THE GRIND

This is the part of the project where it gets tough. It’s the point where thousands of project cars end up sitting in the garage for years collecting dust, never to be finished. This is a critical point of the process as anyone who has taken on a huge restoration knows.

It’s nearly 100 degrees in the garage and I’m tired and sore and it would be much easier to sit in the recliner and watch TV while enjoying a nice icy protein drink. Or perhaps float around in the teeny tiny pool on the back patio and watch the clouds drift by. But there’s a car out there in the garage quietly rusting away and a 17 year old girl asking If her car is going to be done before she graduates. So there’s really only one thing to do; man-up and get to work. (Technically that’s two things, but who’s counting?)

Then as I sit there in the garage with the fan blowing the sweat drops off the end of my nose the mental battle begins. Temptations arise to start taking short cuts. That’s when one has to relax and focus and remember to enjoy doing it right and doing it well. You’ve got to get your mind right or the project will suffer and the guy who rebuilds the car 20 years from now will be cursing you for doing stupid things. And this reminds me that I need to say a few words about brazing; don’t do it. Whoever you are, guy who picked up a torch and brazing rod many years ago and decided to braze everything instead of welding, you have made my life more difficult. Sure, it was hot and you were tired and the project seemed overwhelming, but man, I mean come on dude, JUST WELD THE FREAKING THING! Think about the poor fool who’s going to have to grind all that junk off so he can do it the right way. So, enough about brazing. Now, where was I? Oh, yes, temptations to take short cuts. Don’t. Just get your mind right and grind it out like a man.

Last week I finally braved the heat and got started on the the rear deck filler panel. I thought it was going to be a real pain to get welded in but it actually went pretty smoothly.

The panel had to be fitted several times and the trunk lid had to be put on a couple of times to check the gaps. Everything lined up reasonably well and the welding went rather quickly. It was not nearly as tedious as I first thought.

After finishing the rear deck panel I decided to put the first coats of body filler on the quarter panel. It should look like new with a little more filling and sanding.

After that I decided to go to the other quarter panel and see what evil lay in store.

What a shocker. More rust holes in the car. Who would have thunk? Time to get out the cutting tools.

And look at that! More rust inside on the inner wheel well. I’m shocked! Actually, no. I’m no longer living in denial and have accepted the harsh reality that every piece of sheet metal on this car has rust holes in it so I will have to replace or repair every piece of sheet metal on this car.

See what I mean? You have to be mentally tough or you could fall into despair and depression thinking about all this work and end up just sitting in the recliner like a vegetable wasting your life away watching reruns of THE ROCKFORD FILES. Which wouldn’t be totally awful until your 17 year old daughter comes in and asks why you aren’t out there helping her work on the car. So again, it’s important to get your mind right.

By the way, it’s always a good idea to double check the location of the wires you thought you moved out of the way before you started cutting the quarter panel. I nicked one of the wires so I cut it and reconnected it and put a new wire loom on the wires for a nice clean updated look.

You know the drill by now. See the rust. Cut the rust. Grind the rust. Make shiny metal. Make templates. Cut metal.

Weld the metal. Clean up the mess. Go have a nice icy protein drink and float around in the teeny tiny pool on the back patio. Dry off. Jump on the Sportbike and go for a quick ride. Call it a day.

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2 thoughts on “THE GRIND

  1. ranchwagon says:

    Just found your blog. I look forward to watching your Mustang progress. I am currently in the middle of restoring a ’58 Ford 2 dr wagon. I have some rust to repair, just like you. I picked up a MIG welder and replacement floor pans. I hope my welds look as good as yours!

    Good luck!

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