The car only has 58,000 miles on it and the body is in great shape. The only rust is a small spot around the back window where the previous owner drilled a hole for a external cell phone antenna. The original owner of the car had repainted the car shortly after he got it. Then the car sat for 8 years in the Georgia sun before I bought it. The sun really beat up the repaint which means the car will have to be stripped to bare metal for this job. There are a few dings here and there acquired during its many years of non-use. Overall the car is in excellent shape and won't need much work to make it perfect.
My brother-in-law has offered to help with the paint and body work. I was planning to do the work myself but the time involved is tremendous and I'll take whatever help I can get. He has production paint and body experience and has done a few custom jobs on the side.
I've always liked the front end on the 70-73 Firebird Formulas and thought that would be a perfect fit for this car. I will use the Formula hood for fresh air into the LS1. Trans Am ground affects from the 70-73 and I'll keep the taillights original 81. I still haven't decided on which specific year to use but it will probably be 70-72 since the 73 bumper is a one year item and harder to find.
I found a hood for a reasonable price at the Trans Am Nationals in Dayton OH and so the body conversion begins. I now have all the early fender flares and a bumper. I'll pic the best and then figure out to do with the rest. Still looking for parking lights and air dam.
The rear spoiler and flares have been removed and the stripping has begun. The brighter blue in the picture is spray bomb paint used to cover the bare metal during transport. I began to strip the paint years ago and had to do something to protect the metal.