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A Little More Love From AmyB Towards The Dodge Guys.

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I was wondering if another Dodge was going to go next to the S/Dakota! Looks Good!!!!!





I had planned on getting a GLHS rotated in there but not this soon nor this particular GLHS but things just worked out this way.


Neil or Chris will have to post the story on how the car ended up in the museum. After all it was their adventure.



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I was wondering if another Dodge was going to go next to the S/Dakota! Looks Good!!!!!





Bob we did have another Shelby Dodge next to the Dakota but it was in the detail shop getting a polish/wax during the Vegas Bash. So for now the Lancer is out and the GLHS is in its place.



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Wow! OK, well, this is truly one of the most incredible automotive journeys I have ever taken! I will try to retrace the steps this whole process has taken, but if anyone is wanting to see pics from beginning to end, please goto: Link to the GLHS Restoration Pics!


To understand this story, you will also need to take a look at the restoration of my old 86 GLHS #053 (Invoice #102) GLHS #053 That is truly where this all started. I owned that car for many years, raced it, got through school in it, dated my Wife to be in that car. When I finally had a few $$$ to do it some justice, I spruced it up, and made it tastefully better wherever I could. I put decent paint on it, and added all the 'right' mods. This eventually caught Chris Papademetrious' eye. I had built a car just about the way he would do it. Almost. You see, Chris owned GLHS #432. He owned it for many years, raced it, got through school in it..... See a pattern here?


Chris and I have known each other through mailing lists and chat rooms over the years, and were more or less casual acquaintances. He changed that in mid 2007 with the idea of having me restore his GLHS. To be honest, I blew him off more than once. When he contacted me in late summer again, he was a bit more serious. I told him this was not going to be a cheap or fast process. He said, it can take 5 years for all he cared. I agreed. In early October, the car was shipped from Pennsylvania out to me in New Mexico. It was a sad sight. Very low on compression, fluids leaking everywhere, and the rust. Oh the rust! Rust through all four doors. Rust through the floorboards. Rust through the hatch, the trunk and more! Dents in the hood. Dents in the doors. Dents in the roof. Then there was the upholstery. OK, let's skip all that for now. The car was rough. Real rough. But under all that was a diamond, we just had to remove all the unwanted bits. This is what it looked like when I first picked the car up to bring it back to Raton. The picture makes it look good. And at 100', the car was good. Walk any closer, and you wanted to constantly adjust your glasses. The car was a heap!



When we first approached this project, the goals were a bit overly simplistic. Get a fairly good paint job, and build a hot engine, do a little brake work, and make everything work. Projected budget: $20-25k. Wow. We can do that! On my way home from the shipping place with the car, I stopped in to Hot Rod Restorations in Pueblo, CO. The owner looked the car over, and said, "Yeah, we can do this right. Bring the car back to me with nuthin' on it." He meant it, too. His price? Well, let's just say the budget was nearly gone right there. A call to Chris went something like this: N: "Well, Chris, here's the deal. We can do this nice, or we can go first class." C: "Let's go all the way." And that was that. From that point on, every time we came to a decision on parts, methods, etc, I always presented Chris with an Option A (high price) or Option B (not quite as high price), and Option A was always the answer. You see, the farther we got into this, the more Chris wanted this car to approach perfection. That's a tall order when trying to restore a 21 year old (at the time) 200k mile, rusting econobox. Sprinkle on top of that Chrysler being bought and sold like a penny stock, and old parts inventories getting scrapped in the process, and it becomes easier to restore a 1929 Ford Model A with nothing but NOS parts, than fixing this car (and having pulled that stunt, too, I can tell you first hand that it's the truth!)


So, body shop chosen, budget thrown to the wind, the work begins. We had an opening at the body shop. I had to get the car back to the shop within 8 days. So I stripped the car. No, I _stripped_ the car. If it was not there to hold the doors, hood, hatch or glass on, or trim it came off. The rest would come off at the body shop. Here it is, as a bare shell:



At this point, we saw some real signs of what all those years, miles and a few bumps did to the chassis. Many spot welds throughout the unibody had broken, resulting in sheet metal separating from the frame. It was very obvious in the front end, as we could now see where a previous wreck was not properly repaired, and the inner fender sheet metal on both sides of the car was completely detached from the frame. You can see the daylight between the inner fender and the frame. You're not supposed to be able to do that!



There was lot more to see, and again, you can look at the pics here, if you want to pore over the hundreds of photos.


