Old Crash Damage

I drove down to The Panel Shop to deliver the bumpers and lights so they could check the fit to a GTC that needs a lot of panel work. Getting the bodywork and bumpers to fit is crucial to get right, especially when the car is in bare steel.

The crazy part is the bumpers and grille showed no damage compared to the damage found on the nose and rear sections of the car. My theory is this car sustained this accident every early on in its life and new bumpers and grilles were purchased instead of repairing the originals. Back when these cars were fairly new, these kind of parts were available, but are just about impossible to find today.

When we installed the grille on this car, the large gap showed just how much plastic filler was used. Many shops back in the day repaired crash damage by roughly pounding out the damage, and filling in the rest with pounds of filler, and unfortunately a few shops still do it today!

Mark already started fabricating a new panel for the nose to replace the wrinkled panel. With the grille installed, he now had a guide as to where the new panel needed to meet to bring the nose to where it should be.

Mark makes these panels from flat pieces of steel look so easy but there’s a lot of shape that has to be considered when making these panels. The curve of the nose follows a continuous line starting from the base of the windshield and is carried through to the nose of the car. Making this panel is not just about patching the damage, but also making sure the shape of the patch panel matches the shape of the whole front of the car. This line has to connect with the grille with one smooth arc starting from the base of the windshield, and talented fabricators understand this. Once the panel and shape is formed, Mark says the “hard” work” starts, and that’s making all support pieces that turn in so the grille can be attached to the rest of the nose.