Home > General Automotive Topics > Members Restorations > Project "Chihuahua" '65 Formula S Restoration "Estilo Mexicano"

Project "Chihuahua" '65 Formula S Restoration "Estilo Mexicano"

  1. Day #1:
    I stripped the car myself, took about a week. Marielena, my Mexican born spouse, posed for the first foto. The restoration is taking place in her home town of La Paz, Baja California Sur (about 950 miles south of San Diego).

    We rebuilt the motor already (about ten years ago). Its a 1980's 318 with the original 273 Commando AFB, intake (1966 version), chrome air cleaner, and ribbed valve covers. Stock exhaust manifolds and dual exhaust by TTI.

    The transmission is a floor shift 904 (no work done on that yet). The rear end is a 8 3/4 with 489 case (no sure-grip) with 2.76 ring and pinion. Stock brakes with Mopar Rallye wheels. Options include power steering, power brakes, and A/C (parts missing). Original color is WW1 white with gold headliner and carpets. Seats and door panels are black. I assume the black upholstery and accents are not original (build sheet found under rear seat cushion belongs to another vehicle).

    We will probably paint the vehicle the same 1965 white and same 1965 gold poly trim (inside). Plans are to add a factory style body stripe (gold).








  2. Very cool! Look forward to following your build.

    Be well,
  3. Looks real good now that it is stripped.
  4. Subscribed!
  5. Cool project and awesome to start out with a rustfree body! Subscribed!
  6. Vehicle purchased new at a Sacramento, California dealership and I purchased it not too far from there. Rear window channels (both sides) show some rust (unless that is a factory drain hole I see):



  7. Excellent looking forward to following your progress.
  8. Day #2:
    The little "Chihuahua" is delivered to the shop "Los Pelones" which means "The Bald Guys". Estimate is $50,000.00 Mexican pesos which at the current exchange rate @ 18 to 1 works out to $2,777.77 US dollars (required 50% down). This is supposed to include one stage acrylic enamel (with hardener) including the body, interior, and chassis. A couple of years ago they painted the exterior of our 1972 Satellite Sebring Plus for $20,000.00 pesos (second foto). Can you pick out the father and son in the shop foto?


  9. Days #3-#4:
    First some parts were removed that were needed for the 8 block drive from home to the shop: rear wheels, both doors, fuel tank, dash, and wiring. Then began the process of stripping the exterior with paint remover.



  10. Awesome. Looks like the same as my 65. All in pieces waiting on paint. Good luck.
  11. Wow Looks awesome, awaiting updates. I'm in the process of building a 65 as well... I'm getting real close to body and paint too..
  12. Dibs: Where’d you find the gold headliner? Or is that going to be a custom thing? Great start you have there.
  13. Gold Headliner was the rotten factory installed one. I have to go with buckskin headliner now, being gold is not found in aftermarket options. I like the perforated style, don't even know if gold perforated material is out there for a custom-made headliner.
  14. Yea, I came to the same conclusion. I’m going with white.
  15. La Chupacabra sounds better. LOL Nice lookin project.......and family and friends!
  16. Check with SMS. I could not find the correct material (red) for my 65 Barracuda, but SMS had it and could make a headliner for me. Of course, the cost was over twice as much as everybody else, but it matches the original exactly.

    I suggest having them send a sample.

    SMS Auto Fabrics - The Largest Selection of Classic Auto Interiors
  17. A real person from SMS actually returned my inquiry regarding interior/headliner. I was not there to answer the phone, however. I will have to call back.
  18. Day #15:
    I check on the project daily. The Barracuda is taking up two stalls in the shop. They are always very busy so work on my project is a little slow. Today, we got a better look of the condition of the window frames. First four fotos are the windshield and last four are backlight. Don't show up in the fotos, but the windshield lower corners have a couple of minor pinholes. The rear window rust holes are more obvious.








  19. While the "Chihuahau" is in the body shop, I am working on a few side projects. Glove box liner(s) fabricated at the local stainless steel restaurant welders. Material is 18 gauge SAE type 304 SS. Two are for my Formula S and '65 Valiant Signet convertible. Third is a sample just in case this idea catches on and we go into a small production run.