While the car was at the body shop, we formulated the plan for the driveline. The goal was to build a good, reliable powerplant, capable of quite a bit of power, then toned back down to ensure long life. We also wanted just enough refinement to not cause issues, but it needed to have that same sort of 'roughness' that the original engine had. You see, with modern technology, and newer model parts, it would be possible to build a firebreather that idled like a Cadillac. We did not want that. OK, I did, Chris didn't :) Chris wanted to maintain a little bit of that original 'character'. But we would be pushing it where possible. We started with a late 2.2 "Common Block" engine. Forged TII rods with Venolia forged pistons. A high volume oil pump rounded out the bottom end. Up top we used an open chamber "G" head, ported and polished. A TAFT S2 roller cam, ported 2 piece intake manifold with a 58mm throttle body. A ceramic coated VNT exhaust manifold and a Garrett GT2871 dual ball bearing turbo (also ceramic coated). For fuel, we used the stock fuel rail with Mopar Performance +40% Super 60 injectors. On the driveline, we used an aluminum flywheel, Centerforce DualFriction clutch, and a very nicely built and powdercoated A568 transaxle built by Cliff Ramsdell with custom gear ratios and a Torsen type differential. Axles are chromemoly custom units built by the Driveshaft Shop.


Here's what the completed drivetrain looked like right before it went back into the car:






Meanwhile, work progressed at the body shop. They stripped the shell to bare metal.



When the bodywork was completed, all the original welds were repaired, rust in the floors and doors were replaced with patch panels (all original sheet metal was retained - no replacement panels!) The patch panels and the associated metal work was so good, you will be hard pressed to ever find them, even if you disassemble the car! All contours and shapes in the floorboard metal were retained, so it looks all original. Over 10 pounds of bondo was removed from the hood (not a joke), and the metal was straightened. A cart was constructed, and the shell was placed on it. It made it easier to move the car around while working on it. I picked the car up on this cart, and towed it home. This is what the shell looked like when the body shop was done with it:





That house reflecting in the paint is about 800' away, just for reference.

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The work didn't stop on the top side, either. The engine bay, and even the underside of the car got the 'treatment', too.





At this point, GLHS #432 completely monopolized my ever-shrinking garage. What was a slight semblance of order became complete chaos, and even though the car is now gone, it will take me weeks to recover my garage. So, when you see the non-stop piles of mess in the background, understand that the only time a car is more compact then when it is fully assembled is when it is in the crusher. Short of that, a car takes up a lot of space. OK, back to the story. About this time, I hit an unexpectedly busy time with work, which required lots of travel. When I was home, my time was precious, and there was little motivation to work on the GLHS, so it sat. A LOT. When I did come back to it, I would tackle a few projects, and then put it back up. But, here's what did happen in that time.


From the get-go, we knew we wanted rear disc brakes on the car. I had them on my GLHS, and I really liked them. We had new Koni struts and shocks, LRE racing springs, poly bushings, and a bunch of other goodies. Chris also wanted one of my Traction Control Systems in the car. Well, that setup is designed for newer Chrysler products, primarily the 2003-2005 Dodge SRT-4 and the 2008-9 Dodge Caliber SRT-4. They have ABS, and a rear ABS sensor is needed to make it work. So, one of our conversations was, well, we need to put a rear ABS sensor in to make the TCS work. OK. So, this was my chance to talk Chris into something ;) Why stop at the sensor? Let's put the entire braking system in from a Neon SRT-4! Yes, let's get the big brakes, ABS, and electronic Dynamic Proportioning! I have to say, I was hot on this, Chris wasn't at the time, but he warmed up eventually (more on that, later!). I was so proud of myself for coming up with this 'brilliant' idea. I would come to rue the day! First I acquired the complete brake system, including lines from a wrecked 2005 SRT-4, along with all the engine bay wiring. I cannibalized the ABS unit, brakes, and wiring for the ABS portion. I figured out where the ABS unit would go (it is VERY hidden from view, BTW), and how the hard lines and flex lines would need to go. I had the lines made by Classic Tube. That was a bit of a disaster in itself, but after sending lines and fittings back and forth a few times, we finally had stainless steel brake and fuel lines in the car. Happy days. Front brakes had a few bumps, but the main things were, we ended up using SRT-4 knuckles, with a bit of machine work done to them. We had the DSS axles custom made with ABS tone rings. Lastly, we used a 15mm hub spacer to space the Shelby Centurion wheels out far enough to clear the massive SRT-4 rotors and brake calipers. That wasn't too hard, but the rear brakes more than made up for it. The rear brakes were, umm, difficult. I will spare you the details, but the hours into figuring out what combination of parts to use seemed endless. There are brake and rear hub parts back there from no less than five different Chrysler models, spanning 1986 to 2005. I kid you not. Did I mention that this all started because we wanted to adapt one of my TCS boxes to work in this car? OK, pics.





