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Opel Key Master
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Its been a while since I have fully logged an Opel restoration on the site, and with the times getting busier for us, it makes it even harder to get on the site and show some of our work. I have a few threads that have been completed, and I have a couple that never seem to get updated, unless you check progress on our website. This thread is about our customer's car from San Diego, Ca. The customer has talked me into posting this log (Paid our hourly rate!!!) so that he can watch the process along with everyone else.

Now the rules of the thread!!!!!, I will be posting every week updates of the restoration. I will be setting up a comments thread in which a link will be added here.
http://www.opelgt.com/forums/opel-gt-restoration-project/28119-opel-gt-restoration-taken-extreme-comments-file.html#post254330
Please only post comments on the comments thread, if you miss this, it will get moved over there more than likely anyway. I like to keep this topic open to myself and the owner of the car if he wishes to comment (he is a member of the site as well). This will keep the subject flowing smoothly, without having to read a bunch of positive or negative comments that interfere with the main point. When it is all said and done, it makes for a nice book like story of an Opel GT. Did I say book???? Yes, I may incorporate some of this material with other things to create a book. I may need help with that along the way, but would be timed about right.

Now about the car:
We have a 1972 Opel GT that many might recognize as an Ebay purchase from over a year ago. The car is beautiful, the bodywork was done at a high level, the interior and trim is really nice. It is in a Plum Crazy Purple, and overall looks great. So why would we restore something that is already show worthy??? When you open the hood it all falls short of nice. It still sports its original Strato Blue engine bay with untouched dirty engine and driveline. There are some mechanical issues, and the belly pan battery area has been modified a bit. It just ruins the car when you open the hood. There are some other updates that the owner wishes to have done too, so it will be completely stripped. In fact we are going to do this one a bit different, and it will be a resto-mod style job performed as well. Now I am not going to give away the specifics of what we are going to change, add, or delete...but keep in mind this is going to surpass any restoration we have performed in the past. There are many new members on here since my last major postings, and may not know who we are as well. We are New Vintage Automotive out of Cookeville, TN 38501 New Vintage Automotive| Automotive Restorations Opel Specialists
 

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Opel Key Master
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Again, please do not post comments on this thread, follow the link at the first post for the comments thread.

Disassembly has begun, and I am getting an even better inspection within. I am finding very little has been done to the cooling system and the engine itself. This had an Autolite carb on it which I believe is a 5200, but it was not a wonder why it didn't run that great at times...the choke is not hooked to anything! Homemade mechanical linkage was made to install this, but the gas pedal was so light, it just didn't feel right. Here are some engine removal pics and others

Oh and about the drive-line, we are not just doing it, we are completely stripping this car down and redoing everything, paint and all. Not sure on the color, but probably not Plum Crazy.
 

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Opel Key Master
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There are strange things about this car, so it will be interesting to see what it looks like when it is stripped. The headlight mechanisms all look excellent, bolts were not a problem, but then alot of the engine area bolts were quite rusted in. The steering shaft has a fair amount of corrosion, and other tell-tell signs. The belly pan has had some patches installed, and the battery tray was remade, but they left a large hole in the back of it for clearance. I have to take this body down further than any one I have done, anything plastic or rubber will need to be removed or it will be destroyed during the striping process. We are going to have the shell Chem-dipped. This is not an acid that they use anymore, but a high alkaline base and some even oven bake the body to remove all seam sealers and such. We are finding blasting only does half of what we need stripped, and each time the quality goes down. This is a new procedure we want to try, and it is the most thorough.
Headlights and engine bay components are pulled, the front windshield is out, and I removed the front carpet. The interior carpet was installed professionally, and looked to be a really nice kit. There is a tag of the company sewed on that tells who made it. I will contact them about pricing before I post the info, but it looked to be of exceptional quality. Opel GT Source lost a long time carpet manufacturer due to their retirement from the business. The company they have used recently was putting out less than average quality, so they were searching for a new supplier. If there price is competetive, I will recommend them. I'm still interested in paying more if I know what I will receive is as good as this was. The previous shop glued it in good though, and really added the foam padding which wasn't a bad idea. It's amazing what a nice interior we have to work with on this project. The first picture shows how we organize the dissassembly process, simple quart and gallon sized bags do the trick, but the key is to stop and take the time to properly label the part in the bag and sometimes even describe how many bolts go with it, or wiring notes inside. You can go one step further if you really do not know the cars well, is to take a picture and put inside the bag. I find this is the first step that most beginners say they will do, but then think it takes too long and forget about it. It doesn't take a pro to dissassemble a car, it takes a professional to do it in a manner where it can easily be put back together. I think that in most cases I will be the one putting the car back together, but that isn't always the case...so make it easier for someone else to do it if you are not able to at the time.
Keith
 

