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It still lives. To restore or not restore

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It still lives. To restore or not restore

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Old 11-26-2006, 11:07 AM
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It still lives. To restore or not restore

I unearthed my 91 Camaro which has been sitting probably a year and a half today expecting the worst. I changed the oil, turned the key, it cranked about 15 seconds and sputtered to life. After running for a few minutes it's running as well as it ever was. I backed it up and down my driveway and now I remember why I loved that car so much.

Now the reason I parked it was because the auto tranny blew up. I put a 5spd in it and never finished, just the torque arm and clutch bleeding remains. It also blows blue smoke (and a lot of it ) on startup and anytime you get on the gas. It also liked to belch white smoke every once in a while. The 305tbi has 137k on it and I've owned it since 97k. I used to beat the snot out of this car so it wouldn't surprise me in the least if the head gasket went.

The body is pretty good, underneath needs to be scraped and undercoated. I also learned to weld on this car so their are some very crude floor patches. The front air dam is half gone. A tree fell on it while it was parked cracking the windshield, denting a fender and the hood slightly, the nose is cracked, one of the pilers is dented.

The interior is in ok shape, I put 4th gen seats in but I spray painted the interior black which isn't holding up well mainly because I used to stuff a lot of people in the car and also worked out of it.

It will also need new rims (bent the rears) and front tires.


It it worth it or no? One of the biggest reasons I'm leaning towards restoration is that I've had this car for a long time and done a lot with it. One of the biggest reasons to just leave it is I can't afford to really insure it and no one is going to give me collectors insurance on a 91. My other option is to just let it sit until I can restore it.

Needs at the least:
Motor
Paint job
Undercoating
Weld patches in floor
New nose (have one), fenders (have one of them), hood, windshield, front ground effect
Clean up interior
Re-assemble interior


I'm thinking that if I did go with restoring it I probably wouldn't want to drop the wimpy 305 back in which means the tranny would have to go as well. Maybie my best bet is to sit on this thing until a good deal on a nice chevy motor/tranny comes along.
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Last edited by PyRo9862; 11-26-2006 at 11:12 AM.
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Old 11-27-2006, 03:15 AM
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With as much work as it sounds like you'd have ahead of you, I'd have to say whether you choose to restore it or not really comes down to how much you really love the car, or how much sentimental value you place on it. I've known guys that've restored cars that make yours look like a creampuff just because they couldn't bear to part with it. Although if you did manage to find a good deal on a healthy motor/trans combo, the rest of the work would be more about time than lots of money, unless you insist on a show quality paint job. I can say I'm not surprised at all that you were able to get it back up and running again so easily. The L03 motors seem almost impossible to kill! Mine has 230k on it, and it's still going strong.
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Old 11-27-2006, 04:12 AM
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I'd say restore it. The old girl looks like she has some life in her yet. And besides. All that's cosmetic damage. Look around a bit, and you'll see some dedicated souls that spent fifteen hours on the frame rack rebuilding their babies. That's dedication.
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