Bills 1977 Bandit Trans Am.

the start, a relatively low mileage (odometer reads 75398.4) 1977 SE "Bandit" trans am, after a fender bender in the early 80's it was parked, the goal..bring it back to its glory days (and more) 14 weeks. to quote Jerry Reed.."We got a long way to go, and a short time to get there..."

and so disassembly with the wrecked front end and time to check it out, other than the cowl panel its actually better then expected. Engine is the original one and still has most all its original components like carburetor, battery cables, master cylinder, distributor, spark plug wire retainers (could be original wires) all AC parts intact and still connected, even the EGR valve is still on as well as the original "single" exhaust, GM belts, even still has the original dealer emblem on the back of it....and believe it or not, every bolt came out without, out with the sub frame and rear end and prep it to go on the rotisserie. only panel that did not appear original was the drivers door, all other panels still in original paint.

Shell is on the lift and being gutted. new floor pan and cowl panel (upper dash) will be in tomorrow. tail light panel and pass quarter panel on order, amazingly, so far almost every bolt has continued to cooperate, and come out with out issue, telling me that this car was very nice the day it was wrecked, because after 30 years of sitting, most cars are trouble to get apart. I dug out 2 nice solid doors and body guys are stripping them to metal. Floors and cowl will be done by weeks end. most parts have been tagged and bagged, now on to welding and building sub assemblies.

also with it on the lift, it was confirmed that it still has the original matching numbers trans in the car.

Upper cowl panel removed, found a few weak spots in the inner cowl so we made and installed a patch panel. new upper cowl panel (Dash) is in and fit, now to rust proof the inner cowl area with POR 15 and install the upper panel. pulled 2 really nice original front fenders, and we are stripping them to the metal. also pulled a nice original paint 77 nose to use.

one piece floor pan came in, and unfortunately the only one available on the east coast was for a 4 speed, no biggie, will have it modified in no time. pass quarter is in, as is the rear inner tail pan brace, now only waiting on the tail panel which is scheduled for tomorrow.

All sheet metal that was ordered has arrived. Floors fit to the car, modified for automatic and installed, inner and outer tail panel installed, now to install the quarter panel, after that all the major sheet metal work will be done. then off to bodywork.

I almost don't like the red oxide primer, as to me it makes a car look rusty in pictures, but either way, since the quarter was off we painted the inner pieces with POR 15 to prevent any future rust.

passenger quarter is on, drivers quarter stripped to metal and nice, tomorrow...rotisserie...

now on the rotisserie, metal work for the most part on to getting the shell ready for paint. doors, fenders and nose are ready, shell should be by Friday. Lots of parts sent for powder coating, they should start trickling back in hopefully next week. some of these pics show the rocker panels being replaced, not due to rust, but because of careless use of floor jacks over the years bending the pinch welds. I figured the best way to make it look nice was to replace the rockers. we also elected to put a patch panel in the lower drivers quarter panel. while there was only a few small pinholes in the quarter, I worried that since I could not effectively get in there to treat it, a new panel would allow me to treat the inner panels, and have fresh metal in an area prone to rust.

now that most of the sheetmetal work is completed, onto bodywork and clean up...these pics are a good example of that clean up. scraping off undercoating and Georgia/Alabama red clay to get down to the original red oxide primer.

This is the part of the restoration that looks like it s going very slow, mostly because block sanding and priming does not show much of a change in pictures. doors are fit and installed, fenders are fit but not installed (cant roll the shell with the fenders on) bottom of the car is finally primed, exposing a few minor things to finish, should be ready for the red oxide today or tomorrow. the rest of the lines for the car have finally arrived, as have a few other small things.

here we see the bottom of the car painted back to dark red oxide primer (correct for 77) its also ben coated with semi gloss clear to make it last longer and make it easy to clean. next pics show the parts that were sent out to powdercoated., cleaned trans case, and stripped rear axle housing.

lower sections of the car are prepainted as these are hard areas to get covered. subframe and some of the front end parts are back from the powdercoaters. rear axle housing is now painted.

car is in the booth and painting is underway.







 the hood became the good (bird installed), the bad (bird had issues after paper was peeled, and stripes would not let go of the plastic layer), and the ugly (bird peeled back off)

new bird arrived (several days early) thanks to Nathan at Pheonix Graphix, thiis one was very nice and went on with out any issues.







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