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'72 Opel GT (Sara)
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Thanks for starting this thread Keith. I'm really excited about this project. As Keith mentioned, I'm looking to restore my car mostly to have as a daily driver that I can also be proud of. There will be a few places here and there where I won't want to spend the extra money for cosmetic changes because making it a show car isn't my primary objective. I'm willing to put money into the "heavy hitters" that really make a noticeable difference in the overall appearance and mechanical reliability of the car. I can always go back at a later date and do additional upgrades. This is the first car I ever purchased and it means a lot to me after 20 years of ownership. I'm confident that with Keith's knowledge of the Opel GT that I will get what I'm looking for and I hope others will benefit from following along.
 

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'72 Opel GT (Sara)
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2,119 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Newman;
Just because you're having Keith do the resto work on your GT, in NO WAY excuses you from attending the GA Opeler Meets:lmao:
Understood :) . I really do want to make the next event in the Atlanta area. I couldn't make the Stone Mountain get together late last year due to other commitments. I won't have my car for a while obviously but would love to meet everyone.
 

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'72 Opel GT (Sara)
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I'm looking forward to following the progress of this project as well! I'd also love to see a video diary of the transformation as well... like an hour episode from Discovery's "American Hot Rod", though that could be a bit time consuming to produce. Not sure about other site members, but I know that I would be willing to purchase a copy if you should decide to do so. If there is enough interest, you might even be able to help offset some of the remod costs (or pay for a post-remod wrap party! lol). Just a thought...
Brett
It's a great idea and I would love to do this. However, it really would be up to Keith and the folks at Mid-Southern Restoration. Since I am in Atlanta and they're in Tennessee, I don't have quick access to the car to do the filming. So, the burden of the extra effort to film the progress (on top of taking photos) would fall on them and not me.
 

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'72 Opel GT (Sara)
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2,119 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Matthew;
The first meet looks to be Feb 3rd in Milner GA, Wrench459 (Dan) is hosting it.
Gene
Gene,

The first weekend in February every year is when my wife and I rent a cabin in Gatlinburg, TN with four other couples. So, once again, I'm booked :sigh: . Well, that's two strikes now. Let's hope the third try is successful...

Matt
 

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'72 Opel GT (Sara)
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2,119 Posts
Discussion Starter · #24 ·
It had been doing that to me off and on the past month. There are a couple tricks I have used to get her going again with good success. But, as you point out, it's a moot point when she's going to be in hundreds of pieces soon. Some people might ask why I would be willing to invest a good bit of money in the car. There are lots of reasons but this incident illustrates one of them perfectly. For the past 20 years this car has run for a while, then died, then run for a while, then died... In some ways, I've been "nickeled and dimed" by the car over the past two decades because I've always done just enough to get her running again. Sometimes there were several years of having her sit between repairs because of a lack of time or financial constraints. I've decided it would be best, given I plan to keep the car forever, to just invest in a restoration to get her whole again all at once. Otherwise, the on again / off again cycle will likely repeat itself over and over. In the long run, I may even be saving money doing it this way! :D

Matt
 

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'72 Opel GT (Sara)
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2,119 Posts
Discussion Starter · #27 · (Edited)
Keith,

Thanks for posting these updates I am very pleased with how things are progressing - I can't wait to see the finished product! :yup:

Matt
 

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'72 Opel GT (Sara)
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Some Thoughts Behind Decisions Made...

Link to Start of Restoration Thread

I've come to learn that there are two parts to a restoration project. The hard part is the actual work and I'm going to leave replies to technical questions to Keith. However, the other part of the project is making a lot of little decisions along the way that affect the finished product and the amount of money spent. So, to get things going here and to maybe help others in making their own decisions, I thought I would post some of the thoughts behind what has been done thus far.

Post #6 - Rotisserie:
So, this was a big part of why I decided to go with Keith and Mid-Southern Restoration (MSR): they have the proper tools. Keith already had the rotisserie and had used it on prior Opel GT projects. In addition, he provided a very detailed good faith estimate and had proven experience with the car. I could see from MSR's web site that they do quality work. Finally, Keith had several contacts for acquiring parts in addition to everyone's favorite: OGTS.

Bottom line: Pick someone with a proven track record and direct Opel GT knowledge (if possible) and that has the tools necessary to do a quality job. This will bring you peace of mind.

Post #8 - Rust:
My car had a decent amount of rust that was visible. It also turned out to have a good amount the wasn't visible like behind the headlight buckets. Also, unknown to me, my car had bondo repairs done to it sometime in the past by a PO. Given that my highest priority is getting the body sound, I'm willing to spend as much of my budget as needed to fix these types of problems via metal work.

Bottom line: Be prepared for metal work to be more extensive than at first expected. Allocate as much of your budget as possible to fixing these issues right the first time.

Posts #11 and #12 - Powder Coating
Frankly, initially, I thought this would be a waste of money. I then learned of the double benefits of powder coating key parts of the car: the parts are protected from rust / corrosion and they look pretty cool. The protective nature of powder coating is why I decided to go ahead with this. The cool factor is a bonus.

