1969 442 Convertible Restoration Project

Old July 14th, 2012, 06:46 AM
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1969 442 Convertible Restoration Project

Iíve been kicking around starting a thread on the restoration of this 1969 442 convertible and have had a couple of requests to do so recently. So here goes. A little background first. The car is not mine but belongs to a guy in the Dallas/Ft Worth area. I became friends with this person back in 2001 when I sold a 69 442 HT that I had restored and he purchased it. We stayed in touch and he really loved my old car. I knew he had a 69 442 conv and at the time, it was being restored at a shop in San Antonio, TX. Long story short, the shop in San Antonio turned into a disaster and the car had to be removed from their shop. The work had not been completed and there were boxes of parts that supposedly included everythingÖand then some. The owner thought the car just needed to be completed. He asked me if I would complete the car for him as he liked the work I did on the 442 I sold hm. After a lot of thought, and permission from the wife, I agreed to take the project. I asked if I should fly down to see the car and he said he would just send it to me. We agreed on the financial side of things and the car arrived in July 2006. A complete basket case, was painted by the other shop and there were parts everywhere. Closer inspection cause me concern as what I was seeing wasnít good. The car had a lot of body work and I was finding signs of a LOT of body filler. The engine didnít appear to rebuilt as claimed which now made me suspicious of any of the work done. Closer inspection showed a damaged frame too and one that would likely need to be replaced. A call to the owner with this news caused him to reconsider if he wanted to go through with this and I think I suggested he not do so. But in the end, he loves the 69 Cutlass/442 cars and he wanted it done. So the project was a go. Iíll try to post this project as I can. Still working on it and with work, house and family obligations too time is a premium. The photos I took were not to detail each step but more to show what was involved. Some work is detailed better, others are not. I wasnít a member of CO when I started this or I may have thought differently about the photos.
The front end was barely sitting on the car, it was painted a BMW blue and everything about the car was just poorly done. The car sat in my garage for about 9 months before I got to it.