  20. How much for one shipped to 22657?
  21. I first would need to know what vehicles this would fit before I go too far. I guess I should box and weigh one, take it to the Mexican Postal Service, and see what it would cost to send one stateside. I will be working on that, time permitting.
  22. It would be for a 66 Barracuda Dash into a 65 Dart - gloveboxes are the same.
  23. Day #29:
    Body shop removed the exhaust system and is now working on removing adhesives, seam sealer, and undercoating in preparation for the sandblasting of the stripped down shell.

    The loose parts have all been sandblasted and primed (two coats) with a one-part, fast-drying, oyster white, anti-corrosive alkyd primer formulated for steel structures (see first foto). I am applying two coats over that white primer using Rust-Oleum Rusty Metal Red Primer (on the inside surfaces only) before returning these loose parts to the shop.





  24. Looks like its coming along nicely!
  25. Day #48:
    Things have been stalled out since I decided to sandblast. Towed the vehicle back home where I extracted the motor/transmission and found the body shop did a poor job of removing all of the undercoating. That stuff is thick and stuck on there for good, my hat is off to Chrysler Corporation for finding the correct formula and application technique. Makes it a nightmare for one wanting to remove the sticky stuff, though.

    So I am spending all this week finishing up the undercoating removal with the help of the neighborhood "handyman" (a heavy drinker, but only drives a wheel barrow). The body shop used propane and a putty knife. We are using screwdrivers, razor blades, garden tools, etc.

    This will also give me time to repaint the motor the correct red/orange and bring the finned valve covers back from the blue sprayed on them (by the machine shop ten years ago) to the correct wrinkle black finish.






  26. Update Cowl:
    At 5:38 PM we found someone willing and able (hopefully qualified) to remove the cowl top to repair and refinish any rust-out. He called at 8:00 PM to report it was off. He said it was more work than he expected, finding the different layered construction and lead in the corners. After a quick sandblasting, we found some perforations around those round "chimneys" in the corners, could have been worse:

  27. More cowl fotos after sandblast:










  28. After a lot of debate, we decided to fabricate new pieces for the rotted lower and upper cowl areas. Here is the first foto of what should be quite an undertaking (upper cowl end piece):

  29. A's are famous for cowl rot.

    When I look at one for sale, I put my arm up the vent from the interior as far as I can get it.

    Fixing it right is a really big job.
  30. You have a dog fish.
    We like it.


    I'm a big fan of Rustolem Rusty Metal Primer.
    I've always used that and not any of those "reformer" products or coatings.

    I would strongly suggest Lord Fusor Crash Durable Adhesive for putting the new cowl top on.
    No welding and you won't have any area for moisture once you get it on.
    If you weld it, there will be areas that will have the paint burned off.
    Someone has a thread on here doing that.
    Cowl Rust! What is the best way to fix it?
    I've done it too.
    I had similar pin holes around the stand pipes and used polyurethane sealant on them.
    No point in welding them. Who is going to see it anyway?
  31. Think how great it is going to be driving through town when she is done!
  32. Excited to see the outcome of this build. Good luck!
  34. Update: Upper cowl has been patched in all four corners with a total a 6 sheet metal pieces. The welding left a few pinholes. I decided to push in some leftover 3M panel bond 8115 in from the back side to fill those.



  35. Another Cowl Update: First foto is the passenger side air vent cut out and in the hands of the fabricator. The next two fotos show his efforts to repair the damage to the "base" part and the "chimney" part.



  36. OH Yah another 65 Barracuda Saved. Lucky were the few and the proud owners. I do have some parts.It takes a few to make a good 1 IMG_20170729_101553945.jpg
  37. Hey just to let you know there is 1 being parted out here in classifieds , I know parts are hard to find I do have a few if needed.
  38. Cowl Update: The two "hats/chimneys" have been fabricated all "new' using just one weld to close the "tube". The lower corner pieces received many patches of various sizes and shapes (see posting #36). The first foto shows after a treatment of "Naval Jelly". The second foto shows after the jelly was washed/brushed off using electric drill. Now ready to close welding pinholes with 3M panel adhesive followed by some primer.


