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Ben's '59 Panel Project
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ernstben
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2016 8:25 am    Post subject: Ben's '59 Panel Project Reply with quote

This summer, our local club's newsletter had a little blurb about a panel that someone in California was looking to sell to someone in Michigan as he was moving out this way. Based on a tiny pixelated photo, I offered the seller a price I'd be willing to pay and a couple months later, she made the trek from L.A. to Michigan. I wasn't really looking for this sort of project, but it found me, so here we go... Very Happy

Here's the only photo I had to go on pre-purchase:

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Here's a huge photo-dump of her arrival this morning and what I have to work with:

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'63 Ghia Coupe Project
'59 Panel Project
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Last edited by ernstben on Fri Nov 25, 2016 11:40 am; edited 1 time in total
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EverettB Premium Member
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2016 8:31 am    Post subject: Re: Ben's '59 Panel Project Reply with quote

Looks like a good start, mostly full of dirt and crap?

Is the radio area hacked for a modern radio like a CD player?
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Eric&Barb
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2016 8:33 am    Post subject: Re: Ben's '59 Panel Project Reply with quote

Nice! Would de-rust and paint the underside first. Then put it back together mechanically, windows, engine, FF trans, interior, flush out the rockers/nose/frame for coating, and just drive it.
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ernstben
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2016 9:15 am    Post subject: Re: Ben's '59 Panel Project Reply with quote

EverettB wrote:
Looks like a good start, mostly full of dirt and crap?

Is the radio area hacked for a modern radio like a CD player?


REALLY full of dirt and crap. He slept in it from time to time throughout the '70s until the engine "went bang" in 1981. Will have to do an autopsy to see what that's all about.

Yes... sigh, the radio hole is cut. Rolling Eyes Although the PO has owned this since the 70's, he hadn't actually seen it in a decade or more as it was being stored outdoors in a private lot. You can see it here:

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'63 Ghia Coupe Project
'59 Panel Project
'56 Ragtop Project


Last edited by ernstben on Fri Nov 25, 2016 11:41 am; edited 1 time in total
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ernstben
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2016 9:17 am    Post subject: Re: Ben's '59 Panel Project Reply with quote

Eric&Barb wrote:
Nice! Would de-rust and paint the underside first. Then put it back together mechanically, windows, engine, FF trans, interior, flush out the rockers/nose/frame for coating, and just drive it.


That was my initial plan, but now that I'm cleaning it out, I'm torn... I'm going to re-assess after I get a better look at things. Part of me wants to just go for it and make it nice (paint, camper interior, etc).
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Eric&Barb
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2016 9:23 am    Post subject: Re: Ben's '59 Panel Project Reply with quote

ernstben wrote:
Part of me wants to just go for it and make it nice (paint, camper interior, etc).


Totally understand that. Just have seen way too many projects that were too huge for the owner, end up not getting done. Then sold off as a project started pile. Previous mentioned items will be big enough for most. Plus not hard to pop out the windows later to do body work/paint as the next bit.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2016 9:47 am    Post subject: Re: Ben's '59 Panel Project Reply with quote

Cool Bus! Where did it live for so long (what region and climate)? It looks good, a nice start to move on from. Lots of folks would like to start off with that. Hopefully you got it for fairly cheap. Unless you're super rich, this will be a long slow project. Tackle one process at a time while moving towards the finish line. It'll gobble up your fun money for quite a while bringing it back to snuff, but in the long run, you'll get everything you spend and more back if you ever need to sell. Buses aren't cheap anymore, and they aren't gonna get cheaper in the future, quite the opposite IMHO. But you gotta be honest with yourself and decide if you "love" this this project Bus, and if you really want to be a "Bus driver". You've got a decent project Panel (I own a '59 DD Panel myself), the rest is up to you now!

If not, cut bait and run. We kinda hope you join the club. Lots of help and advice here.

