Author Topic: Project 1972 Esprit  (Read 16675 times)

Ford5of5

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Project 1972 Esprit
« on: February 18, 2014, 09:49:11 PM »
I've started my project. I'm thinking about calling it: "Project What Were You Thinking?" It's a 1972 Esprit in Sundance Orange with white and black deluxe interior. It has a 350P, 14 inch rallys, and A/C. I'm planning a basic resto and will remain mostly stock; I will retain the color scheme and probably the 14" rims unless someone can give me a good reason to goto 15" rallys. I will not add a rear spoiler. I rebuilt the front suspension and steering in 2007 using hotchkiss lowered springs and probably will use the matching leafs in the rear.

Changes and additions will include:
  • rear sway bar, sfc's, and modern OD tranny
  • 4bbl, cam, cast iron headers and Pypes x-over with transverse mufflers, possibly #13 heads
  • PW and PL, led interior lights, blue tooth stock looking radio, Lokar shifter, cup holders, progressive led tail lights and third brake light
  • Formy hood with hood tach and non-tach rally pack

I will try to include a lot pics. I have found the pics posted of other builds to be extremly helpful; thanks to all who were kind enough to go through the trouble. Here's a bunch so far. You can see there will be a bit of metal work! I welcome all constructive critissism and opinions, as this is my first project of this magnitude.

http://s1173.photobucket.com/user/christopher_ford2/slideshow/Firebird%20Disassembly



   

   






















« Last Edit: October 04, 2014, 10:05:59 PM by Ford5of5 »

Jack

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Re: Project 1972 Esprit
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2014, 10:13:54 PM »
Great another 70-73, I think the hardest part will be matching the 42 year old paint.




Regards, Jack

NGRYBRD

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Re: Project 1972 Esprit
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2014, 10:48:31 PM »
Looks good.   Hope you have a good grinder, and some welding skills.   That looks like mine did, get ready to find a lot more of that crusty brown stuff once you start digging.    As for 15" wheels, I've found the tire selection is way better, as well as parts, ie:you lose a trim ring in some spirited driving, there's always a pile of 15" trim rings at every swap meet I've been too.  I don't see 14" ones too often.   
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pancho400cid

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Re: Project 1972 Esprit
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2014, 11:54:37 AM »
Quote
"Project What Were You Thinking?"

LOL!  Goes for a lot of us....

Nice looking project!  Good luck!
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ryeguy2006a

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Re: Project 1972 Esprit
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2014, 01:41:53 PM »
Nice project. Very cool color combo. I bet an LS1 would fit very nicely down in the engine bay... :cool:

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Re: Project 1972 Esprit
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2014, 01:41:53 PM »

737driver

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Re: Project 1972 Esprit
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2014, 02:06:29 PM »
That car looks like it has a lot of potential! The 72 is a great year and Espirit looks great! Looks like it going to be a really great project!
Jim
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roadking77

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Re: Project 1972 Esprit
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2014, 03:49:29 PM »
Nice project, its amazing how good/solid these cars look until you start tearing things down and the rust god just keeps showing his ugly head. Pretty solid compared to what I started with.
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737driver

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Re: Project 1972 Esprit
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2014, 04:49:10 PM »
Another cool thing is that 72 and 73's are harder to come by mainly due to the low production numbers that year due to a GM strike.
Jim
« Last Edit: February 19, 2014, 07:07:40 PM by 737driver »
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NOT A TA

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Re: Project 1972 Esprit
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2014, 04:58:17 PM »
Nice project. Don't cut a hole in the hood till you're positive you want the tach there. I bought a tach and painted it when I painted my car the first time. I couldn't find a place that looked good on the hood and also from the drivers seat. About once a year for 10 or more years I'd get out the tach housing and try again. Finally I gave up and installed an in dash tach and sold the hood tach.

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Jack

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Re: Project 1972 Esprit
« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2014, 07:13:07 PM »
I would also advise against a hood tach, I think they look great on 1st gens but nothing else.




