By now you guys are in real-time on the build. Well at least within a couple of weeks. In February I wanted to get rolling on some sheet metal work. Since the day I bought this swiss cheese of a car, I knew I would be battling sheet metal work one day. Fixing someone’s hack job of “body work” on the original 240Z body is something I’ve been dreading. The clean methodical work of sheet metal floors and wheel tubs was something I’ve been looking forward to. This is my Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of sheet metal.
If you don’t know, Jekyll was the good Doctor. This is also (for me) the good side of the sheet metal work on the Z. The mission was to get a perfect fit on the floors and a really clean look. I ordered up a 4’x10′ sheet of cold-rolled 18 gauge steel.
I started on the rear of the car. I made some cardboard templates and traced them over onto the sheet metal. This is pretty easy stuff. This car has been quite the challenge and some instant gratification was definitely overdue.
By the way here’s a couple of tips for you. If you’re doing sheet metal work, get yourself some clecos. It’s a spring loaded temporary rivet, not to mention they are pretty inexpensive. They provide about 20lbs of pressure to keep your sheet metal in place. Just drill a 3/16″ hole and install the cleco.
Also pick up a sheet metal break. I have a little cheap-o, but it really helps with fit and finish.
Once I had the rear sorted, I moved onto the front floor pan area. The passenger side was a breeze.
The driver’s side was a little more tricky. Since I’m running the Wilwood floor mounted pedal assembly, I need to mount the pedals to something more substantial than sheet metal. I fabbed up some 1″x 1″ supports with some custom weld in bungs. The tricky part was getting the holes in the sheet metal centered perfectly over the threaded bungs.
If you know me well, then you know I’ve been dreading the sheet metal on what’s left of the 1972 240Z body. This is my Mr. Hyde. Whats worse is I’m going to repair all of the sheet metal to eventually cut 75% of it off and hang custom made carbon fiber panels on. I need the body to be smooth to make moulds off of. Either way it needed to get started.
To say the least, it’s been interesting when I peel back a “patch panel”. To this day I’m stumped why, or how some of these “repairs” were made. I started with the passenger “A” pillar. Where the pillar met the wiper cowl had rotted away. Inside the door jamb where the “A” pillar met was swiss cheese. Datsun, from the factory, would use lead to bond and fill seams. I had to melt all of the lead away before I could make the repair. It was challenging to weld in this area with the 43 year old lead remittance.
While I was working on the passenger side “A” pillar I shaved the rain gutter.
I needed to address the “C” pillar now. It was a roll of the dice to see what was behind door number 1 (patch panel). You guessed it. A gnarly hack job.
If you look at the above photo you can see that the roof edge was riddled with little rust holes. I cut it all out and made the repair.
So what’s behind door number 2? More quality repair work?
You can see where this is going right? I had to recreate the rear quarter panel and tail light area. What a mess to say the least. You can probably see why I’ve been avoiding this. Luckily this was the worse side. I still have some work to do and as I mentioned. A lot of the roof and rear quarter panels will be replace by carbon fiber panels. I just need to get the panels good enough to body work them smooth and make moulds off of.
That’s it for now, but I have a lot more sheet metal work ahead of me. As always thanks for the read.