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THE RESTORATION OF MY 1967 ELDORADO IS FINISHED

Yesterday was a very exciting day for me.
The restoration shop let me know that my 67 Eldorado was finished and ready for pick up.
After work my wife and I jumped into the car and drove 2 hours to Radstadt where the restoration shop is located.


I saw the finished car for the very first time.
The job Bernd Preussler and his small team did is amazing. The paint job is the best I have ever seen. Their commitment to details is outstanding.

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The finished car in the shop.

After the car was handed over to me I was quite nervous to drive the car home through the Austrian Alps. But after each mile I got less nervous and eventually I enjoyed the ride into the sunset.

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The Eldorado when I drove it to the shop on November 10th 2017
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The exact same spot exactly 6 months later.

It took the shop only 6 months to finish this big project. I think this is quite a short time for a job of this quality.

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Rolling out of the shop.
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On the way home through the scenic mountain side.
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A short photo stop at the shores of Lake Hallstatt


When I arrived back home at 9pm I noticed that the power antenna did no longer work, and that the rear speaker was dead.
As I cant stand if something does not work I tore the dash apart and took the radio out to repair it. At 4am everything was back together again and works as it should.

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When I arrived at home I tore the dash apart to repair the radio.

I will still have to repair the warning light in the left door, which still worked in the shop, but somehow is inoperative now. The bulb is good, there seems to be an issue with ground. Could be the door jamb switch or a loose wire inside the door. Looks like I will have to remove the door panel again…

The quality of work
Bernd Preussler and his team did is the best I have ever encountered, and I cant praise them enough.
This was the first restoration where I did not have to do any work by myself and which was fully done by a shop. My part was to find all the parts that were needed.
Now I will take over myself once again.
You can find a huge image gallery
showing all the steps of the restoration here.

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The small team that restored my Cadillac. Thank you so much for your great work! You are my heroes!
Michael Hammer, Bernd Preussler, Angela Steiner (from left to right)

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THE 67 ELDORADO RESTORATION IS IN ITS FINAL STAGE

I visited the restoration shop to deliver the newly rechromed rear bumper to finish the restoration of my 67 Eldorado. Unfortunately the quality of the chrome job is not good at all. The chrome shop didn't do an acceptable job. Still I will install the bumper now to get the car home and will try to find a better shop to do it once again. Most people probably would not notice the problems in the chrome, but they are just not up to my standards :-(
The restoration shop on the other side did a fantastic job so far. There are some minor details they still want to address and the car should be ready for pick up sometimes in May.

Here is a short video I took with my phone at the shop when I delivered the bumper, showing the almost finished car. Make sure to watch in HD to see all the details


The almost finished car still in Bernds Restoration Shop

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THE 1967 ELDORADO RESTORATION - WHAT WE HAVE LEARNED SO FAR...

LONG POST AHEAD!

Whenever you restore a car you can learn a lot about it. The ongoing restoration of my 67 Eldorado is taking a little break now, and here is a summary of things we have learned so far during the restoration process:

There seems to be a design and/or production problem at the front windshield which causes rotten floors and rust in the A- pilar:
Although my car is a low mileage car (28k miles) with no other real rust issues, the front floor of my car had to be replaced as we found out when the carpet was removed. I have heard some similar stories from fellow Eldorado owners who had the same problem with their cars. Some of them owned very low mileage texas cars and had rotten floors and/or rust in the A-pillar. The water seems to enter at the A-pillar and often causes rust through holes there. It can then seep into the car, where it ends on the front floor, from where it cant evaporate due to the rubber insulation used underneath the carpet. When the windshield on my car was re-installed, we made sure that it seals perfectly and we used some modern material to make sure there wont be any future issues. The front floor on my car had to be replaced as you can see on the pictures of my restoration gallery.

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The cut out front floor.