Regards, Jack

Ford5of5

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Re: Project 1972 Esprit
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2014, 10:52:21 PM »
I'm of the opinion that the vast majority of tachs are just there for looks!  :-P
I already cut the hole; I used a template that came with it. The tach was made for a 2nd gen hood, I could be making that up though, I bought it many years ago. Luckily, I am rather adept with fiberglass; so, I will keep your posts about position and deletion in mind. My plan was to go with the Formula type rally packs that came with a large clock instead of a tach.

I'm fully expecting to find way more rust. I did a few repairs to the frame rails a while back; this time around I'm gonna replace them. I got a great deal on the car and a good 5 or so years of cruising fun with it. So, worse case scenario I need to save extra money to buy a complete floor. :eek: My welding skills are mid-level hobbyist and as a carpenter, I'm awesome at measuring and cutting. 8-)

As for the 14" wheels, I figured that was a place I could save some cash. I like rallys and I like being low. I do have a pair of 15" rallys so getting 2 more wouldn't be that much of an outlay except for needing 4 trim rings. I was considering but decdided against 14 in front and 15 out back for a sports rake; I think it takes away from the cars style a bit.


737driver

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Re: Project 1972 Esprit
« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2014, 11:20:38 PM »
I love the 72 firebirds , I really like the orange color as well! I think you have a great car and I think it will be an amazing car once it's done!
Jim
1979 Trans Am- Heritage Brown -W72 (Pontiac 400) -4Speed-WS6
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NGRYBRD

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Re: Project 1972 Esprit
« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2014, 07:38:49 AM »
I'm fully expecting to find way more rust. I did a few repairs to the frame rails a while back; this time around I'm gonna replace them. I got a great deal on the car and a good 5 or so years of cruising fun with it. So, worse case scenario I need to save extra money to buy a complete floor. :eek: My welding skills are mid-level hobbyist and as a carpenter, I'm awesome at measuring and cutting. 8-)

As for the 14" wheels, I figured that was a place I could save some cash. I like rallys and I like being low. I do have a pair of 15" rallys so getting 2 more wouldn't be that much of an outlay except for needing 4 trim rings. I was considering but decdided against 14 in front and 15 out back for a sports rake; I think it takes away from the cars style a bit.



haha, ya, i bet if you ask around, most of our welding skills are  hobbyist level,  but cutting into a car like this, when you have to do inner quarter extensions, and floors and trunk panels and frame rails etc etc,  its great practice on parts the rest of the world will never see. 

as for the rake, for whatever reason, on any other muscle car, id say put airshocks in it and rake that baby like its fall in vermont.  but on 2nd gen TAs i think pretty level looks great, the lines of the car give it a great stance as it is. 
for example, my TA.  its a little higher than id like (but i need it that way, 3 1/2" header collectors are unforgiving, but it sits pretty level, actually you cant see in the pic, but the back end is about a half inch lower than the front, which i think makes it look a little meaner  it has 15" rally 2s


and heres my monte carlo with airshocks, it seams this is the only picture i have of it from the side, given i got it last month and the weather hasnt cooperated.   it has 15" chevy rallys   (another nice thing, is the trim rings interchange, so anyspares i have work on both)
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Cape T/A

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Re: Project 1972 Esprit
« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2014, 09:53:18 AM »
Awesome!  I love orange on these cars, good luck with the build I look forward to lots of pictures!

1971 lucerne blue Esprit

droptopron

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Re: Project 1972 Esprit
« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2014, 10:47:46 AM »

As for the 14" wheels, I figured that was a place I could save some cash. I like rallys and I like being low. I do have a pair of 15" rallys so getting 2 more wouldn't be that much of an outlay except for needing 4 trim rings. I was considering but decdided against 14 in front and 15 out back for a sports rake; I think it takes away from the cars style a bit.

Another consideration is if you ever do bigger brakes down the line many won't fit behind  a 14" wheel, and as you said, the supply of 14" tires has really dried up.  A 235/60 will look too short & a 225/70 too skinny.  These cars look good with a big foot print. 
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Re: Project 1972 Esprit
« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2014, 10:47:46 AM »



Ford5of5

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Re: Project 1972 Esprit
« Reply #15 on: February 20, 2014, 03:45:15 PM »
It was either on this site or a link to another site from this one that I read that these cars should "appear" but not actually be lower in the rear. The post got rather technical and I didn't understand it all; it was mostly about creating a jig to replace what looked like 70-80% of the sheetmetal. Maybe someone here can elaborate.

