1972 Skylark Convertible Build Revived... kind of

Discussion in 'Wet behind the ears??' started by OneMoreProject, Jul 18, 2014.

  1. OneMoreProject

    OneMoreProject New Member

    Hello all! Another new guy here, begging for validation or recommendations... here's what I've got.

    Let's start about 15 years ago. My dad had a great deal on a truck that he was going to buy for me as my first vehicle. We go to check it out and I'm not in love. It was covered in chrome... just a terrible looking truck. The only thing I was interested in was the incredibly terrible looking 72 Skylark convertible in the same driveway... it was so awful. The top was ripped up, no back window, the torn tarp over the top was probably older than the car. The floorboard was full of holes. Actually, the entire interior was trash. It had about three layers of paint partially sanded off... but it ran! (kind of). The deal was, he would buy the truck for me (I'm probably remembering wrong because that doesn't sound right at all) or I buy the car on my own. The owner wanted $1200, and I was making $10/hr working at the airport, so I figured I'd trade for 120 hours labor... deal!

    I saw my brother buy and sell old junky hotrods several times - he'd throw a $100 paint job on it with no body work, drive it for a little while then sell it for a profit. I told myself I'd do the same, but with body work, and I'd have it finished in time for my senior year. I sanded the thing down almost immediately and found tons of issues. Also ripped all of the interior out... and then the sitting started.

    A couple years later, I was in the Air Force and had no time to spend the money I was getting... so I sent it home and had the Skylark painted, had a new top and glass installed, then purchased all of the interior reproduction kit. At some point I made my way home and hired a shop to knock out the upholstery, had the carpet installed after the floor was repaired.

    12ish years later, I pulled it out of the hangar to wash off the layers of dust that accumulated over the years so I could take some pictures and list it on Craigslist. After seeing how complete everything was, I started throwing around the idea of finishing it myself so I'd finally have a chance to drive my first car... now I'm here.

    I have read pretty much everything I can find on this forum and I'm a bit overwhelmed by all of the information. I was hoping to grab a copy of Sean's book but it seems his project has hit a few delays as all of ours tend to do. So now I'm here asking for advice.

    My (advertised) budget is about $2,000 to button it up... I handle the bills so I'll have to keep the appearance of sticking close to that budget. About $300 of that is going toward the final bits and pieces for the interior. Some will likely go toward the brakes, new fuel lines and other boring but essential items. I'm not worried about much of that. I've already spent a little over $200 on a stock 72 4 bbl intake and matching Q-Jet that will require a rebuild - a lot of posts I've gone through say that is a good option, a close second to the TA intake. Also have one of those engine rebuild gasket/seal kits. I'm not going for the stock look, just trying to get the most performance per dollar. Let's just say there's $1400 left to go into the engine. Just found out we spend about $700 a year on my wife's pedicures so maybe we'll add a little more wiggle room into that budget.

    Here is the list of wants and likely needs - for clarification, I'm starting with what appears to be the stock 72 motor with stock 2 bbl/intake and A/C... wasn't prepped for storage way back, but it has been in a hangar, under a cover in Austin, Texas weather:

    Everything rubber - coolant hoses, vacuum lines, etc... I won't count that toward the budget... pedicure.
    Ignition everything - New coil, new distributor, plug wires. I see a lot of people using 70's model HEI's (among others), I'm curious about the Mallory Unilite. I'm really only interested in electronic options, probably with vacuum advance.
    Fuel Pump - I know these can be rebuilt but they're cheap enough.
    Oil Pump - same as above
    Cam kit - TA 212? Seems like everyone is pointing to this one. I'm assuming I should go with a set of hydraulic lifters, springs, timing gear/chain. With that setup, I can't find anything clearly saying if adjustable rods are necessary or just preferred. Anyone have a solid argument for stock replacements?
    Exhaust - Currently dual, I think it's 2.5". Stock manifolds currently in place. May stick with them if I don't find a good set of stock (or used) headers.
    Porting/gasket matching - I know the guys who will likely give me a hand have about 60 years mechanical experience between the two of them (one aviation, the other automotive) and I've been working on cars/motorcycles/planes for about... all my life. I know we can get it done without going too crazy, just want your take on the DIY port job. I've read pretty much every article posted on here (again, great info from Sean with links to new and old magazine features) and understand what areas need to be done, how they need to be done, yada yada. Don't see many mention flow matching specifically... any DIY "solution" for that without throwing them on a flow bench?
    Quadrajet - Definitely want to rebuild it. I was planning to do a bushing kit for the primary shaft, standard rebuild kit, new float and a couple other little bits. Didn't know if I should go with larger jets or do any other tweaking from there.

    As with every other post like this, everyone always asks the OP what they plan to do with the car. I just want to drive it... it's a convertible, it won't see any time on the strip and I don't plan to race it as much of the drivetrain will remain stock... 40 years old... don't want to break anything. That being said, i still want good power (I know the BOP 350 is good on torque). I'm a dude, I always want more. I don't need a 400 hp build, I don't really want to get into gearing or transmission anything if it's not broken. I know there's plenty of power gains available there, might address those down the road.

