Absolute Pace

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Kirkham Motorsports

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Old 02-16-2015, 12:40 PM
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Default It started with a gascap - Project Arntz Restoration

So last year due to varied circumstances I sold my Harrison #40, which to be honest was a very very hard thing to do, and boy do I miss that car. The plan was to get a tri-five chevy, in particular a 55 Hardtop. Next to a Cobra, this has been my life long dream car.

I had been searching for some time and a few examples came up but they just didn't stack up for whatever the reason.

During this time whilst searching ebay etc, I came across a gascap. I have always been a fan of the non roller gascap so I thought, why not get it to add to the garage for 'art'.

After months of realization, it came to me, the desire for a Cobra was just too strong. At this point I was enjoying the thought of a mild restoration on a 55 Hardtop, so why not the same with a Cobra.

A good mate and a QLD cobra club member has an old Arntz which he was using as his daily driver. Due to his knowledge on vehicle importing we discussed the options of purchasing and importing from the USA. Some options came up however for whatever the reason, they did not stack up. So this then led discussions about the Arntz.

Long story short, this now resides in my garage. The original plan was for a quick tidy up, tighten up the 30+ year old steering and enjoy. However, not always do things go to plan.

Anyway, I will use this thread do document my Project Arntz restoration, lets just see if I keep on track or get carried away.

It started with a gascap.




Arntz, before me getting to it.




Initial clean up and paint correction.



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Last edited by leroy17; 05-28-2018 at 05:12 PM..
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Old 02-16-2015, 12:52 PM
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Next up was the steering. First was to identify what it was. It ended up being a Morris Minor rack, shortened and connected to a 78 Camaro front suspension with custom arms.

After a huge amount of searching I came across a NOS (new old stock) rack, never used. 30+ years of it sitting on a shelf meant that a strip down was needed anyway. Considering the body and the rack had to be shortened as well, the end result should be a new feeling rack. So not to put this to waste, I also sourced new upper and lower ball joints, new tie rod ends, new steering uni and also had the steering column re-shimmed.


Check the amount of shortening from the old rack to the factory rack.



The box has NASCAR on it, so this has to be fast gear..... watch out Jimmy Johnson




Uni, the old one has 5 mm side to side play, this new one has none.




Apparently in the history of this car a few corners had been cut, above are the steering rack 'mounts'....... which leave a little to be desired. Underneath are the original factory cast alloy mounts. A world of difference here.....and may polish up well!

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Old 02-16-2015, 12:58 PM
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So if I am attending to the steering and all moving parts, next up was the shocks. Original plan was to adjust the front coilovers lower. This did not go well as the shock body split on the joint to the base..... easy fix. A visit to PACE to see what surplus stock exists. Thanks to Craig, we came across QA1 double adjustable and Hypercoil springs. Front sorted and then the rear to be attended to as well.

Old front.




New front, shiney and pretty.....wow!




Old rear.




New rear.

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Old 02-16-2015, 02:55 PM
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I thought you said ''' QUICK ''' tidy up not full rebuild
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Old 02-16-2015, 03:49 PM
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I always thought the paint on this car didn't look too bad but the way Leigh has transformed it with a lot of elbow grease is quite something. Says a lot for the quality of the thirty year old paint too that it could come up so well.

This should be a very interesting thread.
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Last edited by Donunder; 02-16-2015 at 06:02 PM..
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Old 02-16-2015, 04:25 PM
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looks great but your still stuck with the original problem of where to sit the kids ? unles your going to remount the boot lid and turn it into a dicky seat :-)
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Old 02-16-2015, 05:18 PM
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Well Rob, depends on what the defination of 'quick' is. I have to say that I am trying really hard to resist completing a full rebuild. The Arntz is a great solid rig, has bucketloads of character and is completed and ready to go and does not need a full rebuilt thats for sure..... its just that I see this as an opportunity, we will wait and see.

Don, your right, for 30+ year old paint it really is good. Working this has really produced wonders and whilst I have removed lots of the blemishes I have still retained its age and character (some may call it patina). What is interesting is how straight a 30+ year old body is, no ripples or other defects and overall a great solid body and the paint at this stage has no polish and no wax at all yet there are great reflections and clarity in this old paint. There realy are built like a tank and the chassis rails are not rails..... they are gurders (more pics to follow).

Dean, correct....... back to the same problem that kinda forced the original decision, but the desire for a Cobra runs deep, maybe I will still keep an eye out for a 55 Hardtop, would be great to find one that could be my daily drive.
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Old 02-16-2015, 11:55 PM
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So with steering and front suspension basically sorted and currently re-painting and then re-building it was over to the brakes. I dont have a pic of the single piston factory caliper however I am moving to 4 piston dust booted Wilwood calipers and front kit which is bearing, hub, rotor etc.

Since steering, suspension and brakes were being done I may as well source some wheels and tyres. As pin drive wheels are at home on a cobra it seemed like a natural choice, this was however only accelerated with a set that came up for sale, however had a different stud pattern to what I was seeking. Front are covered as the wilwood hubs are multi drilled, however the rears will need to be attended to. I guess this means that the rear now gets pulled for work.


Wilwood caliper and hub kit.




Wheels and spinners.





It was impossible to resist the urge to mock up the wheels so here is a few pics.



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Old 02-17-2015, 12:06 AM
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Since brakes are now being attended to it also is the time to attend to lines, reservoirs, master cylinders etc. Tilton make a simple reservoir for brake (f&r) and clutch. Not sure at this stage if I will use this however its there if I choose to.

Now the Arntz has a really cool floor mounted pedal adjustable set up. Whilst I like this, the design of the chassis has the option for a dropped floor and to use top mount pedals. Wilwood make a set that will suit this task perfectly.


