1969 Chevelle Restoration
First Entry: Introduction.
My name is Andy and I am currently working on a 1969 Chevelle trying to bring her into shape to be a good reliable daily driver. I bought this car in March of 1994 and I have been driving her for the most part, the whole time. Unfortunately, I have been living payday to payday for most of that time so I was never able to spend the time and money on her that she deserved. Luckily, lately things have gotten a little better and I am able to spend a little bit of cash on her to get her back on track. Over the past 22 years though, time has not been too kind to "Christine" and she has a lot of rust and damage that needs to be addressed.
First, a little back story. I bought "Christine" 22 years ago for a crack head named Donald that could not afford his habit and the car at the same time. Donal and I worked together doing underground storm water runoff work, now if you think that sounds cool, you would be mistaken. I outlasted Donald at that job but as I said, that job was not very good so I left within a few months. When Donald blew the transmission, he abandoned the car at a Winn Dixie parking lot. We spoke the next day at work and asked him if he wanted to sell the car so I bought it from him for $600.00, had it towed directly to the transmission shop where the fixed it for another $600.00 so for a total of $1,200.00 I had a decently running 1969 black Chevelle. Sweet.
A little bit of time passed, in July of that year, I met the woman that would become my wife. "Christine" only had one driver bucket seat from a Monte Carlo. Being as I was now engaged, I needed another seat so I called Aushley's in North Carolina and they sent me over a seat in pretty crappy condition, but with some old towels, duct tape, and a new seat cover, I had a working bench seat. By that time, Christine's engine was getting a little tired and she had started smoking a little bit, into the cab! I was more than a little embarrassed picking up my fiancee from the airport in my crazy smoking car but she was a really good sport about it. One of the many reasons why I love her.
I should also say that Christine came with a 307 ci engine and a 2 speed powerglide transmission. A lot of people like that transmission but I never did. By Memorial Day weekend of 1996, it was time for an upgrade. I bought a crate engine 350 long block from Pep Boys and some friends of mine that know a hell of a lot more about engines than I do, came over and we installed the engine in my front yard over the 3 day weekend, four of us plus my now wife. Another plus in her column.
With the new 350 in Christine, she felt a little better but I was by no means impressed, she still seemed sluggish but at least I felt good that I had a fresh motor that was more reliable. So "Christine was our sole means of transportation until March 1999 when I bought my wife a new Chevy Cavalier for our 4 year anniversary so she could have something to drive around in that had air conditioning. We live in South Florida and it tends to be pretty hot here most of the time.
Fast forward to 2000, my 2 speed powerglide was finally giving out so I sprung for a th350 3 speed transmission and all of a sudden, I had what felt like a brand new engine. I put a B&M shifter on the floor instead of the 2 on the tree and I was chirping in 3rd gear. Glorious. The next 16 years were up and down for me but I did not get much work done on Christine and she basically sat around outside. I still drove her to work and back all the time but I did not make any progress toward her restoration.