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Opel Key Master
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Discussion Starter #4
Everything has now been removed other than the suspension. I have pulled every clip piece of rubber, bolt I can think of, but I am constantly checking it over to make sure nothing is forgotten. The striping process will remove anything aluminum, copper and non steel, so I have to make sure those things are out of it. I am awaiting the cart to allow it to be mobile and can be placed on a trailer to haul out to the Chem-Strip place. Obvious things noted at this point as can be seen in the pictures is the rear tail strip has not been removed for any repaint work previously. There was a crazy amount of glue holding down the carpet and the padding. I am going to also have a few things powdercoated on the car as far as suspension. This will be the front suspension, rearend, and the engine support. Probably the A-Arms as well. More to come, and some pics of items going into the build.
 

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Opel Key Master
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Discussion Starter #5
I had to shift gears and get another Opel off of a body cart and on its suspension so I could do the final suspension removal of this car, and then get it to a place where it could be loaded on a trailer. The rearend was stubborn to say the least. The bolts were rusted in the sleeves. I usually try to heat them or let the bolts soak, but if that isn't working out...here comes the torch set. Noted that the torque tube bushings broke apart when the rear assembly was moved out. It looks as if nothing was ever done to the entire driveline. Also here is a pic of the transmission, all rebuilt and ready to go. I know some are thinking why the automatic...but I promise it gets better. Last picture is of the vent cap...I hope it didn't allow a whole lot of garbage to get inside with the cap being missing.
Keith
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The rear end and trailering arms were a real pain to get out. I don't like removing them with a torch, but not much else I could do. No fun under a car and hot rubber splattering all in your face either. The car has been totally dissassembled now and I put it on the bodycart for today. This way I can get it over to the other building and load it on a trailer with a forklift. It looks like a trip this week to North Carolina to the chemical stripper. I will do some updates on the trip and facility when I get back. This is a first for us having one dipped, but lately our soda/media blaster has been doing a shotty job, and it is not anywhere near as thorough.
Keith
 

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Opel Key Master
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Discussion Starter #7
The body cart really was needed, but only for a temporary amount of time. It looks like Thursday I will be taking the body and parts to be dipped, so I needed to load up the trailer. With our expanded shop, we have another area I can unload trucks and such, and decided I would remove the body off the cart with use of our forklift and a long extension arm we have. You could also build some sort of rigging with ropes and such to lower the body onto the trailer if you were going to have the car taken down this far. Originally I had it strapped to the front and rear a-pillars, but found the front end needed to be supported, so I went around the square holes and headlight bucket holes in the front. Worked out nicely and the shell is now safely loaded.
 

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Opel Key Master
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Discussion Starter #8
I wanted to dissassemble the front suspension before I took the body to be chemically stripped. I wanted the main section of the assembly to go and be dipped as well for powdercoating. This has been the toughest one I have delt with in years. About everything is requiring the torches to heat up or cut off. It seems that not only is it untouched, but the undercoating spray just help seal in the corrosion even more. I finally got it apart enough and have it loaded, but it didn't go without a fight. The spring compressor I use is a homemade one, and pretty simple to use. I have it made to where I can attach it to my welding/work bench, and take it out and put my vise back on the bench when needed. I usually pull the springs upside down as shown.
 

