How to replace a rear quarter panel using modern adhesives (with video) | Austin-Healey Bugeye Sprite Project

After getting our Bugeye Sprite’s suspension looking much better, we turned our attention to the body. We had plenty to do here as well.

We started with the right-rear quarter panel as it was it wrinkled and looked to have been replaced once before. Plus we had a new OEM fender that a local reader had sold us for a deal.

Replacing a rear quarter panel on most old sports cars is relatively straight-forward. If dealing with rust issues when doing so, however, you should first shore up the body by fitting a brace across the door opening. You can screw or weld it into place. As our car had virtually zero rust, plus the Bugeye’s strong inner sill panel and transmission tunnel, we skipped that step.

To do this job, you first drill out the spot welds (and in our case some brazing repairs). Then, theoretically, the quarter panel then falls on the floor.

At least that’s the way you see it on TV. In reality, you will have to chisel (gently) and coerce that quarter panel off the car.

Then you have to get in behind the quarter panel in order to weld it in place. And we weren’t going to fit in there–and, remember, the Sprite doesn’t feature an opening trunk lid.

So we decided to bring our technique into the 21st century and bond, rather than weld, the new quarter panel into place. Sure, we would need do some plug welds in a few places, especially where the repair would be visible, but for the most part the quarter panel would be bonded in place–like a new BMW, Mercedes-Benz or Tesla.

To assist us, we asked Tom Prescott, owner of The Body Werks, who been doing body work for 50-plus years, for help. He’s been using these bonding agents since their inception.

He instructed us to just run a cutoff wheel across the whole top of the panel and basically cut out its meaty center. From there, we would have access to drill and grind out all the spot welds as they’d now be easily visible.

You can follow the entire process in this video.


As the video details, this is a doable job by an experienced home restorer and, when it was all said and done, the quarter panel came out perfectly and we are quite pleased with the repair.

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Comments
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Stealthtercel
Stealthtercel Dork
2/21/22 11:28 a.m.

Hey Tim,

The video attached to this post is the one about floor pans, not gluing a fender.

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
2/21/22 5:03 p.m.

In reply to Stealthtercel :

Thanks for catching that, it should display the correct video now.

Nickdoc
Nickdoc New Reader
2/26/22 1:48 p.m.

A white-shirted body worker lying on the floor, grinding metal cuts ? really ?

And bending freshly cut thin metal strips without gloves ? really ?

H & S ?

joeymec
joeymec New Reader
2/27/22 12:26 p.m.

I have worked on Sprites and Midgets for the past 5 decades.  I am also a builder /remodeler and do extensive tile work and shower preparation.   There are many adhesives, sealants and waterproofers in the tile industry that work very well with car restoration.  If you looking to just get your car back to driving condition and not any kind of concours restoration, these products work well with no welding.  It is actually 'kinda' fun  for me to experiment and see what works best in each application.  I have accesss to these products easily so I have worked  with many of them.   Since these cars are really not valuable ( big money I mean) historically, you can experiment without feeling like you are devaluing the car.  Get it back together, drive it and let others see the fun in these quasi-classics.   Not too many people know what 'is and isn't' original to these cars anymore so just get 'em back on the road!!

PS.  "This advice is not necessarily that of the management and certainly does NOT apply to anyone doing an original, Concours type of restoration."

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