Kerry's 1973 Restoration - Part One

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Funny how things work out. I've always had the hots for the 69-73 Imps. Last summer I went a big effort to fly to Denver and pick up one from a club member but after seeing things first hand decided to pass and flew home sad but empty handed.

Well, things were frantic at work anyway and the last thing I needed was ANOTHER project. Or so my long suffering wife reminded me when I got back from "PeeWee's Big Adventure" as she called the 2000 mile road trip my son and I were going have driving the 73 back from Denver. A few months passed.

In late October I was in Pramus NJ preparing for a meeting when my cell phone rang. To my surprise it was fellow Huntsvillian and IML member Ken Newberry. Ken had noticed a thread regarding a 73 on Ebay. Seems the car was only 50 miles away in Tullahoma, Tennessee. Since I was challenged to get on AOL, I asked Ken if he would get some details. He did and when I flew home Friday night I tried to contact the seller but he was out. His wife told me the car was still available. Saturday I broke the news to my wife that we might drive up to Tullahoma to look at a 73. She just rolled her eyes.

We had a commitment at church for the morning and about 9am I finally got in touch with the seller, Jac LaJune. Jac told me he had bought the car from the original owner, a neighbor of his fathers and that it was in great shape except for some damage on the passenger side. His price was $1500 firm. I told him we would be there around 2PM. When we arrived, the car was exactly as advertised. The passenger window would not go up and there were some cat scratches on the passenger headrest. (So many few recipes... Just kidding. I have a cat) The started easily, and ran strong. New cheapo tires from WalMart. Weatherstripping and interior was great. Even the trunk fiberboard and carpet was like new. He was willing to take what cash I could get from the ATM and a check for the rest and home we came.

It was a little cool and the window being down did not help. The original owner, an engineer at Arnold AFB, had bypassed the autotemp with a couple of toggle switches on the dash. After a few minutes, I figured out the sequence and heating began. Nice...breezy but nice. My wife following reported no smoke except some black stuff when I punched it. Of course, I did not think to bring a camera so the following photos are when I got her home

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crunch1.jpg (33k)

The worst part is the whole massive front bumper is moved over to the right about 1 inch. I suppose this indicates that things are bent behind the bumper.

crunch2.jpg (33k)

front1.jpg (33k)

You can easily see the damage. I can fix the sheetmetal but the bumpers and tailights will have to be replaced.  

Next Chapter...

Kerry's '73 Restoration Saga Main...

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