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Offline Filthy Filbert

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St. Louis Blues Cuda
« on: September 14, 2021, 04:40:00 PM »
Well, I figure it's finally time to create my thread to document the process.  I'll start by introducing the car, how I acquired it, and how I came to know it's history.    Then I'll document it's current state and  show the evidence to validate what it is.   

Back in 2003 I was in my junior year at the United States Air Force Academy.   USAA provides cadets with a zero interest cash "career starter loan" to cadets who have entered their junior year and as such, have made a commitment to serving in the Air Force in some way. --The first 2 years are "commitment free" meaning that you can decide that the military is not for you and you can drop out and go home, owing nothing to the government.   Once you begin your junior year, you are at that point committed; you will either finish your degree and serve as an officer, or you will drop out and serve your commitment as an enlisted.   Anyway, the loan was zero interest until graduation, then once commissioned, it began earning 1%APR and auto-payments to pay it back. 

Anyway, I used my cash loan to purchase this red 1970 Plymouth Barracuda Gran Coupe, a 383 2bbl automatic car.   It was at a "dealership" in Columbus Oh that only sold antique vehicles, so I had my dad go check it out and make sure it was worth what they were asking.   

He missed a few things and a few other things popped up once I started putting some miles on the car.   I ended up doing a complete brake job on all 4 corners, new tires, new electronic ignition system, re-wired the dash, tail lights, and headlights with new reproduction wire harnesses, new wheel bearings....all kinds of stuff.

I did all this during my 3 week summer vacation before my Senior year.   Almost got it finished before I had to return to Colorado Springs.

So, my dad wrapped up a few things, had new exhaust pipes hung so you could drive it without getting carbon monoxide poisoning from all the fumes coming up out of the rusty pipes; and he then drove it the 20 hour drive out to Colorado for me and flew home.

The cuda was my "daily driver" for that senior year, where I left it parked outside in the cadet parking lots, drove it in rain, snow, etc.   

After graduation, I bought a V6 Dakota for a daily driver and the cuda became a weekend toy.

Here's a few pics of the car when it was in Colorado, taken with a fancy disposable cardboard camera.

(More to come later...time to go pick up the kids from swim practice!)

Linkback: https://forum.e-bodies.org/your-restoration-project-roseville-moparts/10/st-louis-blues-cuda/22936/

Offline cuda hunter

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Re: St. Louis Blues Cuda
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2021, 05:59:55 PM »
Sweet!  Looks like an awesome car so far!  I'm in for the story and build.   :popcorn: :pixiepop:
"All riches begin as a state of mind and you have complete control of your mind"  -- B. Lee

Offline headejm

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Re: St. Louis Blues Cuda
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2021, 06:24:25 PM »
 :popcorn:

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Re: St. Louis Blues Cuda
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2021, 06:24:25 PM »

Offline Marty

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Re: St. Louis Blues Cuda
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2021, 07:12:45 PM »
Nice over the hood shot. :yes:

Offline Filthy Filbert

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Re: St. Louis Blues Cuda
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2021, 05:17:11 AM »
Nice over the hood shot. :yes:

Thanks!   That's driving up the hill to the cadet area at the air force academy

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Re: St. Louis Blues Cuda
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2021, 06:02:31 AM »
Fast forward a few years, around 2006 while stationed at Barksdale AFB, Louisiana; the engine started running really rough.   I had burnt 3 exhaust valves when the brake booster blew out the diaphragm and leaned out half the manifold.    By this time, I knew I had multiple rust issues that needed fixed: trunk floor, quarter panels, and I knew the cowl had rust because my feet would get wet when it rained.  So I began the process of tearing it down to fix those issues.   

Started with the trunk floor and did a piss poor job at it.   At that time, the only thing available were the 2-piece units and they fit like garbage.   I didn't yet know very many tricks to get them to fit better and figured I'd learn as I went, hoping that by the time I got to the exterior stuff, I'd have enough skill to make it look half way decent.    Needless to say, the trunk floor is on my list to Re-do now that there are better panels, and I have better skill.   (Or, I send it to the AMD installation center and let the experts do what they do best.  I've been in communication with them over the last few days trying to put together an accurate quote/estimate)

A little more about the car:
I then had learned what a build sheet was, what a Fender tag was, and was disappointed that I had neither.   I had seen instances of Vitamin C orange under the red, so I figured my car was originally an orange car that a Chevy guy painted red (Engine bay was black).  There were pieces of interior that were blue painted black and I figured that with those pieces, combined with the mess of wires from under the dash, that there had been a dash fire at some point, and they replaced it with junk yard parts painted black to match the rest of the interior.   The engine had an AC compressor on it acting as an idler pulley and there were holes in the firewall for the AC lines, along with the controls in the dash that indicated AC--so I figured the car originally had AC.  Beyond that, I really had no clue what other options it would have had.  The engine and transmission were also not original to the car. 

I knew at that point that there wasn't much reason to attempt an "all original back to stock" type restoration because without the build sheet/fender tag there was no way to validate anything, and I had plans to paint it back to orange since I liked that color better, and then modify some things to make it more fun to drive.

