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How to Install a New Quarter Panel on a 1967 Camaro

Quarter Swap: Ditch Rust and Dents with a New Quarter-Panel On Your Classic Chevy

Apr 20, 2015
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Our classic Chevys were never really meant to be on the road 40-plus years after being delivered from the factory. The perception back then was that the car would drive around for 5 to 10 years and then be scrapped in favor of the latest and greatest from Chevrolet. It’s no wonder that when we find surviving cars they’re riddled with rust—that cruel invention of Mother Nature that turns our vintage steel into pockmarked and cancer-ridden eyesores. Even here in Southern California, we’re not immune from its effects. This is especially true along the coast where salty air from the Pacific Ocean wreaks the same havoc on the top of the car as the salted roads back east do on the bottom. Add in 40 years of dents, dings, and worse, and it’s a wonder that any panel on our classic is worth saving. Such was the case with our ’67 Camaro. It hung out near the beach so rust found its way under the vinyl top, eating away a good amount of the original sheetmetal. Add in a past accident and this car was a prime candidate for a new quarter-panel.

Replacing quarters is one of the trickier endeavors one can tackle when it comes to panel replacement. After all, a new fender or hood is a bolt-on deal, and even a door isn’t tough to replace. But, a quarter-panel is a whole other animal that requires special tools, practiced technique, and most importantly, a good eye. Do it wrong and you’ll have wasted more than just the cash spent on the parts. You will have squandered something even more precious: time.

To see how it’s done right, we dragged the carcass of our ’67 over to Best of Show Coach Works in Escondido, California, where they’ve done this dance a good number of times.

1967 Chevrolet Camaro Vinyl Top 2/28

01. Our ’67 had a vinyl top, which usually ends up being the perfect breeding ground for rust. Even though the rest of the car was rust-free, the area around the top was pretty hammered.

1967 Chevrolet Camaro Driver Side Quarter Panel 3/28

02. The overall condition of driver-side quarter-panel on our ’67 wasn’t awful, but between the rust from the vinyl top and the wrinkles from some distant accident, it was bad enough to warrant a new panel. Note all the rust damage along the panel between the trunk lid and rear window opening. It’s always surprising what you find when you strip a car to bare metal.

1967 Chevrolet Camaro Quarter Panel Roof Panel 4/28

03. Here’s where the quarter-panel meets the roof panel. Some people are tempted to cut below this since they think it’s easier than trying to separate the two panels. Well, it’s really not that hard. You only need to remove the lead or body filler and carefully drill out the factory spot welds. It takes a little longer to follow those steps but the end result is much better.

Torch Wire Brush 5/28

04. Remember how we mentioned lead? Well, if your quarters are original, then the seam between the roof and quarter will be filled with lead. The best way to get rid of it is with a torch and wire brush. Remember, lead isn’t good for you or the environment, so take the proper precautions, and use a respirator. Ours was full of body filler from a previous repair, but we thought it was good to mention lead since there are still some untouched cars out there.

Trunk Filler Panel 6/28

05. We removed the trunk filler panel like we did the quarter-panel; in sections. That is to say we cut away the majority of the panel and then went back and carefully trimmed away the edges.

Quarter Panel Removed 7/28

06. As we said, it was much easier to quickly remove the majority of the quarter and go back and trim up all the edges.

3m Cutting Grinding Discs 8/28

07. With the main parts gone, we could start trimming off the excess metal using a variety of 3M cutting and grinding discs. If you’re planning on doing this yourself, make sure to budget in the cost of materials because they can add up in a hurry.

1967 Chevrolet Camaro Doorjamb 9/28

08. One of the harder pieces to remove is the doorjamb area. It’s tempting to leave it in place and make the new quarter fit to it. Don’t do it. The extra time spent here saves a lot of work down the line. Besides, more seams means more places for cracks and failures to occur over time. The first thing we did was to find all the factory pinch welds and grind them down. Several of them were located around the area of the door striker. We then separated the outer metal from the inner support using an air chisel.

1967 Chevrolet Camaro Edges Clean 10/28

09. Eventually, the two pieces separated. Our last step was to clean up all the edges in preparation for the new quarter-panel.

