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Projects Torpedo Attack

Discussion in 'Traditional Customs' started by Woodlouse, Dec 19, 2011.

  1. Woodlouse
    Joined: Dec 18, 2011
    Posts: 74

    Woodlouse
    Member
    from London UK

    Jumping in the deep end with my first post, I'm going to start the build thread on my '48 Pontiac. I have owned the car for a couple of years now, work has progressed in stops and starts - life getting in the way, you know how it goes.

    The project is a little further forward than it might first appear and over the holidays I'll bring the thread up to real time.

    It's been on the back burner for a couple of years now.
    After the recent eviction of a certain '36 coupe, I now have my bit of workshop space back.
    The plan is a late 40s early 50s custom.
    The rust situation is not too bad, the paperwork states it as a Texas car, bodywork confirms this with all outer panels, doors, box sections etc all solid, with only surface rust and buckets of fine dust in every orifice.
    But in contrast the boot floor is totally shagged.
    It seems this side of the pond it lived for some time in a hedge with no back window, hence the boot floor returning to nature.
    Guess what first job is going to be.
    Heres some pictures I apologise if a couple have been seen before but they are all I have.

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    <TABLE border=0 cellSpacing=2 cellPadding=2 width="100%" height="100%"><TBODY><TR><TD vAlign=top colSpan=3>As purchased a couple of summers ago


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    Nothing 5 years work and 10 grand cant sort!


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    Don't be scared. Who likes a bit of tech.
    Sitting down for a bit of a think, I realized the boot floor wasn't quite the simple job as first thought.
    Turns out the rear four body mounts were in the boot, with the added complication of a rear end shunt exposing more rust and a previous bodged repair.


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    If I cut the whole lot out in one go, the rear end would be flapping,( mine and the car ) with possibly realignment problems in the future.
    So I decided to play safe and sort it in two half's.
    Cutting out the damaged corner actually helped with easy access to the body mount.


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    After a lot of thinking and grinding this is what I ended up with at the end of the day.


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    Before any cutting I made a wooden pattern , so I had a reference point to refer back to.
    The rear rail I had cut out was surprisingly heavy duty.
    As a starting point , I cut the bottom section from 16g sheet drilled for plug welding the box section. the smaller box section at the front forms the up stand for the boot lid to close on.


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    My box bender, a bit primitive but it worked.


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    Now were smoking.


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    Rear member now bolted in holding everything together again.
    The box section looks a little crude at this stage, but will be totally enclosed by the new boot floor making it even more rigid, as the original.
    The cut out in the middle is for the lock striker, which I have to remove from the old piece.


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    Have you had enough yet.
    I filled in the two missing corners this week, nothing too exciting but all progress in the right direction.
    Quite a tricky little patch panel to make, not having a shrinker/stretcher tool.
    I cut the lip returns out of flat sheet and welded the corners, a little fiddly to do, but turned out O.K. Amazingly rigid once tacked together.


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    The side piece was a straight forward patch.
    I took the opportunity to get rid of the old rear light holes as well.
    Strange world, I like the Pontiac rear lights, I fitted a pair to the coupe, I now own a car that had them as standard and I get rid of them.


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    Just like the Bride of Frankenstein, lots of scars but all the curves in the right places.


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    Repeat for other side.


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    Job done another one to cross off the list.


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    Donald A. Smith likes this.
  2. Truckedup
    Joined: Jul 25, 2006
    Posts: 3,862

    Truckedup
    Member

    Nice to see guys making body panels from welded up pieces....
     
    Donald A. Smith likes this.
  3. I like the box bender Tony
    Looking good
     
  4. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 26,270

    Mr48chev
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    It's always great to see someone else's approach to a task and even better to see that a guy can get it done with want to, a bit of grit and gumption and simple equipment.
     
