No Spelling Mistakes

The alarm woke me up with a start again, not the normal during the week alarm for work, this is the  much more pleasantly sounding Saturday Mustang Maniac alarm which don’t give the hump when I hear it. I struggled to wake as the air was already muggy and hot. I eventually got in the car and set off, already the air outside was hot and the aircon was on. I arrived to see Yogi in the forklift moving tool boxes about and having a brutal clear out of his old work shop. Adam was opening up the workshop where my car was and I handed over the standard payment of the cakes, these were taken straight to the boys club for an early morning cup of tea and doughnuts. The discussion was had about my tasks of the day. We decided carpet and lettering on the hood. I was given the keys to Adam’s lock up where the carpets and cushions are stored and he simply said “pick your colour of carpet”. For some strange reason I felt like a little kid on the way to a sweet shop with a pocket full of change to spend. There was about thirty boxes of carpet to choose from, years and body style to their variations of colour. The colour I picked was “Ford Blue” and it just happened to be at the bottom of the pile!

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I cleaned the car from all the old bits of wire and dirt that had accumulated in the grooves of the Dyna-Mat. The rolled up carpet was pulled out of the box and laid straight into the car. I unrolled the carpet which was in two parts. The rear and front which has the nicer finished edge.

The carpets have a sound deadening material on the back which sits in the footwells both front and back. Unroll the carpet and press into the footwells.

The front section was a little different and required some minor modifications due to the carpet being Fastback and Coupe and manual and auto gearboxes. The main difference was the way the carpet fitted around the gear selector. this had to have about an inch cut away at the front. Once done it was easily pressed into place around the selector.

There was a rubber grommet inside the box which has be cut out for the foot operated headlight dip switch. The back of the carpet has a cut out for position. You cut the hole and press fit the grommet into place. Make sure the carpet is in the correct position where you expect the switch to be mounted before cutting. This wasn’t so important for me as I had the multiple attempted holes all patched and I made two new ones where I wanted them.

Lay the front part of the carpet over the rear section and your pretty much done apart from making the holes for the seat studs to be fitted.

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Yes there will be some trimming around the edges a little later but the MM guys advise to leave the carpet to settle for a week or so first. The front kick panels will hold the carpet in place and keep it neat.

The next part I was looking forward to and at the same time, very nervous about.

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The hood already has the holes drilled out ready for the letters. The letters have two prongs on the back of each letter and is held in place by two tiny grippers only a couple of millimetres long and are sprung fit into the hood holes.

The grippers were test fitted into the holes but there was no way they were going to fit.

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I had to get a sharp Snap-On rat tailed file and oh so carefully remove the excess paint from the holes to fit the grippers in the holes. One slip here and I could have gone across my gorgeous paint work. Needless to say this took me quite a while to do all eight holes.

With the holes opened just enough I lightly pressed the grippers in and tapped them down with a rubber part of my pliers. (Shh, don’t tell Snap On that bit). They were curved enough and not to heavy to lightly tap the grips down.

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The letters were next aligned to the holes make sure the legs on the back of the letters would fit. Once you are happy press fully home. At this point you need to make sure you can spell “F O R D”. In actual fact this is a bit of a myth, as the letters all have slightly different places for the holes and can only fit in the right place on the hood.

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There was another optional extra at the time that I wanted to have fitted to the hood, this was the leading edge trim. The trim just gives the grill the extra edge finishing touch. The trim is held on by a few screws under the hood and makes quite a difference.

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Next week I think it will be the radio and the splash guards. I just can’t wait till next weekend already!

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Lighting the Way

During the shortened week after the bank holiday Mustang Maniac was calling to me in my thoughts. I just wanted to get down to the workshop and get going on my car. Not sure what was going to be done, but it couldn’t be much more mechanical stuff. The yard was in a bit of chaos as the cars and trucks from the Enfield Pageant were all over the place and being moved around. I had a conversation with Adam and we decided that the weekends work was going to be lights! I didn’t have my headlight bowls with me so it was now going to be a case of rear lights and side lights. I had to make a decision what I wanted, that was an easy one – LED’s. Then it started to get a little more complicated with front lights how I wanted it to look. To be honest I hadn’t paid that much attention to that part yet as I thought it was a way off yet. So Adam showed me the options and the differences and the choices were made.