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Opel Key Master
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Discussion Starter #9
14 hours on the road today to drop off the shell and doors. At least I was only on 1 road the entire time, and the weather was very nice for a drive. I arrived at the facility about noon and 4 guys and myself unloaded it by hand onto the metal pallet, I told them the Torino I bring next may not be that light!! They have a pretty big facility with a newer shop across the street. I didn't get the grand tour, as I was there during lunch time, and it was a short wait to get unloaded. I hope it is worth the difference to take such a long trip, but I do think it will be. Blasting just doesn't excite me anymore because of all the work afterwards I have to do. The company I brought it to is Carolina Chem-Strip. Although not the cheapest, they were the closests I could find that had the ability to house several cars at once, so I could take it at any time. It will first be baked in an oven. They will slowly bring up the temperature, and it doesn't affect the metal, as it is all brought to the same temperature. This melts all the rubber, lead, plastic, whatever isn't metal. The only drawback I can see is the rubber inside the front inner fender wells will be gone. I will have to make something comparable with rubber strips. All the matting on the floorboards will be gone, as well as all the seam sealer. Then it is dipped into an alkeline tank. This doesn't do anything to the body until an electric charge is placed in the chemical. This step will remove all the rust and remaining surface paint. They will then wash the parts down, and then treat it with an Ospho coat to prevent future rusting and the trip home. Here are some pics. The website link is Custom Paint & Coating Removal-Burlington, North Carolina- Carolina Chem-Strip
 

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Opel Key Master
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I have been working on gathering hardware to send out for zinc plating, and decided to pull apart a second front suspension to obtain some hardware that needed to be cut or torched out. I will be installing factory style rubber bushings in the suspension, and removed the old bushings today with use of the shop press. The inner sleeves usually are rusted onto the mounting bracket, so a quick heat up with the torch will loosen them up. The new bushings will come with the inner and outer sleeves for these. If you are installing poly bushings, you more than likely do not want to remove the outer shells. I got about 1-1/2 gallons worth of hardware at 24lbs!!! I added a few extras as I knew we may run into some changes where I will need some more hardware. In my next posts I will announce some breaking news about what things we will be using for the build. So here is a spoiler note: Electric Power Steering!!!! The rear end shows some signs of leaking wheel cylinders and just untouched maintenance that will all be renewed.
 

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Chem-strip finished

I took my trip back to North Carolina Chem-Strip to pick up the body shell and parts. I was a little surprised, but not near horrified about the outcome, looks like it has had typical rusted areas, that were cut out and patches were made. The patches were held in by the minimum amount of rivets, and then body filler used to finish off. It looks like the body work was done nice, they just didn't have a welder. So these first pictures are of the car after it has gone into the bake oven. This part melts off anything like rubber, and lead, bondo, and non metals. Aluminum rivets melt as well, noting the patch panels have fallen off. The next step is it goes into a chemical alkaline solution and is electrified to remove the rest of the paint and rust. Once out and washed down, an Ospho coating is applied to prevent it from flash rusting. This stuff looks like liquid galvanizing, and we are more than likely going to give it a good wash and scrub down. They really let it have it with this stage to get it into the seams and such.
 

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Opel Key Master
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Back onto the bodycart, and a close observation of the car reveals that there was some rusted areas inside the rocker area of the drivers side floor, a little along the lower front frame rail, and behind where rust patch panels were made. I still have the panels the prior bodyguys made for the car, as anything that fell off during the process, they save for you. The rear half of the car is actually amazing as it doesn't appear to have so much as a dent in the rear section of the car. In the pics you can see the front and rear rockers were patched, and behind each wheel well, and the bellypan. We can now get back to work on this to bring it back to A+ condition
 

