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78 GT JOURNEY

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kcsamc View Drop Down
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    Posted: Jan/17/2021 at 10:26pm
It's time to start the documentation of the next Shope family journey.  As I look back to the project's inception, it is a bit ironic that this project parallels the first journey (69 SC JOURNEY) in two key ways:

   1)  This project car is also the end of the line, last year production of its model, done in the the rare special addition package, and:

   2)  This car is also a basket case Shocked, maybe even more so than the last, in that at least the 69 rolled into the garage on 4 wheels!  This one didn't!

This project is for Eric (aka:  rick_chase); a very rarely seen 1978 Gremlin GT in Powder Blue, and factory blue Levi interior.  The car has passed through some hands in recent years, and this year transferred to us from Bob DeCosta at the end of June 2020.  For the first couple posts we will document some recent history and the story of picking up the car in IL during the pandemic and getting it home to PA.  Then we will move onto the progress so far as we gear up for the prime elements of the build.

For this first post we will show what we were looking at in the for sale post from Bob DeCosta as the initial decision to dive in was being made:



The car had been fully torn apart with drivetrain, suspension and interior out - many boxes!  The car is a California / Colorado car and rust is very minimal - battery tray apron panel perforation, and a 1/2" strip along the rear edge of right rear wheel lip.  Body is dented and needs straightening but is clean.  Bob DeCosta was working towards a V8 conversion, which is exactly what Eric had always thought would be cool to do with one of these cars, so based on the current state of the car, I don't believe anyone will blame us that this is the right car to perform such a change on.  Goals for this car are to continue the theme of AMC "upgrades" as a restomod of sorts style of build / restoration.

We plan on laying the foundation for an evolving platform for Eric to play with and continue improvements that he wants to do, while trying to get this car out on the street sooner rather than later and not break the bank.  So if you are looking for another 100% factory restoration of a rare AMC, you may be disappointed but this will be a car for Eric to drive and have fun in with his new small family and so decisions will be made to modify and change to things both during the restoration and ongoing as he sees fit.  We plan on giving the viewer of this car a first impression of a factory car, but at a closer look, the well informed AMCer will start to notice subtle modifications to turn the car into the version of the GT that the factory "should have built".  The V8 conversion will become the major element of that intentional departure from original.

During the course of this build we will probably document original elements of what the factory did, but may or may not duplicate that in the final build.  So, fair warning to those who will follow this build, if you are looking for a final build to help you restore one to concours condition, this thread will not provide that.

We will also use this thread to reach out for help on various parts of the project for advice, parts, or "what have you done".  As I mentioned above - this build is for Eric, to start his journey in the AMC hobby, and I hope that everyone joins in to help and encourage him like you always do to pass on your knowledge to those in the next generation that will carry on what many of us have started so many decades ago.  So grab the popcorn and your comfortable computer chair and settle in for the next JOURNEY.

Factory photo of what we have for inspiration:






Kevin Shope
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote matt1971 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan/18/2021 at 12:14pm
Hi my name is Matt! Greetings from Kenosha Wi! I own a brown/tan 79 AMC Pacer Limited Hatchback! 258 auto! I wish you good luck with your new AMC adventure Eric! -Matt.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote XJ6 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan/18/2021 at 12:39pm
You are gonna have fun with finding or fixing the flares
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kcsamc Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan/18/2021 at 3:28pm
Originally posted by XJ6 XJ6 wrote:

You are gonna have fun with finding or fixing the flares

Bob DeCosta found NOS side flares and beautiful reproduction front spoiler pieces that came with the car, so we are golden!Big smile  I would fully agree otherwise though!
Kevin Shope
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BrotherBamc Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan/18/2021 at 7:48pm
I've got a few extra small parts that might be of some help through out this journey.. 
Let me know what you might need and I will go digging to see what I may have left from my Gremlin. 
I think we will all be following along this one closely..!! Approve
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kcsamc Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan/18/2021 at 9:17pm
Originally posted by BrotherBamc BrotherBamc wrote:

I've got a few extra small parts that might be of some help through out this journey.. 
Let me know what you might need and I will go digging to see what I may have left from my Gremlin. 
I think we will all be following along this one closely..!! Approve
  Sounds good!
Kevin Shope
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kcsamc Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan/18/2021 at 10:19pm
Going back a number of years now, Eric and I were over at Brian Moyer's place just jawing about the Gremlin collection and Eric took a strong liking to his Orange GT awaiting restoration and the different look from all the previous Gremlins made.  There was a real appeal to Eric, but I noticed it more so when one of the blue ghosts showed up at 2017 Kenosha and Eric could see a running / driving example up close.  So when I scrolled through an AMC facebook group on June 9th and saw the for sale posting, it made me stop and think about a project with Eric.  I can tell you on June 8th, another project was the furthest thing from my mind.  But something clicked on this, and Eric seemed to be truly interested in the car when I shared the posting, and.. the wife gave her blessing (the most important part of the consideration).

