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Old 08-23-2016, 11:50 AM   #1
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Time Out: 70 El Camino Side Project

While building my dually, I started helping my buddy/co-worker/upholstery guy w/his oldest sons first ride. He wanted something cool, mild (nothing race car fast), dependable, & classic. After searching a while for something that fit within his TIGHT budget, he came across a 70 El Camino SS clone. It was a 20-footer but a decent start for the investment.

It screamed mid-80's high school parking lot era.....
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Building a small, high rpm engine
with the perfect bore, stroke and rod ratio is very impressive...
like a highly skilled Morrocan sword fighter with a Damascus Steel Scimitar.

Cubic inches is like Indiana Jones with a cheap pistol....
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Old 08-23-2016, 11:59 AM   #2
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Re: Time Out: 70 El Camino Side Project

We did a once over to assess the immediate & not-so immediate needs.

The immediate needs:
Ignition system/wiring (scary birds nest going on)
Worn front & rear suspension
Wheel & tire combo
Detail clean-up & assessment

The not so immediate needs:
Upgrades to the suspension while rebuilding
Wider (more safe) wheels & tires
Roof repair (poorly patched sunroof covered over w/a shoddy vinyl top)
Floor pans
Engine compartment refresh
Clean/re-route wiring for safety & aesthetics
Interior makeover/conversion (bench to buckets w/console)
Tailgate repair (had been rear ended)
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Building a small, high rpm engine
with the perfect bore, stroke and rod ratio is very impressive...
like a highly skilled Morrocan sword fighter with a Damascus Steel Scimitar.

Cubic inches is like Indiana Jones with a cheap pistol....
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Old 08-23-2016, 12:12 PM   #3
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Re: Time Out: 70 El Camino Side Project

We started w/removing the ignition wiring & replaced it w/some parts I had sitting on a shelf prom previous rides (a common practice throughout this build). Ignition upgrades weren't really pic worthy but the mix-mash of parts were replaced w/a GM HEI dizzy that had an MSD conversion kit (external coil + 6AL amp box) as well as streamlined the power supply & grounds.

Next was rebuilding the suspension starting w/the rear. This thing moved around so much going down the road it was SCARY! Inspection revealed the bushings were worn & some were even partially missing. While re-working things, I boxed in the control arms & built some simple shock relocation brackets that would be needed to clear some wider rear wheels. The gearing was left as is for now but needs to be upgraded once the budget allows so just the bushings, fluid, & seals were serviced....
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Building a small, high rpm engine
with the perfect bore, stroke and rod ratio is very impressive...
like a highly skilled Morrocan sword fighter with a Damascus Steel Scimitar.

Cubic inches is like Indiana Jones with a cheap pistol....

Last edited by SCOTI; 08-23-2016 at 12:27 PM.
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Old 08-23-2016, 12:41 PM   #4
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Re: Time Out: 70 El Camino Side Project

More rear end pics....
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Building a small, high rpm engine
with the perfect bore, stroke and rod ratio is very impressive...
like a highly skilled Morrocan sword fighter with a Damascus Steel Scimitar.

Cubic inches is like Indiana Jones with a cheap pistol....
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Old 08-23-2016, 12:48 PM   #5
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Re: Time Out: 70 El Camino Side Project

It was a HUGE improvement just upgrading the rear so we knew the front was going to be even better.

New ball joints, bushings, brake hardware, & tie-rods were installed. A 1.25" sway-bar from a 2nd GEN f-body was added & a coil was cut from the springs for starters. Ideally we need higher rate springs but they just weren't in the budget & we couldn't find any used so we opted to trim what was there & spend the money toward adding the larger sway-bar. We also purposely didn't lower this one aggressively since the driver was just starting out.

Everything was cleaned & detail painted as we went....
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Building a small, high rpm engine
with the perfect bore, stroke and rod ratio is very impressive...
like a highly skilled Morrocan sword fighter with a Damascus Steel Scimitar.

Cubic inches is like Indiana Jones with a cheap pistol....
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Old 08-23-2016, 01:03 PM   #6
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Re: Time Out: 70 El Camino Side Project

The drop was just right. Next was upgrading to some additional wheel & tire width. I had multiple sets of GM car rally wheels to choose from. My buddy initially was set on going w/a staggered 7/8" set-up for safety. I knew something more aggressive was warranted & it took some persuasion to change his mind.

We were sticking w/a 275mm rear tire regardless but I felt the 275's on a 10" wheel would really fill the wheel-well up & look aggressive from the rear. He didn't feel there would be a notable difference so we broke one of the 8"/275 Centerline wheels down & swapped it over to a 10" Rally. I rolled the 8' & 10" 275 combo's side by side & it was unanimous @ that point.

