Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Vacation lends time to work on Karmann Ghia again

I'm on vacation this week (it was a use it or lose it situation) so I am finally back on the ghia project! I asked my wife's grandpa Cecil if he wanted to help work on the car and he generously accepted. Cecil was a machinist for TWA for about 30 years and he's tackled an insane number of projects that require custom fab of sheetmetal, chassis mods, engines etc., etc., so I was happy to have him on board for just about anything. My dad also wanted to get involved, but he hasn't done much bodywork in the past... I haven't had much help over the years, so I had to think of how all of us could work and not be tripping over each other and we also needed to have enough tools to go around.

Before everyone arrived, I moved the car into position, cleaned up the floor and started grinding bondo out of the d.s. rear quarter. When all the crap work that had been done to the quarter was exposed, I cleaned up and got the tools all ready.

After we got done with small talk, the faces got serious and my dad quickly volunteered to organize or clean up my garage since he could see the car was going to be crowded. How perfect! I needed some shelves installed and I knew he'd bang them out perfectly. I decided to take the front end since it was custom work and the idea was just in my head. I showed Cecil the driver's side rear arch and asked if he'd be happy working on that.

With the work assigned, we all started tearing into the jobs at hand. We marked out the arch and Cecil started cutting away the sheetmetal. I cleaned up the heater vent opening and made my patch for filling it in. Dad was well on his way with the shelves.

When Cecil got the arch cut out we did some detective work and found a Tabco panel was at the back of the repair, the original car was the next layer and a donor car was the third layer. The last body guy overlapped all the panels about 2", beat them into submission, welded them together, then put about a 1/4" of bondo on top to finish everything off nice and smooth. We also found that he beat the tar out of the inner wheel well since things didn't line up for him.

Cecil set about making a new outer lip for the inner wheel well. He cut a piece of 3/4" press board to the curve of the opening, then bent the lip over the edge of the press board. He checked it for fit inside the arch sheetmetal and everything looked good. After some fitting we tacked it up and found there was a twist in it and spent about 30 minutes getting it straightend back out. I finish welded it after Cecil went home for the night.
Driver side arch with some bondo removed
Arch cleaned up. Look at the crap welding job
Arch cut out and Cecil working on seperating the three sheets of steel.
Front end patch
My dad installing shelves
New lip on inner wheel well. (sorry the pic is dark)

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