Brian
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OLDS-2.jpg (58.5 KB, 555 views)
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442C delivered B.jpg (43.7 KB, 471 views)
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442C delivered C.jpg (83.6 KB, 472 views)
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442C as delivered C.jpg (54.1 KB, 468 views)
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Old July 14th, 2012, 06:58 AM
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A few more photos. Just loved the floor insulation....not even sure what that stuff is intened for. Many parts came with this car that don't belong with it. Anyone need a pair of 58 Caddy front door vent windows? Just goofy stuff like that. The front end had been strapped down in transport without the radiator support busings in place which slightly buckled the fenders. The previous shop had not been kind to this car either. The big seam on the quarter as viewed from inside the trunk, covered with lots of undercoat was not encouraging and later proved to be a good indication of just how poorly the work was by this shop, which is no longer in business. The owner is also deceased due to a drug overdose. That gives an idea of where customer money was going.
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442C delivered I.jpg (64.2 KB, 366 views)
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442C delivered K.jpg (85.5 KB, 365 views)
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442C quarter repair.jpg (103.1 KB, 334 views)
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442C delivered H.jpg (51.2 KB, 341 views)
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Old July 14th, 2012, 07:06 AM
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The tear down began and the more I saw the more I knew this was going to turn into a major project. A little detective work did show that this car was ordered with "special Order" Nugget Gold paint, code 03. I tend to believe this is very rare for a 69 Cutlass/442. As much as the owner liked the blue, I convinced him it needed to go back to gold and he agreed. Those suspicions about the engine not being rebuilt also proved true. The incorrect gold paint mostly fell off too as it was sprayed over grease. Notice the top pump wiring. A plug is within inches of where someone decided to cut the wiring. Dumb!
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442C torn down.jpg (75.9 KB, 365 views)
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442C torn down B.jpg (66.2 KB, 382 views)
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442C torn down D.jpg (91.0 KB, 391 views)
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442C torn down G.jpg (81.2 KB, 366 views)
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Old July 14th, 2012, 07:09 AM
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A few more pictures.
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442C engine cylinders.jpg (75.9 KB, 334 views)
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442C engine cylinders B.jpg (78.5 KB, 296 views)
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442C Gold Paint B.jpg (54.9 KB, 296 views)
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442C cylinder head.jpg (64.2 KB, 283 views)
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Old July 14th, 2012, 08:20 AM
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Wow, my wallet hurts just looking at it! Good luck and keep us posted!
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Old July 14th, 2012, 08:46 AM
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oldcutlass, that made me laugh! I know what you mean. My car is coming back today with a 455. Lookout world!
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Old July 14th, 2012, 08:56 AM
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We want pics of that!
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Old July 14th, 2012, 09:18 AM
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There were more surprises to come. The trunk lid was junk as someone had cut roughly 12" of lower section and tried to fabricate a new piece. Fail! There was close to 3/4" of filler that was used to make it straight. So a replacement declid was found. I sent the body out and had it media blasted. I was a little disappointed with the end result but the place said that was all they could do. So it was a little more sanding on my part. The blaster did tell me he took a lot of filler out of the body which didn't completely surprise me. I was a little surprised at some of the poor work that had been done. Driver's door...junk. Left qtr...junk, right quarter, though not seen well in the pictures had been patched, had previous damage and was very thin in spots. So that would also need to go. The pass door was useable but in the end I used a better door.
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442C stripped Dr side.jpg (53.1 KB, 411 views)
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442C stripped pass side B.jpg (55.8 KB, 393 views)
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442C stripped firewall.jpg (68.1 KB, 394 views)
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442C stripped back.jpg (69.0 KB, 380 views)
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Old July 14th, 2012, 09:25 AM
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Damn, my wallet is now on life support, it was too much, give us some good news!
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Old July 14th, 2012, 09:26 AM
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Here was some of the work that needed to go. The qtr repair didn't look too terrible but I'll get to that later. Loved the repair on what must have been hole for an old CB antenna. WTF...and this was a professional shop that did this? The driver's door had been worked so much that it was actually 1/4" narrower from front to back than the replacement door I used. Door handle repair...no probem....they covered with with lots of filler. Door lock hole was also shot. Dash had also been repaired. Both fenders had been patched but they still left rust holes and thin metal. The driver's fender was from a Supreme that had the molding on the side of the wheel opening and the holes were welded shut and ground down. But they ground the metal so much that it was paper thin in those areas.
