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-   -   Introducing........RATíS NEST (

R68GTO 07-29-2018 06:15 PM

The 2nd owner purchase story initially came from the racing partner and was later repeated by the 2nd owner's wife in a separate conversation.
She was with her husband at Ault & James speed shop (Dayton, OH) picking up parts for his A990 factory lightweight hemi engine when this "college kid" walks in and says has a 427 Camaro for sale. The kid said he couldn't deal with the manual steering and 4 speed. They essentially made the deal on the spot and picked it up a few days later.
I've never asked her the month or time of year, was more focused on trying to get her to remember the college kid's name. Good idea though, I'll update if I get anything.
Car is an 09D build - official production date of 9/26/69. One of the scrapbook photos of the car shortly after it was painted had a "5/70" printed on the back of the photo. I'm not sure how photo paper was produced/used back then or if it is even a date stamp. Paper might have been made in May of 70, but the photo may not have been developed until months later? Dunno.

Copo_Cartel 07-29-2018 07:58 PM


Mr70 07-29-2018 09:07 PM

Inked on dates on the back of,or on the front of old photos were the date the photo was developed at the store/lab.

R68GTO 07-30-2018 12:01 AM

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Here's the photo I was referring to. As you can see, the car is just out of the paint shop. There are leaves on the trees which tells me it's sometime between April and October timeframe. The 5/70 is in the lower left of the back of the photo.

R68GTO 10-10-2018 11:50 PM

Time for an update.....
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It's been a few months since I last posted info on Rat's Nest. Since my last post I've met a lot of great people in the hobby (thanks included below) including a few other Ohio COPO owners - first class people!
Much to my wife's dismay, I've been gathering parts for the car with a goal of bringing it back to how it looked in the early 1970's as an SS/D drag car. I did sell my GTO convertible that I owned for 12 years which made her more agreeable toward my part collecting:grin: As I stated in post 37, I'm not going to try to make this car something it's not so I'm being transparent with y'all so down the road sometime when the car changes hands, it's all documented as to how it got there.

Key pcs. I've sourced thus far:
1969 dated M22 with original GM gears from Dennis V. (DLV4540). Hurst SuperShifter was a facebook find and is the same model as the 2nd owner's racing partner told me he ran in the car back in the day.

Correct dated 4346 carb. Thanks to Eric Jackson of Vintage Musclecar Parts who played a big part in making it run right!

Correct dated BE rear. Many thanks to Frank Arone for being willing to part with this very nice piece! Frank was kind enough to have multi-leaf perches professionally welded on as part of the deal.

Correct dated curve neck from (wrench). It has all original core, tanks, & header plates. Just missing the tag.

bbbentley, aside from being a great "technical consultant" he has provided me many smaller, but correct and important items including survivor valve covers, 621 bellhousing, vintage Hurst roll control, fender braces, booster check valve, ww squirters and other great items.

I also picked up a Lakewood scatter shield & vintage slots to go with my SS/D goal - car still has the original drive shaft loop and traction bars from 1970/71.
So that's the main stuff for my winter project - get it back to a 4 speed with a 4.10 :headbang:12 bolt!

I'm open to opinions on this as I'm not quite sure what to do yet. As you know from my prior posts, the car is 15K+ original miles - the engine compartment (firewall & inner fenders) need to be repainted due to the gloss black applied in the late 1970's. My question is around the core support, crossmember, suspension, brake components, etc., and underside of the car. Should I restore or just clean/de-rust and leave it as-is to maintain the original finishes to preserve that low mileage look?

mockingbird812 10-11-2018 02:18 AM

Looking real good. I like the direction you are taking it. Keep going! :smile:

BTW, not sure if you can receive my pms. I need an update on feedback from Bob A. at MCACN on yr COPO. Doug and I need to finish up planning. You can pm. Or email [email protected] if you like.


bbbentley 10-11-2018 10:10 AM

Someone close to you, Jim, and a well respected authority on restoration that I would recommend is Mike DeAngelo (m22mike). He did Grady’s COPO. I wish I could get him interested in finishing my car? But anything he recommends is how I think you should proceed. Just ask if he is willing to give technical advice.

JBALL 10-11-2018 03:04 PM


Great progress! Let's make sure your car gets a spot at the Pumpkin Run next year. Sorry I missed you and Mike.