During my assignment to Barksdale, I was in the BX one evening and scanning through an issue of Mopar Collectors Guide when I noticed a classified ad for someone looking for their original engine block, and what struck me was that his VIN was identical to mine down to the last digit of the sequence number.  his car was 6 or 7 away from mine.   I bought that issue figuring I should call the number in the ad and chat with him to see what options his car had, figuring mine would have been similar.   

But I never called him.

Later, I sent my VIN to Barry Washington up in Alaska hoping that maybe he had collected my build sheet or fender tag at some point, since he was building the Hamtrack registry and people were sending him extra build sheets that they found in their cars, fender tags, things of that nature.   When he got back to me he said "I don't have anything on your car, but I do have information from a gentleman in Kentucky with a VIN nearly identical to yours.   His car is a documented St. Louis Blues Cuda, and yours might be one as well since it's so close to his.  They were a very rare V02 paint code, indicating a 2-tone paint job: a blue roof, blue interior, and a white body.  You should look for evidence of blue or white paint"   

Here's the crazier part... It was the same exact VIN as the one from the MCG classified ad that I bought a year prior! 

That's when it all clicked.    What I thought was primer on the rear package tray, under the orange paint in the engine bay, etc. wasn't primer, it was white paint!    The blue parts on the interior that were painted black were not junkyard replacements but originals to the car.  To confirm, I went out and started wet sanding on the quarter panel and burned through the red to reveal white paint.  The only thing I didn't see was blue paint anywhere.    I did however, notice filler in the trim holes on the quarter panel from the vinyl top trim that was used to separate the 2 colors.

During the disassembly process when I removed the trim from the roof drip rails is when I found it.   The masking line from where the factory painted the roof blue after painting the body white. 

At this point, I dug out the MCG issue that I kept, and called the number in the ad.   "This is going to sound strange, but I'm calling about the ad you put in MCG awhile back..."

We talked for awhile, he took down my VIN and looked through his records.  He had contacted the dealership in St. Louis and learned that the records from sales were trashed just a few years prior, but he did say that he had information from the title agency who handled the title work and that my VIN had gone through the same agency.

He sent me a copy of his fender tag for me to use as a reference since my car very likely had the same exact options as his.  I've toyed with the idea of making a copy but with my VIN, but then again, I wouldn't want to be accused of passing off a fake.   So, until my lost fender tag magically appears...   


Here's a couple pics showing the paint colors discovered during disassembly, as well as the rust that was discovered in the quarters....or should I say--the 2" thick chunk of bondo that fell off during trunk floor/extension removal. I still have that chunk somewhere in the garage after all the moves.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2021, 08:10:47 AM by Filthy Filbert »

Offline Filthy Filbert

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Re: St. Louis Blues Cuda
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2021, 06:55:55 AM »
After replacing the trunk floor, I went through the rear suspension.  Ordered a new center section from Cass aka Dr. Diff.   Replaced the 741 case that has a 2.76:1 open diff gear set in it with a 489 case, 3.91 gears, and a sure grip.   I replaced the rear springs as well.   

Then, it was time to move.   2007 the active duty Air Force went through a reduction of the officer ranks.  Moved back to Ohio, found a slot in the part-time reserves and continued to serve in that capacity. 

In 2008 I took a position with GE as a 3rd shift production supervisor, and we moved again due to the job location.  During the market crash of 08--4 months after we moved to take the new job...I was laid off.   Luckily found a position within a month at a new company but had to move to 2nd shift.   Between working 2nd shift and traveling 3 hours to Pittsburgh for drill weekends...and being the squadron ops officer, I often would go to the primary and the secondary drill weekends in the same month...I never saw the family.    And at this point, we had 2 pre-school aged children that my wife was taking care of on her own.   After my deployment to Afghanistan, I chose to come home and be a stay-at-home parent until the kids went to school. 

Surprisingly, the loss of my income didn't affect us too much.   We saved over $1000 a month in child care, I was not driving 45 minutes to work every day, we ate out much less because we had time to cook dinner, and our tax bracket was lowered so the wife kept more of her income.    However, extra spending cash was less abundant, so during this period of time, all I really got done was replacing the driver side quarter panel and removed the left.

to save money at the cost of time, I made a bunch of patches to weld in and replace the outter wheel house, patched a thin spot in the rocker under the quarter.    Decided that really sucked to do, and that I would just buy full panels when they were available.

Here's a couple pics of that process:

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Re: St. Louis Blues Cuda
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2021, 06:55:55 AM »

Offline Filthy Filbert

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Re: St. Louis Blues Cuda
« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2021, 07:02:15 AM »
Still not great, but much better than the trunk floor experience.   I figure it's at least as good as factory, good enough to use some seam sealer and filler during block sanding... :haha:


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Re: St. Louis Blues Cuda
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2021, 07:19:52 AM »
Kids went to school and in 2014 I went back to work.   This time, I figured I should save up and pay someone else to do the body work because I just wasn't that great at it...and I didn't really enjoy it.   I'd much rather build engines, suspensions, build brake kits, etc.   Plus, with the new job taking up so much time, I didn't have time to work on the car anyway.   

