1970 Stage 1 Build (10+ Year Journey)

Discussion in 'Members Rides' started by StKing, Apr 24, 2019.

  1. StKing

    StKing Well-Known Member

    I've had my Stage 1 for at least 10 years now (I was 22 when I got it) and figured this would be a great place to document its life while in my hands and show how I built it up to this (picture below)...


    ... and then decided to tear it apart to completely redo the car again. This is where it currently sits in the process of the 3rd version of the car. (Picture below)


    Going back to the beginning, it has been a ton of ups and downs, plenty of difficult and expensive learning lessons, and lots of time in-between. Before I get too far in I need to thank my uncle, Mark. Without him, I would have never found this car, been able to get it running, and wouldn't have learned any of those difficult lessons he and hot rodding have taught me, his guidance and support through this process and been essential.

    I originally found the "Stage 1" car because I was slowly buying parts (rims, hood, etc) from a guy to put on my Skylark custom (See below). After buying these parts he had mentioned that he might sell his car, which was what I thought was an amazing Stage 1 and quite the upgrade from my small block custom.


    I ended up making an offer of $8,000 for the car and bought the Stage 1 as a roller including a complete big block with a stroker kit I would need to assemble myself.



    Having little experience in assembling motors I would need to wait until my uncle had time to help me build the engine. The car sat at my parent's house for about a year while I was reserved to washing it and staring dreaming about the day where id be able to "smoke anyone on the street" with all my BBB torque.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Finally, after what seemed like forever to a young kid my uncle told me he was ready to help me start assembly and I took the block over so we could get started.


    He had me do most of the work while supervising.


    I had the idea I wanted an all-black engine and thought it would look cool. Looking back, the black and green combo probably wasn't the most aesthetically pleasing but little did I know I'd have plenty of opportunities to change it in the future.


    After we completed the engine it was time to bring over my car so we hooked it up to a trailer and we were off.

    I have to run for the day but ill update the story over the next couple days when I can.
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2019
    no1oldsfan, Dano, 1972Mach1 and 3 others like this.
  2. hwprouty

    hwprouty Platinum Level Contributor

  3. johnriv67

    johnriv67 Well-Known Member

    Me too!
    hwprouty likes this.
  4. OHC JOE

    OHC JOE Mullet Mafia since 2020

  5. agetnt9

    agetnt9 Agetnt9 (Dan)

    Yep, Yep, Yep !! And, And !!
  6. StKing

    StKing Well-Known Member

    Okay back at it...

    As I was saying after we completed assembling the engine it was time to bring over the car so we loaded it up from my parent's garage in Burbank and headed to Chatsworth.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Having a nice garage and a lift was a huge help working on the car. (Some of these pictures aren't the best quality but it was 10 years ago and I was using my cell phone. Technology has come a long way!)


    The engine and trans went in pretty easy but the long tube headers were a pain in the ass! I think they're still the most difficult thing to install or remove. As you can see they go into a Hedman X Pipe out to a set of Hooker max flow mufflers. I'll post a video later in the story of it running. It sounds amazing!

    After we got the engine installed it was time to wire up the motor to get this thing turned over. At this point, my experience for electrical was minimal. For background sake, at the time I had a 1997 Mitsubishi Eclipse GST and done some wiring for a stereo and subwoofers but it was mostly twisting wires together wrapped with some electrical tape. I look back and cringe and can't believe I didn't catch something on fire. Actually, I almost did catch that car on fire one day when one of the wires caused a short. Smoke started to bellow out from under the side floor panel of the car. I had to rip out the rat's nest of wires by hand to stop it before it became a fire. Luckily I was able to stop it and the car lived but I still have the scar on my finger today from the hot wire that burned through my skin as I was pulling.

    Anyway, I came to find out that the previous wiring on my Stage 1 wasn't much better. The more I got into the more I found terrible examples of how to do things. There were thick home grade electrical wires caped together with wire nuts, tons of wires that went nowhere at all. Id spend all day just trying to figure out where something went and finally get to the end to find that... it went nowhere!


    This is an image where I was trying to figure out how to re-wire up the switch pitch converter amoung figuring out the rest of the bird's nest. It was at this time where I decided to move out of my parent's house and moved in with a friend. Life got in the way and I had to put the State 1 on hold for a while so I moved it out of my uncle's garage and into my new house.

    I'll continue with more of the story tomorrow.
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2019
  7. telriv

    telriv Founders Club Member


    Did you drive it or have it flat bedded again???
    Get that ORANGE FILTER off there. Do a goggle search about GOOD oil filters to use. WIX comes out pretty close to the top & NAPA GOLD is a top line filter made by WIX.
    It sounds like everything is OK engine wise, but when your building an engine NEVER leave the spark plugs out!!!!
    • just my thoughts.
    Tom T.
  8. StKing

    StKing Well-Known Member

    Yes, I put it on a trailer and moved it to my new house. Also, this is 10 years ago so I'm sure there will be plenty of mistakes and wrong parts along the way but that's how you learn. Over the next couple of days, I plan to update and complete the story up to where the car is currently at. It's a long way to go from this part of the story.
  9. StKing

    StKing Well-Known Member

    Alright picking back up where I left off (almost a year ago man time flies)

    After I completed most of the wiring I started it up to break in the motor...