He sold off the Centerlines to pay for some appropriately sized BFG front tires. Now we're looking classic w/some aggression....
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Building a small, high rpm engine
with the perfect bore, stroke and rod ratio is very impressive...
like a highly skilled Morrocan sword fighter with a Damascus Steel Scimitar.

Cubic inches is like Indiana Jones with a cheap pistol....
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Old 08-23-2016, 01:09 PM   #7
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Re: Time Out: 70 El Camino Side Project

Looks good so far!
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Old 08-23-2016, 01:50 PM   #8
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Re: Time Out: 70 El Camino Side Project

Subscribing,...
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Old 08-23-2016, 03:13 PM   #9
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Re: Time Out: 70 El Camino Side Project

10" wheel in the rear most definitely looks 'right' Lucky kid for sure.
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Old 08-23-2016, 04:32 PM   #10
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Re: Time Out: 70 El Camino Side Project

With the suspension freshened up & the necessary funding reached, it was decided to do some rust/sheet-metal repairs before other items.

This thing had a sun-roof installed @ some point in it's life. Like most things w/a hole on top that sits outside for any length of time, eventually it's going to leak. So, someone crudely patched up where the sun-roof was, wiped over the sheet-metal patch w/bondo (no primer anywhere) & then threw a poorly installed vinyl top over the mess.

The roof skin was done by a shop that has done work w/my buddy's dad before (his dad is a long-time local upholstery guy). The guy was able to get to it quickly & the price was very fair. I just told my buddy to go by there frequently to ensure the quality of repair was what we were shooting for.

The guy removed the old rotted metal, installed the new skin, & metal worked things allowing us to ok the work before any top-coat was applied. We wanted proper metal work here & no hidden shoddy work. We got it....
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Building a small, high rpm engine
with the perfect bore, stroke and rod ratio is very impressive...
like a highly skilled Morrocan sword fighter with a Damascus Steel Scimitar.

Cubic inches is like Indiana Jones with a cheap pistol....
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Old 08-23-2016, 04:38 PM   #11
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Re: Time Out: 70 El Camino Side Project

After priming/sealing, my buddy & his dad sourced new quality black vinyl material & got the new top installed. I lobbied for paint because it seems vinyl tops love moisture & I felt a 'simulated vinyl top' would work w/o future risk. They opted to keep it traditional. Then another old school local guy came out & installed the glass...
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Building a small, high rpm engine
with the perfect bore, stroke and rod ratio is very impressive...
like a highly skilled Morrocan sword fighter with a Damascus Steel Scimitar.

Cubic inches is like Indiana Jones with a cheap pistol....
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Old 08-23-2016, 05:04 PM   #12
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Re: Time Out: 70 El Camino Side Project

Our plan was to tackle the floor boards next. The Camino was then stripped of what remained of the old interior. It was @ this time that an offer came about & plans changed.

I've never done an entire floor. I've done patch repair but this thing didn't have much remaining to 'patch'. The existing damage to the floors wasn't repaired much better than the roof. it had the standard sheet-metal squares hammered in to fit where the rot diminished, screwed in place, & then slathered in sealant. They then threw cheap carpet over it @ called it good. What a mess.

So the change of plans was one of the neighbors where my buddy's family shop is does sheet-metal repairs for a living @ a local body-shop & does side work. He said he could do it right, quickly, & offered a good deal. You know the old saying.... Correct, Fast, & Cheap: You can pick two out of the three. So what seemed like a good idea to allow a pro go @ it & quickly move things along turned into a big delay. Yes he did a good job as priced. But instead of weeks, it was months (months). The guy also wound-up installing a tailgate skin for us as well since there was a delay (the old gate had ~3/4" of bondo on it in some areas).

While not happy, there was no harm as it allowed time for replenishing the funds.
As my buddy would say, it is what it is....
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Building a small, high rpm engine
with the perfect bore, stroke and rod ratio is very impressive...
like a highly skilled Morrocan sword fighter with a Damascus Steel Scimitar.

Cubic inches is like Indiana Jones with a cheap pistol....

Last edited by SCOTI; 08-23-2016 at 05:23 PM.
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Old 08-23-2016, 05:46 PM   #13
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Re: Time Out: 70 El Camino Side Project

The unfortunate part of the floor delay was it jacked-up our schedules. With the kids school activities, sports + life in general, progress slowed as the season changed. My buddy scoured the net & C-list looking for El Camino/Chevelle related parts during this downtime.

We wanted the classic 'muscle-car' theme w/the interior. My buddy was looking through ad's for related parts when he came into contact w/a guy selling various parts & made him an offer on some mis-matched pieces. So a road trip to Baton Rouge LA was in order & he was able to pick-up a set of buckets & console for free (the guy thought it was cool what he was doing for his son on such a shoe-string budget so he wouldn't take any money for the parts). Very cool! My buddy insisted on paying something so he wound up giving him some cash so he could take his wife out for dinner.