DW31S 10-14-2018 12:49 PM

Awesome story and awesome car. I have a somewhat similar car and story and I, too, will be making a transformation back to the "Summer of '69".....even the paint schemes are/were alike. Please allow us to follow your build via pictures and posts. Can't wait to see this one through....

markinnaples 10-14-2018 02:20 PM

Love the direction of your build. I'm not remotely an expert, but to give you an opinion on your question above, if it were me, I would "just clean/de-rust and leave it as-is to maintain the original finishes to preserve that low mileage look" as you stated.

Best of luck.

cook_dw 10-23-2018 12:18 AM

Paint and letter it back like it was in the photo above (05/70). It has racing history and I will walk past 100 restored to factory spec Camaros to look at a vintage racer.

R68GTO 11-11-2018 10:42 PM

The teardown has begun...
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Took the car for a spin yesterday to run some fuel out of the tank. Began the teardown today.I have three main missions:
1) swap out the turbo 400 for an M22 which is what the car was built with according to the 2nd owner's racing partner. Also swap in the BE rear I got from Frank.
2) eliminate the gloss black the 6th owner sprayed all over the firewall, core support & inner fenders back in 1978 when he painted the car its current black/gold
3) clean up the underside including suspension, brakes, subframe, floorpans, etc.

I am going to attempt to preserve the original finishes rather than restoring since it's a low mile car. We'll see what it looks like when I start cleaning. So far it's all coming apart like a low mile car that's never been stored outside. I'm finding a few mismatched fasteners so I'm keeping a list and will likely be asking y'all a bunch of questions on head markings, finishes, etc.
I am fairly certain I found faded remnants of the "427" grease pencil writing on the driver side front fender extension - tried to get a pic but it didn't show well. I'll see what I can get once I get the fender off.
I added a shot of the front spoiler sticker - this spoiler was put on in 1970 by the 2nd owner! Car is a no spoiler car. In between disassembly activities, I have been working on "fin straightening duty" on my curve neck radiator - good beer drinking activity:beers: Did you know there are about 18,960 fins in a curve neck? It will take a lot of beer to get this one done!:eek2:

R68GTO 11-18-2018 08:29 PM

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A trip to MCACN yesterday "super-charged" my motivation to keep going on my project so I went back at it today. I posted a few questions over in the preservation forum so I don't clog this thread up. Here's a couple of shots of where I'm at with the teardown as well as the underside of the cowl panel showing the original Lemans Blue overspray. The original foam dividers are still in place and you can see where a few exterior gauges were once mounted - holes were welded shut by the guy who painted the car in 1978/79. I'm not sure what gauges were mounted there, but am assuming a fuel pressure gauge - what else would have been typical back in the day? I think the tach was mounted on top of the dash. Also posted a shot of the cowl VIN stamping - not sure if I posted it before or not.

R68GTO 12-10-2018 12:29 AM

Looking for some feedback from the community....
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Did some more teardown and made a quick attempt at cleaning some of the frame and undercarriage areas. In general, the vertical surfaces have a good amount of original paint, but the horizontal surfaces have most of the paint gone. Here are a few pictures....

R68GTO 12-10-2018 12:40 AM

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Also found a couple of "week" stamps on the firewall and cowl - both stamped "38" which are the same week as one of my rear quarters. The top sides of the suspension where the gloss black was not sprayed, seem to have most all their original finishes intact. Any thoughts, tips, or suggestions on direction are welcome!

mockingbird812 12-10-2018 12:57 AM

That is some good archaeology there! Keep it up!!:laugh:

R68GTO 12-11-2018 12:32 AM

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The original inner fenders cleaned up pretty nicely with only a couple of spots of surface rust. Original flaps are decent, just coated with that damn gloss black paint:mad: Also found a couple of gems....positive battery cable had this melted portion wrapped with about 1/4" thick section of electrical tape. Also found a chunk of fan belt down inside the lower cowl area on the driver side....wonder how that got there:confused2:

R68GTO 12-16-2018 08:39 PM

Another Update....
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Dropped the gas tank and pulled the drivetrain this weekend. My "clean bay" is filling up! Factory overspray on the trunk pan is seeing the light of day for the first time since it left Norwood. Also discovered the PO sprayed the gloss black over the cowl flapper relay and the wiring gutter! Looks like factory finish underneath in those areas. If y'all see anything that is not correct, let me know so I can address it during the resto......still learning:smile:

bbbentley 12-16-2018 10:24 PM

I see something wrong...itís not sitting at my place :tongue:

