After a couple of months of chasing parts (interior, exterior, wiring, etc.) & associated installation, we finally dropped in the newly rebuilt 390 and C6 transmission. Yes, she’s a real “S” code GTA.
We broke the engine in on Saturday & had more than the usual fun and excitement. Engine “break-ins” are always kind of a high point, but in this case, it was a bit over the top. The customer, who is currently working in Kuwait, just happened to call on Friday, to say hello & see how things were going with her Bella. When I told her about the engine “break-in” on Saturday, she wanted to hear it, so we arranged our schedule accordingly. Now keep in mind that we’re old guys here (ofi stands for Old Farts Incorporated……..name picked up from my children) & we “get” carburetors & such but are not up to speed with a lot of modern technology, especially video/smart cell phones, etc. (We have a tendency to dislike anything smarter than we are.) Anyway, with my mechanic, Ted, managing the throttle & rpm’s, I’m running from the engine bay to the tail pipes with a cordless phone in my hand, holding it so that the customer can hear it all. I’m glad I wasn’t on someone’s YouTube video as I probably would have been committed for having some syndrome where the patient thinks inanimate objects want to make phone calls……………….We’d call it the “Congress Syndrome” where everybody talks but no one listens.
The break-in went flawlessly, with no strange tics, noises, nor squirting of fluids. We’d already been through the “smoke test” & all lights & electricals are working fine. She runs like a Swiss watch & with 2 1/4 inch pipes vs. the stock 2″, combined with 2 chamber mufflers, she’s got just enough growl to get your attention, but still be considered civil.
Interior’s pretty much complete (headliner, overhead console, dash, gauges, etc.) & we’re waiting for luxury door panels, new door glass & handles & cranks, etc. Seats have to be upholstered, 15″ styled wheels are on order & we’ve installed a wood Lecarra steering wheel. Please “purists”, don’t go off on a tangent on this. The car has a family history & although nearly 100% correct from an originality standpoint, we’ve done a few things to improve it from 1967 specs. Back then, they didn’t have DynaMat, & the floors & interior were not coated/sealed with UPol Raptor bedliner, but we did it anyway with agreement from our customer & the 7″ x 15″ wheels will allow us to put a little more “meat” on the ground. This car will be driven & will probably never see a show, although I suspect she would fare pretty well in a driver class.
Our sincere thanks to the owner for giving us this car to work on. It’s been an absolute joy & we’re now facing the obvious fact that she will soon be gone.