Author Topic: Another '66 Eldorado Restoration  (Read 1208 times)

Offline Ralph Messina CLC 4937

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Another '66 Eldorado Restoration
« on: November 24, 2013, 07:26:01 PM »
In Oct ’01 I sold my first ’66 Eldorado, a Crystal / dark green / dark green CLC GN 1st, to raise money and space to restore a…………<wait for it >>>>>>……….. ’66 Brougham. Yes, I sold a convertible to buy a four door sedan. Once the Brougham was finished, I realized selling the Eldorado was a big mistake. My original was not for sale, even with financial encouragement. Ten years to the day I bought another, identically trimmed ’66 Eldorado. It had high mileage but I knew the car was  rock solid having been a southwestern car most of its life. I thought the repaint might be salvageable; but the roof was tattered and interior was toasted, dyed and re-toasted again. I planned for reupholstery and a new top.


The owner met me at the  half way point and I drive it home 175 miles with a friend following in my truck. I should call it a chase truck because the Eldorado cruised at 75- 80 mph with no effort, engine noises or telltale exhaust. The previous owner is a CLC member who turned out to be one of the finest gentlemen I’ve ever done business with. There was an unknown problem with the car and he immediately stepped up and rectified the issue. It really pays to buy a collector car from a fellow club member. 

On close inspection I could see the engine compartment was very dirty and greasy with gasket leaks everywhere.  I also knew I wouldn’t be happy with salvaging the paint which showed 46 years worth of poorly repaired door dings. I decided to go through the whole car and build a really nice driver / touring car. I make the distinction that high point show cars are what Fleetwood craftsman would build, while a cruiser is regular assembly line…..nice, but no fanaticism.


Note: Hold ctrl and click on pic to enlargen it.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2013, 07:46:33 PM by Ralph Messina CLC 4937 »
1966 Fleetwood Brougham
1966 Eldorado
2010 GMC Yukon

Offline Ralph Messina CLC 4937

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Re: Another '66 Eldorado Restoration
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2013, 07:27:57 PM »
I removed the front sheet metal and trim, pulled the engine and removed all the accessories for subsequent rebuilding. I find it a bit more work, but it is a lot easier for cleaning and needed repairs. To my pleasant surprise I found the engine and transmission had been rebuilt some 10M miles earlier. The work was done 20 years ago but the car had been driven less than 500 miles a year since. The previous owner was not even aware of the rebuild. The oil leaks were the result dried gaskets and seals from lack of use.

1966 Fleetwood Brougham
1966 Eldorado
2010 GMC Yukon

Offline Ralph Messina CLC 4937

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Re: Another '66 Eldorado Restoration
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2013, 07:29:47 PM »
After cleaning, painting and installing the engine I braced the radiator cradle so the car could move on its own power……Even stripped down they’re heavier than you think to push around.
1966 Fleetwood Brougham
1966 Eldorado
2010 GMC Yukon

Offline Ralph Messina CLC 4937

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Re: Another '66 Eldorado Restoration
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2013, 07:31:22 PM »
All the trim and interior was removed before trucking to the body shop. The car had absolutely no rust anywhere, which was a blessing after dealing with the rust in my ’66 Brougham. Once at the shop, I disassembled the dash for painting and repaired all the electrical harnesses
1966 Fleetwood Brougham
1966 Eldorado
2010 GMC Yukon

Offline Ralph Messina CLC 4937

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Re: Another '66 Eldorado Restoration
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2013, 07:32:49 PM »
Aircraft stripper was used to remove the paint. Other than dents and dings along the sides, the sheet metal was pristine. Then came surprise No. 2.
1966 Fleetwood Brougham
1966 Eldorado
2010 GMC Yukon

