in high school - 1975. I mowed his yard for years and when he was selling it - I got it and have had it ever since.
I have the owner's manual, protector-plate, new vehicle inspection checklist, and packet/holder. It was bought from dealer in Ft. Worth, I bought it in Houston, and it's been there and in Tucson,AZ ever since - so no rust to speak of except around windows.  So, nothing special in terms of rare or options but nice in terms of originality.
About 15 years ago, my son rear ended somebody and punched in the grill, kinked the hood & fender. I bought replacement hood & fenders from various people in the area and was going to restore it - but life got in the way and it's sat untouched. 
So now I want to get it back on the road. 
Originally, I thought since I already have fenders off I'd separate the subframe, replace bushings (nothing wrong with them except old and I assumed they've compressed), cleanup & paint engine bay.  Now, I'm not so sure - wondering if better to just get it running well, leave everything in engine bay as is and fix/repaint exterior.
I'm interested in opinions of what to do and would appreciate your advice.

A few other items which may play into plan.
Engine is fine, I rebuilt it in late 70s after I destroyed a cam as a kid. Runs well and is clean.  It probably could do with reseating the valves with all the unleaded gas but no noticeable issues in performance. Last I checked compression it was OK. I'll do that again when I get it running again to confirm.

It has a vinyl top. replaced once - there is the rust under the vinyl around rear windows which will need to be fixed.

When I bought car, he told me that he had been hit in rear qtr, drivers side.  It was visually fine at time.  I repainted car in late 70s.  Over the years in Tucson heat, I've noticed the paint in that area cracking so I assume there is a lot of bondo there. I was going to remove the paint and try to get a better look at that before painting. Thoughts/advice on how to approach/address this also appreciated.

Thanks in advance


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Re: Opinions on restoration - 68 327 base model
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2019, 09:24:20 PM »
It will depend on how much you want/can spend on it. You probably realize it will have little intrinsic value when finished [not an SS or Z/28]. Considering the paint/bodywork it needs, it is virtually certain that it will never be worth what you spend on it. I understand the emotional attachment but the head needs to rule the heart.

Iíll bet you have a budget number in mind but bear in mind project creep is real. After the new paint, the windshield looks cloudy so that gets replaced. Then the bumpers look dull so letís replace those. And on and on. What you want to do is minimize the difference between the two numbers-your budget and what it will really cost.

Nothing varies more in price and quality than paint and body work. Nearly always the biggest expenditure in a restoration. Restoration shops are good but probably not the right place for your situation. In your position the first step would be to ask around for a local hobbyist that does paint and body work privately out of his home shop. There are a few guys around here that do excellent work far more reasonably than a restoration shop. Iíll bet there is someone down there who would tackle this.

When the body/paint is handled, the rest should be easy. Replace all the fluids; get the brakes and suspension roadworthy. You can do the sub frame rebuild yourself along with many other tasks. I would leave the engine as is. Valve seat wear is an old wives tale; plenty of old engines have been running on unleaded fuel for decades with no problem.

Step #1: Find a body man. Get the vinyl top peeled off and go from there. You would not be the first guy to find half the roof rusted away.
Learning more and more about less and less...


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Re: Opinions on restoration - 68 327 base model
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2019, 12:24:05 AM »
Thanks, I appreciate the reply.  You reinforced what I had suspected from the little bit of looking into this Iíve done. Itís just going to be what I enjoy doing and what in the car makes me feel good to drive it - which probably wonít too much. I like things to run well and work but have never aspired to the quality Iíve seen at shows. I can handle any of the mechanical but little experience with paint & body. I like the suggestion of looking for an enthusiast instead of professional body help. 
Thanks again.


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Re: Opinions on restoration - 68 327 base model
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2019, 06:33:49 PM »
Agree with everything William said.  I was in a similar position to yours back in 2002-2014 with my Ď69 base RS (2bbl 327, 2 speed Powerglide, 2.73:1 open rear end).

Every winter from 2002-2009 some part of the car was disassembled in the garage for mechanical repair and cosmetic restoration.  Then from September 2013 - April 2014 my ride was at a restoration shop in Reno, NV for paint and body (5 figure project by itself).  The existing paint was stripped down to bare metal and then came hours and hours of blocking and sanding over various coats of primer/sealer.  My ride was rust free (I knew that going in) so very little filler used anywhere.  Then came paint and reassembly.  I now have a car that although it is ďjust a base RSĒ (one guy referred to it as a ďsecretary's carĒ) I am absolutely positive that I enjoy it as much as anyone with a SS or Z28.  I have a very reliable, aesthetically pleasing ride that me and the Ms. can go cruising down the highway at 65 mph with the tach still under 3000 rpm.

It all depends on what your end goal is and your realistic budget to get you there.  My car is not wort the money I have spent on it - but that was never a part of the equation in the first place.  I knew what I wanted and I built it.

Worst thing you can do is underestimate the cost.

Good luck!

Richard Thomas
1969 RS