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Thread: Corvair front panels

  1. #1

    Thumbs down Corvair front panels

    I'm in the process of restoring a 65 Corvair, rust has destroyed most of the front sheet metal, around the head light openings, behind and below the bumper. I've purchased a "donor" car and those areas are in good shape on it. What I'd like to do, and here's where I need help, is to cut off that section of each car and weld the good one in. Are there any "tricks" as how to cut them out as close to identically as possible? Keep in mind that these cars are completely welded together except for doors and deck lids. (uni-body-unit body) or something like that, so I can't just unbolt the things and exchange them. I want to start about three inches in front of the wheel openings and cut off from there, making the cut all the way around and underneath (that would include about 12 inches of the luggage compartment and the front panels. All suggestions appreciated. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Talladega, Alabama

    Default Corvair

    I've actually never worked on a Corvair, but I would think that if I had a good sheet metal front end on my parts car, and that the panels were all welded on, I would "un-weld" the panels from the donor car. You could do this by using a spot weld cutter on spot welds, and a cut-off wheel/grinder on seam-welded and brazed joints.

    If my 'new' parts were, say, rusty on the bottoms of the fenders behind the front wheels, I would think that patching those would be much easier than splicing the front 12-16 inches of the panel.

    If I wanted to replace a section of the front luggage compartment, I would use matching holes and body lines to get a rough cut, then 'fine tune' the panels and either put my replacement pieces in with a neat lap weld or even a butt repair (more difficult). Replacement in factory seams is most desireable, although not always feasible.

    Please post back with more questions


  3. #3


    Well, I had given that some thought but everything is welded to each other. The fenders to the luggage compartment floor and sides , the the luggage compartment floor I think comes up to be your firewall and that is welded to the dash under the windshield, the front panels are welded to the fenders and the luggage compartment. And I think all of that stuff welded together makes up part of what may be called a frame. So with all those welds, I thought sectioning off part of the nose might be easier, but both cuts have to be almost identical. That's what I'm having trouble figuring out. I've attached a pic of a corvair, the black line in front of the tire is where I wanted to start the cut. Then proceed to make the cut under the car through the luggage compartment, around to the other side and end up at the same point on the other fender (the hood will not be cut). The red is where the worst rust is at.
    Thanks for your reply. Bob
    Attached Images Attached Images

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2005

    Default I agree with Sam

    Start by marking out the sections that you want to remove from the doner panels then drill out the welds using a weld cutting drill bit where the seams come together and use cut-off disks to cut across the sheetmetal.

    After the metal is removed and cleaned up I would probably cut an addtional two inch piece out of the doner panel or the old panel to use as a backing strip. Punch holes an inch apart in the remaining fender section and place the backing strip under the fender and weld through the holes then place the replacement section over the backing strip and tack it in place. Be sure to jump around as you weld by starting in the middle then half way to the ends then then ends then weld in between until the welds are about a half inch apart. You can then weld the seam solid by jumping around from side to side. You don't want to weld too much in one area because it will make the metal too hot causing warpage so skip around a lot. Use a good urethane seam sealer under the fender to protect your backing strip from the weather. Here is a link to a similar process on a door panel.
    Last edited by admin; 01-03-2006 at 11:43 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005

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