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69 SC Journey

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    Posted: Jan/06/2013 at 9:58pm
I've decided to start posting the progress of my 1969 Hurst SC Rambler.  At first I wasn't going to do this, as the genesis of this project is now over 2 decades old.  But each time I do some work on it, I realize that it could help someone else on their project car, and for some, just the chance to enjoy the journey along with me.
 
So... we'll start with some history on the car, and over the next few postings I will race through the last 22 years of activity, or lack thereof, to bring the story up to today.
 
This SC was bought new at Savage Rambler, in Shillington PA, and has lived its entire life in northern Lancaster Co. PA.  It was driven daily and raced on weekends at Maple Grove raceway.  Running cheater slicks and Dougs headers it turned 13.5s.  in 1976, during a typical daily commute to work, the fan belt flipped off, the engine overheated, and a rod punctured the block.  That was the last day it was on the road.  At 49k+ miles its driving days were over.  By the looks of it, the car sat outside for an undetermined number of years, and passed through a couple hands.  Someon started some restoration work, but thankfully didn't get too far.  A very poor respray of white under the hood only added to the work that needed to be done when I got it.
 
Fast forward to August, 1990:  two years out of college, married, and now helping a friend work on his 1963 American convertible one evening, I stopped at the local grocery store to pick up a half gallon of ice cream.  Walking out with my favorite vice in hand, I scanned the glass front walls for personal ad postings and noticed a small piece of yellow legal notepad paper with a hand written advertisement selling a "1969 AMC SC/Hurst Rambler".  Needless to say, the temptation of my second vice - Ramblers took over, and within a few days I signed for the car below.  Car as seen removed from the storage barn it was rescued from:
 
 
Most folks outside the faithful few diehard AMCers really even knew there was such a car made by AMC in 1990.  Values then were nothing compared to today, and thankfully so.  Over the next couple years, I collected every NOS part I could get my hands on.  I realize today that I should have tried even harder!
 
In late 1990, my wife and I bought a home with a 3 car garage and I had the space to work.  In 1991 teardown started, but we soon found ourselves preparing for our first little one in 1992, as work slowed.  Still I would get a little time to dismantle and start undercoating removal underneath:
 
By this time I had set the goals for the car - I wanted a concours correct car, and first and foremost, I did not want reoccuring rust issues with my SC.  I decided I wanted new panels to replace the rusted sections.  Over a couple years time I had located NOS quarters that would fit, and through early 1996, the left quarter was removed, and the inside panel rust was dealt with:
 
 
At this time, work came to a near standstill.  Looking back, the combination of adding a new son to the family, and then in September 1996 we sold our '65 440 hardtop 6cyl and buying a car I simply fell in love with at first sight - my 1964 990H (the current January 2013 AMCRC calendar car by the way!) moved my attention elsewhere for a while.  The 270 horses of the '64 990H were fun and ready to go at a moments notice, so I spent what little time I had for cars on that and enjoyed it while the kids were growing up.
 
Moving on to 2005, I was getting the itch to get back on the Scrambler.  The kids were getting a little bigger, and I wanted to see it on the road again someday.  But, one more diversion stepped in front.  A neighboring piece of wooded property became available that we decided to buy, and build our dreamhome (and my dream barn!).  Property clearing, planning, house (and shop) designing, permits, contractors, building, whew - you name it until move in day in March 2007.  Keeping priorities straight - the Ambassador was the first item to move into the new property in Feb. 2007 (even before the contractors job johnny left!):
 
The one thing I didn't think about however, was that with a new shop, it was a blank slate - while it looked great on the outside, there was NOTHING inside.  Just enough lighting to pass occupancy inspection the day before the Ambassador arrived.  Also, after having our pockets emptied on all the unexpected extras to get the buildings done, I was on my own to do the work.  So... the Scrambler sat again.  This time I decided, I am working on this shop to get it 100% the way I want it before I start working in it.  Well, that took 3 more years.... I decided to fully set up my AMC memorabila room upstairs, build shelving, run all my electric, paint the shop walls all white, put up lighting, get my air compressor and airlines rerun in the entire shop, set up "shop" and do odds and ends to make it my own.
 
Finally in late 2010, I grabbed my growing son, and said, "it's time".  We went out and started to work at final cleanup of the Scrambler undercarriage.  That night - my son Eric, got dirt in his eye, and had to go in to wash it out, and I got it so bad in the back from laying on the floor I could hardly move the next day.  I quickly realized, I wasn't as young as I was when I started this project, and that I wanted a rotissiere for this car.  Checking out websites, I decided to buy plans and Eric and I cut, drilled, and welded all winter to make the chicken twirler.  Finally in March of 2011, we hooked the car to the rotissiere and were ready to go!
 
