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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Well, after nearly a year, the car is almost done. All that's left is a final colorsand and buff out of the paint and painting the rims to match, but that's it. In the 11 months it has been off the road, I took the opportunity to pretty much restore everything non-mechanical, since I already did all the mechanical stuff last year. For clarity - everything outside of the body and paint was done by yours truly.

Recap: car was hit by a transit bus and took out the passenger side from the rear of the back door to the rear bumper. Had the panel replaced and had the roof rack removed and the areas filled with steel. The car was entirely disassembled and stripped to steel. Doors, windows and fenders were all removed. Body shop destroyed both rear cargo windows in the process - replacing them was a real treat. Also replaced the windshield because it was dotted with specks.

This picture makes me want to remove the side marker lights and scuff/paint the chrome trim on them. I have been contemplating making some Xenon projector units. This may be the next project. I've got a spare set of stock buckets in the basement to build off of. Hrmmmm....

Anyway, here's the good stuff: The color is Watkins Glen Gray.


Close up of the color


All of the trim was stripped and resprayed satin black


Roof detail. It looks factory.


Rear duckbill panel was the most challenging for the body shop. I ditched the wiper in the process to give it a smoother profile.


Dash was completely redone. Dashboard was shown in another thread. Dakota Digital gauges with GPS, and loads of additional VHX modules were added to provide lots of additional capability. Momo wheel was installed. I selected this one because I felt it really meshed well with the contours of the dash as well as the materials I selected everywhere else.


Column was removed, stripped and resprayed.


Side view


All of the sheetmetal inside the car was covered with Killmat. All of it.


Doors received two layers. One on the outside sheetmetal, one on the inner door. The doors now shut with a dead "thunk".


All of the plastics were stripped, sanded/scuffed, and resprayed with three-stage SEM paint. Black on top, and gray on the bottom. New carpet from ACC ("Essex" grade) was installed on the sides and door panels. It looks a bit wonky because the floor is a slightly different color. That carpet is on backorder but all of it will be changed out as soon as it arrives. NOTE: the black paint over gray is not as durable as I'd like - even with the SEM 3 step process. I am glad that most of those surfaces are 'no touch' anyway, but wanted to let people know in case a similar color change was being considered. In hindsight, I would have used some 1000 grit on the surface of the plastics to really give the paint something to dig into. The 2000 grit just was not enough. If it proves to be bothersome, I'll pull it all back out, hit it with 1000 and re-do it.


Here's a shot of the entire inner profile, showing the suede headliner as well as the two-tone plastics.




Wherever plastic had a contact point between plastic and/or sheetmetal, I installed moleskin tape. There are no annoying creaks anymore.


Arm-rest savers and new die-cut labels on the switches. All of the switchpanels and handle-plates were torn out, sanded, wet-sanded, and painted. Armrests were degreased, scuffed, primed and painted SEM gray to match everything else.


NOT shown: pretty much the entire accessory system was re-wired. The body shop did a lot of damage (they CUT the door harnesses, as an example) so I ended up going through everything and either re-running or re-soldering just about every connection. I also installed a huge stereo upgrade. The car now has two Alpine amps, JBL speakers fore and aft, and a Sundown 10" sub. New HD and IR backup camera was installed and run to the head unit.

Up next is installing the 3.73 gearset and reluctor that I've got in the basement.

It was a hell of a journey and a lot of work. There will always be work to do on this car so I don't think I'll ever stop screwing with things, but for now - I'll call it "good enough"
 

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.....but for now - I'll call it "good enough"

+1. In a WTF kinda wak drug you on today sorta way..... Quite righteous looking work there Mr. -dan. No part looks to take away from another, only add.
 

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Dan,
I have to say, "It's Outstanding"! I remember your incident with the bus and how I felt sick for you. I'm sure glad you could bring it back. This is what it's all about.

Mark: Snowman-33
 

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I have never really been a fan of wagons, but your build is changing my opinion. Great job on an excellant build!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks y'all. I am eager to get it back on the road and driving. Right now I am waiting for the RTV to cure on the china walls since I put my Edelbrock intake back on.

