My cars after cleaning - in my garage.
Weather forecast for the weekend was catastrophic after one of the driest summers we ever had. This caused some cancellations of participants and I was pretty nervous that many more would cancel their attendance. On friday evening quite a few super nice cars had already arrived at the hotel.
At the hotel on friday evening.
At the hotel parking lot.
At the Driving Tour on saturday August 25th 45 Cadillacs attended. We drove from Kremsmünster to Feldkirchen where we had lunch at a very nice restaurant at the shores of a small lake.
At the restaurant parking lot.
Super nice 1953 Eldorado at the driving tour.
We then continued our tour to Linz where the cars were displayed underneath an art museum where the cars drew a lot of attention.
Stop at the Lentos Museum in Linz
On the way back to Kremsmünster it started to rain heavily and it did not stop until sunday noon.
The special exhibition - 1967-1970 Eldorado
Elvis Presleys 1972 Station Wagon.
The first time we had an ambulance at the show. Loved it very much!
Armin won Public Favorite and the 1951-1960 category with his 1953 Eldorado which he had been restoring to perfection during the last 12 years.
The 2018 Cadillac BIG Meet spot
My wife and my son Elliot during filming
Me and Remo, the new owner of our old Roadmaster.
I could not keep both of my Roadmasters as I already own too many cars and I do not have the necessary funds to keep it alive. I'm glad that I found a great new owner for it.
With tears in my eyes I took a last video of the car departing. I know - I'm way too much attached to my cars and I hate seeing them go…
A short video of the Roadmaster driving away.
All the original factory markings were still in place
I decided to make sure that all the rust was gone and that I wanted to give it a new undercoating to protect it as best as possible should I ever encounter wet roads.
The first step was to have the undercarriage dry ice cleaned. During this process all the old undercoating gets removed completely and even most of the old paint was removed from the frame.
You can see the result of this process in the video below - it shows the car right after the first clean up - before painting and removing some more surface rust:
After that I chemically removed all the remaining surface rust completely with rust removing gel which leaves only perfectly clean and rust free metal behind.
The new and the old Roadmaster together
The next step was to make sure that the metal was 100% clean for the paint to stick perfectly. I used "Marine Clean" and "Metal Ready" to prep the bare metal after I had wiped everything with acetone multiple times until all rags stayed clean after wiping.
For the repaint of the undercarriage I wanted to make sure to use a paint that would be able to prevent rust and chipping. After a lot of research I found a company called "Timemax" which produces some fantastic rust preventive paint and special undercoating products. They won some long term tests in a classic car magazine. Their products are also used on ships.
I bought their undercoating paint and sprayed three coats onto the undercarriage and frame. In the wheelhousings I also applied two coats of their rock hard stone guard which I had already used on my 74 as well.
Some of the Timemax products which I used.
The first coat of fresh paint.
The undercarriage after the repaint. The exhaust system is still the original one installed by the factory and the only part left with some corrosion.
After I had finished the undercarriage, I sprayed a special hot wax into all the cavities of the undercarriage and the rest of the car. Now there is no chance for rust to form anywhere ever.
Afterwards I cleaned and detailed the rest of the car.
The paint got a full compounding where I could remove all the scratches and swirls and afterwards I polished the car to perfection and sealed the paint with 3 coats of a highly praised ceramic coating by "Carpro" called "CQuartz UK 3.0"
I also fully cleaned all the rims and sealed them too and installed white wall tires from my old Roadmaster which are only 2 years old. I also removed the spoiler the previous owner installed to the rear window and changed the brake fluid and oil.
The car is back on its feet with "new" tires installed.
All that is left now is to get the dents out on the rear quarter panel, and repaint the rear bumper. After that the car should again look like it just left the factory. I wanted a nice driver, but as it turns out the car will be in show quality condition once I´m finished, and I will have a hard time driving it, as it will be so perfect…
The finished car in the shop.
After the car was handed over to me I was quite nervous to drive the car home through the Austrian Alps. But after each mile I got less nervous and eventually I enjoyed the ride into the sunset.
The Eldorado when I drove it to the shop on November 10th 2017
The exact same spot exactly 6 months later.
