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Floors, Dash & Firewall

The floors were up next. The first picture shows what the underside looked like circa 2015. The previous owner had taken this picture during the sandblasting phase before he abandoned working on it.

The second picture is what it first looked like when I put it on my rotisserie 2 years later. In this picture I had removed the frame reinforcements that were welded in to stiffer the car for drag racing.

The last picture is what it looked like just after I had it re-sandlbasted.

There really wasn't much rust on the floors. There was a small area on the driver's toepan. The patch was only that large since the floor was so dented in this area, it was easier just to replace a larger piece of the floor.

The seat reinforcements where notched out when the frame reinforcements were added. I butt-welded in new sections cut from a new seat reinforcement instead of replacing the whole thing.

Other then that, I had a whole bunch of holes to weld up that were drilled through the floor during its life as a drag car.

The transmission tunnel was really butchered. The car came with a transmission tunnel from another car, so I used the section with the original shifter opening to cut the opening in the replacement section. Then I butt-welded the replacement section into place. The shift boot reinforcement was welded in later....

With the welding all done, next came the filler work. As with my other repairs, I started with Evercoat chopped fiberglass filler and fiished with Evercoat Rage Gold polyester filler. The floor was then primed with PPG DP90LF black epoxy primer. I chose black so that it would reveal any missed areas and defects in my work.

Some people would normally consider the underside done and ready for paint, but I plan on going over it one more time to make it look even better prior to paint. This won't happen until after the main body goes through the highbuild primer and blocking stage and it is in final primer. At that point the only thing left to do is put the underside in paint without having to worry about primer overspray.

The firewall was quite a mess. I had a lot of holes to weld up. I also had two patches to put in. One at the the center and the other below the cowel tag. It was important to know at this point, which holes were factory original that needed to be kept and which ones needed to be plugged. The holes for the muncie 4 speed speedometer cable (1 for the cable, 2 for the retainers) and one hole for the console oil gauge hose were identified early. Because the original running gear was gone, it was important to identify these holes since it's the only proof that the car was truely an SS 350 car. Note: You can't see these holes in the first picture because they were covered with patches that were riveted over them.

The top of the dash had some typical rust holes at the base of the windshield opening. The speaker opening was totally ruined by whoever bolted gauges to it and ran lines to the gauges. At least the dash face was perfect. It just needed to be sandblasted. This was done with the dash removed from the car.

Prior to fitting the dash to the car, I had to locate a used heater box, defrost duct and a parking brake assembly. They are needed in order to get things aligned properly before welding.

I hate to admit it, but the cheap Golden Star upper dash panel was a perfect match to the original panel. The AMD one, which I bought and later returned, did not have the slots or the ears at the sides to weld it to the A-pillars.

With the dash welded in, the firewall and dash were put in epoxy primer.

With that done, the shell was taken off the rotiserrie so that the doors and front end sheetmetal could be fitted and worked on.

It took me approximately 190 hours of labor to get from the sandblasted shell to this point and I am relatively good at it. To have a restoration shop that charges $50 per hour do this would be a $9,500 labor bill. Not counting materials.