Classic Mustangs are notorious for their short-deck, long-nose styling. Unfortunately, their voluptuous hips are vulnerable to just about every hazard on the road. Quarter-panels are among a Mustang's most targeted body parts because they're vulnerable to shopping carts, careless people with far-reaching car doors, out of control slipping and sliding on ice, and rear end collisions. Quarter-panels are also susceptible to rust, which is the most common reason for replacement.
Mike Todd's '66 Mustang hardtop has been in his family since new. A late '66 V-8 car, the left rear quarter-panel had been crunched by at least one collision and later ravaged by rust, making it beyond repair. We called Bill Faull at Mustangs Plus and asked him what he had for a '66 Mustang hardtop in need of a new left rear quarter-panel. He shipped us a #2117 Dynacorn quarter-panel, which is identical to a Ford stamping. It sells for the unbelievable price of $111.95 plus shipping and any appropriate taxes. Dynacorn also offers a quarter skin, #2126, available for $55.95.
Simi Valley, California's Ted Polisky possesses a lifetime of experience as an auto body technician and craftsman. Ted decided to take a day off from retirement to treat Mike to a new quarter-panel for his family heirloom. When it comes to quarter-panel replacement, there are always different approaches, but only a few really good ones that work well. You can perform a full quarter-panel replacement using factory seams or you can go with seams in locations that make sense structurally and aesthetically.
Because Ted didn't want to disturb the factory lead at the sail pillar or the sheetmetal stamping dates at the trunk opening, he decided to forego Ford's factory seam at the sail pillar and graph in this quarter-panel along the top beltline. We're going to show you how Ted did that with exceptional results.
Tools of the Trade
|These products from the Eastwood Company will help make your sheetmetal replacement easier:
|EW Skip Proof Spot Weld Cutter Kit
|Spot Weld Drill, Professional
|Titanium Step Drill Bit Set
|Straight Pneumatic Flanger & Punch
|Panel Holding System-Cleco Fasteners
Whenever performing a quarter-panel...
Whenever performing a quarter-panel replacement, don't remove the old quarter without first obtaining perfect door alignment and gap. You're going to need an installed and properly adjusted door as a reference point for the new quarter-panel.
We're not doing a full quarter-panel...
We're not doing a full quarter-panel at factory seams so we can keep the original factory leaded seam at the sail pillar. Ted also wanted to retain the factory sheetmetal stamping date codes at the trunk opening.
Factory spot welds are penetrated...
Factory spot welds are penetrated with a die grinder. Ted takes the sheetmetal down to the base metal to completely eliminate the spot weld.
Ted has placed a masking tape...
Ted has placed a masking tape reference line along the top of the quarter-panel beltline. This enables him to cut a straight line from end cap to B-pillar. He will do the same thing with the new Dynacorn quarter-panel and stitch weld along this length.
Some spot welds need to be...
Some spot welds need to be drilled out with a 3/8-inch bit for a clean cut.
Ted uses an air chisel (and...
Ted uses an air chisel (and ear protection!) to cut out the remains.
Quarter-panel removal is accomplished...
Quarter-panel removal is accomplished using protective gloves to prevent injury.....
....Ted will have to cut out...
....Ted will have to cut out the remaining perimeter sheetmetal.
Ted discovered some wheelhouse...
Ted discovered some wheelhouse rust that will have to be patched and repaired. Because wheelhouse replacement is extensive and time consuming, Ted chose to patch.
The remaining sheetmetal spot...
The remaining sheetmetal spot welds were ground down around the perimeter. Ted removes the old sheetmetal with....
....a pair of channel locks....
....a pair of channel locks. Be careful not to distort the remaining sheetmetal.
Ted has cleaned up the edges...
Ted has cleaned up the edges of the new Dynacorn sheetmetal with a fine grinding wheel and is stamping a lip along the edge for a smooth quarter-to-quarter union. It will enable Ted to dovetail the new quarter to the existing sheetmetal. With finish work, the seam will be undetected.