Register now to get rid of these ads!

Hot Rods The lost art of auto body??

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 0NE BAD 51 MERC, May 11, 2019.

  1. 0NE BAD 51 MERC
    Joined: Nov 12, 2010
    Posts: 902

    0NE BAD 51 MERC
    Member

    I was working in the shop today on a off topic muscle car , a side job for my wife's cousin . Now keep in mind I have not worked in a collision shop in years. Well I was installing a lower door skin on this project and a younger buddy of mine stopped by. He still works in collision and has for almost 30 years. Well I was folding over skin with a hammer and dolly . About that time my buddy says he can't remember the last time he put on a door skin. And then he says most of the young guys he works with do not even own any hammers or dolly's lol. They just slap on parts or if they do repair a dent, it stud gun and Bondo time. Of course the only shops around here anymore are the two dealerships and a couple independents who do builders for the used car lots and a couple who work on old stuff. Hell I even went back to working construction swinging a carpenters hammer about 10 years ago after I closed my hot rod shop. Now the only body work I do is my own and a few close friends . Makes you wonder how many years it will be before you won't be able to find someone to do body work the old school way. Just thought it was interesting. Larry
     
  2. I'm no body man but I believe the new car panels are thinner and much harder, a
    Martensitic steel which cannot be dollied out like the old thicker panels. The new ones just work harden and crack. So it s unbolt and throw away at the shop. Plus all these cheap replacement panels are out there. Like Jay Leno said parts are cheap and labor expensive
     
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  3. OLSKOOL57
    Joined: Feb 14, 2019
    Posts: 215

    OLSKOOL57
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    It seems as a lot of the body work (panels)on the new cars is glued on with this new age adhesive. I doubt there are many hammer/dolly body men under the age of 50-55,unless they are hot rodders.
     
    loudbang and chryslerfan55 like this.
  4. 0NE BAD 51 MERC
    Joined: Nov 12, 2010
    Posts: 902

    0NE BAD 51 MERC
    Member

    It is referd to as high strength steel and yes you are right it cannot be repaired or welded The car company's have been using it for over 15 years. That why I said it is a dying art . With fewer young guys taking up the trade and learning to shape and repair metal you will have to learn your self to build your projects. I like your avatar , I have a 64 Marauder myself. Larry
     
    loudbang likes this.
    Register now to get rid of these ads!

  5. BamaMav
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 3,028

    BamaMav
    Member
    from Berry, AL

    We live in a throw away society anymore. Anything that gets damaged or quits working is thrown away, and another bought. People think we are crazy for working on the old stuff like we do, when in fact, it's them that are crazy for buying new all the time.
     
  6. PackardV8
    Joined: Jun 7, 2007
    Posts: 865

    PackardV8
    Member

    Carriages and early custom bodies were hand painted by a guy with a brush. The ability to lay a perfectly smooth coat of lacquer with a brush was lost a hundred years ago.

    Same with leading seams. That was once an assembly line process, then a custom process and now pretty much gone forever.

    We machine engine parts to .0001" tolerance. Crate engines built by CNC machines are taking over the market.

    jack vines
     
    loudbang likes this.
  7. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 4,255

    anthony myrick
    Member
    from al

    My students use hammers and dollies almost daily
    I still metal finish new sheet metal. The majority of the high strength is in the structure. The glue on panels, unless it’s a plastic part, are either welded or riveted along with the glue.
    Cars are more complicated with expensive systems that can total a wreck easier than several years ago.
    Visited my old shop last month. They were installing a new qtr on a new Benz. A 20+ page installation procedure was being followed. 3 different OE glues 4 different rivets and spot welded. Not rivets like you may be thinking of but self piercing. Requires the use of a 5-6k tool plus the Benz approved spot welder was over 14k. The car was on a computerized frame bench that cost around 70k.
    So what’s the point of this? The skill level is still very high in the collision world, it just looks different.
    I have melted plenty of lead out of crappy metal work and garbage weld seams from the so called craftsmen from the past.

    Lead is gone from manufacturers cause they improved construction. They can fuse panels together without needing any fillers. Bronze in repairs are coming back due to its lower melting temp which the OEs claim are less likely to harm any anti corrosive protection.
    New body fillers are designed to be applied over OE paint. No need for grinding.
     
    JRK, catdad49, spurgeonforge and 4 others like this.
  8. s55mercury66
    Joined: Jul 6, 2009
    Posts: 3,430

    s55mercury66
    Member
    from SW Wyoming

    Yes, the cost of replacement sheetmetal on new cars as a rule is low enough that replace vs repair happens a lot. A door needing a skin is also very likely to need repair to the door frame, and once all is figured in, it is usually just as cost effective to replace the door shell as an assembly. Weld-on slide hammers work quite well, since they can also shrink as you go, reducing the need for hammer and dolly work. Sure am glad I had the opportunity to learn from guys who had solid pre-war experience, but a lot of that is no longer applicable.
     
