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  #1  
Old 16-10-2015, 11:57 PM
V8 Speed V8 Speed is offline
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Name: Kevin
1965 Chevrolet Impala SS Restoration 6.0 LS, 6-Speed, Ridetech, & More Fun!

This 1965 Chevrolet Impala came to us after and restoration was started at a different shop. The car has been in the owner's family since 1970, so we were honored and excited to bring this one back to the road. The recipe calls for a 6.0 LQ9 V8, 6-Speed manual transmission, and updated Ridetech suspension, all while keeping a smoothed-out stock appearance.







This car had seen years of daily driving and occasional racing use, and was showing signs of deterioration. It arrived in our shop having been media blasted and sprayed with a black epoxy primer. At first glance, we noticed some rust around the window frames, in the deck lid, and that the previous repairs were not complete.









---------- Post added at 08:57 AM ---------- Previous post was at 08:56 AM ----------

After a thorough inventory of the supplied parts, the crew began the metalwork.

The first project was to close the stock antenna hole using a steel insert. The piece was made and fitted to the hole, MIG welded, and ground smooth. We're using an HTP MIG 200 welder for this task.










Next, the crew began the rust repairs around the rear window frame. These window channels held water and rusted all the way through. The rusty metal was cut out with a thin 3M cutting disc on an air grinder. A new channel was fabricated using a shrinker/stretcher, welded in, and ground smooth. Gray primer prevented further rust.













---------- Post added at 08:57 AM ---------- Previous post was at 08:57 AM ----------

Similar repairs were made to the window channel around the windshield in the areas where the metal had rusted thin.





Next, the rear window filler panel was removed for additional rust repair.



The rearmost edge of the structure had rusted away.



A new channel was bent in the Mittler Brothers Box Pan Brake and contoured to the correct shape.





Then it was welded in place with an HTP Quickspot II resistance spot welder.

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  #2  
Old 17-10-2015, 07:20 AM
Intruder Intruder is online now
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Loving the work, keep the pics coming on the progress.
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  #3  
Old 17-10-2015, 07:27 AM
V8 Speed V8 Speed is offline
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Originally Posted by Intruder View Post
Loving the work, keep the pics coming on the progress.
Thanks, glad you dig it! We've got a lot to share on this one!
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  #4  
Old 17-10-2015, 09:31 AM
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Nev68 Nev68 is offline
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Originally Posted by Intruder View Post
Loving the work, keep the pics coming on the progress.
x 2. Love seeing these cars in the build process.
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  #5  
Old 17-10-2015, 10:40 PM
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69SS 69SS is offline
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Looks great, dont be shy with the pictures.
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  #6  
Old 18-10-2015, 01:08 AM
V8 Speed V8 Speed is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 69SS View Post
Looks great, dont be shy with the pictures.
OK, you got it!


Next, the middle part of the structure was measured, and a cardboard template was made to assist in fabricating a repair section.







The upper portion of the repair section was punched with a dimple die on a Mittler Brothers brothers punch in order to replace the original flared holes. These holes provided strength for the panel.



Then, the curved lower section was TIG welded to the upper. Soon, the rusty portions of the structure had been completely replaced.



A contoured lip as added to mimic the shape of the original.

[img]http://www.v8tvshow.com/1965_Impala_SK/slides/1965_Impala_SK_10.30.13_17.JPG[img]





---------- Post added at 10:04 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:04 AM ----------

Once the piece was welded in place, it was cleaned with a wire wheel and 3M rowlock abrasive discs, and then sprayed it with primer.



A new filler panel was obtained from Classic Industries, and welded in place over the lower structure to complete the repair.







The tail pan section was rusty and damaged, so the crew removed the original panel by drilling out all the spot welds holding it in place.





Note the support rod welded in to keep the decklid opening the correct size.




---------- Post added at 10:05 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:04 AM ----------

A new panel was obtained from Classic Industries, and it was fitted and welded in place. Note the fitting of the deck lid and tell light packets in this process to ensure all the panels fit properly before welding.








The dash steel at the base of the windshield had rusted through, so we replaced the steel after fabricating some new pieces in-shop. The challenge here is that this is 3 layers of steel welded together, so they had to be replaced in the same manner.

























---------- Post added at 10:06 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:05 AM ----------

A close-out panel was made and welded in to smooth the firewall.



The rear package tray was damaged, so new panels were cut to size and welded in place.





The panel was strengthened by adding ribs with a Mittler Brothers bead roller. They were held in place with some Eastwood panel clamps.



After welding, the panels were ground flush to complete the repair.





---------- Post added at 10:08 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:06 AM ----------

The rear passenger floor was riddled with rust pinholes, so a replacement piece was ordered from Classic Industries.





The perimeter of the panel was punched for plug welds, and then sprayed with weld-through primer.





The welds were ground smooth to complete the install.

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  #7  
Old 18-10-2015, 01:10 AM
V8 Speed V8 Speed is offline
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The transmission tunnel had been expanded to accommodate the Viper-spec T-56 6-Speed manual transmission, but the work was not as clean as the owner wanted to see, so we removed it to fab up a new one. More on this later.