That all means that pretty functional bits are going on the car! I was loaded up with parts and variations there of. I excitedly took them to the workshop.  First up was the front park lights, the fitting had a default orange lens in place but I wanted the cleaner look of white lights as the orange would clash with the blue. The park lights are also the indicator lights so I needed orange there. This is where Adams LED bulbs come into play. They are the same fittings and screw straight into the housing.

The clear lenses also have the “FoMoCo” logo, the pink arrow in the side by side comparison pic below shows the logo. Adam tells me that he has lost count of the number of people who fit them upside down! The indicator part of the bulbs has the orange LED’s the drive lights are clear white. Problem solved there then. Before we started I got out my new gadget that I had seen the guys use before. Power Probe, this is an electrical tool that allows you to check connections and positive or negative activate a part to work. In other words you connect the earth and power to the probe and press a switch and touch the item which then comes alive.

We installed the bulb and tested them out with the probe before fitting it. So far so good.

The housings have the gaskets inside for the lens to bite onto. I have just rested the lens of the orange one in place to get a comparison. Yes there will be people saying it’s not correct etc. But, I want the clean look so that is what I am going to put on.

The wires were bound up with the wire loom tape then the rubber gasket was fitted. Each of the lights will only fit left or right hand side correctly. The same goes for the gaskets that have to be located in place with a cut out.

The wires slip through the front valance and are threaded up to the main headlight area. the back of the fitting has a semi circular bracket held in place by two screws.

Repeat for the other side in exactly the same way.

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The rear back up lamps are almost identical to fit together. This time I was going to use the ordinary tungsten bulbs as the amount of time they will be on is not worth the upgrade, I could at a later date if I wanted to of course. The only difference here is that instead of a semi circular bracket these fittings are domed washers that move around to locate the best angle to the rear valance. This will then be tightened up with as small socket as you did for the front.

The drive and brake lights are little bit more involved. The reflector is an insert from the outside sitting on a gasket. The reflector housing is bolted to the back via four bolts and a pronged rear light washer to hold it in place. ordinarily the bulb just presses in and it’s a job done. But as I am having LED’s the board site on the outside of the reflector rendering that part obsolete. To make the fitting of the lights easier the rear fender end caps were removed and the gaskets replaced. Hands up how many people knew there was a gasket between the two? Not me I didn’t know, there is supposed to be a gap between them and not pulled up dead tight. A custom-made grommet was fitted in the centre of the reflector along with a sealing mastic to stop the damp getting to the LED board. If you notice in each of the corners a tine screw is put through the bezel and only tightens a couple of turns which stops a fraction short of the paint work. But over the years the tiny screws got lost a larger self tapper screws were just wound through the rear panel.

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The Power Probe was out again and the lights were tested before the final fitting. I have an impromptu video of the event that I will place on YouTube as soon as I get round to editing it. The boards all worked fine. There is a modification that needs to be made in order to make the LED’s work. An extra wire from the brake switch has to be routed to the back of the car so there are four wires and not just two or three. I haven’t soldered the switch wire yet, I suspect that will be next week. To fit the LED board in place, a thin gasket layer applied to the back to hold it in place on the housing.

A foam gasket seal is placed on the board front, the lens is fitted into the bezel and tightened up to housing, this is a bit of a tricky operation. Did I mention these are the posh “FoMoCo” logo lenses. I think I wiped Adam out of his stock of them now. Don’t worry he has more on order if you wanted some.

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Both sides fitted and it now looks like a part finished car.

Just before the Enfield Pageant last week I looked inside my car and found a little prezzie waiting for me and I just had to share it. The guys at MM and their customers who I have also got to know quite well now, they know I like a bit of cleaning and painting of old bits to look new. My blog is full of it. So as a joke one of them left this in the car with a note; “As you like painting bits I thought you would like this. Enjoy …….” Lance’s name was on the compliment slip, but I won’t mention it was him. Dohh!! A brilliant sense of humour and I thoroughly enjoyed it, to be fair I do dish a fair amount out too so it has to be expected. But I will think of a way to mess with his mind in return. 🙂

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Ready To Rock

I’m back!  

