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 New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon

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81X11

81X11

Posts : 9876
Join date : 2010-06-24
Age : 46
Location : Round Rock Texas

New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon - Page 2 Empty
PostSubject: Re: New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon   New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon - Page 2 Icon_minitimeFri Jul 07, 2017 6:30 pm

Next I went to Hobby Lobby and bought a pair of wide and fine-tipped "chrome" paint markers. I then outlined all the edges of the trim with the paint markers. It looks a bit less-Buick and more Chevy-ish, but it's better than worn-off chrome trim.
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81X11

81X11

Posts : 9876
Join date : 2010-06-24
Age : 46
Location : Round Rock Texas

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PostSubject: Re: New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon   New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon - Page 2 Icon_minitimeFri Jul 07, 2017 6:38 pm

As noted earlier, the a/c and heat in the car worked, but with the automatic temp control, all the air was blowing out the floor, it would not switch to dash vents or defroster vents. The vacuum ball under the hood was replaced, but that did not fix the issue. I did NOT want to put the dash back together without getting the climate control working, so this took a month of sorting.

The ATC setup was shared with Cadillac, thankfully, as there is almost no info about it in regards to Buicks, but since the 77-79 Cadillacs are now starting to be restored (!) there was some good info on repairs and part numbers online. The Cadillac Facebook pages were a HUGE help, great helpful folks.

I was told to first check for loose or broken vacuum lines (they were fine), and then told to replace the ported-switch on the a/c programmer. I was able to get a part number and locate an NOS switch on Ebay:
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And what-do-you-know, I have working climate control!


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81X11

81X11

Posts : 9876
Join date : 2010-06-24
Age : 46
Location : Round Rock Texas

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PostSubject: Re: New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon   New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon - Page 2 Icon_minitimeFri Jul 07, 2017 6:47 pm

Next-up, I went to check/replace every dash-bulb. In addition, I found a burned-out bulb in the fuel gauge for the Fuel-Economy light. That's fixed now, and SO 70's/Dorky! Ha! When you turn the key to ON, a little red light comes on. When you Start the car, the light switches to green. If you get on the gas too hard, or goose it, the red light comes back on. So funny!
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Here is a link to a short video I did showing how the Fuel Economy gauge operates. Pardon the laughing! https://www.facebook.com/mike.massey.543/videos/a.10208322573852660/10213273522703287/?type=3

When I did the video above and posted it to Facebook, I have complained that my dash clock was dead too. I'd tried blowing it out, sprayed penetrating spray in it, but it would NOT come back to life. Within two days I have a message from someone in Minnesota that had a perfect dash clock that would part with it. Within a week, I had a working dash clock!
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Video Here: https://www.facebook.com/mike.massey.543/videos/a.10208322573852660/10213345030170929/?type=3

Coming Along!

-Mike
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81X11

81X11

Posts : 9876
Join date : 2010-06-24
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PostSubject: Re: New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon   New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon - Page 2 Icon_minitimeFri Jul 07, 2017 6:52 pm

SO about two weekends ago I finally set aside both days to tackle the stereo install, knowing this was going to be a BIG project.

First, I totally cleaned the dash, polished the gauge lenses and shifter, turn and tilt levers, and polished the wiper controls and painted the dash vent chrome edges.
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Vents cleaned and chrome edges repainted, climate control face polished, and chrome switches and knobs polished.
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Totally cleaning the a/c ducts, dash is all apart.
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81X11

81X11

Posts : 9876
Join date : 2010-06-24
Age : 46
Location : Round Rock Texas

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PostSubject: Re: New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon   New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon - Page 2 Icon_minitimeFri Jul 07, 2017 6:54 pm

Next step was to install the new dash speakers. Here are some pics of the Old vrs New dash speakers:
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Installing new dash speakers:
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81X11

81X11

Posts : 9876
Join date : 2010-06-24
Age : 46
Location : Round Rock Texas

New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon - Page 2 Empty
PostSubject: Re: New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon   New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon - Page 2 Icon_minitimeFri Jul 07, 2017 7:22 pm

Next step turned out to be a HUGE project that took half the Saturday. Original power antenna was bad, so installing this German unit.
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Anybody here speak German??
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I'm not seeing a 1978 Buick Wagon in the pics.... Hmmm...
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As noted above, this turned out to be a HUGE project. I had to jack the car up and remove the wheel, remove the lower-body chrome that runs from the front to the rear wheels, upbolt the inner-fender, the lower fender, and four bolts inside the door opening. it makes doing the antennas on the newer whale-wagons seem like a cakewalk! The boxy antenna is a PAIN! I still ended up cutting my arm all up installing it, but it IS installed and it's FAST too!

