August 2020

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Page 18 of 47

AUGUST 2020 WWW.PNWR.ORG 19 continued on next page This is the second in the series of five articles which chronicle the do-it-yourself "driver" level restoration of my 356C that will focus on the body work phase. Last month I explained how I came to own the car, my survey of the damage to be repaired, and target budget. The three remaining articles in the series will cover: #3 – paint and reassembly, #4 – engine building, #5 – interior restoration and engine break-in. As I explained last month, this poor little Porsche had a spotty past with lots of BONDO and the original engine was long gone. It had 'good bones' with very little rust, all matching last 3-digit stamped doors, hood and deck lid, it tracked straight, shifted smoothly and even with an engine oil leak, I got it for a good price. If I could avoid scope creep, I could economically restore a fantastic car with a lot of fun left to wring out of the original factory build. Further prospecting for damage discovered that there had been some bodywork to the left rear corner, but that appears to have been done professionally, so I decided to leave well enough alone. Metal work started with replacing the battery box floor that had a hole corroded through it. There was also little rot behind the rein- forcing plate for the front tow hook, so I cut that out and made a patch at the same time I cut the old floor panel out. I sandblasted the spot weld flange where the new floor panel was to be welded in and proceeded to fit the new sheet metal pressing purchased from Stoddards. I used a pneumatic hole punch to make the holes for a MIG welding technique called "plug welds" and lay-up panels for welding using aircraft Cleco clamps. The real challenge was installing the new tow loop which required breaking out the oxy/acetylene torch and peening the five rivets that hold it, two washers, and a reinforcing plate onto the car. Once they were heated cherry-red hot, I peened them with an air hammer from the inside until flush. Once all the welding and riveting was complete, I sealed the seams with 3M auto body seam sealer caulk and covered it with a thick coat of Wurth Stone Guard. The drivers side rocker panel was where I chose to start on the outside of the car. Since I work on a 4-post lift, the clear access behind it at eye level with hammers and dollies makes it an easy repair. The door gap along the bottom was uneven so the first step was using a block of wood and big hammer to adjust it. When a three-inch long chunk of pink BONDO flew off with the first whack the extent of the damage revealed itself. The entire length had been "frosted" ΒΌ" thick. My favourite tool for removing BONDO is a coarse wire wheel brush on an electric hand drill, usually a three- inch diameter works best. It doesn't harm steel, but it leaves marks in the softer lead body solder, revealing where it's located. It's messy work and definitely something that requires proper safety gear for eyes, ears, and especially breathing. Welding around lead body solder can cause all kinds of problems, so it's good to know exactly where it is at. If the lead gets hot enough to soften, the acid flux used in the tinning process can mix with and contaminate the lead with acid and eventually cause the new paint covering it to bubble mysteriously without any underlying rust. Once stripped to bare metal I could see the rocker panel was rust- free, just some wrinkled and dented metal. Hammer and dolly work got the panel about 90% straight. The ideal tool for that last 10% is a stud welder that allows me to weld copper studs to the remaining depressions in sheet metal. The copper studs are then pulled outwards

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