Reproduction decals were not reproduced very accurately:

All the reproduction decals I bought until now - for all of my cars-, look similar to the original decals at first sight, but are different in many details if you look closely. The company reproducing them did not care to use the same font, font size, letter sizing and spacing or in some cases even the same size of the decals.
If you order the 1967 trunk jacking instructions from any of the big suppliers, you will get the one from a 1969 Eldorado, which is white instead of silver, and larger than the original ones and shows a 69 Eldorado. If you order the one from a 68 Eldorado, you get one for a 67 Eldorado showing a 67 Eldorado.

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If you order a 1967 Eldorado trunk jacking instructions you will get this one from OPGI or Rubber the Right Way. It clearly is not for the 67 Eldorado.
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This is how the 67 trunk decal should look like, but it is listed as a 68 decal…



Weatherstripping does not fit properly or is not available anywhere:

A big pain in the a** is that most weatherstripping you can buy for a 1967 Eldorado does not fit properly, no matter who produces them. It looks very similar to the original gasket until you try to install it into the car, where you will find some differences, which make it impossible to install the gaskets easily. You will have to modify most of what you get. This is very frustrating and time consuming. There is no correct or fitting windowfelt kit available for you 67 Eldorado. Nobody is reproducing it! Take care of your original ones! Also some other gaskets are just not available anywhere.

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This cowl gasket is not available anywhere - you will have to reuse your old one…
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None of the sweep moldings and gaskets are available as a reproduction.


Rear rocker panel molding clips - the ones from a 1966 Pontiac GTO will fit perfectly:

To be able to properly re-paint the rear rocker panel extension on the 1967 Eldorado, you have to remove the stainless trim and remove all the molding clips, which you cant remove without destroying them unfortunately. If you look for ones for a 1967 Eldorado, you wont find any. So I had to do a lot of research and luckily found out that the ones from the 1966 Pontiac GTO are exactly the same ones as used on the 67 Eldorado. If you buy them make sure to order the installation tool too. Otherwise you cant install them properly.

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The clips before removal. You cant remove them without destroying them.
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I bought 8 of these clips from OPGI - other sources have them as well, but they were the cheapest I could find.



Rear window trim moldings are hard to find and expensive for cars without a vinyl top:

The rear window trim on my car unfortunately had some rust through holes and my restoration shop said that they do not want to repair them. Especially the two small corner parts in the top corners of the rear window were beyond being repairable. I contacted all the usual Cadillac part vendors, but nobody had the smooth surface moldings available. 3 different moldings were used for the 1967 - 1970 Eldorados:

  • Cars with vinyl tops had textured moldings matching the vinyl top in color and structure.
  • Cars without a vinyl top had smooth surface moldings painted in the body color.
  • Cars without a vinyl top delivered to Europe or California had polished stainless steel moldings.

Most Eldorados were ordered with the vinyl top and these moldings are more easily available and much cheaper. I found some smooth surface moldings on ebay but they were priced way too high for my taste… I was not willing to spend at least $2.000.- for them. (purchase price + shipping + import taxes).
So I talked to my restoration shop again and they said that I should at least get the corner pieces. If I got the ones from a vinyl top car they could remove the texture and make them smooth and repaint them.
Luckily I found these corner pieces in Switzerland for little money and the shop perfectly repaired the rest of the moldings. They do look perfect now! Fantastic job! If you need smooth moldings you can buy textured ones from a vinyl top car and just sand them smooth. They are identical otherwise.

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The moldings after sandblasting - they had some rust through areas unfortunately…

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As we could not find any affordable replacement moldings the shop repaired the original ones - which is lots of work.

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Ebay prices for used smooth rear window trim moldings. Crazy! Some sellers think they are made out of gold…



Factory sheet metal fit was terrible at the front fender covers and the taillight housings from the factory:

If you look at any 1967 Cadillac Eldorado, you can see that the front fender covers wont fit properly on any car. The designers did draw the fenders without these covers, but the factory could not mass produce a fender in this shape as one piece. Thats why on the 67 they settled to install a separate cover/filler as a compromise. Why they did not manage to produce a better fitting cover is beyond my knowledge. In 1968 they installed the turn signal lights instead of the fender cover.
My car was no exception from the ill fitting covers which my restoration shop did not want to accept. So they took the challenge and with some bodywork involved they made the pot metal fillers fit MUCH better. Some bending was involved, but you have to be extremely careful not to break the fragile pot metal covers.

