Big Blue Gets A Makeover

By Jerry Friederick

I bought my 1960 Monterey during college of June 1983 (probably foolishly, at least my Mom thought so) from a Dubuque, Iowa, police officer (39,004 miles on it, supposedly) who had it for sale at a car show.

I drove it through college (Platteville, Wis.), but left it at home when I moved to Indianapolis in 1987. After leaving it at my parents for about eight years, I brought it to Indianapolis and started to drive it. At one point, it was the only vehicle that would fit our family, three people in the front and four in the rear seat.

What I “inherited” with Big Blue was a previous “restoration” and I use that loosely. Like many projects, people attempt to restore motorized vehicles. They sanded about a two-foot diameter spot on the hood down to the metal, and then painted with very little, if any, primer. Only one doorway was painted, not the other.

As expected, it had a lot of bondo in the rockers and quarter panels. They painted it dark blue. Just a few years later, my sheet metal started to grow “warts” and then the rust started to show.
The restoration was started in 1999 and finished in October 2003, with 50 perent completed by myself and 50 percent completed by Vails Classic Cars near Indianapolis.

My restoration had about everything done to it, but a frame-off restoration. The first steps was to repair the brake lines, since they rotted out, and I also refurbished all the brake components. My father and I rebuilt the 312 c.i., two-barrel motor. I removed the dash, seats, trunk and hood lids, and glass, except for the front and rear windshields.

Next, I sandblasted the underneath. When I removed the gas tank, I noticed it was leaking, therefore, it was sent out for repair more than once. The fun of restoration! The driver’s side rear-quarter panel was cut off at the wheelwell in order to install a good trunk floor and replace the quarter panel (by Vails) which was rusted out and damaged by a certain person writing this article.

When I ordered a quarter panel from a California junkyard, it had some previous work on it and rust holes. The inside of the car was not much better in the rear wheel wells, with much “swiss cheese” metal.

For the wiring, I sanded each connection and tested all the electrical components. Most of the chrome was sent to Paul’s Chrome near Philadelphia ( I prepared and painted all the internal parts, and Vails did the final paint job.

Big Blue is finished with a seven- seatbelt capacity, and painted back to the original color, Tucson Turquoise (light blue). I added an original radio, clock and other courtesy lamps, and kept the “three on a tree” transmission against the advice of some. Lastly, I received quite a bit of expert knowledge from IMOA member Jim Wickel, for which I am very thankful!

To maintain Big Blue, I love old motor oil to “lube” the lower parts and do not wash it unless absolutely necessary, but use DriWash products instead. Learning from my father that vehicles run better the more you drive them, I drive it once a week all year round, unless it is raining or snowing, taking it to downtown Indianapolis to church. Like all beautiful old cars, many a motorist stares when I am driving it. I like to tell my daughters that the motorist is looking at them.

Hope to see you in Springfield this year!