We did use the Ed Peters' L-Body rear hub spacers along with another spacer behind the brake rotor, resulting in a 13mm increase per side. This brings it all inline with the front end, and to be honest, you can barely tell that anything is spaced at all.


This view shows the completed arrangement for the front brakes. Yes, the caliper is dirty and the rotor is rusty. All cleaned up later on :)




Chris and I had a little back and forth on the electronics in the car. The original Logic Module based wiring harness in the car had had it. It was in horrible shape, so there was no saving it, and no going back to it. Chris was fortunate to have bought the Mopar Performance Super 60 wiring harness back in the day, and it was new in the bag. So, nice, new wiring to work with. However, S60 is based on SMEC electronics, which I abhor. I tried to talk Chris into modifying the S60 harness to work with the newer SBEC engine controller, and its superior sequential EFI, but he won out on this one, so we stuck with the SMEC. Something about not wanting to make the wiring too complicated. Yeah, um, OK there, Chris ;) So we took the 'simple' wiring, and made it complicated. Hiding inside the wiring harness is all the wiring for the TCS, MultiCal setup, Wideband O2, ABS, and heavy-duty wiring for the E-code headlamps and relays. He did not want to see ANY of that wiring sticking out. So, I took the brand new S60 wiring harness, completely disassembled it, and rebuilt it, with all the extra goodies added in. There were plenty of smaller things tossed in there, just to spice it up, too. This same approach was taken with everything in the engine bay. If it wasn't stock, then it needed to either be completely hidden from view, or darn well look like it was stock. This extended into every area. The brake booster? Well, that looks like a stock GLHS piece, but it isn't. It's an SRT-4 unit, modified to bolt in the exact location and position as the stock one. That shifter? That's not a stock L-body rod shifter. It's from a 90 P-body, and the shifter cables are hidden completely. Stock height and position are retained to maintain the stock illusion. In fact, only the truly trained Shelby Dodge eye will spot the differences, and that was the idea. On the exterior of the car, only three giveaways. The ride height (lowered 1.25"), the exhaust pipe, and those cool looking red calipers peeking through (and Chris wants to paint those gray to hide them!).












Interior started coming together at this point. It was completely reupholstered with NOS materials.




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So now the engine is bolted in (would be months before it actually fired). Still had to put tons of parts into the car, including exhaust, wiring, and well, everything you touch or works in a car. Seriously, you can hot rod a car, swap engines, even rewire a car. Until you have had it down to pretty much every last nut and bolt, and then have to put this giant 3D puzzle back together, you do not know the definition of work!


So next, we worked on the exhaust, which is a 2.5" mandrel bent system, going up and over the axle, through a muffler and out the back. A big thanks to Vic Dobney for the fabrication help on this one. It is tucked in real high and tight to the body, and does not hang way down, like many aftermarket systems do.



Chris was able to find a set of NOS Bosch Pilot fog lamps, in their original Bosch box of all things! I installed them on the freshly powdercoated brackets.




At this point, the tempo of the project really picked up. You might say that I had the finish line in sight, but nothing could be further from the truth. My Wife had been after me for months about getting the car done. Something about not wanting to park her car outside in the cold and snow for another winter. OK, yes, dear. No, what was really driving me was that Chris would be coming out to check my progress between Christmas and New Years. Yikes! I needed to seriously get my rear end in gear! At this point, I was starting to get back "in" to the project. Chris needed some pictures for the insurance company (even his confidence was starting to come up that I might actually finish this car). So, I put wheels on it, and pushed it outside, and gave the car its first bath.













