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1971 302 C4 auto convertible, Grabber Blue/white/white
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I am going to attempt a build thread. My intent is to build the car to be a reliable driver, that looks decent. I am not going for show car or concour correct. I welcome comments, knowledge and advice to assist me to reach those goals!

The car is a 71 302 2v auto, grabber blue and white interior, verified by Marti report, which I will attach. My end plan is a Spirit edition clone, or restore back to grabber blue and white original configuration…or some variation of that.

The history is a guy owned it in the 90’s and had it looking great, and took it to shows, and apparently a flaming car show tent fell on it and caught it on fire. There is fire damage, replaced parts in interior and general mismatched stuff….the next owner who sold it to me bought it after partial fire repairs and parked it in his garage for 25 years, doing almost nothing to it. He drove it 80 miles in 25 years. He loosely bolted on a fender, adjusted timing “by sound” and bolted on an intake and carb, with zip ties holding the throttle linkage together….the tires are barely hanging on with various lugnuts…so I will inspect everything closely!

But first, photos as purchased, then tear down for inspection and documentation….
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1971 302 C4 auto convertible, Grabber Blue/white/white
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Here’s exterior details, the grill is broken and not attached front valance, bumper and fender lightly attached and unaligned….
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1971 302 C4 auto convertible, Grabber Blue/white/white
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
B Pillars after interior removal….this is where it needs the most metal work. I don’t know how far to take this, the drivers side is solid in operation and visibility good, passenger side shakes when door closed and is cracked…keep in mind any repairs and Bondo patches are 25 years old or more, my thought if a repair is still solid 25-30 years after, I won’t touch it…
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1971 302 C4 auto convertible, Grabber Blue/white/white
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
General interior after stripping panels and carpet…padding was glued down, so there is residual silver foil and orange-brown glue everywhere…I saw rust dust falling from above to passenger floorboard, and some rust in drivers well near brights switch…..
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1971 302 C4 auto convertible, Grabber Blue/white/white
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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
And lastly for today, the trunk. Indoor outdoor carpet was glued down. The paint came up with carpet…previous repair with some surface rust to attend to…the side walls and lower quarters look pretty good but need some attention….it’s obviously been done once before…
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1971 302 C4 auto convertible, Grabber Blue/white/white
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Finally,........I'll be following, lol!!

Are those Fenton wheels?
I have No idea, my neighbor said they looked like ford ranger wheels….if I can find a good staggered set of aluminum magnum 500’s these will be stuck in the corner for use on body paint day…
 

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Welcome, love the colour. I'm part way thru a 1970 convertible rebuild but still have a long way to go. good luck with it!
 

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1971 302 C4 auto convertible, Grabber Blue/white/white
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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Here’s some basic engine bay pics, initial observations, zip tied throttle linkage, transmission kick down gone, no choke, leaks everywhere, heater core looped to itself and almost on exhaust manifold, power steering fluid very low, don’t see a fuel filter, AC remove, fluid leaks everywhere! And the wiring, oh my the wiring!
I have also determined the carb is an edelbrock 1405 manual choke 600cfm on a performer 289 intake. I have the original 2v and intake if I need to go backwards…
i think initially here I will safe the wiring, inspect leaks, tune up ignition, replacing plugs, wires rotor cap, etc…, confirm fuel filter, fix linkage, maybe add electric choke, flush radiator, replace hoses
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1971 302 C4 auto convertible, Grabber Blue/white/white
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Later this week I will be under car, and inspecting brakes and suspension parts….more initial pics to come…
 

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B-pillar is about what I expected to see given the exterior.

Floors and inner rockers have been replaced. Taillight panel and at least the trunk drop offs have as well, with lower quarters and wheel houses being patched.

Check the cowl for rust and leaks. A garden hose stuck into the vents will show you immediately whats going on,

Engine harness appears to be from a 73, as it has too many wires for a 71. It may be that the entire dash was replaced after the fire. If you dig around under the dash, there may be some of the part number tags still on the harnesses.

 
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
B-pillar is about what I expected to see given the exterior.

Floors and inner rockers have been replaced. Taillight panel and at least the trunk drop offs have as well, with lower quarters and wheel houses being patched.