The fit of the taillight housings also isn't very good and it has some gaps, which would be unacceptable by todays production standards. There is not much you can do to make the rear taillight housing fit perfectly - all you can do is try to adjust it a little bit during installation, but whatever you do there will still be some not so pretty gaps.

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The front fender cover at the restoration shop - it will fit MUCH better now than it did when it left the factory.
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The front fender cover at the restoration shop - it will fit MUCH better now than it did when it left the factory.

Finding the correct color is difficult with todays paint:

Paint back in the days used different pigments, which are no longer available with modern paints. Thats why the old formulas have to be “translated" for the modern paints used today. My shop is using Autocolor (PPG) paints and they got the formula and the "Atlantis Blue Firemist" paint through PPG´s archive. Bernd - the shop owner - painted a sample with the paint they provided and compared it to the factory color sample we had from the "1967 Cadillac Exterior Color Selections Dealer Book" we had as a reference. It did not match very well… So Bernd changed the paints formula slightly and after 10 different samples painted, he found a perfect match for the 1967 Cadillac optional color "Atlantis Blue Firemist", which we then used to paint the car.

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The shop had to mix and paint 10 samples until the color looked right.
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1967 Cadillac Exterior Color Selections Dealer Book



The hood is huge - and thats why most 1967 Eldorados have a light dent in the center of the hood:


If you sit on the steering wheel of an 1967/68 Eldorado and look at the hood and look very closely at the center of the huge hood you will most probably see a very light dent. At least it was there on all the 67/68 Eldorados I saw in real life so far. Most of the owners did not notice it. You can only see it from a certain angle. I now know why it is there. The hood is huge and will bend under its own weight. The center has a support brace to which the sheet metal is attached with glue/body sealer. Over the years this glue/sealer will shrink and the sheetmetal can flex more and will bend down slightly causing a light dent.

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You can see how huge the hood really is.
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The center support brace is glued to the sheet metal and this glue shrinks over the years.


The cowl´s vents originally were painted silver:

Most restored/repainted 1967 Cadillac Eldorados have their vents at the cowl painted in body color. When these cars were new though, the vents were painted silver to look like the chrome vents, which were used on the regular Cadillac models in 1967. On the "regular" 67 Cadillacs the vents were a separate chromed piece attached to the cowl, whereas on the Eldorado the vents are integrated into the cowl. This silver paint was just sprayed over the body color - probably by using a stencil and it did often wear or flake off over the years. My car was still completely untouched, and had about 80% of its original silver paint at the vents still intact. At this restoration we reproduced what Cadillac did at the factory, and painted them silver again. It's an extra step, but these little details make a huge difference for me when it comes to authenticity.

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Angela masking off the vents.
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After painting the vents silver.



Replacement trunk cardboard kits come in the wrong color:


All trunk cardboard kits you can buy will come as a flat black cardboard. The original material was more greyish with a pattern on it. So the flat black cardboard looks completely incorrect. Luckily Bernd came up with the idea to reproduce the original look by painting the boards. He did an awesome job matching the original look of the cardboard.

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This is how the original trunk cardboard looked like.
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Bernd and Angela managed to paint the flat black reproduction cardboard to look like the original one again.



Replacement carpets do not fit without a lot of trimming:


When you buy a pre-cut carpet you might think that you just have to install it. Unfortunately it's not that easy… You will still have to do a LOT of cutting and trimming to make it fit. Very annoying and time consuming work…

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Even precut carpets will need a lot of trimming and cutting to fit.



