What to do with the Wildcat.

Discussion in 'A boatload of fun' started by Aus91R, Jul 26, 2020.


What Should I do with the Wildcat

  1. Sell it

    3 vote(s)
  2. Part it out

    0 vote(s)
  3. Fix it

    22 vote(s)
  1. Aus91R

    Aus91R Well-Known Member

    I have had my 1966 Wildcat since I was 16, I'm 28 now, and I have spent the last decade getting this car to drive down the road. I rebuilt the engine, the transmission, the brakes, the suspension, and all the electrical was redone. It's a lot of fun to drive and it's my first car. When I bought the car, I didn't know anything about stuff like body filler, and the like. The back half of this Wildcat has a ton of filler and a ton of rust. I am going to attach a video so you can see what I'm talking about. My dilemma is what to do with it now. I am sentimentally attached to the car, but I also have never worked on body stuff before, and it feels like this is probably more than I can handle, plus I don't have a lot of money to put into her anymore. The way I see it, I have 3 options, I can try and fix the bad body panels and hope I can paint a car, I can sell the car and take a huge hit on what I put into it, or I can start parting things out. What would you guys do? Let me know, and if you have any questions I will try to answer them.

  2. BYoung

    BYoung Stage me

    Sell it and take the hit. You say you don't have the skills for body work and parting it out will take forever due to the low number of people looking for '66 Wildcat parts. Tough to do, I know, but better to be free and clear of it than to mess with it for any longer.
    Houmark likes this.
  3. bostoncat68

    bostoncat68 Platinum Level Contributor

    Can't answer this as you have not stated what you hope to have when you are done??? It's a 4 door so it's not worth much on the open market.
  4. gsgns4me

    gsgns4me Well-Known Member

    Can't answer about what you should do. Feel like only you can make that decision.

    I will say that it took me 20+ years from the time I parked my GS to start working on it to finally get it back on the road. When I got to body work that I felt I wanted to be better than what I thought I was capable of doing, I would barter my (mechanical) skills with people I thought could do the job. My car is far from perfect but is has certainly been very enjoyable driving it since I finally got it back on the road about 15 years ago. Just ask my oldest grandson.
    docgsx and Chuck Bridges like this.
  5. gsfred

    gsfred Founders Club Member

    I don't believe that the car has alot of value either as a complete car, or for parts. I would clean it up as best you can. Use body putty as needed, do the best you can paint wise, and then drive it and have fun. Seems like you have gotten the mechanical issues done. Enjoy it.
  6. 2manybuicks

    2manybuicks Founders Club Member

    I agree with Fred -- try your hand at bondo work, paint the fixed areas, and keep driving it.

    Unless it is a first car you don't like and you are sick of owning it, keeping it for a while may enable you to eventually avoid the "my first car was a _______ but I sold it and have regretted it ever since" experience.
    docgsx and Chuck Bridges like this.
  7. pbr400

    pbr400 68GS400

    I agree with Fred. Redo the bad bodywork with more bondo, throw some blankets on the seats, stick in a bluetooth stereo and a couple speakers and drive it. Be glad you don’t have to park eight miles from the door when you go to the store.
    Aus91R and bostoncat68 like this.
  8. 66electrafied

    66electrafied Just tossing in my nickel's worth

    I agree with Fred; - pack it and drive it, or find a better one and use yours for parts. They're out there, and not as expensive as you think.
  9. Chuck Bridges

    Chuck Bridges Well-Known Member

    I fell in love with my Wildcat 12 years ago, when my brother-in-law, Ray bought her. He fixed her up best he best he could without a welder (lots of fiberglass in the rear quarters). and painted it. A bit over a year ago, he gave her to me. Yes, it shocked me, but thrilled me. Recently, I took her back up to his place, sanded and fixed the body. We replaced the fiberglass with metal and body filler. We removed the back window (you cut it out with a wire from a bike cable and two handles. You need a friend) and fixed the holes letting in water by grinding out the metal, spraying Rust Killer under it to get any rust we couldn't reach and welded in new (well, donor) metal. We ever repaired 2 body mounts in the trunk. In the end, she is all metal again, with a little filler over the patches. It takes time, but in the end, I think a Wildcat is worth it, even a 4 door. You are ahead of me on the mechanical's. I am searching for a wiper motor for mine.

