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.
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.
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.
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.
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.