For the initial posting I will stop here in the story prelude.  I have titled this thread the "69 SC Journey", as that has what this project has become.  When I first started, I wanted a rare, wild looking screamer to go joy riding in.   Now that I am older, I think that the characteristic of patience has set in a little, and this project is much more about the journey than it is about the destination.  I now want to use this project and the time I have left at home with Eric (who is nearly 17 now), to help show him how to use his hands, fix things and enjoy using tools somewhat.  I have also enjoyed the interaction with others, as I have been searching out those last elusive NOS parts for the car, and the fun of sharing the AMC passion with them.
 
We have been working on that car as much as schedules and time will allow.  It is not a first priority but instead an escape from the daily grind.  In the next couple posts I will run through the progess since getting it hooked up to the twirler.  Hope you enjoy the journey now with us - it will be a couple years more in the making!
 
Kevin Shope
1964 Classic 660
1964 Amb. 990H
A-Scheme SC/Rambler
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pit crew Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan/06/2013 at 10:09pm
Love the journey so far.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote bikerfox Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan/06/2013 at 11:10pm
Wow--a great story to tell your grandchildren some day!
 
Also, kudos on the grammatical and spelling correctness of your "story."  Too often, people don't care how they write and your piece was refreshingly different!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kcsamc Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan/07/2013 at 9:09pm
Picking up on the journey, in March 2011, a new found optimism filled the shop as the Scrambler was fitted to the new twirler, and we could now finish the job started years before to clean every inch of the undercarriage from its original undercoating.  Here in the northeast, anywhere where the undercoating dried out and cracked, was a conduit for rust to develop, especially on the seams.  So it had to go.  Scraping, and cleaning with degreaser until we had nothing but clean wet rags from the wiping took a little time.  What was unearthed was interesting.  I have documented the entire undercarriage at the following SC/Rambler blog spot:
 
 
What is clear by looking at the photos is that these cars sat on a dolly with certain contact points and the red was sprayed first, then white; what got onto the dark brown primer was overspray, heavier in some areas, almost non-existent where the dolly shielded it.  Also note by the photos, that the bottom edge of the car had hints of blue metallic - several ideas for it have been floated - what do you think?
 
Eric started stripping and cleaning the floorboards during the summer of 2011, while I focused on fixing the minir rust areas in the lower shifter hump area and gas pedal heal area.  I wanted complete butt welded repair pieces placed in here.  I must say that hand hammering the patch pieces was a bit tough with the contours, and I am no expert at butt welding - thank goodness for the copper paddle and Eric's extra set of hands!
 
Heal area patch above just prior to welding - this was a nice hand bent fit.
 
Eric cleaned both floorboards with a 3M scotchbrite wheel and we wash primed and 2K'd the floors:
 
One big problem we had was that the "LIFT" boxes were crushed in from bottle and floor jacks in the 70s.  Doing a concours restoration has its drawbacks, and this was one - how do you fix that and make it look right?  Well, in every project you make tough decisions.  What I decided to do might seem a bit radical to some, but I decided to cut the floor boards on top like a tin can so that we could get into the backside of the damaged lettering areas, and hammer and dolly out the metal.  Poor Eric got the brunt of it and alll the noise from underneath holding a dolly as I used punches, screwdrivers and whatever else would work to put the metal back in place.  Then I had to make u-shapped backing plates and butt weld the opened areas closed again.  They are under the rear seat, so no harm no foul, and the lift boxes are in much better shape now.  Both sides were done like this:
 
We'll stop here for today.
Kevin Shope
1964 Classic 660
1964 Amb. 990H
A-Scheme SC/Rambler
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fast401 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan/07/2013 at 10:09pm
Very nice!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bikerfox Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan/08/2013 at 12:29am
Will you do my SC some day, please!!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kcsamc Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan/08/2013 at 9:03am
LOL, Would you really want me to take 25 years to complete it!?
Kevin Shope
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zioamc Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan/08/2013 at 10:04am
got my attention love the title of this thread 5 star rating coming up
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 1ownerSC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan/08/2013 at 2:17pm
It's great to see another SC/Rambler being resurrected. 
John McKee

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote amxdreamer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan/08/2013 at 2:58pm
Nice work! Love seeing cars done to this level!
Tony
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