I knew with the current state of the car, I needed some Gremlin expert advice, so I pulled Brian into the conversation to review the opportunity and the next night we were on the phone talking with Bob about the condition and making a go decision.

We enlisted the help of Sean Crane to help bring the car home, and set a date for the end of the month for retrieval.  Sean frequently travels into the midwest transporting AMC parts and project cars and happened to have an empty load schedule for return trip at the end of June and it worked out for everyone.

With the country just trying to pull out of the initial pandemic lockdown, making a 12 hr trip to the midwest wasn't as nice as any previous time.  Brian agreed to come along, and we planned just a 2 day trip out and back to load up and quick turn for home.  In all we were gone just 42 hours, drove a total of 24 hours, loaded two trucks and a trailer over a 6 hr period and ate and slept the rest of that time.

Arriving a Bob's house after a quick dinner on day one after a 12 hr run, we packed my RAM as tight as we could with parts, then early the next morning Sean arrived with the trailer, and Matt Woodstrup arrived to help us muscle the bare shell up onto the trailer and load two motors, two transmissions, another rearend, fenders, seats, wheels and tires and any remaining items into Sean's truck or into the shell of the car.  It was quite the site for the trip home - turnpike travelers got quite the eye full that day!  A car in pieces sure takes up a lot more room than an assembled one!

Below are some photos upon arrival at Bob's shop and the loading of everything.







Packing a truck solid:




Day 2 and we began loading the shell literally by hand!



Once we muscled the shell up onto the trailer, we hung the doors and hood on the car and then filled it up inside.  We got the spare 360 rebuilder to tuck into the left front of the chassis!

...and one last group photo of the team that worked so hard over just a few short hours to get it ready to roll:

Right to Left:  Matt Woodstrup, Bob DeCosta, Sean Crane, Brian Moyer, and Kevin Shope.

The "old guys" got it ready to send to PA for the next generation to enjoy!  A special thanks to each one that helped so much in getting it ready to go!

Then Sean was off to PA!






Kevin Shope
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rick_chase Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan/20/2021 at 7:39pm
Hey followers! sorry for the late arrival, work and family have had me a bit scrambled.

My initial reactions to my dad mentioning a gt for sale was that of intrigue. I've not been sitting on any big security net for money lately, so even the cost advertised felt out of reach. I knew I'd always wanted one of the more quirky cars of AMC for a fun/project car, something I knew I could build to show nay-sayers that we're small but strong. I also knew that I was drawn to taking whatever it was and adding some modern touches to it.

Initially as my dad mentioned, we're keeping most modifications simple and to the point. a standard restoration, not a bunch of NOS parts, few niceties and creature comforts, along with a '73 304 that we'll be giving a fresh pair of lungs to.

My immediate desires are to do some small revisions to fix any glaring problems with suspension and get the wheels sitting happy in the wells, as close to flush with the edge/flares as possible, so if anyone has suggestions or setups that i can reference from, I'd greatly appreciate it!
I look forward to working with my dad on this funky little project over the next few years and I honestly can't wait to feel it on the road under its own power!

Glad to be here, to be a part of another project, and to learn and share with everyone!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote george w Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan/20/2021 at 7:59pm
Good luck on the project. Looks like a LOT of work but great fun !
Long time AMC fan. Ambassador 343, AMX 390, Hornet 360, Spirit 304 and Javelin 390. All but javelin bought new.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kcsamc Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan/25/2021 at 9:35pm
Picking up where we left off, Brian and I arrived home about midnight on June 23rd.  Sean was a few hours behind.  We planned to meet back at my house to unload the car on the morning of day 3 - June 24th.  Eric will now talk about meeting his "new" car for the first time!  All I will say here is that we only had (4) of us on the receiving end to get it off, so we had to use our heads more than what brawn any of us have leftBig smile









Kevin Shope
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