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Technical That far and no chop? 62 Impala

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by theHIGHLANDER, Dec 23, 2014.

  1. theHIGHLANDER
    Joined: Jun 3, 2005
    Posts: 7,901

    theHIGHLANDER
    Member

    Well, yeah no chop. But this might open some doors (yes, pun intended) as to what can be done to save one. The subject car can be seen here:

    http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/threads/2-600mi-test-drive-den-lsr-detroit.788790/
    It's been in the Motor State for almost 2 yrs and seen at various hoodlum gatherings in the area. With all the miles behind it I heard "...need a headliner..." and things got just a wee bit quiet after that. Ya see, I met our bud "safariwagon" back in 77 and then we crashed into each other at Billetproof 08 after losing touch for nearly 10 years. On a visit in the summer of 13 it looked like more than a headliner. We bounced a few ideas back n forth and then he dug into it. Look what he found:

    DSCN2399.JPG

    DSCN2400.JPG

    Needs a little more than a headliner, no? Next thing I heard was that a part showed up from somewhere south of here. Since I was busy on 2 other projects and planning a shop I couldn't help on the roof fix. Apparently neither could the guy he alternately chose for it. So on one of our coldest and shitty days of the year the car wound up at my place, The Enthusiast Garage. A short time later this showed up too:
    DSCN2402.JPG

    With all I can do I'm not much for removing old school gasket mounted glass so I asked for help and input there. So with the help of hamb member "dustyoldbodyman", his son, and Mr Singlefinger Speed Shop safari-wagon (it is his car after all) we were able to sort through the steps and get the glass safely removed. "Dusty" brought his 61 assembly manual for backup too. That process went well and looked like this:
    DSCN2414.JPG
    DSCN2418.JPG
    DSCN2416.JPG

    The goal was to remove the trim without damage as well as the glass. That big fat gasket and all the outer sealant can get in the way. We took a razor knife to the rubber and exposed the clips. Along with the book d o b also brought a small arsenal of trim removal tools. I gained a personal benefit here. I have that 61 Belair spt cpe at home and one of the things that helped seal the deal was it's near perfect stainless around that kool bubble top we all love. No worries when I get to that point now. The wads of sealant behind the trim belongs there. Sort of water management to close a trail from the outer edge of the trim to behind the gasket.
    DSCN2420.JPG

    Now that we had an open roof and a donor it was time for some top chop action.
     
  2. theHIGHLANDER
    Joined: Jun 3, 2005
    Posts: 7,901

    theHIGHLANDER
    Member

    This next gig was pulled of by Dan (cabover), myself and one of my favorite apprentices, Luke Wolak. He got in touch a bit before the project and paid a visit to our new digs. He stayed at the shop I left in Dec '11 which I understand real well. Michigan is no North Dakota with regard to work and wages, but I'd still be happy to have him aboard full time some day soon. In the meantime he was able to jump in on this one with all due enthusiasm. The 1st steps were to get this 4dr H.T. stabilized. It's no secret as to how flimsy a GM 'X' frame car can be when major body structures are removed or modified. We supported the main body on cinder blocks and wood right at the rocker panels since they're good and sound. DSCN2441.JPG DSCN2442.JPG DSCN2443.JPG DSCN2444.JPG

    When we opened the doors nothing moved and all the dimensions remained the same. 2dr and 4dr H.Ts can get a little fussy about all doors being open at the same time. This one stays in place. The next order of business was to secure the side to side and diagonal dimensions. That was accomplished with some 3/4 square tubing around the complete perimeter and 1 diagonal from the rt front to the left rear.
    DSCN2446.JPG DSCN2447.JPG DSCN2448.JPG DSCN2449.JPG DSCN2450.JPG
    Now, all tied up and secure, we can get to the fun of making sparks and chopping metal. A short footnote here, we used some heavy cardboard that was misted with a little water to control those sparks. We also sprayed the carpets in places and any other material that can smolder and cause fire long after the jobs are done. Just a little prevention and safety advice from your friends at The Enthusiast Garage. Fire sucks!!
     