  39. The body and underbody now has been sandblasted, primed, and the the fabricated "cowl corners" have been welded in place.






  40. The rusty floorboards (both driver/passenger side) will be fabricated next. Just missed cutting into the factory brake/fuel lines.


  41. I find it odd, that you took your car to the body shop, but yet are doing the rust repairs at home.
    I guess down south, people are scared, or don't have the experience with rust repairs.
  42. What happened was the sandblaster introduced me to a fabricator. The fabricator did the cowl repairs. Then I had to decide to employ the fabricator to replace the other rusted metal or take the vehicle back to the body shop? Since i liked the work the fabricator did on the cowl corners, I decided to let him finish up the other sheet metal repairs.

    When the fabricator is done, it will be back to the body shop. But it could have gone the other way and the body shop could have done all the rust repair. (I hope it works out this way)
  43. Ahh, the sandblaster finding hidden rust for ever.
    Its the only way to start a project, clean metal, even if it has a few holes in it.
  44. More rust cutting/butchering today. Around the rear window channel and both quarter panels, driver's side outer wheel well. I should not have been surprised at the rot on the inside of the panels, but I was taken aback a bit.









  45. Check with Autobody Specialties for the floor pans. I am using both their fronts and passenger rear in my wagon. With some trimming they are a very good fit. Ought to save your fabricator quite a bit of time!
  46. Thanks, but he already finished the floor pans (I have not seen them yet).
  47. Some patches have now been roughed out of some fresh sheet metal.





  48. Cleaning up the fabricated sheet metal: Naval Jelly, buffing with drill/wheels, Ospho (gray in fotos), and finally Rust-Oleum clean metal primer (two coats--white). Can you see my brush marks?


  49. You are doing fine, keep at it.
  50. It doesnt look like the cowl vent standpipes stick up very far. It was my assumption that they typically stick up about 1"-1.5" and have a top lip to protect from water sloshing in the cowl from getting in.
  51. You are correct, keep in mind that the standpipes were fabricated separately and have not been attached yet.

    Now installed with the 3M panel adhesive.


  52. Update:
    Cowl repairs completed/painted with a coal tar epoxy. My thanks to fabricator "Gilberto." The only problem with the final coating is that I went over the wet paint too many times with the roller which caused a "grainy/non-slip" finish instead of the preferred slick surface.




  53. Gilberto is a bad ass fabricator.
    It looks Muy Bueno !!! As does all of his fab work so far. You picked a very talented gentleman to fix your fish.

    The way thats fixed, and sealed the rust problem is all but eliminated. In the dry climate you live in, it wont ever come back. In a northern climate it will still hold up well. Though up there most of these oldies are garage queens during the winters and rightfully so.
  54. I had some left over epoxy, so I applied some to what could be considered critical rust areas.




  55. Hidden floor pan areas were prepared as well. In order of fotos: sanded, naval jelly followed by Ospho, coal tar epoxy.



  56. We all must realize too that back in the day when our classics were built the manufacturers expected them to last at most 10 years. Typically 5 years for the first owners, then 5 years through subsequent owners, and these oldies were concidered worn out junk at 100K miles. The fact that many of them have actually survived into their 50s and 60s as far as years is testament to the way they were actually built back then. This new stuff they are making i dont think will last like this ol stuff has. The electrical issues and complexity as they get older is going to kill em off. The charm with our rides i think lies in the simplicity of construction along with the style and beauty of the designs the designers and engineers built into them. This may be why the young crowd who werent even born when these were built is still seeking them out to rebuild.
  57. Where are you buying the coal tar epoxy.
    I have never heard of it.
  58. Five minutes from the house there is a Mexican chain paint store called "Prisa." My sandblaster down the street (who repairs a few boats) recommended it.

    coal tar instructions1.png
  59. Update: floors. foto #1 driver's side #2 passenger side.


  60. Update: hole underneath battery tray. fotos: #1 & #2 from engine compartment #3 from inside driver's side fenderwell.



