ROGER WILSON'S 999 GTX RESTORED

Text and photos by Roger Wilson

As stated in the previous story on this website about the 999 GTX, the original fender tag and broadcast sheet for a special order color car does not indicate exactly what color the car was ordered with. The special paint code 999 only designates that it was ordered by the customer to be painted in a color that was not available for that particular model. In the 1970 model year, EA4 Silver Metallic was only available on the Fury body style. To determine that this was the color of my GTX, we had to find an inner-most place on the car where it could not have been repainted. I used an original 1970 paint chip to match the paint color on the GTX showing it was originally painted EA4 Silver Metallic.

Fast forward to the fall of 2009. For several years, I had seen some of the work that Benton Warnke of Total Performance, LLc of Carroll, Iowa (phone 712-792-9114) did, including a 1970 GTX. I was impressed by the quality of the work coming out of his shop so I decided to take the plunge and get the 999 GTX restored.

So on a cold January 16th day in 2009, the GTX left for Carroll. Several unforeseen things slowed up the restoration. The first was getting the new AMD sheet metal. The four to six weeks to get the new quarter panel ended up to be six months. However, the wait was worth it as the quality of this new sheet metal is excellent.

Since the car had probably been junked at one time in its life or partially parted out, mice had made nests in a number of places. This, of course, is not good especially when they nest in metal areas as their urine is very corrosive to metal. One of the metal channels under the Dutchman panel had to be replaced as it had rusted through on the bottom side due to mice. The rocker panels were replaced due to damage by mice also. Even one of the front frames was found to have weak spot that needed attention, and yes, it was due to a mouse nest.

Then, due to the bitter winter we had in 2009-2010, the engine didn't get done as soon as hoped, but again the wait was worth it. The 1970 vintage 440 cid engine was one I purchased several years ago in a car deal and was already rebuilt. I had John Wilson of Anthon, Iowa, look it over to make sure everything was up to par. John did not work as much as he hoped curing the winter as the heating bills for his shop were more than he could make working there, so he waited until warmer spring weather to complete the motor. He discovered it was built well; unfortunately, it was built for racing and would need racing gas to run. I had him put it back more to stock specs which involved buying different pistons, cam shaft and oil pump.

I was very pleased with the work at Total Performance. Benton had all the sheet metal that needed replacing removed by cutting out the spot welds. New quarters, lower extensions, trunk floor, Dutchman panel, rocker panels and outer wheel housings were installed.

I found better quality doors, trunk lid, hood and front fenders to use on the car as the replacements on the car when I got it needed quite a bit of work. A Dana 60 was located but had to be completely gone through including changing the 10" brakes to correct 11" ones. We replaced the green bearings with new stock bearings.

I located a correct-year 18-spline Hemi 4-speed transmission and had it rebuilt. The GTX was originally ordered with Goodyear white raised letter F70x14 tires. The reproductions were over $1,000, plus since they were bias ply, if the car was sitting for a while, I was told, the tires tended to develop flat spots on them. I decided to upgrade to radial tires, going with BF Goodrich raised white letter tires. I had Benton and his crew assembled the car so it was a driving, running car when I picked it up in November 2010 from his shop. Basically I just had to install a few odds and ends and the back seat and door panels to complete the restoration.

 

The 999 GTX's debut public showing was at the January 2011 World of Wheels show in Des Moines, Iowa. My car was part of the MIdwest Mopars and Winged Warriors display which was set up by Curt and Janet Lawson.



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