Gunners Garage

JUDGE RESTORATION PART 3

This is Part 3 of Jim Mokwa’s owner restoration of a ’69 GTO Judge convertible. Jim had wanted this car for years. By the time he was able to buy it, the car needed a complete restoration. He already had four stock GTOs, so Jim decided to do this one “Resto-Mod” style. Here, in his own words, is the continuation of the blog about his project.

 

The bumpers we sent out to Keystone. I marked the damage on them with a blue marker. The bumper repair services like to see rust-free bumper cores. Mine were from Washington state so they were free of rust, but required a lot of patch work. Any time you do welding it leaves pin holes. My bumpers were bent, bent, bent but solid. I used the blue marker to put a circle around each dent and to write my name on each bumper so that they could identify it. The bumpers were unbelievably bad. One had been badly bent where someone tried to pull the car out of a ditch by attaching a a chain to the frame and it hit the bumper. When the bumper came back, it was perfect again.

The Endura rubber nose in front was something I had dealt with before on other GTOs. I sandblasted it. I knew from earlier tests done on hidden areas that sand does not attack the Endura rubber. I had sandblasted similar pieces before. The sand bounces right off the special rubber. It takes the finish off right down to the raw rubber. Then, I got the bumper to the body shop. I think they used a special paint on the Endura rubber, but I’m not sure what it was. 

The dashboard was sent out to Just Dashes in California. Again, this is the kind of thing you can send out to have done while you are working on the frame or the engine. They are going to have a 10-12 week lead time, so why not get it in early?

I had to coordinate things like this with all of the suppliers and service providers — the sabdblaster, the paint stripper, the machine shop for the engine, the transmission people, of course parts houses like JEGS and Summit Racing, Performance Years, Keystone and the top installer. I took the tires and wheels to Matthew’s Tires, a Goodyear dealer in Waupaca, Wis., and they bent over backwards to help me determine the right rims, the offset and the sizes. They even let me take different rims home to experiment with.

I did the entire car in two years. In 24 months it was a drivable car. But I have to say that there were still other details I wanted to finish. So, it probably took three years before all the details were done. But, actually, I was able to do it in a shorter amount of time than others could. This was because I had done other GTOs before and I knew where the stuff went. I didn’t have to think about a lot of things. 

I like to keep things moving along. To me, it’s a case of do it now because you have to do it anyway. When possible, I like to have about four of my sub-contractors working on sub-assemblies at the same time so things move along as quickly as possible.

In doing the restoration I referred to factory manuals and to Paul Zazarine’s GTO Restoration Guide. I also kept referring to Performance Years’ wonderful, wonderful Website. They have a great chat room where you can go on and ask questions and there are so many guys on there who are willing to help you.

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