1970 AMC Hornet, July 2004

Everything I did this month had to be extra cheap, because I spent everything attending the 2004 AMO National in Scottsdale AZ.

In spite not having any free money I got a lot done. I neglected to take photos but I got the shifter installed. It was more of a pain in the ass than I remember from the last time I installed a Hurst shifter... and I had what was allegedly the right mounting kit.

Before I start on making it run, I needed to get the interior assembled. Before I can drive it, I need the seat in. Before the seats goes the carpet; before the carpet, insulation; before that, the shifter goes in; before the the hole in the floor for the shifter.

I had a Hurst Indy shifter (not the best, but all I could find/afford) plus an AMC-specific Mastershift installation kit. A nice big box of parts, but I ended up spending easily 6 hours bending and fitting the pushrods to make it all fit -- crawl under the car, picture/estimate the bends, extract, put in vise, heat with torch, bend, dunk in bucket of water to keep temper (the metal's, not mine, though I eventually needed such a thing), repeat, dozens of times. All those extra parts were a waste!

At the AMO National I worked out that the clutch linkage parts I have are from an earlier car, and won't work. OK, I can deal... so I figured with the shifter in it's time to drop in the driveshaft. WRONG! Front yoke splines are wrong, and the rear cross bearing cups don't fit the yoke in the back. Sheesh!

I got a good fit though; the T14 transmission (from a 1969 Javelin) had a set of bosses for a factory floor mount on the tailshaft housing; this made a solid shifter mount. The shift rods are nice and tight in the transmission hump, and I got the hole sealed very tightly so there will be no noise or heat leaking in.

My 1963 Rambler, though I love it dearly, is extremely noisy and hot. I didn't pay any attention to insulation of any kind. When I built up my Gremlin I'd learned my lesson, and didn't forget it here. This time though, I used REFLECTIX, more or less a quilt of two layers of air bubbles in tough aluminized vinyl, like bubble-wrap inside a space blanket, it's about 3/8" thick.

I climbed into the empty body shell armed with a roll of this stuff on a blazing hot Saturday; needless to say it was broiling inside. I wisely started insulating the roof (headliner); the car immediately cooled off! It's probably not great sound insulation, but it seems reasonably good, panels are audibly dampened. It's really light.

Note that I did not do the very lowest, center, portions of the floor; should the floors get wet, I didn't want to trap water under the REFLECTIX where it would rot out the floor, which happened in my Rambler, which came with jute-backed rubber mats; the floors were rotten though it was a California car with no other serious rust.

With the insulation in, the carpet could go in. I got mine from Alamo AMC, back in June. It fit pretty well; I find auto carpeting pretty frustrating to get right. There's pockets of looseness I'm not sure are the fault of the carpet. I'll keep picking at it.

With the carpet in, the seat tracks, seats, package tray, steering wheel and the dash center section could go in. (A few hours were spent on "trivial" items like brake light switch, a few dangling wires, heater cable and other details.)

I figured I'm on a roll -- time to attack some other interior parts. First, the "C" pillar "sail" panels. Like the rest of AMC interior plastic in this era, they're pretty craptacular, the plastic actually crumbling into dust, a scale on the plastic I wasn't sure how to remove. In frustration, with nothing to lose, I just wire brushed it -- problem solved! Though there's a loss of texture (that cheezy pebbled surface) in a few spots it doesn't actually look bad. I followed a brushing with the rest of the SEM vinyl paint process.

The door panels (and rear-seat side panels) were awful, warped and water-damaged (somehow), the vinyl showing heavy wear. I don't like the 70's styling anyways, so it wasn't much of a loss to me. I cut new panels out of thin masonite, using the old panels, stripped of vinyl, as templates. I've saved everything for fit-checking later. The new scheme will be white and grey vinyl, fairly plain styling, batted. I have to work out how to handle the adjacent-color seam.

Obviously I'll continue with the interior, but the car is ready to roll (literally-speaking) so it is time to start on making it run!

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