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1970 Roadster Resto: Red to White


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Hi All,


    Just found this site, so I thought I would post some before and after pics of my 1970 roadster restoration.  I am finally beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel on this.  I am hoping to have everything complete in time for the 2014 JCCS show in Long Beach.  I will post more pics of the resto as I get more familiar with the site.  For now, here are a few pics.  I am about two years into this.


Pic 1:  Roadster Day one.....several years ago.




Pic 2:  Motor needs some help




Pic 3:  Got the body off



Pic 4:  About a year later.....got the frame looking nice.




Pic 5:  Got the body painted and attached to frame  (painted it myself)



Pic 6:  Current status....attaching parts back on the body




Pic 7:  Engine bay so far.




Anyway, this is where I am at so far.  If you want to see a bit more detail on the process, you can follow the build at:




Looking forward to having this done.



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It looks great.

Thanks, finally feel like I am making some progress.  The body work took forever.  I went back and looked at my first post, guess I have been on this for over 3 years now.  Didn't realize that much time had passed.


I popped for the full gasket and weather stripping kit on ebay yesterday.  I pretty much need everything in the kit.  After 44 years, the rubber is all pretty shot.  I have two more major expenditures: Chrome and an interior kit.  After that, I should be pretty close to being done. 


Got the Fuel tank in last week end and the steering in the week before.  Would like to get the windshield in pretty soon.  Although not sure if I should put dash in first then windshield or windshield first.  The dash needs a lot of help.


Anyway, looking forward to the rubber kit coming in. 



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Made a huge mistake.  As you can see from the motor picture, the exhaust manifold is not installed.  I spent a bit of time cleaning up the manifold and putting a beautiful paint job on it only to find out that it just doesn’t ‘Drop In’ from the top.  Can’t slide it in from the bottom.  Had to undo motor mount on left side and alternator bracket, raise motor several inches with jack and pull manifold in from the bottom.  Scratched up the manifold (major), oil pan and steering rod. What an absolute pain.  Spent several hours Saturday getting this in, then Sunday re-touching up all the paint scratches.  Ouch!

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Are those the stock side moldings?

Yes, those are the original side moldings.  I re-zinced the little attach plates that slide inside the molding.  The molding needed a lot of help though.  They had a number of dings in them.  I used a piece of 1" PVC cut long-wise and a small block of formed wood to remove the dents.  I had the outside of the molding on the pvc and the formed wood on the inside and pounded the wood with a hammer to get rid of the dents as best I could.  After this I buffed the outside of the molding with the high speed buffing wheel.  I came out pretty good.  Not perfect, but very nice.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Got the complete rubber kit and the carpet kit, so really starting to get a lot done here.  Got most of the carpet installed today.  I glued in the center piece and the two pieces that go under the seat.  The rest I just laid in place as I may want to take them out when I do the dash install.  The kit came with a piece for the trunk.  That was a nice bonus. Picked it up from Les at Classic Datsun.  The carpet quality is excellent.  It looks much better in person than in the pics.

      Also got the starter cleaned up, tested and installed today. cleaned and installed the vent ovals with new rubber.  Also zinced and installed the vent levers.  Got the engine harness in also, though not fully connected to all items.









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  • 2 weeks later...

This is the dash re-furb.  It came out pretty well.  Amazingly, I even got the clock working.  Not bad.


Started with this.....it's a little rough.




Did a lot of trimming and shaving of crack...then used the great stuff.





Shaved that down with a knife....sanded, then used this stuff




Smoothed and sanded...with at least 10 applications of the Bumper Bite cause things were pretty bad, then painted




I put some clear coat over this because it picked up dust and dirt  real fast with just the texture coating.  Did a quick install in the car to see how it looked.  Not bad...just a lot of work.




Assembled the new glove box.




Here is the working clock.




So I will clean up the wiring and speedo and instrument glass and then re-install in dash.  Will add clock and new glove box.  Hope to have that done by next week.


Making good progress.  

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So, looks like I have some problems with the dash harness.   The two large wires going to the ammeter are torched and melted the insulation in those wires.  I am guessing this is why the car has been sitting since 1992.  I will have to make sure to check the alternator and voltage regulator so that I don’t still have an electrical problem when things are all back together and I am ready to start the motor.


                I am very fortunate to have a 1969 roadster dash harness in good condition that was given to me by a friend.  Looks like there are about 10 to 12 extra wires in the 1970 harness that are not in the 1969 dash harness.  I spent some time last night pulling out the ‘extra’ wires from the 1970 dash harness and added them to the 1969 harness.  It also looks like some of the wire ‘pinouts’ have changed in at least one of the connectors.  So, hopefully this weekend I can get all of the unique 1970 wires into the 1969 harness and then do the install.  I did clean the instrument chrome and glass.  They look pretty nice.  Will probably put those in the dash on Friday and hopefully get the harness in on Saturday.  Will post pics then.

