The starting point:
Shortly after I turned it over to Deron Shady, he removed the engine and transmission, a non-original 1951 Plymouth six-cylinder setup, and removed some of the other extraneous stuff hanging on the car, such as the original master cylinder. He began measuring every conceivable body dimension and just acquainting himself with the details of the car. On September 7th, I took the 1950's upholstery and top down to Dan and Deron's and we took a look at them on the car:
In mid-November, Dan Shady became available to begin working on the wood restoration. He and Deron worked together to separate the body from the chassis, and we were on our way!
11-17-09 The body is off the frame!
Look at the condition of the unpainted underside of a door sill... A minimum amount of rust. Truly amazing for having been on this car for 77 years!
And now the sheet metal is off the rear wooden structure!
Here, the rear body structure has been completely dismantled. It is November 23, 2009.
And now, Dan starts reproducing the pieces that were damaged or deteriorated. Here's the rear main sill.
And here are some smaller structural pieces. It's now November 24, 2009.
Dan is now (December 29, 2009) fabricating the new body framework, replacing pieces that are too rotten to reuse.
For some pieces, Dan strengthens them by drenching them with a low viscosity epoxy (Kwik Poly) that penetrates every crevice of the wood and then hardens.
Dan is also fabricating "patch panels" for some spots on the sheet metal that had rusted through. He will weld these and grind them smooth before painting.
2-10-10 Dan has been working on the doors. Here, he is holding one with all the paint and years of accumulated grunge removed. They are remarkably rust-free. Also, they are pristine with respect to lacking dents and dings.
Before Dan did the outside of the doors, he thoroughly cleaned the back sides and then temporarily sealed them to avoid getting the stripping chemicals on the newly-cleaned surfaces.
Dan also did a thorough inspection of the wood framing in the doors prior to impregnating them with Kwik Poly to strengthen them and seal the wood. Before this frame can be treated, Dan will have to replace the areas where improper repairs were made in the past. As Dan says, "This door's been 'loved on' in the past."
While Dan has been doing woodwork, Deron has started preparing the firewall to receive the steering column, brake and clutch pedals, and other items that need to attach to it. We wanted to avoid making any new holes in the firewall, just in case someone were to decide to restore this car in the future. Deron came up with the idea of suspending a steel framework from existing holes and brackets. This week (3-14-2010) he got it fabricated and mounted.
5-5-2010 - Dan Shady took the rear part of the body up to Murfreesboro to have it media blasted. That should reveal any further problems we may have to deal with. The cowl section is still mounted on the frame. We'll probably remove it in the next couple of weeks.
Here is the rear floor pan from the 1932 Plymouth roadster. It has been bead blasted, and Dan is spot cleaning a few spots with metal prep before applying the 2-part epoxy primer. Can you believe this sheet metal is 78 years old????