From the weeds to the wicked! (73 Chevelle)

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From the weeds to the wicked! (73 Chevelle)

Post by Tuffenough4u on Wed Apr 03, 2013 3:31 am

Hello everyone. I am new to the forum and to Chevelles in general.

So as my story goes... I have a friend who owned a 73 Malibu. He always talked about how he wanted to fix it up and the whole "one of these days" bits... When I first seen the car he spoke of I have to be honest. I thought it was hideous and didn't understand his interest in it at all. Past the badges and tail lights, I was in disbelief it was even a Chevelle, due to the fact I had never even seen one, or at least never noticed one if I did. Far different from the popular 1st and 2nd Gen cars, it initially had 0 appeal to me.
As time passed, so did my friend's motivation for the car.
However, a new movie at the time had came out and if you'd already knew I was going to say "Drive", thats the one! This forced me to take a second look at the car and I began to ponder the idea of it as a sleeper sorta ride. The thoughts grew more as did my appreciation for the 73, so much so I saved it from the weeds, bought it and am building it the way I envisioned it suiting my taste. Something sorta dark/sinister set with quite a few modern approaches throughout.

Tooling around with photoshop, I was able to create a few mock-ups of the project goal.

From the weeds where I rescued it!
 photo CodyMalibu_zps59dbb272.jpg

A few of the car once I moved it into the garage and, removed the interior for the most part and started accessing the situation.

Project Launch photo DSC00836_zps4423d31a.jpg
 photo DSC00838_zpsffc820f1.jpg
 photo DSC00839_zps111b81e2.jpg
 photo DSC00840_zpsdbba1043.jpg
 photo Engineremoval_zps1508a07a.jpg

With some photoshop tinkering, this is the over all stance I am after

Stance Concept v1 photo 73MalibuDrop_zps24ee9d20.jpg

And once again, some photoshop of the dash revamp I intend to assemble

 photo PSEditDash73Chevelle_zps123f634a.jpg
 photo Dashv2_zpsc90756e0.jpg
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Re: From the weeds to the wicked! (73 Chevelle)

Post by dynchel on Wed Apr 03, 2013 7:31 am

Very ambitious. Good luck, should be sweet when done. happy bowtie
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Re: From the weeds to the wicked! (73 Chevelle)

Post by driveit on Wed Apr 03, 2013 8:26 am

Like the look and love the tablet idea. Never saw anything like that before.
Good luck to you and keep us posted!
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Re: From the weeds to the wicked! (73 Chevelle)

Post by Tuffenough4u on Wed Apr 03, 2013 12:44 pm

Thanks fellas!

And yes, the tablet is not a common idea yet, but its going to catch on more and more. There are a few youtube users that have successfully done this if you search it.
I had originally intended to use a standard laptop due to programming ease with typical OS's, but the cost of those are considerably more expensive.
What gave me the idea is the fact I have had a laptop "netbook" in my pickup for a couple years now for business reasons. But as time went on I was using it more for media through an auxiliary cable run to my stereo. Then that wasn't enough either, so with a smart phone and an app called PDAnet, you can tether the phone to the PC and connect to the internet via the phone. So when I travel rodeo, I can have internet on the fly and pull maps and websites while out on the road without the need for a stationary hard line or router access.
The tablets however are much smaller and all of them are touch screen. This is a lot easier to navigate while in a vehicle since there is no mouse or keyboard to worry with.
With some basic knowledge of programming I can hard wire everything in car to work from the tablet if I wanted to, such as engine start sequences, data info, lights, locks, rear cameras etc. And all by voice command with speech recognition. This means an external mic can be mounted in a hidden location and will respond with voice recognition for accessing the vehicles operations.
(The tablet is the key) Without it nothing would work making it somewhat more difficult for theft.

But with all that being stated, I would of course have manual ways to over ride the system should anything electronic fail. This setup is not for everyone, but it will have an awesome factor of 11 on a 1-10 scale.
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Re: From the weeds to the wicked! (73 Chevelle)

Post by alleyball4 on Wed Apr 03, 2013 2:34 pm

good luck to you .... I can't wait to see how everything turns out

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Re: From the weeds to the wicked! (73 Chevelle)

Post by pila on Wed Apr 03, 2013 7:13 pm

Before you go too far, jack it up & check the underside and the frame. Sitting in grass really is bad on bodies and frames.
Hope it's not too bad for you.......

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Re: From the weeds to the wicked! (73 Chevelle)

Post by fishhead on Wed Apr 03, 2013 8:38 pm

That is one beautiful beast.Don't change a single thing on the exterior,you NAILED it bud. happy bowtie

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Re: From the weeds to the wicked! (73 Chevelle)

Post by Tuffenough4u on Wed Apr 03, 2013 10:57 pm

pila - Yeah I checked it all out. The frame is in great shape, but the floor pans are toast, but I already knew that about the car, so I have all the material to drop some new ones in there and make it fresh.

fishhead - I appreciate that. My Dad is a master at setting ride and tuck on these old cars, so we sat and moved it all around with photoshop until we both agreed it was set right.
I added the cowl hood and blacked out the chrome pieces. I might add a small nascar style 35deg fin to the boot lid later to see if I like it once I am ready for that step.
As for the black, I am tooling around with the idea of two toning it with a flat and gloss. But that is still way away at this point, but it is awesome to utilize photoshop to get an idea of a finished look before one gets started! Keeps me motivated!

