Thick Bondo tends to crack very easily. This obvious fissure is a clear indication that the quarter-panel on our '64 Olds was treated to a quickie fix with a thick coat of body filler that later cracked. Thick Bondo tends to crack very easily. This obvious fissure is a clear indication that th Saenz also looks at the position of the vent wing assembly in relation to the door frame to look for obvious gaps that may indicate a tweaked body. Saenz also looks at the position of the vent wing assembly in relation to the door frame t Obvious rust spots like these indicate much deeper and wider-spread rust once the paint is removed. Also consider whether replacement panels are available. More obscure cars will require custom-fabricated panels that will cost more time and/or money. Obvious rust spots like these indicate much deeper and wider-spread rust once the paint is Light refrigerator magnets are a simple tool that can indicate the use of Bondo. A small but strong magnet will penetrate thin layers of filler and make a great tool for indicating thick filler. We experimented on a known Bondo-filled panel and noticed that a certain Bondo thickness will reduce the pull of the magnet. With some experience, this can be a very useful tool. Light refrigerator magnets are a simple tool that can indicate the use of Bondo. A small b Look at the front frame horns and the bumper mounts for collision damage or wrinkles. Saenz says he compares the front suspension alignment shims on both A-arms to see if they are similar. A much greater shim package on one side may indicate compensation for frame damage. Saenz says he compares the front suspension alignment shims on both A-arms to see if they When It's Time to Cut and Run The older our coveted Camaros, 'Cudas, and Mustangs become, the less likely it will be to find a near-rust-free project car. We can tell you from personal experience that saving an extremely rusty survivor can be a very expensive proposition. I bought my '66 SS396 Chevelle in Iowa in 1971, and the Chevelle plowed through 13 years worth of nasty Iowa winters before I moved to California in 1979. Another 20 years transpired before I began its restoration, which I thought would only require a new floorpan. I took the car to Sal Perez at American Muscle Cars in San Bernardino, California, to perform the surgery since the company takes the time to install panels replicating the original factory spot welds. By the time Perez's guys were finished, only the original roof, firewall, doors, decklid, front fenders, and some of the inboard reinforcement panels remained. The rest of the car resembled a pin cushion with rampant rust throughout the body. Even the hood suffered from rust perforation. There is still much more to do on the car, and the bill just for the labor topped $15,000. When compared with the price of a brand-new Dynacorn body at roughly $15,000 (they unfortunately don't make a '66 Chevelle body-yet), you can quickly see how it can be an advantage to purchase a new body rather than attempt to restore a rusty original. To give you an idea of the cost of restoration, we also did a quick accounting of the major sheetmetal parts for a '66 Chevelle of front fenders, door shells, a floorpan kit, quarter- and rocker panels, a trunk floor, and inner and outer wheelhouses. The OPG retail price for just these parts tops $3,300. Add perhaps another $1,000 for miscellaneous support panels and body mounts and the total bill to restore the sheetmetal could easily reach $20,000. If the work is on a Mopar or a Ford, expect to pay more for similar panels due to their smaller sales volume. I went ahead because I wanted to say this was still my original high school car, and it cost me a bunch of money to make that claim. The rule of thumb for determining how much an entire project will cost is to triple your best estimate. Of course, that's if you really want to know. Most of us don't. This is my Chevelle at American Muscle Cars on its way to the chemical stripper. The dip revealed much more extensive rust damage. The body resembled a piece of Swiss cheese, and the point where a smarter man would have cut his losses and looked for a better body. This is my Chevelle at American Muscle Cars on its way to the chemical stripper. The dip r This is the layout of replacement sheetmetal panels from Original Parts Group (OPG) required to return the corroded shell back to something resembling an intact '66 Chevelle. This is the layout of replacement sheetmetal panels from Original Parts Group (OPG) requir The Chevelle has stagnated at this stage until I can save enough to renew the project. Both doors and front fenders still need minor surgery, and the original hood is so badly pin-holed that we'll replace it with a Goodmark reproduction SS hood. The Chevelle has stagnated at this stage until I can save enough to renew the project. Bot SOURCES Goodmark Industries 625 Old Norcross Road Suite E Lawrenceville GA 30045 877-477-3577 www.goodmarkindustries.com Dynacorn Classic Bodies 4030 Via Pescador Camarillo CA 93012 805-987-8818 www.dynacornclassicbodies.com American Muscle Cars San Bernardino CA 909-381-7439 www.americanmusclecars.net « | 1 | 2 | View Full Article By Jeff Smith Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!