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The resurrection of Rusty, the '59 Sport Fury convertible

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by big M, Feb 21, 2013.

  1. carguy699
    Joined: Jan 16, 2013
    Posts: 87

    carguy699
    Member

    hey big m and alum can! glad to see you over here! i am watching the progress on the 59 plymmie with much interest. hope my 58 fairlane turns out as nice as that one is gonna!
    jim pring
     
  2. rockfish
    Joined: Apr 11, 2001
    Posts: 445

    rockfish
    Member

    So does the M in "big M" stand for MacGyver? Tomato bin, exhaust tubing and metal shelving. You the man. Of course it's easy when you start with those rust free California cars. :D

    Keep the updates coming.
     
  3. plodge55aqua
    Joined: Jan 4, 2009
    Posts: 1,711

    plodge55aqua
    Member
    from Alberta

    Hi John.. Great to see you here...

    Terry
     
  4. M... I think its all been said. The engineuity, drive, talent etc etc... Very exciting to watch. Thanks for sharing.
     
  5. big M
    Joined: Mar 22, 2010
    Posts: 709

    big M
    Member

    Good to see you here, Jim! Be sure to post some pics of your '58 when you have a chance!
     
  6. big M
    Joined: Mar 22, 2010
    Posts: 709

    big M
    Member

    I did some research on these convertibles, and found that the rocker panels used on a convertible from '57-'59 were special 12 gauge steel, rather than the 19 gauge used in closed cars. I cut a cross section from a standard rocker for measurements to make the new ones. These had to be made on a hydraulic brake.
     

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  7. big M
    Joined: Mar 22, 2010
    Posts: 709

    big M
    Member

    I cut the old rocker panels off at each end, and drilled out the spotwelds holding them to the inner rockers. The surface was cleaned and treated then. Next, the replacement rockers were cut to the correct length, and placed up against the body to ensure their fit. Some hammer and dolly work was required from breaking spotwelds. Next, holes were drilled all along the bottom flange of both rockers, to weld them on, and replicate the spotweld divots.
    Finish grinding was left to later when the body was on a rotisserie [My back does not tolerate a lot of bending over any more].
     

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  8. big M
    Joined: Mar 22, 2010
    Posts: 709

    big M
    Member

    After looking at different rotisseries on the market, I decided on a locally made one, called the Carotator. Very good quality, overbuilt if anything. I assembled it, but had no help to get the body up on it, so I used a series of blocks and barrels to gradually get it to the right height for loading. Now I can work on it without getting backaches.
     

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  9. big M
    Joined: Mar 22, 2010
    Posts: 709

    big M
    Member

    Next order of business was to put the chassis somewhere that it wouldn't get discarded for scrap, as I still needed the torsion bars, their mounts, the convertible X-member, and special convert. only mounts.

    I used a pair of come-alongs, and chained it up beneath the loft to keep it out of the way until needed.
     

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  10. big M
    Joined: Mar 22, 2010
    Posts: 709

    big M
    Member

    I decided that with the swiss-cheese effect, the trunk floor would have to be replaced entirely.
    Back to the trunk floor,
    I had a trunk floor from a '58 that was cut out, but the customer never paid for, so what better use for it than this project. Scraping surface rust and undercoat was the first step. I removed the remainder of the wheelwells, and cut a straight-edge line across the rear, as I would no be using the tailpanel.
    There was a small rust hole near the fuel fill tube hole, that needed repair work, so a piece was fitted in and welded in place.
    Now the pan is ready for installation.
     

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  11. big M
    Joined: Mar 22, 2010
    Posts: 709

    big M
    Member

    Next was to lower the rear of the car onto horses to remove stress from the back of the car, as I did not want the quarters to buckle. Spotwelds were removed from the original pan, and careful measurements were made at the rear before cutting, as the fit had to be precise.
     

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  12. big M
    Joined: Mar 22, 2010
    Posts: 709

    big M
    Member

    I set the pan in place, and welded it in. Next was to repair the trunk latch support, a mouse had built a nest in behind it, and caused rust holes. After repairs were made, it was reinstalled. Cleaning up of welds was next.
     

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  13. big M
    Joined: Mar 22, 2010
    Posts: 709

    big M
    Member

    I was called by an estate attorney for the late Leon Shelhorse, who ran Williams Auto Body and towing, and was the local AAA garage since 1957. He closed down in the early '80's. I leased his property fifteen years ago, and helped him to sell some of the collector cars he had stored on the properties he owned. When I bought my ranch, I moved my personal cars out, and he called in a scrap outfit that crushed most of the remaining cars, mostly from the sixties aznd seventies. Some cars were left behind, as well as an assortment of 2-ton trucks, piles of junk, and lots of trash. The attorney gave me salvage rights on the tow yard, and the body shop, in order to clean it up and help sell it for the heirs. I only saved a few vehicles, as they had some value, and scrapped the rest. The body shop had been plagued with midnight visitors [thieves] for years, and any of the easy to remove and sell tools were long gone. I did get some vintage equipment, a safe from the 1800's, and Leon's personal hand made toolbox, although all that was left inside was a Mopar door handle tool, and three small lead paddles.

    I got to thinking, that this would be an excellent box to keep all my specialty body tools in, and keep them separate from my mechanic tools. Now I have place for everything that is organized better. The top lid of the box holds my solder files, and each drawer holds my body picks, spoons, slapping files, dollies, hammers, etc.

