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Discussion Starter #1
Hello All~

I have an 87 SS Choo Choo, that is so badly rusted all the body panels need to be replaced, not to mention the frame which has just had the cross member for the tranny fabicated because it couldn't hold the tranny up, and so on and so on. The original engine was swapped out for a 350 Corvette engine so the Choo Choo is no longer and will never be "original" again. I am planning on finding a doner truck 87 to replace the Corvette engine back to a 305 along with all of it's smog components " this is my biggest challege at the moment since i'm in California " and then possibly even use the clean non rusted frame and all the panels off the doner to replace on mine. The plate of authenticty on the inside of the door to certify that is a an original Choo Choo is still there but is also about to come off due to rust. When I replace all of the panels, I will need to replace all of the Choo Choo package decals and such anyway.

So my question is, at this point, how can I preserve what is left of the Choo Choo and swap out all that needs to be replaced?

Thanks for any input,

Hell on Heels
 

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87 SS choo

Go ahead, make the conversion. You will be glad you did. NO, it won't be the original CC that you had, but it will look like it. Peel the Choo-Choo decal of the door jam and placed it on your replacement Elky. The only way someone would know if it's a re-do would be to compare the decal, which has the year/production code, to the VIN which would have a different production number. There are replacement decals being sold on e-bay from time to time.
 

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a rusted to death choochoo is worth less than a clean clone. do it and have a nice clean car. i had to do the same to my 86 when it was totaled by a hit and run driver. lets face it half of the choochoos you see are clones
 

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Discussion Starter #4
a rusted to death choochoo is worth less than a clean clone. do it and have a nice clean car. i had to do the same to my 86 when it was totaled by a hit and run driver. lets face it half of the choochoos you see are clones

Thank you, I feel sooo guilty, but I have no choice. Someone said there are only 19 original Choo Choo's left. I believe it, and if they are truely "original" they are worth a pretty penny.

Should I keep the authenticy tag inside the door and maybe attach it to the new door, to show it was at one point, or it doesn't matter at this point, it's just for show.

Thank again~ Hell on Heels
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Go ahead, make the conversion. You will be glad you did. NO, it won't be the original CC that you had, but it will look like it. Peel the Choo-Choo decal of the door jam and placed it on your replacement Elky. The only way someone would know if it's a re-do would be to compare the decal, which has the year/production code, to the VIN which would have a different production number. There are replacement decals being sold on e-bay from time to time.
Thanks for the reply, I found a company were I can get all of the
Choo Choo decals, so I think i'll start fresh. I guess at this point it's just for me anyway, it was my Dad's and it's about sentimental value, not dollar value. I can't enjoy it when it's falling apart.

Thanks again,

Hell on Hells
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Go ahead, make the conversion. You will be glad you did. NO, it won't be the original CC that you had, but it will look like it. Peel the Choo-Choo decal of the door jam and placed it on your replacement Elky. The only way someone would know if it's a re-do would be to compare the decal, which has the year/production code, to the VIN which would have a different production number. There are replacement decals being sold on e-bay from time to time.
Nice ride, I looked at your avitar 3 times and couldn't figure out why my car had a different name? Silly girl ") They look very simular in those smaller pictures.

Hell
 

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i would save it to prove the original car was authentic.some people would scream foul if you attached it to the car. either way do what makes you happy and make your car safe. i think there is a lot of originals still around but the look is so kool everybody wants to copy it. if new and wrecked so severly to need a shell is it original or clone? i truely wouldnt worry about it
 

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i would save it to prove the original car was authentic.some people would scream foul if you attached it to the car. either way do what makes you happy and make your car safe. i think there is a lot of originals still around but the look is so kool everybody wants to copy it. if new and wrecked so severly to need a shell is it original or clone? i truely wouldnt worry about it

Maybe i'll put it in a frame for when it's all done and place it on the dash LOL this way no one can scream foul, but it's there to show it's not a total knock-off.

Thanks for easing my soul, and making me laugh.