Offline Ralph Messina CLC 4937

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Re: Another '66 Eldorado Restoration
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2013, 07:34:59 PM »
The deck lid didn’t fit correctly or close properly. Once stripped the second surprise was evident and not so pleasant. There were two bad dents indicating someone had backed into something with a lot of force. The valance is very heavy metal and used as a jacking point. A torch and large hammer made for an effective repair. The deck lid  is a double panel so pins were attached to pull the dents which were finished with a thin filler coat and contour sanding. However it still didn’t fit or close correctly. We finally discovered that one or both of the hinge arms had been bent  and poorly repaired. We then found the torsion rods were incorrect.  I soon discovered finding two convertible hinge arms and rods was not easy, but it was expensive. Some time searching Hemmings and the internet and I located the parts at “Bonny & Clyde Auto Salvage” . To add insult to the part price, they wanted a king’s ransom for shipping and handling. But, when the parts finally arrived, they were excellent. After installation the deck lid fit and operated perfectly
1966 Fleetwood Brougham
1966 Eldorado
2010 GMC Yukon

Offline Ralph Messina CLC 4937

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Re: Another '66 Eldorado Restoration
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2013, 07:37:37 PM »
More about the color in a moment. Leaving out  prep steps, the painting was done in three stages: removable parts were jammed then reassembled to the body; followed by a base coat, then a final clear coats. We hung the panels on the car for painting so that the metallic particles would lay down the same giving a uniform finish. The body was color sanded and buffed. After a “minor” mishap several years ago, I’m still not allowed to use a buffer, even on my own car. Hey, we can’t be a master of all skills
1966 Fleetwood Brougham
1966 Eldorado
2010 GMC Yukon

Offline Ralph Messina CLC 4937

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Re: Another '66 Eldorado Restoration
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2013, 07:41:55 PM »
Color selection had become an issue. I wasn’t enthused building another Crystal Firemist / dark green / dark green  colored car.  Adding to the decision was the availability of the correct color dark green leather and top. Electron Top told me the only two pin point vinyl green tops available were medium green and a dark green that was too olive color to team with the Crystal paint.. This was true for the original shade green leather, which could be custom dyed for an extra set up and run charge. I was faced with the options of a complete color change. I’ve always considered ’66 one of my favorite year Cadillacs, but I feel other years had better colors selections. While wasting time surfing ebay I happened upon a ’58 Eldorado for sale and knew that was it! The color is Gleneagles Green and the  medium green convertible top matches perfectly. I then visited a local leather supplier to the hobby to see what stock color interior leathers he offered. Turns out he had several hides left over from a special run that were a perfect darker shade match to the paint and roof. The third surprise, this time very pleasant, was the fire sale price. I bought enough for the complete interior, proving even a blind squirrel occasionally finds a nut.

The car is 90% complete with the interior stored in my basement.  I’m afraid I won’t be able to finish assembly until the weather warms up again…….My garage  is already too cold to hold tools without frost bite. I am looking forward to driving it to Lake George.
1966 Fleetwood Brougham
1966 Eldorado
2010 GMC Yukon

Offline Jeff Wilk

  • J. Wilk CLC # 25630
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Re: Another '66 Eldorado Restoration
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2013, 08:39:49 PM »
Ralph, all i can say is simply awesome!!!!

Jeff
"Impossible Only Describes The Degree Of Difficulty" 

1959 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special
1975 Eldorado Convertible (#12 made)
1933 Phaeton Chevrolet - "Baby Cadillac"
1933 Master Sedan Chevrolet - "Baby Cadillac"

Offline 66 Eldo

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Re: Another '66 Eldorado Restoration
« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2013, 11:46:07 PM »
Ralph, nice car and good work. BTW, where did you get the engine hoist plate that bolts to the intake? I have used many over the years but that one looks very robust.