    It ran for almost 20 minutes before it got too hot and I had to shut it down. That lead to me to new electronic fans. From there I had vacuum braking issues among other things and I drove it around only a few times. Its been so long that details of the story are illuding me but no one will ever know so I digress.

    One day driving down the 101 high way from Burbank to my shop in Reseda I started to hear knocking and lost oil pressure and pulled over. I had the car towed as I wasn't sure what it was. After inspecting the oil filter I found metal shavings and had to pull the motor to find out what happened. It ended up that one of the bolts I used for the cam gear was slightly too long, dug into the block which put metal shavings everywhere and destroyed the motor.
  10. StKing

    StKing Well-Known Member

    From there I bought it back to a house I was living at in North Hills and pulled the motor...

    (Most of these pictures make me cringe with the condition of things. Look at that wiring! At least I can see how far she's come. Also, keep in mind I was a young kid who had no idea what I was doing)



    Last edited: Jun 4, 2020
  11. StKing

    StKing Well-Known Member

    Here's more of the butchery for good measure...

    IMG_2355 - Copy.JPG
  12. Dano

    Dano Platinum Level Contributor

    It's amazing how much we've all learned from those days and the dumb stuff we did. You're a lot younger than most of us.
  13. StKing

    StKing Well-Known Member

    “I never make the same mistake twice, I make it 5 or 6 times just to be sure”

    Everytime I redo the car I have a better understanding of how to do things the correct way. It’a taught me a lot about myself, so many learning lesson I’m thankful for. Looking back is still cringe worthy but that part of it. I’m Still learning and improving and I’m excited to get it running this time around!

    I’m going to try and get this thread up to date then post some daily pictures soon of the progress.
    PGSS, no1oldsfan and Dano like this.
  14. StKing

    StKing Well-Known Member

    Alright back at it... I did get things turned around and got ahead of myself with the motor being destroyed. That hadn't actually happened yet and I pulled the motor for.... well, who knows at this point. I think I was having an issue with oiling pressure and sent the unit out to TA. I don't know why I would have pulled the motor for that but anyway I'll keep the story rolling. Strike that part from your memory if you will.

    At this point, it was 2012 and I had just opened a body shop in Reseda, Ca. It was my first real business and I didn't know much about collision repair but as you can tell not knowing how to do something never stopped me before. The shop did all insurance work on late-model vehicles and when we got slow I figured it would be a good time to paint my car. When I bought the car the left (driver side) 1/4 panel wasn't in the best condition. It looked like something hit it and was wavy. (You can see if from a few of the pictures above from when I first bought the car) The car does not have the original Stage 1 motor so keeping it original was not a concern.





    Other than the wavy rear 1/4 the left side of the car wasn't in terrible shape. The 1/4 pulled straight with only a few studs.

    When we got to the right side of the vehicle what we found was a different story. The 1/4 had been hit pretty hard and was caked over with Bondo. Not what you want to see...



    Now, in no way was this car done correctly like some of the pro's on here. My guys did what they could with the skills they had. As I mentioned the shop was for late model collision repair and not restorations. Also, this was early on in the shop's existence so I didn't have the best of employees yet. We ended up cutting out the section and replacing it. In hindsight, I wish we had put in an entirely new 1/4. We didn't.
    Dano likes this.
  15. StKing

    StKing Well-Known Member

    On to primer :) ...




    After the first coat, we blocked it then added another coat...



    It did look pretty sweet in flat black.
    Dano likes this.
  16. StKing

    StKing Well-Known Member

    I found this old video of the second coat being applied....

    Also, In case you were wondering none of the people in the videos or pictures are me.

    Dano likes this.
  17. StKing

    StKing Well-Known Member

    After the second coat was on we blocked the car again...


    Then prepped for the jambs.


    At this point, I had to pick a color. Why is it always so hard to pick a color!! One of my buddies brought in his Vantage for some bumper repair and after we detailed it seeing it in the sun I fell in love. I decided to paint the car Aston Martin Meteorite Silver. Here's a picture after we were done with the Vantage...


    On to Jambing!


  18. no1oldsfan

    no1oldsfan Well-Known Member

    Nice post. So what color are you painting it? Factory color?
  19. StKing

    StKing Well-Known Member

    Next, it was time to pull in the car for paint...





    Thats all I could gather for tonight. Tomorrow I'll try to post some pictures of the car after the paint was put down. It looked awesome!
    OHC JOE likes this.
  20. StKing

    StKing Well-Known Member

    I went with the Aston Martin color: Meteorite Silver

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