In 2015, I about had enough money saved up to start shopping around for someone to do the rest of the panel replacement work.  And decided that working 6 and 7 days a week was not a good long term solution for me.   My employer at the time showed no signs of decreasing their demands of hours worked in a week, so I quit.   

Went on a few interviews for engineering roles, and was told that my BS degree from USAFA (which included course work in Mechanical engineering, Civil engineering, Aeronautical engineering, Electrical engineering, Astro engineering, Chemistry, Physics, Calculus, etc) was not adequate to call myself an engineer because my major was "Pre-law"   So...having earned additional VA benefits from my deployment to asscrackistan, I  went back to school for a 2nd bachelors degree.    This time at THE Ohio State University to study Welding Engineering.  (A blend of Mechanical, Electrical, Materials engineering with a healthy dose of metallurgy/chemistry)   Again, between paying half of my tuition out of pocket while on 1 income, money was tight.  During studying, time was short.    Oh, and by the way, right in the middle of all this....we decided to buy a vacant property down the road, sell our house, put everything into storage, rent an apartment, and build a new house.    Again...the Cuda was put on moth balls.

Graduated in May 2020, and now work for a company making air tanks for commercial truck industry.   Built a pole barn for tractor/attachments, and general storage, and cleared out the garage to put a focus back on the Cuda.    Just bought a couple thousand dollars of replacement panels from AMD.  Picked them up at the Mopar Nats in August, and am now back at it.    I'm going to fully disassemble the car this time instead of trying to just work on one little area at a time.   Gonna get the car media blasted, and start at the firewall and work back -- with the goal of building a solid foundation for a car that I plan to drive the snot out of.    (And as mentioned previously, I may just send the car to AMD and let them hang their panels on the car using much better equipment and experience.

« Last Edit: September 15, 2021, 08:07:49 AM by Filthy Filbert »

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Re: St. Louis Blues Cuda
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2021, 07:25:17 AM »
more pics.

I have a lot more still, but mostly to document all the evidence of the car having a blue interior, blue roof, and white body.  I'll post a few of them later...they're not accessible yet.

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Re: St. Louis Blues Cuda
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2021, 07:26:37 AM »
Side note:

how does one stop certain photos from posting upside down?   when viewed on the computer screen prior to uploading, they are correct.  Once they are uploaded and posted, they invert.

Why, and how do I prevent that?

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Re: St. Louis Blues Cuda
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2021, 07:26:37 AM »

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Re: St. Louis Blues Cuda
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2021, 08:03:25 AM »
Side note:

how does one stop certain photos from posting upside down?   when viewed on the computer screen prior to uploading, they are correct.  Once they are uploaded and posted, they invert.

Why, and how do I prevent that?

What I do is when they are on your computer, just crop them a little bit, then save them, and post...seems to work for me  :dunno:
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Offline RzeroB

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Re: St. Louis Blues Cuda
« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2021, 01:00:37 PM »
Fascinating story FF ... and exceptionally well written I might ad!  :clapping:

Being here in St Louis, I've heard some about the "Blues Special" cars sold through the Glendale Chrysler dealership (which surprisingly is still in business). From what I understand, most of them were 318 cars with only a handful of them being 383 cars (like yours). Looks like you have yourself a relatively rare piece of history. Hopefully some documentation for it will surface for you at some point.

Thanks for the great post!!

BTW, do we call you "Filthy" or "Filbert"??
Cheers!
Tom

Tis' better to have owned classic Mopars and lost than to have never owned at all (apologies to Alfred Lord Tennyson)

Offline 318Stroker

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Re: St. Louis Blues Cuda
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2021, 01:15:54 PM »
The Blues Cudas were actually sold at all 9 local St. Louis C-P dealers. Glendale is the last one remaining in business.

Offline Filthy Filbert

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Re: St. Louis Blues Cuda
« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2021, 01:28:43 PM »
BTW, do we call you "Filthy" or "Filbert"??

haha.   Most folks call me Tom.   The "Filthy Filbert" moniker came from the Dakota RT guys.   We were at the national Dakota show, chilling in the parking lot at the hotel drinking beers and bench racing, talking about mods we've done, want to do, etc.    One of the other guys looked at the brakes on my Dakota and said "Damn Filbert, those brakes are Filthy"   another dude said "Filbert's Filthy Brakes"  which evolved into "Filthy Filbert"   :dunno:

Now I have an LLC that I've set up to sell the brake kits under.   So far only offer  97-04 Dakota kits; but may try to come up with something for older Mopars.  I'll definitely make a kit for myself, but between wilwood and Dr. Diff, the market is pretty well covered in terms of 'big brake kits'



Over on Moparts I went by "70Cuda383" and almost used it here for recognition from any overlapping members, but decided to go with something that's more in alignment with my actual name. 


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Re: St. Louis Blues Cuda
« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2021, 01:28:43 PM »

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