It took the shop only 6 months to finish this big project. I think this is quite a short time for a job of this quality.
Rolling out of the shop.
On the way home through the scenic mountain side.
A short photo stop at the shores of Lake Hallstatt
When I arrived back home at 9pm I noticed that the power antenna did no longer work, and that the rear speaker was dead.
As I cant stand if something does not work I tore the dash apart and took the radio out to repair it. At 4am everything was back together again and works as it should.
When I arrived at home I tore the dash apart to repair the radio.
I will still have to repair the warning light in the left door, which still worked in the shop, but somehow is inoperative now. The bulb is good, there seems to be an issue with ground. Could be the door jamb switch or a loose wire inside the door. Looks like I will have to remove the door panel again…
The quality of work Bernd Preussler and his team did is the best I have ever encountered, and I cant praise them enough.
This was the first restoration where I did not have to do any work by myself and which was fully done by a shop. My part was to find all the parts that were needed.
Now I will take over myself once again.
You can find a huge image gallery showing all the steps of the restoration here.
The small team that restored my Cadillac. Thank you so much for your great work! You are my heroes!
Michael Hammer, Bernd Preussler, Angela Steiner (from left to right)
The almost finished car still in Bernds Restoration Shop
The cut out front floor.
Reproduction decals were not reproduced very accurately:
All the reproduction decals I bought until now - for all of my cars-, look similar to the original decals at first sight, but are different in many details if you look closely. The company reproducing them did not care to use the same font, font size, letter sizing and spacing or in some cases even the same size of the decals.
If you order the 1967 trunk jacking instructions from any of the big suppliers, you will get the one from a 1969 Eldorado, which is white instead of silver, and larger than the original ones and shows a 69 Eldorado. If you order the one from a 68 Eldorado, you get one for a 67 Eldorado showing a 67 Eldorado.
If you order a 1967 Eldorado trunk jacking instructions you will get this one from OPGI or Rubber the Right Way. It clearly is not for the 67 Eldorado.
This is how the 67 trunk decal should look like, but it is listed as a 68 decal…
Weatherstripping does not fit properly or is not available anywhere:
A big pain in the a** is that most weatherstripping you can buy for a 1967 Eldorado does not fit properly, no matter who produces them. It looks very similar to the original gasket until you try to install it into the car, where you will find some differences, which make it impossible to install the gaskets easily. You will have to modify most of what you get. This is very frustrating and time consuming. There is no correct or fitting windowfelt kit available for you 67 Eldorado. Nobody is reproducing it! Take care of your original ones! Also some other gaskets are just not available anywhere.
This cowl gasket is not available anywhere - you will have to reuse your old one…
None of the sweep moldings and gaskets are available as a reproduction.
Rear rocker panel molding clips - the ones from a 1966 Pontiac GTO will fit perfectly:
To be able to properly re-paint the rear rocker panel extension on the 1967 Eldorado, you have to remove the stainless trim and remove all the molding clips, which you cant remove without destroying them unfortunately. If you look for ones for a 1967 Eldorado, you wont find any. So I had to do a lot of research and luckily found out that the ones from the 1966 Pontiac GTO are exactly the same ones as used on the 67 Eldorado. If you buy them make sure to order the installation tool too. Otherwise you cant install them properly.
The clips before removal. You cant remove them without destroying them.
I bought 8 of these clips from OPGI - other sources have them as well, but they were the cheapest I could find.
Rear window trim moldings are hard to find and expensive for cars without a vinyl top:
The rear window trim on my car unfortunately had some rust through holes and my restoration shop said that they do not want to repair them. Especially the two small corner parts in the top corners of the rear window were beyond being repairable. I contacted all the usual Cadillac part vendors, but nobody had the smooth surface moldings available. 3 different moldings were used for the 1967 - 1970 Eldorados:
The moldings after sandblasting - they had some rust through areas unfortunately…
As we could not find any affordable replacement moldings the shop repaired the original ones - which is lots of work.
