Over the weekend I went to the Summer Nationals in Worcester MA (pronounced “Woostah” FWIW). Saturday was 90+ degrees and the dark clouds were becoming slightly threatening. Luckily, the car, truck, and motorcycle enthusiasts didn’t seem bothered by it. Speaking of motorcycles… I found one that I really liked while I was there. When it idled past me through the show, I did a triple-take because I couldn’t believe what the heck I was looking at. This guy had a 6 cylinder motorcycle (probably 1000cc’s worth), with a big supercharger strapped to it. Simply… Awesome. And the sound of it… It sounded like it was running on TNT filled popcorn in a closed garage full of angry vacuum cleaners. If anybody at the show deserved some high 5’s and free iced cold bottled waters, it was this guy. This thing was winning.
The roof of the 1972 Nova project is finally wrapping up, so I decided to tackle the rocker panel next. It was rough. Like… really rough. The outer rocker panel was missing, along with the lower fender mount and the inner bracing that keeps everything structurally sound. Repairing it was not the easiest thing that I have ever done.
The first step was to cut away all of the rotted metal until you find a solid base to work with. Then, since nobody makes replacement metal for this area, I had to fabricate my own. I started with the inner bracing since that was the deepest part. This piece was more complicated than I expected, because it is actually the lowest portion of the inner kick panel. (Think about that for a moment.) That interior kick panel metal goes down through the floor pan, and into the rocker where all of these different pieces meet up in harmony. To get the rusty section out, I had to cut a section out of the newly replaced interior floor pan, along with all the metal on the outside. Once I had it out, I grabbed some flat metal and started fabricating the piece that I needed. Since nobody likes reading, here is the story in the form of pictures. Enjoy, and leave some comments so that I know somebody is here besides me.
One thing that you never, ever, ever, ever…ever see is a totally uncut 1949-51 Mercury 2 door. They basically don’t exist in real life anymore because every person that has ever owned one has chopped the roof, slammed it to the pavement and turned it into a lead sled. Do I blame them? Not really. As I do enjoy some lead sleds. I do find it slightly sad that these cars have become so rare though, because even in factory gear, they sure are sharp.
If there is one thing in life that everybody in the world can agree on, it’s Lincoln Zephyr’s. Everybody on this giant, soaking wet planet loves an old Zephyr. That’s is a fact! This one? It was in…credible! Say this next part out loud slowly so that you really feel it – Running V12. Solid original steel. 1955 window sticker. Original spare tire. “Hoover for president” license plate. And, never ending class that post Y2K humans don’t even know about. Yes, this car was mint-colored automotive lovin’ for sure. Why didn’t I buy it? I don’t have any idea. Dumbest move ever. Thanks for reminding me.
Worth noting: Someday, I’m going to learn how to use a camera.
Two weeks ago, I repaired the rear section of the “new” roof on the 1972 Nova project. This past weekend, I focused on the front passenger A-pillar, because like the rear, it was also trash. I began by cutting the rotted metal out with the cut off wheel. I then bent a piece of steel at a 90 degree angle with a hammer & vice. From there, I shrank the metal, which caused it to beautifully curve. Then it was just a matter of MIG welding it to the existing roof and a-pillar, and grinding it smooth. Once I am totally happy with it, I’ll soak the inside of it with some type of coating to prevent rust. After all, that’s what got us here in the first place.
Also – If you are enjoying this build, hating this build, have a question, or want to just shoot the breeze with us, leave a comment below. Without comments, we never know if this sort of topic is loved or hated!
The X-Games is awesome to watch, but not so awesome when people crash and get injured. That was the case with Toomas Heikkinen a few days ago. It was rumored that he broke his ankle and got a few other bumps and bruises. Considering the speed and the extremely abrupt deceleration, I’d say he did fairly well if that was his worst injury.
The last time that we had talked about the 1972 Nova project was when I had cut off the old roof skin, and rested the “new” one in its place. Since then, I welded the skin into its new home, and began repairing the sections of it that were rotted. Now, before I go any further, you might be saying “You replaced a rotted roof skin with a rotted roof skin? What the what?!” And the answer is yes. Yes I did. See, people in New England can’t have nice things because of rust. The “new” roof was “very solid” (for New England metal) except for the whole rear section where the glass sits. Water had clearly pooled there for quite a while and destroyed all the metal in that area. BUT. Replacing that section was about one thousand times easier than replacing the entire middle of the old roof. So that’s what I did.
Once the back of the roof was somewhat together, I decided to see how terrible the front sheetmetal was going to fit. That process would have gone really well if the mounts for the lower fender bolts still existed. Sadly they did not. So, I now I have to make those. Great.