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Old 12-17-2018, 08:40 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2018
Posts: 8
1973 280C Project

Hey all. I'm pretty much a newbie to forum posting but I have enjoyed reading the threads here. Decided to share my latest effort. Not really a "restoration" - more of a reconditioning effort but still worth sharing I think.

I found this Maple Yellow 1973 280C in FL. Made an offer that was nearly criminal and I owed it. They were happy to have it out of their yard and I was happy to help. Delivered Saturday and my 20 year old stepson and I have started cleaning it up and seeing where we might take this project. He's never done anything like this so it has been fun to see him get all fired up.

Overall, the car is a running, driving, stopping (always important) survivor of the pre "ugly bumper" years. The FL title I got from the seller shows CA as the previous title state so I'm pleased by that. I've restored quite a few cars and worked on dozens more and I have to say this is the oddest situation I have found. Clean and solid underneath with plenty of rust above. The deck lid is trash (already sourced a new one from a very helpful member here) and one rear quarter is gone through. Plenty of bubbles here and there as well. My guess is a poorly prepared rear clip repaint in the distant past followed by many years outside in an otherwise hospitable environment. There is some original paint, mainly up front and the roof, and it has faired better.

The engine is clean and unmolested. Original coil/points ignition and Solex 4bbl. Oil is clean as is the trans fluid. The coolant is the right color and I can't find any leaks. The fuel filter was the opaque plastic type and had turned a lovely resin brown. That was the first thing to go. The air cleaner is clean and looks nearly new but the "Made in West Germany" stamp likely means it is time for a new one. Starts right up, zero smoke (truly) and smells like it should - not so rich it chases you out of the shop. Kicks down after a warmup and idles close to correctly. The trans shifted a bit slow for the first few miles of a drive but seems to have freed up nicely. Front brakes are excellent - clean rotors, decent pad remaining and no leaks noted. Stops straight ahead and with authority. Steering is a little slack but it tracks dead true.

The headliner is dirty but in perfect condition. The sun visors are headed for the trash. The carpet is already there. The foam padding was damp but not sopping. Floors are solid and the seats are better than I could have hoped for. Excellent dash, the cluster is fully functional save one illumination bulb. One stop light is out but all other lights work. Left blinker flashes a little fast so I think I'm going to have to chase a poor ground. Windows all roll up and down. Have not checked the locks yet but I don't expect much success there. The E-brake knob is missing but the shaft is intact and releases the brake as intended. Missing a front dome light and the visor clips...

I've owned a couple of 450SLs and a 280SE of roughly the same vintage. All were good condition cars that I did not restore. Surprisingly, this 280C is mechanically as good as those cars. Bodywork is another story...

I'll post up some pics of the car before I started and of the work along the way. Remains to be seen how far we take it but it is a great place to start!

Attached Thumbnails
1973 280C Project-driver-side.jpg   1973 280C Project-deck-lid.jpg   1973 280C Project-front.jpg   1973 280C Project-20181212_174718_1544655164333.jpeg  
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Old 12-17-2018, 08:49 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2018
Posts: 8
More work done today


Today (and most of yesterday) were cleaning days. Got it up on the lift and dug in. Have to say I continue to be VERY pleased with the conditions underneath. The photos of the wells and rockers tell the story. I grew up just south of Boston and I can tell you, this car never saw road salt.

Under the hood I cleaned and gapped the plugs (I'm a pilot, we clean plugs), cleaned the rotor and distributor contacts, checked the point gap and generally tidied up the bay. Scraped the last of the underhood foam off and vacuumed out surprisingly few acorns. Overall, good condition all around. Parked it on a clean floor after a half hour drive and got only a dime sized drop of trans fluid this morning.

The tires are BF Goodrich. Date code is 3312 so they've been on there a while. Zero wear - still have the mold tabs. I'd be surprised if they have 1000 miles on them. No cracking so I dressed them and will live with them for a bit.

Photos of today's cleaning efforts. I'll post underside first then some "beauty shots. Just don't look too close. I'd say stay back 10 feet...
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Old 12-17-2018, 09:02 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2018
Posts: 8

Had to figure out how to reconfigure photos to an acceptable format...
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1973 280C Project-img_7533.jpg   1973 280C Project-img_0676.jpg   1973 280C Project-img_2987.jpg   1973 280C Project-img_3727.jpg   1973 280C Project-img_5131.jpg  

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Old 12-17-2018, 09:06 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2018
Posts: 8
A few more

Last ones for tonight. More as progress allows.
Attached Thumbnails
1973 280C Project-img_5180.jpg   1973 280C Project-img_3733.jpg   1973 280C Project-img_8707.jpg   1973 280C Project-img_4089.jpg   1973 280C Project-img_8711.jpg  

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Old 03-05-2019, 10:21 PM
"One with my 71"
Join Date: May 2017
Location: In a house
Posts: 1,103
Nice car. You're right, odd that the body has a slight cancer issue and the undercarriage looks immaculate. Are you going to restore the body? I am beginning complete restoration on my 71 250/8.
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