Some progress on the '61 finally

Caddylackn

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I sat back and realized I have now had this car for 30 years with little or no progress in the last 5 years. Time to get something done and get it out of my garage so I can work on my Caddy powered truck project. I refuse to do the truck motor swap outside and need this swap done in the garage so I can have easy access to welder, compressor, tools, music, shade, etc.

Step #1. Spend the Fourth of July weekend cleaning the garage to get this uncovered and get some room to work on it. A 20' cadillac can store a ton of sh.t on top of it and in it. I also have a full size table saw, jig saw, 4 engines, and 3 trannys that need to move out of the way enough to get all four doors open at once.

Step #2 Clean off fives year's of dust and cat hair. Clean and vacuum out the inside of the car of junk.

Step #3 Take inventory of what to accomplish first to get this moving. Seems like the critical path is to install the interior and seats to get this up and driving so I can paint it in my "paint booth" costco garage tent for primer, final sanding, and sealer. I hate sanding in the garage and getting this dust everywhere. The other reason to install the interior as it takes a ton of space in the garage that I want back. Before I install the interior I need to paint all the door insides and jambs and interior parts the final color so I can put the carpet in and the seats and door panels.

Step #4 Before I paint the door jambs I need to remove the door trim and rubber seals and tag and bag them.IMG_0782.JPG
Step #5 then comes the fun parts. Sanding, cleaning, and masking all the door jambs and hinges for the color change. The final color is Black Sapphire Metallic, which needs to be shot over a black sealer base. So sand, clean and tape all day. Clean and shoot the black primer sealer 3 coats needed to cover the white. IMG_0803.JPGIMG_0804.JPGIMG_0805.JPG
Good coverage on the sealer, looks white but that is shine.

Now shoot some color. First the tack coat. BTW I am using a cheap Harbor Freight touch up gun. Unfortunately this gun is discontinued, too bad works great for jambs for $15.IMG_0809.JPGIMG_0819.JPGIMG_0810.JPG
It will be a lot of fun block sanding these contour lines. I picked this color so these body lines will really stand out in the sun as every surface with a different angle will have a different color.


It came out pretty good and very shiny. A few dust particles, but still real progress. I am not going to spray clear the jambs but will clear the outside of the car with three coats clear. I took a trim plate outside and this color really looks nice in the sun with the metallic. I hope I can spray it without getting metallic stripes. Clear coat would cover this orange peel.IMG_0825.JPG
 

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Darius

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OOH, I'm liking that blue. Is that to be the final color?

bro. d
 
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5one9

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Nice looking car.
 

Caddylackn

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OOH, I'm liking that blue. Is that to be the final color?

bro. d
Yes, this Black Sapphire metallic (dark blue) is hopefully the final color. This is the third time I painted this car. It was factory white, then I painted it a silver blue about 20 years ago, but it didn't come out very good, it was my first paint job, so I had to sand it all down. Then I painted it white again with some Rustoleum to try to slap it together to sell it quick after my divorce, but I was able to keep my house.

White doesn't do these body lines justice.

This thing will get a newer Caddy repower. I may put my 507 or my 425 in it with a turbo 400, haven't decided. The original 390 still runs decent, but the Jetaway leaks tranny oil. Not horrible, but enough I have to keep a pan under the car. The seals that needs replaced require a full dismantle of the tranny to get to. The 390 is 10:1, has some blowby, and weighs like 800 lbs. I think this has a 2:93 rear gear so the 507 should make this thing really move and result in some weight loss. Pulling the motor also gives me the chance to paint the white firewall the dark blue. I am looking for those valve cover adapters that let you bolt on the cool '61 scripted valve covers onto the 500 heads. Does anybody have a pair of these valve cover adapters they want to sell? 8605550046_52b419425d_h.jpgso I don't have to fab these? Here is a photo, not my engine bay, of course, but if I add these covers to the 500 and keep the '61 air cleaner most people wouldn't know it wasn't the original motor.
 

5one9

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That engine is beautiful!
 

Caddylackn

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That engine is beautiful!
I wish that one was mine, that is just a photo I took off the web. I have the paint to make mine look like that, but the 390 is bit under powered for a 5,000 # car IMO. In that photo, I don't know why they used what looks like white tape on the valve covers instead of paint. The stamped lines on the valve covers are supposed to be a little rounded, those look bad. They are still running the single circuit master cylinder and a generator. I replaced those long ago with a dual circuit master and an alternator for safety. They also have the carburetor return spring the wrong way. It is supposed to hook to the power steering bracket. Notice it is stretched when the carb is at idle?
 