  61. Update: perforations in firewall driver's side/fender well. fotos: #1 from engine compartment #2 from fender well #3 from driver's firewall (inside) #4 upper center of foto shows a couple of the perforations before repair (if you look closely)




  62. Update: Driver's side quarter panel exterior.




  63. Update: Driver's side quarter panel interior.


  64. Update: Trunk patches. First foto: a) corner near driver's tail light. Following fotos: b) spare tire well.



  65. Update: Passenger side quarter panel.




  66. Update: Upper cowl finally attached (3M panel adhesive and a few spot welds). It will take some dynamite sticks to remove it next time.

  67. Update: Water tested the cowl after attachment and found a few drips along the forward firewall side. The problem lied in a few of the holes that were left after drilling out the factory spot welds (the holes did not all get completely filled in by the 3M panel adhesive). I marked the problem areas with a blue felt tip. I could not seal the drips from the inside, so I applied a little more of the panel adhesive from the outside and hoped for the best.




  68. Update: Now about six weeks after attempting to plug a few minor drips in the newly re-attached cowl I finally got around to another water test. I did not locate any more drips this time, only observed water pouring out the factory corner exits. (see the tiny water fall in the photo).

  69. Well, we began this project in earnest in March 2018 and today the body shop finally decided to finish it up!

    Barracuda again.jpg
  70. your car is looking great. It will last another 60 years.
  71. Nacho, the guy who originally started the paint, then broke his foot, then went to work elsewhere, could not be coaxed back to complete the job. Miguel, an old timer that the shop owner hired previously was called back and is now employed to take over.
  72. Wow I love your build and your fabricator is fantastic. Can't wait to see more, keep the pictures coming.
  73. Want quality work go to mexico, these guys know what they are doing, get on it and get it done period!!! Really good stuff!
  74. A little closer to paint every day:

  75. The trunk hinges were in bad shape, one was broken off (hinge pin failed) and the other one was frozen solid (hinge pin rusted stuck). I found a busy local shop with a lathe that finally called me after waiting about two months. I guess they drilled out the messed up pins and pressed in a pair of new ones.

    Some of the original factory white paint does not want to yield to my Naval Jelly nor various wire wheel drill attachments. I am going to just paint over the remaining old paint, anything that stubborn deserves a second chance. It will be like a little birth mark that most of us have hidden somewhere (going with factory white again anyway).


  76. We are doing it in pieces: trunk, door, fender, etc.

    I noticed the dented-up (as always) front valence was missing. We found it in the shop's storage room on top of a six foot storage cabinet buried under a grille from another vehicle.





  77. The owner could not coax anyone out of borrowing some ramps, so I employed a carpenter (and blacksmith) to make me up a rig to tilt the vehicle on its side. First we removed the 489 case 8 3/4 differential to lighten it up a little bit. Just got it up and over this morning. Found something on an internet video that we more or less patterned our design after.



  78. One of these days I hope to see the factory white paint restored. And to think we peeled, scraped, burned, and blasted all the undercoating off before ever having rolled the vehicle over on its side.




  79. Imron...

  80. First arrived at shop March 10, 2018 and today is April 14, 2020. In between times the vehicle was picked up and sent to sandblaster which postponed things, but now progress is being made again (another coat of primer).

    Barracuda chassis primer.jpg
  81. I've seen an astounding amount of creativity from enthusiasts that can't afford the status quo solutions. dibbons, I'd toss a buck in your tin cup for that "rotisserie" solution.
  82. I invested about $250.00 USD in parts (lumber/bolts) and labor (local carpenter) and the best thing is that it's reusable (we have two '65 A Bodies). I have to thank internet posters who provide youtube videos for the idea/"plans'. It's a pleasure sometimes having something on hand that does not require a computer chip.
  83. Ha! I work with electronics & computer chips for a living. I design custom controllers for other people's inventions. I'm more at home with software than lumber these days.
  84. Supposed to match the original factory '65 white.

