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My El Camino project is complete!

#1
First of all, I bought this genuine '83 Choo Choo SS in 1993. I bought it from the original owner in all original condition. It had just 50K miles on it then and even now it's only about 76K miles. It was black with sand beige interior.
In 1998, I changed the 305 out for a '96 LT1 engine with it's 4L60e transmission. It was a new factory take-out from a '96 Impala SS. At the same time I upgraded the rear to a 3.42 posi.
The following year I re-painted it the original black. I did paint the dash, change the carpet and headliner but the seats and door panels were still original.

For many years after that I kind of neglected the car but used it for hauling stuff when I needed to. Even though I only put 26K more miles on the car everything was showing it's age. So last year I decided to give it the attention it deserved and here is a list of all the big things I've done during this upgrade process:

Colors:
Exterior color change from black to SPI single-stage white
Interior color change from Sand Beige to black

Bodywork:
Strip entire car to bare metal
Correct bad quality factory gaps at hood, fenders, doors and tailgate. Metalwork was needed to correct the extremely poor factory gaps.
Change fuel door lid to open from bottom open to side open. Cut original fuel door assembly out of the quarter and grafted in a door assembly cut out of an S10 pickup.
Repair dents on both sides of tailgate. I split the taiilgate apart to repair as the dents were very excessive.
New windshield and door glass both sides

Upgrades:
Dakota Digital VHX dash panel
Dakota Digital radiator fan controller
Complete front suspension rebuild using Moog Problem Solver parts
Rear spring air bags
New Gas-A-Just shock absorbers
New Header and dual exhaust system
New fuel tank with internal Walbro pump
Front disc brake conversion to '98-'02 Camaro "LS1" brakes
New 1" Riviera brake master cylinder and 11" Caprice vacuum booster
New 16" GTA wheels and new tires
Had seat, headliner and visors re-done by my favorite upholstery guy. I did the door panels, carpet and dash.

Of course there are a lot of details and photos to go along with all these things and here is the link to my build thread if anyone is interested:
https://www.elcaminocentral.com/showthread.php?t=200250

First of the SPI white day after application:



Final photos:





























Looks like good weather for our Cars and Coffee this Saturday. I'm anxious to take it and show off!
Thanks to Barry and Andy for advice, tips and help on my paint job.
 
Last edited:
#6
Thanks guys! As you can tell I'm very proud of it.

And Twood, thanks. I spent a lot of time to get this better than factory.
Take a look at this factory gap:



Gap and level were horrible. Never any damage here and fenders and door had never been removed from car when I took this photo. Other side was just about the same. These cars were built during the time the factories were doing a horrible job with panel alignment.

Almost there in this photo. I was shooting for 3/16" at all gaps. I think this is a perfect amount before primer and paint.



Finished product:

 
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