Well, after two weeks of working my bits off attempting to earn a few bob to help pay the bills and assist in continuing this restoration/rebuild, which appears to have gone spiralling out of control, I can actually report more progress!
Now that the back end is just about sorted, off came the front end to reveal one original front fender all smashed and wobbly, plus one replacement fender, still showing the stencilled part number on the inside...also smashed and wobbly.
Both forward corners of the wheel arches had been ripped off, so I had to manufacture replacements from 18 gauge mild steel and weld them in.
Which all sounds very straightforward until you find you've made one the wrong shape, which serves me right for working to a dodgy old photograph.
Consequently, I had to saw off one of the new corers and start again, but the final result it neat and strong, as it should be because that's where the non-existent fender struts go, to hold everything together.
After stripping off the underseal from inside the fenders with a heat gun and a sharp scraper, I knocked back the original paintwork and primer with an 80 grit disk and a DA sander. Once all prepared and degreased with PK 700, I applied R-M Euroxy etch primer and straight over with 3M stonechip, Jamaica Blue Diamont basecoat and one and a half coats of R-M Crystaltop HD clear. So, not only does it look great, it's tough too.
Without any messing around, out came the complete dash, together with all the gauges and trim, plus the steering wheel and column, which enabled me to lift the whole front end of the car up and drop the engine and box, complete with the K frame and gearbox cross member, in one huge effort.
To make a break from bodywork, my next job is the engine and gearbox rebuild, so stand by for more swearing and skinned knuckles as I get the Snap Ons flying!