This was a really satisfying exercise for me. You see, the GLHS lived in the garage. With a cat. Yes, one with claws and a penchant for being on top of cars. Or in them. Getting rid of the cat was not an option (something about attached 8 and 5 year olds). So, the car would have to suffer. No, not really. The GLHS spent its life cocooned in thick, heavy, but soft blankets. The paint rarely saw the light of day. So, seeing it out in the sun like this was actually thrilling for me. Then my Wife would yell at me to cover it up, before something happened to "that stupid car". This would then be followed by a lecture about how one of the kids was going to bump into the car, or a neighbor might stop by and breathe on it the wrong way. So, I washed the car, snapped these pics, and then put the car back into its hibernation spot.


December 12, 2009 was an exciting day. First this happened:


You are probably saying, "What happened?" The headlamps worked, of course! Yes, this was the first hot test of the electrical system, and it all worked, and no smoke came out! The headlamps are E-Code types, with 80/90W bulbs. That meant I had to wire in relays and heavier wiring to them. And they worked. The first time! And if that was not cool enough, this then happened:



Yes GLHS #432 was finally alive! The funny thing was, I did not even plan for this moment. Most things (not everything) were ready, but I had planned on getting things a bit closer before trying to start it. But, I had the camera out, and thought, why not? Let's give it a go. And right off it went!


A few (real) work projects came into play at this point, so I had to walk away from the GLHS for a few days. More like a week. When I came back to it, I put more of the engine bay together, and began to tune the engine. I ran the engine several times, but always had the car up in the air. On the 21st of December, I was going to load the car onto the trailer. That's when a serious headache began. I put the car on the ground, hitched up the trailer, and opened the garage door into the frigid 6° air. Started the car, pressed the clutch, and put it into reverse. I said, I put it into reverse. Let's try that again, PUT IT IN REVERSE. No, it would not go. Mind you, I had been through all 5 gears AND reverse when the car was in the air, no issue. But now, it simply would not go. A little diagnosis revealed my last minute nightmare. There was something wrong with the clutch! If you have never endured the pain and suffering of changing a clutch on an L-body, especially one now equipped with the even larger than normal A568 transaxle, then you have just not lived. I kid you not, I thought I was going to cry. You see, in an effort to get this car done before Chris would arrive, I spent lot of nights up late. I was averaging 4 hours of sleep a night, work all day for (real) work, and then work all night on the GLHS. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I can count on one hand how many nights I had not worked on this car until midnight or 2 AM. Did I mention that it was 6° out?


My bigger problem was that this was a Centerforce Dual Friction clutch for a 1992 Dodge Spirit R/T. Oh, you never heard of a Spirit R/T? Well, I was pretty sure that the local parts guy in Raton, NM, population 7000 was not going to have heard of it either. It was an even safer bet that he would not have a Centerforce Dual Friction clutch for a 1992 Dodge Spirit R/T on the shelf, either. The next day, I got up, did my (real) work, then proceeded to drop the transaxle. (It sounds so easy to just type that in a short sentence!) A phone call on Tuesday, 22 December to Centerforce would be a bit of a game changer, however. The folks there were very helpful. They did tell me that the clutch is an unusual one, and that it would have to be custom made. My heart sunk a bit. They called me back, told me the clutch was done(!), and would be shipping it out! After stalking my poor FedEx lady, I received the clutch on Christmas Eve, and put it all back together. Thank you very much Centerforce, and an even bigger thanks to my Wife, Donna, who took pity on me and ran the floor jack in my 10° garage, and helped me get the transaxle back into its home. I drove the car up and down the driveway a few times, declared victory, then loaded the family up in the Explorer to take off for Christmas!


Chris was coming in 3 days. The car was not done. I was 210 miles away from the car, attempting to enjoy Christmas. It wasn't working. On the 27th, I left my family at Donna's parents place, and drove home. (At the speed limit, of course) Chris would be there the next day. There was interior trim in boxes. The engine bay was not done. I had 4 different Check Engine Light codes. The car idled terribly. It needed an alignment. It had two different oil leaks. I slept two hours that night.


On the 28th, I loaded the car on the trailer. Time to get an alignment. My day was planned out. Chris would be arriving around 4pm. Alignment appointment was at 8am. Alignment takes less than 2 hours. I can then drive the car around town a bit, work out some bugs. Take it back home, finish 99 little projects, and then detail it, all before the highly expectant owner arrived. Great plan. Didn't work. That would be because the car spent 7 1/2 hours on the alignment rack. Yes, those wonderful SRT front knuckles were coming back to haunt me. I spent time in that workshop, modifying tie rods, all while an overly nervous dealership owner kept insisting that the service manager kick that 'non-employee' out of the hazardous work area. Thank you, Randy for running interference for me. At 3:30pm, the car rolled off the alignment rack. Chris drove up at that very moment. Phew.


