The Quadraphonic Gremlin Progress report....

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Q-Eight

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Pretty much every car back then had horrible braking times. I am surprised that it took so long to develop ABS, especially when they were building faster and faster cars every day. When did good braking systems get introduced?
It really wasn't so much the brakes, but the tire technology really needed to catch up. Even though Radials were around in the 60's, I don't think a lot of people could justify the extra expense. Drum brakes, especially the larger ones seen on Chryslers and Lincolns and Cadillacs are HUGE. Chrysler had some 11" x 3" drum brakes optional and when you consider the surface area, offer MORE braking capacity than any disc brake system could without multiple calipers. The big difference is in heat dissipation. Discs can withstand multiple hard applications due to their ability to shed heat quicker. A drum brake can't do that and it's that lack of ability to shed heat is what leads to brake fade.

But back to tires.... it's almost unbelievable that by 1970 tire technology was roughly the same as it had been since the advent of the tubeless tire (around 1948-1950). Sure, tread patterns had been played with and changed but the actual construction of tires had not. They were still the same old 4 ply, bias-belted, polyester or nylon-corded tires. About the only thing I can say in their defence is that them old Polyglas GT's just look SOOOO RIGHT on vintage cars. They are the epitome of cool. But their performance is garbage.

The big push for tire tech happened about that time as NASCAR teams were getting way up there in speeds and finding that tires of the day simply could not last on the super-speedways. Bobby Isaac's Charger Daytona topped 200 mph sure, but was finding that even the best race tires of the time would be shredded to pieces after 7 laps at that speed. What the tire companies learned on the super-speedways eventually trickled down to street cars and that's why you saw the big push for Radials around 1975.... and more cars being equipped with disc brakes around the same time.... radials can handle the higher braking forces of discs without losing traction.

Chrysler did have a rudimentary Anti-Lock system starting on the '71 Imperials but it was rear wheel only. I think Lincoln played with the technology as well. The systems did work, but the longevity of electrical systems back then wasn't the greatest. I recall reading a 1958 review of a Chrysler 300 equipped with the then cutting edge Bendix Electro-jector (the first Electronic Fuel Injection system) which did work and fairly well but was still really in the amoebic stage. The review goes on in detail how driving by a neon sign would make the car start bucking and acting weird until the sign got out of range. Chrysler designers had omitted an RF shield from the "brain" and stray radio frequencies could cause the car to act up.

Like Jay Leno says: "The last days of old technology are always better than the first days of new technology."
 

furui_suterioo

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Pretty much every car back then had horrible braking times. I am surprised that it took so long to develop ABS, especially when they were building faster and faster cars every day. When did good braking systems get introduced?
Electronic ABS was available in the early 70s, mechanical systems had been invented long before for aircraft use. Lots of good articles about history and development of all sorts of technologies on wiki, could read endlessly.
 

Doug G.

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What was really fun was the mechanical cruise controls. My 1981 Cordoba had that and it was quite the contraption. Once adjusted correctly, it was accurate, however. It's just that, if it was off, the speed would drop or go up when you set it.

And yes, drum brakes were actually more efficient than discs if large enough. The brakes on our '66 Cadillac were so good, you had to be careful not to step on them too hard or risk being thrown forward in your seat.

Doug
 

boondocks

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While Big Bad Green is a popular color today, it was the LEAST popular back in 1969 & 1970 when it was offered. It was only offered on the Gremlin from April through July of 1970. My car was built in June. I have been able to document one other real BBG '70½ Gremlin and his build date is also June '70 and our VIN's are only 1600 apart. I've located another car in Texas and it sadly, is not a runner. Haven't been able to get a VIN or door tag, but looks to be original BBG. I've not had an update on the car in years, either. Suffice to say less than 1% of Gremlin production in 1970 was Big Bad Green, and with only 25,300 produced.... that makes it less than 250 possibly produced in this color makes it a pretty rare car. I'm the ONLY one registered with the AMO (American Motors Owners' Association).




