Some months ago, I picked up this nice rust free trunk lid from a small junkyard in Mascoutah, IL, for $60. A great deal, as I have seen these sell for over $300 on ebay. This is the lid I have been using to try and keep the quarter panels aligned, and I intend to use this one on the finished car. While it is very cool outside, I hauled it into the basement so I can drill the holes for the O-L-D-S-M-O-B-I-L-E chrome letters that go on the back surface. This yellow lid came from a low-option '72 sedan, so it did not have the individual letters across the back like my '71 is supposed to. The rusted lid from my '71 used to be light blue, and the positions of the emblems indicate it was from a 1970 model, so it also did not have the letters going all the way across. So I won't be able to use either to make a template.
I've stolen some photos out of ebay auctions, a few different ones, to use as a guide. The letters seem to be centered on level with the trunk lock. and appear to be a few inches away from the bumper/taillight arch shaped openings in each side of the lid. So I'm using a straightedge and yardstick to try and figure it out. This is much harder than it looks, because the letters are not the same width as each other. In other words the "M" is much wider than the "I". I'm going to have to eyeball it. I'll draw a hopefully level line, and just basically wing it.
I'm getting way ahead of myself here, but I want to get moving on the paint and interior colors. My cowl tag says TR 989 which means Sienna color interior. Not the same as brown. To my great relief, they make this color, and I can get it from Year One or The Parts Place. I need it all, carpet, door panels, quarter trim panels, seat covers, everything.
The body color is 62 E which means Bittersweet Iridescent Poly. Kind of an orange or bronze metallic color. I've been seeing different variations of this color on the new Dodge Daytona Ram trucks, a lighter version on some newer GM cars, and another on Ford Focus. If I want to do basecoat/clearcoat, they don't even make my exact color, I'll have to go with something close. And the cheapest I can find it retail is about $209 a gallon. Ouch!
This is what the mystery door looked like before I took the car apart. It looks like it had bondo too, but I can't tell if that was part of the whole incompetent repair job, or if it was wrecked a third time....
Never mind, I don't want to know. Here is the firewall with the engine out. My plan is to remove all the parts, and sandblast that and the front of the frame visible from under the hood. I'm making a driver here, not a show car, so I don't plan to spend much time on the rest of the frame further underneath.
This is the front edge of the passenger door from the '71 Cutlass. It shows this car's history very well. This door got hit hard enough to bend the structure of the door, and a previous body man was so lacking in patience or resources that he couldn't take the time to go find a new door. Instead he did a super poor job of putting a new skin on this structurally crushed door shell. After the sub-standard repair job, the car was wrecked again.
I have a fantastically straight and solid door to replace it with, but it has broken glass and no power window. So I made a quickie paper template of the large round opening in the front of the door frame, for the rubber boot which the power window and lock wiring travels through. I cut it out around the edge, then transferred it to the blue door, and drilled a hole, then enlarged it with shears and then a carbide de-burring tool on my die grinder. In the other side of the door, I've drilled holes for the power lock solenoid to mount. I've pulled out the manual window regulator, and may someday get around to trying to sell it on ebay. I also have to drill holes on the outside of the door, for the wide Supreme trim, which I intend to put back on when the car is finished, but I'll wait to do that until after the rest of the body panels are on so I can drill and align it all at once.
The fenders I got from South Carolina are very straight, but had a little bit of rust on the normal spot at the bottom. I bought repro patch panels from Year One and the fit was so absolutely horrible that I sent them back and decided to make my own. My bud who works at a local body shop brought me a hail damaged roof cut from a late model Silverado pickup truck. I cut it up and used it to make patches. First I made templates for patches out of regular paper. I cut them with scissors, then transferred the outline to the sheetmetal. I cut the metal to proper size and shape and made the inner structural member, using the flat end of a pick hammer, a body shaping dolly and my bench vise. For the outer patch panel, I used the pick hammer and an old blue jeans leg, sewn closed, full of sand. I used the hammer to gently beat the metal into submission against the sandbag by hitting it about 10,000 times.
I then used my newest best friend, my Miller 135 MIG welder to put it all together. If I didn't already have enough to do, I made a platform to mount the welder into someone's old Radio Flyer wagon to pull it around in my garage. I found an old sink base cabinet, bought some Harbor Freight casters for a few bucks apiece, and presto, a handy roll around work bench/tool storage unit.
I'm hammering alot on the quarterpanels also. I'm using quarterpanel extensions from another car, as one of my originals has a hole punched in it, and the other has a broken mounting stud. I've temporarily installed the trunk lid so I can finish fitting the quarterpanels, the new/used extensions, and see if I can get this whole mess to line up anywhere.