  3. theHIGHLANDER
    Joined: Jun 3, 2005
    Posts: 7,901

    theHIGHLANDER
    Member

    Our tools of choice were a cut off wheel, sawzall, air saw and a sheet metal drill, also known as a "Roto-Broach". The plan was to remove the back of the top at the same position it was installed in the plant when the car was built. At the front, to leave as much of the good 'A' pilar as possible and have an easy dimension to replicate. The cut lines were laid out using a trim hole at the front (the same place on both roofs) and the spot weld/lead seam at the rear along with the locators inside the rear. A longer and perhaps more difficult way to do it, but then again a bit easier since the dimensions should line up nearly without trying. The layout:
    DSCN2424.JPG
    Take out that 'V' section on the inside...
    DSCN2475.JPG
    Remove the spot welds/lead on the outside...
    DSCN2476.JPG
    Once cut below the trim hole in the 'A' pillar it was no turning back.
    DSCN2477.JPG DSCN2478.JPG DSCN2479.JPG DSCN2480.JPG
    At least we know what a 62 Impala Conv Sedan would look like (!), but now the fussy removal begins:
    DSCN2485.JPG
    The lead gets burned out of the OEM seam to expose the outer spot welds and those get drilled out. We left enough roof on the car to expose the areas we wanted to maintain, both inside and out. Tedious and aggravating at times, but the best way to ensure that the replacement goes right where "the General" put it in 62.
    DSCN2486.JPG
    DSCN2487.JPG
    DSCN2488.JPG
    In the next installment we'll show the difference in the existing top removal vs the replacement. Gotta feed my dogs and head to the shop, be back in a few hrs.
     
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  4. GearheadsQCE
    Joined: Mar 23, 2011
    Posts: 2,320

    GearheadsQCE
    Member

    I know you know that cement blocks are not the recommended method to support a car. But, if you are going to use them aren't you supposed to turn them so the ribs are vertical?
     
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  5. 35chevymaster
    Joined: May 20, 2006
    Posts: 180

    35chevymaster
    Member
    from indiana

  6. theHIGHLANDER
    Joined: Jun 3, 2005
    Posts: 7,901

    theHIGHLANDER
    Member

    The car is still on it's suspension too. All the blocks did was stabilize the door openings and front to rear interior dimensions. The weight of the whole car is not on the blocks.
     
  7. slowmotion
    Joined: Nov 21, 2011
    Posts: 3,131

    slowmotion
    Member

    That's quite the ambitious project, hats (tops) off to ya. :D

    It's interesting to see how you pro's approach this kind of work. Thanks for taking the time to post it & keep 'em coming.
     
  8. oldsrocket
    Joined: Oct 31, 2004
    Posts: 2,146

    oldsrocket
    Member

    They are just using them to stabilize the car, they aren't working underneath it. It doesn't look like the car is being fully supported by them anyway. Worst that could happen in this case is that one brakes and the car twists a bit. No real safety issues with the way they are being used.

    Anyway, fellas looks like quite an undertaking. With all that work involved, I think I wouldn't stop at the roof. Might as well go ahead and convert it to a 2dr while you're there...

    Good work.
     
  9. 3wLarry
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 12,804

    3wLarry
    Member Emeritus
    from Owasso, Ok

  10. GearheadsQCE
    Joined: Mar 23, 2011
    Posts: 2,320

    GearheadsQCE
    Member

    No, stretch it and add mordors!:)
     
  11. low budget
    Joined: Nov 15, 2006
    Posts: 5,543

    low budget
    Member
    from Central Ky

    So Im assuming in all opinions it wasnt possible to just replace the rusted out part with new metal or just replace that section of drip rail etc?
    Dont get me wrong, I admire what you are doing and hope everything turns out ok, just curious.
     
  12. belair
    Joined: Jul 10, 2006
    Posts: 8,241

    belair
    Member

  13. hotrodladycrusr
    Joined: Sep 20, 2002
    Posts: 20,727

    hotrodladycrusr
    Member

    I'd leave it as a convertible. :) If you guys need an extra set of hands let me know as I'd be happy to help out.
     