I know I haven’t posted for a while, but there was and still are very good personal reasons why. So far it has taken me a few days to create this post on and off, that’s when I can even get round to doing it. Rest assured though, I am still here and I will continue updating my little ol’ blog as and when I can, hopefully things will slowly get back to normal then I should be posting more regularly and then back normal. Thanks to those of you that have kindly taken time to email me to ask how things are, I apologise for not posting sooner and disappearing without any warning, but the circumstances prevented me from do so, it was all rather sudden to say the least.

I could have named this post “New Shell” as the car is at a point now where she is ready to go to the paint shop within the next week or so. Compared to the original rusty or distorted metal work, this could almost be classed as a new shell. The Mustang Maniac guys have been keeping me fully updated while I haven’t been able to get down there to do my duties and help out. Thanks very much guys for the updates.

The last piece of work I had done was the hood which took an age to complete. The guys assembled the front of the car and the hood was re-fitted up. Now there was a problem, the leading edge of the hood had been bent down and was hitting the headlight buckets preventing the correct alignment and closure. The hood was adjusted but the fenders and cowling looked very strange regarding the gaps. The hood was taken off and the guys tried to straighten out the bend with partial success, and on the odd occasion it was quite brutally adjusted to align it all back up. But the hood was now sitting to high and it turned out to be quite obvious that the hood was distorted beyond an economical repair. When you are at this high level of restoration you want it to look right especially on such a large panel of metal that you will be looking at all the time you are driving. So a difficult decision was made – it was a new hood to be fitted, it’s a shame the original couldn’t be used. But I fully understand that these things happen during classic car restorations, the guys did try to rescue the hood before it was replaced.  Yes I could have kept the original that sort of fitted and I doubt that many would have noticed, but it would have played on my mind knowing that it didn’t fit 100% correctly with the gaps, I just knew I wouldn’t be happy with it. Like the driver door, it was an awful lot of hard work, but at least I am happy nothing more could have been done to make it fit perfectly. Come to think of it I have seen the odd restored car with worse looking alignments, I dare say some other restorers would have been happy with it. I now have a rather large bare metal piece of scrap.

However, on the plus side it means that my car is now ready to go to the paint shop with new metal that has already been protected from rust. Adam is now just waiting for the paint shop slot to become free in order for my car to go in and be transformed over the next month or six weeks before I see her back. Such an exciting time. I have potentially got the last set of pictures of the car in bare metal before she gets her new colour scheme.

As the car stands the filler work is pretty good, but has been left in a state where the body shop can see what has been done and what needs a final filler coat. Standard practice for the Mustang Maniac guys who seem to do just that little bit more to make sure all the gaps were correct. When the car is back from the paint shop I will then Red Oxide the inside parts that need doing over the black floor pans and the rear chassis legs before the work starts in earnest to put her back together again. I seriously just can’t wait to see her in the new colour.

Photo Menu:

I have tidied up the photo menus to group them together in order to make it more logical to find stuff.

I have added the following these large photo step by steps under the Photo Menu – Bodywork Section:

  • Rear Quarter Panel restoration work, click here for the quick link. (A very detailed step by step)
  • Hood Restoration Work, click here for the quick link
  • Trunk & Tail Light Restoration, click here for the quick link (A very detailed step by step)

I have also updated the Fender Work sections under a single heading to bring it all right back back up to date.

Reviews:

I have added a review of a Neilsen Slide hammer tool, or click here for the quick link.

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Smooth Lines

The weekend took an age to arrive be fore I could get down to Mustang Maniac. I have been kept up to date with the progress of my car via teaser emails from John. The car is now in a very strong position to be taken from the supporting jig and mounted onto the transporting dolly or trolley, a big moment for my car. This also frees up the panel shop and the jig for the next little lady who needs it. Now maneuverable, the car can be moved around as required, especially important when she comes to be being painted of course.

On a personal note this was a huge milestone for me as it seems to be less of a permanent fixture in the workshop and shows that the work so far is at an acceptable standard to move onto the next stage.

The car had the fenders attached and aligned up to the doors and the hood. The story as you are well aware by now is to strip down the panel(s) to see what lies beneath the paint and then make a decision on what needs to be done.