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442C dr door mess.jpg (44.1 KB, 369 views)
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442C dash rust.jpg (65.4 KB, 376 views)
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442C old deck panel repair.jpg (49.7 KB, 354 views)
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442C dr Qtr old repair.jpg (55.7 KB, 373 views)
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442C Old fender repair.jpg (43.5 KB, 372 views)
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Old July 14th, 2012, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by oldcutlass View Post
Damn, my wallet is now on life support, it was too much, give us some good news!
Still working though the bad news. The only good news is the floors and trunk floor were mostly solid. Unusual for a conv.
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Old July 14th, 2012, 09:37 AM
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Here's a few more. The fender with the welded hole ground down . Also the hood stripped. Note the USS stamp on the metal. Both sides of the lower cowl also had some minor rot. I think I'll stop here for now so oldcutlass has a little time to recover. Yes, more bad news to come.
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442C hood USS stamp.jpg (45.9 KB, 314 views)
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442C old fender rust.jpg (44.8 KB, 333 views)
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442C stripped hood.jpg (40.4 KB, 311 views)
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442C cowl minor rust.jpg (58.2 KB, 334 views)
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Old July 14th, 2012, 09:43 AM
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Nooooooo!
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Old July 14th, 2012, 09:59 AM
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Let me throw a few more out here and then I need to get back in the garage as well as get the lwn mowed before it rains this afternoon.
I sanded the car down and put a couple of coats of metal etch primer on it to seal it for the time being. I installed both replacement doors which were both solid with one small dent on each. Not bad. Back to teh quarters. I didn't like what I was seeing inside the wheelhouse on both sides but mostly the driver's side worried me. And I wasn't sure how I wanted to handle the quarters themselves. Extra tough because no one makes quarters for this conv; only the HT models and they need to be modified to fit. So I started slowly. Sure enough, more hack work. I think there were 5 different patches on this wheelhouse just to try to put a lip on it. Another miserable failure. Whoever was doing this stuff needs to have their tools taken away! The trunk floor drops were also fabricated poorly. The last photo will show the little bit of rust that was on the trunk floor and it was just on that corner which made for an easy fix.
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442C quarter work.jpg (51.7 KB, 432 views)
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442C quarter work B.jpg (51.0 KB, 385 views)
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442C quarter work C.jpg (55.6 KB, 376 views)
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442C quarter work D.jpg (58.1 KB, 391 views)
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442C quarter work E.jpg (53.8 KB, 391 views)
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Old July 14th, 2012, 10:05 AM
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Let's start to fix a few things. First and an easy one..the old CB antenna hole. I cut the damage out a little larger and made it round. Cut a patch, dfid a little fitting, marked it and welded it in place. A little grinding and it was ready for a skim coat of filler.
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Rear Filler Panel Patch.jpg (24.7 KB, 291 views)
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Rear Filler Panel Patch B.jpg (25.0 KB, 275 views)
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Rear Filler Panel Patch C.jpg (26.4 KB, 284 views)
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Old July 14th, 2012, 10:11 AM
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The wheelhouse, trunk drop and trunk floor was next. I decided to replace the quarter as the wheelhouse needed a lot of work. HT parts were bought and donor pieces were cut to make the repiars. A reproduction trunk drop was also bought.
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Lt Wheelhouse.jpg (65.6 KB, 390 views)
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Lt Wheelhouse B.jpg (64.1 KB, 384 views)
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Lt Wheelhouse C.jpg (58.6 KB, 374 views)
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Lt Wheelhouse welded.jpg (64.9 KB, 394 views)
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Lt Side Trunk Extension C.jpg (38.1 KB, 396 views)
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Old July 14th, 2012, 10:19 AM
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It took some time but the pieces were fitted and installed to repair all of the rot and previous work. My son even got in on the action and he did a little welding on the wheelhouse repair. After everything was welded in place, it was ground down, finished off with a little fiberglass filler/body filler and sprayed with epoxy primer. As part of this repair a lot of time was spent fitting the quarter too since that wheelhouse lip needs to align with the qtr and in the correct place. I try to finish my work so i's difficult to tell if a repair was ever made. I also finished the wheelhouse in the side that faces the tire. No traces of a repair at all.
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Lt wheelhouse welded C.jpg (64.2 KB, 371 views)
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Lt Side Trunk Extension B.jpg (48.4 KB, 354 views)
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Lt Side Trunk Extension D.jpg (40.3 KB, 372 views)