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  5. mgtstumpy
    Joined: Jul 20, 2006
    Posts: 7,792

    mgtstumpy
    Member

    Awesome. Looks like the smaller 'A' body similar to a friends '46 Olds convert. He has rust issues that he also needs to deal with. Too late to turn back now, onward and upward. ;)
     
  6. Look'n good! Subscribed!
     
  7. Adrian Rollini
    Joined: Aug 30, 2011
    Posts: 155

    Adrian Rollini
    Member

    Going to be a great build. Pontiac has a similar body style to the Chevy fleetline. Pontiac was more expensive because the bigger motor and added chrome. They make wasome customs. I don't see them often here in San Diego. I wish there where more around because I would not mind having one my self.
     
  8. Orn
    Joined: Jul 17, 2005
    Posts: 1,043

    Orn
    Member

    Nice work. Gm torpedo style body is the shit ;)
     
    Donald A. Smith likes this.
  9. Woodlouse
    Joined: Dec 18, 2011
    Posts: 74

    Woodlouse
    Member
    from London UK

    Thanks for the encouraging comments guys.
    Adrian, I see your point about the similarity to the Fleetline.
    I will be getting rid of a lot of the bling on the Pontiac but I don't want to totally lose it's identity so some of it will go back on, perhaps in a simpler form to keep the family likeness.
     
  10. Woodlouse
    Joined: Dec 18, 2011
    Posts: 74

    Woodlouse
    Member
    from London UK

    <TABLE border=0 cellSpacing=2 cellPadding=2 width="100%" height="100%"><TBODY><TR><TD vAlign=top colSpan=3>Brass monkeys or what.
    If it wasn't for my new best friend the wood burner, I don't think there would have been much progress this week.
    Plodding on with the rust repairs, I had to side track to the boot lid, so as to sort out the details of the lock before I tackle the floor.
    Having a big hole in the floor sure helps when fitting a lock from scratch.
    I also took the opportunity to round the boot corners, my first custom mod.
    One thing I have noticed with a forties G.M. car, it's a hell of a lot thinner metal then a 30's Fords.
    As soon as I cut the bottom off the boot lid it immediately turned into a floppy hat.
    Enough waffle have a look at the pictures.


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    Been chugging along doing a few patch repairs to the rear inner fenders and shaving the boot lid.
    I have cut out the whole boot floor now.

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    Without the floor in place interesting shot from inside, showing the repairs and new bear claw latch, fitted to make it easy to be cable operated.


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    Cutting the corners off the boot lid was a piece of piss compared with rebuilding the body corners to suit.


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    The only way to improve this rearend, would be to put a nice pair of tight jeans on it. HaHa.


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    My Wilcap Tranny adapter arrived.


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    Getting bored with the boot now, looking forward to moving onto the rear fenders.
    Clark got them sandblasted last week in preparation.
    A milestone reached this weekend finished the boot floor.
    Now working my way to the front of the car, next on my list is to weld the rear fenders on.
    Not having done this before I'm a little puzzled, do I bolt them in place then weld the seam or do I cut the flange off before welding?
    I'm thinking plan "B" because it should help with getting them perfectly aligned, also eradicate a future rust trap.
    I have seen some projects where a filler piece of metal is used to bridge the joint and smooth out the transition from fender to body, but on mine it doesn't seem to need it.


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    My Fred Flintstone tooling, basic but got the job done, of course there was a hammer involved.

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  11. Woodlouse
    Joined: Dec 18, 2011
    Posts: 74

    Woodlouse
    Member
    from London UK

    I've been doing what an old car owner should never do, prodding around with a screwdriver.
    The door steps have always been a bit suspect, just a little too smooth and perfect. Yep all filler.
    So ten minutes of prodding and I had found another month of welding and grinding, lucky I ain't got a deadline.


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    No such thing as a straight line when doing bodywork.
    The sills were no exception with a 3/4 inch curve over there length, so had to be bashed over a wooden former rather then just folded.


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    I was quite proud of these worth the effort.


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    This little piece 22 inches long took four hours to make, but fitted well in the end


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    Done mostly on my bit of train track.


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    The missing 22 inches


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    Lastly to cheer myself up, after getting the boot lid blasted, I couldn't resist a bit of filler and paint.