Mine has always been reliable. When I still had a 1-barrel carb on it, the choke did not work. Car still always started. In 2005, it had a lifter collapse and bent a pushrod, but it still ran fine the half hour home on 5 cylinders. I famously drove it for 3 days with no starter. Literally: no starter. Nobody could find me a new one, so the old had had to be rebuilt. But I still had to get to work! I'd push start it in the morning; luckily our driveway is a bit of an incline. And at work, our parking lot was on a hill. So I'd back into the top spot so after work it was just a matter of popping the clutch and driving home. I have a winter story similar to yours, too. By this point, I had a 2-barrel carb and an electric choke. We were experiencing a very cold winter .... -40ºC was not uncommon. I walked out after work to start my car and the gas pedal would not move. Everything had contracted so much, the throttle shaft would not move. I pulled the air cleaner, set the choke by hand, manipulated the accelerator pump so some fuel got squirted down the throat.... turned the key and prayed! Vrooom! Still had no throttle control though. Had to run the car for almost 10 minutes at a high idle before everything expanded to start working again.

This whole odyssey began with me wanting to repair items on the car that annoyed me.... but it sort of snowballed into "Lets restore the car for her 50th Birthday!". Well, she's 51 now.... so I was close! I've had this little car for 21 years now. I've owned it the longest out of any of it's previous owners. The fellow I bought it from has actually offered to buy it back, since Gremlins (and all AMC's, really) have started to gain popularity and acceptance.




The truck is nothing special. I've needed a truck for a while and so has my mother for her gardening, dump runs, etc. It's an '88 Ram D100, 3.9 litre V6 (NOT the Slant 6) and an automatic. 75,000kms. Zero rust. Perfect interior. I bought it from a friend who had a 440 V8 in it but then bought a '71 Polara that wanted a 440 more. So, he pulled the 440 out of this truck and then it sat. He had planned to do minor body work to it and put in a 318 but that plan fell by the wayside. I'm trying to put the 3.9 V6 back in since I don't need anything powerful.... and, it kinda pisses people off that it's such a cool truck but NOT a V8. In the 5 years it sat with no engine though, some parts got repurposed for other projects. So, I'm on the hunt for a few pieces to put it back together. Then it'll go for a quick scrub n' spray, we'll get it box-lined and will become our groovy little 6-cylinder, 1/2 ton farm truck.

And yes, I am looking to find an 8-track player for it! :cool:
Ain't nothin' wrong with a slant six. I had a Plymouth Duster with that engine and it was pretty zippy. Of course a 340/6 pack would have been even zippier!
 

kap'n krunch

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I forgot to mention my '81 Cordoba had the slant six in it, also. The same basic engine our neighbors across the street had in their '64 Dart.

Doug
repeat after me:
"cor-DOH-ba"
...
and Ricardo Montal-BAHN thought reaaaally hard about the nice fat check from the CRAIS-ler car company, so once more he would BITE his tongue while trying his darn best to NOT say CÓR-doba (it is a bit hard to not pronounce it correctly...)
 

Sonik Wiz

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repeat after me:
"cor-DOH-ba"
...
and Ricardo Montal-BAHN thought reaaaally hard about the nice fat check from the CRAIS-ler car company, so once more he would BITE his tongue while trying his darn best to NOT say CÓR-doba (it is a bit hard to not pronounce it correctly...)
If you were to drive this car in Germany I guess it would be on the Ricardo Autobahn.
 

Q-Eight

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Just got another update. The metal work is done. They did discover some really thin spots on the front fender and that put them behind a few days, but nothing life-altering.
Pat says he's going to put in some weekend hours as he at the very least wants it in full epoxy by Monday. All the metal work is now DONE.

If everything goes according to plan, I'll be picking it up last week of August or first week of September. If I jam on it for reassembly, I might-could debut her at the Nelson BC Road Kings Show the weekend after Labour Day.

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GOS

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An obvious, NOOB question. Is this a costly restoration? I'm clueless. I mean, you're paying someone to do a good chunk of this. Right?
 

ummagumma

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Canada
That is pretty awesome!

Seems to me green is a natural colour, for a car called a Gremlin? Wonder why they didn't make many green ones?

Reminds me of those old Spiderman cartoons I watched as a kid.

Hey, you could make it into a Gremlin Spider :D
 

Q-Eight

2K Club - QQ Super Nova
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An obvious, NOOB question. Is this a costly restoration? I'm clueless. I mean, you're paying someone to do a good chunk of this. Right?
Someone is doing ALL the body work. I could do, but I don't have the patience for it. But also, I don't have all the tools either, and can't do anywhere near as good a job as a professional. Yes, I'm on a budget, but thankfully, I'm also not doing a show car, or even a reference restoration. It's more of an "as close to OE as humanly possible with some period alterations".