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Lt Qtr repair B.jpg (60.8 KB, 408 views)
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Lt Qtr repair D.jpg (55.0 KB, 380 views)
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Old July 14th, 2012, 03:47 PM
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The new quarter skins are pretty decent but they include metal that would cover down over the rocker. I didn't like that as I wanted to install the panel like the original. This meant I would need to pit and align the panel and figure out where I could bend the bottom to make s lip that would sit on top of the rocker and be welded to the rocker from inside. Being that these skins are for HT cars, they require some trimming to match the profile of the conv body. I did not like the very front edge of the panel that was intended to fit inside the jam and would provide the front edge that would match to the door. The edge was too rounded so I cut it off and sectioned the skin to a piece of the original panel I left in place. The body line along the top front also was different for a HT so I had to cut it back. Conv panels are flat along the top and HT panels have the wheel flair going up into the C pillar. So I had to do some work to get it to sit flat along the top. I did leave a little more of the original panel in that area so I could spot weld the new skin down against that area. It worked out pretty well. The back section also took some rework to allow the skin to have a flat section on it under the tail light. The panel as made was fully curved along the back.
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442C repl quarter.jpg (55.3 KB, 367 views)
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Rt Qtr off D.jpg (40.2 KB, 371 views)
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Lt Qtr F.jpg (57.7 KB, 402 views)
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Lt Qtr G.jpg (43.6 KB, 375 views)
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Lt Qtr repair E.jpg (52.3 KB, 425 views)
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Old July 14th, 2012, 03:57 PM
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The passenger side had similar issues as was found on the driver's side with the exception that someone had not be in there to butcher anything. The repiar to the outer wheelhouse involved a section of the inner as well.
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Rt Qtr off.jpg (61.5 KB, 317 views)
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Rt Qtr off B.jpg (53.8 KB, 288 views)
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Rt Qtr off E.jpg (61.1 KB, 294 views)
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Rt Qtr off F.jpg (65.3 KB, 289 views)
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Rt Qtr off G.jpg (63.9 KB, 282 views)
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Old July 14th, 2012, 04:00 PM
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While the passenger side quarter was off, I stripped the trunk floor and put 2 coats of epoxy primer on it.
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Trunk Floor Stripped B.jpg (62.0 KB, 334 views)
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Trunk Floor Stripped.jpg (60.1 KB, 321 views)
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Trunk Floor Stripped C.jpg (74.4 KB, 313 views)
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Trunk Floor Epoxy Primed.jpg (50.6 KB, 336 views)
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Old July 14th, 2012, 04:05 PM
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Passenger side quarter skin was then installed. I did remove all of the old quarter that was sitting on top of the rocker. Making the bend on the new skin was somewhat challenging due to locating it exactly where it needed to be. I borrowed an old spot welder from a friend and it did a great job. A also mig welded some of the front edge up by the door.
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Rt Qtr on.jpg (54.5 KB, 297 views)
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Rt Qtr On B.jpg (53.9 KB, 282 views)
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Rt Qtr On C.jpg (38.9 KB, 282 views)
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Rt Qtr on D.jpg (51.2 KB, 298 views)
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Old July 14th, 2012, 04:17 PM
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When I started to remove all of the undercoat inside the wheelhouse, I ran into rot on the inner section. Both sides were the same. Someone from the previous shop hid that damage with a ton of undercoat. So I cut out a large section of the inner wheelhouse which then revealed a rotted trunk floor edge. That edge had to be cut off and replaced on both sides before the patches from repop inner panels were installed. The upper section of the rear seat has brackets welded to the sides that in turn are welded to the inner wheelhouse. Both brackets had to be removed to repair the inner wheelhouse and both brackets had rot too. A new section was fabbed for both sides.
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Rt Inner Whlhouse repair.jpg (67.0 KB, 300 views)
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Rt inner whlhouse repair B.jpg (60.3 KB, 286 views)
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Rt inner whlhouse repair C.jpg (75.5 KB, 288 views)
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Rt inner whlhouse repair D.jpg (71.8 KB, 297 views)
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Old July 14th, 2012, 04:21 PM
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Here's the new inner wheelhouse section welded in place and the welds ground down. This is the finished view of the left side but both sides were done in the same manner.
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Lt inner whlhouse repaired.jpg (61.1 KB, 291 views)
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Old July 14th, 2012, 04:29 PM
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Here's how it looked after a little filler, epoxy primer and a fill primer. I put the fill primer on the trunk floor too. Also sanded all of the inisde of the body from the wheelhouses back to get rid of all the junk that was on there.

