Inline Tube - First Place
Inline Tube Building a First Place Frame
Every year the cars show gets bigger and the classes have
more cars in them. If you have a muscle car you know the competition is stiff.
The judges are looking for more detail to pick the best car in the class. Great
paint and interior is not enough to win. We have come to expect the paint to be
smooth and flat, the interior to be free of rips. Judges are looking deeper into
the car to see how clean the engine compartment, or to see if the trunk
finished. If you are the guy that wants to win the class every time, the entire
car must be restored. What separates a car that sometimes wins, from the car
that wins every time, is the underside. Looking under the car may be the last
place the judges look, but if it is a close race, the underside will be the
For the true car nut it is more than what has been restored,
but also how it is done. We can say lifting the body off and spraying over
lines, cables, and hardware is restored but, you still wonít win the class. The
restoration has to be above and beyond the last great car that won. When I am
working on a project I ask my self "is this a first place car"? What
will make it a first place car for years to come? Look out, there are hundreds
of cars being worked on right now, and if yours is the best today, tomorrow
another may take your spot.
In my mind there is only one way to do the restoration.
Exactly the way the factory did it. Even if you do not intend to do a frame off
you can learn some detail tricks that will bump your car up a notch from the
rest. These concepts apply to all areas of the car. When the car came from the
factory all the nuts and bolts were plated some sort of color (not Painted).
Many parts that seem to be bare metal were actually gray phosphate. All the
black was painted with a material that did not require primer. The black paint
was all different shades of black since the parts came from different
manufactures. The brake lines and cables had a tin coating to prevent rust. The
bottom side of the car had body color over spray on the body only, not the
frame. Every part installed on the car was double checked with a paint dab,
chalk marking, or grease pencil mark. All parts installed on a car had to have a
part number stamped on it, or a paper tag so the assembly line worker could
identify it. Assemblies such as brake boosters, masters and power steering units
had the option code on the part as well as the part number. When your car came
down the assembly line all the options were installed by referencing the build
sheet which had the code for each option. Next time you are passing your local
new car dealership, stop in and look under a few cars. Of course the tags and
marking will be different today but the method is the same. Your car had these
same markings which are now covered with undercoating, and 30 years of road
grime. If you live in the snow belt there is no chance of seeing the tags. When
the paper got wet with salt and snow, not to mention rain, the label was
destroyed. One concept has stayed constant in the hobby of restoration, as
styles and fads come and go, putting a car back to 100% original never goes out
of style or down in value.
When you are looking for a car to restore the old saying is
true "You get what you pay for" and "pay now or pay later".
If you save a few bucks and buy a car that has more rust you will pay more for
the parts and labor to repair the rust. If you buy a car that is missing a lot
of parts, once you buy all the missing parts, it will be equal to the price of the
car that is not missing parts. When I am looking for a car to restore there are
two factors to keep in mind. How clean is the car and what is missing? If you
are doing a full restoration, bad paint or rips in the interior is not a
concern, but what is under the paint is. You also have to look to make sure the
expensive parts are all there. I will accept a car that does not have the
original belts, hoses, clamps, floor mats, plug wires, etc. I will not accept
when the air cleaner, bucket seats, center console, trunk jack, and other large
items are missing. If these big items are missing there is much more missing,
you just wonít spot it until you start the restoration. Always remember rusty
cars are never show winners, even after being restored. You canít get deep
pits out of frames, springs, control arms, and plating looks bad when it is over
I have begun this restoration with a car out of California
that was neglected its entire life. The good new is, not a belt, clamp, or hose
was ever replaced and the car is not missing a single piece. Did didnít run
when I purchased it and had been sitting since 1983 under a car port. Letís
start the restoration on this a-body.
This is the car: a 1969 GTO Judge, 4 Speed, Ram Air
III, hide-a-way headlights, with only the go fast options. Disc brakes, rally gauges, the Judge package and no horse power robbing options, NO A/C.
It was not long before the car was coming apart. There was not even one broken
or rounded off bolt on the entire car, since it was rust free. It came apart
with no problems.
pictures of how things are prior to taking a car apart is the most important
step in the process. As good as we think we will remember, the pictures never
forget. Here we see the routing of the lines and where the clips are located.
