New Skin

C.A.R.S. replacement quarter panels save the life of one beat up Nova

Seth Millhollin Mar 18, 2005 0 Comment(s)

Extensive sheetmetal damage always looks intimidating to those trying to determine the value of rebuilding or restoring a classic. More often than not, a bad exterior is likely to change the owner's mind about starting the project. But as we've said many times before, almost anything can be repaired if you want it badly enough. And this up-and-coming project is no different. It has changed hands many times over the years, and twice as many people have turned it down.

At first glance it's pretty evident that there is massive body trauma. Odds are if there's a panel on this car that is straight, it's probably rusty. There are too many down sides to this Nova to point out. So were just going to start with the main problem, the quarter panel. No one is actually sure what happened to cause this damage, but nonetheless, it's obvious that the passenger-side panel is all but wiped out.

All is not lost, though, as there is a way to resurrect this old Chevy II by using a new remanufactured quarter panel from C.A.R.S. Inc. So follow along as we attempt to get this little Deuce back on track by cutting and welding its body back to life.

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Here is what we had to start with: a badly beaten Nova and a remanufactured quarter panel from C.A.R.S. Inc. With the skill of a good bodyman, these two pieces quickly became one.

We started by outlining the old panel. This gave us an accurate line to follow when cutting out the old torn-up metal.

The cut was started in the lower corner of the bad spot.

Then we followed the line towards the top, and finally down to the fender lip.

We continued to follow our guide markings up to the door, and then down. We stopped just above the rocker panel.

From here we left some sheetmetal above the rocker and came back just above the fender lip. The cut was made straight towards the rust thus allowing the removal of this second and larger section.

This small section above the rocker was cut in two pieces.

One cut along the bottom of the rocker to the fender lip, and one along the rocker towards the door allowed us to safely remove the damaged metal.

With this small section removed, you can get to the inner support. We first hit it with a wire wheel just to knock off a few layers of dirt and debris.

Then we drilled out the inner spot welds.

Here is the inner support once it is separated from the body. Once it was drilled we used an air chisel to work it out.

Using a grinder we then attacked the wheel well.

Again we hit the welds with the grinder then pried it back with the chisel.

With everything removed from the car we had to trim the quarter panel itself. We cut underneath the lip that would meet the window, which will keep the stock lines intact.

The lip on the front of the quarter was also removed. A slight lip was left on the body that this panel will butt against.

Here is the freshly shaped quarter next to the Nova. This should be a great fit.

Before you can weld the new panel on, you must step the body that it is to be welded to. This will put a small lip in the existing sheetmetal.

This lip will go around the entire edge of the section being done and will ensure a proper fit.

When the old quarter was removed, the damage beneath was shown. The rusted-out fender lip was repaired and the trunk panels were redone.

Here is the first mock-up for the new panel. Notice the screw along the top and the sides. They will start with sheetmetal screws; make sure it is lined up then weld up the seams and the inner supports in the wheel well.

Here is our new car when it is all said and done. It was welded into place and ground down to bare metal. It retains the original bodylines and lines up perfectly.

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