Today: removed the gas tank, might just replace it when you figure the cost/time of stripping, cleaning and painting. The rear end looks a lot better than I remember, but only a grinder will tell. The trunk braces and floor are good, the extensions are questionable and the drop offs are there in spirit only; a sneeze will dislodge them! I think the rear floor braces are toast but the forward one is ok. Had to cut out the e-brake cable.

I can't figure out how to remove the interior hvac. I removed 3 bolts from the interior, I assume the rest are on the firewall. Are they behind the air-con box in the engine compartment? darn, these doors are heavy!

LeighP

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Re: Project 1972 Esprit
« Reply #16 on: February 21, 2014, 01:33:46 AM »
From the factory, they actually do sit slightly down in the rear....it was done for a number of reasons, among which is to positively drain the rocker panels. The back of the rocker panel is aprox 1/2" lower than the front. Personally, mine sits level, and I like it that way.
Regards,
Leigh

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Ford5of5

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Re: Project 1972 Esprit
« Reply #17 on: March 12, 2014, 08:10:15 PM »
A quick photo update,

     

   

     

I'm still not sure that this is the best way to change the engine oil! :lol:

Waygonner

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Re: Project 1972 Esprit
« Reply #18 on: March 13, 2014, 01:48:18 AM »
Thanks for posting all of the pics. Looks like you have a great project...Ill be following it for sure!

As for the hvac. It comes out in several pieces. I had the most trouble with the heater core box. If I remember correctly there is a strap directly behind the stereo and close to the firewall that needs to be undone. Cant remember if it was a wrench, screwdriver or sawzall that got it out of there.
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Cape T/A

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Re: Project 1972 Esprit
« Reply #19 on: March 13, 2014, 03:38:50 PM »
I am jelous, I want a project car so bad!

1971 lucerne blue Esprit

Ford5of5

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Re: Project 1972 Esprit
« Reply #20 on: March 15, 2014, 09:02:34 AM »
Photo update:

 

 

 

 

Watch out what you wish for Cape! :-D This is definitely a project! Pay the extra money for something with less rust. :lol:  Ya Waygonner, it was the studs that threw me for a loop. I'd hate to have been a mechanic changing out a heater core or blower motor back in the day.

I had to cut the floor to get at the forward spring pockets. The j-clips were replaced by the PO with cheapy locknuts. The front roof line has been lost to rust, but the inner structure is clean. I gotta run the numbers, but I think I'm close  to that point were I should be looking for a new shell.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2014, 09:29:31 AM by Ford5of5 »

72projectbird

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Re: Project 1972 Esprit
« Reply #21 on: March 15, 2014, 02:02:30 PM »
It looks like its coming along nicely! I did the same thing to my 71, I had the whole nose ripped off  :lol:
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Ford5of5

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Re: Project 1972 Esprit
« Reply #22 on: March 25, 2014, 04:02:04 PM »
Leveled and braced the car today. Leveling was a bit difficult, I had trouble finding decent places to place my stands. Tomorrow I'm going to start building a tilter. Thanks to Pancho400 and Mark369 for all the pics of their tilters.

Any advice on my bracing? I used 1.5" x 1/8" angle and tacked it to the inner door jambs. Too much, not enough, or just right for Goldie Locks? Any of the major repairs will be made in the horizontal position; vertical position will be for identification of major problems, painting and installation of  tubing. And here's a pic update:


<iframe width="480" height="360" src="http://s1173.photobucket.com/user/christopher_ford2/embed/slideshow/Firebird%20Bracing%20and%20Rotisserie"></iframe>


Changed this to a slideshow. Click the link to see the pics of tilter and bracing.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2014, 09:23:39 PM by Ford5of5 »

Jack

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Re: Project 1972 Esprit
« Reply #23 on: March 25, 2014, 06:18:17 PM »
You have enough bracing but not much of a car left :lol:
That will turn out to be one hell of a car.