  9. What's the old adage?

    "Time is money."
     
    gimpyshotrods likes this.
  10. 0NE BAD 51 MERC
    Joined: Nov 12, 2010
    Posts: 902

    0NE BAD 51 MERC
    Member

    Lol! ^^^ that's the same reason I do not build hot rods and do restoration's for people anymore. To much time and not enough money! Larry
     
    jim snow likes this.
  11. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 17,201

    49ratfink
    Member
    from California

    most late model cars don't deserve a craftsman. most late model car owners do not care about the difference, they need it to be all the same color and be ready for work tomorrow and it will be gone in a few years anyway.
     
  12. Oldioron
    Joined: Dec 12, 2018
    Posts: 704

    Oldioron
    Member

    The OEM has been using 26 gage tempered sheet metal for most of thirty years on fenders.
     
    loudbang likes this.
  13. saltflats
    Joined: Aug 14, 2007
    Posts: 9,276

    saltflats
    Member
    from Missouri

    I seem to be runnin out of time and money, but I have a hammer (a 64 oz cross peen) , ues it to persuade movement, also have a dolly ( use it to move the 409 block around) , only do body work because I can't afford it. :D
     
    0NE BAD 51 MERC and loudbang like this.
  14. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 22,371

    Jalopy Joker
    Member

    yep, new car is declared a total loss quickly - cuts down on overhead - plus, people will usually upgrade to a newer car, which helps dealers unload inventory to make room for new product - but, be sure not to use straws anymore to save the planet
     
    loudbang likes this.
  15. oliver westlund
    Joined: Dec 19, 2018
    Posts: 682

    oliver westlund
    Member

    as president of our car club i have been working on organizing seminars. i reached out gene winfield and was going to get out local community colleges body shop class to host the event, thats when i find out they closed the program 3 yrs ago.... fortunately the metal, welding and fab shop is stilm going strong so theres hope. i asked the head of the department why they shut down auto body, the reason is half empty classes, just not cost effective when theres no interest. its a sad state of affairs
     
    loudbang likes this.
  16. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 24,971

    Mr48chev
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    True Collision repair has changed drastically due to the way newer cars are made and labor costs. Still we have several "rebuild" shops that rebuild wrecks and resell them here in town. One in particular turns out a product that often looks better than it did new off the lot and I'd love to have them paint my truck but don't think they take in outside work.
    On the other hand look at the custom work you see guys doing in threads here on the Hamb and on other sites. Years ago most of the customizers cut a section out of a donor car and welded it in the one they were working on scouring possible donors for just the right shape body panel to cut off and trim to fit and weld on. Now guys are hand forming panels as a matter of course rather than as a rarity.
    Weld it on and slap the lead to it and shape it was the way for a long time then it changed to weld it on and spread the filler on it and start sanding. Now we see fully metal worked rigs show up at events with little or no lead and no filler. We see so many of them it is almost expected rather than an OMG moment when you see the quality body work on bare metal.
     
  17. B.A.KING
    Joined: Apr 6, 2005
    Posts: 3,484

    B.A.KING
    Member

    WELL, the times, they are a changin...........
    some wise man once said.
     
  18. mgtstumpy
    Joined: Jul 20, 2006
    Posts: 7,359

    mgtstumpy
    Member

    I remember when I was a apprentice in a body shop in the 70s, 4yr trade to qualify here. Back then the majority of our work were BIG smashes that are now considered as unrepairable (Written off by insurance company) these days so I learnt my craft from old school tradesman. We had floor pots and racks and made tools from time to time to clamp on and push/pull metal parts if it wasn't already in inventory.
    Even then I was surprised by the number of qualified tradesmen that approached me asking how to do this, that and the other as they hadn't been exposed to those jobs at any stage during their training! WTF :eek:
    I was still in training and fortunately it was second nature to me and it came easy. Most of them had only done minor repairs, rust and car yard work with more remove and replace (R&R).
    The metal composition was different then and could be heated and pulled etc. Not sure about today's thinner metal with higher carbon content etc. A lot different and doesn't work the same not that I do anything on modern cars now.
    I feel that now you'd get 2 x new Toyota's from my single 46 Olds body :p
    We were taught to metal finish and use English wheels etc at college but when back in the shop, time is money and white lead was used (Bondo) over joints and repairs.
     
    0NE BAD 51 MERC likes this.
  19. UNSHINED 2
    Joined: Oct 30, 2006
    Posts: 875

    UNSHINED 2
    Member

    I still do it on my cars, I'd show anyone willing to listen. Not too many seem to want to listen.
     
    mgtstumpy likes this.
  20. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 4,255

    anthony myrick
    Member
    from al

    Wonder if blacksmiths complained that these new famgled mechanics don’t make all their parts?
    I must have been an anomaly
    I learned metal finishing/straightening due to a lack of cash growing up. This skill was not needed much at the dealerships I worked at. When was hired at at European repair shop, this skill kept me busy for 14 years until I went to a custom shop. At the custom shop I had to relearn how to straighten the softer older car steel. It’s stretches much easier than newer steel. I don’t care if you use lead or new style fillers. The metal has to be reshaped as close as possible to the original contour. Butcher shops are butcher shops either new or from decades ago. I may make some folks mad by saying this but this site is testimste that the metal skills today are superior than in the past. The hot rods from the past were built from very high quality cars compared to the average basket case built today. The work here on the HAMB and throughout custom shops in the world is amazing and a continuation of the best from the past.
    So is it a dying art or just a constantly changing one?
     