WTF did they cut the door harnesses for?
The same reason they destroyed the rear cargo windows and tried to return the car to me with the quarter skin not welded up in the spare wheel well. Most of the reason this car was at the shop for nearly a year was because they kept doing things wrong and I kept making them fix their mistakes. I am still debating taking the shop to court over some of it. I've had to come out of pocket thousands of dollars to either replace or repair things they destroyed or screwed up. For example - the door harnesses. I told them to fix the harnesses, so they "fixed" them. I then had the car towed home after the work, put the battery in, and the instant I turn the key I start to smell burning wires. Turns out they not only miswired them (how you can f-up connecting yellow-to-yellow and so on is beyond me...) but they crushed a few of them behind the backside of the hinge-plates.

They also destroyed the rear tailgate hinge, destroyed all of the tint, got overspray on the front seat, etc etc etc etc.

In the end, it nearly got to the point where the police were going to be there when I picked up the car from the shop. That place was a nightmare... and it has stellar reviews locally. :mad:

I am thankful that I knew what to inspect and how to address what I found. Were I not a 'car guy' I'd have been totally screwed by this place.

And a HUGE shout out to @Fred Kiehl. Not only for being the ever-reliable parts dude, but also for his knowledge in "how this part connects to that part" and his willingness to help me figure things out.
 

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Thanks y'all. I am eager to get it back on the road and driving. Right now I am waiting for the RTV to cure on the china walls since I put my Edelbrock intake back on.


The same reason they destroyed the rear cargo windows and tried to return the car to me with the quarter skin not welded up in the spare wheel well. Most of the reason this car was at the shop for nearly a year was because they kept doing things wrong and I kept making them fix their mistakes. I am still debating taking the shop to court over some of it. I've had to come out of pocket thousands of dollars to either replace or repair things they destroyed or screwed up. For example - the door harnesses. I told them to fix the harnesses, so they "fixed" them. I then had the car towed home after the work, put the battery in, and the instant I turn the key I start to smell burning wires. Turns out they not only miswired them (how you can f-up connecting yellow-to-yellow and so on is beyond me...) but they crushed a few of them behind the backside of the hinge-plates.

They also destroyed the rear tailgate hinge, destroyed all of the tint, got overspray on the front seat, etc etc etc etc.

In the end, it nearly got to the point where the police were going to be there when I picked up the car from the shop. That place was a nightmare... and it has stellar reviews locally. :mad:

I am thankful that I knew what to inspect and how to address what I found. Were I not a 'car guy' I'd have been totally screwed by this place.

And a HUGE shout out to @Fred Kiehl. Not only for being the ever-reliable parts dude, but also for his knowledge in "how this part connects to that part" and his willingness to help me figure things out.
That's terrible. I hope their paint work is good at least. Hate to see you have issues with that in the future. I've had so many bad experiences with body shops. Sadly even when you find a good one it's rare that everything turns out as perfect as you'd like. At least in my experience.

That's a great looking color though. Enjoy it!
 

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Really nice looking wagon! I think the light/dark gray and red really work well together.

I'll have to try the moleskin tape out and see how well that works - been looking for something like this.

Any more details on the dash?
 

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Love it!

I call dibs if you ever decide to sell it.
 

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Looks sweet! I hope its not too nice to drive.
Not long after we had April's car painted- always afraid to
park it in a lot. Stopped driving it, parked it in garage at home,
tags expired, insurance expired. Now we just race it :(

Enjoy it!

Nab
 

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Thanks Bad-, I just re-went through all the pics on this beaut.

Mr. -dan, needs more alarm(s). ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #19
How did you do the red stripe on the doors? I like it.
The door panels were split apart between the top and bottom sections. The top part was then redone with black fake leather with some extra padding behind it to give it some plushness. Then the panels were riveted and glued back together using JB Weld PlasticWeld. (This is the only stuff I've found to work well. The other stuff the previous owner used was good, but it failed after some time). The red stripe is a flexible red half-round piece of vehicle trim, like what you'd stick to the side of the door as a rub strip.
 
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