Those weeks and months gave me time to devise a plan. The car is straight and very complete (except the hubcaps) but it has been sitting for a long time and everything needs attention. It will have updated modern brakes because I donít want the old hydrovac crapping out in the middle nowhere. Iíll put air bag suspension on it so it will sit low and still have a good ride. Iíve got to have a 500 Caddy engine. A 700R4 would be nice for the O.D. but Iím not convinced it would hold up under the torque of the 500 and besides I got a very useable TH400 with the engine I bought. The emblems, door handles and a few pieces of trim will be shaved but Iíll keep the stainless rocker trim and the long spears on the quarter panels. All the chrome will be re-plated and the remaining stainless straightened and polished. The paint will be PPG Deep Plum Pearl with a Pearl White top. Stock wheels and hubcaps with bullets added to the centers and WWW tires from Diamondback. Basically I want the car to look like the one in TRJ #6 except for the color.
While disassembling the car, I decided to remove all the wiring and re-wire the whole car for reliability. The interior will be Pearl White T&R with black or maybe dark purple carpet. All the stock climate control equipment will be replaced with the latest from Vintage Air. Iíll probably replace the huge steering wheel with one from an early 60ís Caddy which are smaller in diameter. Lots of Dynamat and a killer sound system will finish off the interior.
Shortly after getting the car home I put out the word that I was looking for a 500 CID Cadillac engine for it. I chased a few leads that all led to rebuildable core engines for around $200. Then one of my friends told me to talk to Ray, a local rodder that I see weekly at the local cruise hangouts. Sure enough he had a 500 with a TH400 sitting on a cart in storage. Price $650. Now that seems a little high for a Caddy engine and trans but this combo is low miles, complete (including all accessories, belts, air cleaner, etc.) and in excellent condition. Ray is meticulous about cars (several class winners at concours dí elegance shows like Pebble Beach) and he kept the 76 coupe de ville in top condition. When it became evident that the car was not worth what it would cost to do the needed paint and upholstery on the 50,000 mile car, he pulled the engine and trans for a future project and sent the car to its grave. Iíll remove of the 76 smog equipment, add an Edelbrock manifold, some chrome valve covers and drop it in.