Trunk to bumper cover is not available:


Take good care of your original trunk to bumper cover. Its made of a certain plastic and tends to break in some areas. Mine had a few tears and was broken. The shop is fixing it up now with epoxy and will sand it down and repaint it. Its lot of work that has to be done as replacements are not available. I could not even find a good used one.

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The trunk to bumper cover during fixing it up



Change the color of the car or not? Or just leave it original with some patina?:

I had a very hard time when it came to decide if I should change the original color of the car from "Grecian White" to "Atlantis Blue Firemist".

Of course its always a matter of personal taste which color one likes best. Normally I'm an extreme purist when it comes to the topic of how a car should be painted, and generally I always prefer a car in the color it left the factory. I never understood how anyone could change the color of a car during a restoration. I discussed this topic with friends and fellow Cadillac owners for months. Most said that I should change the color to a color I like.

"Grecian White" is a very neutral and elegant color, but for me personally it was the least attractive color Cadillac had to offer in 1967. My favorite colors for the 1967 Eldorado are "Atlantis Blue Firemist" and "Doeskin". My 1967 DeVille is painted in "Doeskin" (Code 44), so I did not want another car in this color. When the restoration started, I still was not sure which color I would choose, but I had a very strong tendency to paint it in its original white color again

The turning point was when I first saw the car in bare metal.
All the original white paint was removed for the repaint. There were no traces of the original paint left anywhere. Somehow it was sad to see all the original paint gone. The car felt completely different, and I had the feeling that I extinguished the cars history and that I should not have started a restoration at all. But when I saw all the damage around the front and rear windows and the pictures of the chipped paint, I realised that it really was time to save the car, and that the repaint was not just a cosmetic improvement.

Some people suggested to just keep the car completely original and live with the patina. I do not have a problem with patina as long as it wont affect the cars "health" and the bodies rigidity with rust holes. On my car it was time to act though… Some areas were already too much damaged to just leave them alone. The few people I showed my car prior to the restoration never noticed the cars fantastic interior, the straight body, or the technical condition, or how fabulously it drove, but always pointed out the rust around the rear window and the poor repair attempts of a previous owner. Thats why I never showed the car anywhere. Everyone looked down at the car due to its obvious flaws it had and nobody noticed all the positive things this car had to offer.

When I saw the car "naked" in the restoration shop after all the paint was stripped, I suddenly did no longer see the point of keeping the cars original color. Even if I would paint it white again, it would no longer be original with its modern paint. If I would paint it in a color I like more, it would also no longer be an original car, but at least I would enjoy looking at the car much more. At this turning point I decided to have it painted Atlantis Blue Firemist… I´m sure that there will be times where I will look at old pictures and regret my decision, but most of the time I will enjoy its fantastic new color.

The CLC (Cadillac LaSalle Club) will not deduct any points for a color change when the car is judged, as long as you change the color to a correct factory color of its model year…
The moral of this story: If the car originally would have had any other color than white I would not have changed the color. If certain areas would not have been too much gone I would have left the car completely original and have lived with some patina, but enjoyed an all original car…


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One of the many reasons why there was no way around a repaint of the car.
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One of the many reasons why there was no way around a repaint of the car.
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Unfortunately the area around the rear window had some rust holes which had to be repaired. No way to just leave it that way.

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THE 1967 ELDORADO HAS NEW PAINT!

Evenings are very exciting for me since last November… The reason for this is because the restoration shop, which is repainting my 67 Eldorado at the moment, is always uploading pictures of the days progress to a web server after work.
Today was especially exciting. I saw the Eldorado in its new paint for the first time!
Doesn't she look spectacular in its fresh coat of "Atlantis Blue Firemist! ?
Bernd and his team did an awesome job so far as you can see in the restoration gallery.
There is still tons of work left - but everything looks very promising so far.

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In the paintbooth with fresh paint.
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First time in the sunlight, with the first trim parts already installed.