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  14. Sting Ray
    Joined: Mar 24, 2012
    Posts: 917

    Sting Ray
    Member

    Following this.

    Dig the rims. Can anyone id them?
     
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  15. belair
    Joined: Jul 10, 2006
    Posts: 8,241

    belair
    Member

    ^^^^me too
     
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  16. tb33anda3rd
    Joined: Oct 8, 2010
    Posts: 15,408

    tb33anda3rd
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    1. Connecticut HAMB'ers

    nice job, much better than just patching that mess.
    how come you chose not to pull the seats and carpet?
     
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  17. Hey looks like a project....I'm around, I got a bitchin set of tools, and lots 3M cutoff wheels we can cut stuff with....
     
  18. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 24,195

    Jalopy Joker
    Member

    ambitious but, gotta do what ya gotta do
     
  19. theHIGHLANDER
    Joined: Jun 3, 2005
    Posts: 7,901

    theHIGHLANDER
    Member

    Well then, lets have more fun. We left off at salvaging the OEM sail panels. The question of repair vs replace, it's way better to use solid OEM salvage to maintain the integrity that was engineered into the car. People smarter than me figured out the assembly process and if it was good for them it's good for us too. Before we took hold of the replacement it was cleaned and coated in a product called "Krytonite" (similar science to POR but better). We removed all the surface we could and etched the remains with the pre-cleaner supplied with the coating. There's more here:

    http://www.lloydslaboratories.com/K...igh-Temp-Satin-Black-350-g-14-oz-aerosol.html

    While still a bit brown it was clean and well etched, blown and vacuumed dry, next we poured some into a spritzer bottle and squirted into corners and sprayed heavily, followed by a brush in the open. It should never see the environment it was in again. Dried nice and fast where others take up to 6 hrs. DSCN2470.JPG DSCN2472.JPG

    Now into play, the donor gets cut and taken apart like the car, but in reverse. Saving all the parts on the new roof that we cut out of the car's sail panels. Still tedious but worth the effort.
    DSCN2490.JPG
    DSCN2491.JPG
    DSCN2492.JPG
    This was one of those jobs that you get "in the zone" on, just digging away at it and not thinkin pictures. I missed a couple of getting the roof prepped but you get the idea. It was time to put a lid on it and see where we need to trim and fit. We needed maybe 1/16th on the 'A' pillars taken off then some detail trimming and fit in the rear. It went in really close to OEM and our checking dimensions were well within sight. The fitting went like so:
    DSCN2494.JPG DSCN2495.JPG
    DSCN2496.JPG
    DSCN2497.JPG
    DSCN2498.JPG
    All in all it started going right together with a little more trimming and cutting.
     

    Attached Files:

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  20. theHIGHLANDER
    Joined: Jun 3, 2005
    Posts: 7,901

    theHIGHLANDER
    Member

    Once we got it back on the numbers it was time to tighten up the gaps and flatten the areas to be spot (puddle) welded in their original places. DSCN2499.JPG DSCN2500.JPG
    DSCN2501.JPG

    Things are going well and the fit ended up dead on. Some measuring and detail, it's time to weld.
    DSCN2502.JPG
    DSCN2503.JPG
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    DSCN2504.JPG
    DSCN2506.JPG DSCN2507.JPG DSCN2508.JPG DSCN2508.JPG DSCN2509.JPG DSCN2510.JPG
     

    Attached Files:

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  21. theHIGHLANDER
    Joined: Jun 3, 2005
    Posts: 7,901

    theHIGHLANDER
    Member

    Now on to that hot metal glue gun and stick it together. The 'A' pillars were beveled to dig into the layers below. There's as many as 4 layers in there on 2 sides. DSCN2511.JPG DSCN2512.JPG DSCN2513.JPG DSCN2514.JPG
    DSCN2515.JPG


    DSCN2516.JPG
    DSCN2517.JPG

    There's a few spots like above that we'll section open and fill proper. i'd rather cut this into a 1" opening and weld in some metal vs stacking welds and grinding. There's 2 other spots like this that we'll police up and get nice. Once done we'll be on to paddling lead back in the seams just like 'they' did it. I also didn't use the brazed corners like GM had done. We did use weld, and in the glass pinch weld there's an open line that was shamelessly caulked when new. I need to tie that in as well. So until then, have a very Merry Christmas. We'll pick this party up after.
     