Regards, Jack

roadking77

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Re: Project 1972 Esprit
« Reply #24 on: March 25, 2014, 06:29:06 PM »
Cape, like Ford said, careful what you wish for.  Looks like you got it braced pretty good. Close to  how I did mine, plus with a hardtop I don't think you'll have a lot of movement.
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LeighP

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Re: Project 1972 Esprit
« Reply #25 on: March 27, 2014, 07:22:01 AM »
Yeah, full hardtops don't flex much.....your bracing is more than needed, so it'll be fine.
Good progress.  :cool:
Regards,
Leigh

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Ford5of5

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Re: Project 1972 Esprit
« Reply #26 on: March 27, 2014, 09:29:14 AM »
Funny side note, I was thinking the car was already torqued! I was having trouble leveling it; turned out to be parts of the rear frame rail are extremely soft. Be careful folks. Most times people just brace the doors, but parts of my floor are not connected to the rockers anymore, so I went heavy on the bracing and may end up adding more just to make myself feel better. :???:

pancho400cid

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Re: Project 1972 Esprit
« Reply #27 on: March 27, 2014, 11:28:21 AM »
Looks good to me....

IMO bracing is like beer and ammo.... too much is WAAAYYYY better than not enough.....

I've never tackled that much body work so take everything I say with a grain of salt... but.....  I think there are holes in the chassis intended as "check holes".  The Fisher Body Manual gives specific dims and tolerances from hole A to hole B so you can check that the car is not wonky-jawed (that's a technical term).  They were so body shops could check the cars when repairing them after accidents.  Others on here would know a lot more than I do.

You might want to check into it.  If your car is really spongy, I would think you could pull it out of shape pretty easily....

Keep up the good work!
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Cape T/A

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Re: Project 1972 Esprit
« Reply #28 on: March 28, 2014, 12:05:45 PM »
Cape, like Ford said, careful what you wish for.  Looks like you got it braced pretty good. Close to  how I did mine, plus with a hardtop I don't think you'll have a lot of movement.
By project car I just meant I want a 70-73 to tinker with, I do not wish that much rust upon anyone! Especially myself!

1971 lucerne blue Esprit

Ford5of5

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Re: Project 1972 Esprit
« Reply #29 on: March 28, 2014, 04:19:21 PM »
Pic Update. Thanks again to Pancho and Mark.

<iframe width="480" height="360" src="http://s1173.photobucket.com/user/christopher_ford2/embed/slideshow/Firebird%20Bracing%20and%20Rotisserie"></iframe>

Edit:  changed to slideshow, click link to see pics.

I simply have too many pics. To see them all use the link in my first post. I'm so glad I did this. It appears that I may only need patches for the frame rails. Definitely need new braces for the springs. The trunk pan was replaced and the guy that did it didn't understand how to adjust his welder. There are grapes everywhere and grinding them out will be a pain in the butt.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2014, 09:25:06 PM by Ford5of5 »

Jack

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Re: Project 1972 Esprit
« Reply #30 on: March 28, 2014, 05:39:45 PM »
Can I borrow that after you are done? :)




Regards, Jack

pancho400cid

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Re: Project 1972 Esprit
« Reply #31 on: March 28, 2014, 05:42:06 PM »
Looks good....!

Good job on the flipping fixture.
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Cape T/A

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Re: Project 1972 Esprit
« Reply #32 on: March 28, 2014, 09:26:27 PM »
That's so cool to be able to flip the car like that!

1971 lucerne blue Esprit

Ford5of5

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Re: Project 1972 Esprit
« Reply #33 on: March 28, 2014, 10:48:39 PM »
A few notes on the tilter.

I used 3/4" MDF for the radius; I think it may cause a problem if I get it wet (I'm really not sure) and I was planning to pressure wash the underside after I remove the undercoating. Other than that, I know it's pretty tough. I'd recommend the purchase of a sheet of 4x8 1/2" ext. sheathing. It cost less than the 2 sheets of MDF and if you double it up you get a 1" thick radius, just be sure to reinforce it with 2x4. Plywood is a bit flexible and needs support.

