C3 Corvette Interior Restoration - Department of the Interior

Project Homewrecker gets its insides out and its outsides in

Dan Ryder Sep 27, 2007 0 Comment(s)
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Whether you're in the market for a project vehicle or not, many of us cross paths with a deal that cannot be passed up. At first you shake it off, but later that evening you're left sleepless thinking of the never-ending possibilities. The following day, the heat-seeking missile instinct takes over as you go for a second look. Although you see some imperfections that went unnoticed during the first encounter, the pros outweigh the cons. In your mind the decision has been made, but the deal isn't sealed at this time.

On the way home the seller's script begins to collectively flow through your head. "Seller's script?" Yes, you must rehearse ahead of time to sell the idea to your significant other when you get home. Need I go further? Whether the outcome is good, bad, or indifferent, you eventually become the new owner, and your project can now be labeled as a bona fide homewrecker.

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The first thing is to develop a plan of attack. We employed the help of Tom Keiling, retired from a career as a classic car restoration specialist. We conspired to first remove the seats, emergency brake console, and then to start tearing out the dreadful, faded, 35-year-old carpet.

This magazine's Project Homewrecker was introduced in the July '07 issue of Super Chevy. It kicked off at Motor City Auto Body in Newark, New Jersey, where the Vette was stripped of its hideous brown paint, prepped, and then covered in beautiful Targa Blue. We then installed an extensive amount of new exterior components from Mid America Motorworks (Effingham, Illinois). In the August issue we provided enhanced coverage on how to restore your vintage Corvette seats.

Consider the life of your car. Most sit outside to brave the elements such as the sun, snow, and rain. Even the most sacred Z/28s, Tri-Fives and big-block Vettes of yore usually started life as daily drivers. The life expectancy of your car is determined by the owner-yes, you! Is the maintenance done according to schedule? Is the interior conditioned and cared for? When was the last time a protective coat of wax was applied? Ask yourself these simple questions the next time you stare at your ripped seats, cracked dashboard, faded paint, and oil-consuming engine. We all have busy lives, and sometimes our cars pay the price.

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The next step was to remove the rear storage compartment door and frame assembly. A Phillips head screwdriver is all that's needed to accomplish this step.

Thankfully, the aftermarket has stepped up with solutions to our raggedy cars. As we noted last month, Corvettes have interiors that tend to wear out quickly, and our '72 LT-1 coupe was no exception. In fact, despite numerous tears, the seats in our project car were not the worst part of the cockpit. No. It was the faded, dried-out carpeting, cracked door, trim panels and console. These practically made the torn-up buckets seem nice. We were fortunate that the dashpad was in perfect condition, but pretty much everything else was junk.

For help, we turned again to Mid America Motorworks, which carries everything you'll need to revitalize your Corvette's innards-and at prices well within reason. Follow along as we turn our dungeon-like interior into a pleasant place to burn some rubber.

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Once the compartment was removed, the rear sections of carpet were carefully peeled away.

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First you must remove the shoulder belt units, the rear quarter trim panels, and the light housing.

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