Here's probably the only time a Shelby Dodge was ever parked on the lot at the former Cimino Brothers Dodge in Raton, NM:




Immediately after this, Chris and I hopped in the car, drove it up and down the street a few times, and then right up to the top of Raton Pass (8000') and back. Almost no issues, car ran like a champ!

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After our trip to the top of Raton Pass, we took the GLHS back to my garage, and addressed a few remaining issues (and missing parts). The plan was to get up early, and put some miles on the car. We had hoped for 300 miles, but thought 100 would be a success in itself. Originally, we planned to only go back and forth along I-25, not venturing too far away from home 'base', in case we had a major issue. After one more quick, successful ride into town and back, we decided to go for broke (well, we hope we didn't actually break). We headed south out of Raton, down US64 toward Eagle Nest, NM. Our trip would take us through Cimarron Canyon to the "Enchanted Circle" which is a route that goes through Eagle Nest, Red River, Taos, Angel Fire, and back to Eagle Nest. It is some of the most scenic roadways in the nation. Definitely on the top 10 most beautiful rides in the country. We made a few stops along the way, and here are some pics:



(Cimarron Canyon)













From the Canyon, we headed through Eagle Nest, to the top of Bobcat Pass (9300'). The Check Engine lamp came on during the descent, and was later traced to a flaky SMEC, which has since been replaced. Got down to Red River, and cleared the codes (42, ASD relay), and went on towards Questa and Taos. On the way to Taos, we noticed some really neat cloud formations around the mountains, and snapped a few pics.




From here, we deviated from course a little bit to go look at the Rio Grande gorge. If you have never seen this area, I will attempt to describe it to you. The land around the gorge is very flat. There is no hint that you are coming up on a hole in the ground a quarter of a mile deep. In fact, you cannot see it until you have nearly fallen into it. For reference, here is a picture of that car eating, people killing, vertigo inducing hole in the ground:



Beautiful, isn't it? Before you get the the steel structure bridge that flops like a wet noodle on a windy day whenever a truck goes over it, there are small dirt and gravel parking areas on either side of the road. The lots run right up to the edge of the gorge with a flimsy barbed wire fence separating you from certain death. In this parking lot area that has the fence that separates you from certain death, there is also quite a bit of packed snow and ice. The roadway that goes beside the parking lot area that has the fence that separates you from certain death, and also has quite a bit of packed snow and ice is a 65 mph road. And that was what we were doing when Chris suddenly yanked the wheel, and pulled off said highway at 65mph into the dirt and gravel parking area (ACK, THE PAINT!), and AIMS for the snow and ice. At this point, the fence that separates you from certain death was approaching fast. I kid you not, my first thought was, "He's going to wreck this car. He is going to ruin all of my hard work!" I got my senses about me, and literally put one hand on the seatbelt latch, and the other on the door handle. I was preparing to bail out. Chris thought this would be a fine, fine time to ops check that awesome ABS system. And you know what? The darn thing worked.


After I checked my drawers, Chris very nonchalantly got out of the car. As if he had actually planned this whole thing. We walked over to the bridge, where he got his first glimpse of certain death. I think he needed to change his drawers at this point. He didn't want to hang around too long after this. I got this picture of where the car stopped. What you cannot see is that my back is up against the fence that separates you from certain death. Yeah, it really was that close.






After this, we made our way back into Taos, and made the 101 mile trip back to Raton without further incident. We compiled a short (hah) grocery list of bugs that needed to be addressed, including a failing front wheel bearing. Got back to my garage, and made quick work of the bearing and a few other problems. Took the car out for another short test drive, and we were both happy with the results. The day was a complete success. No break downs, no major issues, we didn't die in the Rio Grande gorge, and we put 325 miles on the car!