Ebay prices for used smooth rear window trim moldings. Crazy! Some sellers think they are made out of gold…
Factory sheet metal fit was terrible at the front fender covers and the taillight housings from the factory:
If you look at any 1967 Cadillac Eldorado, you can see that the front fender covers wont fit properly on any car. The designers did draw the fenders without these covers, but the factory could not mass produce a fender in this shape as one piece. Thats why on the 67 they settled to install a separate cover/filler as a compromise. Why they did not manage to produce a better fitting cover is beyond my knowledge. In 1968 they installed the turn signal lights instead of the fender cover.
My car was no exception from the ill fitting covers which my restoration shop did not want to accept. So they took the challenge and with some bodywork involved they made the pot metal fillers fit MUCH better. Some bending was involved, but you have to be extremely careful not to break the fragile pot metal covers.
The fit of the taillight housings also isn't very good and it has some gaps, which would be unacceptable by todays production standards. There is not much you can do to make the rear taillight housing fit perfectly - all you can do is try to adjust it a little bit during installation, but whatever you do there will still be some not so pretty gaps.
The front fender cover at the restoration shop - it will fit MUCH better now than it did when it left the factory.
The front fender cover at the restoration shop - it will fit MUCH better now than it did when it left the factory.
Finding the correct color is difficult with todays paint:
Paint back in the days used different pigments, which are no longer available with modern paints. Thats why the old formulas have to be “translated" for the modern paints used today. My shop is using Autocolor (PPG) paints and they got the formula and the "Atlantis Blue Firemist" paint through PPG´s archive. Bernd - the shop owner - painted a sample with the paint they provided and compared it to the factory color sample we had from the "1967 Cadillac Exterior Color Selections Dealer Book" we had as a reference. It did not match very well… So Bernd changed the paints formula slightly and after 10 different samples painted, he found a perfect match for the 1967 Cadillac optional color "Atlantis Blue Firemist", which we then used to paint the car.
The shop had to mix and paint 10 samples until the color looked right.
1967 Cadillac Exterior Color Selections Dealer Book
The hood is huge - and thats why most 1967 Eldorados have a light dent in the center of the hood:
If you sit on the steering wheel of an 1967/68 Eldorado and look at the hood and look very closely at the center of the huge hood you will most probably see a very light dent. At least it was there on all the 67/68 Eldorados I saw in real life so far. Most of the owners did not notice it. You can only see it from a certain angle. I now know why it is there. The hood is huge and will bend under its own weight. The center has a support brace to which the sheet metal is attached with glue/body sealer. Over the years this glue/sealer will shrink and the sheetmetal can flex more and will bend down slightly causing a light dent.
You can see how huge the hood really is.
The center support brace is glued to the sheet metal and this glue shrinks over the years.
The cowl´s vents originally were painted silver:
Most restored/repainted 1967 Cadillac Eldorados have their vents at the cowl painted in body color. When these cars were new though, the vents were painted silver to look like the chrome vents, which were used on the regular Cadillac models in 1967. On the "regular" 67 Cadillacs the vents were a separate chromed piece attached to the cowl, whereas on the Eldorado the vents are integrated into the cowl. This silver paint was just sprayed over the body color - probably by using a stencil and it did often wear or flake off over the years. My car was still completely untouched, and had about 80% of its original silver paint at the vents still intact. At this restoration we reproduced what Cadillac did at the factory, and painted them silver again. It's an extra step, but these little details make a huge difference for me when it comes to authenticity.
Angela masking off the vents.
After painting the vents silver.
Replacement trunk cardboard kits come in the wrong color:
All trunk cardboard kits you can buy will come as a flat black cardboard. The original material was more greyish with a pattern on it. So the flat black cardboard looks completely incorrect. Luckily Bernd came up with the idea to reproduce the original look by painting the boards. He did an awesome job matching the original look of the cardboard.
This is how the original trunk cardboard looked like.
Bernd and Angela managed to paint the flat black reproduction cardboard to look like the original one again.
Replacement carpets do not fit without a lot of trimming:
When you buy a pre-cut carpet you might think that you just have to install it. Unfortunately it's not that easy… You will still have to do a LOT of cutting and trimming to make it fit. Very annoying and time consuming work…
Even precut carpets will need a lot of trimming and cutting to fit.
