Tuesday, November 29, 2011

1989 Pontiac Formula: Rough around the edges

A few days ago I gave old girl a much needed detailing session in the garage. Having been displaced from the garage, parked curbside, the elements have taken their toll on her. As I've said many times, I plan on keeping this car, and doing either a resto-mod, or perhaps even another caged car for street/strip/road course duties.

Overall, for a car with 150,000 miles and 23 years aged, she looks pretty good. Even better from 10 feet away. Being from Michigan however, and seeing year round driving over the nearly 8 years I've owned it, the salt has left it's mark. I took some time to give the interior a good vacuum and wipe down after taking it through a car wash. I even took some wheel cleaner to the wheels and tire foam to blacken the wheels. It's the best she's looked in a very long time, but the rust and the puddle on my seat from when it rains reminds me, the end is near, and a new beginning is well deserved. Below are some pictures I took, detailing the numerous areas of concern.

Not bad 10 feet away.

The infamous paint peel, thanks to 1980's quality combined with EPA requirements that changed paint standards often.

The worst of the worst. The bottom of the driver side door is getting bad, perhaps to the point where I'll look for a replacement instead of fixing what's left. You can see the rust on the front wheel well, as well as the belt line of the door from slight rubbing.

The tail ain't too bad, as I've polished the lenses once or twice. The front and rear black bumpers are in good condition as well. While many detest the bumpers, I've always kinda liked them.

The rust you see here is only the beginning. The tops of the rear inner wheel wells are gone. When I say gone, I mean the metal has actually rusted away from the should belt anchors, leaving them unattached. It also allows water to obviously enter the car, under the interior panels. I almost removed the panels to assess the damage, but decided at this time I'd rather not know.

The rear spoiler has been trashed since I got the car, and has only got worse. Thankfully, they make a fiberglass replacement for the rubber wing.

As you can see, the passenger side door isn't anywhere near as bad as the other side. The rusted dent you may recall is from battle with a shopping cart. The damage to the fender below was much worse.

The inner wheel well on this side is gone as well. I have figured that it'll simply give me a reason to either stretch the wheel wells, or go with a mini-tub to fit some 315 or 325's on the back. While I'm sure my Pontiac will some day find it's way to the drag strip, I'm much more anxious to take it around some cones, a road course, or even more so, the salt flats, pony express, and top speed challenges.

This was the other damage from the shopping cart battle one wintry day a few years ago.

The most recent damage, from some asshole who apparently wanted to try and steal my battery. While nothing was taken, it showed me the obvious weakness of this type of lock cylinder. I'm thinking of maybe shaving the locks/handles and smoothing the sides in the future.

Top view of fender damage.

Under hood still is fairly clean, aside from some rust around the shock towers.

Vice grips, necessary for my blown out hood shocks. Same was needed to support the glass hatch.

The interior, I have to say, still looks pretty damn good! The front seats have a few minor tears, as does the top of the rear seat. But considering the number of years and wear and tear the car has been through, she's held up well over the years.

Rear hatch area, with the seat folded down. Again, not to shabby for it's age.

Both door panels even still look like new. I can't say the same for the weather stripping, which has been letting an increasing amount of water in.

Still looks fairly good, and aside from a starter that's going bad, is mechanically running like a champ. Still, the day is coming when I should park her, and give the car the attention she deserves, and a power train up to today's standards, with the ability to run with the big dogs.


Anonymous said...

Mines in the same condition, with rust in the same area's. I now unfortunately have holes completely through the front strut towers. I've had the car for 11 years though and just can't let go of it.

Edward Chesher said...

I know what you mean, its hard to let go. I'm sure I will give the car the attention it deserves one day, and perhaps build/restore it for one of my daughters. For the $1500-$2000 I would get for it, well, its worth more than that to me.