Just one year after purchase (November 1970), changes were already being made to the car. Note the pinstripping, the wheel lip moldings, the
"3.5 Litre" script on the front fender, and the trim rings and baby moon hub caps. The car was washed continually in the ugly Utah winters.
Even with lots of snow on the ground, the car was cleaned and was parked in a special space shoveled in the driveway. Check out the
heavy white cotton towel material that formed a hood bra! Great idea, wrong material!
The pin stripe was done in paint – I masked off a 1/8" area, masked the area, then shot the insert with white acrylic lacquer. I wonder why I did the stripe in white?
The engine compartment received almost as much work and cleaning as the outside. I pulled the valve cover, and painted it and the air cleaner
and the top of the radiator in Cal Custom Metalflake Gold, using spray cans! The engine compartment was washed every time the outside was washed!
Note that I have painted the inserts on the original headlight doors have been painted matte black (replacement Grabber doors were too
expensive). The Cal Custom tubular grille looked good, and was certainly better than the original grille. It was just a bolt-in.
The Appliance-brand chrome wheels, with Firestone radials and the other mechanical changes mentioned in the text, really helped out handling and general appearance.
At this point, I have painted the lower body in the second color, as well as around the taillight panel, on top of the hood (in two sections) and in
this trunk-top scheme. The second color was done in acrylic lacquer. Maintaining the original color, I also welded the rear valence to the quarter panels, and then applied the base Black Jade again and then laid
the Lime Metallic paint over the top of that. Check out, also, the twin exhaust cut out, and the mud flaps to protect the delicate paint. This photo was taken in the summer of 1975.
The metal portion of the doors, the rear inner quarter plastic panels, and the dash fascia had been painted matte black. Cal Custom accessory
door handles and door lock plungers had been added. Then, an 8-track stereo had been added along with speakers in the rear package tray and the front kick panels. Note the floor shifter (with wooden knob!
Sheeshhh!), steering column-mounted tachometer, and how clean the car was! This sucker was exhaustively maintained.
Here I am, in my second year of law school and happily married. I wish I was this slender now!
The car needed a fresh paint job in 1976, so I pulled all of the trim off it, dropped the front pan, welded up the Maverick script holes on the front
fenders, and then block sanded the car over a series of long weeks. Then a good friend, John Boren (a professional painter) reshot the entire car in the original Black Jade (in my father in law's garage!) and also then
shot the inset panels again – but this time, there was only a single large panel on the hood, no panels on the trunk, but a panel of the second color had been added across the nose of the hood. White pinstripping
was still used, and new whitewall high-dollar Good year radials had been wrapped around the chrome wheels. This car was straight! The paint was deep and lustrous, and was carefully washed and waxed. I drove it
in this condition for many years.
The chrome wheels were still in terrific condition because they were removed in the winter when I used the original factory rims with snow
tires and fresh front tires. Note the Grabber trunk and quarter panels spoilers.
I liked the whitewall radials, though many of my friends ridiculed me (but what did they know?). The factory taillights are still used.
After the wreck, there were still more changes to the body. After straightening out the rear end, we added first generation Mercury Bobcat
taillights. They really visually widened the rear end, and integrated nicely with the rear bumper.
The Comet GT hood scoop was hideous. This was not the car's finest hour.
George Layton also added a frenched antenna, and then did some hand pinstripping (this time in gold!). Note that the quarter panel Grabber end caps had been molded to the car.
This is the way the car looked just months before I sold it.