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1978 Monza Spyder Resurrection

PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 6:50 pm
by mikebrow74
In 1978 I purchased my first new car. I was 22 years old. On my budget I could have bought a base Camaro or a loaded Monza, I chose the Monza. I ordered a Ultramarine Blue Spyder / black deluxe interior with every option except the digital clock and sunroof. In California I had to settle for a V6 if I wanted a manual transmission. I went through the first clutch at about 15,000 miles and broke the input gear and counter cluster of the 5-speed at 20,000. I had replaced the stock clutch with a 10.5 finger style clutch upgrade from Kenne Bell. I went through clutch cables about every 10,000 miles until the firewall finally collapsed at about 50,000. In 1985 I started a focused effort to restore a 1969 Corvette I had purchased a few years earlier and needed the garage space. I gave the Monza away to my niece. Fast forward 25 years and my thoughts returned to that first new car I owned. A call to my niece just in case that car was sitting in someone's back yard or field was a dead end. Over the next several years my mind drifted off and on to that Monza Spyder and an occasional look on Craig's list showed very little available. Looking through old photos I could only come up photo. And so with that background I start this journal.

Re: 1978 Monza Spyder Resurrection

PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 7:26 pm
by mikebrow74
And so in August of 2017 I happened to be browsing Craig's List and saw a 1978 Monza Spyder for sale in a small California town about 200 miles North of me. The asking price was $1000. After a few days of back and forth we settled on $800 pending a hands on visual inspection. I pulled a trailer the nearly 4 hour drive and found that the weeds had been cut down around the car to make it accessible in the field where it had been sitting for the last 5+ years. The car was pretty complete and without too many modifications other than the Cragar mags and a dash cut for a radio. The Red interior plastic was in very poor shape and the exterior urethane bumper covers were heavily pitted. It's once Silver exterior had be repainted a Black or Dark Gray years before and had seen better days. It was a complete spyder with remnants of the spyder hood decal showing through the repainted hood paint. No rust so I deemed it a solid foundation for a restoration. I aired up the tires and pulled it up on the trailer for the trip home and thumbed out forty 20-dollar bills to the now former owner.

Re: 1978 Monza Spyder Resurrection

PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 1:43 pm
by mikebrow74
A nearly pristine build sheet. Several Options to add but the big ones are there. V6, 4-Speed Transmission, Power Brakes, Power Steering, Air Conditioning, Spyder Appearance and Handling Packages.

Re: 1978 Monza Spyder Resurrection

PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 2:03 pm
by cjbiagi
Should be a nice build, you obviously have your work cut out for you but just take it step by step.

Re: 1978 Monza Spyder Resurrection

PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 1:29 am
by mikebrow74
First on the agenda will be the engine compartment. Although it it starts and seems to run fine, I have decided to replace the cam, lifters, and springs with a mild performance cam from Comp Cams. While I'm in there I'll replace the rockers, rocker shafts, and valve stem seals. A/C was disconnected so a re-manufactured compressor and a new dryer was ordered. I'll change over all seals for R134A refrigerant. Heater/Evaporator box will be removed for paint. The grommet on the blower motor lead has disintegrated so a new motor will take its place. Heater cores are still available so that will be replaced while I have the dash and interior ducting down. I'll go through the carburetor, new thermostat, all new vacuum lines, vacuum reservoir and vapor canister will be cleaned up and clear coated. New heater and radiator hoses and clamps. Blast and repaint all brackets. New power steering hoses and all belts. I'll see if I can't find some better overflow and washer reservoirs. Replace the brake reservoir cap with a newly plated one. I'm changing over to full gauges so I'll replace the temperature sensor. And finally a full service with oil, oil and air filter and tune with new plugs, wires, rotor and cap. I'll clean up and repaint everything I take off. Mice got to the hood insulation so I'll try to replace that with a cut down 1978 Camaro piece. I'm not going to remove the engine but I am repainting the car from Silver to Ultramarine Blue Metallic. My plan is to get everything cleaned up and paint the firewall and fenders, blending the new Blue into the old Silver lower where I can't get to without removing the engine.