    Barracuda chassis white.jpg
  85. Interior, steering column should be medium gold but we are going to fudge on that for now (we can repaint the column later if so desired). Still plan on going for the gold on the dash, inner doors, body stripe, etc.

    Barracuda white interior.jpeg
  86. Exterior. Vehicle not moved to the paint booth because the booth roof is starting to deteriorate and crap falls from the ceiling. Hopefully not too many bugs out these days.

    Barracuda white exterior.jpg
  87. nice progress
  88. Hood & Fenders

    Barracuda white hood.jpg

    Barracuda white fenders'.jpg
  89. Is that white primer? I was going to use Eastwood’s white epoxy primer but decided to go gray so there would be contrast between the gray primer and OEM white that it’ll be painted
  90. That's not white primer, that's white acrylic enamel Centari.

    Cleaned up some parts needed to start putting things back together. Since fenders and doors were painted off the car, painted the bolts off the car as well (just rust reformer and rattle can white). Not too worried about the bolts.

    Cleaned up the hinges and locks for the door, trunk, and hood (and fender tag). Went through quite a process of trying to get that stuff decent: an initial bath in powdered laundry detergent/water, followed by wax/greaser remover, followed by paint thinner, followed by a dunk in some second hand Evaporust, followed by Naval Jelly, followed by more wax/grease remover, then a black rust reformer (last foto). It seemed there was just a hint left of some dry, white lithium grease inside the door latches when I finished-enough is enough! (the door latches look to be an engineering masterpiece on these Mopars).

    The latches and stuff will look purdy the first day, after that Mother Earth (rust and such) will slowly take them back the way the came.



  91. When you see the body like this this is when you really see how big that rear glass is .it looks like the rear section of roof was cut out panel wise. upload_2020-5-9_13-26-52.jpeg
  92. I hear that there's a guy named Don in VA that could weld a piece of sheet metal in that hole and make a fast back sedan delivery! :D @65 Dartman :poke:
  93. IDK that’s an awful big hole. Little transmission humps are more my style lol!
  94. I was going to install the trunk lid today but ran into a problem. Instead of a tap, I ran a bolt through the threads in the body for the trunk hinges to clean them up a little first. One of the holes was pretty stubborn, but I showed it who was the Boss and snapped the head right off the bolt I was using. Fortunately, I was not using any of the eight factory bolts. Vice-Grips to the rescue.

    busted bolt.JPG
  95. Began putting things back together this week. This will entail the hood, trunk, doors, and fenders.

    I just noticed the "tab" that keep the end of the opposite side hood torsion bar in its slot is not bent up in the proper position but just lying down not doing its job. Hard to see (painted white like everything else), but it can be seen in middle of the photo about three-quarters of the way down almost right below (about 3 inches) the hood "roller".

  96. The lock washers that "secure" the hood hinges on the non-threaded pins are loose and cannot be trusted to be doing anything. As long as the hood is attached, I don't see that being a problem. The factory ones probably fell off frequently. I don't know if they can be snugged up somehow once they are put on.

    Edit: Forum contributor MOPAR4Me in post #115 pointed out the fact these lock washers are called "push nuts" and the one shown in the photo is reversed. The push nuts should not really be re-used in the first place because they lose tension after removal, and worse yet, if they are installed backwards.

  97. I used a 1/2" drive breaker bar and a socket with cut-outs ground into it to coax the hood torsion bars into place. The effort required was less than I expected. I also used some flat bracing in one of the door hinge holes to prevent the hinge from flying off in the process. I used black brake caliper paint on the hood hinges and hood torsion bars.


  98. Follow-up to post #95: I got way too aggressive with the tap when I was cleaning out the hinge holes in the trunk lid (photo one). Then come to find out the trunk is tweaked anyway where the hinges bolt on (photo two). It won't sit flat until I find a "Hercules type" to bend it back where it should be for me.


  99. The A Body generic rubber bumpers in the restoration kits have the wrong hood bumpers and wrong trunk bumpers for a Barracuda. I had to reuse the trunk bumpers (one still had it's "tab" and I glued the other side on, for now). The smaller ones fit the Barracuda and have the tab orientation opposite of the so-called authentic reproductions.