As our Mopars get older, we have to face the fact that some cars age better than others. And while the condition of an antique car largely depends on the environment, use, and care given to the vehicle, there are other factors at work as well. Though most rust is caused by a moist environment, or driving where roads are salted in winter, corrosion damage to vehicles can be caused by using improper maintenance or restorative techniques as well.

If there's one area that a Mopar is prone to rust, no matter where the car is from or how it's treated, it is the area under the vinyl top. We've seen plenty of otherwise pristine cars, garage kept their entire lives, that still have rust bubbles under the vinyl top. Although the roof skin of vinyl top cars did get specially treated metal and a misting of paint from the factory, the basic design of the vinyl top allows water to be trapped, eventually oxidizing the metal underneath.

The Road Runner we're working on in this article is a classic example of both the destructive nature of a vinyl top, and how it can be made exponentially worse if not installed properly. Having owned this Plymouth for many years, the owner took excellent care of his Road Runner, and it shows throughout as the car is in generally great condition. Some years ago, however, the car was taken in for a new vinyl top because the original was cracking and showing its age. Unfortunately, the new top was installed poorly, and-even worse-the roof was sanded to bare metal during the process, thereby eliminating any factory rust protection.

In a matter of a few years, this improper installation caused the roof to corrode so severely that it had completely rusted through in most places. The rust had then fallen into the car and was captured by the headliner mostly. In the past, the only hope for this car would be to find a donor car to provide the roof, or to simply scrap the body and start with another one. Thankfully, Auto Metal Direct (AMD) now provides an additional option.

Recognizing that the Mopar B-body is a very popular car, and somewhat prone to rust, Auto Metal Direct manufactures quality replacement panels for virtually the entire car. These stamped metal panels are high-quality, fitting well with crisp body lines, and are available for many popular Dodge and Plymouth models, including the '68 Road Runner we're working on. We ordered our roof skin, along with a pair of new driprails, and our parts were delivered in just a few days.

Changing the roof skin on a car is no easy task, requiring hours of work to drill the many spot welds holding the roof to the car's structure. With patience, or a good body shop like JD's Paint and Body, it can be accomplished, however, and the outcome is nothing less than fantastic. We found the new roof skin from Auto Metal Direct to be a quality piece, fitting right in place of the original and saving the labor and cost of finding a suitable donor. The AMD skin didn't need to be trimmed, fitting perfectly and making our installation as easy as it could be.

Better yet, the new roof skin saved this cool '68 Plymouth Road Runner, which might have been considered unsalvageable some years ago. Be sure to check out AMD's website as they have tons of new sheetmetal replacement panels for many Dodge and Plymouth applications, and likely have just what you need to repair the rusted or dented sheetmetal on your Mopar.

SOURCE
JD's Paint And Body Shop
Mulberry
FL
863-425-0601
Auto Metal Direct
940 Sherwin Parkway
Suite 180
Buford
GA  30518
866-684-5942
http://www.autometaldirect.com
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