Dave’s GTO project came into the shop after having been in a
couple of other places and getting stalled for various reasons. Body work had been done and it had a fresh
paint job but, it was still mostly disassembled. The body was on the rolling
chassis and a fresh tri-power 389 was strapped to the pallet it was shipped on.

The first task was to intall a Tremec TKO500 5-speed
transmission. This included floor modifications to accommodate the floor
shifter in this previously automatic equipped car. Then with the engine
installed we added a complete dual exhaust system from Pypes. With a lot of
attention to fit and detail this makes a great exhaust system. We modified a
new core support to house an A/C spec radiator. Next up was to run the engine
through the cam break in procedure.

About this time Dave gave his car a long hard look when it
was parked next to Jared’s freshly painted Olds and we agreed that the body
work under his fresh paint job wasn’t quite up to current standards. That’s a
nice way of saying it was as wavy as a stormy sea. The only way to correct the
problem was to start over so, we stripped it to bare metal and started over. Since he also wasn’t overjoyed with the
previous color selection, we also picked a new color to give the car a richer
look. Instead of the previous blue/green metallic it will now be a maroon
metallic currently used on Cadillac Escalades.

Once we got all the paint and bondo stripped of it was
apparent we needed to replace the tail panel and there were a couple of other body
pieces missing that we needed to source before painting the car. With the body
work and block sanding nearly complete the plan was to paint all the jambs with
the body panels off the car, re-assemble it, do the final block sanding, and
then spray the entire exterior of the car. I was preparing to spray the jambs
of the fenders when I noticed this damage on the engine compartment side of the
fender. I had to do a quick patch and repair before painting the jamb.