Trunk to bumper cover is not available:
Take good care of your original trunk to bumper cover. Its made of a certain plastic and tends to break in some areas. Mine had a few tears and was broken. The shop is fixing it up now with epoxy and will sand it down and repaint it. Its lot of work that has to be done as replacements are not available. I could not even find a good used one.
The trunk to bumper cover during fixing it up
Change the color of the car or not? Or just leave it original with some patina?:
I had a very hard time when it came to decide if I should change the original color of the car from "Grecian White" to "Atlantis Blue Firemist".
Of course its always a matter of personal taste which color one likes best. Normally I'm an extreme purist when it comes to the topic of how a car should be painted, and generally I always prefer a car in the color it left the factory. I never understood how anyone could change the color of a car during a restoration. I discussed this topic with friends and fellow Cadillac owners for months. Most said that I should change the color to a color I like.
"Grecian White" is a very neutral and elegant color, but for me personally it was the least attractive color Cadillac had to offer in 1967. My favorite colors for the 1967 Eldorado are "Atlantis Blue Firemist" and "Doeskin". My 1967 DeVille is painted in "Doeskin" (Code 44), so I did not want another car in this color. When the restoration started, I still was not sure which color I would choose, but I had a very strong tendency to paint it in its original white color again…
The turning point was when I first saw the car in bare metal. All the original white paint was removed for the repaint. There were no traces of the original paint left anywhere. Somehow it was sad to see all the original paint gone. The car felt completely different, and I had the feeling that I extinguished the cars history and that I should not have started a restoration at all. But when I saw all the damage around the front and rear windows and the pictures of the chipped paint, I realised that it really was time to save the car, and that the repaint was not just a cosmetic improvement.
Some people suggested to just keep the car completely original and live with the patina. I do not have a problem with patina as long as it wont affect the cars "health" and the bodies rigidity with rust holes. On my car it was time to act though… Some areas were already too much damaged to just leave them alone. The few people I showed my car prior to the restoration never noticed the cars fantastic interior, the straight body, or the technical condition, or how fabulously it drove, but always pointed out the rust around the rear window and the poor repair attempts of a previous owner. Thats why I never showed the car anywhere. Everyone looked down at the car due to its obvious flaws it had and nobody noticed all the positive things this car had to offer.
When I saw the car "naked" in the restoration shop after all the paint was stripped, I suddenly did no longer see the point of keeping the cars original color. Even if I would paint it white again, it would no longer be original with its modern paint. If I would paint it in a color I like more, it would also no longer be an original car, but at least I would enjoy looking at the car much more. At this turning point I decided to have it painted Atlantis Blue Firemist… I´m sure that there will be times where I will look at old pictures and regret my decision, but most of the time I will enjoy its fantastic new color.
The CLC (Cadillac LaSalle Club) will not deduct any points for a color change when the car is judged, as long as you change the color to a correct factory color of its model year…
The moral of this story: If the car originally would have had any other color than white I would not have changed the color. If certain areas would not have been too much gone I would have left the car completely original and have lived with some patina, but enjoyed an all original car…
One of the many reasons why there was no way around a repaint of the car.
One of the many reasons why there was no way around a repaint of the car.
Unfortunately the area around the rear window had some rust holes which had to be repaired. No way to just leave it that way.
In the paintbooth with fresh paint.
First time in the sunlight, with the first trim parts already installed.
This showed up when the carpet and the seats were removed…
After removing the black mess, the weak metal and some rust holes showed up.
Unfortunately the original floor had to be cut out…
Big hole in the floor.
A new custom made patch panel is fitted and will be welded in.
The new custom made patch panel as seen from the underside.
The new panel is completely patched in.
Seam sealer was applied like it was done at the factory. In the factory they just painted over the seam sealer. We will do the same here.
This car came with factory applied rubberized undercoating which was re-applied over the patched floor.
The old heater core is out - it had a small leak. Luckily the coolant did not drain into the car but escaped through the drain hose on the firewall.
My friend Lucky working in the wheel housing…