    K13 and mgtstumpy like this.
  21. BamaMav
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 3,028

    BamaMav
    Member
    from Berry, AL

    Commercially, I'd say dying. Hobbyist, probably growing. An exception could be made for the few shops that deal in restoration of older cars, they seem to pop up, stay a while, then close shop when the profits dry up, so it would be harder to put a number on them.
     
  22. ebfabman
    Joined: Mar 10, 2009
    Posts: 592

    ebfabman

    Think there are not skilled guys out there? Check out the PDR guys. Some very nice work being done on new cars with all kinds of damage.
     
  23. Top notch work is not preformed in the conventional body shops off today, they replace everything they can with factory or knock off parts, time is money and quick turn qround insurance work pays the bills for many repair shops.

    I'm not saying that many of the guys that work in these shops are not capable of doing the repairs that your would want on your classic car, I know of several men locally that are seasoned professionals and have worked using tried and proved techniques, they just earn a paycheck working for someone else that has all the headaches and time limitations.

    Guys that focus on quality repair on collector cars, hot rods or customs are usually found working in the garage behind the house and are usually booked up for months, if not years and these guys will always be in demand.

    The Hamb has no shortage of talented craftsmen that have demonstrated their mastery of the art for years, some have long running projects that seem to blow me away with each progress report.

    As long as guys are restoring old cars there will be a demand for old school body & paint men that know how to recreate pieces to match the original pieces. HRP
     
  24. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 15,981

    gimpyshotrods
    Member

    When I was between gigs, I threw down shifts at a body shop, for extra coin.

    I can say that the folks who speak of time and money are correct.

    Traditional bodywork is not a lost art. It is an obsolete art. The metal does not support the work, and neither does good business sense.

    Be it a door, fender, quarter, roof skin, you still need to prep and paint it, regardless of how it got perfectly straight. It takes near-zero time, and near-zero labor to take a brand new one out of a box, that showed up on a truck.

    No insurance company will pay a shop to re-work a panel that can be tossed, and replaced. Very few customers will pay the real price of bespoke repair panels, ask me how I know.
     
  25. tjm73
    Joined: Feb 17, 2006
    Posts: 3,281

    tjm73
    Member

    you can straighten a door skin for 4 hours at $100 per hour before you get ready to paint. Or you buy a used door for $300 and start repainting it. Modern body work like many things is a pure lesson in cost-benefit. It's always been cost-benefit. The equation is the same. The cost keeps moving around.
     
    chickenridgerods likes this.
  26. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 4,255

    anthony myrick
    Member
    from al

    Some folks think replacing a part is negative . A exterior panel on a new car will often be replaced due to high strength steel under it. A rocker or qtr may be replaced to repair the inner structure. This inner structure is nothing like older cars. Repair work is still being done it just looks different.
    A plastic bumper will often be replaced due to the technology behind it. Sensors can be hampered due to excessive paint build or repair material build up.
    I visited a student. He had just replaced a qtr and rear body. Every factory spot weld was replaced with a new spot weld.( not MIG) The seams and joints were perfect. The joint in the sail panel was butt welded with bronze according to manufacturer specs and no heavy filler, just a thin 2 part putty. Door gaps were perfect. Without running a camera up the sail and finding a burn from the weld this repair is undetectable.
    If you think it’s a lost art you’re looking in the wrong place.

    Hacks have always been around. And craftsmen still exist.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2019
    gimpyshotrods likes this.
  27. 100% correct. I would bet Body Techs have 10 times the knowledge that old time guys did. Some of you guys need to spend a day or two at a good body shop and see what actually goes on.
     
  28. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 4,255

    anthony myrick
    Member
    from al

    The shop split the part money with the tech. Left the estimate as replacement. In other words the charged for a new one but repaired the old one. That’s called insurance fraud today.
     
    gimpyshotrods likes this.
  29. X-cpe
    Joined: Mar 9, 2018
    Posts: 557

    X-cpe

    Talking about how it was makes me think of the refrain from the Bellamy Brothers song " Old Hippie".

    "He's an old hippie
    And he don't know what to do
    Should he hang on to the old
    Should he grab onto the new
    He's an old hippie
    This new life is just a bust
    He ain't trying to change nobody
    He's just trying real hard to adjust"
     
  30. X-cpe
    Joined: Mar 9, 2018
    Posts: 557

    X-cpe

    Some body probably mentioned that and its consequences which is why the practice stopped.
     

Share This Page

Register now to get rid of these ads!

Archive

Copyright © 1995-2020 The Jalopy Journal: Steal our stuff, we'll kick your teeth in. Terms of Service. Privacy Policy.

Atomic Industry
Forum software by XenForo™ ©2010-2014 XenForo Ltd.