This car had been parted out 30 years ago. Since then, it has been stored in a dry building on a concrete floor. We bought a heavily damaged and rusty car to source all of the running gear. We did a few unique things along the way to make it an easier car to enjoy every day. Every component was restored or rebuilt before in went back on the car.
This is a complete build and it took some time.
(Click on any image below to scroll through larger size images.)
This is the body as it sat for the last thirty years.
To our surprise, in the usual places it was not any worse than we have seen before.
While it does not look worst than the average 356, we will find the truth after chemical stripping.
The nose of the car has no accident damage. That is a surprise.
The back also has no damage.
The fenders are in very good shape as far as accidents are concerned.
The common rust issues.
This is very normal fender rust.
No surprise here.
This is a surprise. How this became so heavily damaged is unknown. An NOS cowl has been found and will replace this area completely.
Given the condition of the rest of the body, this damage is a little surprising. It is worse than the picture indicates. A new section will need to be sourced.
Again, very common rust issues on the doors. The rest of the panel is free of dings or waves.
This car will be dipped after the metal work and e-coated. This picture illustrates how effective my metal prep chemicals are in removing surface rust. In just a minute it cleans the metal and exposes a small ding.
This floor was repaired very poorly. It came out very fast. It was not even attached to the center tunnel.
All of the attachment points for the floor are gone.
First the heater tube that runs through the longitudinal will have to be made. It passes through the body and comes out under the rear seat. It is a little blurry but it is easy to see that it is completely rusted away.
After the rotted sections are cut away, it is interesting to see how nice the metal is inside the cavity. There is plenty to weld to.
The heater tube and inner torsion bar area are mocked up.
With the outer torsion bar sheet metal fitting, welding the heater tube and sheet metal can now be done.
The forward section of heater tube is now being made. The extra time to make a perfect fit proves to be easier in the long run.
Notice the small tube coming off of the big one at 45 degrees. That supplies heat at the floor and matches the original tube perfectly. The rusty opening is bent sightly out of the way so it can be used for reference during fabrication. Finishing is still needed on the end of the large supply tube.
Here the inner longitudinal is rebuilt to provide a lip to attach the outer skin and the floor.
Looking straight in from the bottom, this shows the forward bulkhead at the pedal cluster removed.
The bulkhead repair section is now in place.
The original parking brake cable guide is salvaged, straightened and welded in place.
This is the tunnel repair complete with perforations for plug welding the floor in place.
With the tunnel attached to the forward bulkhead, the floor perimeter is ready for the outer longitudinal skins and floor to be fit and installed.
This is the inner wheel well on the passenger side. This old repair will be removed completely.
Another view of the same area. It is completely rusted out.
New sections are fabricated for each piece.
With the longitudinal in place, this section is complete for now.
I have decided to replace the cowl before putting the floor in. It will be easier to reach through to the bottom of the dash if I need to.
After inspecting exactly what is bad and what is good, I am able to just replace the main section of the cowl. All of the surrounding areas are strong and rust free.
With the cowl in place and the trunk lid installed, the body lines look great.
The floor and forward brace installed.
With the old engine tray removed, repair areas and replacement sheet metal go into place.
The engine tray surround fits perfect.
A view from the underside.
This is an example of how all of the previous repairs had been done. Braze a big patch over it after hammering it in. Then cover with vast amounts of filler.
With the patch removed, the structure behind it is fabricated and replaced.
The outer skin is cut and fit. It is then butt welded in place. This repair was the same on the other side as well.
The door bottoms were consistent with the rest of the car. Rusty and needing replacement.
After removing the rusted sections, there was plenty of good steel to work with.
The leading edge is made from a smaller piece to control the quality and size of the radius. It also is needed to cut the larger section to the perfect size for the overall length.
The repair panel is carefully measured and cut to insure the bolt openings in the bottom are in the right location.
The trailing edge is rebuilt with several pieces as needed.
This is the drivers side “C” pillar. I determined it was necessary to replace the entire inner wheel well.
With the wheel well removed, there is nothing holding the quarter panel in place.
Only the bottom and back of the wheel well panel is secured. The lock post panel, rocker/sill assembly and door all were mocked up together to determine exactly where it should all be.
The top surface from the “B” to the “C” pillar is actually two layers. Those had to be made and fit using the other side as the reference for all of the dimensions.
With the lock post panel in place, there are still filler pieces to be made to fill in at the bottom. Repairs to the quarter panel also need attention.
The finished wheel well. The curved rail at the top was fabricated in two pieces to replicate the factory stamped part.
To accommodate the compound curves, the outer skin was done in two pieces.
The beginning of the right side.
The front wheel well closing panel is removed.
The replacement panel in place.
The rocker panel assembly mocked up for fitting both the closing panel and outer fender repair panel.
The fender repair complete and preparing to fit the rocker and sill for the last time.
The rocker and sill in place.
The final fit.
Nice clean body lines.
A few small details and it is off to be E-coated.
The body is finally back from E-coating and the bodywork is done. It is back on the rotisserie for seam sealing and undercoating. It is easier to see and reach every crevice when you can turn it 360 degrees.
The body is completely masked to prevent any undercoating from getting on the exterior.
Several coats are applied to give it that thick factory look.
Another view of the under body.
Removed from the rotisserie, the body goes through final prep.
Epoxy primer goes on first.
Next is the high build primer.
The last thing is the guide coat followed by a few weeks of dry time.
After the first blocking, the body appears very straight. No additional body work is needed.
Prior to the final color going on, the dash is painted. Final masking is done and the exterior is painted.
After color sanding and four weeks of drying time, the paint is buffed in three different compounds.
The body is masked for undercoating of the trunk.
Now the body will be completely unmasked and assembly can begin.
The wiring harness goes in first. It has four separate sections to it.
The fuse box is wired in. The dual master cylinder is installed with the new reservoir. The steering box is also loosely in place to mock up how everything will fit.
It looks like it was always meant to be there.
The trans axle is ready to go in.
It is starting to come together.
With the transmission in place, it will be sitting on its wheels soon.
The steering box, brake reservoir and master cylinder were all installed loosely until the final fit adjustments were made. Everything is now tight and ready to go.
After running the clutch cable, the trans will be ready to go.
An additional view as it comes together.
A layer of Dynamat is used for sound dampening throughout.
The steering column and directional switch go in as the dash wiring process continues.
The sound deadening for the engine bay is almost complete.
It gives the area a nice finished look.
After the glue dries completely, the area by the hood latch can be bent over and screwed in place.
As installed. The oil fill breather will be changed before the car is completed.
Another look at the entire rear assembly.
The rear bumper assembly ready to be installed.
The steering wheel with a newly acquired horn button. Tested for fit and function.
It looks more complete with every step.
The front and rear windows are in and the quarter window rubber is cut to size.
The rear quarter window assembly is complete. The latch knob will be restored.
With the headliner, visors and mirror in place, this portion of the interior is complete.
Another shot of the headliner.
It turned out perfect.
Here the dash pad and carpet kit are going in. Heater vents in the door sill area and speakers holes need to be done next.
With the carpet done in back, the rear luggage platform is mocked up.
The driver’s side seat bottom area will house a CD changer.
At the same time, the fuel tank has been completed and installed. Starting the engine will be very soon.
The doors and lids have been mounted and adjusted.
Now the door windows can be installed.
Here it is after the first test run.
If you look closely, there is still only one seat in it. The interior can be finished when the material for the rear deck comes in.
With the interior done it is ready to go.
Clearly a unique shape.
The rear deck houses the CD changer and provides a large area for luggage.
This picture is the only one that really captures the color well.