Project 88: The Teardown – Part 1

photos by: the author

Project 88 Undergoes the First Stage of Cosmetic Surgery

It’s been a little while since we’ve brought you an update on our Chevelle project, we admit, but it’s finally time to really dig deep with this one, and remove all of the old rotted sheetmetal to begin anew. Obviously before we can implement new body panels, trim pieces and a fresh interior into the car, not to mention a fresh coat of paint, we need to tear it all down.

After have been left sitting on the shelf since our initial acquisition in 1988, just letting a car sit in storage can still have an effect on sheet metal, rubber bushings and other comports. This in and of itself lends credence to wanting to tear into the car in the first place, and will probably unveil any potential flaws we will need to address down the road.

As a result, what started out as a casual frame-on rebuild and respray, has morphed into a full-on, frame-off rotisserie restoration. But before we could dismantle the obvious bodywork, we had to remove the interior.

Which is just as well, because it all needed to be replaced, anyway. All of it, including the steering wheel. The seats, particularly the front, the carpet, the headliner, the interior door panels — all of it — were trashed.

It had also became quickly apparent that some small creatures had taken up residency in the Chevelle, at various stages in the car’s life, as we had counted no less than five mice nests in the car. We spared you the photos, but trust us when we say that it was more than a little disgusting.

We also realized that our floorboards, which had been patched prior to our purchase, will need to be replaced this go around. Project Redrum is going to be a huge project, but we’re confident that she’ll be completed around Summer 2017. However, if we’re going to accomplish that rather lofty goal, we better set to work!

Yikes! Not that we care about concours judging, but our interior wouldn’t win us any brownie points with car show judges. In addition, the disintegrating driver’s seat barely keeps us in the seat and offers no support. It’s gotta go!


We started first by pulling the door sill plates. Technically, we could have waited until later for this step but considering we’d have to pull the carpet anyway, it really didn’t matter in this instance. They’re held in by simple Phillips head screws, and they were easily removed with the help of a power drill.


It was great to finally get these two out in the open. Truth be told, the passenger seat may have been repairable, but with new material already on order from CARS Inc., it made more sense to just replace it entirely. Plus, we wanted to use new foam since our originals were 46-years old.


After setting the seats on the ground, we then turned our attention to the interior door panels. Although not in terrible shape, they won’t be up to snuff once we replace the rest of the interior, so they’ll be getting ditched in favor of new hides. Removal couldn’t be simpler…



After bumping our heads onto the ripped, sagging headliner more than once, we felt published to remove it and the accompanying trim pieces next.


However, before we could pull the headliner itself, we would first have to remove the A-pillar trim that surrounds sections of the headliner.


The old rag that once served as our headliner basically disintegrated while we were removing it form its hangers, but typically, they slide onto the rails mounted in the roof frames. Ours came right off without much effort.


Turning our attention to the back seat, the bottom was a simple removal trick that consisted of a push in and lift arrangement. Which is how most cars are, but since ours has been installed by an unterminated amount of time, they put up a decent fight and the metal bracket springs holding them in seemed to have rusted. The backrest is bolted in. 


…and there you have it! A completely gutted ’70 Chevelle SS interior. In the next installment, we’ll be turning our attention to the exterior, in preparation of removing the body from the frame. See you next time!

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