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Last week I stripped down both fenders, things were looking pretty good. The left hand side fender was inspected for the filler prep the few dents were not to bad to look at, but the metal had stretched to a point that it would pop in and out just above the wheel arch with the filler removed, the same scenario as the left hand side door. So the the decision was to replace the wing unfortunately. The amount of filler and man hours to repair the fender was possible, but the man hours to make it paint ready was not going to be viable and the results could be questionable after paint. But, on the positive side this new fender will last the test of time. The new left fender fitting was good apart from the back sculpture of the fender to the door where the gap was a little out, so the MM boys being perfectionists that they are, made a little cutting and fabrication along a little metal work magic from Terry who gently refabricated the correct shape for the door – fender gap.

Terry made the repair to the bottom of the right side fender and welded the freshly fabricated new section as the bottom was a little peppered with rust holes. The repair was ground down and a light filler applied to protect the join. The headlight recess was repaired to make the rusted out odd shaped cable hole circular again via a new drilled out plate that was welded in its place.

The rear quarters were leaded up and rubbed down properly. The rusted parts of the windscreen were repaired with new lead work as the original lead had cracked. More of the same lead and ground out rust parts along the lower water channels to the windows frame at the rear. Once the lead had been rubbed down a final top coat of filler was applied.

With all the panels aligned and fitted the next job was the look and especially the feel of the panels, any minor imperfections were not going to be acceptable by the guys as it would show in the paint, so a little filler would be required which we knew would be the case. The leaded and brazed areas were now given a coating of filler and Terry worked to fill, rub down, add more filler and build it all up again in order to meet their high standards. A spray of dye coat or guide coat, was then applied to the first batch of filler. Later on this would be rubbed down to 500g ready for the fine paint prep work to begin.

Yogi started some filler on the top of the right fender where there were a few minor dents, I was given another master class on smooth filling and rubbing down with the aid of dye coat. It’s really annoying when these guys make it look so easy. The filler was applied so smoothly the amount of waste and rubbing down was minimal. Yogi did get a bit dusty, for which I received some grief I might add, all because it was a Saturday! Sorry Yogi, but it was funny! 🙂

Once I had seen enough to realise that the pecking order had been reasserted when it came to filler work I got on with my job, to remove the last persons efforts of filler work on the hood and see what lies waiting for me under the red oxide primer. The hood was placed on their panel work frame ready to start work as I put on my gloves. I wanted to start on the leading edge of the hood where all the primer was, if it was beyond repair it would be here was it filler or holes? I was about to find out.

As more paint came off and there was only a little filler that was found, the smile on my face got bigger. That was only half the story as the underside could be a big issue. The underside was unbelievably hard to get off, the heat of the engine maybe I don’t know but I was going through stripper like you wouldn’t believe. At 6pm Adam came to see how I was doing and helped me get the last bits of paint off. All was good, except for my back which was killing me.

We flipped the  hood over and the surface had started to get a little surface rust very quickly, so we went back at the surface again with wire wool and washed it all down with a good dose of thinners and a light coating of WD40, just for now. If you look closely at the front edge just to the right of the sculpt line there is a dent, this just happens to be the size of a palm print, common when the hood gets shut apparently over the course of time. But in general I am pleased to say the hood is in good shape. it will need some mastic to bond the frame and the skin together on the underside, but that wont take to long. Chris was back with me for a little while who kindly cleaned up the headlight doors which were in a good condition, so I was happy with that. Thanks to Adam, Yogi and Chris who all helped me out today.

The last couple of bits they had done was the dash and door. As the dash will fit the ’64 – ’66 Mustangs the gauge recess was generic. But, for the five gauge GT dash from ’65 (as an option) to ’66 it would not fit so the small cut out was made to accommodate the larger speedo. I have circled it so you can see it a bit clearer.

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The right hand door was lightly shot blasted back to bare metal in order for the light contours around the door cards to be painted properly.

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Sunday was a day of dusting things off, degreasing the metalwork that had been stored in the man cave and spraying them in them in red oxide, over the top of the anti-rust paint of course. These bumper irons will match the chassis when they are bolted into place.

Yes it’s another big post, but a lot happens in a few days when the MM guys get going. Once the car gets to paint then things may slow down a little and mechanical things will need to be done! quite what that will be I will wait and see.