Bill
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2016 10:00 am    Post subject: Re: Ben's '59 Panel Project Reply with quote

looks much better than average i think. and firewood to burn for a week or so Wink
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2016 10:39 am    Post subject: Re: Ben's '59 Panel Project Reply with quote

EverettB wrote:
Is the radio area hacked for a modern radio like a CD player?


More like for a front loader VCR...
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rennie
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2016 11:12 am    Post subject: Re: Ben's '59 Panel Project Reply with quote

I can't find it, but isn't this the same bus from another thread where poor photos were talked about... and a Samba member tried to enhance such a pic but it was humorously over-pixelated? I could be mistaken...
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ernstben
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2016 11:20 am    Post subject: Re: Ben's '59 Panel Project Reply with quote

rennie wrote:
I can't find it, but isn't this the same bus from another thread where poor photos were talked about... and a Samba member tried to enhance such a pic but it was humorously over-pixelated? I could be mistaken...


Yup, that's the one! Buying this bus was a long, slow process and I really only had the initial picture to go on. Having y'all chime in with info on the potential year was helpful. And no, that Samba member's attempt at "enhancing" the photo didn't end up being helpful... Laughing

I actually had a '61 Swivel seat panel when I was in high school that was a ton of fun, so I'm not totally new to the whole "bus driver" thing. I've never restored one, although I did do a Ghia over the past few years (see sig).

Overall, I'm excited. Many thanks in advance for bearing with my stupid questions and for the wonderful resources. I've already done my fair share of lurking over the past months!
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ernstben
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2016 11:25 am    Post subject: Re: Ben's '59 Panel Project Reply with quote

BulliBill wrote:
Cool Bus! Where did it live for so long (what region and climate)?


I bought it out of L.A. and the M-plate says it was delivered to San Francisco, so I'd guess that it's been a California bus all its life.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2016 11:35 am    Post subject: Re: Ben's '59 Panel Project Reply with quote

How funny, I saw the bus and thought it probably last ran in the 70's based on it's look, the cut rear quarter panels and interior. It looks pretty darn solid and a good foundation to build on.

As the other mentioned, I'd start attacking the rust under it, etc.. It would be so worth the money to get the underside media blasted vs. doing it with grinders and sanders or wire wheels.

Look forward to your updates. Popcorn
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2016 11:49 am    Post subject: Re: Ben's '59 Panel Project Reply with quote

If you go with blasting, get it soda blasted. Any other medium will end up in frame/rockers inside and hold water causing rapid rusting out.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2016 12:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Ben's '59 Panel Project Reply with quote

looks nice and solid. Crow's feet too.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2016 5:59 pm    Post subject: Re: Ben's '59 Panel Project Reply with quote

Run it as is and enjoy, let's see some Jackmans and gnarly fat meats under those cut rear wheel wells.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2016 1:24 pm    Post subject: Re: Ben's '59 Panel Project Reply with quote

I spent the last couple days cleaning her out. Once I could finally see the floor, I was generally pretty encouraged:

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Here's the worst part by far:
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The front floor has also suffered some rust damage. I'd be interested in people's thoughts on this. Should I replace both sides or bite the bullet and replace the entire floor?

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And lastly, the PO didn't really know what the deal was with the turn signals being switched over to the later style. I figured they were probably cut in, but now that I take a look, I don't see any sign of hackage or welding. Could it be that the bus had it's nose replaced at some point? There isn't a single sign of accident damage:

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2016 2:08 pm    Post subject: Re: Ben's '59 Panel Project Reply with quote

Looks like the inside of the nose is a different color. Might just be the light but it looks like it was changed at some point.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2016 2:25 pm    Post subject: Re: Ben's '59 Panel Project Reply with quote

i'd personally replace the whole floor. Nothing like starting with new. And who knows what you might find to replace (once you start, you never know when you stop..).

I replaced mine completely. I wouldn't call it easy, but it wasn't that hard.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2016 6:42 pm    Post subject: Re: Ben's '59 Panel Project Reply with quote

The color of the back of the nose is exactly how a replacement nose would look. I have had two buses with replacement noses that look just like yours.
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