R68GTO 12-22-2018 11:36 PM

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Took the interior out today...found some more interesting stuff, at least to me. PO stated original carpet yet so I was able to check it out more closely with it out of the car. It looks to me like the front is original, but the back was replaced. Tag on the back has what looks like a date code of 8 8 79, which times out about right for when the car was done in its black/gold scheme. The backing looks different from the front as well. Found some chalk writing on the front carpet....anyone see that type of thing before? PO hacked up the front carpet pretty bad when he put the auto in so it won't be saved.

R68GTO 12-23-2018 11:55 AM

some more tear down pics....
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Now have all the interior trim out except for headliner related stuff. Good view of original color on the top of the rear quarter widow panel area, as well as factory primer/overspray details on the interior areas. Found some white tags with a "week code?" printed on them. Anyone know why the factory needed those?These were still in good shape though the printing is a little faded. Rear interior panels and watersheds are pretty "minty" yet. With the interior out, was able to remove the driveshaft loop.....a little cleaning revealed the Lakewood sticker:headbang: Also a good view of the primer color on the floorpan.....unfortunately, the PO went crazy with trunk spatter on the whole interior floor pan - guess he thought it was a good idea in 1979?:dunno:

R68GTO 12-30-2018 12:20 AM

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Worked on cleaning the underside of the trunk pan today where the fuel tank used to reside. It cleaned up really nice....found a couple of stamps, one on each side of the centerline of the car. Assume date stamps but can't read them.
Also started cleaning up my buckets seats. I thought they were pretty clean to start with, but it took a while to cut through God only knows how many layers of Armor All. Used Magic Eraser which worked pretty doesn't show as well in pictures as in person, but the RH one is cleaned, the LH is not. Also added a couple of shots of the headrest...still amazed how well-preserved these parts are:biggthumpup: Also included a pic of my speedometer cable. Anyone familiar with this marking? I need to figure out if it's original to the car or not.

R68GTO 12-30-2018 11:33 PM

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Found some more cool stuff today on the car....fuel tank date code of 5 70, horns are dated 9H3 - which I think is 3rd week of August 1969. Also did more work cleaning up the floor pans, they are really cleaning up nicely - it's going to be a tough decision to restore these or not. Included a shot of where the Lakewood drive shaft loop was installed - not much doubt it was installed very early in the car's life, there was no dirt in that area!

R68GTO 01-01-2019 12:37 PM

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Great way to start the new year - I've been following the new Philly COPO find thread (Fast67VelleN20) on this site and saw DW31S's post about joining a Facebook site dedicated to vintage drag racing. So yesterday I joined a 60's-70's drag racing group and posted a pic of my car. When I woke up this morning I saw two new vintage racing photos of my car were posted:headbang:
Looks like both were taken at Edgewater, the poster said they were taken in 1973. A different poster said he knew Doug Davis was an entry at the US National in 1972 & 1973.:biggthumpup:

olredalert 01-01-2019 02:51 PM

----Seriously cool pics. The 69 Chevelle in the backround appears to be getting serious air!......Bill S

Postsedan 01-01-2019 03:07 PM


Originally Posted by olredalert (Post 1428914)
----Seriously cool pics. The 69 Chevelle in the backround appears to be getting serious air!......Bill S

Indeed.....this will be us after the Ribs :)


Postsedan 01-01-2019 03:09 PM

What a wonderful New Years gift to wake up to!

Love the now your game plan to restore and letter her up, just as she was back in 1973?
I would :)


R68GTO 01-01-2019 04:25 PM

Planning to paint it back to Lemans Blue and use vinyl to do the red, white & graphics. Add race stickers on top of the vinyl. The guy that painted it back in 1970/71 said he used a color called "Ice Blue" for the base which is quite a bit lighter than the Lemans Blue (2nd photo really shows that) but I can't see going through all that restoration work and not painting it the correct color.

Copo_Cartel 01-01-2019 07:07 PM

Get it ready for some track time at SCR22 :burnout:

Copo_Cartel 01-01-2019 07:13 PM

Great to see the progress

Postsedan 01-01-2019 07:15 PM

I agree....go back to the original color....and sticker her up just as she could easy duplicate everything with today`s Vinyl Wraps.


