Well, as I reported to you in the Chevelle Teardown post, Jeff at Allison Customs has the entire Chevelle torn apart and has completed the inspection of what we’re going to need. Without going into great detail, we’re going to need to replace every chuck of sheetmetal under the car from the toe boards (where your feet would touch the pedals) to the tail lights. We’re also going to need a full set of quarter panels, door skins, and rocker panels!
As Jeff dug into the Chevelle it became clear that while the car was a good “10-footer” on the outside, underneath was a different story. The shop that did the work for us in 1993 during the last restoration had limited parts, time, and money to work with and they chose to cut corners where they felt they could be cut. Aside from the body mounts from the firewall forward, the body was not really securely tied to the frame from the firewall back, mainly because there just wasn’t enough metal to do so. The rear body mounts under the floor were non-existant, as was anything above the rear end. Everything else that actually had a bolt in it was connected to a cage nut on the other side that had broken loose long ago as well.
The good news is that NPD carries absolutely every chunk of sheetmetal that we’ll need to do the job, and the order has already been placed. Unlike the first time we did the car, now we’ll have the parts to do it up right! We’re going to go with a full floor pan that includes the driveshaft hump and runs from the toe boards to under the back seat. All three body mount braces will be replaced at that time as well. In the rear we’ll use a full one-piece trunk pan that starts where the floor left off and runs to the tail lights. New quarter panels, trunk cross brace, inner quarter-to-trunk panels, and wheel tubs will be installed then as well. If that sounds like we’re replacing most of the car, well, it’s because we are!
If you’re curious as to why quarter panels have to come into play, both quarter panels now have rust in them forward of the rear wheel. The drivers side rear of the car was hit at some point in the car’s life and has never been quite square as a result. The only real way to square it up again is to remove the existing quarter skins that were replaced in 1993 and start tugging, so we may as well do the entire quarter in the process anyway. The passenger side quarter is square and true, but that quarter skin when replaced in 1993 was done a little short of the door, so the door gap on that side of the car is about a half an inch! The door jamb area appears to have rust behind it as well. New quarters will fix that all up.
Jeff has the frame at the sandblasters now and will box it up, fix a few small rusty areas, and then powdercoat it. At that point I will fly down to offer my assistance in the best way that I know how – by bolting things on and doing what he tells me to do. I’ll take care of installing the new Detroit Speed suspension (Speed Kit 3 on the front and back) and get the brakes and rear end back in the car. That will leave Jeff freed up to put Humpty Dumpty back together again!
Look for some blog posts in the future from Jeff. He will walk us through the process of installing a full floor, a full trunk, quarters, and everything in between. Also be sure to listen to podcast 82 this week for a update from Jeff as well! Finally, here is a full list of the parts ordered from NPD, with part numbers! The only thing that is missing are the inner rockers, which NPD did not yet carry when I created this list. That has since been rectified and they are on their way!