Register now to get rid of these ads!

Tunnel your stock taillights!

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by The_Monster, May 11, 2012.

  1. The_Monster
    Joined: Sep 8, 2003
    Posts: 1,754


    So I just tunneled my stock taillights on my '53 belair and thought Id share. Im guessing this is not a big deal to most customizers here, but here it is anyway for someone looking for ideas! I think frenching or tunneling the stock equipment is a cool mild custom touch and adds a bit more persoanlity to your mild custom.
    On with the photos!!

    Here is the stock taillight arrangement, short of blue dots

    And a side shot

    Remove the assembly to reveal the 4 mounting flanges

    Measure and lay tape for a cutting guide line to remove the end area. I measured from the flush mounting surface back 3/4".
    Youll also notice in this pic that the 4 mounting flanges are missing. OH! There they are in my trunk under the hammer! haha! I cut this out first, but realized I needed to cut away much more for my design.

    AAhh, thats better! Now the taillight housing will slide in and out of these holes no problem.

    And one more

    Here is my hand formed piece of flat steel. I went with a 2" tunnel because my bullet center lens will show from the side, but nothing else. Youll see later.
    Heres the piece I cut off the car. This is the outside painted surface.

    Youll want to flip that piece upside down. Luckily the 53-54 mounting pattern is symetrical. If it wasnt, you could just fab up some simple mounts.

    So here again, for 53-54, heres the outside original mount face

    And here it is flipped around, mounting to the back side. This is so the tunnel will flow into the rounded sides.

    So, using the first one I cut, (after welding the center back into it... skip that step! haha) I matched it to up to the 2" tunnel

    And then just welded it all the way around.

    Next I fit it into the hole and checked it to make sure the angle was correct. You dont want your lights pointing up/down or to one side. Make sure the tunnel is level.

    Once I double checked everything, I spot welded it in place and put my taillight in to check that it was what I wanted.

    I hand formed a piece of rod and thought it would look pretty cool to add a peak to the ridge. Very subtle, but complimenting the lines of the car, keeping the mild custom theme.

    Next I used some cardboard to cut and fit a template to use to cut out my metal peak pieces

    Once I cut and hand formed them, I tested them for fit.

    After I was pleased with the fit, I welded them into place. I ground down the welds to allow for body filler.

    After sanding back the paint and preping for body filler, the ridge line can be seen and it really looks nice. The body line has continued out to the peak smoothly!

    Mix up some filler and get ready to sand it!
  2. The_Monster
    Joined: Sep 8, 2003
    Posts: 1,754


    By the way, for those of you that would like to simply tunnel it in, but not peak it, this is what it would look like with a 2" tunnel.

    With and without the peak

    Almost done with the passenger side!

    And finally, the sweet results!




    Hope this helps someone out there with their tunnel job, even if it just fuels imagination! Thanks!
    Cosmo49 likes this.
  3. ArtGeco
    Joined: Apr 6, 2005
    Posts: 760

    from Miami

    Nice werk, looks slick!
  4. The_Monster
    Joined: Sep 8, 2003
    Posts: 1,754



  5. fastcar1953
    Joined: Oct 23, 2009
    Posts: 2,625


  6. "T'RANTULA"
    Joined: Aug 6, 2011
    Posts: 662

    from Ohio

    Gotta say it makes the body flow better!
  7. Looks fricken' awesome. Great work!
  8. AV88
    Joined: Feb 7, 2011
    Posts: 235


    Nice work, without the peeks I wouldn't have liked it , maybe a little less tunnel for me ,but all round neat
  9. Pretty freaking cool dude !
  10. docmike
    Joined: Oct 2, 2011
    Posts: 239


    Nice job. I'm planning on doing the same treatment on my '51 Chevy but, I plan on using '50 Ford tail lights.