Note:

McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes and Hob Nob biscuits are a popular choice with the guys, so I am looking for sponsorship from McVitie’s as they go through the stash of supplies I take down every weekend! How much are the McVitie’s shares???

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Adding Metal

What a difference a week can make at Mustang Maniac, my car seems to have gone from a shell to a recognisable car in a mater of days, it even has bolts back in it. I have been sent little teaser photos by Adam and John over the last couple of weeks and it seriously wetted my appetite to get down there as soon as I can to start work on her. The car was packed Friday night, the alarm was set a little earlier on the phone and wishing the hours away to the morning. I arrived to find that Adam had been invited to Goodwood Revival so I was left in the very capable hands of John and Yogi. I was taken around to see my car and my jaw hit the floor as the car has a rear end and sides now. Terry has been adding the panels, welding up and doing a fantastic job and his attention to detail is second to none. The pictures here are of Terry working on the quarters with old school techniques rarely found in this Mustang restoration business. Firstly clamping up the panels and the wheel arches to each other for a dry fitting, the trunk lid rested in place for quarter gap positioning. Once everything is place then the top joints welded and brazed in place just like they were from the factory. Many people will just weld and leave it as it will be covered with filler and paint, not these guys though and that is quality of workmanship that they have become respected for. (Please on the pictures to see the full sized versions.)

Do I apologise for such a large picture post? No way!

The other workmanship revolves around the bottom of the roof to the quarters themselves. These are normally butt welded up by some people or even cut around the lead work. But here the lead has been removed, the spot welds removed and the rotten sections removed and re-plated with the original contours. This allows for the full quarter to be to be fitted to the roof section and welded where it’s supposed to be. Terry welds into the original places and then it will be ground down to allow for the full leading to be applied where it will all be covered over and the strength is retained in the car. Many other places will not do the lead work as it’s a fine art and some modern garages don’t use it for daft health and safety reasons.

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With the quarters in place and fully welded up the next big panel was the trunk lid. With the freshly painted hinges and inner wheel arches they were lightly bolted into place and the trunk lined up to the quarters, once in place its all tightened up. The trunk will lay down under its own weight to allow final positioning of the trunk. Once that is done the tricky and dangerous (if you get it wrong) twisting of the sprung bars into place to keep the trunk open once the key has released the catch.

The next section was the filler and light panel to be fitted. The new rear quarters have alignment holes that need to be located to the light panel to ensure the light housings fit into place as the two halves form both the openings. The panel is then welded to the chassis brackets to give the rear strength.

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Next is the rear quarter links that join the rear panel which are positioned and welded into place. With everything in place Terry then completes the trunk and quarter areas he has done so far with the traditional brazing.

Forward thinking at this point see the guys dummy fit a rear bumper to see where the quarter end caps will sit in relation to the trunk and the quarters. These original fittings are notorious to fit correctly to new panels, but these went on like a dream and only small adjustments needed. The bumper will be able to be moved into the final correct position at a later date. The final panel for the rear section is the back up rear valance. My original was well and truly mashed up on the right hand side as if it had been backed over a rock. It could have been repaired but for the sake of £60 it was decided to replace with a new panel and there is no rust worries either at this point now.

Remove the bumper and then screw the rear valance into place after aligning all the sections up together.

With the welding all completed the seams were sealed up like they were in the factory and it was really was quite brutal in those days and nothing fancy. Terry then added the boot catch to the inner panel and welded it all up. Rear section done.

What does she look like from the side? Pretty darn good I would say. The next stage was to add a little filler to the panels to smooth out any imperfections and apply flexible sealer under the quarter to the sill.

During all of this you may be thinking well what did I do Saturday? The answer was simple, I was prepping the other panels and removing the paint in order for Terry to be able to weld up properly. My tasks this week was to strip the fenders the “A” pillar posts once I had removed the doors, and then start on the roof. A large amount of work, but it all needs to be done so I left very late into the evening, I was physically hurting at the end of the day. The same old story, strip, scrape, strip again wire wool and strip any remaining last bits before a final wipe over with thinners.

