Muscle Cars

Muscle Car Talk: The A-Z Of How To Hack Up A Classic.

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By Mark Weisseg

Gadzooks is all I heard bouncing between my ears. A Dodge Daytona completely hacked up by a blind body man.
A car today that is valued no less than 125k was put back together in the 80’s because rust had over taken the fenders and quarter panels. Let us not over look the crappy wheels and the rear springs to jack up the back end to throw off all the camber settings up front.

At least the car matches the barn. Sorry.

If this car survived barn life you could imagine all new fenders and quarters, leaf springs that were correct, the right wheel and tire package and a whole lot of cow pie degreasing. Imagine the interior if the exterior is this bad. But, this picture does have a silver lining in that it got me to thinking how back in the 70’s and 80’s most of us young teenagers with brains of mush were doing this exact thing.

Remember tiger hair bondo? The stuff had some sort of fiberglass in the mix and you had to get it just right or you were in for some heavy duty hand sanding. Primer paint always seemed to be this ugly somewhat brown color and nobody worried about clear coating or even orange peel.
If it matched you were good to go until more rust started somewhere else. I was a regular at the auto parts store as a youngster and should have bought bondo in mass quantities for a better price. It seems as kids all we did was patch holes from American steel that was eaten alive by the road salt thrown out in the winter by the dump truck full. Once that rust started it was a losing cause but we could not afford a fender let alone an entire quarter panel.
Patched it up, sand it down and paint it. Cross your fingers it would hold. Today, bondo is not used like it once was. At least not by anyone who has any sense. We weld pieces in or make pieces or just buy that fender. With the value of our classics at an old time premium you cannot afford to skimp.

Have you folks ever seen the hand held meter anyone can now buy to show you how thick the paint is on the car? It is used at premium car shows or by a smart buyer of a special car.
Yes, we all used magnets to determine where bondo was and wasn’t. Most of us became experts at body work just by looking at a panel and being able to call it right.
Not sure how thick the paint is? Hold the device up to that spot and in seconds you get a reading. That can be a deal breaker in some cases. Now, we are talking millimeters thickness now so unlike when we slapped it on a half inch thick we could not figure out why it cracked six months later.

So, if you are out there say buying a L88 Corvette or that COPO you always wanted there are tools at your disposal to check on the sellers reputation.

Again, the idea is not to be a detective, the idea is to protect yourself. There are a lot of very smart less than honest people out there that can make a clone or a tribute appear to be the real thing. If in doubt, spend a few bucks and hire yourself an expert. You will thank yourself later.

Luckily, the many botched jobs done back in the day are now been rectified. It’s still a sad sight to be reminded these precious cars were sometimes patched together like the one you see here.

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