16 Feb 05.

It's been a while since I updated, and I'm sorry about that. I've been working a LOT of overtime at work, which has its plusses and minuses... on the upside, most of the overtime money can now be devoted to the car so the parts freeze has ENDED. Unfortunately, between 12+ hour days at work, my college class and the things I need to teach myself for work, and some other stuff there's not too much time (read: no time at all) to work on the car.

Large changes to the plan though.

A couple of weeks ago I started thinking about the suspension on the El Camino.. the frame repairs are queued up and I'll be taking the car to the frame shop as soon as free time presents itself, but I really don't like driving with the drum brakes - last time I drove it to work I almost rear-ended a van on the way home specifically because my brakes sucked. Disc brakes have been the plan for quite a while now but I hadn't actually decided which setup to go with.

My tax return this year will be quite a bit larger than I'm used to, so I've got some cash from that to spend on the car as well. I found myself wondering what to take care of - did I want to go ahead and get the truck-arm rear? Wheels? A down payment on a TIG welder? A cheap mill? A Detroit Truetrac diff? A Hydroboost setup?

So one day I was walking through the garage to take out the trash. I looked at the El Camino and I looked at all the new parts, and I looked back at the Camino.. and looked at all these parts that would fit the Camino as if it were an A-body or something and the seed was planted.

Of course, I was filled with doubt. The Chevelle was THE PROJECT CAR. The parts should be going on THE PROJECT CAR, it must be UPGRADED and RESTORED. The Camino is THE DRIVER. It must be MAINTAINED.

I turned to my wife for reassurance that I should be putting the spiffy bits on THE PROJECT CAR. She told me "Well, if you put them on the Camino you'd be able to use them sooner.", which wasn't helpful.

I turned to my friends at the pro-touring.com chat, thinking they'd be more helpful. The best suggestion I got was to ask Dennis. Dennis has an El Camino, of course he'd suggest going with the Elky.

My doubt grew.

Last weekend I needed to move the El Camino. Starting the car when it's been sitting for more than a couple of weeks is problematic at best; the battery drains and doesn't much like to be jump started (I suspect the battery cables are a large part of the problem, but the battery is now like 7 years old too). I'd even tried removing the stereo thinking that was the source of the drain (I know, I should have been more linear in my troubleshooting). No matter what I tried I couldn't get it to turn over more than a couple of revolutions - even if I hooked the 200 amp battery charger/starter directly to the cables without them attached to the battery - and it still wouldn't spin.

I'm standing there, trying not to lose my patience with the car; there's a tow truck on its way with a third car that needs to be in our driveway and I can't move this one, when I notice something sticking up on the roof - it's the paint, peeling back. Wish I'd known a little more about paint when I was spraying the Camino, I blame the lacquer primer mostly.

So.. the plans have changed. The Chevelle will be a cruiser - I couldn't really go play with it on a road course anyway, since it's a ragtop and I'm not putting a rollbar in it.

The Chevelle gets the 350 that's in the garage (carbureted). I need to find those spiffy '65 valve covers with the "Chevrolet" script and a '65 air cleaner.

The El Camino gets the spiffy front end parts. I may need to get different springs; 750lb springs are for a SB, but new springs are cheap so that's OK. It also gets the tall spindles, the C5 front brakes, and quite possibly the C4 rear brackets that are currently on the Chevelle. I need to get a 2004r tranny (and learn to rebuild it), a posi unit, and some 3.5x:1 rear gears. I really want to replace the roof panel, I hate the sunroof. I'll need to replace the whole panel; I also want to replace the bed floor.

The Chevelle gets the TH350 from the Camino, and probably the stock UCAs since they have new bushings. It'll probably inherit the rear drums, and possibly the fronts.

El Camino in the near future gets an Optima battery and cables.. plus I think I've found my wheels - the Cragar 397 - a steel wheel that's cheap enough for me to justify buying soon. Once I have larger wheels I can start contemplating putting larger brakes on, etc. I will, of course, have to correct the paint issues on the roof - even if it's just a sealer coat preventing further rust; I imagine I'll have to do something more permanent on the paint soon though, if it's peeling on the roof it'll peel elsewhere as well.

I've reworked the "What I've Spent" page.. for those items I bartered for, the dollar amount is listed (if I know it) because it's not likely that others can trade (for example) a ponytail for a car. I will not be keeping a spending page for the El Camino.