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GaryC83 Reader
10/15/22 5:12 p.m.

Redid a bashed in splash pan for a 60's T Bird. Also reshaped and tucked the rear bumper. Redid all the tail light trim and gapped and fit that. Changed the angle it mounts at, etc.  Lenses will be replaced. So ignore those. 

How it started. 


Cut the splash pan off and started  straightening it. Lots of hammer and dolley work, some shrinking to reverse where it was stretched, etc.


Cut the panel. Straighten the inner panel, rework the quarter ends where the seam had been previously silicon bronzed.  You can see how out if whack the panel is. 

Skip forward a ton of work tucking the rear bumper and modifying all that... but got the now relatively straight splash pan cleco'd back in place. 

GaryC83 Reader
10/15/22 5:17 p.m.

From there played with laying out some cutouts for exhaust to exit through...

Got a layout I liked. Laid it all out with dykem. 


Cut out the inner. Left am area to be tipped with a T Dolley and body hammer. Set about doing that. Then fabricated a rolled edge out of solid rod and got that in and metal finished it out.  

Do the same on the other side. 


Mount back on car. Decide it still needs something...

GaryC83 Reader
10/15/22 5:24 p.m.

Start playing with different layouts for fabricating a recessed area...

Settle On dimensions. Start to fabricate a die to stamp the panel. 

Make a test piece and guide fence

twist it up in the pullmax 


yupididit GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
10/15/22 5:35 p.m.

I wish I could do this. Nice work

GaryC83 Reader
10/15/22 5:36 p.m.

Hold it up. Tweak your dies, then start making your guide fence. 

then start stamping. It requires a pre-stretch and some (understatement) tweaking post running it thru to bring it back straight. 

But do all that, and it'll get you here. 

Still a ton of work left. Lile reshaping and pulling crown put from under the license plate area. Making the plate pocket taller to move the plate up, reshaping the cove, laminating the bottom edge and on and on...

Eventually, you'll wind up here. 

Which looks like this back on the car. 

Still, not done. But much improved, already. 

cdowd (Forum Supporter)
cdowd (Forum Supporter) Dork
10/15/22 5:39 p.m.

Wow!  You have the skilz!

NOT A TA UltraDork
10/15/22 6:32 p.m.

Nice work! A '66 wouldn't be my first choice of 60's T birds to invest that kind of money in, does owner have a sentimental reason? Do you have the rear wheel opening body panels?

GaryC83 Reader
10/15/22 10:12 p.m.

His favorite of that bodystyle. 

As far as what sheet metal wise? There's a few places with repop sheet metal for these. Like all of it, if fits for junk and takes finessing to make not suck. 


If you're talking rear wheel skirts? We aren't going to run them. But I am looking for a set of the (admittedly rare) skirt delete factory wheel house trim for the car. 

NashGTI GRM+ Memberand New Reader
10/15/22 10:49 p.m.

There is really not as much available as you would think for those cars considering how popular/common they seem to be.

GaryC83 Reader
10/26/22 1:41 a.m.

In reply to NashGTI :

There is a ton of mechanical parts if you dig around, but yes, sheet metal parts are fairly limited. Luckily these things are built extremely well from the factory. 

Anyway. Almost all wrapped up on the rear... a ton of work later. 

GaryC83 Reader
10/26/22 10:59 p.m.

Started fabricating a closeout panel for the hood latch area, and modified the latch area, assembly, etc.  The closeout panel is made out of aluminium, obviously. It'll have a drop center with some stamped areas or a recess... or something. Haven't figured that out yet. Working on the end transition pieces. It's no wonder Ford left it open. 

Factory is garbage. 

Spoonfed New Reader
10/27/22 7:24 p.m.

Beautiful work! If you don't mind, which shop are you at? I'm lucky enough to work at a shop as fabricator on some builds for clients that are willing to let us have some fun with their cars as well. What thickness aluminum is that? .050 5052?

GaryC83 Reader
10/27/22 8:51 p.m.

Probably not a shocker to hear... Rad Rides by Troy. 