Darius

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That engine is lovely! I can see why you'd like to go with those valve covers. :)

Frankly, I like that firewall. White has its place. :rolleyes:

best,
da HWC
 

kzhurley

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I have 56 365 covers on my 500. I searched a while for valve cover adapters and finally gave up on mine. I ended up plasma cutting out a set myself.
 

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Caddylackn

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Nice!


I probably will end up making a set of adapters by cannibalizing some 500 valve covers,, as I don't want to ruin my original covers for the 390, which I am going to store for the next owner should they want the original motor put back.

Are you running oil in those original oil bath air cleaners or filters?
 

kzhurley

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Are you running oil in those original oil bath air cleaners or filters?
They are still oil bath but I'm going to cannibalize them and run filters in them eventually. The inlets to the oil bath part are less than 2inch in diameter. I believe that will be a restriction once I "warm"the motor up some.

When I made my adapters,I lined up the 2 holes on the exhaust manifold side. They are like 1/4 inch difference. I had to elongate the 365 holes and bolt through the adapter into the head. The rest of them I just used a cut up 500 cover for a pattern and laid the 365 pattern over over it. Then just countersink the remaining 500 holes and threaded the other 2 365 holes and used studs for those.

Drilled 1-1/4 hole between the #6 and #8 cylinder rocker studs and added a baffled pcv grommet and pcv valve. On the other cover I added a tube that the original 365 oil fill/breather fit so I had a place to add oil to. I put them both on the intake side so I wouldn't mess with the pretty cadillac script
 

Caddylackn

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Here are pictures of my actual engine. No car show queen here. That is a 68 buick skylark master and booster and a Ford 2G alternator. Bolted right in. The 500 valve cover may hit the booster though, I will shift it over if it does.IMG_0859.JPGf You can see that putting headers on a 500 in this engine bay is going to be a nightmare. Probably have to use the caddy factree exhaust logs or block huggers.

I am going to use this double snorkel air cleaner I built for my '69 truck. Almost looks factree. Or I can add a second snorkel to the stock '61 air cleaner if I can find a match.

IMG_0861.JPG
 

omantas

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What vehicle(s) do you drive?
Cadillac GTS V 2009
That's really nice! But the steering wheel looks like worn off :D. If you want you could visit Woodensteeringwheels.com, maybe they can help you out. I did restoration of my Cadillac in 2017 and it still looks great. I use Optimum cleaning oil to maintain fresh look
 

Caddylackn

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More progress on the '61
First had to install new carpet. But how to get the dam gas pedal off? Looked it up online and it is bolted through the floor. The pedal is fixed to a curved rod, and the linkage is all mechanical rods that is attached to the pedal under the car. I had to jack up this monster and get clear under the car under the leaking tranny to get these petal bolts out. Took it out, and found this.

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Dam bracket that attaches to the floor is pot metal and already busted at each end. You can see that somebody has already welded up the pivot shaft of this before. Now have to fab up a new bracket made of steel.

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Some 4 hours later done. I was at least smart enough to take good measurements of the angle before and also weld the bolt heads to the bracket so I don't need somebody upstairs to hold them when under the car tightening this down. Installed it and it works but it is a stiff pedal, but it was that way before. On to finish the carpet.

The carpet was some cheap sh.tty carpet that I think I bought on a J.C. Whitney catalog sometime in the 90s. No way did it fit, but at least there was enough material to cover all the ends. I had to splice a seam in the tunnel because there was way to much material in the middle for the hump. Splice wasn't the best but didn't end up being noticeable when the seat was in. The carpet was glued down with contact cement since the "curves" sewed into the carpet were way off and the carpet was thin with minimal padding. Next time I will get good carpeting. I probably had 6 hours into this install with all the trimming and glueing.IMG_0873.JPG

Next task was to install the monster seat. It is a 6 way power seat with one monster motor and a transmission up high in the bottom seat. This seat has to be the heaviest most PIA item I have ever had to deal with and install by myself. Not in total weight but in sheer awkwardness. The center of mass of the 80# motor is high so the seat will not balance upright wants to fall backwards. To get into the car the has to be tilted forward about 30 degrees to get through the rear doorway where there is no way to f.n. hold it, balance it, and move it. The seat feet are sharp 3/16" steel that want to bite into everything. Then I had to wrestle it through the freshly painted jambs with about 2" clearance to spare, then drag the sharp pointed feet across the cheap newly glued down carpet. I got it in, then had to prop it up with a 2 by 4 to keep it from falling backwards. Into the car, that was a big hurdle down.

