Body Work

This stage of the restoration was by far the longest with around 4 months solid spent on the car. The body work was sporadic and felt never ending. It wasn't long before the Challenger's nasty secrets revealed themselves with the worst spot being between the trunk and the rear window. The vinyl top had leaked and given the age of the vehicle, it showed. 

Slowly but surely the Challenger was re-emerging with rust being replaced by solid new steel and her entire body thoroughly inspected. By the time she was ready for the paint shop, she couldn't have been better prepared. Most of the time was spent on the car's lines making sure everything was perfectly aligned. Once this was achieved, it was time to remove the panels, hood, doors, trunk and everything else for painting. 

First to go... that f%#ken ugly rear ring!!

And finally.... it's GONE. Hallelujah!! A new trunk lid was ordered and installed and immediately made a huge difference. The quarter panel parts of the rear wing were cut out and new metal inserts welded in place.

This was the worst part of the rust on the entire car. The vinyl top kept some moisture between the glass rails and had began to rot. It's bad but at least there was some sort of form for reference to go off. 

A  very poor photo taken during the time (like most) but new metal and crafting with more fine tuning to follow...

Getting ready to fill in the rear wing panel holes.

Metal in place and the fine tuning begins. Fixing up the rear window / vinyl top rust area as well. So much better. No rust. Just new metal / fabrication.

The quarter panels were in decent shape, not worth replacing. They had hours of sanding and grinding to take them back to bare metal. A few small sections were cut out and replaced with metal, shaped and contoured back to factory spec. This is where time and money is taken up. You can't rush this process.

Time for the suspension and underside components to be removed.

The bare underside. With around 35 years of grime, road debris and driving, the condition was very solid. I was so stoked.

Getting there!

Working on that famous "Bulge hood".

Getting the hood and fender lines and gaps perfect.

Note the vinyl top and body side molding holes. At one stage, during this process, I wasn't sure if I should keep the them or not. Although I wanted it all white, no vinyl top, etc, for some strange reason, when confronted with the big and final call to see if I wanted them or not, I had to really contemplate it haha! In the end it was easy.... fill 'em up! No top or moldings!

The new (wing less) rear end. Rust free and 100% solid. 

Interior not far from being done. All original floor panels, very solid.

The last few small interior items being cleaned up / removed, doors off.

Fenders off and sent to the paint shop for final prep, the Challenger to follow...

Everything removed and placed on a make shift rolling frame for painting.

Getting it ready for the last few adjustments and body work.

Next stop... PAINT