1967 Chevrolet Camaro Old Quarter Panel 11/28

10. And here’s the ’67 with the old quarter gone and all the edges prepped for the new panel. The good news was that parts like the lower rocker extension, outer wheelhouse, and such were in great shape. If your panels have rot or damage, then this is the time to replace them.

1967 Chevrolet Camaro Eastwood Rust Encapsulator 12/28

11. Before fitting the new quarter we shot the area with some Eastwood rust encapsulator. It was just surface rust, but it was still a good idea to treat the area while we had the panel off.

1967 Chevrolet Camaro Amd Quarter Panel 13/28

12. We were very happy with the new quarter-panel (PN 700-3567-L, $340) from Auto Metal Direct (AMD). The lines were crisp, and it certainly looked better than the hammered one we had just removed. Most of these sharp lines exist because AMD makes the panels with new tooling and use heavy-gauge steel. It arrived in a black EDT Coat finish.

1967 Chevrolet Camaro Trim Quarter Panel 1 14/28

13. The quarter ended up fitting really well, with only minimal trimming required. We used a variety of screws, clamps, and even a ratchet strap to hold it in place prior to welding. Also, we drilled all the flanges along the edge where we needed to weld.

1967 Chevrolet Camaro Trim Quarter Panel 2 15/28

14. The quarter ended up fitting really well, with only minimal trimming required. We used a variety of screws, clamps, and even a ratchet strap to hold it in place prior to welding. Also, we drilled all the flanges along the edge where we needed to weld.

Mig Welder Flange Areas 16/28

15. It was then time to bust out the Miller MIG welder and get to work. First up was welding all the flange areas where we had pre-drilled holes.

Quarter Panel Roof Seam 17/28

16. The seam where the quarter met the roof was tack-welded then stitched together. We went slowly to keep warping to a minimum, and considering the factory seam is just pinch-welded, this is more than strong enough.

Doorjamb Welded 18/28

17. Here you can see where we welded up the new doorjamb area and tossed four welds around the area of the door striker.

Welding Perimeter 19/28

18. Once we were done welding all around the perimeter of the new panel, we went back with some 3M grinding discs and ground down all of our welds. Once painted, this area will look like it was done at the factory.

1967 Chevrolet Camaro Quarter Panel Trunk Opening 20/28

19. We did the same where the new quarter met the trunk opening.

1967 Chevrolet Camaro Quarter Panel C Pillar 21/28

20. And here’s the new AMD quarter after doing some quick bodywork on the C-pillar. The fitment of the panel was excellent and everything lined up just about perfectly. The total replacement took around two full days.

Amd Deck Filler Panel 22/28

21. It was then time to install the new AMD deck filler panel (PN 650-3567, $73).

1967 Chevrolet Camaro Quarter Panel Test Fit 23/28

22. First, we test-fit it to the car and made adjustments where necessary. The panel was then pulled and we prepped the inner structure by grinding down to bare metal the areas to be welded and gave the rest a coat of Eastwood rust encapsulator.

Holes Prep Welding 24/28

23. Holes were then drilled in preparation for welding along the top where it meets the lower edge of the rear window and along the lower edge where the panel meets the trunk edge.

Installing Panel 25/28

24. It was then time to put the prepared panel in place.

Panel Self Tapping Screws 26/28

25. Self-tapping screws were used to secure the panel to the window channel.

Panel Locking Pillars 27/28

26. On the trunk side, we utilized locking pliers to hold the panel down. Notice how well the panel matched up with the existing passenger-side quarter.

1967 Chevrolet Camaro Quarter Panel Drilled 28/28

27. We worked our way around the panel, welding in spots where we had drilled. And just like that the project was done and ready to be bodyworked. If you want to pay and have this done, most shops quote around 16 hours labor for the quarter and 4 hours for the deck filler panel, plus materials.

Sources

Best of Show Coachworks
San Marcos, 92069
760-480-0227
www.bestofshowcoachworks.com
Miller Electric
Appleton, WI 54912
920-734-9821
www.millerwelds.com
Eastwood Company
Pottstown, PA 19464
800-343-9353
http://www.eastwood.com
Auto Metal Direct
Buford, GA 30518
866-684-5942
www.autometaldirect.com
3M Auto
877-666-2277
http://www.3mauto.com

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