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Nordique - 1974 Series 3 88"


Nordique came to us, as her name alludes to, from Northern Quebec.  What began as a straightforward chassis and bulkhead swap quickly evolved into a complete nut and bolt restoration.  

Nordique arrives in her original pick up configuration
The client trailered us his truck from northern Quebec and left it with us for a much needed frame and bulkhead.
A brand new galvanized chassis to start things off right
The stripdown commenced almost immediately taking everything that could be salvaged and setting it aside to affix to the new frame when the time came.  
The existing engine was originally mounted unrestored in the new chassis
As mentioned earlier, the original plan was to simply transfer the existing truck onto a new chassis and bulkhead.  However, as progress pictures were sent back to the client, talks quickly expanded about what we could do in a few other areas.  It didn't take too many emails for the scope of work to evolve into a full blown restoration.   
A very tired dash, against a bulkhead beyond repair
The truck had lived an honest hardworking life in rural Quebec, and it showed.  While a glavanized chassis is easy enough to order, many of the components in a Series 3 dash are either harder to come by or no longer available at all.  As such, a good deal of work went into restoring and preserving what was there.  New vinyl was wrapped on the dash and new leather was stitched on the steering wheel.
The new bulkhead, painted in Mid Grey, sits in the "rotisserie' 
The restored dash components were installed on the new bulkhead and a brand new wiring harness replaced the hodge podge wiring work of 50 years worth of farmer fixes. 
Restored original axles hold new swivel balls
Both axles were restored and mounted with new leaf sprung suspension.  Fresh paint and shiny galvanized everywhere, whether you can see it or not. 
Freshly painted panels await installation
Reassembly well underway
A new radiator is affixed to the grill.
While the truck came to us as a pickup, the client wanted to convert it to a station wagon soft top.  We had their existing pickup cab and roof restored and repainted so that if they want to put Nordique back in her pickup configuration they can do so.  As the client has young children, the choice was made to go with a heavy duty hoop set which unlike a standard hoop set, would be load bearing in the unthinkable scenario of a roll over. 
A heavy duty hoop set is installed
And then a snag.  As the truck was nearing completion it came time to fire the engine for the first time since reassembly.  While it fired right up, after running for a while there was a very ominous knocking heard. 
At this point it should be acknowledged that at some point in the truck's history, a previous owner had swapped the original engine for a Series 2 block, while still using the Series 3 cylinder head. 
A disappointed crew listens to a haunting knock.
This cobbled together set up served it's purpose in its day and on the farm, but it presented us with a few problems.  One... several components on a Series 2 engine are simply no longer available and others are much, much more expensive than a Series 3 engine.  After reaching out to the client who didn't seem surprised that the engine had seen much better days, the decision was made to source a period correct, Series 3 engine.   
The newly sourced Series 3 engine, awaits installation.
While it was the right thing to do, although it did slow completion of the project drastically. In the end, it was well worth the wait to have it done right.  Using a Series 3 engine not only brought the truck closer to original than it had been, it also makes repairing and servicing the truck in the future easier and more economical.
Reassembly with the Series 3 engine nears completion
The rest of the truck came back together rather uneventfully.  Wolf rims, also painted in Mid Grey, were fitted as well as a black canvas top from All Wheel Trim. Black Deluxe seating three wide in the front were installed with matching side benches in the rear tub.
Nordique, completed
Back on the road, better than ever
A very period correct stock look for the interior
A reflection worth admiring
Upon completion, the very satisfied client ventured back down from Quebec, trailer in tow, to collect the same, but very different, truck that had been left in our care all those months before.
For your own Series or Defender restoration project, please reach out.  We'd love to work on something together.