Volume III, Issue 3, Page 28

By Ro McGonegal - 03/15/08

            Project cars are slothful, greedy, obstinate swine. If anything can go wrong with them, it will. More than once and despite the well-meaning intentions of friends in the business to help and “naw, I can’t take any money [uummmm, maybe a grand for parts and stuff]. I just want to see that the thing gets done.” But it’s time volunteered and it doesn’t happen until all the other paying business is finished. Because of good intentions, I had the Biscayne dragged around the country like a gypsy carnival for years. Sometimes someone actually did something to it.

            Spending quality time with your ride is essential. Having the project just minutes from your door is always preferable to sticking your nose in its business from several thousand miles away. When you rely on favors, it’s poor form to whine and make demands. No, you gotta shiver like a greasy mutt sitting on its tail out in the rain. So, pony up. Pay your man. Drive your car.--RM

Since the cheapie enamel paint job was fresh and unblemished, we removed everything but the glass, door panels, hardware, trim, and headliner. Biscayne was in rotisserie jail for many, many moons.

On March 4, 1998, a refrigerator white ‘66 Biscayne rolled off the Reliable transporter from Tennessee and disappeared into Petersen Publishing Company’s parking garage on Wilshire Boulevard, where it basked for a year like it was glued to the concrete floor. On May 22, 1999, I drove it to the DMV in Van Nuys. Then I lightly pedaled it the few blocks from the DMV over to the old Hot Rod garage, and began to strip and scour my hobbled Chevy to the bone. Those episodes were chronicled in several issues of HRM (see index). In this issue of MaxChevy, we’ll go back to The Land Before Time and relive some memorable highlights of the churlish whale’s salad days…

After sand blasting, the Biscayne’s frame was ready for the black PPG DP-90, a two-step protective sealant that dries super-hard and with a matte finish. There’s a loophole in the LA County law that allows you to paint 5 square-feet of anything outdoors. The idea was to apply a durable, if not wholly attractive, coating to the freshly douched foundation. Scab painter (then HRTV producer) Kevin Oeste blew the DP-90 on the mostly scoured floorpan. Later, I covered the DP with a thin rubberized coating applied with a Schutz-type gun rather than with an aerosol. It sticks to the DP-90 like grim death to a kamikaze.

David Freiburger and I stuck the body back on the frame with Year One rubber mounts and then I sent the roller to Todd McCutchen’s Quick Classics in Atoka, TN. Todd reassembled the front end sheetmetal, made and installed the motor mounts and transmission mount for the engine and the T56, removed the heater box and smoothed the firewall in expectation of the Vintage Air HVAC system, carved out the frame to make room for the low-mount a/c compressor, calculated backspace for the Fikse Profil 5 three-piece modular rims, mounted the Goodyear F1 G3 rubber, detailed the dashboard, rewired the entire car, plumbed the brake lines, made the panhard rod adjustable, and refinished the trunk. Then came a literal deluge of biblical proportions.

Since all of the Biscayne’s spaghetti was original, the electronics (a/c, fuel delivery, gauges, computer, coil, etc.) are dependant upon a complete Painless Wiring schematic.

Todd was able to hoist the whale above the water line but his shop, including the state-of-the-art paint booth he’d just installed, was flood-totaled. Todd apologized that he was basically out of business, so the Biscayne’s fate was again wide open.

I had it dragged a half-country away to Steve Cole’s TTS Powersystems in Compton, CA. TTS installed the engine and transmission, built the headers for the Biscayne from 3/8-inch thick flanges and 1-7/8-inch primary pipes that are roughly 26 inches long merging with a 7-inch collector. They sent the bundles to the Jet-Hot facility in Arizona.

The coating appears luminescent, brightening the flat-black engine compartment and acting as a foil for its decidedly unattractive resident. The headers are followed by a TTS-built 3-inch diameter aluminized steel exhaust system interrupted by an H-pipe and corresponding Magnaflow stainless steel mufflers.