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Discussion Starter #1
I've got a genuine '83 Choo Choo SS that I had since 1993. I bought it from the original owner in all original condition. It had just 50K miles on it then and even now it's only about 80K miles. It's black with sand beige interior.

In 1998, I changed the 305 out for a '96 LT1 engine with it's 4L60e transmission. It was a new factory take-out from a '96 Impala SS. At the same time I upgraded the rear to a 3.42 posi.
The following year I re-painted it the original black. I did paint the dash, change the carpet and headliner but the seats and door panels are still original.

Here's how it looked after I did that paint job:







It's been about 17 years since I took those first 2 photos and even though I've only put about 25K miles on it since then, it was used for moving myself and family members from house-to-house several times. Both the paint and the interior are now showing their age some. Both from usage and some from just age.

I'm thinking of painting the car a bright non-metallic red and changing the interior to black but still stay with original type style and material. I'd replace the original graphics with stock black graphics.

I like the drive-train I have in it now but I'd remove it to detail the engine compartment better and then put it back in. I also think I'd like to go with headers for the LT1 and a dual exhaust system with an H pipe. Right now it just has the the stock 305 exhaust manifolds on it now and it's going through the stock exhaust pipe to a single in dual out muffler.

Also right now it has 15" wheels and I think it might look better with 16" or 17". I also think I'd like to do some suspension mods but I do want to keep it the stock height as I don't like the lowered look. It's stock right now except for a rear sway bar. I'm thinking to rebuild the original front with urethane bushings and maybe rebuild the rear and replace the air shocks and springs in the rear. Maybe some RideTech components back there and their adjustable shocks all the way around.

I'm looking for comments here at this point. I'm planning on starting this project this coming winter and this will be my build thread. I will do all the work myself except for the seat upholstery.
 

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Clean looking.....car almost looks like it was "born" with that engine. Black is definitely difficult to live with if you like them clean. BUT....they look great when they are clean. 16" IROC's on mine.....I'd actually like some 17's for a thinner profile, but I like the original IROC's and they fit well. I hear good things about Viking coil overs....I'll probably go that way rather than air ride....but that's me.
Good luck with your project.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Is the original CCC sticker on the door post ? Sure looks great just like it is !
Mine did not have a CCC sticker on it. As far as I know, they didn't put them on the '83 model. I've been told there may be as few as 20 '83 model Choo Choo's that were produced even though the production number Chevy put out is higher than that. The only other one I know about didn't have a recert sticker on it either.

The black does look nice when it's clean and perfect but it's not near perfect anymore and I after all these years, I want it to be different. Like I said, that's a 17 year old photo and taken not long after the repaint I put on it.
 

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Roger, I wasn't aware that the 83's didn't have a sticker on the CCCversions. My 86 CCC is as it left the factory with the exception of being taken apart and repainted in its past. I love the black on your car but I sure understand the reason for wanting it "your way". A pretty red would be nice with that interior. Good luck on your quest.
WP
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Roger, I wasn't aware that the 83's didn't have a sticker on the CCCversions. My 86 CCC is as it left the factory with the exception of being taken apart and repainted in its past. I love the black on your car but I sure understand the reason for wanting it "your way". A pretty red would be nice with that interior. Good luck on your quest.
WP
Thanks.
Your car is silver? That was the other color I was considering along with changing my interior to black. Got a link to some nice photos of yours?

And yes, when I first mentioned to 84withzz4 and E-man that my '83 Choo Choo never had a recert sticker on it they were skeptical. But after I sent them a copy of my build sheet that said Choo Choo Customs on it, and with some further research they came to the conclusion that '83s must not have had the sticker.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Its actually a medium gray with a gray interior
Ah, it's hard to tell just from the small avatar. I was sure I was going to go with silver but I just started thinking the car would really pop if it were bright red. I was thinking something like this truck or maybe a small shade more dark.



This Vette is the same paint as the truck:

 

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That looks very nice. If your hood scoop is deforming like most of the urethane scoops did you may want to think about a new one. I bought an absolute copy from Honest Charlie Speed Shop that was supposedly made from the original molds. The new scoop is fiberglass and very nice. I think it was about 200 bucks. I'll paint and install it hopefully this winter.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
That looks very nice. If your hood scoop is deforming like most of the urethane scoops did you may want to think about a new one. I bought an absolute copy from Honest Charlie Speed Shop that was supposedly made from the original molds. The new scoop is fiberglass and very nice. I think it was about 200 bucks. I'll paint and install it hopefully this winter.
I added the fake hood scoop. It didn't have one originally. The fake hood scoop option wasn't available on the '83 Choo Choo.
So mine is fiberglass.
 

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It's funny --your question is probably as old as the hobby itself. Sometime in the past I'm sure a fellow with a slightly tired Deusenberg or Packard or early T-bird or Vette asked the same thing and was told by purists 'don't change it!' and modifiers 'it's yours, do what you like'. I know I've been reading that since I first got into older cars in the '80s. In your case I'd think, as long as it's quality work, the purists who wouldn't want it (if you sell) would be offset by the guys who prefer red to the black (which many avoid because of the care and heat). If it were nice original paint I'd say leave it, but since it isn't,go for it.
Patrick
 

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You may think about making (or installing) the dual sidepipes functional. They sound awesome with a small glasspack mufflers on them.