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Well when it rains it pours here at the shop. I haven't really had anything to work on with the project until today now that the body has returned with the crossmembers and such, but then today I received all the newly plated hardware. It looks great to say the least, and would recommend anyone building a car to have this done. Now certain bolts and hardware that were rusty, will have fine pitting that does show with the plating, but I find this to be an instant money saver. I currently charge a $40.00 per hour labor rate. If I have all the bolts that need to be cleaned and wire brushed, it could literally take me all day just to wirebuff these bolts. 8 x $40 =$320. Then I have to prime and paint these bolts, and set them in cardboard or paint once assembled. I can't imagine how much real time I have in this, but figure another 8-10 hours when all said and done. So $6-700 in labor just for nuts and bolt cleaning, prep, and paint. I had all this hardware refinished for @300.00, and it will not have to be painted if needed. It looks brand new, and will really help with the details of the project. Also assembly will go quicker because I am not stopping to clean and paint hardware, and waiting for it to dry. I have a bolt bin of various hardware so I added in extras and common bolts for the build if needed, but needless to say I am relieved of the pain it is to wirebuff that hardware or sandblast.
 

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Opel Key Master
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I decided to have some powder-coating performed on this project, but usually had to travel across town to have it done. So usually would paint things instead of dealing with the hassles with gloss chassis paint. Well I heard through the grapevine that the place was going to close, so I better get it done now. I went down and to my dismay, it was closing down. The lady stated that the guy that did the coating is doing it at such and such place. Ends up they are literally on the same block as our shop!!!! How convenient is that. So I took the front suspension up and had it the next day. Needless to say I will have more things done on a regular basis now.
Keith
 

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When we received the body back, it was treated with an Ospho coating that was pretty rough. The company said to just scuff it and it was ready to prime. I felt this was a real hassle as you cannot really scuff everywhere, but in the crevices it doesn't really matter, but when we get them, we are pretty much ready to get the body into a primer to protect it, so this did cause us some extra headache, but I do not think I will be having the treatment done in the future. If I do have surface rust come up due to the trip, I feel it would be easier to control than hours of scrubbing. I put the body on the lift to prime underneath liberally. I am using a white Dupont Epoxy primer. Decided white as we have 2 in gray already and it could get confusing. I really laid it on thick in the interior trying to let it run on the inside panels. I want it in there, and a lot of the exterior will get sanded by then anyway. It is tough getting every bit in primer, just have to take it one part at a time. I am usually happy after this point, because I have no fear of surface rust or worry about people touching it with oily hands
 

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Discussion Starter #16
The metal repair has begun! Cain is working on making the needed patches. What he will do in most cases is lay over several pieces of tape, and mark edges that are bent or contoured. He will then peel off the tape and place it on a flat piece of sheetmetal, and cut and bend to fit the repair place. He will then mark the body and cut out the excess so the panel/patch will fit nicely. The green is already the sheetmatal taped and holding it up to the repair area. The inner structure also gets attention to detail as shown here. The inner rocker panel had rust to it, so even the strength bead in the metal is continued. Will this ever be seen, nope, but we still do our best to make sure it is right. The rear trim strip was asked to be removed as well, so welding up the holes will need to be performed.
 

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Continuing on, the frame rail was rusty along the bottom edge, but small pinholes revealed metal was weak a bit higher, so Cain replaced a bigger portion of the piece. All the panels are treated with an etch primer prior to welding and also afterwards. Now that the inner parts are complete, we can begin the outer panel of the fender.
 

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The interior metal of the inner fender is complete, so a larger patch is made for outer fender. Then inbetween spot welding the large panel in, Cain rebuilds the front inner fender and damaged area.
 

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Starting to jump around on the body and hitting the passenger side with patches. We try not to get into a hurry fully welding in these patches so we can eliminate any warping of the metal.
 

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The goodies begin to arrive!!! I ordered pretty much anything I thought would be needed for the duration of the restoration, which included a fuel sending unit, rear window chrome, all rubber bushings that I could get, but a 1 inch lowering spring kit, torque tube parts, flex-plate, mounts, gauges, cables and something else......oh yeah dual side-draft intakes. I am missing a bigger part of the order, which is expected soon. I always love getting a big cache of parts at one time. I got even an all new brake system with the new booster, calipers, and rotors/drums.
 

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