Bodywork #2: Cutting corners

The scariest part of the bodywork for me is the drivers side headlight area.  The metal has been stretched like ‘wizards sleeve’ to quote Borat, the mounting surface for the headlight bucket is gone and the edge is ragged.  Once I decided I wasn’t going to try and tackle this job myself, I thought about what I could do while working on other stuff.  I didn’t really want to take the whole car anywhere but I needed professional help with this.  I talked to the owner of a restoration shop in Washington when he was picking up a friends car to get some rust repair done.   “What do you think about me cutting out the corner of my car with the messed up headlight and just sending that part of the car to you?”  I asked.  “Sure.”  Was his reply.  If this goes well, I may cut other chunks off to send to him. 

The extent of the damage is hard to see in this picture, though the headlight bucket mounting ring is obviously absent.

 I never saw a picture of this part of the car when I bought it.  I guess you can see why.  The diameter of the opening on this side is about 2″ larger than the other side.

Cutting a chunk out of your car is an intimidating job.  I made a mark with a pen where I wanted to make my cuts and went to it with a saws-all.  The resulting cuts were far better than they had a right to be.  I guess using a new fine-toothed metal cutting blade helped. 

A fairly clean cut done along lines that I thought would be easy to align when it was welded back on.  You can see hints of the original red in the opening.

I put the piece in a box and mailed it off for repair along with some measurements, pictures and a headlight ring.  Over two months I went back and forth with the guy who fixed it, clarifying details and trying in vain to take more clear pictures of the good side of the car.  I got a call that it was done and a few days later it showed up.  The headlight bucket mounting ring was made from scratch and came out very nice.  It still needs trimming and holes drilled to accommodate the bucket, but I can handle this. 

Resting where it will eventually be welded.  This corner looks much better than before.

The cut edges of the cut out section moved a little during the metal work so I will have to do some work to get everything to line up.  An example car was used to help shape this piece, but SS’s are a varied lot.

Is it my imagination or does it look a little happier?

The next step for this repair is making a jig that aligns the two headlight openings to each other so that they are symmetrical.  I may wait to do this until the car is back on its wheels, I have to think about it more. 

Next step on the body is saving up some money to get it media blasted.
Click here to see the next post in this series.
Click here to see the previous post.

Click here to go to the previous post int his series.
Click here to go on to the next post in this series.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s