Check the cowl for rust and leaks. A garden hose stuck into the vents will show you immediately whats going on,

Engine harness appears to be from a 73, as it has too many wires for a 71. It may be that the entire dash was replaced after the fire. If you dig around under the dash, there may be some of the part number tags still on the harnesses.

thanks for the input! The cowl was redone once, I can see all sorts of black paint and sealers from under the dash, I will test it…
This car will be an occasional sunny day driver, probably never see rain, at least not on purpose..I would plan to stop all rust and re seal metal against corrosion…the passenger B pillar will be on list for repair…

what’s your thought on the basic body as pictured? Like on a 1-10 scale for starting point and work needed….I feel like the trunk and b pillars are my area of focus…and test the plenum, and the floor panels seem ok, with light refinish work only needed….I still have to document underneath, I know things like bumper brackets and things have surface rust and need a rehab…. How do you feel about body?

re electric, one day at a time, I still have to test everything…in the back of my mind, a new wiring harnesses looks like a probability! Under dash will help push that.
 

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1971 302 C4 auto convertible, Grabber Blue/white/white
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
So just an update, I spent 2 hours under the car tonight….80% of it looks great, the main problem are is the front drivers fender area where the fire damage is…the rest of the body looks good underneath.
the brakes are crusty, will be replaced.
the engine and transmission are wet, very wet….
lots of disconnected wires and linkages to sort out…
front end is loose, and needs some tightening up….
worst find of the night, the oil pan drain bolt is stripped and the source of my major oil leak, a friend suggested Helicoil as a fix….
 

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what’s your thought on the basic body as pictured? Like on a 1-10 scale for starting point and work needed….I feel like the trunk and b pillars are my area of focus…and test the plenum, and the floor panels seem ok, with light refinish work only needed….I still have to document underneath, I know things like bumper brackets and things have surface rust and need a rehab…. How do you feel about body?

re electric, one day at a time, I still have to test everything…in the back of my mind, a new wiring harnesses looks like a probability! Under dash will help push that.
It has it's rough spots, but looks very workable. The patchwork from inside the quarters looks suspect, but if the paint's in good shape and things aren't falling apart, I'd leave it be for now. Use an angle grinder with a wire wheel to knock the rust and flaking paint off the trunk floor. It looks solid from the pics, but best to get to it and know what you have. Everything else, except for the B pillar looks quite solid.

My first task would be to get to driver status and deal with the safety issues, you know, like that zip tie on the throttle cable....
 

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1971 302 C4 auto convertible, Grabber Blue/white/white
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks for the input! Yeah I am gathering parts for the safety stuff, I need to measure rear pads to determine if they are 2 inch or the smaller size. I assume smaller since it’s a 302 and 8” rear end? But I have to confirm. Also identified all the carb parts I need, had a conversation with Edelbrock tech support….I have to stop the oil leak, fix the brakes, flush cooling and check hoses, make sure there is a fuel filter and fix carb setup, then it should be ready for limited road testing…oh yeah, new tires and wheels backordered and 3 weeks out. The drivers b pillar is repaired also, but no signs of cracking or rusting from inside out. The passenger side definitely needs rehab because I’d visibly cracked and shakes when door is slammed….once it’s mechanically sound I will start with body and trunk and rehabbing convertible mechanism and other things…it’s going to need steer column rebuild, lots of electrical, dash rehab…..

for planning, would a new wire harness and electrical repair go before or after paint? I see reasons to go either way…..
 

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1971 302 C4 auto convertible, Grabber Blue/white/white
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Going to try to put together some bottom end pictures and summary ..for brakes, I am going to flush all lines, replace all rubber hoses, in the rear replace the wheel cylinders…in the front, replace everything…hubs, disks, wheel studs, calipers, hoses, pads, repack bearings …the front is crusty from exposure, the rear is not. In my past experience sediment and moisture wreck the calipers and cylinders so best to replace after sitting for 25 years…
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Random underneath observations…coil overs will be gone soon, the car looks really good except for front drivers corner where it had fire. The oil pan drain is stripped and leaking, transmission is dripping…some of front end parts have torn seals…I “think” it’s C4 transmission, if you see enough to verify let me know, I have a receipt for C4 rebuild..and yes it’s missing kick down linkage, and all the transmission interlocks don’t work…
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