  11. Cool touch man!
    I dig it.
  12. damagedduck
    Joined: Jun 16, 2011
    Posts: 2,342

    from Greeley Co

    looks very good!
  13. dana barlow
    Joined: May 30, 2006
    Posts: 4,487

    dana barlow
    from Miami Fla.
    1. Y-blocks

    Nice job,like it a lot.:cool::D
  14. a bloke
    Joined: Jul 6, 2007
    Posts: 233

    a bloke

    good job, good how-to as well.
  15. mob53
    Joined: Sep 6, 2010
    Posts: 129


    Looks great man! You made that look pretty easy.
  16. jazz1
    Joined: Apr 30, 2011
    Posts: 1,498


    That looks very good,nice work and just like television it was all done in a flash...How many actual hours did it take? Worth the effort IMO! I am doing a small fix on a truck I am charging him for 8 hours but I know I am going to spend 12,,,some things are just so tedious.
  17. That looks Cool! Thanks for posting that tech.
  18. jgang
    Joined: Feb 22, 2009
    Posts: 238

    from hamburg ny

    nice job. really slick. i dig those peaks. cool, thanks for posting.
  19. no limits
    Joined: May 1, 2012
    Posts: 156

    no limits
    from Louisiana

  20. Hot Rod Chris
    Joined: Mar 31, 2011
    Posts: 464

    Hot Rod Chris

    Very nice! Love ur car, I might steal that idea from ya!
  21. gnichols
    Joined: Mar 6, 2008
    Posts: 11,019

    from Tampa, FL

    Your tail lights look fantastic. Gary
    Last edited: May 13, 2012
  22. Morgan91
    Joined: Sep 12, 2010
    Posts: 560

    from Australia

    Bit like this.

    Attached Files:

  23. I didn't think I was going to like 'em when I saw your first few pics, but they turned out really nice. Good job, good step-by-step too.
  24. evol55
    Joined: Apr 25, 2004
    Posts: 257


    Man those look great. I like how something small can really change the car. Stock Sucks !!!
  25. Smokey2
    Joined: Jan 11, 2011
    Posts: 919


    Monster ?, Can You Do THE MONSTER MASH ????
    (yea, back in tha' '60 s AGAIN ?)........

    Good Phots and modification, be "Happy" U can Weld "...............

    (We ) TioxinKustoms < W. bg Virginia > extended rear quarter 2 inches, Very subtle !!,
    and frenched stock bezels in, with Lee's Lenses..........I like Loooong 1/4 panels !

    Give US more , on future projects, I lik'a tha' way You Think.

    Sat /Not smoked-up YET !, gimmie a'while, thanks, SMILES
    Smokey II

    4 away frum 600, still no fence !
    Last edited: May 12, 2012
  26. 1964countrysedan
    Joined: Apr 14, 2011
    Posts: 1,131

    from Texas

    Great job and very good thread (presentation)

    Now show us how you blended the paint!
  27. metalix_421
    Joined: Mar 24, 2010
    Posts: 890


    very nice and after looking at it, I like the peak on it better then just being sunk in
  28. The_Monster
    Joined: Sep 8, 2003
    Posts: 1,754


    Thanks everyone! I think it really looks cool and Im pleased with the results.

    As far as blending the paint. I shopped around for automotive spray paint that matched my car. The one Im using is from PlastiKote #1038 GM Emerald Green Metallic. Its so close to the original, its nuts. I know Ill be doing lots of body work, so in the mean time, I blend it in. Basically just spray it on the area and then pull away down the rest of the panel to feather it in.

    This took me about 12, maybe 16 hours. Bascially 3 nights after work at 4 hours each, just taking my time having fun.

    As far as the frenching v.s. tunneling. Im not an expert, but according to all the old timers Ive talked to, the following is the defintion to each.

    Frenching: The customizing process of creating smooth curve shaping around the headlights, taillights, license plate frames, etc. so that the chrome bezel or other surround looks as though it is part of the body panel.

    Tunneling: The customizing process of moving a component deeply into its surrounding sheet metal to give the appearance of being recessed, e.g., headlights, taillights, and antennas

    Id consider these taillights to be tunneled. Id consider my headlights to be frenched since I welded the headlight bezel to the front fender and smoothed it in.
  29. 40FordGuy
    Joined: Mar 24, 2008
    Posts: 2,907


    Looks great !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks for the tech...

  30. Nice job, i'm diggin it.

Share This Page

Register now to get rid of these ads!


Copyright © 1995-2021 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.