This has not been a good winter for accomplishing much. Other projects keep getting in the way. Getting through the holidays is tough enough, but we've had virtually no good weather this winter, hardly any unseasonably warm days. This first picture was taken a week or so ago, and tells why so little is being accomplished on my car.
Eventually getting on to the right front fender, earlier thinking I can easily have this whole car ready for primer by springtime, I discover that this fender is not as nice as the driver side. So I pulled all my spare fenders down from the archives, to choose a better one. This second picture shows just a few of them. I have one decent fender, but I'm saving it for the convertible I will finally get around to restoring when I'm 98 years old. The one good fender from the archives is too nice for this car.
I spent nearly a whole day last month moving around all the extra fenders, unbolting wheel-wells and hood hinges, looking closely at all of them: and came around to where I started; the one already on the car is the best one for it.
It's a moderate disaster, but so were all the other ones I had in the attic.
Before removing the fender from the car, I've got to straighten the edge of the wheel opening, a difficult place to do any straightening, to get the edge in the right place. I took this short scrap of heavy angle iron, used the bench vise, large hammer and torch, to forge this large hook, which I then welded to an old heavy dent puller. I removed the wheel well, and used this dent puller to slam the wheel edge opening back in to shape.
The left front fender is as straight as an arrow, but has rust in the lower corner behind the wheel opening.
Someone attempted to repair it long ago, but only by grinding the paint and rust off of the outside, and slathering the hole full of filler, with no patch panel behind it. The rust returned, and edge of the repair was all swollen.
I chipped it all out, then used the die grinder to clean up the opening just like on the hood. I made another paper template, cut the patch from an old truck roof, and welded it in.
Here it is, after filling and shaping, with more of the U-POL etch primer on top.
I've got the spare, dented hood covering the car right now, while I work on the one that belongs on it. Working only on the front, I ground down the welds, and put on a coat of filler. Here it is, just before shaping it with the 'cheese grater'.
I sanded it using the Dura-Block. When I had the passenger side shaped, I started on the driver's side. My work comes out better if I stay focused on one spot instead of working all over the whole car at once. I frequently check the shape by test-fitting the Chevrolet trim that goes along the front edge of the hood.
Here are both sides shaped and ready for primer. I'm not working on the rest of the surface right now, only the patch panels and body work. I'll do the rest later. The primer, in this case, is made by a company called U-POL, it comes in an aerosol can, and is expensive, about $16. But it's compatible with the 'real' primer later on.
Now that the engine is fully hooked up, I filled it with fluids. The old radiator has some sort of patch on it, but whatever it is, it works.
More time spent repairing the engine compartment wiring harnesses. They were kind of chopped up on this car. I also found the two-prong temperature sending unit ($14), so I could make this car's COLD light work again.
The sedan had bad hood hinges, so I sold them. This car didn't come with any. I've probably got a pair buried back in the archives, but the rest of the front sheetmetal is unbolted, so it's too early to bother with hood hinges just yet. Besides, I like propping it up with a 2 x 4.
It's not what I'd call 'roadworthy' just yet, but at least I can move it around here. I can't wait to get it out on the street. Like this, it'll be a real head-turner.
"If I would have known how bad it was going to be before I started I would have bought a new ____" (Hood) How many times have I said that?
A new hood is $400+. More than I paid for the car. Just kidding, if I would have known in the first place, I probably still would have started cutting and welding anyway.
Now that both back side patches are in place, I noticed that the front of the hood was rusted through too. I did not attach the patches at the front edge. I marked up into the solid metal, and used the fiber cutoff wheel on the die grinder to cut away the rusty metal, this time on the outside of the hood.
These are a part of the car that will be seen, so only the best patch panel metal will do--made from one of the door skins cut from the gold sedan I scrapped a month earlier.
Using Eastwood's "Heat Shield" compound. It works well, and is reusable. It has salt in it, so it instantly rusts any bare metal it touches, which seems a little counterproductive at first, but it drastically prevents panel warpage while welding, so it's worth it.