The roof tuned out to be a big task. The car is on the jig I couldn’t reach into the middle, even at 6’4″ tall my long arms didn’t make. So I had to balance on the sills hold on and apply stripper and scrape. Now I’m no gymnast and it was quite tricky at times to be honest and I think this is where the fatigue kicked in. But the results were good and the roof came up pretty spotless.

Sunday I have spent most of the day editing these pictures ready for the blog plus the afternoon nap too. Next week – I know what I will be doing, stripping the hood back to bare metal.

 

 

 

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Some You Win…

I try to post on a Sunday evening so I can give an update on the work completed by Mustang Maniac during the week and the work I do at the weekends. The reason I haven’t posted is quite simple. Trying to catch-up on the huge amount of  I have taken and the huge amount to work the MM (Mustang Maniac) guys have done. Most of the photo work has been completed now and hopefully the delay will be worth it. Where do I start?

The first thing I noticed when  I turned up was the back of the car was sitting in a white primer where Terry had cleaned and seam sealed it up.

The back of the trunk is to get blown over of the Acapulco Blue when the car goes for the full paint job. In the mean time a couple of light undercoats of colour will be applied to the areas that you can’t paint once the rear quarter panels are welded in place, such as the chassis drop off points and the top of the rear arches that can be seen when you open up the trunk. The hinges I prepared last week were cleaned up and given a spray and hung up to dry.

The next part to be spotted was the upper cowl that had been fitted in place and welded to the lower cowl. The Black resin coated parts in black are now all welded in place and brazed as they should be. Tape was placed over the vents and masking paper placed in the vents to avoid any and dust and rubbish getting into the fresh paint. The paper will be pulled out at the time of fitting up the rest of the car.

As I wanted an export brace on the front of the car going from the fire wall to the shock towers this one was going to be fitted correctly. What I mean here is that the export brace was fitted to a thick piece of plate also welded onto the top of the fire wall to add the required strength. Many export braces fitter later in life are just bolted into the original shock tower bolt holes and the fire wall. Under load the firewall will bend and give which defeats the whole point of the export brace being fitted. The welding you see here is exactly how it was when they were first fitted, no neat seam all round welding, just the little lines of weld you see in the close up. The brace is only resting in place as its not needed at this point of the restoration.

When I arrived on Saturday Terry was competing the repair plate to the roof and quarter panel lead area. Yes you read that correctly – lead, not filler and welds as modern restorations will do for you, but this lucky little lady was going to get the forgotten art of leading and brazing the quarters in place. The filler and welding are not ideal and could blow through with damp and rust at a later date. The Common place to have the rust appear is at the top of the B pillar as the water runs down and sits at the back of the strengthening sections and so it will eventually rot. Welding and filler will be especially susceptible to the damp. Red oxide paint was applied to prevent any more rust. The replacement plates in this area are common and the secret is make sure the plate are lower than the rest of the roof in order for the lead to run into any holes and fill the cavity up with strength. It’s this attention to detail that sets these guys apart from everybody else.

Anyway, I was given my task to strip the doors down to find any of Adam’s nasty little surprises as he likes to call them. The door, oh yes the lovely left side drivers door. The stripper was applied to door and the first layers of paint was removed no problem. Then I spotted it – filler. Ok, the filler was to mend any cosmetic issues for paint, so I kept telling myself. So the door got more stripper and more scrapping. The filler patch got bigger and bigger until it was across three quarters of the door. I asked Terry to take a look who said “You have to get it all out to see what is behind it”. So the door got more stripper applied to loosen the filler, then more and more. The scrapping knife was lifting the filler out like a spread of butter until the next layer of filler needed to be softened. Now I was going through the stripper like you wouldn’t believe as the filler was soaking it all up. The breakthrough to the metal was a good moment to behold and I thought I had cracked it, but no. The filler was about half an inch thick in some places, then I found out why. The car has had a knock in the door. There was regular holes in the door skin to pull the dents back out again with a slide hammer. At this point Adam was called down to survey the damage. Then he said “all the filler has to come out to see the full damage”, that’s consistency. Two hours later the filler was all out. The door panel was now fully exposed and any pressure on the door and the door popped inwards as the metal was stretched beyond repair, the filler was holding it tight. If I had of known this then we would have replaced the skin in the first place on the outside of the door.