    Soon I will be back to work on the '59, and now have a better way to keep my body tools organized for the job.
     

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  14. Hotrod1959
    Joined: Nov 3, 2007
    Posts: 690

    Hotrod1959
    Member

    I have driven passed your place hundreds of times and have always wanted to stop an explore your yard. Your work is amazing.
     
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  15. big M
    Joined: Mar 22, 2010
    Posts: 709

    big M
    Member

    Next time you are heading this way, let me know, and you can have the grand tour of the yard. I am often out hauling cars in, so advance notice is always preferred. A lot of times I am here weekends also.

    ---John
     
  16. moparmuscle1
    Joined: Nov 15, 2012
    Posts: 85

    moparmuscle1
    Member

    Hi John , I'm subscribed also . Your doing great work and I cant wait to see it finished . I think I've strained my eye's looking at the things in the background of your shop , wow . I also noticed a couple of nice parts cars just outside the door , lol . Thanks for saving another one ,

    Don
     
  17. plodge55aqua
    Joined: Jan 4, 2009
    Posts: 1,711

    plodge55aqua
    Member
    from Alberta


    The John and the gang down there are Great to talk to.... a Kool place.. lots of Tin. And very Nice Tin... I missed the first turn off the first and only time ... But made my way back there.. Glad I did..it Just made the Holiday even better..
     
  18. boomosby
    Joined: Dec 20, 2009
    Posts: 413

    boomosby
    Member

    grt grt grt work! we are getting to the wheel well section where you were on page one! will post progress pics as well!!
     
  19. big M
    Joined: Mar 22, 2010
    Posts: 709

    big M
    Member

    Now to remedy some of the ills on the exterior of the body-

    There was noticeable rust on the lower quarter panel that would need to be cut out and repaired, as well as in the dogleg in front of the wheel. What I didn't expect to find was the quarter panel having a massive amount of bondo in it, over an inch thick some places! I removed all of it to find that somewhere in the life of the car it had been hit there, and poorly repaired. The metal was terribly stretched from this prior work.
     

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  20. big M
    Joined: Mar 22, 2010
    Posts: 709

    big M
    Member

    After finding this not so pleasant surprise [fixing other folks work is usually twice as hard as fixing it right the first time] I deciede to tackle the other side. There was rust out behind the rear wheel opening on both the inner and outer panels.
    I cut the rear portion out of a 4-door sedan in the yard that had been hit behind the door, the repair piece looked good until I seperated the inner and outer section.
     

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  21. S.F.
    Joined: Oct 19, 2006
    Posts: 2,894

    S.F.
    Member

    This build has blown my mind. You sir; are hard core. Ive never seen anyone fillet a car like this.
     
  22. KoolKat-57
    Joined: Feb 22, 2010
    Posts: 3,034

    KoolKat-57
    Member
    from Dublin, OH

    You Sir, have learned to do so much with so little for so long, that you are now capable of doing almost anything with nothing!
    I am truely impressed with your skills and fortitude!
    My hat is off to you.
    KK
     
  23. big M
    Joined: Mar 22, 2010
    Posts: 709

    big M
    Member

    Thanks for the positive input. It goes a long way with a project such as this.

    After welding up the pinholes I found in the outer patch panel, I cut out the weakened inner panel to solid metal, and cut the repair piece down to butt weld back in. I left the outer quarter piece on for now to act as a template to fit the patch piece on the inner. Next, it was welded on, and the welds ground down.
     

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  24. big M
    Joined: Mar 22, 2010
    Posts: 709

    big M
    Member

    The rusty lower quarter is noot cut off, and the patch piece fitted to the car. Next it's stitch welded, and cooled in between with a wet rag to minimize distortion. Welds are ground off with a carbide burr [to keep the heat down] and smoothed out. There will be only minor finish work necessary.
     

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  25. big M
    Joined: Mar 22, 2010
    Posts: 709

    big M
    Member

    Next, I cut the rusty areas from the doglegs. These were small and easy to fabricate repair pieces for.
     

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  26. big M
    Joined: Mar 22, 2010
    Posts: 709

    big M
    Member

    Back to the badly stretched quarter panel. I used a slapping file and was able to get the lower quarter somewhat straight, then went to the task of finding a suitable patch piece in the yard. The only car that did not have visible rust in this area was a '59 Savoy sedan, out near the highway. I cut the lower section out with a portable sawzall, and brought it back in the barn to seperate the panels. Unfortunately, after a heavy wire wheel session, pinholes appeared. These I welded up using a copper spoon for backing. I then removed the rusty lower quarter section. The inner panel here was thin, and would need repair work as well.
     

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  27. big M
    Joined: Mar 22, 2010
    Posts: 709

    big M
    Member

    Now that the lower body rust was repaired, I began to strip the remaining paint from the body. The local mercantile store still carried Jasco paint stripper, so away I went.
    Clean metal always looks better!
     

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  28. uc4me
    Joined: Feb 3, 2006
    Posts: 516

    uc4me
    Member


    What he said 2X
     
  29. Yea, me too. Fantastic work!
     
  30. racemad55
    Joined: Dec 14, 2005
    Posts: 1,149

    racemad55
    Member

    Fantastic,dedicated,but what a friggin undertaking!
     

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