Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
9/13/11 10:30 a.m.

On day six of our Project Shelby GT 350 thrash, the car headed back to our home shop. With the car all cleaned, it was time for some metalwork. Fortunately, our thorough steam cleaning of the chassis did not turn up any other problems. On the contrary, the chassis cleaned up right back to its original brown primer finish. The applied undercoating had sealed the underside of the car very well.

Our first job was to properly finish out the floor pans. The issues: There were not enough welds holding everything together, and the pans had been welded in with an overlap.

In the old days, restorers wanted to replace entire panels. Today, most restorers want to save as much of the original car as possible and butt weld patch panels into the original panels as needed.

Unfortunately, as we saw in the last update, the floor pans in our car had been done the old-school way. We carefully cut out the overlap, seam welded every inch of where the floors joined the tunnel, then finished off the seam with a grinder and then a finer grinder to make it perfect.

Time to deal with the next problem. To accommodate everything from alarm systems to electronic ignition boxes throughout the car's life, extra holes had been drilled in the firewall. We fill welded them, then carefully ground them down to look perfect.

Next up on the day’s itinerary: Deal with the butchered tunnel. In an effort to add some whiz-bang shifter, a previous owner had opened the tunnel area around where the shift lever enters the car. This area had been cut and chiseled in a rather violent and horrible way.

A parts car yielded the sheet metal ring that goes beneath the shift lever area, and we concealed our repairs under a brace that wraps up and over the tunnel. By simply taking our time and doing the job properly, we were able to implement a flawless repair.

With the metalwork done, the next step is to sand blast the engine compartment and repaint it and the chassis.

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