Ok, so it is a 6 way seat, forward, back, tilt forward, tilt back, full up, full down. So one of the 3 gears on each side is stripped in the tranny, I don't remember which one or side, so the seat when adjusted, one side moves, the other doesn't, so when the seat was removed it was all stressed and preloaded from where one side was fighting the other. The seat has been out of the car about 20 years so no f.n. way the seat's mounting bolts line up any more. One corner was about 3" in the air when one side was bolted down. I was able to get one side secured. Then working under the seat I pulled all 3 drive cables out of the passenger seat track and using a power drill with a #3 or #1 square bit, I could turn the worm gears and get the seat track back on the floor and lined up with the other sideIMG_0888.JPG. Next was finding all the 8 holes in the carpet I made. I got the dam thing in finally and bolted only cross threaded one or two. This took at least 4 hours of sweating and cursing. Looks pretty good inside. It is a cheap seat recover but still in decent shape. You can see the freshly painted headliner edge on the seat. Also, before I installed the seat I pre-wired the car for a subwoofer with a power cord, remote line, RCA and new speaker wires. So much easier to do with the seats out.

Next is the back seat. Just digging it out of the corner of my garage took 30 minutes. Had to move one engine and two trannys. Top went in easy, but still haven't got the bottom to bite the hold down yet. This will be a two person job for sure. I will wait. I want to add seat belts in the back and don't want to have to wrestle this seat out again.. This car has no seatbelts, IDK if they were even an option in '61. The back seat is all original and will need a recover, looks okay from afar but it is all cracked and split and leaking deteriorated foam when you sit on it. You can see more interior trim pieces painted. All had to be sanded, primed, and sealed there was considerable rust on the back pieces. I just left them in sealer since it was semi-gloss.

IMG_0889.JPG
 

Caddylackn

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Next step is the trunk and trunk lid I had already sand blasted this sometime around 2000s and it had paint on the floor and sides, but the lid was white. First was removing all the sh.t that has been stored in the trunk for years, then vacuum.

Now re-sand all the previous paint.

Reclean everything, vacuum, acetone, tack rag.

Now mask, re-tack.

Mix Paint, three coats sealer to cover all the white.

Two coats sapphire black.

Two coats clear.

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The bottom of the lid could use another coat of clear, but that could be done with the final coat on the outside of the car. The pictures are poor, it came out beautiful except for some particles in the paint I can live with. The main purpose of finishing the trunk was so I could paint the area where the trunk seal was going and install the trunk weatherstripping. When I paint the car all the doors, hood, and trunk will be shut and rear fender skirts will be on the car. That way I can concentrate on keeping the coverage and metallic particles consistent through the whole car, and I don't end up with tiger stripes or a car that looks like trout.

So I still need to paint the edges of the hood, the top of fenders that show under the hood and through the grill, and, the edges of the fender skirts. And of course the hubcaps. You can see one in the back on top of my 472. Those are the factree "sombreros" and look really nice on the '61 when polished and sitting up against the factree 3" wide whites. Those will look killer in Black Sapphire, but you can see how much masking of the stainless it will take, probably an hour or two per each.

I bought some spray bomb GM trunk splatter paints for the trunk floor I will try. Originally this car had a complete fabric covered hardboard kit that covered all the sheet metal on the sides, floor, and back. That rotted away sometime in the 80's and was a soggy dry rot mess in the 90s when I threw it in the dumpster. I will probably make nice panels for the sides, but the floor and shelf will be trunk splatter paint unless I screw that up.
 

Caddylackn

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More progress on the '61.

Posting these updates keep me motivated, so that is a good thing.