There were also some “dots” that needed to be connected in the driver side rear wheelhouse, as new sheetmetal was installed but the wheelhouse to floor to quarter connections were not made. We normally would have elected to remove and replace the trunk floor and wheel tubs, but the owner challenged us to make the existing pieces work.









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  #8  
Old 19-10-2015, 08:34 PM
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Big Vic Big Vic is offline
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Love watching an old beauty getting some attention. Looking forward to many more updates.
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  #9  
Old 19-10-2015, 11:04 PM
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smithy71RS smithy71RS is offline
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Awesome job!
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  #10  
Old 22-10-2015, 01:59 AM
V8 Speed V8 Speed is offline
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Thank you, gents!

---------- Post added at 10:59 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:57 AM ----------

The owner wanted the 6.0 LQ9 engine to sit as low as possible in the chassis, and he had a Cadillac oil pan in mind, so we notched the cross member to make it happen.







The doors had been butchered with speaker holes, so repair panels we made and welded in.







Under the car, this home-brew control arm support is going to be removed. The concept is solid, that is to reinforce the control arm mount for better traction and control, but the execution is below what is desired for this car.



The crew then lifted the body off the frame to be able to work on both sides of the floor on the rotisserie. There were still a ton of little holes to fill, and they wanted to get a good look at the repairs previously made to the bottom of the Impala’s body structure.







… and on the spit.

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  #11  
Old 25-10-2015, 07:23 AM
V8 Speed V8 Speed is offline
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A previous shop welded supports to the floor to make the transmission crossmember. This isn't a good idea, as the engine and transmission are bolted to the frame, which moves independently of the body, albeit slightly. Also, the floor of the car was never intended to support a transmission, much less a manual behind a high horsepower V8. We removed it in favor of a traditional frame-mounted crossmember.





New fuel tank supports were installed, as these were neglected when a previous shop installed the floor pans. We also finished welding and grinding all the floor welds.



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  #12  
Old 13-11-2015, 02:31 AM
V8 Speed V8 Speed is offline
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Meanwhile, the crew was preparing to trial fit the Ridetech Street challenge suspension system on the Impala’s frame.



This kit consists of tubular upper and lower control arms, specific rate coil springs and coil over shock assemblies, and an oversized front sway bar. We were also installing an upgraded quick ratio steering box.





The original front suspension design used a straight lower control arm and a radius rod bolted to it. The Ridetech design is a vast improvement, using an “A” shaped tubular lower arm with an articulating end in the forward mount rather than a rubber bushing.







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  #13  
Old 16-12-2015, 08:48 AM
V8 Speed V8 Speed is offline
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The rear suspension consists of tubular control arms with adjustable upper control arms, and a stronger panhard bar with improved bushings.





This frame had some old-school hot rod tricks, like these control arm support brackets that were stick-welded in. We removed them and reinforced the frame to appear more original.



We disassembled the rear axle assembly and media blasted the housing.


---------- Post added at 04:12 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:12 PM ----------

After epoxy and Imron enamel in satin black paint were applied, a new gearset was installed along with bearings and seals to make this 12 bolt rear axle like new again.




Here, the yellow paint illustrates the proper gear mesh contact pattern ensuring quiet operation.


---------- Post added at 04:47 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:12 PM ----------

The front suspension parts bolted to the frame. These are obviously not torqued to spec for driving, but in place to mock-up the build.



Quick-ratio steering gear.



The body was placed back on the frame, and the whole rig was supported on jackstands. It was time to finish fitting the 6.0 LS and T56 transmission in the car.



The transmission tunnel would need completion, but there’s only one way to know if something really fits, and that is to put it together and measure.





---------- Post added at 04:48 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:47 PM ----------

The floor opening was increased for the transmission and Quicktime bellhousing.



A loose cardboard mock-up was made to get an idea of the shape of the tunnel. This car will be running a stock 1965 Impala console, so a mounting surface was required for that as well.



The new tunnel was made and welded in place.



A few ribs were added to strengthen the firewall at the tunnel.



Now we had plenty of clearance for the transmission.

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  #14  
Old 20-01-2016, 07:38 AM
V8 Speed V8 Speed is offline
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Next, the new transmission tunnel was fit to the original SS floor console.





After the new console mounting brackets were made and installed, a considerable gap existed between the side of the console and the transmission tunnel, so a new base was made out of fiberglass to fill the void.





Wire framing was used to form the shape.



Fiberglass matting and resin was used to make the structure.



With the seats in place, and the new base sanded and primed, the gap is now filled.



This will be covered with carpet when finished.
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  #15  
Old 15-05-2016, 03:38 AM
V8 Speed V8 Speed is offline
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The sheet metal work continued, as our team addressed rust holes in the fenders. Our goal was to use as much of the original GM panels as possible.





---------- Post added at 12:37 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:36 PM ----------

Next, the crew worked on fitting the quarter panel extensions and rear decklid to achieve a better fit.



A little cutting, welding, and grinding were all needed to achieve consistent panel gaps.



[img]https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-WCx7E3kKBxU/VpMqfl2cYeI/AAAAAAABXig/cuxCJ4yQuuQBX1u2hyzZkrI_3n7QHtFJQCHM/s1600/1965_Impala_SK_02.13.14_07.JPG[/img



After…





---------- Post added at 12:38 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:37 PM ----------

The trunk edge radius was also refined.











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