Back on December 15th we reported on a General Lee Charger that had been purchased for nearly $100,000, but that turned out to be a completely butchered car cloaked in shiny paint and nice Web photos. Since that report, the owner has signed up on our boards as JB666, and he dropped off the car with Jon Sandahl and his crew at Tube Chassis Designz for a revamp. We vowed to go have a look see for ourselves, and now we have. What we saw was a car living a dual life—the good life for the parts that have been undone, redone, or built from scratch, and the bad life as exhibited by everything that Sandahl hasn’t touched yet.
Let’s check the tale of the tape:
Here’s the car in its current state. The guys at the shop are spending full days on it. The new quarter panels have been hung, the underside of the car has been seam-sealed, and much of the original butchery (including the fiberglassed framerails) has been undone, but not all of it yet. There is still lots of work to be done.
This is a shot of a piece of trim that was removed during the resurrection process. Those whispy looking pieces coming off the trim and covered with Bondo are shards of the factory vinyl roof. The original “builder” of the car Bondo’d over vinyl.
See the green tape on the studs of this trim piece? That’s what was holding it in. Not the nuts that should have been there, nope, wadded up green tape. Awesome.
We wanted to show you the quality of the work that’s being done by Tube Chassis Designz. We fantasize about being able to lay down stacks of dimes like that. Note the size of the heat-affected area around the weld. That’s total control and skill at work.
Just about the only thing not FUBAR about this Mopar was the badge. We even double checked to make sure the spelling was correct.
Here are the sail panels that Jon hand fabbed up and repaired. The originals were Bondo sculpture.
The push bar, an integral part of the “look” of a General Lee was of the same quality as the rest of the car. The crosstubes sure ring like exhaust pipe and the wimpy brackets are basically booger welded in three spots to the frame. It shakes like an old Deuce cowl when touched. It’s also not even which is tough to tell from these shots, but one side has about ¾ to 1 inch more gap than the other side.
One other funny thing about the bar being welded in is that the grille is all busted and broken and since the bar is welded on there is no way to remove the grille with the bar in the way. Bolts would have been too much work, and fixing the grille must have been out of the question.
The front fenders are headed to the scrap pile as well due to rot. It was masterfully painted over though. Nice work there.
Here’s the shifter arm which looks like something McGuyver made in the woods with rocks and gum.
Finally, here’s a look at Jon’s shop, Tube Chassis Designz. Make no mistake, Jon is not a resto guy by name. He is a drag race chassis builder and a damn good one at that, but he’s a Mopar guy at heart and this project has taken on a life of its own for him. With each step another 15 things need to be corrected, but he’s steadily working his way from back to front, mending stuff on the way.
Look for an update in a couple days with some info on the myriad of Ford projects lined up along the back wall. One of them is getting a motor that will keep Ford fanatics up and night with cold sweats, and we mean that in a good way!