1. Finished the trunk paint. I used the Duplicolor spray can trunk paint. I do not recommend this stuff. Hard to paint and doesn't cover very well since you have to hold the can close to the surface or it will be drying in the air. I used 4 cans and still have some stripes. I thought I would save money over than buying real trunk paint at $50/quart, not really. IMG_0921.JPGGo
Good enough for now. At least it seems durable. The real reason I wanted to get the trunk done, was so I could fill it with parts again.

Next was to finish the rear deck lid. The original material was toast, and I have since put some 6" by 9" speakers for sound. I cut a piece of 1/8" plywood and used this retro speaker fabric to cover. Originally I was going to mount the speakers under and cover the top with the covering so they would be invisible. Too much work. I still think they came out good.
IMG_0922.JPG

I will put some grill over the speakers when I find some tasteful ones.

Next is some door seals. The Caddy repro seals are like a $100 per door, so I just bought some cheap soft seal door seals for a '61 Belair four door. These are about $40 per pair. These are different shaped doors entirely but the seals had the same hole spacing. I just cut the ends off and use my original Caddy ends, which were in acceptable shape. I haven't received the front door seals and the roof rail yet, on back order.
door seal.jpg

On to some more interior pieces. The original door cards are very intricate, but the hardboard had gotten wet and deteriorated. The bottoms have curled. I thought I could make new ones, but there must be a hundred parts to each door card. Originals.
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I was able to glue some sheet metal to the back on the bottom with PL adhesive to straighten the panels, and using some rubber cement glue the windlace back on. I then sprayed some flexseal on the back to protect it from moisture. The finished product looks good. Here is a straightened door panel but before clean up. There is still gobs of chrome to install. Of course every door has a courtesy light, ash tray, and cigarette lighter, window switch, and power vent switch. The carpet and windlace on bottom can be replaced if needed. The wood insert is pretty faded, I may replace these.

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I started with the worst door panel, and it came out decent enough. The other panel came out much better.
 

Caddylackn

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Lets start on the wheels/tires. I bought a Harbor Freight tire changer and have been playing with that. It works, but there is a learning curve to get it down to a reasonable time and effort. I rounded up three of my original rims, and the one I picked up at the junkyard. I pulled the tires off, and clean and painted them. One was pretty rusted but it cleaned up well and wasn't pitted where the tire bead seals.

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I have been looking for some original wide white tires to match the originals. I can find new radial 3" white wall tires, but they are $250 each new. Too much $. New bias ply white walls are like $225 each, too much. I shopped ebay and amazon and found a decent set of new tires on Amazon 235/75/15 for $400 delivered. I am going with the Port o Walls (3" white wall insert). I have heard mixed reviews on these. They are not recommended for a daily driver, but a weekend driver seems okay if you mount them right. The existing tires shown on the car are tubed tires on '53 skylark rims that are powder coated. I like them, but replacing the 30 year old tires is going to be problematic with the inner tubes. If I can find a tire shop that can replace these tires without messing up the powder coating and add inner tubes and add the Port o Walls, I may run these. These old '50s wire rims are not air tight and were designed to run with inner tubes.

Here are the new tires mounted on the rims. It is tricky to get the Port o Walls not to bulge. These are installed with the tire bead broken, then inflated so the tire pins these to the rim. These still may bulge, they are only at around 15 psi. The directions say to fill them slowly in increments to equalize. So far I am in around $500 for 4 tires and I mounted them. I still have to balance them.

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Now comes the fun part. I am going to repaint the factory sombrero hubcaps. These are now white, my factory color. I spent about 3 hours masking up just one. There are 24 faux spokes, that require three pieces of tape that are trimmed with a razor for masking. The original hub cab is all stainless and the factory white was painted on. I shot a test coat yesterday of the final color. Looks good, still have to pull all the spoke tape pieces off, I only pulled four off, but you can see the finish. Some of the white is showing through around the edges. The factory paint masking job was not very good so it is hard to cover.

hubcab.jpg

I may touch up the white lines, or more likely I will put this on the back wheel which is mostly covered by the fender skirt. I may touch up the color on the Cadillac medallions for the front hubcaps also. for the backs, you can see only about the bottom 1/4 of the hub cab with the fender skirt on.
 

Caddylackn

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More photos from last weekend.