Bottom line: Powder coating, even if having a show car isn't high on the priority list, is a good and relatively inexpensive way to add a layer of protection to key parts of the car while increasing its attractiveness. I'm sold on it now.

Post #14 - Engine Rebuild
Many years ago, I paid to have high compression pistons put on the car and a lot of other engine work done. Unfortunately, it wasn't long after this that some other issues caused me to park the car for the next eight plus years. Even so, I wanted to try to preserve as much of my prior investment as possible. So, where it made sense, I asked Keith the reuse parts or preserve parts as much as possible. I think he has done a good job of balancing the use of new parts and restoring old parts to come up with a reliable engine.

Bottom line: Try to work with whoever is restoring your car to make sure they know what you are trying to accomplish with respect to the reuse of parts. Also, communication here is paramount. Anytime the use of a new part versus restoring the old part is open for discussion, you want to be working with a restorer that wil call and give you the pros and cons and let you decide. Keith has done a great job of this and helped even someone like me, with only basic mechanical skills, understand the benefits and risks involved with each decision made.

Anyway, I hope these types of posts will help others that are considering having their car restored.

Matt
 

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'72 Opel GT (Sara)
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2,119 Posts
Discussion Starter · #53 · (Edited)
The engine mount ears are different...If anyone gets a chance to look in a parts book before I do this afternoon, see if they show separate numbers for the left and right ears...
I was given an "1968 - 1975 Opel and GT Chassis and Body Parts Catalog" effective April, 1979 when I bought this car. On page 6-11 it lists what I think are the two part numbers for the motor mounts:

69-73 GT (1.9 Eng.) 684130 RH 10.60 SUPPORT, engine front mounting

69-73 GT (1.9 Eng.) 684106 LH 9.30 SUPPORT, engine front mounting

Also, I had the engine pulled and set on new motor mounts on 10-12-87 according to my repair records. As far as that affecting the existence or absence of spacers, shims, etc. on my car and their relation to engine tilt - who knows what they did... All I can say is that we can't assume whatever was there is "original equipment".

BTW, just for my education, was the 14 degree tilt solely to give clearance to the original Solex carb and its air filter or does it serve another purpose? I've read that the engine on my Solstice tilts 10 degrees front to back for the lubrication system for example. Also, I have the Weber carb and a fairly "low profile" air filter so I wonder if that, plus the bump in the hood, would remove any need for the tilt of the engine (assuming it serves no other purpose). Just wondering...

Thanks,

Matt
 

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'72 Opel GT (Sara)
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2,119 Posts
Discussion Starter · #56 ·
...Something else Keith can powdercoat. :) I like it when he's busy, it keeps him out of trouble. :D
In that same vein, I sent Keith an email today asking if he could powder coat an Opel blitz logo and attach it to the valve cover over the Opel name (which I saw in a photo of someone else's car). I'm sure Keith is tired of powder coating at this point... :yup:

Matt
 

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'72 Opel GT (Sara)
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2,119 Posts
Discussion Starter · #57 ·
Problem with the open air is it sucks all that hot air out from under the hood. Factory with K&N is better than the open air, IMHO. But I like this best.

I am still planning on going to a 3" pipe. (the picture is 2.5" Gotta save up for the K&N and 3" pipe.
Keith and I discussed a similar arrangement briefly (it may have been this exact photo in fact). I'm going to stick with what I have at present. I'm allocating funds to getting the body and mechanicals sound. Performance enhancements will have to be deferred beyond 2007...

Matt
 

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'72 Opel GT (Sara)
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2,119 Posts
Discussion Starter · #61 ·
Post #27 - Treasures Found

I'm just glad nothing embarassing was found... :eek:

I'm old enough (barely :D) to remember my parents collecting S&H Green Stamps in the '70s every time they bought gasoline. The Holden Red was another type of stamp collected in books and traded for merchandise. FYI:

Trading stamp - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I'm afraid they don't have any value today... :no:

A PO probably filled the car up with gas and dropped his valuable trading stamp between the seats along with a penny from his change.

Matt
 

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'72 Opel GT (Sara)
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Discussion Starter · #62 ·
Yes, though actually not really for its fender mounted air filter but for the snorkel atop the Solex, so it would fit without interference under the GT's hood bubble.
Good to know - Thanks! The car had a Solex when I first bought it but I had the Weber installed so long ago that I forgot what the original arrangement looked like. Actually, I checked my repair log and I'm on my second Weber carb...

You can disassemble this part and replace the plastic pin with a soft aluminum pin or brass pin. As long as it will work as a shear-pin, it will be fine. I've replaced a bunch of them from cars with light frontal impacts which sheared the plastic pins. FWIW.

Bob
I hope I never need to worry about these pins being in place but it's interesting to know that this is part of the design. That and the shear bolts in the steering column add some element of safety I suppose (in the absence of modern safety items like air bags). I also purchased two of the three-point seat belt kits from OGTS and passed those along to Keith to install.
 