As a project update, I pulled the dash out today and have it setting in the living room.
I am going to strip off the old vinyl, block out the vents.
After that I plan to coat and form the bare shell with EPP (EXPANDED POLYPROPYLENE) foam before reupholstering it.

For those who are not farmiliar with that foam, you should get to know about it for projects of this nature.
I personally learned about it in the model airplane hobby. It is known for its durability, and is easy to shape, sand, cut and is resistant to glues that will dissolve most other foams. You can bend this stuff in half, stomp is and run over it with a car and it will always go right back to original shape. I have included some links below for info and where to buy it.

http://www.epp.com/

http://www.rcfoam.com/index.php?cPath=83&osCsid=f59b13752ad54d7450f3f974ab3f6300

Here are pictures of my old man's nova so you can see what I meant about how he sets them

 photo N2_zpsdf28992a.jpg

 photo N_zpsf0b2e368.jpg
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Re: From the weeds to the wicked! (73 Chevelle)

Post by fishhead on Wed Apr 03, 2013 11:44 pm

I'm anxious to see what your design ideas are for the exhaust and how/where it exits.I considered hiring a water-jet service to cut 2 horizontal oval slots in my rear bumper and run oval tips through them.I like smooth edges... Cool

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Re: From the weeds to the wicked! (73 Chevelle)

Post by Tuffenough4u on Wed Apr 03, 2013 11:52 pm

Yeah, I like the way you think! I have been debating a few ideas on it actually, just got to decided whats going to work once I get there
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Re: From the weeds to the wicked! (73 Chevelle)

Post by Fishgrinder on Thu Apr 04, 2013 4:38 am

Looks like a great project! I will follow this thread.

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Re: From the weeds to the wicked! (73 Chevelle)

Post by thatfnthing on Thu Apr 04, 2013 10:04 am

Thanks for the info on the EPP. I'm always looking for something new to fashion parts out of, and that looks very interesting.

Good luck on the project, and feel free to post as-you-go pictures of the dash rebuild so we can see how you did it. Smile
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Re: From the weeds to the wicked! (73 Chevelle)

Post by alleyball4 on Thu Apr 04, 2013 11:50 am

I am confused on the foam. Is it a spray?

when I go to the rcfoam website, it looks like they sell it in sheets.

Just Dashes in California, uses some type of fiber resin to form their dashes, and I believe it is some kind of paste, that it built up coat by coat, and shaped, and sanded.

I have been told, itt is an art, to do that kind of work, and that is probably why they charge a grand to redo a dash. I also know, all the sanding makes an absolute mess of your garage.

I found another company in Indy, that was going to take the job on, for a few hundred dollars less, but they wouldn't guarantee, against cracks, etc. That wasn't worth it. Just dashes has been doing it for many years, and they guarantee their work.

If you have the artistic skill, then doing it yourself might be the way to go. It looks like you will save a small fortune !

Unfortunately, I have very little artistic skill, so I am still exploring my options on an economical way to redo my dash. In fact I have 3 dashes, that need redone ... lol
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Re: From the weeds to the wicked! (73 Chevelle)

Post by Tuffenough4u on Thu Apr 04, 2013 1:56 pm

Yes the foam is sold in sheets.
I have been shaping airfoils in wings and so on with this stuff for years, so complex shapes are not hard at all once you get used to working with the stuff.
And yes is can get dusty as always with sanding things, but this particular foam has a rubberish density to it and doesn't "dry dust" up like typical rigid materials. Also is doesn't have to be done in a garage. Just take it outside on a sunny day or keep a shop vac handy.

And yes I am sure there are custom shops that can do a fantastic job with the methods you mentioned, but like you said it will cost a small fortune and I am not willing to throw all my money in something I feel like I can do myself in ways I am familiar with first.

As for shaping the foam, you don't have to worry with rounding edges or being as precise as I feel you are imagining. The thickness will be the same due to the pre-cut sheets. Once you stretch the vinyl over it, the sharp edges will compress and round them selves, much like the foam block cushions used for seat upholstering.

As far as skill goes with this sorta stuff, this will be the first dash I have ever attempted and I am sure practice will improve outcome.
But I don't get fooled into thinking there is only one or two ways to skin a cat.
Some of the best fabrications I have ever done where accomplished by trying things outside of the industry standard and invented a new and more efficient way in the process doing so.
Sometimes you just got to run with the Hannibal phrase
"Aut viam inveniam aut faciam"
(I shall either find a way or make one)

Anyhow, I will document the whole process and post lots of pictures of my progress as I go. Just got to wait on things to come in at this point.