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81X11

81X11

Posts : 9876
Join date : 2010-06-24
Age : 46
Location : Round Rock Texas

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PostSubject: Re: New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon   New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon - Page 2 Icon_minitimeFri Jul 07, 2017 7:35 pm

Next on the list was installing the REAR speakers. Since 4x10s are getting hard to find, and never sounded that good anyway, I'd bought Eddie a set of good 6x9 speakers...BUT on taking the panels off in the back, I determined there was not any good way to mount these. The pillar area behind the stock speakers was both solid and shallow, and this left me with few options. It looks a bit Mickey-Mouse, but I finally settled on flush-mounting the speakers to the plastic trim itself, and then having to STILL pull out the cutting wheel to make room for the large speaker magnets. On the upside, these holes actually seem to make an echo area and which helps the bass...

Here's what I found when I removed the rear trim. The stock speakers were totally falling apart:
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New Pioneer 6x9 speakers.
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First time I've actually used the cutout from the box to mark trim for an install.
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New speaker installed on rear pillar trim. Had to mount this way because there was no way these would fit behind the trim. Looks....ok... I prefer the stock look, but this will work.
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Comparison of new vrs old rear speakers.
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Now the fun part, have to cut metal out of the rear inner pillars where the magnets will be in order to fit the new speakers.
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Marked and began cutting to make room for the new speakers. ZERO FUN job!
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Hole cut in rear pillar to make room for new 6x9 speakers. a LOT of work!
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Painted cut area with rust-resistant paint.
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Removing cut area from other pillar to make room for new rear speakers.
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Hole cut but not painted yet. I actually had to enlarge this after I took this pic:
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New 6x9 rear speakers installed.
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They look HUGE! It's sounds great...but yeah, they look BIG!
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81X11

81X11

Posts : 9876
Join date : 2010-06-24
Age : 46
Location : Round Rock Texas

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PostSubject: Re: New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon   New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon - Page 2 Icon_minitimeFri Jul 07, 2017 7:48 pm

Now it's time to finally wire-up the new stereo and put the dashboard back together:
1978 Radio wiring diagrams
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Stereo Installed and works great! I wish it still LOOKED stock, but we do what we can with what we have!
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Dashboard Restoration Complete! Worn-off Plasti-chrome around wood re-painted satin black and all edges painted with chrome pen. Climate control fixed, Kenwood stereo and all new speakers installed, all dash lights working, including glove box and ash tray. Ash tray painted, clock working, fuel-economy light working, and all instrument and control faces polished. Power antenna installed as well.
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As-noted, I made sure ALL the lights are now working:
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The odd reading light between the sun visors. I added the radio Bluetooth microphone here, and yep, my kiddo's phone connects and this works. Ugliest car around with a working Bluetooth setup! Ha!
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That odd reading light between the sun visors works too. I'd messed-up the ground when I took the video below. Was an easy fix. Works fine!
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Here is a link to a video showing the dash and radio working: https://www.facebook.com/mike.massey.543/videos/a.10208322573852660/10213402452246445/?type=3

Want to go for a ride?
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81X11

81X11

Posts : 9876
Join date : 2010-06-24
Age : 46
Location : Round Rock Texas

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PostSubject: Re: New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon   New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon - Page 2 Icon_minitimeFri Jul 07, 2017 7:58 pm

Ok one more "fix".   If you have a 70's-80's era GM car that you have to SLAM the doors on to close them, most-likely the plastic bushings on your door strikers are missing.   You see this a LOT on 1973-90 GM full-size "boxy/bulldog" trucks and suv's.    Many folks don't even know something is missing.  

This, is an EASY, FIX.

Go to Home Depot or Lowes and spend $2 for 5ft of 1/2 PEX pipe.
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You will be making homemade bushings, will need one for each door striker.  Cut pipe to just under 3/4 inch.
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Cut vertically:
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Slip PEX pipe over striker with the cut area facing inside. You can add a dab of glue if you want.   I also lube everything with white lithium grease.
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Homemade bushing installed. Door now closes easy! 5-min fix!
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Here's a quick video of this repair: https://www.facebook.com/mike.massey.543/videos/a.10208322573852660/10213428678222078/?type=3

And here are the links to the entire 78 Electra Wagon resto album (so far!) and the as-found in the salvage yard album as well.  
Resto Album: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10208322573852660.1553678810&type=3

Rescued from the salvage yard: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10208402285365398.1073742086.1553678810&type=3

Save the WAGONS folks!

-Texas Mike


Last edited by 81X11 on Fri Jul 07, 2017 8:20 pm; edited 1 time in total
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81X11

81X11

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PostSubject: Re: New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon   New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon - Page 2 Icon_minitimeFri Jul 07, 2017 8:00 pm

A fellow wagon owner installed the same Spartan-brand woodgrain I ordered for our 78 Buick wagon on his green Plymouth. For a JC Whitney item, I think it looks REALLY good! Can't wait to get the paintwork done and start re-wooding the Electra. Cool!