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'72 Opel GT (Sara)
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2,119 Posts
Discussion Starter · #63 ·
Post #30 - Sandblaster

I'm glad to see that several items have come back from the sandblaster. I can't wait to see the whole body done. I mentioned in an earlier post that body integrity and defeating the rust monster are my number one priorities. I see this as laying a sound foundation on which to build the car back up and even improve upon it for years to come. The sandblasting and primer step I think go a long way toward achieving that goal.


I just wanted to add that I appreciate everyone's comments so far - very educational and they're a nice addition to the PROJECT thread. I'm sure the next couple weeks will be very interesting given that the substantial OGTS order is to arrive next week...

Matt
 

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'72 Opel GT (Sara)
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Discussion Starter · #66 ·
. . . well, you COULD modify the original air cleaner pieces to fabricate a "cold air system" for your Weber! . . . with the additional benefit of "looking stock", should that be of interest.
That's very tempting. All 2007 Opel GT dollars are allocated to the restoration. However, there will come a time when I can start looking at some other modifications and so I just added this to my "wish list".

Thanks!

Matt
 

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'72 Opel GT (Sara)
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Discussion Starter · #68 ·
Great work Keith. As always right. I know from my car that you do great work.
I have to second this. The latest posts of the A-arms and Engine mock up are simply amazing. I just have to say - this is one sweet engine!!!

My plan is to visit the shop on March 3rd to see things in person (about a four hour drive from Atlanta). The body should be back from the sand blaster by then... :veryhappy

Matt
 

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'72 Opel GT (Sara)
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2,119 Posts
Discussion Starter · #73 ·
I'll have to make most of the body parts because they're too expensive or you can't get them.
Stay tuned. Without jumping ahead too much, you will see that my car needs a good bit of metal work. I think the plan is to use a mix of fabrication and cutting stuff off another car.

If I felt that there was a potential this car was going to be raced or in a high temp scenario, I might have looked into doing it, but just went with stock.
I can confirm the car will never be raced. The plan is to use as a daily commuter four days a week, 48 weeks a year (about 16 miles round trip, mix of surface streets and expressway), occasional weekend errands (taking the long way of course :yup: ) and then a handful of weekend trips to the north Georgia mountains and the occasional car show for fun. I estimate 4K - 5K miles per year being put on the car.

Matt
 

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'72 Opel GT (Sara)
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2,119 Posts
Discussion Starter · #83 ·
The wiring harness that was in the car had all kinds of things wired to it. Get this- radio and other items were installed in this car, but the steering column was never removed??? I bet they had a heck of a time pulling that stuff out. Anyways, I had a nice 1972 GT that I parted out with a wiring harness that I believe to have never even had a fuse replaced. The cover didn't have any marks or anything, everything looked sweet, the front headlights were never rewired so it will be a good replacement.
This is one of many examples of Keith "going the extra mile" for this car. Having a sound wiring harness is so important and my car has had electrical issues from day one (that being the day I bought it back in '86). For the record, I swear I had nothing to do with installing the radio :ugh: - that was done by a car audio shop just days after I bought the car (the stock AM radio being the first thing to go when a then 21 year old gets a hot new car :yup: ). It even had a cassette player - Ooooo.... :lmao:

Matt
 

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'72 Opel GT (Sara)
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2,119 Posts
Discussion Starter · #85 ·
. . . at least it wasn't an 8-track!! :eek:
:haha: Last time I saw an 8-track was back in the late seventies - as I recall it had an Engelbert Humperdinck tape stuck in it... :ugh:
 

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'72 Opel GT (Sara)
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2,119 Posts
Discussion Starter · #97 ·
Post #54 - "Patches" (Or, as I am calling it, "Frankenstein's Monster"):

So, this is me when Keith first sent the pictures of the sandblasted body:

1) :shocked: "Where the #$*@! did those come from?

2) :confused: "How in the heck do you fix something like that?"

3) :nervous: "How much is that gonna cost?"

But a good phone discussion with Keith and his creative solutions as well as my continued commitment to this car and the project means the show will go on! My wife and I are driving up there on Saturday to see the car in person and discuss next steps so I'm really excited about that!

Even knowing the patches were there wouldn't have changed my mind - I would have still bought the car and I would still be restoring it today. But, for the sake of discussion, if you were buying a car with my "patch work" of repairs, how would you determine they were there to begin with? The patches are metal so I don't think a magnet would help. And, they were riveted in and then smoothed over prior to painting so they were "invisible" (at least to my eye 21 years ago when I bought the car). Ideas?
 

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'72 Opel GT (Sara)
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2,119 Posts
Discussion Starter · #99 ·
Thanks Ron for the insight based on your experiences. I guess it was just shocking at first because I have no frame of reference. I am really looking forward to seeing those patches go away! :veryhappy

Matt
 
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