Re: 1978 Monza Spyder Resurrection

PostPosted: Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:28 pm
by Monza Harry
Mike your overflow bottles look pretty well intact, I would just go about a clean and refresh. Some worn out "ScotchBrite" a stiff brush or 5 and maybe some cleanser and you would be real surprised at how good they can look. I did one [or two] a short while back and even though splotched with undercoating and very yellowed looked like new in about 1/2 an hour each or so. Some parts are getting hard to find in nice shape so at least give 'er a whirl. Harry :th:

Re: 1978 Monza Spyder Resurrection

PostPosted: Sat Jan 20, 2018 10:55 pm
by monzaaddict
If you decide to get rid of the black 75 door panels and they are not damaged I am interested in them.

Re: 1978 Monza Spyder Resurrection

PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2018 12:28 am
by mikebrow74
I was reading an article that described a plastic whitening process using hair bleach, a plastic bag, and sunshine. I'll clean those bottles up best I can and try the bleaching process...as soon as the sun comes back. Before and after pics to follow.

Re: 1978 Monza Spyder Resurrection

PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2018 12:36 am
by mikebrow74
monzaaddict wrote:If you decide to get rid of the black 75 door panels and they are not damaged I am interested in them.


The door panels are in reasonably good shape but I am definitely going to swap those out as soon as I find good ones with the S trim.

Re: 1978 Monza Spyder Resurrection

PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2018 12:54 am
by mikebrow74
Forty years of unattended oil leaks and a few Bubbas thrown in for good measure. Front bumper, radiator and support removed opens up full access to the front of the engine. Intake and front cover removed along with cam, lifters, valve covers, rockers and shaft. I made a diaper with a HF tarp and bunged it under the engine while on the lift to catch and recycle the solvent sprayed from a siphon air gun. Spray, scrub, spray, scrub, spray, scrub.

Re: 1978 Monza Spyder Resurrection

PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2018 11:41 pm
by Monza Harry
mikebrow74 wrote:I was reading an article that described a plastic whitening process using hair bleach, a plastic bag, and sunshine. I'll clean those bottles up best I can and try the bleaching process...as soon as the sun comes back. Before and after pics to follow.

I think I just used some "Fantastic" and various tooth and scrub brushes on mine. I just added some cleaner to the inside with water and shook the "Begeezus" out of it for the inside. Most I would have done is maybe some gentle Cleanser [Ajax Sorry I'm Canadian and can't think of an American brand to save my life right now] with a soft cloth to scrub them down, this was after the "WD-40" to remove the undercoating. Harry
OverFlow Bottle [R].jpg
Here is a sample shot
OverFlow Bottle [R].jpg (153.83 KiB) Viewed 1244 times

Re: 1978 Monza Spyder Resurrection

PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2018 11:50 am
by marco_1978_spyder
mikebrow74 wrote:A nearly pristine build sheet. Several Options to add but the big ones are there. V6, 4-Speed Transmission, Power Brakes, Power Steering, Air Conditioning, Spyder Appearance and Handling Packages.



THANK YOU FOR SHARING!! Built a day before my white formula

Re: 1978 Monza Spyder Resurrection

PostPosted: Sun Jan 28, 2018 2:12 pm
by mikebrow74
I found OEM silver paint under all that oil and grease! I bungee'd a tarp under the engine compartment that would drain to a single point in the rear. I raised the car about 2 feet on the lift and started blasting solvent, scraping and blasting with a siphon gun, scrapers and wire brush. I recycled the solvent several times and it will eventually end up in the solvent tank. After more than a hour, I removed the A/C housing, wiper motor, brake booster and other small items. I went back over areas with lacquer thinner and small brushes. The plan is still not to pull the engine, but to blend the new blue exterior paint down into the OEM silver.

Re: 1978 Monza Spyder Resurrection

PostPosted: Sun Jan 28, 2018 3:08 pm
by cjbiagi
Mike, nice work....I don't know what your ultimate plan or goal is but I can only say that this is the best time to detail everything in the engine compartment. Don't rush to put the engine back or start painting, decide how nice you would really like it to be and take it one part at a time. You have a great opportunity to really make it nice. While I did some detailing when my engine was out (in 1984) most of my detailing has been done with the engine in the car. It would be so much easier with it out.

Re: 1978 Monza Spyder Resurrection

PostPosted: Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:00 pm
by mikebrow74
That is certainly one nice engine compartment. My plan is a restoration. I have a 98.5% NCRS '69 Corvette and a modified '67 Camaro for my fast cars. With the exception of a RestoSound radio and hidden amp this will be a factory restoration in every detail like the one I drove off the dealer's lot back in 1978. My Camaro Club has a "Muscle Cars In The Park" car show in September. I have never seen a Monza there and my plan is that this one will be the first.