Day Three

Wednesday morning saw us getting started around 10 a.m., and it didn't take long for things to get accomplished. By 11:43, the trunk floor was in place and ready for welding. While Chris handled that, Craig and I were fitting the floorpan that stretched from the firewall to the rear seat area. I have to admit, I was skeptical about how this new sheetmetal was going to fit, but in the end, I had to concede to the fact that it did, and it fit well.

By 2:30 in the afternoon, the trunk floor was installed, and the cabin floor was having the finish welding done. I did get nervous, though, at about 1:00 when I saw Craig grinding and welding a pair of clamping pliers, but was pleasantly surprised when I saw the sheetmetal clamp that he made to fit over the rocker panel and secure the floorpan to the rocker. When 5:00 rolled around, Chris had the outer wheel houses and trunk extensions ready to accept the first quarter-panel, and it was time to go grab some grub and a beer--or something like that.

Day Four

With the car's floors finished up on day three, and the back half of the car temporarily clamped together, it was time to focus on actually installing the quarter-panels. To do this, the trunk extensions, the outer wheelhouses, the trunk lid, and the doors all need to be installed on the car, but not welded in place. This is where a lot of clamping pliers come into play. Think about it, without having the doors, wheelhouses and trunk extensions in place, there is no way to know if the quarter-panel is properly located. By temporarily assembling all of the panels that coincide with the quarter-panels, the body lines and gaps can be set up like they need to be. By 9:30, the pieces were clamped into place, and the passenger-side quarter-panel was being positioned on the car.

The driver side was a little trickier, however, as the door striker/jamb area needed to be replaced as well. The nice thing about fitting panels on a Mopar is that there are alignment holes, and locating "tabs" that help position the pieces being installed. By 11:30, the driver-side quarter-panel was also hanging in its new location--albeit temporarily. We were really beginning to think that we might make it after all. With the back half of the car clamped together, it was time to cut and remove the Dutchman panel.

The Dutchman panel is the panel between the rear window and the trunk lid, and ours was in bad shape. Over time, water and dirt collect in the window channel, and the result is unwanted rust that creates unnecessary vent holes. It was close to 3:00, and we wanted to at least have everything clamped in place before the end of the day. Things were going our way, and when 5:00 came around, the Dutchman panel and the rest of the back half of the car had been spot-welded into place, and was ready for final welding on day five.

Day Five

What I forgot to mention about day four, is that a couple of guys from the Tennessee Valley Mopar Club made the trek to North Georgia to see how things were going. Since they decided to hang out with us, we decided to put a couple of them to work. In hind sight, they might not come back since we did, but they were cool about it. Anyway, as with any situation where a bunch of guys get together, the night following day four was spent conversing and partaking of the cuisine at the local German eating establishment after we all finally found out where it was, right guys? It was a pleasant surprise to find out that they served beverages there as well--the 8 a.m. wake up time came too soon. Anyway, this was our final day to complete the job, and it looked like we might make it.