Kerry's '73 Restoration - Part Fifteen

Imperial Home Page -> Imperials by Year -> 1973 -> Kerry's Restoration -> Part 15

Lucky Day, Lucky Day!  I got a free 72 LeBaron!

Serendipity is a wonderful thing!  This mini-saga started last week when I sent the following post to the list:

Hi gang,

Several months ago, while cruising the want ads, I spotted an ad for a "72 Imperial, runs good, $650" Having just bought my 73, I called immediately, got an answering machine, and left a message. THREE days later, I get this call back. 72 4 dr, broken rear window (I had a spare window), runs very good, some rust (rust doesn't scare me). The car was even nearby and he was going to meet everyone who was interested where the car was the following night. Unfortunately I was not available and although I called him twice to ask what happened (I was going to give the glass to the new owner), I never got a call back.

Fast forward. In Advance Auto Parts today getting a R134 kit for my 73. A counter guy nearby asked me what I was converting and when I said a 73 Imp, he asked, want a 72?

LOOONG story but this was the same car. The original buyer paid $350 and promptly pulled the 440 and trans to put in his coronet. Traded it to someone else who wanted the rear end but ended up trading it to the counter guy who pulled the chunk for a dragster. He said someone was supposed to come get the hulk but they had not and they had been told to get it this weekend or else. It is free. Needless to say, I gave him my name and number and said it would leave his yard the same day. 

This is a sad story because the car sounded very restorable. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Last Friday I was in the neighborhood and stopped in, the guy, Jeff was there and said the car was still there but he had committed to give the guy till Sunday.  I told him again I would get it out of his yard the same day.  

Today, Monday the 28, I went to the doctor to see about my twisted ankle and on the way home just happened to remember the car.  Amazingly, Jeff was there and said the guy had not come after it.  "You want it, it's yours." he said.  He wrote me out a "bill of give" and directions to his house, it was not far.  

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When I got there, I immediately knew two things: (1) I definitely wanted the car and (2) it was a crime what was done to a perfectly restorable car.  "I wouldn't charge anyone for it, it's only an old Imperial...."  Old Imperial Indeed!

I called my wife from the car and got her to look up the wrecker company I normally used.  They said they could have someone there in about an hour and true to form they did.  In the mean time, I picked up some rope at KMart to tie the hood on since it had been unbolted when the old lady was disemboweled (what a sad way to die).  15 minutes later we were on the way and 20 minutes and $45 bucks after that it was being unloaded behind my workshop.

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The car is in really great shape body and trim wise.  The bumpers and trim are excellent and I'm probably going to use the black insert side trim instead of my beige trim.  The rubber between the body and bumper is very soft and supple and will get used also.  This car was in better shape than my 73 except for the interior.  The seats are dry rotted.  It is very obvious that the car was in excellent shape until someone parked it outside with the windows down and just let it rot.  Apparently the motor was strong and the transmission was just rebuilt.

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This is the drivers seat.  Petty sad.  On the passenger seat was what had been a pristine 72 owners manual which had been exposed to the elements.  Its still pretty good.  The floor was full of all the receipts for work that had been done on the car.

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The scene of the crime.  The just torched out the motor mounts and pulled.  In their haste, they bumped what had been a perfect radiator.  Probably still savable though and the AC condenser looks good.

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No keys and a locked trunk meant I had to break the lock to get it open.  Trash and treasure.  Two fender skirts, one with broken fiberglass where someone dropped the battery on it. (@#$%$#@$%%)  A hubcap that had been good until someone dropped the old transmission mount on it (@%^%$#((**&) and a decomposing bag of charcoal for some completely unknown reason.  The carpet and cardboard is musty but looks savable.  Between the two cars, I should be able to get my trunk in great shape.

I'm no purist, anyone who has looked at my 57 page knows that but why in the world would someone take a desirable car and strip the guts and throw out the rest of the valuable parts.  I expect this car would have been worth $1000 with the running 440 in it.  The interior was rough but good interiors can be had from cars that can't be restored.  Core 440s cost about 100 bucks and torqueflites the same.  I just don't get it.

Anyway, I'm happy that the remainder was saved and I and perhaps others may benefit from some of these parts.  If so, at least the old girl will not have died in vain.  Preservation of the species and all that.

Next Chapter...

Kerry's '73 Restoration Saga Main...

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