Kerry's '73 Restoration - Part Nineteen

Imperial Home Page -> Imperials by Year -> 1973 -> Kerry's Restoration -> Part 19

Final Assembly and first road trip

Activity was frantic to get the car ready for the Anniston Packard & Imperial meet on Oct 6 & 7.  The new starter solved my power problem and spins the motor very well.  On Monday afternoon I called the upholstery shop to see if, by chance, the top had come in.  "Came in FRIDAY, want to do it tomorrow?", he asked.  I was amazed.  I was down there about 2 PM and the top people must have fabricated the top and shipped it by 4-5 the same day.  Wow, talk about JIT Inventory (Just In Time)  At any rate, I dropped the car off and picked it back up later that day with the new top.  Pretty happy with the work.  the color is not "Perfect" but it looks good.  Now I have 2 1/2 days to finish everything.  

Ken Newberry came out Monday evening and cleaned the interior while I got the headlight motor to work. I had three motors but only 1 worked.  I was amazed when I saw the interior.  Ken did a great job!

I had to get some trim color to paint the wheel trim from the parts car.  It was black and my car has color coordinated trim.  The side lights went in pretty easy but I had already put the inner wheel liners in and had to take the back down in the front.

Of course, the faster I went, the more things happened.  Had to drop the rear bumper to put on some trim that I had missed.  Also pulled the left rear door of the "free" 72 to get a piece of trim.  I'm getting good pulling door panels.  It's an 9 step process:

        1- Pull the door lock knobs

        2- Pull the little clips on the handle and remove the screw behind each one (two screws)

        3- Lift up the storage lid and remove the two large screws

        4- Remove the two 7/16 bolts holding the door handle on

        5- Remove the Phillips screw that holds the power window controls and pull it back and out.

        6- Make sure the glass is DOWN and remove the wires from the switches  

        7- Using a trim remover tool, pop the spring clips that hold the door panel to the door down both sides and the bottom.

        8- Disconnect the door light connector

        9- Lift the door panel up and off.  There is a spring clip on the front that will take a little wiggling

I've got this down to about 5 minutes per door.  By the way, the window will not work even from the drivers master switch unless the door switch is hooked to the wiring.

Some time back I told how to switch a window motor from one side to the other.  What I think I discovered is that the motors actually are different because my switch was backward.  I just cut the wires and spliced them back together with crimp on connectors.  Worked great

The trim around the top is pretty straight forward.  Of course I got the order backward and had to pull it off and put on the top piece first.  Windshield molding was easy.  I really did not like the color coordinated molding on my 73 and decided to pull the all chrome molding from the 72 for the back window and back top trim.  This took an hour or so but looks great.  Some of my window clips would not hold so I cheated.  Lifted it up and squirted some clear RTV (Silicone) between the glass and trim.  Then I put a 10 lb sandbag on the molding.  An hour later it was nice and tight.

The trim clips that hold the bottom molding in place was going to be a problems as most self destructed upon removal.  The parts car used a different approach rather than studs.  I found some clips for a GM car that looked like they would work and lo and behold they are perfect. 

clips.jpg (239805 bytes)clips2.jpg (232500 bytes)

This was the last thing.  A quick wash and time for a wax job before the drive to Anniston.  I had a 12pm deadline and it was 10:30.  At 11:40 I was finished.  It was cloudy and overcast and rain was forecast so I took some photos before she got dirty.

 The Anniston trip was great.  Go to the Events page for details.  Sometime over the weekend, my alternator quit alternatin' and stupid me did not notice.  Sunday AM the car had to be jumped but I attributed it to a loose battery cable.  As my wife and I drove into Huntsville the battery finally died and we coasted to a stop.  I felt so dumb, the car was giving me all kinds of signals.  Antenna went up VERY slowly, radio got quieter and quieter.  I just never looked at the gauge.  At any rate, I called a friend and he 'charged me' up a little via the jumper cables and we drove to his house, pulled the alternator, drove to a nearby Advance Auto Parts and 40 bucks and 20 minutes later we were charging and driving home.  My wife was not thrilled until I reminded her that her '97 Gran Prix did exactly the same thing and I fixed the problem much faster than the shop that did hers.

The car ran great and the folks and Anniston had really nice things to say about how she drove and looked ( must not have looked too close ).  Still have a couple things to do.  Glove compartment lamp doesn't work and I saw on Gregg Waggoner's and Elijah Scott's car the actual heater control I need.  My adaptation of the Autotemp II works but I'd rather just complete the de-installation.  Also saw and talked to folks about dying and repairing my cat scratches on the leather.  Leatherique has products that sound very promising.

I picked up new valve seals but ran out of time.  I still get a puff of smoke when I start her up.  Also have a clicking lifter so I've decided to replace the Lifters, power steering pump (it whines), water pump, and timing chain before too long.  This should take care of all the things that will probably give me problems.  She runs and drives so good, I do not want trips to be marred by one thing after the other.

Finally, I added up all the expenses and came to about $2350.  Not including labor of course.  The other stuff still to be done will probably add another $150 so the final cost should be about 2500.  If I dye and fix the leather it will probably go up some more but probably not too much.  

I'll document the final repairs on the engine when I get to it.  For now, I have to catch up with lots of stuff that I've been letting slide so it will be a while.

Love the car and the work was worth it.  

Next Chapter...

Kerry's '73 Restoration Saga Main...

This page was last updated on 08/22/2001. Please email me any comments at

and come join the Imperial Mailing List - Online Car Club