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REPLACING THE FRONT FLOOR OF THE 67 ELDORADO

I was a little shocked today when I saw the pictures the restoration shop sent me of my 1967 Eldorado Repaint Project.
While the exterior of the car did not have much rust I was surprised that the front floor of the car had quite a bit of rust.
Some of the previous owners seems to have tried to stop the rust on the floor sometimes in the past by applying a good amount of rust converter, or whatever the black paint was , he applied over the rusty floor.
It seems that it did not help but just made the sheet metal oxidize underneath this sticky mess.

The restoration shop now started to remove this paint just to find some weak metal with some holes in it.
This is when they decided to cut the entire front floor out and replace it with some fresh metal instead.
They had to make a patch panel from scratch as no new panels are available for this car anywhere. The new custom made replacement floor was now welded in.
Like on the factory rubberized undercoating was reapplied underneath the car and the welding seams were sealed with seam sealer.

You can see all the detailed pictures in the restoration gallery here.

I hope this was the last unpleasant surprise for a while…

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This showed up when the carpet and the seats were removed…
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After removing the black mess, the weak metal and some rust holes showed up.
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Unfortunately the original floor had to be cut out…
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Big hole in the floor.
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A new custom made patch panel is fitted and will be welded in.
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The new custom made patch panel as seen from the underside.
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The new panel is completely patched in.
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Seam sealer was applied like it was done at the factory. In the factory they just painted over the seam sealer. We will do the same here.
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This car came with factory applied rubberized undercoating which was re-applied over the patched floor.

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FIXING OUR OLD 1996 BUICK ROADMASTER

In August 2017 our Roadmaster was due for its annual technical inspection and unfortunately it did not pass… It needed brake work and there was some corrosion in the rear wheel wells. To make things even more fun, it also decided to develop a leak in the heater core…
So we decided that we wanted to restore our beloved car during the winter to get it back onto the road for next summer. Then we accidentally ran into our brand new low mileage 1996 Roadmaster…

I now had to decide what to do with the "old" one.
I had already bought all the spare parts before we found the new one, and my dear friend Lucky was so kind to offer me his help and let me do all the work in his fantastic workshop…
The plan now is to sell the old one, but of course nobody wants a car with all these things that need to be fixed. And to be honest I do not want to sell any car in this condition.

My friend Lucky helped me for a full day to fix the Roadmaster.

First we started to replace the heater core, which is a huge pain in the a** to replace on these cars. Everything is hidden away and access to the heater hoses and the heater core itself is very limited and tight.
The heater core is hidden behind the glove box and the two hoses going to the heater core can only be un-tightened with a special hose clamp plier I had to buy. We then did not get the hose off the heater core… Several hours later, after lot of cursing, twisted and bloody fingers and a sore back, the heater core finally was out and the new one in. We pre-filled it with fresh coolant and it works perfectly again. No more fogged up windshield.

At the technical inspection the inspector noticed that the front brake rotors needed to be replaced, as they were slightly vibrating during hard stops. So I ordered new ones from AC Delco. We replaced those as well and cleaned up everything and re-greased the wheel bearings as well.
In the front wheel housings we cleaned up some corrosion and welded some fresh metal in.
So we managed to fix a lot of things during this long day at the shop.

Next time we will rebuild the rear brakes, replace the wheel cylinder and a brake hose. Then the car is back in perfectly working order again technical wise. We will then fix the corrosion the rear wheel well and I can then do the technical inspection again and it should pass it without a problem.

I will then offer the car for sale and drive it until a new owner takes over… If I would not need the money I would just keep this car, as it drives beautifully and I like it verrry much…

Unfortunately I did not take many pictures of the heater core removal process, but there are a few videos on youtube showing how to replace the heater core on the 96 Roadmaster.

Thanks again for a great day in your shop Lucky!

