We can attest: There's more to this job than sawing off the coupe stuff and slapping on the fastback stuff. Way more. And if you aren't precise when welding on the fastback parts, you will have a big mess on your hands. Good luck trying to get the door gaps to line up or the glass to fit right. We alluded to it in last month's installment-this isn't a job for the faint of heart. Yet, it is not out of the realm of an ambitious soul who has some metalworking experience and a lot of patience for careful measuring. We spent a week with the guys at Recon Classic Car Bodies and watched them build a fastback out of our '67 coupe and a convertible out of a nasty-looking '65 coupe. Even if you don't plan on doing this job, pay attention to the build-there are a lot of cool metalworking tricks that will apply to any project CC readers may feel up to taking on. It is surprising how little of a coupe's structure Recon needs to build a fastback. This is all that was left of our coupe by the second day-basically, the firewall, inner quarter-panel supports, trunk floor, A-pillars, and half of the roof extensions. Because of damage to the front framerails near the shock towers, Recon owner Ray Carmody decided to replace them with new ones. If you are considering tackling this job, you can reuse the coupe doors and taillight panel. Everything else aft of the doors must go. It is surprising how little of a coupe's structure Recon needs to build a fastback. This i After sandblasting, we discovered a small section of rust-through in the floor underneath the rear seat on the passenger side, so Carmody decided to ditch the floor also. Sheetmetal guy Ramon Aguayo took care of it with a Sawzall. After sandblasting, we discovered a small section of rust-through in the floor underneath To protect our freshly sandblasted chassis, shop manager Jesse Villarroel sprayed it with Nason 421-09 red oxide Acrylic Ful-Fil primer surfacer. Though we planned on salvaging our coupe's doors, the guys removed them prior to sandblasting to clean behind the hinges. Rust can hide in the most unexpected places. To protect our freshly sandblasted chassis, shop manager Jesse Villarroel sprayed it with Early the next morning, the guys began reassembling our fastback-to-be, starting with the new floor. With the chassis sitting on jackstands on level ground, Carmody started fitting the floor, aligning the center of the floorpan with the vehicle's centerline. They could then see where they needed to trim the floor to make it fit better. Early the next morning, the guys began reassembling our fastback-to-be, starting with the To replicate the factory spot welds, the floor will be plug-welded onto the chassis. Villarroel used a pneumatic punch/flanger tool and a drill to punch holes where the welds will go. He recommended putting a weld about every 4 inches. The scribe marks indicate where the floor meets the flanges for the rear torque boxes. To replicate the factory spot welds, the floor will be plug-welded onto the chassis. Villa Working out from the center of the floor, Carmody placed sheetmetal screws in the holes where the welds will eventually go. Villarroel stood near the transmission tunnel while Carmody began to screw the floor to the chassis, working from the center out. His body weight helped spread the floor out so it would better reach all the way across the car. The guys at Recon put nearly the entire body together with 1/4-inch sheetmetal screws before welding it up. Though this sounds like a lot of extra work, it is actually the smartest way to reassemble a car that was taken as far apart as this. Panel gaps, clearances, and alignments can change as more parts are added. If so, it is much easier to loosen a few screws to realign a door or a quarter-panel. Working out from the center of the floor, Carmody placed sheetmetal screws in the holes wh Carmody then lined up this support rail for the taillight panel and gas tank, clamping it into place and tapping it and the trunk floor to make them fit together. Note that he's using a friction jack to spread apart the trunk floor to match the width of the gas tank. Carmody then lined up this support rail for the taillight panel and gas tank, clamping it With the support clamped into position, Carmody dropped the gas tank in place and used a prybar to align the boltholes. With the support clamped into position, Carmody dropped the gas tank in place and used a p Even supported on jackstands, the gas tank/tail support panel didn't line up as well as it should have. The guys at Recon have access to several real fastback and convertible bodies in their shop that they can use for measurements, and the support stuck out about 1/4 inch too far. This may not sound like much, but that would throw off the alignment of the taillight panel to the quarter-panels, decklid, and bumpers. Carmody used a ratcheting tow strap to squeeze the panel in while pulling up on the trunk floor at the same time. This combination of forces got the support panel to line up correctly. Even supported on jackstands, the gas tank/tail support panel didn't line up as well as it The guys bolted on the doors next, aligning them to match the rocker panel. The hinges bolt to the chassis in slotted holes that allow fore and aft movement, as well as a certain amount of up and down adjustability. Hang the door and get the bolts finger tight. Grab a helper or come up with a way to support the door while you make alignment adjustments. The guys bolted on the doors next, aligning them to match the rocker panel. The hinges bol We did have a problem fitting the passenger door. After sandblasting our original door, we discovered a big dent buried under years of Bondo and filler primer, so Carmody decided to replace it with a reproduction door. However, the original upper hinge didn't fit, nor did any of the reproduction hinges the guys tried. The boltholes didn't line up well, and the hinge hit the door at the arrow. After grinding on the hinge and the door with little success, Carmody grabbed a third door from a parts car in his lot. But for the guy without a stack of parts lying around, you could cut a slot in that section of the door and weld in a patch that would allow more clearance for the hinge or send the door back and hope the replacement fits better. We did have a problem fitting the passenger door. After sandblasting our original door, we The end result should look something like this. Note how the bottom of the door matches the top of the rocker panel. Now that the door is aligned to a fixed portion of the chassis, you will align the rest of the body panels based on how the doors fit. The end result should look something like this. Note how the bottom of the door matches th The rest of the car goes together like a giant jigsaw puzzle. The guys screwed the taillight panel and then began to fit the quarter-panels. The rest of the car goes together like a giant jigsaw puzzle. The guys screwed the taillig Again, they attached everything with a couple of sheetmetal screws, just to hold things in place while they worked on precisely aligning all the panels. With the doors aligned with the rocker panels, they aligned the quarter-panels to match the contours of the doors. Again, they attached everything with a couple of sheetmetal screws, just to hold things in 1 | 2 | 3 | » | View Full Article By John McGann Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!