Here goes a number of pictures displaying the 1961 BubbleTop Chevrolet Impala restoring process. The 2-door hardtop version was the very first muscle car, with a big V8. Mine has got the lowly and trusted 6-cyl. The target is to take the car from the first picture - taken the very first time I saw it - to the second one, depicted in a book about American Muscle Cars.
Carlinhos the bodyman performed many bloody surgeries since November 2009. He amputated rusted pieces and replaced them with new steel.
Serginho, the painter, points to the rusty trunk. The rusty bumper lays on the floor. Yes, it has already been totally cleaned up and rechromed. The bumpers were in great shape!
Serginho's both kidneys are paralyzed and he has his blood filtered outside his body three times a week. But he likes to work on old, rusty cars to feed his four children.
Carlinhos is a great bodyman, low profile, discreet, and this picture displays the replaced steel. It's an excellent work:
The right front bumper had a hard time under previous administrations and had a lot of plastic filler. Its top wrinkle wouldn't accept straightening and Carlinhos cut it out (see the middle crayon mark). Comply or die...
Bob Costa and the primered Impala, at the VCC-Brasília "paint booth". Funny, there is no paint booth, I know. But Ivan can do his magic even so.
The 235.5 c.i. straight six (that's 3860 cm3) should have been tested in loco. Nino the mechanic will have to do it elsewhere. His real name is Cinforiano (the one and only, I guess).
Ivan the painter was preparing the engine bay for painting. I declared aloud that the car had 1 HP at that moment (March 11,11). Everyone else shouted that it was 1 Ass Power, actually.
Before the last coat of Performance Red, Ivan sanded the car once more, taking every glow out of the color. I pitied it!
On March 9, 11, Ivan painted the car. Right where you see it. The poor Beetle got a little redder (it won't mind, I'm sure). We won't sand it for now. Let's put the car to run first!
It is a real shiner. There are still defects (we call them fish eyes around here). We'll take care of that only when everything's working. When? I don't ask myself that silly question, I just keep fighting.
Ivan the star professional took the picture of the painted engine bay, March 11,11.
I guess I'll drop in there the 250 c.i. (4100 cm3) from a 1972 Opala, a Brazilian mix of an Impala and a German Opel, that I bought from Celinho. I'm having it machined by Sabonete Retífica for only 400 reals. There it is: