Elijah's Body and Paint - Part Seven

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Elijah's comments in italics, Kerry's in plain text.

Tuesday am.  Elijah needs to leave around noon.

About all done but the shouting.        Here we are "customizing" the 72 trunk lid.  Actually we just drilled some holes and treated the raw edges with Corroless before installing the 71 trunk lock trim which is not present on 72s or 73s.

Kerry quickly drilled some precise holes to allow us to mount the '71 Imperial eagle on the trunk lid (the eagle was moved to the rear bumper for '72 and '73, although the trunk lid was identical).  Unless I tell them, no one will ever know!


Reassembly of the trim was actually pretty easy.  Having carefully bagged and labeled everything during disassembly made it all go much smoother and quicker.  Of course, the fuselage style has a minimum of ornamental trim, so that may make it easier than other years as well.  I was especially pleased with our results on the vinyl top.  I don't think I'd want to try to install an entire top by myself, but the repairs that Kerry and I did were really almost a snap (the bodywork, however, was a bit more challenging).  I will be doing similar repairs myself at the front of the roof where some rust bubbles are popping up.  The only special tool needed for that job is a trim tool to release the clips around the windshield molding. 

I was somewhat nervous about putting the vinyl top back, having never done it before.  However, it turned out to be a snap.  We found a couple small rust bubbles which we scraped out and treated with some POR15 and pushed them to dry with an old blow dryer.  After cleaning all the loose stuff off both the roof and the back of the material, we then masked off the new paint and brushed on contact cement.  A paint stick was used to get the cement up under the loose area which we could not peel back.  While it was drying we put on the trim.  The door edges just tap on with a rubber mallet.  Turns out that we only needed a couple trim clips and I pulled a piece of trim off the parts car to get them.  Elijah will have to pick up some pop in clips for the left front fender trim where we cut off the pins.  The finished product over the rust in the top looks very good.  No one would ever know what had been done to get it looking like this.


Time for a quick wash and wax before collecting Alabama bugs and transporting their mortal remains to Georgia.  A stylish end at least.


Remember back on page one when I said I never realized how hard it was to wash this car?  Well, at this time, I found out just how much EASIER it is to wash a car with a smooth paint job.  Wow!  It takes so much less work -- the wash cloth practically glides over the smooth surface of the car, unlike the constant drag from the old, dull, and rusty areas of days gone by.  It seems like it takes almost half the time to wash the car now as it did before.

While Elijah took a quick shower, I could not resist driving his car with the hotter cam and Carter carb.  Very very nice.  Smooth, powerful and solid as a rock.  I was very surprised to learn the car has well over 200k miles on it.  Elijah has a parts car with a good dark blue leather interior that he will be swapping out.  We're looking forward to seeing the car at the Spring Anniston gathering.


The early fall weather made the perfect setting for a '71 and '73 photo shoot.  The two cars seem quite happy next to each other. Kerry's home is in a beautiful area, so the Imperials fit the scene nicely

A couple of posed shots of Elijah's 71 parked next to my 73.  If we had more time, we could have dragged out the 57, 61, and 72 Imperials and had a fleet shot.  What do you call a gathering of Imperials?  A pride?


 Finally, for the first time since 1988 (when I purchased this car), the Imperial has clean, rust-free quarters, fenders, and roofline, with a shiny paint-job.  At this point, I'm physically tired, but mentally elated to see the results of 12 years of waiting and six days of hard work. The car looks wonderful and I'm a VERY happy Imperialist. 

These are all shots of where major reconstructive surgery was done.  The surgery was successful and the patient lived.


It was with mixed feelings that I watched Elijah load his shiny 'new' car and drive away.  Part of me was just plain 'whupped' and wanted a nap after six 14+ hour days, but the rest of me would miss Elijah and the camaraderie of the work.  Imperial friends are the best.

As I packed up to drive home, I realized what a great hobby it is that I'm involved in.  First of all, I now have a car that looks terrific.  But more importantly, I realized how incredibly lucky I am to have friends who not only share the same dream and admiration of the Imperial that I do, but who are willing to work together to help each other make that dream a reality.  

Kerry helped me do something that I had not been able to do in 12 years; Ken Newberry's willing hands helped us achieve our goal.  This was no easy task, but it was one that we tackled together with a spirit of camaraderie and friendship that I have seldom experienced. I doubt there are many hobbies where folks like Kerry Pinkerton and Ken Newberry would put the time, effort, and hard work into a project like this just for the sake of doing it.  

It's a debt that I can never repay to these guys, but one that I will try to balance by passing on help to other Imperialists whenever and wherever I can. And every time I get a compliment on the car, I'll say a silent thanks to Kerry and Ken.


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