    All said, if you love the car, keep it and put some work into it. You won't end up with sellers regret down the road. There is nothing quite like driving a Wildcat. A modern car can't compare to it.
    Aus91R likes this.
  10. Aus91R

    Aus91R Well-Known Member

    Thanks for all the responses guys! I appreciate it.
    Chuck Bridges likes this.
  11. 2manybuicks

    2manybuicks Founders Club Member

    Clearly that car has had a long, hard life, but the body does not seem to be a complete POS. Then again, we didn't see the floorboards or inside the trunk, any of that stuff.

    The real value in the car may be that you have made it a good starting, running stopping, usable machine. (I am taking you at your word that you have truly gotten everything straightened out). At least, that is, a real value to you. It may not really budge the selling price significantly. So if you sell it, you may not get much compensation for the parts and labor you put into it.

    If you do sell it and buy another old classic, how much is it going to cost you to get that one as reliable as the one you already have? Do you want to go through the brakes, tranny, ignition, cooling system, electrical, etc. on the next car? You have to factor that into your decision too.

    Finally, the only way to learn anything is to try it. Any interest in learning how to do basic body work? Bondo aint that expensive.
  12. 2manybuicks

    2manybuicks Founders Club Member

    Zero votes for parting it out. Car guys.:D
    Lucy Fair, Aus91R, johnriv67 and 2 others like this.
  13. Aus91R

    Aus91R Well-Known Member

    Yeah, its been through a lot for sure. The floor boards actually look great, the trunk has some holes but is not terrible. The front of the car is fine too. All of the damage is on the qaurter panels the deck lid and one back door. The car runs fine. I drive it down the highway once a week and it does fine. I think I'm going to look into getting some body filler and giving that a shot. Like you said, it doesn't cost that much so I might as well try it out.
    Lucy Fair likes this.
  14. Chuck Bridges

    Chuck Bridges Well-Known Member

    The secret with bodywork, according to my brother in law, is to ensure that you remove all of the rusted through metal. If you do not have access to a welder, then he said to buy sheet metal, rivet it in, then center punch the rivets in a bit so they do not stick up. If you can get the metal in the back, so much the better. Also, before the metal, spray some rust killer around to inhibit rust. Put filler on in thin layers. Do not stir filler. This causes bubbles (ask me how I know), fold it over to mix filler and hardner. Sand and finish with a body putty to fill imperfections. When sanding, don't push too hard and use a foot long board for the sandpaper. This prevents waves in filler.

    Good luck and have fun with it

    Aus91R likes this.
  15. telriv

    telriv Founders Club Member

    Although welding may be one way, BUT the new panel adhesive products can be better than welding because there's no heat to cause wrapping the panels & the consequences from the welding process.
    Today panel adhesives are used at the factory.
    Give it a go, what do you have to lose other than mostly time. IF possible find a better trunk lid for a reasonable price & MAYBE close by.

    Tom T.
  16. Aus91R

    Aus91R Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the tips Chuck!
    Hey Tom, thanks for the advice!
  17. Aus91R

    Aus91R Well-Known Member

    Here is a question, I know there is a real solid 65 Wildcat at a salvage yard about 2 hours from me. Tell me if I'm wrong, but isn't the body of a 65 essentially the same as a 66? It is also a 4 door hardtop like mine.
  18. Chuck Bridges

    Chuck Bridges Well-Known Member

    As far as I know, there are only minor differences, such the grill on a 65 has the buick symbol, the 66, not . The name is in script on a 65, letters on later model 66's. That sort of thing
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2020
    Aus91R likes this.
  19. 66electrafied

    66electrafied Just tossing in my nickel's worth

    It is almost exactly the same body, there are only minor differences, I think they're isolated to the front fenders and trim, but it's the same thing.
    Aus91R and Chuck Bridges like this.
  20. Mike Sobotka

    Mike Sobotka Founders Club Member

    Keep it and drive the wheels off it!!
    Aus91R and Chuck Bridges like this.

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