We use .060 and sometimes .080" for most panels like this. 5052 is common, sometimes 3003 on stuff that needs a deeper draw. Tig'd with 1100 on stuff that needs finishing out and is non-structural. Fan shrouds and stuff I do typically out of .080" sometimes .125" as our cars see well north of the average use. So they're built for longevity and durability.  Some of the stuff we put together has ~50,000 miles on it, after less than 10 years. So they do get used and abused. Again, it all just...kind of depends. 

adam525i GRM+ Memberand Dork
10/27/22 10:14 p.m.

I hope you keep this thread up to date, I'd love to see the finished product when it is ready to leave. My grandfather had a red 66 Thunderbird convertible so I have a soft spot for these. Beautiful work so far. 

thatsnowinnebago GRM+ Memberand UberDork
10/27/22 10:18 p.m.

Wow, not at all what I expected from the title. Incredible work!

nocones GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
10/27/22 10:21 p.m.

I like the use of the fence on the Pullmax.  

How do you fill the 1/8" hole afterwards?  TIG with a copper backing block?  Just TIG the gap?  It looks like an incredibly smooth hole fill whatever method you use.  


This kind of work is something I have always been interested in but never managed to do a project requiring it.  My stuff is always..  ..  Less precise.

GaryC83 Reader
10/27/22 11:32 p.m.

In reply to nocones :

.125" holes I just TIG up.  No backer needed. Quick hit with a grinder and you're golden. .1875" and above I'll make a filler piece and weld that in.  Super fast and easy doing it that way. Backers aren't needed once you get the hang of heat control.  Run your Eastwood setup on 110 doing sheet metal and punch a bunch of .125" holes and give it a go. It's quick and easy. On .040" I usually run about 42-45 amps on the machine and modulate it with the pedal, doing a quick fill it's typically using about 30 or so on .040" sheet metal. Gets good penetration on the backside as well..and no blobs out the back, either. 


Spoonfed New Reader
10/28/22 12:34 a.m.

In reply to GaryC83 :

Your craftsmanship definitely makes it clear you belong there. I thought the background of the shop looked familiar but didn't want to guess incorrectly. I'm a Salt Lake local so next time you guys come to Bonneville and don't get rained out you're welcome to harass me if you need anything. Always happy to help.

GaryC83 Reader
10/29/22 1:11 a.m.

In reply to adam525i :

I shall try to remember to. Lol. Theyre neat cars. Its a love it / hate it car, but nobody's done one to this level yet. So...there's that. 

GaryC83 Reader
10/29/22 1:13 a.m.

In reply to thatsnowinnebago :

thanks much. And I keep a pretty low profile on the internet as its not my thing these days. Id rather just be off building stuff. So, thread title kind of reflects that. Click if you wish. If not, no skin off my back. Says exactly what's contained though. Random sheet metal working...and thanks.


GaryC83 Reader
10/29/22 1:16 a.m.

In reply to Spoonfed :

Thanks much, appreciate it! We are always running into SLC for parts when we break E36 M3 or need stuff.  We were hoping to get that flatty roadster out again going for a fuel record, along with the fish and the 'liner...but that obviously didn't happen. Next year...  much appreciated though. If you make it out, feel free to drop by the pits and tell whoever is there, even if I'm not, that I said to give you the nickle tour. 

GaryC83 Reader
10/29/22 1:21 a.m.

And been making some headway...  to stick woth the random sheet metal theme. Lots left to go. Obviously.

Playing with some fast and dirty sharpie layout ideas. 

All get welded together and radiused once I stamp it, and then I'll tip a return flange on the opening for the latch mech. And finalize hardware locations. This is all just fast and dirty cleco's and sheet metal screws (when I need to close the hood) to hold it in position while I fab the thing.


chandler UltimaDork
10/29/22 9:01 a.m.

I'm out of touch, thought you guys were still in Manteno

GaryC83 Reader
10/29/22 9:14 a.m.

In reply to chandler :

We are. I meant running into SLC when we are on the salt at Bonneville, running the land speed stuff. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
10/29/22 12:14 p.m.

This is awesome–all of it.

Thank you for sharing. 

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