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http://www.jcwhitney.com/wood-grain.../p2006573.jcwx $66 per roll
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81X11

81X11

Posts : 9876
Join date : 2010-06-24
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PostSubject: Re: New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon   New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon - Page 2 Icon_minitimeSat Jul 08, 2017 2:15 am

If anyone has the contract rod and spring for the Sport steering wheel horn button, please let me know. I'd really like to install that wheel on this car!

THANKS!

-Mike


Last edited by 81X11 on Mon Jul 10, 2017 8:17 pm; edited 3 times in total
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1993 Roady-man

1993 Roady-man

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PostSubject: Re: New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon   New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon - Page 2 Icon_minitimeSat Jul 08, 2017 4:21 pm

me like. I always loved the black and wood.
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Andebe

Andebe

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PostSubject: Re: New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon   New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon - Page 2 Icon_minitimeSat Jul 08, 2017 5:05 pm

That freshened it up.
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mtrhead79

mtrhead79

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PostSubject: Re: New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon   New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon - Page 2 Icon_minitimeSat Jul 08, 2017 8:30 pm

you could paint the speaker covers to match int. i bet they would blend in and not look so big
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http://mtrhead79@aol.com
Andebe

Andebe

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PostSubject: Re: New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon   New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon - Page 2 Icon_minitimeSat Jul 08, 2017 8:42 pm

^^^This^^^ Idea
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Andebe

Andebe

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PostSubject: Re: New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon   New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon - Page 2 Icon_minitimeSat Jul 08, 2017 9:05 pm

Found you some tires...New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon - Page 2 Tires-1
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81X11

81X11

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PostSubject: Re: New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon   New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon - Page 2 Icon_minitimeMon Jul 10, 2017 8:20 pm

Andebe wrote:
Found you some tires...New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon - Page 2 Tires-1

Yep the colors sure match!   Ha!

-Mike

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81X11

81X11

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PostSubject: Re: New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon   New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon - Page 2 Icon_minitimeMon Jul 10, 2017 9:21 pm

*****I went back through this entire album and fixed all the pics that dropped off when Photobucket dropped them.    Hosted here now, and hopefully everyone can see them.   I can.  

Will have to go through a lot of old posts and "repair" them.   Thankfully I keep all my pics backed-up on a hard drive here.  

Take Care All!

-Mike
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81X11

81X11

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PostSubject: Re: New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon   New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon - Page 2 Icon_minitimeTue Jul 11, 2017 6:42 pm

I mounted the 1978 LeSabre Sport Coupe/Riviera Steering Wheel installed in the '78 Electra Wagon project last night. Sharp! Managed to find the horn contact in the HELP! section at the local parts store. Amazing! I really like the wheel, looks period correct! New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon - Page 2 19961210
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Also seems wild to me that GM went to the trouble to add the Gate Ajar light to the shift indicator on our '78 Electra Wagon, rather than up with the other idiot lights on the upper dash. It really shows up!
New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon - Page 2 19894810
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Enjoying this project!

-Mike
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68GS400

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PostSubject: Re: New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon   New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon - Page 2 Icon_minitimeSun Aug 27, 2017 9:15 pm

We had a '79 Buick Electra wagon similar to yours. I enjoy reading this progress and seeing the difference. We too had the 403 Olds engine and my wife loved the power it had. Our Electra had Buick's 'child-proof' interior: front seats were the velour so popular then and the rest was vinyl like yours. It did not have vinyl wood trim but rather a contrasting dark band where wood might have been. Our body was beige and the stripe was a bronze color. I'm thinking of doing that to my 89.

Thanks for posting the solution for Climate Control. I'm having same issue with my 89 so it might be that same control unit for mine looks similar. (BTW- the '89 dash has same big hole on right for the clock. Wish they made it in black background!)
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steel-and-fire



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Location : Staten Island, NY

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PostSubject: Re: New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon   New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon - Page 2 Icon_minitimeSun Aug 27, 2017 11:27 pm

68GS400 wrote:
 (BTW- the '89 dash has same big hole on right for the clock.  Wish they made it in black background!)

They did. I randomly saw this on ebay and snatched it up immediately. I didn't think they were this way either.

New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon - Page 2 20170814
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Andebe

Andebe

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PostSubject: Re: New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon   New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon - Page 2 Icon_minitimeTue Aug 29, 2017 6:54 pm

Nice score!
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81X11

81X11

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PostSubject: Re: New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon   New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon - Page 2 Icon_minitimeFri May 11, 2018 5:13 pm

HOLY COW! So the kid I sold the wagon to drove it hot and blew the head gaskets AND heater core....and now he's selling it, or trying to sell it, for $3500. INSANE. https://austin.craigslist.org/cto/d/1978-buick-estate-wagon/6583805356.html
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Andebe

Andebe

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PostSubject: Re: New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon   New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon - Page 2 Icon_minitimeFri May 11, 2018 11:53 pm

Thats gotta make you sick... Crying or Very sad
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PostSubject: Re: New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon   New Father-Son Project Car, 1978 Electra Estate Wagon - Page 2 Icon_minitime

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