How to rejuvenate a once-mangled body? Lots of time.

What does it take to totally rejuvenate a once-mangled body? Time. And lots of it.

Javier of Jeff’s Restorations has been working our Sprite’s body with the tools of his trade–meaning lots of time with the hammer and dolly–and straightened the rear quarter that we didn’t replace.

After his work, it just needed a bit of filler.

The take-home here: Good body work isn’t cheap and takes a long time.

The rear section of the body and one door are now ready for primer and then paint.

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bencii New Reader
12/22/22 1:22 p.m.

If anyone wants to see some serious body repair, Wray Schelin's proshaper workshop has some great you tube videos.


ddavidv UltimaDork
12/24/22 8:43 a.m.

A craft requiring a skill set not learned overnight. I've spent enough time attempting it to know I don't enjoy it. Unfortunately, paying someone else for those skills is (deservedly) not inexpensive.  I pay good money for good 'shells' now and pay little attention to the mechanicals or interior. 

frenchyd MegaDork
1/3/23 11:12 p.m.

In reply to ddavidv :

While you are right to always get as good a body ( especially a unibody) Not learning how to move metal around denies you the art and craft of creating your own body work.  
    Repairing a damaged Jaguar XKE body gave me the skills to try working the headlight covers. The series 1 had beautiful glass covers that Federal regulations did away on the series 2&3  

 Since I was  working on a V12 EType for racing I bought a leather sand bag  and started.  First I shaped the sand bag in the direction I wanted the aluminum to move. And then started slow. Tap tap tap. Ok that was making a mess then zi grabbed my biggest dead blow  and thump thump thump. Hey!   It's in the right shape. Take some wrinkles out with my tap tap tap and it's close.  Tap tap.  Try oh a little gap over here use the shrinking hammer to get a little curl now planing it to smooth out the dimples from the shrinking hammer.  
    The second one took less time.  But they both were perfect.   
  I got an English wheel and did some more.  Got a Lotus 11 LeMan in with really tough looking aluminum body and really smoothed that out. Just a tiny amount of body filler and it looked brand new. 
   Learned the trick of silver spoons. Takes dents out often without the need of repainting. Maybe you can use regular stainless steel spoons but with silver I can tell when the spoon is going to bend and it's time to back off.  
  Now they have pneumatic planishers making working Aluminum so much easier. 
     Use good wooden handle body hammers. You need that flex and balance. Keep your Dolly's  polished.  
      My first English wheel was a big 5 foot one and working it was more a rhythm than muscle.  The current one with its small wheel isn't going to work the larger panels  but I can still do smaller areas and then weld them together.   
It really helps if you have access to shears brakes and rollers. Big enough to work larger panels  but lacking them you can still work big aluminum. 

Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
1/12/23 5:51 a.m.

frenchyd sounds like we need you down here helping us!

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