Get in Your Garage – January 2021
It’s not entirely accurate to say we’re heading into the “off season” in terms of car shows and events, considering that so many large car gatherings did not happen in 2020. But we are getting to that time of year where many of us are putting our special cars and trucks into hibernation for a few months. Combine that with continued calls for social distancing and you’ve got the makings of a productive winter for a lot of gearheads.
If you’re in a cold-weather part of the country, we hope you’ve got a warm and well-let workspace to keep you wrenching while the snow flies and the temperatures drop. If you’re someplace warmer, you still might find a little extra downtime to take a break from cruising and get some work done. Whether it’s a major upgrade or minor modification, now is a perfect time to tackle those to-do lists so you’ll be ready for a much-anticipated 2021 event season.
Based on the continued Get in Your Garage submissions we’re receiving, it looks like Goodguys members across the country are finding the means and motivation to keep working. This month’s roundup includes several ambitious ground-up projects, reminding us that the do-it-yourself spirit is still alive and well in the hot rod and classic car world. That is so cool to see!
Please continue sharing your projects with us over the winter. It’s as easy as emailing your photos to [email protected]. Just use Get in Your Garage as your subject line and be sure to include some information about your project, like how long you’ve been working on it, what you’ve done, and what you have planned. We’d love to celebrate your progress by sharing it with others, and we might just provide some much-needed inspiration along the way.
We’re extremely impressed with the ambition of Goodguys members, especially some of the younger ones. Check out the photos from Colorado’s Kyle Haas of his ’66 Mustang project and you’ll see why.
“The car was originally a six-cylinder, Springtime Yellow Mustang,” Kyle says. “I purchased it from a gentleman locally in 2006. It was my first car project and I dove into it with a ton of newbie eagerness and energy. From builders foam in the rear quarters, to inch-thick Bondo, I had a lot of corrections to fix. Unfortunately, with a limited budget and no skills, my fixes weren’t all that much better. But I had the car looking okay by the time I graduated and enjoyed it until going off to college.”
The car deteriorated while being stored outside for a number of years. Kyle dove in again in earnest in the summer of 2017 and has made a ton of progress in the past several years. “It’s been a labor of love and education,” Kyle says. “I’ve done all the work, by myself, with only books and the internet as my education. I taught myself to weld, fabricate (if you can call it that), and everything else that comes with building a car from scratch. It had to literally be taken down to the studs to get rid of all the rust and trouble. Today, the car is getting ready for final paint and body by a local shop.”
In addition to new metal, the Mustang now sports a MOD 2 suspension setup from Mike Maier, a Ford Performance Gen 3 Coyote engine backed by a T-56 Magnum transmission, a GearFX center section in a full-floating 9-inch rearend, JRi shocks, Wilwood disc brakes, and 18×10- and 18×11-inch wheels.
“Once final assembly is done in the spring, the goal is to hit the autocross track, cruise events and shows, and the occasional track night,” Kyle says. “My almost 15-year dream is finally coming to completion and I’m so excited to finally see it done.”
Steve Vos sent us a couple of home-brewed projects from his garage in Tennessee – one that’s finished, and one that’s getting close.
The ’69 GMC was purchased in 1996 and started life as a six-cylinder three-speed truck. Steve drove it a few years before swapping in a 396c.i. big block and Turbo 400, and then drove it a few more years. “In 2002, the truck was dismantled and rebuilt from the frame up,” Steve says. Upgrades like power steering, power disc brakes, air conditioning, and cruise control were part of the rebuild. The truck was painted on Memorial Day 2007 in Steve’s shop.
“We have attended Goodguys events in Kansas City, Des Moines, and Nashville several times, as well as several local shows during the year,” Steve says. “When not at shows it does some towing duties pulling our homebuilt teardrop camper and towing my son’s land speed car in Blytheville, Arkansas. My wife never turns down an opportunity to go for a ride and loves the sound of the big block through Flowmaster 50s.”
The ’61 Olds is a Dynamic 88 Holiday Coupe, which has been in the works for nine years and is another frame-off project. Steve says he bought a rotisserie to work on this one more easily. “Since no body panels are reproduced for a car like this, I purchased a donor car in Oklahoma and used mainly the rear quarter panels from it,” Steve says. “I finally got it painted this year and am in the process of re-assembly.”
The Olds has a rebuilt 394c.i. V8 backed by a T5 five-speed, and Steve says he plans to redo the interior as close to original using vintage-style vinyl and fabric. “You don’t see many of these, so it will be fun to be a little different,” Steve says.
Philip Sebald has a fun little project in the form of a ’63 Valiant convertible.
“I bought the car from a friend of a friend who bought it in Washington state in the mid-’90s,” Philip says. “Soon after he moved to Wisconsin and put the car in storage, where it sat ever since. I first saw the car last year when visiting my friend. I liked it right away because it was different, and I had never really seen a Valiant before.”
Philip finally asked about buying the Valiant last summer and was able to strike a deal with the owner. “I went to get it with my dad, eager to try to start it after sitting for 27 years,” Philip says. “We were unable to start it when we went to pick it up, but I was confident it would run with a little work. We put a new starter, plugs, points and condenser, changed the oil and it started right up. Once we fixed the brakes, we the car was back on the road! I’m excited to keep working on it and to get out and drive it!”
“I recently moved from the rust belt southeast Michigan to southwest Colorado,” says Jack Griffith. “Having owned pickup trucks most of my adult life, I was amazed to see so many old rust-free Chevy trucks still on the road out here. In a short period of time I added a new item to my bucket list: to buy and restore one of these classic trucks.”
As you can see, Jack can check that goal off his list with this ’84 Chevy C10 stepside, which has been treated to a full rebuild without the headache of making major rust repairs. The exterior remains mostly stock with fresh metallic brown paint, while the drivetrain was revitalized with a crate engine from BluePrint and a 700R4 transmission from Gearstar. Custom seating, door panels, and an aftermarket steering wheel are among the upgrades inside this sweet squarebody.
John and Linda Burg have a cool little Willys Jeep that has earned awards at several Goodguys events, and now they’re working on a ’63 Chevy II that appears destined to be an award winner as well. “Linda and I have been working on this project for a while now and hope to get it done soon,” John says. “Technically this is Linda’s car. She wanted one ever since we got married 39 years ago.”
The Nova has been updated with a TCI four-link rear suspension, 9-inch rearend with a TrueTrac differential, Wilwood disc brakes, and a TCI front subframe, along with upper hood and fender supports from Chassisworks. A 383c.i. stroker small-block V8 and 700R4 automatic transmission are planned, with stainless steel exhaust and brake lines keeping everything clean, tidy, and detailed underneath.
There’s just as much work going on up top, where the bumpers have been tucked and massaged to fit tight against the body, a carbon fiber front air dam and grille closure are being built, and the firewall has been smoothed. Inside, the Burgs have added an extension to the bottom of the dash for the Vintage Air vents and have sound deadened the floors, with much more custom work to come.
We love to see couples like the Burgs working on projects together, and it’s looking like this one is coming along nicely. We can’t wait to see the finished product sometime soon!