Here is a place for different vinyl materials I am considering

http://www.onlinefabricstore.net/decor/upholstery-fabric-and-supplies/upholstery-fabric/vinyl-upholstery-fabric.htm?&N=6342+4294963864
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Re: From the weeds to the wicked! (73 Chevelle)

Post by badtemper44 on Fri Apr 05, 2013 12:23 am

I am just in love with the tablet in dash idea!
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Re: From the weeds to the wicked! (73 Chevelle)

Post by 1973 454 MONTE on Sat Apr 06, 2013 9:31 am

welcome aboard

looks like you have a lot of work in your future..

best of luck,cant wait to see end result.
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Re: From the weeds to the wicked! (73 Chevelle)

Post by Tuffenough4u on Sat Apr 06, 2013 3:04 pm

Thanks^

So I ordered a load of stuff for the interior today. I know its a bit off line of the build at this point, but I like to have as much stuff up front as possible.

I ordered everything for the dash build.
Foam, vinyl, metal, PVC sheets, etc...

Changed the gauges to the Autometer American Muscle type and ordered those. Two 5", and four 2 1/16".
I am however minus two gauges from the original idea, so I will be taking the dash concept under the knife once again, to get things laid out properly.




As for the sound equipment, I went with the JVC KD-X80BT Head unit



To hook to that ^, I went with Focal Access 165A1 SG components/tweeters, Alpine SWR-12D2 Subs, and 1000mono and 600 2 channels amps.
This setup should be loud and clear enough to hear over any engine and KICK a$$ over all!
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Re: From the weeds to the wicked! (73 Chevelle)

Post by Tuffenough4u on Tue Apr 09, 2013 4:35 pm

Tore off the dash padding, and wow! There isn't much to the inner shell of these things, and there will be a lot of building up to be done before I recover it, but I don't feel like there should be to much trouble doing so. I will post up pics as soon as I get more done
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Re: From the weeds to the wicked! (73 Chevelle)

Post by driveit on Wed Apr 10, 2013 8:11 am

Sounds like your movin along much quicker than myself. I had every intension of spending most of my evening after work on the Chevelle, but ended up washing the front the house. It was a mess and took from about 4:30-9:00 to complete. I guess if you are married and still like to mess around with an old car, you got to keep the wife happy too!

Keep up the good work!
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Re: From the weeds to the wicked! (73 Chevelle)

Post by dynchel on Wed Apr 10, 2013 8:24 am

I guess if you are married and still like to mess around with an old car, you got to keep the wife happy too!

Keep up the good work![/quote] amen. This is the most legit statement I've heard in a while.
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Re: From the weeds to the wicked! (73 Chevelle)

Post by thatfnthing on Wed Apr 10, 2013 9:46 am

Ditto. Keep the wife happy and she'll even help out with the car and go to the boneyard with you. Smile
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Re: From the weeds to the wicked! (73 Chevelle)

Post by driveit on Wed Apr 10, 2013 9:51 am

thatfnthing wrote:Ditto. Keep the wife happy and she'll even help out with the car and go to the boneyard with you. Smile

Not too sure about that one, but she has surprised me in the past!
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Re: From the weeds to the wicked! (73 Chevelle)

Post by Tuffenough4u on Thu Apr 11, 2013 12:59 am

Yeah, I understand doing your part for the wife. Priorities first

Here are a couple pics of stripping the dash padding and old vinyl. Some of this stuff is a real pain to remove, but with enough patience and a big blade it will come off.

 photo Dashstrip_zpsef28c2af.jpg

So I got a few shipments in today and here what I got
The gauges, new vinyl roll, EPP foam, and two different types of wood grain "burl" vinyl to decide on.
Still waiting on my PVC plastic sheeting to get in.
 photo Dashcomponents_zps0d078e30.jpg
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Re: From the weeds to the wicked! (73 Chevelle)

Post by driveit on Thu Apr 11, 2013 9:13 am

Those gauges are growing on me.
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Re: From the weeds to the wicked! (73 Chevelle)

Post by Tuffenough4u on Thu Apr 11, 2013 12:13 pm

Yeah, I was not impressed with them at first either, cause I thought they had to much aluminum. But I kept fooling around with the custom shop gauge builder on the autometer site and I couldn't come to terms with no option to get "through the dial lighting" like the cobalts, NV's, ES's, and of coarse these American Muscle series. Granted you can get a number of LED colored incandescent lighting, but I felt that would be to bright for the night look I wanted in the end. Considering I have a tablet going in there and a few other lighted things, it would have looked like a 747 cockpit.
I am not completely sure how I will mount them yet, however I am considering building a two layer panel to counter sink the bezels back behind the front layer to get them set deep.
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Re: From the weeds to the wicked! (73 Chevelle)

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