Imperial Home Page -> Imperials by Year -> 1973-> Kerry's Restoration -> Part 7
Well, its time to get down to serious body work. The first thing I need to do is strip off all the trim and pull the vinyl top. I can tell from some silicone around the windshield that a leak exists and the silicone was a repair attempt. Also can see some rust around the bottom of the top.
Its a nice day so I hooked up the battery and the 440 cranked right up (a good sign in something I hope to be a driver). The hood was pulled off earlier and is sitting outside on some sawhorses. Before you start sanding, its always a good idea to wash a car with lots of soapy water to get rid of grease and grime. Otherwise you will just sand it into the paint and it WILL show up as problems with the topcoat.
The following two shots show the vinyl top seams so I can know how to have it put back on correctly.
Getting the trim off is rough. I have a trim removal tool which is just a flat thing with a hook. The trick is to slide it under the trim until you get to the clip and then rock it backward to release the clips hold on the trim. Took about an hour to pull the windshield and rear window.
Interesting thing about vinyl tops are that they are glued down with some mysterious substance that after 27 years is still one of the stickiest substances known to man. The top, while in really good shape other than the problems below the rear window is rotten and pulls to pieces when I started to lift it off. You can see the dark spots below the rear glass. If not for that I probably would have tried to save the vinyl.
This is the windshield with the trim off. I was surprised to learn that it is a modern glue in windshield instead of a more traditional rubber gasket. It must have been one of the first. I've never worked with the urethane gaskets before and I understand it can be one messy job. I think it is fairly cheap to have done by the glass folks and I plan on having it done. I don't want to get urethane on my PERFECT dash or break a windshield.
You can also see the trim over the side windows and along the top of the doors. It took me a while to figure out how to get it off. The door trim comes off from inside the doors which means that all the interior door panels have to come off. Its not a big problem. A couple of big screws are hidden behind a chrome clip. A couple of other screws and then the panel comes off once you have unbolted the handle. With the glass up, you can scrape all the skin off the back of you hand and after a few minutes turning the air blue, you will succeed in taking off the bolt at the rear and front of each door. Clips hold it down in the middle.
The upper trim is held on by screws behind the weather striping. Another 15 minutes each side and its all off. Unfortunately now the windows have a 1/2 inch gap that will have to be sealed before any paint work or I'll get paint on the leather.
Her it is, all stripped down and washed. You can barely see the hood on the sawhorse to the left. It is over 6' long and weighs at least 125 pounds. A definite two person job.
Kerry's '73 Restoration Saga Main...
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