Once the vehicle is in epoxy primer we can spend some time looking over the vehicle assessing the extent of the rust and damage. At this stage, we produce a list of all panels required and estimated repair times. Owing to the fact that we can now see the majority of repair work required we can provide a much more detailed and accurate estimate.
We use MIG welding most of the time during our restorations. Our aim is to always repair areas to a factory standard; so where we let in repairs that should not be seen we butt weld and where panels are meant to be overlapped we use the spot welder replicating factory welds. Where it is not possible to use a spot welder we plug welds, again replicating the spot welds. If possible we also like to use TIG welding as this is much better for sheet metal work than MIG welding but isn’t always suitable for certain repairs.
Lead loading is a technique used years ago before modern plastic fillers became widely available. We feel that it is important to keep this dying art alive because it is far superior to modern fillers for certain repairs. Many car companies, for example Jaguar, used lead loading in a wide range of areas which have lasted in areas where filler may have sagged or cracked over time.
Sometimes quality repair panels are not available or not economical to purchase so we spend time carefully fabricating replacements. In the image to the left we are fabricating custom wheel tubs for a VW T2 to accomodate larger wheels and lower suspension. The slip roll is being used to put a gentle but uniform curve into the wheel tub followed by a bead roller to press ribs into the sheet metal to give it strength and rigidity.
Few classic car companies have the necessary equipment to carry out major rust and collision damage repair on vehicle’s chassis but we have invested in a Celette bench to ensure all repairs are true and straight. We have brackets suitable for all early Porsche 911 models, some early VW models and Jaguar E types but many more models can be catered for simply by hiring the necessary brackets for use with the Celette bench. This enables us to build chassis from scratch or repair heavily corroded and damaged chassis and ensure that the chassis is perfectly true. It really is the only way to ensure the chassis of a vehicle it put back to factory specification.
Throughout the metal work process and particularly once the metalwork is complete, it is essential to spend some time checking and setting all panel gaps along with dry building items such as bumpers and light fittings. This saves time in the long run - the last thing we want to be doing is tweaking a painted shell to get the gaps spot on.