Patch It Up
by Pat Goss
Since the very inception of steel bodies on automobiles, there has been one mortal enemy. And that is rust, especially rust through, structural rust and so on. Like on this classic Jeep we can see that the rocker panel is rusted, the dog leg is rusted. We need to replace these parts and of course for classics and collectibles, these parts are available, like this dogleg which would go in here. Now we wanted to do this car upright. We took it to Treasured Motorcars here in Maryland. And let’s see what was involved with that.
When Treasured Motorcars got a hold of this, what they did was they gained access to the parts that needed to be replaced. Now to get to the rocker panel the front fender had to come off of it, the doors had to come off because there are seams and everything inside that need to be cut away and re-welded. So that was the first step of this operation.
The next thing was that they had to cut the old panels off in such a manner that it didn’t damage any of the good metal. Patch or repair panels as we see here are available for most collectable cars. Chances are if it was popular back in the day you could get repair panels for it. Now the thing is you might, and I say might be able to do this yourself if you have the talent and if you have the tools, but it’s not always as easy as it looks. And we found that out here because we had a lot of rust that was hidden underneath the vehicle and that’s when a good body shop comes into play.
These inner pieces weren’t available for this Jeep, so Treasured Motorcars had to fabricate them from scratch. Now this involves cutting, bending, and shaping new metal to match the contours of the original body work. And this takes the proper tools, a large degree of skill, and lots of patience. And that’s the one area most do-it-yourselfers fall short. This particular job involved 50 hours of labor just in fabrication. Making these new pieces and making them fit properly is critical. Rusty parts will continue to rust so they must be replaced. And if you allow water, debris and salt to get into newly repaired areas, well the repair isn’t going to last and you’re wasted your time and money. Do the job right or have it done right and you’ll have a quality repair that extends the life of the vehicle and looks great in the process. And if you have a question or a comment, drop me a line right here at MotorWeek.