TRADITIONAL CELLULOSE COLOUR
Classic and vintage specials.
Sympathetic conservation, preservation and longevity
in refinishing and spray painting of classic and vintage vehicles.
Structural and panel refabrication.
Having pulled it comprehensively apart and identified all the rot, and extent of required rebuilding work, which in this instance cost the first 110hrs or so, we now move to the more pleasureable part where things start to come together again. This will involve refabrication of the rear arches, inner and outer, rear corners, front chassis leg and footwells on both sides, a rear chassis leg and floor sections, together with many other sundry holes dotted about the place.
All repair sections will be fabricated here in my workshop, and the end result will be repairs that do not look like repairs. The car will need very close scrutiny to discover the repaired sections, and will look like an original unrepaired vehicle.
As part of the rear arch refabrication, the edges of the rear valance needed replacing, because as can be seen in the above pictures, they were pretty ragged with rust and old spot welds.
Investigations showed that the chassis leg at the rear was very thin in parts due to corrosion, and the floor in the corners was also about to go into holes. Therefore some time was taken to open out the bits needing replacement. This is the full extent of the rot cut out, and it was decided that the best way of tackling this was to fabricate a new section of chassis leg and a new piece of floor. This could be all spot welded together on the bench, which will include the lower flange of the wheel well itself, so that it can all be seam welded into position from the inside, the only underside welding being that of the chassis box section itself.
In conjunction with the chassis and floor section described above, a central strip of original inner arch and well was sound, but the rear half of the top of the well was in holes and needed replacing. It was not done at the same time as the floor in order to preserve original positioning and dimensions etc.
We have removed the whole of the front leg of the off side chassis, and now this needs rebuilding.
Despite initial satisfactory inspection, it later could be seen that all was not quite so well as it was thought. The chassis leg was bulging and holed behind the front radius arm bracket.
This little nasty was waiting to catch me out. Everything looked pretty good on the whole in this area, but one small hole above the A frame bracket which is just forward of the radius arm bracket, was needing investigation. Removing underseal from both areas showed that the radius arm outer bracket was bulging outwards and this could only be because of a build up of rust behind it, and between it and the chassis side member. This rusting would have been caused by the fact that the brackets are spot welded to the chassis only, the edges being open to moisture ingress, especially from the top! It's a wonder they are still there at all!
The floor inside the car was removed in a strip just over the chassis box section, and this revealed all. The chassis was gone behind the bracket, and the bracket itself was paper thin and soon went through completely. The whole bracket, chassis section and floor section including wheel arch / well flanges would have to be replaced. The next few days were taken up with this extra work.
There is lots to do at the front. Firstly we have to strip out the engine bay.
After engine removal, and consequently any weight that comes to bear on the front end, it was time to replace both footwells, which had become very extensively rusted out, and had had previous very poor restoration work undertaken to both sides.
The off side footwell was in much the same state as the near side one, only worse! The pillar front had extensively rusted out also.
As can be seen above, on the off side, the front suspension turrets have double skinning, which has been filled over on the inner wing tops. Exposure of the joints reveals an interesting sight. They are well made, but are not cut outs from other inner wings as the big hole is actually smaller than that in the actual inner wing. The big central hole is however, perfectly cut, and does not give the appearance of being a botched repair skin.
It is considered a possiblilty that these were factory additions to this car, as an experiment, but I have an open mind on the subject.
In any case, these sections had to be cut out as the lower skin had rotted through into holes, and had to be replaced. This work was undertaken in such a way as to preserve the double skinning in an as original a form as possible, just in case this is a part of history which should be preserved.
This was the last piece of major refabrication, however it was not the end of the weld repairs, and further areas of refabrication were to be undertaken when the car was put on the spit, described on the next page. Additionally, the doors and door skins, and bonnet were also in need of refabrication, which is described on their own page.