2015 has been a big year of progress for the 2002 project, particularly the body. 2014 was a year of disassembly and cleaning... so much cleaning. In fact, my favorite tool of 2014 was my parts cleaning basin while the favorite for 2015 was my Lincoln MIG 140 welder!
My hope was to have the body in paint by the end of 2015 but it is looking like that is going to be more like Feb 2016.
It took awhile to get things going (winter is about snowboarding for me and it ended with a concussion which put me out for awhile...) but by April, I was starting to make get things going again.
April started with the floor pans
I did this with my buddy Lino. This was the first real bit of assembly that I was doing. Rust gone, new solid floor in. Felt great!
Lino had other work to do so I started building my center console. I know this is a bit of a departure from the standard plastic but, I am building this car to my taste. One of the great luxuries of building your own car . I happened to have a big 5 lb block of amboya burl wood and I thought it would make for a nice classy addition to the 2002.
I got out the router and spent many hours to put this pc together. Note, this is with a bit of water on it so the burl pops out like it will when it is finished
I needed to do the gauge cluster cover as well. This took many hours of fine tuning...
I am going to put the gauges, radio and (of course) the ashtray in the center console. I have the template cut. Plan to finish this up in May once the rest of the body is done.
Can't wait to see this staring back at me from my dash!
After taking a good look at the nose, all blasted in May, I found a bunch of patchwork that would have been a monumental and expensive task to clean up. Time for the next big call.. to get a new nose or try to work this one. I talked to some of my autobody buddies and with the holes all in the back of the nose and the plates that were welded on the surface of the lower half, it needed to go.
I managed to source one from California, NOS, perfect!
It was a US nose but, no matter, closing up those big old holes would be the first order of business after it made the 3000 km journey to my garage.
In June, with the quarters off, I got to work on the inner quarters and the quarter rear rails. These things always rust out. Even this California body had rusted!
I got some right angle steel from the local steel shop, template out the old ones after cutting them off with the spot weld drill and built these.
July 27-Aug 1
Time to cut the old nose off and but the new one on. This felt like a really serious job but, since the nose is structurally independent from the rest of the car, it was just a matter of getting it off the ground and going to town with the cut off blade.
All ground and cleaned up...
And, the new nose is on!
The trunk spare tire well was really rough underneath. It is basically a mud flap for the rear driver side wheel. Got that out and replaced it as well. By this point, I am getting really handy with the welder
Time to fit the glass before the roof skin goes on! With the roof machine screwed down where I thought I wanted it, in the front and rear windscreens went. No pinch points or tight spots expected but better to be safe than sorry.
Time to grab a friend and a bucket of water with some soap.
All good! Thanks again Chris!
Finally got the glue gun and now it is time to attach that roof! By now, it has been 8 months since I took the original roof off. Felt like another big day. With 30 clamps and the glue gun in hand, it is done and on
Weld up the corners and inner tabs and its a wrap!
Now it is time to strip the roof with aircraft paint stripper. I was going to do the same to the rear panels but after talking to my body buddy a bit more, he convinced me to get Lino to sandblast it. This can only be done by someone with years of experience and a light touch or the panels would be warped so bad that you have nothing but a car full of body fill. Lino has that ablity so, sandblast it is.
By this point, I thought I was done with all the serious welding that I was going to do. But, as it goes, after blasting, I found some more garbage in the rear quarter. Always better to spend more on a better shell up front... lesson learned...
Now in high build epoxy, I was time to take it home again for the final bits of welding before blocking and sanding.
Getting it all in one colour sure felt great!
The neighbours were stopping by a lot sensing that it was done and ready to be put together. Many, having never heard of this car, asking where they could get one! Ah, the natural beauty of this car...
I spent October welding up the rough spots and, being done with what I could do, time to get to the professional for blocking and sanding.
(PS, love the shadowing on the nose on this pic)
Decided that we needed to do something better with the rear wheel wells so, I got the outer fenders and my pro welded them on.
From cheating risk...
To perfect wheel wells!
Cleaned up some pain in the rails as well.
Nice job Tommy!
And so, here we finish in 2015. Blocking and sanding 80% complete.
I look forward to fitting all the panels and sanding before it goes into color in 2016, the year of finished assembly!
Thanks to all of you who have been following my progress!