Both sides of the cowl needed a small patch like shown. I let my son do these and they turned out well. Lots of trash was pulled out of the lower cowl when the bad sections were removed.
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Cowl Repair.jpg (57.1 KB, 273 views)
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Cowl Repair B.jpg (49.2 KB, 261 views)
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Cowl Patched.jpg (46.9 KB, 263 views)
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Cowl Patched B.jpg (44.3 KB, 255 views)
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Old July 14th, 2012, 04:36 PM
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Brian,
Just found this thread and went through it. I can't tell you how impressed I am with your skills and work to date on this car. So glad you decided to start this thread. That car owes you its life.

The owner's still good with funding the project I hope. Just curious - how many hours would you estimate you have into this?

BTW, I have garage envy now.....
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Old July 15th, 2012, 05:01 AM
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Nice work ,
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Old July 15th, 2012, 06:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Allan R View Post
Brian,
Just found this thread and went through it. I can't tell you how impressed I am with your skills and work to date on this car. So glad you decided to start this thread. That car owes you its life.

The owner's still good with funding the project I hope. Just curious - how many hours would you estimate you have into this?

BTW, I have garage envy now.....
Thanks Allan. The owner is good with all of this and he is really the main one responsible for this car being saved since he is paying for it. He's a great guy who grew up in a family with very modest income. As a kid, he fell in love with the 69 Olds 442 cars and told me how he would ride his bike to the used car dealers and would just admire them anytime a dealer had a 69 442. He told himself if he was ever in a position to own these cars some day, that he would. He started his own business years ago and is now in the position to own them. He's owned 2 69 HO's, a 69 HT (the one I sold him) and he wanted to get a convertible. There is some emotional part to this and this has been a life long goal for him. And for me, I lke a challenge from time to time and I got one with this car. I get to have some fun without paying for it.

Hours to date, not to the point reflected in the photos but where it is now, is close to 900.

Garages...no matter how big they are, they are never big enough!
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Old July 15th, 2012, 06:16 AM
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Originally Posted by DENT View Post
Nice work ,
Thank you.
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Old July 15th, 2012, 06:32 AM
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In doing a little test fitting of the rear lights, I didn't like the gap as it was very uneven. I also had an issue with the gap for the deck lid on the driver's side. Not sure if the quarter was moved outward a little as this car had evidence of rear end accident damage. I decided to use 1/8" round rod welded in place to fix the problem as I didn't want to start moving the quarter around as that would lead to other issues. It is possible that the factory als just was sloppy in how it was assembled from the start.
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Taillight bad gap.jpg (36.2 KB, 277 views)
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Taillight bad gap B.jpg (40.1 KB, 259 views)
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Taillight bad gap C.jpg (31.9 KB, 252 views)
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Taillight gap repair B.jpg (43.8 KB, 261 views)
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Taillight gap repair D.jpg (39.7 KB, 245 views)
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Old July 15th, 2012, 06:37 AM
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Here's the finished passenger side gap and the repaired gap for the deck lid. I added a piece of the same round wire to the edge of the deck lid and ground it to fit.
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Taillight gap repair E.jpg (33.9 KB, 220 views)
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Deck lid gap repaired.jpg (42.6 KB, 215 views)
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Old July 15th, 2012, 06:48 AM
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With the panel repair out of the way, the body work was done and sprayed with epoxy primer and then a build primer. I did the fenders and hood at the same time after the fenders had been repaired. I'll show the fenders later. I must not have taken a photo of the dash repair as I cut out the previous repair and did my own. What was there didn't look too bad but from what I had encountered with the other work, I wasn't going to trust it. I think the 2 bolts holding the column support rods to the cowl were the only 2 bolts not removed from this entire car.
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1-1-08 Dr side.jpg (41.7 KB, 216 views)
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1-1-08 side.jpg (43.8 KB, 214 views)
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1-1-08 trunk.jpg (35.5 KB, 201 views)
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1-1-08 trunk B.jpg (34.9 KB, 204 views)
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1-1-08 hood B.jpg (46.6 KB, 209 views)
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Old July 15th, 2012, 06:53 AM
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A few more. You can see in some of these pictures that I was starting to locate and install the original slots for the quarter trim clips to duplicate what was there originally. Time consuming and I'm not sure I would do that again if I would ever be in this position again.
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1-1-08 Cowl.jpg (53.7 KB, 242 views)
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1-1-08 dash.jpg (44.9 KB, 245 views)
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1-1-08 dash top.jpg (51.1 KB, 240 views)
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1-1-08 inner door.jpg (45.1 KB, 250 views)
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Old July 15th, 2012, 07:14 AM
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During the process of finishing the main body work on the panels, I also test fit all the front sheetmetal. I knew the frame was damaged and the photo of the LF wheel shows things were not as they were supposed to be. A few meaurements showed the rail was back about an inch on that side and the lower control arm mounting points were also out of place. It probably could be straightened but the damage which I will show later, would not allow the frame to look good cosmetically. It was also bent in the back in the past and straightened so a replacement was likely in the works.

