68 Impala Wagon modifications begin

Discussion in 'Cosmetic & Restoration' started by Colossal68, May 19, 2021.

  1. HotRodRacer

    HotRodRacer Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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  2. OrthmannJ

    OrthmannJ Always looking for old ford crew cabs

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    :biglaugh: Isn't that the way it ALWAYS goes?
     
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  3. Colossal68

    Colossal68 Member

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    I can imagine! I would have loved to have seen that. Especially back then when there were more people and less machines doing the work. My work has an office in Bowling Green, KY, and once this pandemic is over and the corvette plant is reopen for tours, I’m going to strategically plan a visit to get that experience myself!
     
  4. Colossal68

    Colossal68 Member

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    Thanks for sharing. My brother ironically sent me the same thing a little while ago and I devoured it! I love this kind of stuff! Unfortunately the one thing I didn’t find was the interior paint color, just the fabric color. But, I found a place today in Waukesha, WI, that can custom reproduce any color (Auto Paint and Supply Co.) They scanned my glovebox and claim they can reproduce the color and sheen, even match the metallic level. For the price they’re charging, I sure hope so. They told me that they have access to the worldwide list of interior and exterior paint codes, and there is nothing available for a 68 Impala wagon with saddle interior (maybe because this saddle was unique to wagons). I’ll let you know how it matches when I get the paint in a couple weeks.
     
  5. Silvertwinkiehobo

    Silvertwinkiehobo "Nothing is foolproof as fools are ingenious."

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    A '68 Chevrolet shop manual should have buck tag code listings. My '70 Olds Delta 88, I had the shop manual, and I was able to fully decode it's buck tag that way.
     
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  6. Colossal68

    Colossal68 Member

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    I’ll have to see if I can find one of those. Thx.
     
  7. jmt455

    jmt455 Well-Known Member

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    Neat project; keep up the great work!!
     
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  8. Colossal68

    Colossal68 Member

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    Step ??? I’ve Already lost Count: We’ve spent the last couple weeks scrubbing the frame with mineral spirits, followed by a power wash, followed by a degreasing with brake cleaner. Since we’re converting the car to stick, my brother welded the needed bracket to the frame for the clutch pedal. We were fortunate enough to be able to use my dad’s ‘69 Bel Air as a perfect template for placement. Then we painted the frame with satin black POR. The freshly painted frame makes the (all things considered very clean) floor plan look crappy by comparison, so I ordered some rust inhibiting matte black paint from Eastwood and will tackle that once the paint comes in.
    I brush painted the inner cowl with some satin black rustoleum to offer some protection. We found a small area of the cowl that had completely rusted through, so my brother’s going to weld in a new piece of metal there before we paint the cowl and firewall.

    Front frame scrubbed and degreased:
    D92B2893-795E-426C-A688-43CBE0446A78.jpeg

    Rear frame, scrubbed and degreased: 40494D5D-E2CA-4224-A1BF-3F64B1FE5C80.jpeg

    Clutch bracket welded to prep for manual conversion:
    85BD247D-803E-4744-BC6C-B6A902BFF6A6.jpeg

    Front frame painted with POR:
    8763F401-53D5-4555-BB9B-8098C70E5066.jpeg
    Rear frame painted with POR:
    9F7F0824-416B-497D-999D-4376389A4EF3.jpeg
     
  9. Colossal68

    Colossal68 Member

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    Cowl cleaned, degreased, and ready for painting:
    91863D10-7C74-4C9C-9DF9-EF2F6AC6A448.jpeg

    Inner cowl post-painting:
    1215534D-7617-40CB-9B39-BE89BE9FE921.jpeg
     
  10. Colossal68

    Colossal68 Member

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    Step 6: Prep for Interior Upgrades:
    Instead of buying a separate tach, oil pressure gauge, water temp gauge, etc. and find a place to mount them in a way that wasn’t obtrusive, I decided to bite the bullet and upgrade to a Dakota “Digital” (analogue) Dash that uses my existing dash bezel and replaces the gauge faces with the necessary gauges in a neat, semi-factory looking appearance. If you haven’t seen them before, you can check them out here: https://www.dakotadigital.com/index...t_id=863/category_id=423/mode=prod/prd863.htm