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  12. Zeke
    Joined: Mar 4, 2001
    Posts: 1,716

    Zeke
    Member

    Nicely done mate. I take heart when I see others doing it the way I have been.. Lack of tools but no lack of determination. Great job so far!
     
  13. Willy301
    Joined: Nov 16, 2007
    Posts: 1,426

    Willy301
    Member

    That is some solid work! I like your can do attitude with this build, you are really making some sound repairs here!
     
  14. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 9,866

    Atwater Mike
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Master car builders formed bodies over wood bucks before we were born. Great to see the mastery in this day and age.
    Your metal shaping shows what can be done by mere mortals. Excellent!
     
    Donald A. Smith likes this.
  15. neverdun
    Joined: Oct 17, 2007
    Posts: 672

    neverdun
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    1. Maryland HAMBers

    Keep it up. It looks great. Nothing a man can't do with some ingenuity.
    Subscribed.
     
  16. mgtstumpy
    Joined: Jul 20, 2006
    Posts: 7,792

    mgtstumpy
    Member

    What engine & trans combo?

     
  17. Nice work.
    Cool car.
    Going Kustom with it?
     
  18. Woodlouse
    Joined: Dec 18, 2011
    Posts: 74

    Woodlouse
    Member
    from London UK


    I'm fitting a '55 331 caddy motor with th350 trans.
    Aiming for a nice reliable cruiser and easy driver, most of the rest I'll be leaving stock after lowering of course.

    [​IMG]

    There you go patiently waiting in the lock-up.
     
  19. Cross Rodder
    Joined: Apr 14, 2008
    Posts: 321

    Cross Rodder
    Member

    Well done, I like the old school garage build attack. Will be watching, love the approach so far!
     
  20. captainjunk#2
    Joined: Mar 13, 2008
    Posts: 4,339

    captainjunk#2
    Member

    nice work on the patch panels , there s a lot of satisfaction in making a good panel , i dig the choice of engine ,
     
    Donald A. Smith likes this.
  21. Midwest Rodder
    Joined: Dec 7, 2008
    Posts: 1,768

    Midwest Rodder
    Member

  22. sololobo
    Joined: Aug 23, 2006
    Posts: 8,053

    sololobo
    Member

    Bloody good work my friend, I love all the torpedo back cars, especially the Pontiac. I hope you have the beautiful stainless ribbed trim for the boot and the bonnet. Love the Caddy mill, best wishes on your build. ~sololobo~
     
  23. Woodlouse
    Joined: Dec 18, 2011
    Posts: 74

    Woodlouse
    Member
    from London UK

    Oh yeah, going custom with it, late forties early fifties may be a few bits not quite period but nothing that shows.
    At the moment I am just finishing full fadaway fenders, hope to post up by the new year quite pleased with them even if I say so myself.;)
    Thanks for the interest keeps the momentum going.
     
  24. monkeyspunk79
    Joined: Jan 2, 2011
    Posts: 553

    monkeyspunk79
    Member

    Wow, I'm impressed with how you've come along. Your shop & skill set are an inspiration folks like us that don't have a pile of cash or a huge workshop. Keep up the great work and thanks for the detailed pics & progress reports. I'm all over this thread from here on. Cheers!
     
  25. jamcoupe
    Joined: Sep 5, 2006
    Posts: 481

    jamcoupe
    Member

    Great work on those patch panels! Looks awesome!
     
  26. OahuEli
    Joined: Dec 27, 2008
    Posts: 5,022

    OahuEli
    Member
    from Hawaii

    I like the basic approach you are taking. Makes it easier for non metalworking guys like myself to understand the process of repairing sheetmetal. Subscribed.
     
  27. Woodlouse
    Joined: Dec 18, 2011
    Posts: 74

    Woodlouse
    Member
    from London UK

    Just an update to prove I haven't been slacking lately.
    Recently finished all the structural welding (hopefully) and now I have a firm base to build on.