With the body where I wanted it for the time being, it was time to pull the body off the frame. The body was reinforced with steel and I also made my own rotisserie using engine stands from Harbor Freight. At $39.95 ea, it was a bargain. I cut the upright and extended it using the pieces intended for the legs. I already had 3" square 1/8" wall tubing and that became the bottom mount to which I would later attach varoius other jigs. Keeping these jigs modular lets me store them easily. The front and back were later tied together with length of wood.
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DSC01194.jpg (46.8 KB, 314 views)
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DSC01196.jpg (49.0 KB, 299 views)
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Old July 16th, 2012, 01:29 PM
  #34  
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Gave the rotisserie a try and no problems.
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2 4 Rorisserie.jpg (59.7 KB, 316 views)
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2 4 Rotisserie B.jpg (50.1 KB, 287 views)
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2 4 Rotisserie C.jpg (55.5 KB, 286 views)
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Old July 16th, 2012, 01:34 PM
  #35  
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The frame showed evidence of a rear collision at one point and 2 of the rear body mounts also show the same evidence since they were collapsed in slightly. Those areas were also starting to rot. A broken body mount bolt located near the rear of the left front seat would also need to be removed.
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2 17 08 Rotted Mount.jpg (68.3 KB, 263 views)
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2 17 08 Rotted Mount B.jpg (43.3 KB, 249 views)
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2 17 08 Rotted Mount C.jpg (47.8 KB, 239 views)
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2 4 Rear Body Mount B.jpg (61.4 KB, 242 views)
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2 4 Rear Body Mount C.jpg (63.8 KB, 240 views)
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Old July 16th, 2012, 01:41 PM
  #36  
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The undercoat was removed with a propane torch and scraper. Any residue were washed off with lacquer thinner. What a mess!! Once all the undercoat was removed, the floors were sanded to bare metal. All surface rust was removed and the rear mounts were repaired. I looked like a coal miner after some of that sanding which took several days to complete. For it being a convertible, I was really surprised to find the floors in such nice condition. Any welds from previous floor repairs I did were ground clean and finished too.
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2 17 08 Underside.jpg (79.9 KB, 287 views)
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2 17 08 Underside B.jpg (79.9 KB, 256 views)
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3-22 Underside Stripped B.jpg (84.3 KB, 256 views)
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3-22 Underside Stripped C.jpg (71.1 KB, 253 views)
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Old July 16th, 2012, 01:49 PM
  #37  
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After sealing the metal with epoxy primer, the underside was sprayed with Eastwood underhood black. The firewall and very back section of the floor would be finished once the body came off of the rotisserie.
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3-23 Underside Painted.jpg (73.0 KB, 274 views)
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3-23 Underside Painted B.jpg (77.9 KB, 247 views)
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3-23 Underside Painted C.jpg (71.8 KB, 267 views)
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Old July 16th, 2012, 02:00 PM
  #38  
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You have a keen eye for detail and creativity. Love that idea of the engine stand conversion to a rotisserrie.

Are you changing out the frame? Curious to see the damage on it.
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Old July 16th, 2012, 03:53 PM
  #39  
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Thanks Alan. I didn't want to spend big money on a rotisserie so the engine stands worked out well.

The frame did get replaced and I will be posting a few picture of the damage shortly.
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Old July 16th, 2012, 04:02 PM
  #40  
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With the underside of the body complete, I masked it off with plastic and built a cart to sit the body on. It made it easy to move it around and I needed to use the rotisserie for the frame work. The firewall and rear section was painted and those areas were also masked but I didn't have any pictures to show that work.
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4-6 Body on Cart.jpg (45.8 KB, 281 views)
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4-6 Body on Cart B.jpg (46.3 KB, 277 views)
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4-4 Body on Cart C.jpg (53.0 KB, 277 views)
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4-6 Body on Cart D.jpg (54.7 KB, 294 views)
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