In short, we got the car running with no issues. We picked up some supplied and then followed the owner through the pass and up to the car.
Joe brought a battery, fluids, a vacuum, an air compressor, a tire iron and more to help make short work of the tasks at hand.In a short period of time (with a lot of generous help from the owner, Joe) we had the car cleaned up, the tires aired up, the battery installed, and the fuel system checked (it was perfectly clean.) We pulled the car out of the spot where it has been sitting for approximately 8 years, and headed to the gas station to fuel it up. I drove the first leg; the throttle had a very heavy spring on it so it felt like the gas pedal was a brick. The car had sloppy steering and felt a bit sluggish but it ran down the road fine! We had already planned to get new tires but at the gas station (no fuel tank leaks!) we saw that the front left tire's camber was really off; the top of the wheel was visibly tilted inwards. We decided then and there to make sure we had the suspension investigated at Pep Boys where we had already verified they had tires and could install them same day; which is key since it was Sunday. We dropped the car off and headed out to take our new friend Joe to lunch.
Joe with the Catalina
The bad news came when Pep Boys called back saying they feel the entire front end needed to be replaced. Well, not quite but it might as well be. The quote was more than we paid for the car. Now let me say that when we dropped the car off, we mentioned our trip and one of the guys commented . . "oh; like that Motor Trend show . . Roadkill?" That was the first person who recognized that our trip was inspired. Cheers to you Todd! Anyway, the ball joints (upper and lower), control arm bushings, and Idler Arm need to be replaced. Pep Boys had all the parts but one. Which, after checking around we found was amazing; nobody else in town had even half of the parts in stock. The problem is; they won't do the work without having all the parts and nobody in town had the Idler Arm and it appears that the idler arm would take 3-10 days to arrive. After some negotiation with the Pep Boys manager we agreed to leave the car there overnight and that's why we ended up extending our stay.
The plan for today is to replace the parts that we can in the Pep Boys parking lot. We didn't pack a press so we will need at least a little help with the lower ball joints.
The car came with a bumper jack but I'm not excited about crawling the car with just a bumper jack holding it up so we may need to purchase some jack stands etc.. Stay tuned for more updates and if anyone has a lead on where to get an idler arm for a 1968 Pontiac Catalina . . we're all ears!