Current 2005-2013 Restoration UPDATED APRIL 2013!!!
Thanks for stopping in to check on our progress....I think one of a restorer's main goals in a project like this, when restoring a car with historically significancant MUSCLECAR like 'Russ' is to keep as much of the original car as possible.
In my view, there are hundreds/thousands of cars out there built from reproduction catalogs and in this case especially, there could have been great temptation to re-body this great old car [certainly would have been easier to change a VIN and TRIM tag then a roof, and we all have heard stories of cars re-bodied in the past]. It was my intent for that not to happen here.I want to use an much as the 'born with' sheet metal as humanly possible and I document this restoration here for all to see so there will NEVER be any question anbout this cars history or originality.
In this case,after purchase, the car was delivered to me from another restoration shop in of all places Wisconsin. It was previously owned by one of the country's 'premiere' muscle car collectors. It was his intent to restore the car after the collision damage [I'll tell you the story of HIS purchase in another section as time permits, look for it in another update...it's better than a book!] but I can only surmise his restoration shop scared the ' Hell' out of him when they told him their plan to restore the car....the shop told me their original plan was to cut the cowl section, with the vin# and trim tag, out of the original 'Russ' and install it in a donor car.
Luckily the owner would have no part of that, there next plan of attack was to cut the roof off with the rear quarters and inner rear wheel houses along with the rear seat 'X'- member and replace that all in one section...thank goodness they never got the chance....As I purchased the car,all I had to go on was the two 'crash pictures'I gleaned off the Web, posted on this site...from those alone, I could see this car was not anywhere near as bad as people made it out to be. When the car [and it's rust free donor car] arrived I was more than pleased with what I found. Remembering that the car was #1 frame off show car before the crash, this car was a Diamond. Perfect condition throughout...no disappointments anywhere. And as I thought, the rear quarter panels were in excellent condition. One door was flawless, the trunk lid had a dent from a tiedown chain but otherwise was gennie and mint.
Frame, trunk and floors were to die for!
As you can see form the first picture,
The first thing the guys did [Kenny and Pat at Pro Finish Auto Body] was to straighten the OLD roof before removing it. After getting everything back to it's original location, both the windshield and rear window [the ORIGINAL rear window BTW...it was never broken in the rollover] and all the door glass was fitted to the original roof. When everything fit perfectly and only then could the old roof come off,
As you can see from the pictures, three of the four posts were able to be refitted on the factory seams! All the original spot welds were drilled out, inside and out, so everything could be reattach the same was it was done in Detroit.
Just the right rear post did they go about an extra 6 inches lower than the factory seam.
The original upper quarter panel was just too buggered up to save and since we had perfect sheet metal on the donor car...we used it.
The driver side cowl panel also took a pretty good shot. Let's put it this way... It was wrinkled up good enough to actually bend the trim tag! The car must car spun into a sign post or something as it left a pretty good 4'' round depression right in front of the door area. They drilled out the factory spot welds, pulled the firewall and windshield wiper area straight,
and then put on a new cowl side cover on from the donor car. For now Feb 18 2006 that's where we are. Roof is on, cowl is done, Paint has been stripped off 40% of the car. The body shop has taken some time off to do other cars but I hope they are back on it by mid March.....I'll keep you all updated as I can.
You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I am looking for a couple of parts....After inspecting the car, we were VERY pleased to find that the collision damage was for the most part superficial.
3-10-2006...As you can see the roof is now on, the paint is stripped and the finish body work is completed. This week the car will be put in Epoxy primer then Polyester primer for finish block sanding. The hood and radiator support are still at the media blast shop and the doors, which were perfect to begin with, will get a block sanding to make sure we didn't miss a low spot.
Hi guys, sorry there has been such a lapse updating all that we have done to the Russ Dunmire race car. It was web-site technical issues that has kept me away, but I think that is all behind us now!
From the archives...
Here is Miss HURST, first lady of racing and the man who restored/owned 'Russ' circa 1990, Derral Farmer signing the trunklid on 'Russ'!
What a great picture to have!
After the roof was put on and the car put in primer 2008-ish, I pulled the car from one body shop and gave it to my longtime best buddy Ron Greanleaf to have him do all the finish work. Many years ago Ron did my 1966 GTO form me and it is one of the nicest paint jobs you will ever see [it even won a best paint award!]
I told Ron there was no time table just do it when you can and that was exactly what he did. Well worth the wait as the car came out really nice.
But here in 2009....
it was given a coat of silver basecoat.
From here it went back to my shop to have a ton of little things buttoned up. The 455 was fired up and detailed...
2010 back to the body shop for an agressive final block sanding and finish coats of silver-black and clear.
This is the way she sits today
, April 2013
Interior is done except for the headliner. Body and chassis done. wheels-tires-slicks done except for center caps. I still need to get all the 'driving it down the road' gremlins out and lastly to the sign shop for authentic 'AS RACED' lettering.
I will update the site as soon as we make some more progress.
Thanks for looking!