January 25, 2009 Banner Small Page D7

Quarter Panel Revisited banner

Additional work needed
for patched driver's quarter panel

Right: This is the quarter panel from a Watertown, SD, parts car. The wheel well is rusty but that's OK, since I just need the area above the body side moulding. Note the two bullet holes above the rear bumper (Ron Paulson photo).

SD Quarter

After the initial welding was completed in 1998, work on the car was stopped while the 58 Plymouth and a 1970 Olds Cutlass Supreme convertible were restored. Ten years later, in 2008, the 1959 Dodge convertible project was restarted.

Upon reexamination of the earlier welding done on the driver's quarter panel, it was determined that additional work was needed. A guy in Watertown, South Dakota, was parting out a 1959 Dodge Custom Royal Lancer two door hardtop. The upper section of the driver's quarter was straight and in good condition. The price was reasonable. So in October 2008, the panel arrived at my house via FedEx.

I also purchased a rust free, undamaged driver's door to replace the existing one that was warped while sectioning in a patch years ago.

Examining the panel, I noticed a few dents and bullet holes that needed attention. Also, there was some scaly rust where the fin panel was spot welded to the quarter. After the fin was separated from the main part of the quarter, wire wheeling revealed that the scaly areas were indeed rusted thru. This was no big deal. These holes, as well as the bullet holes, were easily welded up and the welds ground flat.
Right: After removal from FedEx box, here's the quarter panel as it looked when it arrived at my house. SD Quarter
Rust Closeup Left: Closeup of scaly rust where fin is spot welded to main quarter panel.
Quarter Rough Cut

Above: Rough cut of center section. Another two inches will be removed on the bottom, so that the new panel can be sectioned in and aligned by the moulding holes.

Right: After the new panel was aligned, it was butt welded in place. Here you see the panel partially welded in. By welding small sections, you minimize risk of warpage.

Butt Welded Panel

After cleaning up the center section of the South Dakota quarter, attention was now turned to the car's ailing quarter. Spot welds were drilled out to separate the center section and a rough cut was performed, leaving about two inches above the moulding holes, where the new panel will eventually be sectioned in. After a satisfactory alignment was obtained, the final cut was made and everything was attached with Vise Grips. Everything was tack welded in place to assure that nothing fell out of alignment.

Then the upper spot welds were rewelded, followed by the sides and finally the area across the quarter. This was a slow process, consuming several days. A number of times, welds had to be cut open to correct alignment that didn't look right. Finally, after everything was welded in place, the welds were ground smooth.

Right: Here's the finished quarter panel, ready for filling and priming. Note that the fin was also reworked with a patch from the SD Quarter Panel.
Rewelded Quarter Panel
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