of my 1964 Corvair Coupe
I'm sure you already know that you can click on the thumbnail to view a larger image.)
|The floorboards of many Corvairs rust out. Mine is among the many that have the dubious distinction of having had two floorboards: I was driving on a stretch of beach called Sand Bridge, which is located south of Virginia Beach. Like an idiot I stopped to observe the surf. When I started off, the rear wheels dug into the sand—suck-stuck tight. It wasn't until the tide had risen sufficiently to cover my floorboard in salt water that I was able to find some driftwood to support a jack. I finally broke free of the incursion of the Atlantic Ocean. Eventually, the floorboard rusted out and I replaced it with another. After a time, some holes were well worn into the part of the original floorboard that remained.|
|Some fiberglass and aluminum work I did to repair the holes.|
|Completed floorboard and dashboard.|
|Preparing front end. Note my sailboat in the near background.|
|Preliminary work on a twenty-year-old crunch|
|Sculpted Bondo and initial primer of crunched fender.|
|Rear-end preparation. This had once been done professionally because of a backup crunch.|
|Left side prior to work. Notice that the rear fender has shiny paint. That work is 20 years newer as result of minor dent.|
|My mentor, Billy Garrett, doing some quality spray painting.|
|More good painting.|
|First Restoration complete.|
|First Restoration complete.|
|More of completed restoration; showing upholstery.|
|Because I was confident the engine and transmission were in good shape, I elected not to do any 'refinements.'
I ordered key-slot gaskets, grommets for the firewall, engine-body seals; door, hood, trunk, and window seals and fuzzies. I also removed the front and rear seats and sent them to a local upholsterer and had him put on cloth seat covers. At one point I had to use my car to go to work so I placed a lawn chair inside and drove the 3 miles to the base.
Although my Corvair has the original color of paint, desert beige, it isn't stock, anymore. I added parts from Monzas: horn button and ring, glove-compartment door, the chrome trim around the windshield and rear window, wheel covers, and back-up lights, as well as a fold-down rear seat. I also installed rear safety belts. (I still have the original rear seat with its vinyl upholstery, though.)
The car was finally completed. I got a lot of stares and good comments when I drove around Key West.
One day, the inevitable happened. I was driving home from work and some idiot Conch went through a stop sign and I creamed his right-rear quarter. (Not all Conchs are idiots, but this one was.) My right-front fender was badly crunched and my beautiful original chrome fender was bent around. I don't know how, but neither the parking light nor the headlights were broken, although the bezel was dented.
Because I was close to going back to Panama for another 'arduous' tour in paradise, there wasn't time get the car repaired. I drove up to Lilburn, Georgia where my wife's sister offered to store my car. We told her that we'd be stationed in Panama for only 2 years so we put the car out in the yard with some nice tarps and covers draped over it. That was August of 1989. Ten years later in August of 1999 (now, I'm 56) I returned to the states as a Navy retiree. Actually, I retired from the Navy while in Panama in 1991, but landed this great contracting job there with the GTE Corporation, now Verizon. I digress. Sorry.
We had found a place to live up in the mountains of northeast Georgia, and after cutting down a pine tree that had grown behind it, my nephew and I pushed the car onto a trailer and I towed my Corvair behind my new Durango to the shed in the hills.