Tilton reservoir




Wilwood pedals

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Old 02-17-2015, 02:41 AM
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Great to see some photos of the "almost ground up" rebuild. What i think is super cool is that you've had an image or concept in your head about how you want the car to turn out, and you've stuck to it.

The planning and the sourcing can be fun, but so is the driving so I look forward to seeing your progress on the Arntz. To achieve this, you must fit more parts than you remove. Simple maths!

Thanks also for being very gracious about not saying that the previous owner clearly didn't grasp the concept of vehicle maintenance. You've found some little surprises in the car, which I guess needn't be a shock in a car that was built decades ago. The surprise was that I never noticed these things while I was driving the car every day, blissfully unaware of bits about to fall off!

Keep up the excellent work - I can't wait to see the Arntz cruising in to the Hope Island Cobra breakfast in the not tooooo distant future.
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Old 02-17-2015, 09:18 AM
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That little gas cap you bought for a few bucks has turned out to cost you thousands.
Not doubt it will be all worth it in the end.
Nice pick up!
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Old 02-17-2015, 11:37 AM
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Craig, whilst the vision of what I want has changed a little the overall has remained the same. The big kicker was wheels, I was looking to a pro-touring look 18x9 and a 18x12 with 335 30 18 rears as a Halibrand look wheel with spinners however the seller never replied to my final emails for purchase. Then up came the 15's so this made that decision and then the guided the plan the way it is now.

I can't give you grief on the car, you had it for less than 10% of its life, its little idiosyncrasies were ingrained decades before and I look at this as being just a unscheduled logbook service!

Dimis, I remember sitting in the garage and looking at the gascap and thinking since I cant find my 55, its a shame to let this cap just sit here. A cheaper alternative may have been to let it sit, but surprisingly this has not really been a budget shock so far, though if I cave and go a BBC 540CI monster, then I am going to have budget issues.
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Old 02-17-2015, 11:44 AM
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A few more pics with stuff from Finishline, sidepipes which will end up with a black coating and a few body pics which try to capture what the paint correction has achieved.

Some of the little goodies from a finishline order, mirrors, switches, bezels etc.




Nice straight body, remembering that this is 34 years old and original paint.






Sidepipes.

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Old 02-17-2015, 12:00 PM
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And a quick engine shot. Ok, I can here the groans already.... it's a Chev..... get it out.... oh no what would ol Shel think... its not a cobra because it does not have a ford in it......and so on.

This is a nice little 355 SBC with a solid roller, decent compression and a few other goodies. It should clean up nice and have an old school look and sound the goods and I am looking forward to hearing it through sidepipes rather than the restricted rear existing system that was on it.

It has manners like a puppy in that it's marking it's territory and leaking everywhere (some may say a typical chev). This will be an engine out, fel-pro kit, tidy up the engine bay, run a low mount alternator and then back together.

What is cool is how far the engine is set back. All is behind the front suspension and steering by a long way and initial drives felt nicely balanced.

More updates on this as I get to it, which depending on my pace, will be soon or not so soon.

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Last edited by leroy17; 02-17-2015 at 12:37 PM..
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Old 02-17-2015, 04:59 PM
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I love the paintwork I wonder if back then it was painted with enamel ? may I ask where you sourced the side pipes from ?
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Old 02-17-2015, 06:26 PM
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Sidepipes were a very difficult decision as I had to keep budget in check as with all purchases so far, these were at a deal I could not pass. These are from Lee at Haines Hot Rods in the USA and I had them delived to my hotel and bought back as luggage when in the USA.
I have to say that I can not fault the dealing that I had with him, the communication, the pricing was spot on. These are USA made and not from china. I strongly suggest that you contact if this is what you are looking for. They can be supplied raw (what I have) chromed or ceramic. I figured that I would get raw and have coated once brackets are welded on.

However........ this was purchased when I was in the US and exchange rate I had forward purchased at .95 and delivery was local and not international.

If I was looking at this now considering the above factors, I would seriously speak with Mike (Aussie Mike) about his pipes as the price difference is bugger all and honestly, Mikes will be better built with adjustability, and a perfect fit for your PACE.
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Old 02-18-2015, 11:06 AM
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A few more pics for the sake of it, and that it appears a little quiet here.

Forgot to mention one of the first modifications, this one really tested my mechanical ability and set the scene for what is following. Changed the front indicator lenses to clear and replaced the lucas bulbs to amber.

Here is a pic of the finishline pedals that I fitted. I countersunk holes front and rear for the pedal pad to sit better in and spaced so there was natural accelerator to brake distance for my foot and also so there was clearance on the clutch side with no chance of one foot on two pedals. I did this before I decided on the drop foot box and Wilwood pedals.

And finally a garage pic. I suffer shed envy seeing the shed builds (this is aimed at you Spook, Mike and others who I can't remember). Inadequate like standing next to John Holmes at the trough. Anyway, so far so good however going to be pushing for room if the body comes off and I go back to a bare chassis.







And a pic of my previous cobra..... just because I miss it. But it is in real good hands now.

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Last edited by leroy17; 02-20-2015 at 02:09 PM..
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Old 02-18-2015, 08:17 PM
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Your doing a nice job on her mate, well done and those wheels are going to set it right off.
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Old 02-19-2015, 03:33 PM
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What happened to the original sidepipes?
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Old 02-20-2015, 10:57 AM
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Hey joyridin', If you are referring to the original Arntz sidepipes with the three bolt flange, unfortunately it appears they are long gone.

Here is a pic of it when it was in the USA before Craig imported it to AUS. As you can see the pipes are not the factory pipes, shame as those are cool aspect of the Arntz which would be good to still have.

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