I took the time to paint the inner fenders inside the engine bay, the edges of the hood, under the eyebrows, and the wiper cowl. The wiper cowling surfaces was completely chromed but was originally painted white except for the grills. I had previously cleaned all the paint off so it was fully chrome, but it didn't look good. I had to sand the chrome finish down to take a primer. It came out all right, the top will get another coat when the body is done and a coat of clear.

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Painted the all four hood edges, and top and front of inner fenders. The inner top and front parts of the fenders had to be done, because they were white and would show horribly. This was a lot of masking but still far easier than removing the fenders to paint. I had done that previously and the fenders are a beast to get off, and were scratched and gouged when I wrestled them back on with fresh paint last time. So I painted them in place this time. I will still repaint all the black with some black semi-gloss under hood paint at a later time when the motor swap is done. When the motor is out, I will paint the firewall blue.

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Under the hood looks like crap, but if I do it, it will be when the hood is off when I do the motor swap.
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And last I painted under the eyebrows. There is chrome trim piece here that cleans it up but most of the paint will show. I am still using the small touch up gun which leaves a bid of orange peal. I will get some clear on this at a later time when I do the body. I will have to scuff it up first. I am going to have to hit these hood springs with some under hood black, to cover the previous over spray.

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With these parts all done, I won't have to lift the hood up to paint the body or open any doors, or pull of the fender skirts. I will fill the body line gap with something when I prime though, so I don't mess up the freshly painted edges with primer.

Getting closer to painting the body. Still left to paint before I tackle sealing and painting body:

The sides and edges of the fender skirts and some of the inner area on the fender covered by the fender skirt
The three pieces of the gas door filler in the back over the bumper
Three more hubcaps :(

I still have some trim left to pull off, like the belt trim, a few door handles, power antennae, and some fender trim. Access to the nuts behind these trim pieces is poor, plenty of skin will be gone from my knuckles before this is done.

I am starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel. My goal is to have all paint work finished by end of August.
 

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Red98422

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Damn, that is looking great!

my hat is off to you, I could never do interior or paint. Huge props! It’ll look fantastic when you are finished
 

Caddylackn

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New update:

With planned family vacations, work, and CV stuff haven't done much work until last weekend.
Now comes the fun part, no not really.

Block sanding the whole car. I started block sanded it a few weeks back and was noticing some low spots. So I shot the bad areas with some grey primer surfacer. Then hit it with a black guide coat and went to town.
Some 8 hours later mostly done.

Before block sanding I did have to pull off the passenger front fender. The trim nuts, power antennae, emblems, and wheel well trim nuts are impossible to access without the fender removed. Removing the fender is a tricky job without scratching the edge by the door all up. The fender encompasses both sides of the header panel, which makes it hard to remove since the front part of the fender has to go straight up to clear the header panel. I then realized that I would have to pull both fenders off after painting just to install all the trim, edging, fender spears, etc, then reinstall. So I removed the header panel on both sides to allow me to easily remove and remount the fenders after they are painted. I took this opportunity to paint the header panel, top of inner fenders, and parts of the firewall now exposed by the removed fender. I also removed the rear pieces and gas filler door.

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The bottom 8" both front fenders were cut off and repaired by me, sometime in the 90s. Typical Cadillac fenders have the fender reinforcement taper down to the fender bottom and meet and welded together at the seam., here it collects leaves, road grime, salt, kicked up by the tire. This material can't get out and soon rusts completely out. I repaired the bottom of the fenders but never fabricated a mount on the bottom of the fender to secure the bottom of the fender back to the car body under the car. So I removed both fenders and welded some angle metal on the bottom. Then I undercoated the inside fender bottom for rust. It lined up pretty good and I was able to make it match the body lines okay. See the top photo, this has been the first time in 30 years this fender has lined up on the bottom. I will have to spend the real time and effort after it is painted to get the fenders lined up with the hood and doors. Luckily the hood has never been off, so I can use this to line the fenders up to.

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Here it is before I painted header panel, top of inner fender, and firewall. I didn't take an after picture for some reason. The rest of the firewall will now be easy to paint once the motor is out for my 500 swap.

I also worked on the alignment of the fender skirts. The passenger fender skirt has never fitted right and sticks out about a 1/4" on top at the rear. Now is the last chance to fix it before paint. Still working on it, got it down to only a 1/8" sticking out.

My goal is to shoot the primer sealer this weekend, and maybe final coat if I am lucky. Got to hurry before the weather gets cold.
 

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