We left off Part 1 of the 1964 Chevy Impala project with a freshly cut off quarter panel, and a fear of what I had just done. There was no turning back though, the sheet metal was off, and crying was no longer allowed. What I found hiding behind the quarter could have been described as something in between discouraging and disappointment. It was ugly at best.
As much as I would have loved to slap the new quarter panel on and forget that I had seen any of that, it would have haunted me for the rest of my life. I had no choice but to make like Dave Coulier and cut-it-out with my cut off wheel. The gas tank filler pipe surround piece was in rough shape as well, which is what I believe to be the major contributor of the rot to this entire area.
From there, several patches were formed out of flat sheet metal, and it was slowly but surely MIG welded back together again. Once it was completely welded, the welds were ground down to make the never-ever visible area look nearly new again.
Everything was back in one piece again, but I realized that there was still some surface rust hiding in the tight areas. Sand blasting was the logical solution.
The next majorly rotted area was the trunk drop down. Before it was rotted, it connected the trunk floor to the bottom of the quarter panel. By doing this, it really adds quite a bit of structure and rigidity to the back of the car. Unfortunately water builds up in the low area and rots all of the 1961-64 GM’s out.
I weighed out the options of buying a new drop off, or fixing the old one, and for the price of a new aftermarket one, it is a no brainer. The old rotted one had to go.
The new one was a perfect re-creation of the original, it didn’t even put up a fight at all. The old trunk drop off was removed and the new one was spot welded in, just like the original had been.
By the end of the day, the back of the car was looking far more solid than when I had started. The trunk drop off was looking great, the outer wheel house wasn’t see through, and the Impala was getting really close to having a new quarter panel attached. Well, that’s what I thought at least…
More to come…
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