Bodywork 13: win-win rear end repair

It was nearly 2 years ago that I started work on this corner of the car -was the first body work I attempted.  Back then I didn’t really know what to do about some of the problems I faced, but as with all things, I figured when it came time to make a decision, I would somehow know what to do.  The bodywork was tweaked just enough in a crash, and rusted through in just enough places that getting it back to stock was going to be difficult.  Now that I am welding and unafraid and have to deal with it, I have decided to repair it by emulating the early lownose rearend -a much simpler design and hopefully easier to fabricate.  Check it out. 

A reminder of where I started and what I started with.  Now that I have experience I can tell you the dent to the left of the tail lights, in the gentle curve of the Kamm tail area is a harder thing to deal with than the edge chop.

What I’m talking about when I say the early Low-nose rear end.  No knife edge pointing outward where the upper and lower panels meet, that a chrome bumper hides.  No holes for said bumper and no cutouts in the edge to accomodate the hidden bodies of the license plate lights mounted in the bumper.  I am going to make it look like this.

See that ridge sticking out about 3mm from the edge that is smooth on the car above?  That’s what I aim to remove.  Also note the rust in this area below the tail lights.

 See that cutout?  The body of the license plate light fits in there when the bumper is mounted and the wire goes through that little hole.  Also of note is the bumper bracket mount hole at the very left edge of this picture.  Gonna remove that too.  What will the next owner do if she wants a bumper?  Not my probelm.

 This area was all cussed up so I figured it would be a good place to start since I couldn’t really make it any worse.  I cut the leading edge off and welded in some little filler strips.  I ran out of Ar/CO2 when I was doing this and you can see some really bad welds where I carried on before I realized what had happened.

This actually looks pretty good.  The edge has been cut off, filler plates have been welded in and ground down.  I think you get the idea now.  I don’t even think I will need much body filler.

As I said, this is much worse than dealing with the dent near the tail lights.  I will probably be cutting a lot more out before I start welding new metal in.  Notice I cut out the bumper mount already.  Didn’t take much as the welds that held the tube in had rusted away.  It just pulled out.

Another view.  Anyone know what to do about that big wrinkly mess?  I’m tempted to just make it lower than the finished surface and fill it.  Still need to cut that license plate light cutout off.

I cut out below it to try and push the edge up.  Today I will cut more and we’ll see how it goes.

Now that you’ve seen these pictures do you believe me that it will be easier to make it smooth like an early car than repair all the details of how it was originally?  It’s a win-win as far as I can see: easier and more attractive.

5 more hours down, 813 to go.  I think I’ll be all rust-repaired and ready for a week of hammer and dolly work before months end.  Sweet!

The last bodywork installment.


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