Robert from Winnsboro,Texas
 

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Discussion Starter #13
You may think about making (or installing) the dual sidepipes functional. They sound awesome with a small glasspack mufflers on them.
Robert from Winnsboro,Texas
Thanks for the suggestion. I do like them and I bet they sound really good.
However, I will not consider cutting my ground clearance. I've won't do that will my header selection either. If I can't find a set of full-length headers that don't cut ground clearance, I'll have to consider 3/4 length or shorties.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
It's funny --your question is probably as old as the hobby itself. Sometime in the past I'm sure a fellow with a slightly tired Deusenberg or Packard or early T-bird or Vette asked the same thing and was told by purists 'don't change it!' and modifiers 'it's yours, do what you like'. I know I've been reading that since I first got into older cars in the '80s. In your case I'd think, as long as it's quality work, the purists who wouldn't want it (if you sell) would be offset by the guys who prefer red to the black (which many avoid because of the care and heat). If it were nice original paint I'd say leave it, but since it isn't,go for it.
Patrick
Very true.
Actually, I think a person would be hard pressed to tell that this car is a repaint. I do paint work myself so I'm pretty meticulous with it. But having said that, I think "keeping it original" went out the window when I changed the drive train out years ago. The original engine and wiring is long gone.

I first was thinking Silver and it's not totally out but I am leaning to the red.

I found a really nice photo of a Silver Choo Choo on the Internet but I can't find a nice one similar to that red I want. It would sure be helpful to me if I could.

Here's that Silver one I found:



 

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Discussion Starter #17
What kind of shape are the Brake lines and Body mounts ?
I would wager the brake lines are fine. This car has never had even a spec of rust. Even the frame is unbelievably clean. Body mounts, I'll have to inspect. I never have but I wouldn't suspect they would be bad. The car has always been garaged and never been a wreck. I stripped the outside when I painted it and it only had a couple of very small dings. It does have the usual dents inside the bed but nothing I can't fix easily. The rear bumper chrome is kind of dull but never been hit. I think I will have it re-chromed. The stainless trim is all excellent except for the one across the top of the tail gate. I may replace that versus repairing it even though I'm pretty adept at restoring stainless trim.
The front and rear window trim is that anodized aluminum crap and I'd like to replace it. The front is at least straight but there are dings in the rear. I wonder if there are repros available for those. Sure would be nice to replace it with stainless.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Not exactly the same red you have in mind, but it might help:
Thanks.
Helps some and I had found a few too but always something enough different with them that makes it hard to really get a perfect idea of the looks.

This is probably the closest one I was able to find. Has the black decal on the side but the ground-effects and low stance changes the looks:

 

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Yep, there is one spot that I had to cross over the frame. But I have never touched the ground yet and I am fixing to lower the car 2" front/back. So we say see. I know the sound echoing off the passing cars sounds killer and gets alot of attention.

Robert in Winnsboro,Tx
 

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In my opinion, you got a great platform to start with, only being limited by time , budget, & your own imagination, heck with what others think. We've both had ours since 93' , just I went, tpi, then LS1, skipping the LT1.

Wanna update to the new LT1? Naw, too expensive & involved. I'd definitely do headers & true 2 1/2" duals, preferably with an x-pipe & all mandrel bends. I also suggest considering a slightly quieter dual exhaust with cutouts so you can have the best of both worlds there. There are also mufflers with internal bypass now.
There are plenty of dress up items you could do to the LT1 to spice it up. I'd start with the intake , getting rid of that rubber bellow.

If your suspension is anything like mine, it needs an upgrade. New Moog upgrade rubber bushings in the old control arms would be the cheapest route. Your ball joints may still be fine. Lots of stuff out there for all sorts of money & you're not likely planning to autocross it or something anyways. I'm doing air ride, but coilovers are the most popular easily adjustable upgrade.

17" wheels would be a good size to have same tire heights & fitment & not look like a huge wheel to the purists.

On the body, there are lots of major or simple mods to consider. Smoothing a few things out is something to consider if it's paint time anyways.

Molding in the existing bedmolding for a smoother look is a good subtle, but still stock profile type consideration. Any little subtle smoothing out you can do, as well as a really good block sanding will help your paint choice stand out.

May want to give some consideration to painting the window trim & getting rid of the chrome rear bumper. Would give a more smooth modern look. I started out with all chrome & stainless wheelwell & lower stainless trims.

Would also consider the basic ground effects, such as the red example has. Would look a hint lower without lowering.

Resale red isn't a bad color choice if you're sick of black. I'm changing my black to an SPI black/black, which is much deeper of a black without the brown tones of the stock paint. If you do change to red, removing the front fenders to paint the insides & the door jamb areas thoroughly would make a huge quality difference.

Lastly on the exterior, ready fit sequential led taillamp inserts & projector headlights could be a final small touch considerations.
All opinions here.......
 
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