Fit and Finish

Show off your work! Anything from final results to full start-to-finish project journals.



No Turning Back
Posts: 966
Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2011 3:58 pm
PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2022 2:09 pm
Some of you may know about the Mecum Auction in Indianapolis a week or so ago, and I was there checking out some of the 5000 cars that I'm interested in. Some people look at the custom mods that a car has, power, or maybe origianality, but I look at the fit and finish. Out of all the mustangs in that group of 5000 cars, there were only a couple early mustangs that I thought had good panel alignment.

So that reminded me that quite some time ago I was asked about the process of taking the bow out of body panels and here was my answer.
chevman wrote:
It might surprise you how much improvement you can make to the looks of your car just by getting all the panels lined up properly and gaps adjusted right. When I walk through a field of show cars that is the most overlooked thing that I see, and some of it is just minor adjustments. The odd thing is that most of the owners don't seem to even realize the adjustment problems their cars have, but when they see one adjusted correctly, they do see a difference, and consider the car a higher quality even though adjustment may be the only difference in the cars.

These adjustments should be made before paint so you can make what ever little tweaking you have to do. So I would suggest you give that a try and see how it looks before getting radical. After you make your adjustments and tweaking, you could even spray some cheap gloss paint on to see how it looks, get some pictures of it to study, and then use reducer to wipe it off.

Actually, proper adjustment is the first step in making a car straight. The OP of that question may not even be on the forum anymore, but this might be helpful for some that are on here now, and I didn't have examples back then.

Cars in the southwestern states get a lot of sun so the paint dies rather quickly, thusly there are a lot of cheap paint jobs in that part of the country. This 57 being from LA Ca. had one of those paint jobs just before I bought it over 30 years ago. Its been in storage ever since, but I pulled it out a few years ago to get it ready to sell, including adjusting all the panels. You will notice in this picture that the bottom of the fender kicks out, instead of pointing straight ahead. To fix that it requires the spot welds that hold the fender to the brace to be drilled out to allow the fender to straighten out.

57 red ht.jpg


https://youtu.be/dQJ3wbKIRSA

If you look around at mustangs, whether its a show car or not, you might think they just have too many body lines to get everything lined up. But keep in mind these old cars have a lot of adjustments, and in some cases two ways to make the same move. Getting good panel alignment is difficult, slow, and agravating, and that can be true of the whole restoration process, so I guess it just depends on how bad you want it. But when you do get everything in alignment, make sure you drill and pin the door hinges so you don't lose everything if you pull the doors off.

https://www.evernote.com/shard/s438/sh/ec1cfb2b-ccef-4bbf-bb7c-ea5d58135045/3118ae228e7ca6c119cd796cf15562fb

https://youtu.be/4hnmfR5O0Jw

https://youtu.be/bVElTxLmXKE



Top Contributor
Posts: 5580
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 1:17 pm
Location: Pahrump NV.
Country:
USA
PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2022 9:30 am
Good post
I myself don't worry to much about gaps as most older cars never had perfect gaps but alignment and panel fit I am always worried about.
I am always impressed with your work getting your panels so perfect and I try myself.
Dennis Barnett
A&P Mechanic, FCC General radio Telephone Operator
Line Maintenance A&P Mechanic and MOC Tech specialist.



No Turning Back
Posts: 966
Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2011 3:58 pm
PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2022 7:55 am
Thanks Dennis, its all about patience and perseverance. Its said to start at the door/quarter panel seam, and thats right, but thats not the end of adjusting that seam. Each seam is relative to all the rest, so no seam is done until all the seams are done. Even the gaps are dictated by the fit of all the panels. I was able to make adjustments to the quarters on the mustang, but the red chevy was simple adjustment only.
Last edited by chevman on Sun May 29, 2022 4:44 am, edited 1 time in total.



Top Contributor
Posts: 5580
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 1:17 pm
Location: Pahrump NV.
Country:
USA
PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2022 9:36 pm
I am going to have to do what you did to that 57 Chevy you were doing to my 57 Chrysler and fully remove the quarters to get them right. the Left side is bad. IF and when I get to it been a Long time coming.
Dennis Barnett
A&P Mechanic, FCC General radio Telephone Operator
Line Maintenance A&P Mechanic and MOC Tech specialist.

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