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Hanging out in the freezing garage, late into the night on 29 December, we got to talking. This car is REALLY nice. I wonder if Carroll Shelby & Co. would be interested in having this car in the museum for a while? Ooooh, now that would be cool! Logging onto ts.com the next day, I messaged Steve T. about it. Of course, I was a bit more excited about it than he was, but he was good about it. After a bit of back and forth, he finally squared up with me about it. If we wanted to put the car in the museum, which was a huge maybe, since only two other cars ever in the museum did not actually belong to Carroll, we would need to sell Amy B., the president of SAI on the idea. OK, I said, we'll send pictures and info on the car. Steve thought that was not going to cut it. "Your best bet is to have the car out here for the Shelby Vegas Bash." That was a bit over a week away! I still had lots of interior trim work, a wiring issue or two, and LOTS of smaller jobs under the hood. If that was not enough, Chris was so kind as to provide me a list of 38 things he wanted addressed before the car was considered "done". OUCH! OK, when is this Vegas Bash thingy? What?!?! A week away?!?!? Oh man! Steve then tells me, "Well, you need to get tickets, and then be out here by the 8th, anyway. Phew, a whole extra day! Chris proceeds to contact the event organizer, who promptly tells him we have missed the deadline, and no more tickets would be available (this was the organizer, not SAI). So, I write Steve a message, tell him we cannot make it, and take a few days off. It was New Years', it was the weekend. I wanted a break, so I did not even look at the GLHS for three days. Big mistake.


Monday morning, Steve calls me. Asks why we are not coming to the Bash. I tell him what happened, and he says, OK. We talk a while and hang up. A few hours later, he calls me, and lets me know that he has secured tickets, and that he really wants us to come out with the car. I call Chris, and give him the news. He tells me to 'make it happen'. Yeah, that'll be easy. Ahem. It's Monday night. I work until 3am. Tuesday, I get up, work (for real work) for 8 hours, and get in the garage for an hour, get cleaned up, go to a meeting, come back 3 hours later, and work till 2 am. Repeat on Wednesday. Thursday, I take off from work, work from 8am till 2:30am. Get the car on the trailer. Crash for 4 hours, get up, drive 900 miles to Vegas with the world's most expensive GLHS on my trailer. OK, I can think of only one other GLHS that might be worth more ;)


The ride out was excellent. Weather was perfect, traffic was light, no complaints. Along the way I meet up with Vic Dobney, and we cruise together. When we got to Kingman, AZ, Vic was noticing some problems with his 89 CSX, which had just the day before come out of long term storage. It was acting like bad bearings, or bad axle shaft, or who knows what. He wanted to get under the car to take a peek around. Not an easy thing with a CSX, but we came up with a plan. For a brief moment in time, I had two Shelby's on my single car hauler at once!



If you look closely, you can see that the CSX was indeed devouring Vic, and only had to eat his foot to finish the job. Below, Vic keeping it real, hobo style, washing up in the windshield washer bin. Blame him for the big chunks of grease that get smeared on your car the next time you get gas!



We didn't find the root cause of the issue, but did find that the rear wheel bearings were definitely loose, so Vic took everything apart and tightened them up a bit. We didn't find out what was causing the vibration at the time, but Vic has now isolated it back to a bad Fiberide wheel. The strange part is that the vibration was there the day before (not as bad), so Vic chocked it up to old, flat spotted tires. That morning he put brand new tires on, and had the wheels balanced. Still working on that one, but a word of caution on these now aging Fiberides.


While Vic worked on the CSX for a couple of hours, I set myself about putting a couple of interior trim parts on the GLHS that I was missing. Roy Venaglia in Albuquerque was kind enough to remove the parts I was missing from his GLHS, and lend them to us for the show. I picked them up from him on the way, and while Vic fiddled with the CSX, I decided to make it a regular Shelby Dodge work party, and put parts on the GLHS. We left a couple hours later, and two and a half hours after that, we finally made it to the host hotel. We were beat.



Friday morning, I was up at 6am, and out into the parking garage in short order. Steve T. met me out there a short time later, and gave me some instructions. After that, it was decal placement time. I needed to get the windshield decal put on, and the silver pin stripe on the front air dam. Vic gave me a hand, and soon we were on our way to the race track where today's part of the Bash was being held. Once we got to the track, the parade laps around the track started almost immediately. Vic was the lucky recipient of a ride in the back of Alan J.'s Turbo III Rampage. Having gotten to do this myself later in the day, I have to say it is a purely thrilling event. Much like being on a roller coaster running backwards. You pretty much look like a bobble head doll in the back of that thing. After a few laps around the track, you sort of learn the whole track layout - backwards. Yeah, it's weird, but it's awesome, too. I highly recommend it. Anyway, back to the story, Vic took some pics, and a rather dizzying video of the GLHS on the track for the first time:





After the parade laps, Steve directed me over to the SAI trailer, where they were showing off the latest in Shelby hardware. Since others were still on track, I got a couple of neat pics.