Costly?? Well, for me who only made 40k a year, yeah, this is costing more than 25% of my annual wages. But as car restorations go? Nah, below average. But keep in mind I do all my own mechanical, electrical and upholstery myself. It's just the body work I farm out again, due to my OCD/ADHD. :LOL: So that helps keep the total cost of restoration down.

If I were in America, this would probably cost 50% less just because materials, paint and labour would be so much less. Plus, I don't think the EPA has ever said BOO! about car restoration shops or back yard bodymen. For instance, it's illegal for me to paint a car in my back yard due to crazy federal regulations and emissions laws. As a private citizen, I cannot purchase single-stage paint (enamels) in bulk. I'd have to either be a farmer or an aviator to be able to buy single stage in bulk.

That's why in Canada there's a standing joke that a lot of Airplanes and Farm equipment are being painted "Plum Crazy Purple", "Moulin Rouge/Panther Pink", "Top Banana", "Hemi Orange".... etc, etc.

Canada is a very strange place.
 

Q-Eight

2K Club - QQ Super Nova
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Seems to me green is a natural colour, for a car called a Gremlin? Wonder why they didn't make many green ones?
The "Big Bad" paint option cost an additional $40.14 o_O In 1970, on a $2,000-dollar car, that's a big chunk to shell out just to have groovy paint.
Heck, even on a $4,000-dollar AMX, that's still 1% of your total cost JUST for paint.

The funny story behind the paint is that this car was ordered by the original owners' parents. Now, as the legend goes that was told to me, we firmly believe the original owners' parents did NOT ask to look at a paint chart or were never showed one. The Original owners' mother always recalled she said "Jennifer loves bright green. Just pick a bright green."
to their salesman while ordering the car. Well, if we look at a 1970 paint chart.... you've got Golden Lime :sick:, Mosport Green, and Glenn Green. None of which are particularly "bright". I'm thinking the salesman ticked the box for Big Bad Green, thinking since it was a reasonably high-option car anyway; what's another $40. It got him a sale, and probably a few bucks extra for the upsell.

Because as the story was told to me, when Jennifer and her parents went to take delivery of the car, her fairly staunch and conservative parents were beside themselves as the "Antisocial Green" car came around the corner. Jennifer loved it. It took her parents several years to get used to it, but they eventually did. The car was apparently quite the legend in Seattle during the 70's. Jennifer drove it for 13 years, then parked it for the bulk of the 80's after the transmission pooched itself.


70_pcc_msenour.jpg
 

ummagumma

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That is a hilarious story!

Very cool there was a Mosport Green. One of my fave tracks
 

boondocks

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Someone is doing ALL the body work. I could do, but I don't have the patience for it. But also, I don't have all the tools either, and can't do anywhere near as good a job as a professional. Yes, I'm on a budget, but thankfully, I'm also not doing a show car, or even a reference restoration. It's more of an "as close to OE as humanly possible with some period alterations".

Costly?? Well, for me who only made 40k a year, yeah, this is costing more than 25% of my annual wages. But as car restorations go? Nah, below average. But keep in mind I do all my own mechanical, electrical and upholstery myself. It's just the body work I farm out again, due to my OCD/ADHD. :LOL: So that helps keep the total cost of restoration down.

If I were in America, this would probably cost 50% less just because materials, paint and labour would be so much less. Plus, I don't think the EPA has ever said BOO! about car restoration shops or back yard bodymen. For instance, it's illegal for me to paint a car in my back yard due to crazy federal regulations and emissions laws. As a private citizen, I cannot purchase single-stage paint (enamels) in bulk. I'd have to either be a farmer or an aviator to be able to buy single stage in bulk.

That's why in Canada there's a standing joke that a lot of Airplanes and Farm equipment are being painted "Plum Crazy Purple", "Moulin Rouge/Panther Pink", "Top Banana", "Hemi Orange".... etc, etc.

Canada is a very strange place.
Used to be a lot of cars got painted in gas station garages at night, or a "painting shed" in the sticks made from a few posts and a roll of visqueen. You gotta stay after the bugs, they can be a real problem. But I'm only guessing here. :sneaky:
 
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