MAY 2003

It's the first week of May, the sun is shining and I should be out there, throwing the slicks in the trunk ready for the Classic American Nationals this weekend.

Ah well, I'll be there next year that's for sure.

So, the frames arrow straight, I've prepped the A post and rocker panels ready to make up new metal work, but I'm sticking with my three repair zones, so while I'm in Porto-Power mode, I may as well get the back end sorted.

As you can see from the slightly dodgy pic, the back end is stripped out and as you'd expect from a 30 year old street racer, the old Runner has been stuffed. The repair is not what I'd call a perfect example of the body repairer's art, in fact the ten pounds of filler I've pulled out of the rear quarter and back panel just about sums it up.

The Porto Power has enabled me to accurately realign the rear quarter and rear panel, while all the dents and dings I'm straightening out in the traditional way with hammers and dollies. The only filler I'll need is a light skim to level out the planishing marks - I would use lead, but it'll slow it down!

Panel beating is going ahead full steam and I should have a shot of a very much straighter back end in a week or so. Even the driver's side rear fender was up half an inch and the previous repairer had given the trunk lid a twist to compensate, so now that's realigned, at least the Mustangs and Camaros can see that the back end's nice and straight!

MID MAY

It never rains but it pours. I should have been at the Classic American Nationals at Shakey but the rain was so heavy I thought they'd never get a run in, so I pressed on with the Runner.

After lots more careful panel beating the back end is nice and straight, so the next job was to clean out the inside of the trunk with the rotary wire brush and the DA sander and here is the only bit of real rust on the whole car. This I chopped out with the disc cutter and air saw to reveal two holes about 6" X 9" and typically these areas included a body plug hole and four or five stiffening flutes which are pressed in at the factory.

Now I didn't want to just patch in a flat plate, even though it's inside the runk and hidden by a mat...you can't even see it underneath because the gas tank covers it up, but it would have annoyed me, so I made up a special tool to press in the stiffeners. Simply cut a large gudgeon pin in half across its length and welded them together end to end. Then got a hardened steel rod and welded to quarter plate flanges down each side and instand press tool! Bang it in the vice and Bob's your uncle, a patch panel that matches the factory floor.

So there's a some welding to do there and with luck I can get that done evenings this week.

Now to the gas tank. Apparently a helpful docker decided to move the car with a fork lift and crushed the tank, so I thought I would try and fix it. Filled it full of water so I wouldn't blow myself up, and needless to say, it sprung a couple of leaks. Welded on some washers to pull out the dents and it sprung some more leaks. Started pulling out the dents with a slide hammer and more leaks appeared. Told you it never rains...

Stopped all that nonsense and decided to strip out the back seat to get right into the back of the trunk and guess what? The broadcast sheet fell out! So, is it really just a bare bones 383 or was it originally specced with a Hemi?

Stay tooned for more knuckle skinning fun and frolics from the supershed and I'll get some more snaps sorted, so we can begin to see some progress...now has anyone got a gas tank for a 70 Road Runner?