Hell
 

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That's a good idea, frame it. Anyway, it's really hard to tell the difference between a clone and an original. Aahh, the name, "Money Pit"... 10 years and 18K and counting....
 

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That's a good idea, frame it. Anyway, it's really hard to tell the difference between a clone and an original. Aahh, the name, "Money Pit"... 10 years and 18K and counting....
Yeh, i'm affraid of that! Yours looks great, kudos to you. I'm just trying to remember, one step at a time~

My 6 year old says to me " Mom, next year can we drive the El Camino in the cruz for Cool April Nights?" my husbands reply " Buddy, in 12 years you can drive it in the cruz, because it's going to take your mom 12 years to get it ready"

Enjoy the weekend~

Hell
 

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nice find, good luck on your big project. Dont forget to post a pic!!

also forgive me i am new. What is a choo choo?
 

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You do realize your donor car will be an all around better car than this one right?
Unless I'm missing something this is your plan:
Take all the body panels from the donor and put them on the choochoo
take the engine from the donor and put that in the choochoo
then at some point in the future swap out frames.
So essentially all you are doing is taking the donor apart and putting it all back together again with the choochoo nose on it?
Sounds like a lot of work to be back exactly where you started!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
You do realize your donor car will be an all around better car than this one right?
Unless I'm missing something this is your plan:
Take all the body panels from the donor and put them on the choochoo
take the engine from the donor and put that in the choochoo
then at some point in the future swap out frames.
So essentially all you are doing is taking the donor apart and putting it all back together again with the choochoo nose on it?
Sounds like a lot of work to be back exactly where you started!
Hey fellow New Yorker~

Yes that is my plan, and the only thing you are missing is the fact that this was my Dad's El Camino so it's about sentimental value, not convenience. I am trying to preserve as much as I can.

Hell
 

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That's fine. But remember that if you find a clean rust free body and cut 1/4 panels off and weld them on to yours you are inviting rust at the welds. Yeah, I know weld thru primers. That's not a 100% guarantee. Those are for situations where there is no other choice.
Anyway after all that work, what's really left of the original car? The VIN# and the roof?
 

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If it really is about sentimental value, IMO I think you would be better off finding a clean elky and moving as much as possible over to the donor car. Think about it, by the time you move over body panels, an entire frame, you might save a little bit more originality but not much if you were just to swap everything like exterior and interior parts over to the clean original rust free donor car. I mean you have the car, you can make just about any 5th gen identical to it.
 

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If it really is about sentimental value, IMO I think you would be better off finding a clean elky and moving as much as possible over to the donor car. Think about it, by the time you move over body panels, an entire frame, you might save a little bit more originality but not much if you were just to swap everything like exterior and interior parts over to the clean original rust free donor car. I mean you have the car, you can make just about any 5th gen identical to it.

Exactly my point. And you're not compromising the integrity of the finished product by having unnecessary welding and body work all over it.
 

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Original Choo Choos are getting rarer every day, congrats! As to your dilemma with restoring your father's car, that’s a tough one. Option one is to buy a rust-free car and transplant the Choo Choo nose. This is the cheaper and much easier option. The problem with this option is that it would no longer be your father's car...which sounds to be important to you. Option two is to restore your Choo Choo with new body panels. This will be more expensive and time consuming, but you'll still be able to call it your father's El Camino. The fact that you want to remove the 350 and replace it with a correct 305 suggests to me that originality is very important to you (as far as what it was like when your father owned it). Sounds like restoring the original car with your son helping could be a fun mother-son project. I built my first El Camino with my father...it started when I was 14 and we finished it on my 16 birthday. The time we spent together doing all of the work was the best memories. Post some pics and maybe we could help you evaluate how bad the condition really is.
 

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E-man is right, original Choo Choo's are getting harder and harder to find. Personally I'd restore the original Choo Choo, it's not always about the easier way out. Just because you swapped doors and fenders and put new quarters on it does not change the fact that it's an original car
 

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Do it OG and you can pm me for parts.I have the whole intake,as well as all computer controlled components as ive eliminated all of this on mines,also have other parts for the cause:nanawrench: keep us updated along the way!
 
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