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Assessing Body Panels



Although the car was missing all front end panels, the previous owner had collected various parts that could potentially be used to put it back together and as part of the sale he offered to include any of those parts that could be used. That included a pair of front fenders, hood and nose panel. They certainly weren't in perfect condition, but I took them anyhow and last weekend spent a bit of time cleaning them up and took a closer look.


The nose panel is likely in the best shape with very little rust. Unfortunately it wasn't from a tii, so it has the snorkel. I'll probably look at removing it and fabricating something to make it look closer to a factory tii. There is one small dent in the top center of the nose, but that part is easily accessible from behind and even myself I could likely bend it back into good enough shape that very little filler would be needed to make it look perfect.




Of the 2 fendors one is definitely better than the other. Both have some surface rust, but one has much more than the other and beyond that has a few parts where the rust has gone completely through the panel and will need to be rewelded. The better one for sure is good enough to save and perhaps the other is as well.

The better one:


The worse one: Looks similar on the outside, but inside is another story. This seems to be a common trend with these cars.


The hood, again doesn't look so bad from the outside, but all the crimped edges underneath have some level of rust and I'm just not sure how well that could ever be fully cleaned out without cutting things apart. These are some examples of the worst parts, but it is really all over to some extent all the way around.


To compare, I looked at the trunk lid and although a bit better it has similar issues.


As much as I'd like to use all factory panels, more important is that the rust issues be adequately resolved at a cost that makes sense and I'm just not sure that would be the case on the hood and trunk lid based on their current state. I'll do some more research though and likely have all the panels stripped and then go from there. Given the weight of the hood/trunk lid, carbon fiber alternatives do sound kind of nice. 


Comments welcome on how others have faired with reviving panels in similar shape.




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Others may have another opinion, but they don’t look that bad to me.  Perhaps you can have the parts dipped to remove hidden rust.  

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Yes I agree, I think dipping especially the hood would be best approach, since blasting won't be able to get to many of the areas on it. I'm looking for a place in SoCal for dipping. Seems the place I used a while back closed a few years ago. If anyone knows a good place, let me know.

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I started cleaning up a few random spots on the fenders just to see what I find. Quite a few coats of poorly done paint jobs, but overall it comes off pretty easily. One of the fenders is worse than the other and will need some welding around the turn signal. I've found a few different dents that were filled, but not too bad.


The front end I think is probably in the best shape of all of these parts, so I'll definitely use it. I started by cutting off the remnants of the chassis that were still attached from then they cut it off the donor. The welds were really ugly and poorly done. I can't image that was factory.


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Looks like the nose panel was brazed on the donor car.  From the factory, it was spot welded in the areas in your pictures.

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