The first task was to strip the old drivetrain and all the junk under the hood that wonít be used. I was just going to leave the front end on and work around it but it became apparent that taking the core support out and removing the front bumper & grille would make engine/trans removal easier. Well, one thing led to another and I now have everything from the firewall forward off the car except for the frame. The car was last registered in 1965 and it looks like itís been sitting in dirt for most of those 35 years. Thereís dirt everywhere. After getting the front end off and the engine & trans out I needed to clean most of the grease and grime off of the frame and front suspension before proceeding. I sprayed left over engine degreaser and various cleaners on it several times with little results. One day, after it had rained, I began scraping the sludge with a putty knife and lots of it came off pretty easily. I guess the degreaser and the soaking from the rain finally softened it up a bit. I followed this up with about 6 cans of cheap oven cleaner from the local $.99 store. Now Iíve got mostly bare metal that has begun to rust in the constant rain. When the weather clears up Iíll sand blast it and paint it with a semi glass chassis black paint.
The next task was to make a flat firewall to cover up all the ugly holes and lumps in the stock firewall.
There were several large holes to be filled or covered once all of the vent plenums, stock heater and stock air conditioner were removed. I made the first patterns from poster board then made the new firewall pieces from 16 gauge steel.
I ended up using the first steel pieces for a second pattern and made the final pieces again from 16 gauge steel. There were 4 pieces, the main firewall, a cover for the windshield wiper motor and 2 rectangular pieces to fill the holes in the sides of the firewall where the heater core and the A/C evaporator were. The main firewall piece will bolt to the original firewall using the welded nuts that originally held the cowl vent plenums in place. This will allow future removal for repairs if necessary. To prevent future corrosion behind the new flat firewall, I sandblasted the original holey firewall and painted it with POR15.