Then we headed back over to SAI to take pics there, while there was no one else around:



We came back from SAI, and Steve had me park the GLHS amongst all the latest models of Shelby awesomeness. This is where things started getting fun.



At this point, Amy B. was there, making the rounds, and Steve went over to talk with her. A short while later, they both came back over to the GLHS (where I was also standing at the time). Steve introduced her to me, and we started talking about the GLHS. Steve was really working at this point. He explained the history of the GLHS, and that this was a production version of Carroll's car. We talked a bit more, and Steve told her that the owner would be willing to lend the car to SAI to put on display for a year or two. This changed the mood a bit. It went from a cordial moment to an all out inspection. Amy opened doors, poked her head around, and very quickly came to the conclusion, "This is a really nice car." A little more discussion happened (and I felt like I was on the HOT seat during all of this!), and the deal was done. The car would go into the currently empty spot in the museum, where Shelby Lancer #001 is usually parked. WOW! Words could not contain my excitement at this point! After our conversation was done, I picked up the phone and called Chris. "Hello Chris? This is Neil. I have good news and bad news. The bad news is, I will not be able to get everything on your list taken car of. The good news is your car is going in the museum." Yeah, he was a bit happy about it, too.


After all of this, the pressure was off. Mission accomplished. And the fun kept coming. The GLHS had such a shine on it, that it looked like a brand new car. Parked right beside all these other new cars, I had more than one person come up, and ask for specs and pricing on the "new" Shelby model! I think Steve had the same thing happen to him. It was awesome! The folks buying the new Shelby Mustangs do not hold the same grudge that the SAAC guys do, and they find the Shelby Dodges to be just as interesting as a GT350 or a Cobra, for that matter. The Shelby Dodges are part of the pedigree of the new Shelby Mustangs, part of the history, and definitely part of the family. I enjoyed the rest of the event, the car show, and the great time with all of the SAI folks.




The spot in the museum where the GLHS would eventually go:




I have a long list of folks I need to thank for making any of this possible. First, I need to thank Chris Papademtrious for giving me free reign with his car (and his bank account). His excitement for this project is what kept making this car wilder all the time. A big thanks to Vic, Roy, Peter (my parts guy), and everyone else who contributed to the project. Thank you very much Amy for accepting this little s___box into the museum. You have no idea how many people you have thrilled with this! Steve, none of the latter parts of this story would have happened without you. You are an incredibly valuable part of the Shelby family, and the Shelby Dodge folks are only beginning to see the resource you are to the community. Most of all, I would like to thank my children Lindsey, William and Wesley for not crashing their bikes into the 'little black car' for over two years, and for putting up with their dad always running interference between them and the car. But most of all, I want to thank my incredibly loving, patient and supportive Wife, Donna. Without her encouragement, this car would have never been finished!

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It wouldn't be the first time someone thought my GLHS was a Rabbit with some fancy stickers!


Actually, I remember driving around the streets of center city Philly once in the summer of 1996... A convertible Cavalier pulls up beside me and the guy says, "holy crap, is that a Shelby Omni? Awesome car, man!" I chatted him up a bit while the light was red, then gave him a nice demonstration of first and second gear when it turned green. :) I saw the thumbs-up in my rearview mirror.


This reminds me of another story from my mid-90s college days... Late at night, I got into it with a green 5.0L Mustang. Well, we started getting into a bit of traffic so neither of us could really lay into it at first. But then, the highway just opened up clear, and we both floored it. We were side by side in neighboring lanes. I distinctly remember flooring it in 5th gear and pulling in front of him so quickly that I hit my brakes so he could see my brake lights, then I floored it again and passed him AGAIN. (Keep in mind he had it floored this whole time.) Anyway, I did this a a third time, and we were somewhere in the neighborhood of 125mph when we backed out of it due to upcoming traffic. The scary part is that he then tailgated me with his arm out his window, giving me the one-finger salute for about a mile. He followed me back into the city to my campus, and I got pretty spooked and ended up having to hop back on the highway to lose him.


Actually, this also reminds me that my college buddy Sean and I used to put on those cardboard Burger King crowns and go around the highways of Philly and taunt Mustangs and Camaros into street races. We'd act stupid and make funny faces and as soon as they tried to dust us off, we would just completely and utterly annihilate them.


Then there was that Ferrari in the posh western Philly suburbs that I REALLY annoyed...


