This is an example of the tweaks needed. The door is perfectly set along the cowl and rear quarter. Gap is the same top and bottom, yet larger in the middle. It looks worse than it is. A layer of 18 gauge steel welded to the rear quarter and tapered at the ends will create a consistent gap. Once all the rough-in work is done, everything will be cleaned up and sanded for a heavy coat of epoxy sealer. As rough as it looks, a coat of high build primer should cover 99% of it. The cowl will need a skim coat to cover the weld seams and shape it a bit.
forgot to mention, I also took 1/2 inch out of the center of the front bumper, so the ends would tuck up against the fenders better.
Had to attack the rear bumper differently. The ends had to stay in place to match the tail light bezels. I made 3 long cuts, top and bottom at each end where it wraps around the corner. Reformed it to match the tail light bezel and tuck in to the fender recess.
Also welded the gas filler pipe to the body, centered on the hole I drilled in the bumper. It will be hidden behind the license plate.
Once I had all the panels stripped, I started fixing the body. 60 years of dents and dings under the bondo, and a tiny bit of rust. Lots of hammer and dolly work and a little cutting and welding and the body is solid. Now the fun part. Nothing fits.
The cowl work I expected, due to chopping the top. But the poor cowl to hood fit was stock. Welded in 1/8 inch flat bar at both ends, tapered. Then slit the top of cowl in the center and hammered it back a bit (Hood would hang up in the middle). Gap is now consistent with less than a mm of difference end to end. Front of the hood was a mess. Added over an 1/8th inch to each side of the nose and contoured it to match the grill surround. Also added an 1/8 to the latch plate to close up that gap. Impossible to get a good fit at the intersection of the hood, cowl and fender. Did some cutting, hammering and welding to bring them all together.
stripping the hood was harder than expected. Simply couldn't get the black out of the pits. Switched to Naval Jelly. Not as strong as Ospho, but being a gel it stays put better and stays active longer. Laid on a thick coat, covered it with saran wrap and left it overnight. Reactivated it the next day and scrubbed with a wire cup. Success.