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I got a lot done last weekend.  I put the vent and the heater levers in the dash along with the harness.  There were a few electrical connectors to connect and the harness laid in the dash nicely. The dash installed pretty easy and all the screw holes aligned nicely.  I got some new screws and washers for the install so everything went in pretty well.


The windshield went in pretty easy using the string method.  The chrome/SST trim probably should have been installed before I put the window in.  The top and two side pieces were not hard to install, but the bottom piece was near impossible.  After an hour of failed attempts, I finally put the same string I used for the windshield in the trim groove and used the same method for installing the windshield for the bottom trim.  That actually worked really well.  I cleaned up the windshield wiper arms and put those in, then took a couple pics.   The car is really starting to come together.  I think next weekend I will connect more of the electrical and start adding to the engine bay area.  It would really be nice to have the motor running by the end of May.  The major item to take care of here is getting the radiator fixed with a three row core.  I think I have all the rest of the parts for the motor.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Got the radiator fixed and installed.  I had the three row, high efficiency core put in to help keep the motor cool.  On my previous roadster the motor would get too hot going up the Grape Vine and warp the head or blow the head gasket.  I figured it was worth the extra money.  Cost about $360 to get that done.  I loosely attached the radiator hoses as they are pretty old.  Will get a new braided hose set from Jay eventually.


I put in some of the brake lines and clutch line in the engine bay.  Also put a battery in their so I could test the motor.  I was hoping it would turn over when I turned the key, but no such luck.  The voltage going to the solenoid was way too low to activate the starter.  I will have to go through the wiring and see why the large voltage drop.  I was able to get the motor to turn over by shorting the solenoid with a screw driver.  That was a big victory.   Makes me think I am getting close.


                I got the fuel lines connected to the gas tank and put in the emergency brake cable assembly. 


                I will try and post some pics in the next couple days.  It’s great to see the progress.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Made a lot of progress.  I added a ground from the battery to the frame and exercised the ignition switch.  Not sure which one did the trick (the single ground to the motor didn’t seem right) but now the motor turns over with the key.  That is a big step.  I also got some spark at the distributor points which was great.  So, I got some new plugs, put the distributor cap on and hooked up the wires, added oil and put a couple shots of starting fluid in the intake.  Motor ran for quick couple pops which was all I wanted to see. That is a huge step.  This motor has not ran for over 26 years, pretty amazing.  I got the fuel lines all completed and started putting in the final clutch and brake items.  Clutch system is done with new master and slave cylinders.  Just need to hook the master up to the pedal and fill with fluid.  Brake lines are almost done except for one line to the rear.  Here are the latest pics.  Also got the stock rims and air cleaner covers off to the powder coater.  Sent all chrome to the chrome guy, West Coast Plating.  Should have everything back by the end of June.  Attached are latest pics.










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Lookin great, great efforts.

Roadsters were under-grounded in stock form, so despite what diagrams say,, here is outline:

Batt to frame

Alt to frame (can include block to frame in this one)

Starter to frame


Double check (clean and re-seat and grease ) ground for rear liters on back of frame near bumper.


Oh, and don't let pos cable rest on bell housing, as it gets too hot.


These are the wise things that the roadster gurus passed on to me many moon ago.


Needless to say (you have already found out), Les is a great guy

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Thanks for tips leprechaun, will make sure I get those put in. 


Got rims and air cleaner back from powdercoat.  Got some new Toyo's mounted.  Got the seats off to the upholstery guy and last parts to the chrome plater.  Should have that stuff back near the end of the month.  Can't wait to install.  Credit Card is runnig on fumes right now, but I'm so close to the finish.




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  • 1 month later...

Oh, wow, amazing work! That dash!!! I had a similar idea for mine, but wasn't sure how i would look. You've made my mind for me. I'm going to try to do the same. How robust is it?

Only thing i would have done differently, is use a Honda battery, and relocate it to the trunk. I switched to a tiny Honda battery (Group Size 51) and it still cranks over fine, but takes up less room in the engine bay.

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  • 8 months later...


Any updates?

I am down in MidCity San Diego, I would love to check out your progress.

Maybe you can help me out too.

I have a 1970 1600 Cali (Emissions)

I am trying to decide if I keep the emissions system or remove it completely.

I see your roadster is a Cali car too.

Any feedback greatly appreciated.


Great job by the way.

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