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Just bought a 1977 with very low miles - advice?

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Just bought a 1977 with very low miles - advice?

Old 03-25-2018, 10:11 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Michigan
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Default Just bought a 1977 with very low miles - advice?

I just bought a 1977 L48 4-speed from the original owner. Believe it or not, it has 23k miles from new and completely original. It appears to have always been garaged and the owner claimed he never drove it in the rain. This car has been in Michigan since new, so the dry use only really shows.

It runs great but I plan to change the tires and get a thorough check over before I drive it any further. The stack of receipts shows the tires have only 2k miles on them but they are more than 14 years old! Are there any recommended tires in the stock size and look?

Not surprising, there appears to be some oil seepage from the valve cover gaskets so there was a bit of smoke when it started running until the residue burned off the manifolds. Otherwise, it ran smoothly and quietly and started right up.

The original factory am/fm stereo is still in place but doesn’t work. I suppose it could be a fuse, but if not, is there a way to have these repaired? I want to keep the car as original as possible.

it is definitely an odd duck. I have the original Sales documents, window sticker and build sheet and they confirm the car was ordered with the cloth seats, no AC, no power windows, but with alloys and the 4-speed. I suppose the cloth is preferable on a no-air car, and the owner’s wife says her husband hated A/C. The seats look amazingly well preserved and I have never seen another ‘77 with them. Oh, it’s orange over dark brown. I love the crazy ‘70’s colors on it.

Given the low miles, is there anything in particular one should look out for before driving it? I want to make it as reliable as possible but also keep her original. I may want to try a NCRS judged event some day. Hoses and belts, for example... how picky should one be about wear items like those? I won’t be piling a LOT of miles on her but do I like to drive my cars.
Old 03-26-2018, 09:53 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: KC, MO area
Posts: 2,642

Welcome to the forum.

Sounds like you got a good candidate to win the Survivor award at Bloomington Gold. You can go to Tire Rack and find out what the original tires were and you can go to Coker Tire to try to get original tires. If those are the original tires and you're trying to get the Survivor award, you might want to keep them until you've won the award. Otherwise I agree that you should not drive on 14 year old tires. As far as replacing anything such as belts and hoses and valve cover gaskets, you want to find the NCRS approved items at the various aftermarket suppliers.

Good luck on your quest.
Old 04-01-2018, 01:10 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Michigan
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Default Original tires

the tires on the car now are Goodrich T/A Radials. They aren’t the originals from the factory (replaced in 2004) but are definitely period in style. The sizing nomenclature for tires have changed since 1977 (now metric) and these tires are 225/70-15, which Tire Rack says are as correct as possible in size. I can’t seem to find info about what brand was originally used but I imagine something like this in raised white letter style (per the build sheet) should suffice without spending a fortune. My kids (14 and 9) think the high profile tires look hilarious, sort of like balloon tires or something for kids used to seeing 50-series tires on huge rims. Frankly, I think low-profile tires ruin the ride of many newer cars... I must be getting old.

I guess I need to join NCRS and order judging books to figure out what’s considered “correct” by their judging standards?

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