Since we were into the winter months now, we returned focus to my dually while he continued looking for parts for the Camino. I was really pushing to have my Dually done for the Lone Star Throwdown which kept us both busy. Unfortunately my deadline wasn’t achieved as there were too many shake-down issues to address.

As we moved closer to summer, a plan was made to shift our focus back to the Camino & get it over to my shop to transform the ‘challenged’ engine bay. Gotta show the 'free stuff' first though.....
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Building a small, high rpm engine
with the perfect bore, stroke and rod ratio is very impressive...
like a highly skilled Morrocan sword fighter with a Damascus Steel Scimitar.

Cubic inches is like Indiana Jones with a cheap pistol....
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Old 08-23-2016, 06:26 PM   #14
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Re: Time Out: 70 El Camino Side Project

Our intent under the hood was again to keep things simple & maintain the classic muscle car theme.

We wanted to clean-up the multiple layers of chipped paint that was then topped w/un-masked undercoating. The exposed frame, hood hinges, springs, core support, inner fender skins & wheel-wells were all poorly sprayed w/undercoating (the stuff was everywhere!). And the other issues:

The motor leaked all over.
The intake was stained.
Headers hung far too low.
None of the pulleys matched (1x faded billet, 1x chrome steel, 1x painted steel, & 1x plated steel).
There were wires literally draped over the motor from side to side.
The external Voltage regulator was removed & wires were just hanging exposed or loosely twisted together.
There were multiple holes in the firewall that indicated there was prob an under-dash A/C unit @ some point in life that were filled w/expandable foam & taped over.
Other items were dirty + had over-spray.

This was going to be a big part of the project & would make or break our efforts. This is also where ‘the boys’ (car owner Dylon & his bother Blane) got more involved as school was now out.
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Building a small, high rpm engine
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like a highly skilled Morrocan sword fighter with a Damascus Steel Scimitar.

Cubic inches is like Indiana Jones with a cheap pistol....
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Old 08-23-2016, 06:34 PM   #15
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Re: Time Out: 70 El Camino Side Project

My buddy (Jeremie) & the boys brought the Camino back to my shop early one Sat am & we got started. Of course, this was after multiple trips to the car wash w/degreaser. Their assorted family members were protesting the next move but you need to be thorough if you want it to look right...
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Building a small, high rpm engine
with the perfect bore, stroke and rod ratio is very impressive...
like a highly skilled Morrocan sword fighter with a Damascus Steel Scimitar.

Cubic inches is like Indiana Jones with a cheap pistol....

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Old 08-23-2016, 06:42 PM   #16
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Re: Time Out: 70 El Camino Side Project

The motor & trans were split as disassembly started. Apparently the cars owner was supervising in the last pic. He has no clue about the amount of work it's going to take to get this mess of parts & pieces looking good.....
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Building a small, high rpm engine
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like a highly skilled Morrocan sword fighter with a Damascus Steel Scimitar.

Cubic inches is like Indiana Jones with a cheap pistol....
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Old 08-23-2016, 07:04 PM   #17
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Re: Time Out: 70 El Camino Side Project

Most of the offending leaky gasket material was scraped away & the long-block was wiped down to see what they had. We were glad to see zero residue or deposits in the lifter valley & oil-pan. There was also a dbl roller timing set & some fresh pistons in the bores. This was great news as a rebuild would have taken over the entire budget. The rattle-can rebuild commenced once the assorted gaskets were acquired.

Intake rail seals, oil pan gasket, valve cover gaskets, timing cover gaskets, & the trans output shaft seal were all leaking or poorly installed. We made corrections & used the best materials possible (spend more up front to have it cleaner longer ).

The intake was cleaned as thoroughly as possible but was still ugly. We searched for a used/cheap suitable replacement but couldn't find anything. The only spare parts I had on the shelf was a little too much for this application so we used paint to keep within the budget (I'm not a fan of painting alum intakes & we didn't have access to a bead blaster @ the time).

It took several days to clean everything & get it prepped for color but Dylon liked what he saw as we progressed.

I'm assuming they were each taking pics of the clean motor & NOT texting/surfing the web. Who am I kidding....
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Building a small, high rpm engine
with the perfect bore, stroke and rod ratio is very impressive...
like a highly skilled Morrocan sword fighter with a Damascus Steel Scimitar.

Cubic inches is like Indiana Jones with a cheap pistol....
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Old 08-23-2016, 07:09 PM   #18
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Re: Time Out: 70 El Camino Side Project

The trans was cleaned up as well, the seal was replaced, & the two were reunited. The two brothers worked hard scrubbing all these parts free of grease & realized it takes much longer in reality vs the car shows.

Despite their sore fingers, they stuck w/it & did a great job.
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Building a small, high rpm engine
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like a highly skilled Morrocan sword fighter with a Damascus Steel Scimitar.

