Clarification on the condition of the car
Hmm, I think there is some confusion on the state of the car (I have obviously focused on the issue as I was trying to address them according to my goals).
Frame: As mentioned, the frame was impacted during whatever accident the car was in. However it was repaired. Instead of trying to twist back the portion holding the engine mount and the driver side upper control arm, they opted to reinforce it instead. THAT is why the body shop was reluctant to pull the frame as the consequences would be unpredictable. In the shape it is in, the car is safe to drive. Both the mechanics at Continental Motors and at Freeman Frame were clear about this.
Engine: The engine runs smoothly now that the valves were adjusted. I have don't have updated compression numbers but it is night and day when actually driving it. There are no leaks nor any smoke. It starts up easily and with the newly installed fan shroud helping with proper cooling, this is not a problem area anymore.
Transmission and clutch: Except for engaging second gear, it is fine. I did learn that if I shift at 2k rpm from 1st to 2nd, it will engage smoothly and no fancy footwork is needed.
Interior: small bits and pieces are missing or broken (passenger door handle, ceiling light covers, and the speedometer is not working). These are cheap and easy fixes. The seats are in great condition, the dash is not cracked or sun damaged so the interior looks great.
Rust: Definitely in the trunk lid sill and any exposed metal underneath. Structurally though, the jack points and rocker panels are ok. Whatever rust there is, I do not think it will propagate any further given the climate here.
Steering, alignment, and suspension: Steering is a bit vague on center and not on par with modern cars. If I kept the car, i would want to replace all the bushings and tie rods to make it more enjoyable but it's ok for regular driving. The car pulls a tiny bit to the left. Freeman Frame said that this could easily be compensated for (remember how the left side front wheel sits a little too far forward) but it's simply not big enough of an issue to address. The broken rear spring will have to be replaced but it still performs its duty. Otherwise, the other suspensions (and steering) components are intact but old. Hence my original plan to just replace everything. If I make that type of investment though, I would want to start with a frame that does not have this history and repairs which is how we are at the present point.
There is absolutely no reason to go for some extreme solution such as parting out the car. This is not a concourse car but it's also not a junker. Especially with the recent fixes (and addressing a couple more items like the spring), it can be an enjoyable weekend car for years to come. Unfortunately, I want a vehicle I can flog around Skyline Blvd and take to the track and this is not that the car that can be turned into that type of vehicle. This is a weekend cruiser, not a potential racer.