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The old heater core is out - it had a small leak. Luckily the coolant did not drain into the car but escaped through the drain hose on the firewall.
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My friend Lucky working in the wheel housing…

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SEASONS GREETINGS 2017


For a few years now it's a tradition to shoot a card with one of my cars for the annual season´s greetings. This year my 1967 Cadillac Eldorado made it on our card.
All the best to the visitors of my website!

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My lovely little family.

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I BOUGHT A NEW 1996 BUICK ROADMASTER LIMITED ESTATE WAGON WITH 23K MILES!

Almost exactly on this day 10 years ago my wife and I bought our first 1996 Buick Roadmaster Estate Wagon. We really love these cars dearly and we think that they are some of the best cars ever produced from a practical point.

In August 2017 our Roadmaster was due for its annual technical inspection and unfortunately it did not pass… It needed brake work and there was some corrosion in the rear wheel wells. To make things even more fun it also decided to develop a leak in the heater core…
So we decided that we wanted to restore our beloved car this winter to get it back onto the road for next summer.

The other plan we had in mind was to find a really good one in the USA and import it to Austria. As we soon found out there are some extremely high taxes involved doing this.
A $ 5000,- car in the USA would cost at least $ 15.000,- until its on the road in Austria, and it is very complicated to have it registered… While we were looking, we also could not find any other Roadmaster for sale in Europe, as they are very rare over here and were never sold in Europe when new.

So we were ready for the restoration and I ordered all the necessary parts.
Shortly after everything arrived, we found an ad for a Roadmaster for sale here in Austria.
I immediately called and got in contact with the owner.

The car has only has 23k miles and was collector owned from day one. The first owner bought the car and never drove it during the 9 years he owned it, and he stored it in his climate controlled garage. In 2005 a new owner bought it and only drove it in summer on dry days and maintained it carefully. It also was always garaged.
Thats why the car is still in fantastic condition and looks and drives like a new car. It has zero rust and the woodgrain is in perfect condition. It's a "Limited" version with all available options ordered for it except the CD radio. Everything works as it should. It is in beautiful "Adriatic Blue Metallic"

After a couple of weeks of negotiating we bought the car almost on the same day in December as we bought our first 1996 Roadmaster 10 years ago. Coincidence has it that we also found this one in the same district in Vienna (Austria) as the last one. I know of 5 Roadmaster Wagons in existence in Austria - so they are pretty rare here.

The previous owner had a very "special" taste, and he glued a couple of decals, emblems and other things onto the exterior and interior of the Roadmaster which I could not live with, as they were absolutely not my style.
With the help of a heat gun and some WD 40, I luckily could remove everything without leaving a trace. I just warmed the decals and emblems with a heat gun on the lowest setting and applied some WD 40 and it came right off. The remaining residue could also be removed with the help of a paper towel and WD40.
Works great!
Our new car will now get a full detail and I will change all fluids and it will then be ready for the road next spring. I also plan to install white wall tires instead of the blackwalls it came with. They are a "must have" for the Roadmaster IMHO.

Our old Roadmaster will be for sale, I will fix it up during the next few winter months and it will be available around May 2018…edge
10 years ago and now.
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Strange items were glued onto the car…
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… but everything came off easily.
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While I can agree with what is written here: "Life is too short for small ugly cars" I wanted to remove the decal…
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The previous owner had an eclectic taste…
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Thanks for your help WD40
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A few of the things I had to remove
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In my garage now.

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THE 1967 PAINTJOB PROJECT HAS STARTED

The first pictures of my 1967 Cadillac Eldorado restoration / paint job project are coming in. You can read more details about it here on my website.
The restoration shop is sending me detailed pictures of the process. They are really doing a great job. Very exciting times.
Of course there are the first unpleasant surprises to be seen - there is a little more rust around the rear window than I expected, but still nothing serious. After disassembly we could see that the car is in fantastic shape.

You can find all the pictures of the restoration here on my website as high res pictures.

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In the shop - disassembly began. They are cleaning everything up now.
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Removal of all the trim and sheet metal
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I will also redo the trunk.

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