    Since I want to paint the scratched up dashboard and glovebox as well, I started disassembling the dash. That was much easier said than done. The hardest part was figuring out how everything fit together - particularly the chrome plastic bezel frame around the gauges. I removed every screw I could see and still couldn’t get the bottom piece loose. So I removed the radio to get a better look behind there and discovered that the bottom of the plastic bezel was held in place via little clips that slid under other little metal clips. A towel wrapped around a screwdriver along with some careful pressure was all that was needed to slip them out.

    During the disassembly, I also discovered that my dash pad had two 1-inch long cracks starting in both corners. My brother’s friend actually dyes and repairs dashboards for a living, so I set out removing the dash pad as well.


    B6D20E63-8B30-4580-A73D-6FD127893E68.jpeg
     
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  11. Silvertwinkiehobo

    Silvertwinkiehobo "Nothing is foolproof as fools are ingenious."

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    Can you get us that person's contact, if he owns a business? I'm sure he'd want more projects in from here, and because the member on Ranchero.us who did dash and upholstery work passed away, I'm sure the members on there would want that contact info also.
     
  12. VTWAGONLOVER

    VTWAGONLOVER Well-Known Member

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    I'm studying every picture and step of this process. It will become the step-by-step manual for when I do some of this work on mine - right down to the color codes!!! I'm grateful for you taking the time to share this - it will be so great to see the car coming back together and I know it will be super nice!!! So cool we have the same car and both from WI...:clap:
     
  13. VTWAGONLOVER

    VTWAGONLOVER Well-Known Member

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    I also wanted to share that I ran across a second option for gauges. Here is the link:

    https://completecustomauto.com/product/1968-impala-custom-bezel-radio-surround/

    I'm on the fence myself about which way to go, but I liked that there was at least another option besides Dakota. It is a completely different look from "stock", but I kind of like that about it. Here is a video link of the same setup that explains it better:

     
  14. Colossal68

    Colossal68 Member

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    Ironic - I spent a lot of time looking at this exact same dash! I agree that it’s another great option. As you said it looks different from factory set up but still maintains the same basic vibe of the decade. It looks like a very quality piece.
     
  15. Colossal68

    Colossal68 Member

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    Step 7: Paint the Dash
    There are some things in life you just learn the hard way. Painting the dash taught me a few hard-earned lessons (some of which in retrospect I should have known):
    • Humidity is the enemy. The first (and second time) I painted the dash, humidity was way too high in our non-air conditioned garage, which caused the paint to lay down weird and created a cloudiness in the clear coat. I was able to get rid of the cloudiness with a hair dryer, but I couldn’t salvage the other issues. I ended waiting till the humidity came down before painting it for a third and final time.
    • I should have removed the speaker. I left the dash speaker in place thinking I’m going to replace it anyway so leave it in place to protect the inside of the dash from overspray. Turns out 53-year-old speakers hold on to a LOT of dust and debris which loves to fly out onto your freshly painted dashboard. The speaker was removed before paint job#3.
    • The lower and upper parts of the dash have different sheens from the factory. The upper part is considered 0 degree (flat) while the lower (glove box face) is considered 60 degree (semi flat). Flat seemed too dull for me, so I went with satin for the upper and semi-gloss for the lower. Both are probably a little shinier than the factory, but they look good and will be easier to clean.
    All in all, I’m happy with the end product but it was a rough ride getting there. I’m very happy with the color match.

    prepping the dash with a lot of masking and some self-etching primer following some careful, tenuous sanding to hide old scratch marks.
    9734E6AF-FA77-4369-9131-3EBEE8E16C3C.jpeg 86BFD6CF-28E9-4223-8A4F-CE3BC7F7D612.jpeg

    the final product.
    F1D19439-524D-4BCB-AFEF-C7DF23C51B94.jpeg
     
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