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Old 07-11-2007, 04:44 PM
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door edges and panel gaps

In the last year or so it seems like there is a lot more attention to panel gaps.

So, I thought it wouldn't hurt to mention this.

From what I have read it seems that 3/16 is what a lot of them like to see on the panel gaps.

Door and quarter edges are another thing that you might want to look at a little closer.

If you ever see those edges that are done right, when you stand a couple feet back from them at an angle, it will look like almost a sharp edge.

Its a pretty rare case to find one thats right on the money, but if you do, you will notice how really nice it looks.

If you take a close look at a couple of restored cars, a real close look, and you probably will see where it is rounded slightly, or right at the edge you have several different radius going up that door edge or quarter.

When your welding and grinding on those edges to get those 3/16 gaps, make yourself a radius gauge or you could buy one at a store that sells machinist tools, and try and get those edges on the money, same for the hood and deck lid.

This is a lot of overkill, I know, but once you see one thats done right, you will be surprised how nice it really looks.

The other thing is, when block sanding those panels, you have to be really carefull, or you will flat spot it slightly a half or an inch or so back on the panel.

If anyone has one that has that radius on the money all the way up, maybe a couple of close up pictures from a couple of different angles, would be a good thing to put on here.

I'm probably a month or two from getting to mine, but I will try and put them on the money, and post up some close up pictures.

Mean while, anybody on here that could put some pictures on. Please.

"There are questions to be answered, and answers to be questioned"

Jigs, sandblasting, shop, paintroom, rotisserie, pictures, little bit of everything.

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Old 07-11-2007, 05:50 PM
F&J F&J is offline
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Some mint originals from the 60s would need to be cut apart and welded up correctly IMO. I've got a bunch of original GM pickup & suburban sales brochures and I can't believe the angled gaps & bent doors. Plus when you sight down the sides, the different areas of the quarter-to-door, or fender-to-door, stick out or in as you follow the gap. So now you are reshaping the door, fender, quarter to get that all in plane.

IMO, it takes a really talented body guy to be able to properly gap a muscle-era car without going insane. I don't get to shows much anymore, but when I did see that rare one that's perfect, it almost looks "wrong" or fake

I'm on a 69 dart factory 4 spd conv that is still original paint with some minor dings, and the gaps are whack. I had to twist the driver door, and use a hyd jack in the trunk to align the rear deck to fit the lid. The lead joint & resulting gaps at the top cowl near the door & fender was a horrible job on both sides. The leaded seam on the rear of the rocker-to-rear qtr. is hiding 2 surfaces on different planes. Now I get to tackle the other door & front fender.

America let the car companies get away with it by not complaining. Even the cheap little vw bug fit perfectly at half the price. Then the Japanese wised up to quality and darn near put the US cars out of business.
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Old 07-11-2007, 05:55 PM
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To me the panel/door gaps and overall aliagnment is what separates the men from the boyz. Not saying I have that talent..I'll tackle these issues soon on my 55 chevy truck. Just say'n it's high priority with me. But my point is I see glamorous tangerine pearl paint jobs on trucks on magazine covers but with varying gaps, contours of front fenders and doors that match up poorly-Lots of bad hood work..i.e. wide gaps..gaps bigger on one side than the other. That's where the art/science is to me. A lot of thinking required.

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Old 07-11-2007, 07:41 PM
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I fixed up a '59 Chev Apache truck a couple years ago....the gaps were really out of wack ! Even the cab wasn't square.. I looked at others and they were the same. Had to jack the cab over a little to get the windsheild to fit right. When I took mine to the car shows, the first thing they asked was, ''how did you get the doors to fit ?'' It's alot of work, but worth it.
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Old 07-11-2007, 07:45 PM
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It all depends on what you are doing with the car. If you are doing a "real restoration", the gaps were not perfect from the factory. The alignments were terrible. On the '67-'68 Mustangs, the fender and door gaps varried a mile from top to bottom, as they were shaped differently. If one panel wasn't sitting out from another, that was a rarity.

When I do a car, I do not look for perfection on the gaps. I align the where the gaps are uniform in appearance. The panels are even, and can be checked with a straight edge, but I do not build up the edges to make them perfect. I am looking for better looking than original, but not perfection. I explain that to the customers. I also tell them that I can make them perfect, but they would need to pay dearly for that. I once adjusted a hood on a '67 Stang for a guy. He is very picky, so I measured it with a dial caliper. The gaps were within .003" on all 3 sides. It only took me about 2 1/2 hours to do it.

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