Last month's inaugural story on our newest long-term project, the AMD Chevelle, showed how Craig Hopkins and his crew at The Installation Center stripped the car down to a bare skeleton in preparation for all the new AMD sheetmetal. You see, this car was so rusty and beat up everyone was telling us it was too gone to fix. Since the car is a real big-block SS, we decided to prove that just about anything is fixable with the right parts, the right crew, and the determination to do the work.
The work being done on this car is pretty extensive, so think of this as a worst-case scenario. Most of you will not need to go this deep in your build/project, but we figure there is something you can relate to. Craig Hopkins likes to build cars just as the factory did and in the same order. So that is what you will see here: a look inside original build procedures. Craig uses OEM-quality spot welders and assembly-line-style jigs to rewind the clock and make vehicle assembly line-fresh.
The best welding in the world would be wasted if the parts used were substandard. Well, we won't have that problem with this build as all the sheetmetal is from Auto Metal Direct (AMD). The company not only offers smaller patch panels for the home DIY guy; they also make full panels like the complete floor system covered in this story. AMD's sheetmetal is built to OEM thickness or thicker with all-new tooling to produce crisp lines. They are so good, in fact, that all the company's panels are licensed by GM. Next month's story will cover hanging sheetmetal and how to re-skin a door, so make sure to look for that when it comes out.