I ended up working the door over some more. I bumped the engine crane into it and made a big dent in the side. Thank God it isn't painted yet.
This second photo is a close-up of the sanded bondo on the driver quarter just before I primed it. There are so many layers, it looks like the growth rings on a tree. Not the way I wanted it, but I don't think a half inch of bondo is going to crack any quicker than an eigth of an inch....I have all the respect in the world for those of you who are talented enough to do metal work so well that it can be covered up with a few thick coats of primer....anyway, this is not Bondo brand filler, but DynaLite Gold, from AutoZone, about $14 a gallon.
I've got most of the bodywork completed and primed. I have a friend who is a 30 year body shop veteran who came and offered a second opinion. As a result, I've block sanded off almost all of the primer on both quarterpanels. I have an air powered line sander, but he showed me how to do it by hand, with 80 grit and a long sanding block. The quarterpanels do feel much more straight now. I can't wait to see it shine, but my pal kept me from getting in too much of a hurry. The good news is he says I did a good job on the fenders and doors. Other than the patch panels I made for the fender bottoms, I didn't do too much to those, so I can't give myself too much credit. I will re-prime everything soon, and prepare for wetsanding, probably with 600 grit.
Somehow the original cast metal Supreme grilles have survived this car's many accidents. The outer trim pieces are beat, so I ordered reproductions today. The Cutlass Supreme script is also broken, so I ordered that too.
Cool and rainy outside makes this a good day to work indoors on these parts, on the workbench. I used a hammer and a punch to beat the dented edge out of the driver side grille, filed off the flaking plating from the edges, and will somehow figure out how to keep it from getting worse, possibly by painting those edges. Not sure how to do that yet, but today I will fix the broken grille tabs.
I've found a nice piece of scrap stainless steel sheetmetal. I'm going to bend "L" shaped tabs, and drill holes in them, and since the stainless is such hard metal, these should be plenty stiff enough to hold these heavy metal grilles in place. My '72 Cutlass has plastic grilles, much lighter weight. More on that car some other time. I've made quickie templates out of paper, transferred that shape onto the stainless with a Sharpie, and will commence drilling first, and then cutting to shape. I've learned the holes are easier to drill first, then cut around, as opposed to trying to hold a small piece of metal well enough to drill a hole in it.
I look at the grilles and front trim as kind of payoff parts to put on, very gratifying and will make the car look really finished, at least in that area. I have some of the bondo work done, and some of it in primer, and will post pics of that very soon.
I have a split back, solid bench seat shown here. It's power, and I can hear it run, but it does not move. My service manual indicates it has some kind of belt that runs a 'transmission', to move the seat. Sounds like fun to get into that....
I've ordered reproduction seat covers and door panels made by PUI, from The Parts Place. Hopefully they will be the proper shade of reddish brown, called "Sienna" on this car. Will the seat covers match the door panels, the carpet? We will see. This will be a good winter project that I can do indoors.
In the past, I've always taken the seats to a professional upholsterer to get done, but I'm going to invest 30 bucks in a pair of hogring pliers, and some hogrings, and see if I can pull this off myself. I will carefully compare, take lots of photos and notes before I cut any of the old upholstery off. Later on, I may attempt the convertible top myself also.
These are the wheels I intend to use. (this photo taken obviously before I disassembled the front of the car.) The bottom two outer wheels are original to this car, the other three being lost or destroyed. One of the originals is slightly bent, so will become the spare. Someone gave me the upper left maroon colored wheel, the white and the green ones came from my many trips to the self service junkyards, Taylors in Wellston, MO, and Speedway in Madison IL. I intend to buy new caps and trim rings, as the caps are badly pitted and look like hell. I don't know how to decipher the date codes on these, but I doubt if they match. At least all 5 are the proper kind. I look at Cutlass's on ebay all the time, and it looks like lots of people who restore these get lazy and put on the 1980s vintage wheels which are somewhat similar in appearance. It was important to get this part of it right, so I spent alot of time scrounging for these.