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  22. safari-wagon
    Joined: Jan 12, 2008
    Posts: 1,457

    safari-wagon
    Member


    The ol' lady that originally purchased the Impala was from Corpus Christi, TX. The salty air settled into the area under the drip rails & rotted out the outer metal & all the reinforcements. The rest of the car is pretty nice, so it's worth saving.

    The search for a replacement roof took quite some time. The '62 4-dr hardtop roof is only common with the '61, so pickings were slim here in Michigan.

    I eventually found a good roof at CTC Auto Ranch in Denton, TX (940-482-3007). Allen was great about sending pics to show what was there. He gave me a fair price on the roof & worked out a good deal on crating & shipping it.

    The guys from a well known AZ yard were $150 more expensive & they wanted more than double to crate & ship it to Detroit. (Sheesh...)
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2014
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  23. safari-wagon
    Joined: Jan 12, 2008
    Posts: 1,457

    safari-wagon
    Member

    Here's one of the photos that CTC sent. Also one of what we found when we went pulled off the moldings to repaint the roof.
     

    Attached Files:

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  24. jeffrob
    Joined: Dec 20, 2005
    Posts: 279

    jeffrob
    Member

    nice save !

    looking solid again
     
  25. low budget
    Joined: Nov 15, 2006
    Posts: 5,543

    low budget
    Member
    from Central Ky

    Lookin good! Are plans just to paint the top for now or is the whole car gonna get it?

    I have often wondered what all would need to be done to take a more common 2 door 61 bubble "top" and put it on a 62 , whether it be a 2 or 4 dr ht or sedan 62 it was going on.
    (I think the 61 bubbletop is the same as a 62 bubbletop?)
    I know the 4 door would at least need quarter sections but..........

    No disrespect to your 4 door tho cause I like a 62 4 door better than the 2 door version unless "maybe" it was the more rare bubble top 62.
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2014
  26. theHIGHLANDER
    Joined: Jun 3, 2005
    Posts: 7,901

    theHIGHLANDER
    Member

    Converting a 62 to a bubble top requires a 2dr HT to start with. The roof section from a Pontiac, Buick or Olds will work but a 61 Chevy makes it easier. The 'A' pillar is pretty simple but the back requires the upper 1/4 panels and some work to the rear areas between the deck and rear window. It can and indeed has been done before. There's 37 hrs in this job right now and a conversion on a HT to a bubble top would likely take twice that to get where we are with this one. Why didn't we just remove the rest of the interior? Shop space and time. Trying to keep the use of both to a minimum, and there was never a danger of damage since we covered everything as we went along. Less work to do when assembly starts as well.
     
  27. safari-wagon
    Joined: Jan 12, 2008
    Posts: 1,457

    safari-wagon
    Member

    Here's how the old girl looked yesterday with all the bracing removed.
    Damn fine cutting & welding by Jocko, Dan & Luke!
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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  28. theHIGHLANDER
    Joined: Jun 3, 2005
    Posts: 7,901

    theHIGHLANDER
    Member

    She's gettin paddled this week...:eek:
     
  29. Hdonlybob
    Joined: Feb 1, 2005
    Posts: 3,856

    Hdonlybob
    Member

    I have a lot of respect for guys that tackle a project like this...
    Huge amount of work that most would shy away from.
    You guys are doing a really great job on this... my hat is off to you.. :)
     
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  30. indyjps
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 3,602

    indyjps
    Member

    Good looking car, you guys do nice work, using the factory seams. I've seen the same damage on "ocean" cars the car will be spotless but the water evaporates leaving salt in the window channels, the top will be as eaten as bad as the bottom.
     
    kidcampbell71 likes this.

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