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    Next job was to tackle the doors, these I stripped off all the hardware and glass etc. and whats the first thing I find more rust. the bottoms are like Victorian lace, but not to worry this will all be sorted in the bigger plan.
    The doors were rehung and fitted well with no alignment problems,which is a relief after the sill repairs.
    I sent all the front panels for blasting and gave them a quick coat of primer. Pleasantly surprised all sound needing very little work.
    I can't put off welding the rear fenders on any longer, looks like I will have to just bite the bullet.
    Now for the big plan,Fadeaway front fenders, I intend to construct wooden formers on each side of the car, a metalworking friend has promised to skin these in steel, after which I can weld these rolled panels onto the doors.
    I will need to incorporate a new wider bottom panel, sorting the rust issues at the same time. Easy pezzy, we shall see. HaHa.


    We pushed the car out into the sunshine, didn't take too long fitting the bonnet and fenders back on.
    It was great seeing it complete as a car again, very morale boosting.


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    We then spent the rest of the afternoon drinking more tea and talking more bollocks, whilst playing with the design in masking tape, this is what we came up with. Yeah I like it.


    <TABLE border=0 cellSpacing=2 cellPadding=2 width="100%" height="100%"><TBODY><TR><TD vAlign=top colSpan=3>Determined to finish the repairs to the two doors.
    These doors are 48 inches wide and weigh half a ton each.
    I must have put them on and off at least a thousand times, burnt my hand and set light to my favorite grinding hat.
    Am I bitter, am I glad that jobs done. YES.


    Not a pretty sight, but lucky the rust hasn't extended up into the sides to much.


    [​IMG]


    The grinder soon made short work of cutting the bottom off, due to modifications for the fadeaways I could afford to cut 11/4 inches from the bottom of the outer skin, which didn't need to go back.
    This made the replacement bottom a very straight forward job.


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    One of my favorite things, that never loses it appeal. The wood former, I suppose not that surprising really, but the panel needed was remarkably similar to the sills I made.


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    Soon had them tacked together and welded, nothing to difficult, just a bit of a grinding Marathon cleaning up all the welds.


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    Interesting bit coming up, I've started the fadaways but thats for next time.


    Rear fenders done, like a lot of things in life that you dread, turned out painless in the end.
    I elected to cut the flange off leaving a 1/4" lip all round.


    [​IMG]


    After filling in the numerous trim holes I was ready to start.
    Having no bolts to hold it on, the first couple of tacks were tricky, but after that just usual rules of jumping around to avoid distortion.
    The natural rounded edge of fender and body leaves a nice dip to fill with weld needing very little grinding to finish.
    One of the fenders had seen a bit of action in its time, and pulling it into alignment caused the bottom corner to pop out a little, soon fixed this with a new stay, using the other fender as a pattern.
    All in all pleased with the results, I think it now crosses the line from resto to Kustom.


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    The Pontiac's of this time were basically Chevy's with buckets of bling added, one of these extra "features" was a raised rib on the top of the front fenders which carried a chrome trim down to the headlight rim.

    I could have lived with this as I am trying not to totally destroy the cars identity, but it would make frenching the front head lights a nightmare, so it had to go.

    A lot of welding and grinding but quite straightforward, I tried to be clever with the first one, and cut out alternate strips in the fender to keep it all manageable, but it made things difficult getting the curves right, so on the second one I just cut and shut as I went.
    The pictures tell the story.

    Got a question for the bodywork guys, what would you recommend to flush off the welds in this situation? I tend to cut them back with a grinding disc, then smooth them off with a 80 grit flap wheel but it takes forever, not a pleasant part of the job.


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  28. chaddilac
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 13,845

    chaddilac
    Member

    looks great!!!
     
  29. Iceberg460
    Joined: Jun 6, 2007
    Posts: 880

    Iceberg460
    Member

    Very nice work, looking forward to seeing how you do the fadaways.
     
  30. 52Poncho
    Joined: Apr 23, 2011
    Posts: 256

    52Poncho
    Member

    Great work, I really like your wood forms for bending sheet metal. I was taught to do repairs that way a few decades ago. ;)
    Keep up the excellent work. :cool::cool::D
     

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