Man, those were the good old days.


- Chris

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Well written Neil!! I've been following Chris' photo journey from the start but having it laid out like this is very entertaining and informative. I look forward to more. Although you "abhor" SMECs' I'm still enjoying the one you did for my Super 60 Omni over 10 yrs ago.




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Thanks for the comments, guys! Keep them coming! Car was a lot of work, and I am glad it is done, but Vic will attest to my car sickness - I am already talking to him about the next car I want to do. He says I cannot use a numbered Shelby to do it, though. Dang!




Glad to hear you are still enjoying that calibration all these years later. Yes, I do in fact dislike the SMEC, but trust me, it's purely for geeky engineering reasons more than anything else!

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I agree; well written Neil. I'm just thankful the monthly phone calls are done for now. "Hey Vic I need you to look in your stash for this part (never mind it is made of unobtanium or only found on a 1 of 500 GLHS) or can you check the junk yards around Phoenix for these pieces. I'm glad my parts warehouse and visits to your house made a difference. It is pretty cool to say I actually helped build one of the cars in Shelby's museum.


Now about that new project; The blue shelby charger may still be available I'm waiting to hear back from Chris. If anyone gets a call from Neil about their 89 CSX for sale DO NOT sell at any cost!!! Tell him to go buy a non-shelby to do his dastardly deeds on.


Thanks again to Steve and Amy for making this happen also, the museum is set up very nice and I second the thought that the wall hanging be made available as well as the slide presentation playing next to the display.


Speaking of a "little more love from AmyB"; I was warming up the fingers to post a nastygram when Amy spoke tonight during the unveiling. She mentioned the Mustangs, the Cobras and even the Series 1, I figured after last weekend she would have included us also...Then in the very next sentence she called us all out in a seperate shout out to the Dodge guys! I guess we did make an impression on her and hopefully we can continue in this positive direction. Thanks again Amy for welcoming us back into the Shelby family.

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Oh, come'on now Vic. If I didn't call you looking for parts, your phone would never ring ;) Thanks again for all your help, and putting up with my deteriorated mental condition throughout the project. And don't mind Vic. ALL YOUR CSX ARE BELONG TO US!

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Thanks so much for posting up everything you did. I know a write-up like that is a lot of work (though not nearly as much as the car itself). Well written and very informative. It was a joy for me to read it!


Chris, what a lucky GLHS owner you are! To have a car like that, and to be able to afford a restoration of that quality, is just fantastic. Neil, kudos to you for a job well done. Absolutley amazing restoration. Whenever folks talk about talented restorers now, your name certainly deserves to be included.


And congrats to both of you for having the car in the museum. Many thanks to Steve Thornton (ShelbyMotorsports) for his efforts, both in getting Neil and the car to Vegas for the Bash, and for introducing the car to Amy so it could even be considered museum worthy. I am absolutely thrilled to see the results of all of your efforts!

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Well executed, its beautiful. A freind just got back from vegas yesterday and showed me some pics before i joined and read this thread with a link from the sd mailing list. Who knew! i just finihsed getting my daughters 89 shelby daytona running as it will be getting her throught the last 2.5 years of college. Now its time for my 89 CSX to be brought back to life :)

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Thanks so much for posting up everything you did. I know a write-up like that is a lot of work (though not nearly as much as the car itself). Well written and very informative. It was a joy for me to read it!


Chris, what a lucky GLHS owner you are! To have a car like that, and to be able to afford a restoration of that quality, is just fantastic. Neil, kudos to you for a job well done. Absolutley amazing restoration. Whenever folks talk about talented restorers now, your name certainly deserves to be included.


And congrats to both of you for having the car in the museum. Many thanks to Steve Thornton (ShelbyMotorsports) for his efforts, both in getting Neil and the car to Vegas for the Bash, and for introducing the car to Amy so it could even be considered museum worthy. I am absolutely thrilled to see the results of all of your efforts!






Thanks for the kind words. Looking back it's almost impossible to believe this all happened in a matter of just a few days. I learned of the situation Monday morning January 4th and after a few phone calls to New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Arizona and Oklahoma somehow things fell into place.


I am fortunate that Carroll and Amy have enough trust in me that when I mention we should do something that concerns the Dodge cars I can count on a thumbs up. Although at times I swear its like Amy is Iacocca and I'm Carroll and she says yes just to get me out of her office :hysterical:



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