Take in consideration the turning radius of the tilter in relation to your ceiling height and anything that is in the direction of the tilt. 

Lift from the middle of the car; my Dad and I first tried to lift by the 2x8's and it wasn't happening without throwing out a body part.

Level and square everything. 3" screws alone are not enough for this! I built many decks and one of the big mistakes I see is people using 4 or 5 screws where there should be a hex/carriage/lag bolt. If you feel like something needs to braced, then brace it.

I needed to use 5-6 washers and a 2x4 spacer to get the rear 2x8 to sit level against the tail panel. Watch your bolt lengths in this area; 3.75" max. If you use the hardware list that Pancho links to from Z28.com on a '72, you will be cutting a lot of the bolts to length. The hardware list is based on the later 2nd gen bumper bolt patterns. Take a second to plan it and figure out the bolt lengths. You'll probably save yourself $10 and time cutting bolts to length.

I was very surprised that it doesn't need to braced to stay in the vertical position; the length of the MDF holds it just fine. In vert. position, the car stands about 12" off the ground measured at the rear quarter lip. I stripped a liitle bit of the undercoating today, and it was super stable. I will add braces just for safety and piece of mind. The whole setup came in a little under $200 and approximately 8 hours labor for two people with a lot of coffee breaks.

737driver

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Re: Project 1972 Esprit
« Reply #34 on: March 28, 2014, 11:00:09 PM »
That is genius! Outstanding display of craftsmanship , very well done!
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LeighP

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Re: Project 1972 Esprit
« Reply #35 on: March 29, 2014, 05:01:32 AM »
Nicely done. That is going to make fixing that car SO much easier.
Regards,
Leigh

Sydney, Australia
1968 Pontiac Firebird 428 5 speed coupe

Former Firebirds -
1969 Pontiac Firebird 400
1971 Pontiac Firebird 455
1977 Pontiac Trans Am
1976 Pontiac Trans Am
1967 Pontiac Firebird 400 convertible
1967 Pontiac Firebird 400 coupe


roadking77

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Re: Project 1972 Esprit
« Reply #36 on: March 29, 2014, 03:05:22 PM »
Looking good, shouldn't be a problem with the mdf, it will swell a bit with moisture, but unless you power wash it directly you  should be ok with it.
Finished!
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85 T/A - Sold
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82 Firebird - Sold
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Re: Project 1972 Esprit
« Reply #37 on: March 31, 2014, 03:53:06 PM »
I like your first pic- it gives me an idea of how my Bird looked before I got it. Now I know three guys who own 1972 Pontiac Esprits that came from the factory painted Sundance Orange-lol.

Geno

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Ford5of5

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Re: Project 1972 Esprit
« Reply #38 on: August 31, 2014, 08:28:33 PM »
Project Update: I had a great summer, many profitable jobs but little time for the car. A few weeks ago, I decided to buy a complete floor pan and inner and outer rockers for both sides of the car before I got stuck spending it on the kids. I went with AMD product from Tamraz on Ebay. The pan includes all the brackets. I also bought a pair of the Goodmark rear quarters. My plan is to start with the passenger side inner and out rockers, then the other side and put the floor in last. First I will take dozens of measurements and relevel the car. I figured that I will need to reinstall the doors for the rear quarters, but will they need to be in place for the out rockers? Any advice?

Ford5of5

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Re: Project 1972 Esprit
« Reply #39 on: October 04, 2014, 09:29:09 PM »
Pic update:

Removed the inner and outer rockers. I've been using spot-weld cutters from Harbor Freight and I'm amazed with them. I bought 2 because I figured they would junk but after approximatly 150 cuts I'm still on the first blade. I can definitely recommend them, just use cutting oil.



 

   


Can anyone tell the reason for the holes in the forward and rear door jambs? Are they there to line things up or is just for access for sill screws? Here's some pics of what I'm talking about:

Rear jamb:


Front jamb:

« Last Edit: October 04, 2014, 09:50:14 PM by Ford5of5 »

Re: Project 1972 Esprit
« Reply #39 on: October 04, 2014, 09:29:09 PM »
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