R68GTO 01-01-2019 09:35 PM

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I have yet to research high quality vinyl vendors....if anyone has a good reference, let me know.
Mostly worked on the floor pans again today. In the process removed the fuel line and clips. I believe the fuel line is not original, but it looks like the frame clips are? Can anyone confirm? Also have a question on the floor pan finish. A lot of restorations have black floorpans with body colored overspray. I'm not really finding that. Mostly a gray/blue primer with some body color overspray. Found some areas with black primer and even a little reddish primer. Car was painted twice after it left Norwood so who knows for sure, but the pans sure don't look like they've been messed with except for maybe the very outer edges from post-factory overspray - definitely seems to be some black from 1978. BTW...check out the Hurst Super Shifter floorpan's almost as nice as the factory torch-job!
Thoughts and opinions needed!

jer 01-01-2019 09:58 PM

As far as the bottomside paint, you really have to clean and do a little archeological analysis, which I think you're doing a fine job of. Use your best judgement when it comes to back logging the layers of paint.
The fuel line clips, they're oem. They should have a bluish color once you clean them. Looks they're in survivor condition
Nice ride and thanx for the ride-along!!

R68GTO 01-06-2019 11:09 AM

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More floorpan work done this weekend. Added a couple of shots showing an area (rear trunk pan) representing what the underside looked like before I touched it, then after a heat gun/plastic scraper, then wiping with mineral spirits. Once I get most of the underside through these steps, I'll go back through it all with some "KrudKutter" degreaser which will clean it up a little further. Couple things I noticed was that the reinforcement plates on the trunk pan (rear seat area) was mostly black primer under the crud whereas the insides of the rear frame rails were mostly that bluish/grey primer. The horizontal surface of the trunk pan is more whitish primer with some body color overspray on the ribs that face toward the outside of the car. Also included a shot of the outside edge of the trunk pan that hangs below the rear frame rail - it really got a strong shot of body color overspray. I'm anxious to get back out there and see why the outside of the rear frame rail looks like!

R68GTO 01-06-2019 10:39 PM

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Another day of scraping - went after the outer frame rail on the driver side. Couple of pics showing the progress from start to cleaned. That area got a direct shot of LB also. You can really see how the frame rail caused the gradual fading of the LB on the side of the trunk pan. Also took some acetone to the top of the firewall just to see the original LB below that gloss black - yep, there it is! And finally, I think I found a "factory error" from the assembly line. The driver side rear quarter window track mounting stud has never had a nut applied to it. There are no marks in the primer on the inner panel and the stud is equally rusted throughout. The other side by contrast has a glob of "dum-dum" over the entire stud/nut - at least I am assuming there is a nut under there!:hmmm:

Kurt S 01-08-2019 04:14 AM

That the original speedo cable.

R68GTO 01-08-2019 10:54 PM

Thanks for responding and confirming Kurt, I appreciate it. Learning something every day on this car!

R68GTO 01-13-2019 02:47 AM

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Did some cleanup work on the front subframe and suspension today. Passenger side is what it looked like before cleaning, driver side after degreasing. Found a few paint dabs on the suspension. Looks like all my hard brake lines and clips are original. Lower brake hoses have been replaced as have the calipers and ball joints. Splash shields look original and I took a shot of where the firewall blackout never made it from the overhang on the cowl. Took the homemade engine torque bracket off the subframe for the first time in about 48 years. They stacked the washers up on one side so the bolt didn't hit the lower a-arm. BB engine stands are original.

R68GTO 01-15-2019 12:29 AM

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Did a little "laundry" this weekend. I thought my seat belts were pretty clean to start with but it took two cycles of soaking in a bucket of dishwashing soap/hot water, scrubbing with a bristle brush to get them clean. After the 1st cycle, the water was black, after the 2nd cycle it just had a hint of grey. Did a final rinse and hang to dry! Tags came out like new:biggthumpup: I was surprised to see some tags yellow, some white. The yellow ones were on the buckle assembly for the shoulder belts. All the other floor-mounted belts had white tags. Still need to check my roof-mounted shoulder belts.

Copo_Cartel 01-15-2019 10:15 AM

You have a great winter time project going. Thanks for sharing your progress .

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