Offline cadillacjim

  • Cadillac Kings Phx
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  • Name: j powers
Re: Another '66 Eldorado Restoration
« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2013, 04:21:40 AM »
car looks awesome.
1956 VW Drag Car
1961 VW Bug Ragtop
1965 Cadillac Coupe deVille
1965 Cadillac Coupe deVille
1965 Cadillac Coupe deVille
1965 Cadillac Sedan deVille
1966 Cadillac deVille convertible project
1968 Chevy El camino
1995 Nissan Hardbody show truck
1998 VW GTI VR6

Re: Another '66 Eldorado Restoration
« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2013, 02:48:58 PM »
Ralph you know I have an extra Eldorao parts car. I could have given you those hinges and torsion bars. God knows what the shipping would have been. The charges on grille I sent were nuts. I think snail mail or slow UPS is better.

Offline Ralph Messina CLC 4937

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Re: Another '66 Eldorado Restoration
« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2013, 03:27:26 PM »
Brad,

Thanks for the offer...... I bought the hinges before I contacted you for the grille......Didn't think of it. Thanks again for helping with that.
Besides, I know you'll need the parts car one day to finish yours.
1966 Fleetwood Brougham
1966 Eldorado
2010 GMC Yukon

Offline austingta

  • Posts: 131
  • 1966 de Ville Convertible CLC 28462
Re: Another '66 Eldorado Restoration
« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2013, 07:29:33 PM »
Those Eldorados are the cat's pajamas in my book. There is one near me, same green color, and it looks good. It lives outdoors, so I don't know how long it will stay nice.

Great car!
Frank Brooks
Austin, TX

Hook 'em


Offline DeVille68

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  • Name: Nicolas Hubacher
Re: Another '66 Eldorado Restoration
« Reply #14 on: December 08, 2013, 03:47:35 AM »
Very nice! Love the color!
My 68 is Silver Pine Green. I just love these bright and "friendly" colors!

regards,
Nicolas

Offline 1966Eldorado

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  • 1966 Eldo (Cascade Green)
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  • Name: Tommy Statham
Re: Another '66 Eldorado Restoration
« Reply #15 on: December 11, 2013, 06:30:58 PM »
Great work. Where did the convertible top come from?
Tommy Statham
CLC# 28310
1966 Eldorado
2013 Buick Enclave
2005 Mercedes Wagon

Offline Ralph Messina CLC 4937

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Re: Another '66 Eldorado Restoration
« Reply #16 on: December 11, 2013, 08:03:47 PM »
Tom,

It's from Electron Top and is medium green

Ralph
1966 Fleetwood Brougham
1966 Eldorado
2010 GMC Yukon

Offline 1966Eldorado

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  • 1966 Eldo (Cascade Green)
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  • Name: Tommy Statham
Re: Another '66 Eldorado Restoration
« Reply #17 on: April 20, 2014, 05:02:57 PM »
Ralph

Thanks. I am getting my car out of storage this week. I sold my 76 Eldo to get the capital campaign started. Enjoy the springtime in the Eldo. I attached a couple of photos of the top and interior. I believe they are the same green.
Tommy Statham
CLC# 28310
1966 Eldorado
2013 Buick Enclave
2005 Mercedes Wagon

Offline Ralph Messina CLC 4937

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Re: Another '66 Eldorado Restoration
« Reply #18 on: April 21, 2014, 03:42:17 PM »
Tommy,

Thank you. I'm about 98% finished but the little stuff at the end is maddening. It seems I finish three things and have to go back and do two over again. It is on the road so I can hit the cruise nights.

Ralph
1966 Fleetwood Brougham
1966 Eldorado
2010 GMC Yukon

Offline Eldo66

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  • Name: P Nesbitt
Re: Another '66 Eldorado Restoration
« Reply #19 on: April 21, 2014, 08:41:23 PM »
Tommy,

Thank you. I'm about 98% finished but the little stuff at the end is maddening. It seems I finish three things and have to go back and do two over again. It is on the road so I can hit the cruise nights.

Ralph

Ralph,

If you can, post some current photos - Will be interesting to see the colors in exterior light.  I am installing new wheel cylinders to prepare for a tour event at Concours of Texas. 

Thanks,
P. Nesbitt
1966 Eldorado - Flamenco Red with bucket seats

 



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