Cubic inches is like Indiana Jones with a cheap pistol....
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Old 08-23-2016, 07:36 PM   #19
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Re: Time Out: 70 El Camino Side Project

With the drivetrain handled, the focus was shifted to the engine bay. The fenders were taped-off @ a seam to allow cleaning-up as much over-spray as possible while allowing a clean break/transition point for stripping.

Everything that could be stripped was w/a DA. What couldn't be was cleaned, scraped, sanded & scotch-brighted until there were no feelings in their fingers. The holes in the firewall were patched after a one-sided discussion (Jeremie told me I made the correct call ). Wiring was un-wrapped, sorted, repaired, lengthened or removed where necessary. The hood hinges & springs were stripped of the multi-layered paint + undercoating). The firewall was lightly body-worked over repaired areas.

This phase took longer than we wanted (over a month of weekends as we wanted to ensure the boys were part of the process). But, that's what it took to keep everyone involved as much as possible & make it look decent. Sandblasting or further disassembly would have made things that much nicer (easier!) but we were on a timeline to get this vehicle & it's owner on the streets for his senior year. We had to work w/what we had available.

Apparently, we worked them too hard @ times it would seem. We were 'multi-tasking' (building character & keeping them away from their phones)....
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Building a small, high rpm engine
with the perfect bore, stroke and rod ratio is very impressive...
like a highly skilled Morrocan sword fighter with a Damascus Steel Scimitar.

Cubic inches is like Indiana Jones with a cheap pistol....

Last edited by SCOTI; 08-23-2016 at 07:51 PM.
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Old 08-23-2016, 07:59 PM   #20
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Re: Time Out: 70 El Camino Side Project

Summer was passing by quickly. Work, vacations, weather, & life wasn't allowing much group time but we worked when possible as our goal was to have things re-assembled before the boys were back in school....
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Cubic inches is like Indiana Jones with a cheap pistol....
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Old 08-23-2016, 08:02 PM   #21
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Re: Time Out: 70 El Camino Side Project

We made our goal..... partially.
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Building a small, high rpm engine
with the perfect bore, stroke and rod ratio is very impressive...
like a highly skilled Morrocan sword fighter with a Damascus Steel Scimitar.

Cubic inches is like Indiana Jones with a cheap pistol....
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Old 08-23-2016, 09:30 PM   #22
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Re: Time Out: 70 El Camino Side Project

That is a nice looking Elky .
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Old 08-24-2016, 09:40 PM   #23
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Re: Time Out: 70 El Camino Side Project

Great project, specially having the boys involved. Will be tagging along.
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Old 08-25-2016, 07:48 AM   #24
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Re: Time Out: 70 El Camino Side Project

Thanks guys!

The drivetrain was back in but now the accessories & wiring had to be finished out. Once again the process was slow (it was hard to align the multiple schedules, logistics, & ma-nature).

We cleaned-up & used some 3/4 length Headman headers I had sitting on the shelf to address our previous low header collector issue. I vetoed utilizing the mis-matched pulleys from before as we were definitely on track & I did not want them to stick out like a sore thumb (the billet water-pump pulley was the wrong era & paint would never stick to the chrome crank pulley well). I ordered a set of replacement OE steel pulleys & cleaned/painted them for installation.

We also started really sorting through the wiring. We wanted to streamline & 'hide' what was possible as well as correct the internal alt upgrade that wasn't exactly done to standard. Trying to pin-point what wires were what took some research. Splices, faded colors, & inconsistent web sourced schematics had us going over things multiple times. We continued to push forward & eventually got things figured out.

The External regulator wiring is now properly spliced in place w/extra wiring corrected. The alt wiring was re-routed for better visual appeal. Exposed engine compartment wiring on the driver’s side was hidden where possible & routed for better visual appeal. Maxi fuses have been installed for circuit protection as well as inline fuses where necessary. The headlight wiring was cleaned-up & better routed. New custom made battery cables & better grounds were installed & routed for better visual appeal.
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Building a small, high rpm engine
with the perfect bore, stroke and rod ratio is very impressive...
like a highly skilled Morrocan sword fighter with a Damascus Steel Scimitar.

Cubic inches is like Indiana Jones with a cheap pistol....
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Old 08-25-2016, 07:57 AM   #25
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Re: Time Out: 70 El Camino Side Project

Plug wires, heater hoses, & engine-monitoring gauge lines were routed for optimum visual appeal. The fan shroud & radiator were prepped & painted to match the new radiator cover. We used the same type of flanged hardware everywhere possible for consistency. Dylon's birthday came along, so I got him some classic muscle-car engine compartment 'bling'.

The remaining engine compartment items are to replace the booster, master cyl, & brake lines. They're functional but not very pretty. Regardless, it definitely left my shop looking MUCH better vs when it arrived....
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Cubic inches is like Indiana Jones with a cheap pistol....
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