We previously wrote about a survivor Dan Gurney Spoiler we picked up in Alabama a few months back. We have now had a little time to spend on the car and try to figure out what we are going to do with it. We have known the car for over four years and purchased it from a friend who had no idea of the deterioration the car suffered due to its neglected barn storage location and unwanted tornado strike. When we first inspected the car it was in far worse condition than we remembered. After digging into the car a little further, the picture continues to get worse.
THIS IS HOW I REMEMBERED THE ENGINE BAY WHEN I LAST SAW THE CAR 4 YEARS AGO BEFORE IT WENT INTO THE BARN.
THIS IS WHAT THE ENGINE BAY LOOKED LIKE WHEN I PICKED IT UP.
Our initial plan was to get the car running so we might drive it off the trailer and into the garage. That seemed reasonable since the engine was rebuilt just before going into storage. The engine would turn over and would attempt to fire but not run. There appeared to be very little gas in the tank so I added 5 gallons and tried again. No luck. I climbed out of the car and noticed gas was running down the floor of the trailer. A quick glance under the car revealed the rubber gas line at the sending unit had rotted away. With that problem corrected, I continued to try and start the car, with every attempt a new problem would appear. The first was gas flowing from all sides of the carburetor! This string of problems continued to grow. With every new repair, the problem seemed to just move down the line! Irritation was growing.
THE INTERIOR WHEN I SAW IT BEFORE STORAGE, NOTE CARPET IS NOT CORRECT.
THIS IS THE SAME CARPET 4 YEARS AND A TORNADO LATER.
SEE ALL THOSE WHITE SPOTS? THOSE ARE SMALL BUBBLES IN THE PAINT CAUSED BY MOISTURE UNDER THE PAINT.
DID I MENTION THE BLUE SMOKE WHEN WE DID GET IT RUNNING?
This frustrating process never reached a successful conclusion. I was eventually able to start the car and get it to move under its own power. Unfortunately, that was only for an extremely short distance. The transmission was leaking fluid about as fast as the gas tank had leaked gas. There was no shortage of strange sounds and occurrences. I called a mechanic friend over for a little professional guidance, and with that, things got much worse. It was nothing he did, the engine just went sour and provided us with a very noticeable ticking sound that was not appreciated. As it turned out a lifter had gone bad resulting in a bent push rod and yet undiagnosed other issues.
Now the future of the car is in question. It is extremely solid with no noticeable rust anywhere. The paint has developed hundreds of little bubbles over the top and in other locations. The interior has some issues from storage and parts of it are incorrect. There are many electrical issues that I have not even begun to look at. Much of the chrome needs attention.
THE GURNEY WAS POWER WASHED ON THE OUTSIDE WHEN IT CAME OUT OF THE BARN AND BEFORE I SAW THE CAR. THIS IS WHAT IT LOOKED LIKE PRIOR TO THE POWER WASH.
All work has stopped while I contemplate the long-term future of the car. Our original goal was to have a really nice driver. The car is a 390 C6 with a black bucket seat and console interior, air conditioning, PS, and PB. From 20 feet it is a beautiful car, get close and there are a lot of details in need of work.
Here is the basic question, do we keep the car all original or go restomod? The engine and trans need to be rebuilt so why not fuel injection, crate motor with overdrive trans, and vintage air? The exterior would remain all original in either case. The case for keeping it all original is strong. The engine is numbers matching and a Dan Gurney big block car is very rare and in high demand. The future market for modified Spoiler/Spoiler II cars is unproven. The prices of restomod Mustangs, Corvettes, and similar cars are generally the same or higher than similar original restored cars. The cost of either build can arguably be nearly the same depending on the specifications of each car.
What would you do?
THIS IS WHAT THE CAR LOOKED LIKE PRIOR TO STORAGE IN AN ALABAMA BARN AND TORNADO.