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Old 10-01-2014, 12:14 AM
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PBarkley PBarkley is offline
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Default '66 Le Mans...keeping the Pontiac Spirit alive

Well I figured I had done enough rambling in my intro thread, so here's a build thread to keep it all contained, haha.

As I said in my intro, my father and I had kicked around the idea of getting a project car to build together. Having already cut my automotive teeth in the import world (turbo/swapped Nissans, specifically) I wanted the challenge of a complete restoration.

Finding this '66 was by complete chance. Feb2013 I decided on a whim to see what they were going for on eBay, and lo and behold, there was one located in Acworth, GA. I called the owner, and arranged a time to inspect the car.

This is how it sat for the last 10 years:


Having spent a few years up north courtesy of the USAF, I crawled under the car to check for rust and I was pleased to see that it was minimal. The missing rear windshield and the metal in that area is the worst spot on the entire car...and it's going to be an easy fix. So I paid the man half of the money since I wasn't able to transport the car that day, he removed the eBay ad and I came back in 2 weeks to pick up the car, paid in full.





The 240SX in the above picture has been my labor of love since 2004...and once I got started on my new project, I quickly lost interest in the car and sold it the following July.

Step one...remove the engine/trans. My hoist is showing it's age, and didn't want to pull both out at the same time. And yes, I know the torque converter is supposed to come off with the trans. Late night crunch, and it slipped my mind.


Within a few days, had the forward bodywork off the car, preparing to strip the frame and coat it.




Hard at it. I'm still young enough to pull transmissions out with the car on jackstands, so I have figured I might as well get in there with the wire wheel and get everything cleaned out.


Everything coated from the firewall forward...


BMR 2" drop springs w/ fresh Bilsteins ordered around Thanksgiving...prompt shipping, and I am definitely going to order more parts through them when the time comes.


NOTE...all but ONE body mount came out without issue. I only had one mount that we had to cut the bolt. I consider myself EXTREMELY fortunate thus far with the car...we have not encountered any serious rust.


Late night with the best friend...


End result the next morning...


New fuel tank, sending unit and straps courtesy of Original Parts Group, Earl's lines and fittings (-6 feed) via the Summit store...that is only an hour from where the car is kept.

Since this car was a factory original A/C car, it came with a fuel return setup that we decided to keep in place.

New polyurethane bushings, just need to box the arms now.


And that's basically where we are at right now...awaiting a few more pieces to arrive for the rear end, and I have yet to decide on what differential I'm going to toss in there. Once I have the rear end guts back in place, I can install the rear disc brakes and fab the new hardlines. Since I live in Savannah and the car stays at my parent's house in Central GA, I don't get to work on it as often as I'd like. However, once I have wrapped up this house purchase, the car will be relocating to Savannah so I can make some real progress.

Thanks for checking out the car, and I will make it a point to keep this thread updated regularly.
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Last edited by PBarkley; 10-01-2014 at 07:36 AM.
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Old 10-01-2014, 12:49 AM
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Great build Peter! Looking forward to watching the progress.

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Old 10-01-2014, 06:23 AM
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Great build Peter! Llove the 66 Lemans!, what are the rest of the plans?
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Old 10-01-2014, 07:31 AM
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At this point, I still need to purchase the Kore3 C5 brake kit for the front, and the BMR sway bars. I did buy the factory GTO/Chevelle SS rear chassis braces that tie the upper and lower trailing arm attachment points together, and those are currently installed. Outside of that, I did the 85-88 Monte Carlo steering box, replaced all the suspension hardware (which was severely worn out) with Grade 8 nuts and bolts, and replaced all of the steering components, even the pitman arm. Basically the only remaining OEM parts on the front of the car are the control arms.

As for the engine/trans, it was originally an automatic and I plan to keep it that way since this is going to be a car that my dad will be driving more often than I do. We're keeping it Pontiac powered, and will likely back it up with a 700R4 trans. I have a cherry 400 block from a '73 Le Mans in addition to the original 326 and 2 speed auto that came with the car, and for now the plan is to build the 400 with forged pistons/rods and a roller cam. Still undecided on heads at this time. However, I will be putting nitrous (100-150 shot) to it, mostly just for kicks. I have no intentions of making the track a regular venue for this car. Just a fun street rod that can light up the tires if desired, but mostly aiming for driveability and reliability.

The garage was a bit of a mess in this picture, so excuse me for that haha. Here's the 400 block fresh from the machine shop after being magnafluxed and hot tanked, the 326 is on the tire.


And here's one of my dad helping move and hold the rear end in position while I crawled under and got the bolts in place...


My goal is to have the rest of the aforementioned chassis work done by spring.
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Old 10-01-2014, 06:28 PM
67goatman455 67goatman455 is offline
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lookin good! from what a chevelle friend told me, the BOP 10 bolts are about as strong as a chevy 12 bolt, so you might consider hanging onto it and tossing a limited slip differential in!
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Old 10-01-2014, 06:39 PM
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Right on! As for now I plan on retaining the stock housing and axles (until they fail), but I am probably going to go with an Auburn LSD, haven't decided what gear ratio just yet. Factory final drive is something like a 3.23 on these cars with the 2 speed, but if I'm stepping up to a 700R4 that could change things for what gearing the rear end requires.

I had a few more parts show up today and I'm itchin' to get up there and put some work in...but the house hunt comes first.
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Old 10-20-2014, 09:59 PM
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Not a majorly huge update, but it appears that we (my wife and I, that is) are going to be homeowners soon...which prompted me to get the car back on the ground ASAP! I tossed the rear axles back in without the diff (gotta love the BOP axles...just bolt them to the brake assemblies and they're secure). I gotta have it ready to move since we close in less than 3 weeks!

If anyone reading this ever frequents Roebling Road Raceway outside of Savannah, GA...you better lemme know if you're in town! I'm going to be living very close to the track!

Also, snatched this up from a close friend...


Brand new, never been installed...and for a third of the regular price.
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Last edited by PBarkley; 10-20-2014 at 10:01 PM.
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Old 11-24-2014, 09:29 PM
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Well, I've been busy...but not exactly with the car.

Finally bought a home! The car hasn't moved down here with me yet, but in due time...gotta get a handle on the yard and other things first.



Now for the cool part...I have a constant source of motivation:



Yes...this is a screenshot of Google Earth as it overlooks Roebling Road Raceway. However, my house is also in this same screenshot. If you think the UPS guy showing up at your house is exciting, you have no idea how it feels when you're in the garage as you hear a Daytona Prototype banging through the gears during a private test day on the other side of the treeline.

Best of all, my wife actually thinks its cool.
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Old 11-25-2014, 10:06 AM
77LT 77LT is offline
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Welcome to Savannah, GA, I live here as well. I know a guy that lives adjacent track as well and has a super cool 1950 Studebaker Champion street rod. You know the one with bullet nose. Enjoy the Pontiac and the warm weather!
Todd
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Old 11-25-2014, 10:29 AM
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^ I appreciate it! I'd be interested to see the Studebaker!
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