    I know I've probably left some stuff out. And I know plenty of you guys are wondering what my compression numbers are like, condition of the bores, etc... I have no idea! This is pretty much the most backwards project I've ever done. The way I see it, I'm going to buy all of the parts, have them on hand for the build so when I tear into it, they're all ready. If something is horribly wrong with the short block, I've got a couple options for purchase near home. I wish I could say it has good compression but I just don't know. All I can say is it ran pretty crappy when it was put away. Probably a mix of old carb, old gas, old plugs, etc from when it was sitting out in the elements for an untold period before I purchased it.

    Anyway, sorry for the long winded intro. Hoping I addressed everything that people typically leave out. If anyone can throw some advice my way, it would be greatly appreciated!
  2. carmantx

    carmantx Never Surrender

    Welcome to the board.
    First things first, what's your name and where are you from? Austin?

    I tried to read all of your post, and get the idea of what you are doing. Sounds like you are on the right track, but you need to be very careful with a tight budget and don't get over your head too quick.

    does the engine run now?
    If so, put the intake/carb, 212 cam in with some headers and go. Tuned correctly, it will burn the tires/tire and be fun to drive and sound good. You start pulling the engine apart, and your going to need more budget.

    And yes, if you go to the 212 cam, your Quadrajet will need some internal modifications to idle correctly. you won't need any jet size change though.
  3. pdn1976

    pdn1976 Well-Known Member

    I also am in the middle of a resto-mod on a 72 skylark convertible, its hard to find the parts you need & when you do its $$$. good luck with it, & post some pictures
  4. GatoGo

    GatoGo Active Member

    Welcome - I am pretty new here too. It sounds like you got a good project. I would suggest that you look into the wife's hair budget too - that adds up to more than pedicures...

    I ran (and shortly will be running again) a Mallory Unilite in my 455 Wildcat - and I have been very pleased. One of the things I like is the look of it - I is almost stock appearing, not huge like the HEI. It was also insanely easy to install - just three wires. The down side is a new one is pretty pricey.

    I think I would get the car to fire and run on the engine as it is now. That would allow you to assess the overall condition before making any changes.

    Show us some pictures if you get a chance.
  5. OneMoreProject

    OneMoreProject New Member

    Hey guys, I appreciate the replies. My name is Eric and I'm originally from Austin, where the car is now stored. I'm currently living in north Houston so my access to the car is limited to a weekend once every couple months. That should be changing soon. I plan to pop out to give it a look on Sunday, get a little more info before ordering parts.

    Carmantx - where do you see the increase in budget with additional engine teardown? I've had quite a few people tell me to go that same route - see if it'll run as is, don't get into the bottom end. I figure, if that's the recommended path, why not at least go in and replace the main and rod bearings? Maybe chamfer the oil passages a bit? I do need to replace head gaskets as I remember one was leaking a bit when it ran last. In the spirit of getting carried away, might as well pull the pistons and replace the rings.

    pdn1976 - I hear ya, parts have been a bit tricky to find. I actually just found a local shop by chance and they have TONS of parts. South Texas Muscle and Classics. Great guys over there and they have a great ebay store. They're also working on a web site with all of their products. After walking through their shop/warehouse, I can say that they only have a small fraction of their parts listed. Give them a call if you're having trouble finding something. I do know they have about 20 or so Quadrajets - probably not all the right ones for our applications, but they've got parts, that's for sure.

    GatoGo - Thanks for the feedback on the Unilite. I'm not thrilled about the price but I'd gladly pay up front for reduced maintenance down the road. As for getting it to run now... after all this time, I just don't have the patience. It ran a bit rough when it was parked but I think that was just a tuning issue. It does appear pretty much all of the fluids leaked out over the years so I'm definitely going to go through and replace all seals and gaskets. I hate to spend the extra time but I'd rather do it right at this point. Don't have time to keep going back and doing little repairs on stuff I should've done at the start.

    I've attempted to attach a few pictures. If they don't come through, I'll take another stab at it in the AM. The close picture under the hood won't upload. I'll have to get another copy up tomorrow.

    Thanks again!


    Attached Files:

  6. carmantx

    carmantx Never Surrender

    Hi Eric.

    Most projects end and then sit for years if there isn't a stopping point for spending which was why I suggested to try to get engine going first. Drive the car and enjoy it. If you pull it, and pull it apart to rebuild, where do you stop? You will probably end up needing to build it all fresh, which is great, but may be a budget issue and stall or kill your progress.

    Good luck with your project.

    You got access to a lot of help here in south Texas. Got several friends in Houston with lots of parts so make sure you let us know what you need. I don't have many spare parts anymore, but I do have Quadrajets.

    Car look nice, by the way.

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