Also note which direction the control arm bolts run.
In the above picture, we can start to see the color of some of the nuts and
bolts. The control arm nuts and washers are silver. We see gray phosphate under
the grease of the steering link and engine mounts. The color is always well
preserved between parts and in deep dark crevices.
Every nut, bolt, and washer is photographed. A digital camera is the way to go so
you can download the pictures to your computer for future reference. There are
600 disassembly photos.
A two part epoxy paint is used, which required no primer and is tough as nails
when dry. It has a semi gloss finish not too shiny and not too dull right in the
middle. Start from one end of the frame and finish at the other, repeat for all
Most of the cast parts were gray phosphate. The Palmetto kit which comes
in black and gray was used. Bead blast the parts, mix the solution, heat to 225
degrees and drop in the parts. When the fizzing stops, lift out and spray with
WD-40. The parts will look just like factory.
Pictured is the factory 2 part rotor being restored. Letting the WD-40 soak in
it helps to preserve the finish. You can also wipe off the oil and spray Krylon
matt clear to also preserve the finish. Now the rotor can be turned down so the
flat surface is shiny again.
After a few hours of work, all the parts are ready to put the rear drums
together. The brackets are gray phosphate, lug studs are black and the springs
are all different colors. The rest of the hardware is both silver and gold zinc.
This is where the photos you took earlier come in handy. (What? You didnít
take any!) The service manual is your next best choice but make sure you are
using the right year manual, these parts may change from year to year.
While bead blasting, lightly dust the parts for any markings. I was surprised
to find paint markings on many of the parts. The spindle had a yellow spray to
distinguish it from the drum brake spindle. The Silver, Gold, and Black plating
was reconditioned through Bobís Boosters.
Inline Tube provided the exact reproduction brake lines and the correct
spiral wrap parking brake cables. The rear end was to big to plate so we used
three different brands of cast paint to tint the axles from the casting of the
pumpkin. Clear was then applied to get a slight shine to it.
The frame was now starting to come together. Notice the tube fittings are purple
and the fuel & return line are clipped together. It is important to
duplicate these details.
The shock should be medium gray. Wheel cylinders, backing plates, and axles are
all gray phosphate. The wheel studs are black and the face of the axle is
painted silver because it is a machined surface.
Above is the finished disc brakes with the correct two part rotor turned down.
Notice the caliper is black, but all the machined surfaces are painted silver.
Correct brake hoses and tin coated lines. The ball joint has the correct rivets
and are not bolted in. Line tags are available at Inline tube.
Frame A-arms are black, the springs are cast, back of rims are gray. Notice the
paint markings on the caliper. Marks are anywhere a factory worker tightened an
important suspension component.
Coker tires and a grease pencil was used for the 70 mark. Gearbox cast with
aluminum cover and black bolts. Correct power steering hose, line, and clips from
Inline Tube. Anywhere there are multiple holes on the frame (engine
mount) would be marked with a grease pencil so there was no mistake.
All the brake & fuel lines, parking brake cables, flex hoses, clips, cable
hardwar,e and line tags came from Inline Tube. Body mounts and rubber control arm
bushings were from Kanter Auto Parts.
Finished 1st Place Frame
Other frame photo's
Inline tube - Brake & Fuel Lines,
Parking Brake Cables, Hoses, Valves, Brake & Fuel Clips, Disc Brakes
15066 Technology Drive
Shelby Twp, MI 48315
586 532 1338
Wings Auto Art - Body, Paint, Assembly
Ionia, Michigan 48846
PH (989) 855-2577
Palmetto Enterprises - Grey Phosphate Plating
2311 A Old Parker Road
Greenville, SC 29609
PH (864) 246 3836
Strip IT - Media Blasting
36427 Groesbeck Highway
Clinton Township, MI 48035
PH (586) 792-7705
Bobís Boosters - Silver, Gold, Black Zinc Plating
East Point, MI
PH (586) 774 8883
Gardner Exhaust - Exhaust System &
15 Glenn Pond Drive
Red Hook NY. 12571