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Bryan
Hagerty Employee

Smithology: This thing cannot get any worse

 “You’re going to have to excavate the rocker panel and pull the tube up into it.”

 

Paul, crouching next to the car, flicked at a piece of steel with his finger. “So this will need to be cut, then.”

 

Ben shrugged. “I don’t even think you need the cutter. Just bend it back and forth a few times.”

 

Paul made a face. “What am I, a savage?”

 

He lay down on the floor and began poking at the rocker. Ben walked off. Moments after, a muttering under the car, barely audible:

 

“Alright. Maybe I am a savage.”

 

Read the full column on Hagerty.com:

https://www.hagerty.com/media/opinion/smithology-this-thing-cannot-get-any-worse/

10 REPLIES 10
ccrvtt
Pit Crew

Awesome.  You are approaching the level of Peter Egan and Jack Baruth.

Waterboy1KHY80
Intermediate Driver

I had to  laugh, this reminds me of my search for the "least rotten" 3rd Gen Camaro (we all have our love affairs, just different) I looked at least 20 or so. First thing I did was place my plastic on the ground, crawl under with my thin screwdriver and punch a hole through a lot of floors. One seller was standing there and said you want to hear it run? I said nope, cars floors are gone it's junk. he kinda jerked and leaned back in surprise. LOL, I did find one, and at an amazing price, ya gotta be patient as the struggling Job. (Job'e) I have the patience for hunting, I don't have the patience for repairing. Good luck, great read, Thanks.

highmiles
Pit Crew

At first glance I thought "that is a lot of temporary bracing," then I read on...  

JoePollock
Passenger

I want to mention the liabilities of over compensating for the rusted structure with the solid steel structure that was added. It is less critical on older cars, but still, they are made to take damage in a certain way. Once modified you can open yourself and others up to injury or legal liabilities. Look up the John Eagle Honda Fit lawsuit that cost a shop 42 million dollars for not putting in the recommended number of spotwelds on a roof skin. As a restoration professional, these things didn't used to matter that much, but in today's world there is much more to seriously consider before cutting corners, especially since the work can now be traced back to you. I don't have any answers for our profession, but it does make me turn down work that the customer does not want to pay to have restored back to proper specs.

Sajeev
Community Manager

The lack of welding on the John Eagle Collision story was truly tragic.  That's a very, very good point. 

Swamibob
Instructor

I love the story!  Now this is what I call a Rustification!  Restoration for cars that are too far gone to take back to factory, so just make it safe and reliable (or some semblance of that) and drive it for the fun that it was originally intended.  MOPAR guys from the 70's and 80's will understand what I'm talking about.  Sure that's a swipe at Chrysler fans, but they're used to it and it might generate more feedback on this story.  🙂  

This is sort of Rat Rodding for the European crowd.  I dig it.  Hope it becomes a trend.  it gets more people working on cars and having fun with cars.  It might start a whole new movement, like Billet Proof, or The Race Of Gentlemen for the old style hot rod crowd.  Not sure what to call it, but it could be interesting. 

There could, eventually, be Concours events, like Concours d'lemons, but more on car labor involved.  It might even sprout it's own online magazine... Eurotrash Chronicles or something along that line.  The possibilities are out there.  🙂

When working on such a project; I like to recall the wise words of Red Green:  "Any tool can be used as as hammer..."  

Now, I need to get back to my buddy's '63 Chevy II hulk, that needs to be running for back to the 50's next Spring.  Weld on!

Harryseidel
Passenger

Nothing funny here. I recognize there’s a need for humor to keep your sanity, but I salute your energy and initiative. I own a 1967 1600 and have been there once...and now I’m faced with the futility/ necessity dilemma, cause at 67 years old, I have to do it again. Bravo to you and your team of friends foot soldiers!

MoparMarq
Detailer

Might start a new categorical trend in the hobby; Rust-o-mods.

SuperCommando
Pit Crew

a few guys on YouTube have done unibody re-body's...where the rotten bottom is cut away and the upper superstructure welded up to a clean bottom...usually an upscale trim 2 door onto a 4 door floor.  probably hard to find a junky 2 door 2002 with a clean floor that doesn't warrant restoration in its own right, tho.

clkeith50
Passenger

Somewhere in my archives I have pictures of how not to repair a car with severe structural damage. In the 80's I purchased a 1965 Mustang for a girlfriend. On the drive home I noticed as I looked at the passenger door I could see the ground moving under me. Being the ambitious fellow that I was, when I got home I started chipping away at the miracle whip (Bondo). The rocker panel had a 3" gap where it had been split open and pried out to appear normal from the outside. The gap was then filled with all the loose metal that could be found in a normal garage suspended in a generous amount of body filler. Nuts, bolts, metal screen wire, plastic screen wire and a few pieces that were unrecognizable. Fortunately, I worked with a guy whose brother worked in a body shop and had a cousin that worked in a frame shop specializing in unibody repairs. The right side of the car was cut at the base of the windshield extending to the tail light and up to the base of the rear window. As soon as a got the car back I traded it for a Pontiac Fiero for me and a Grand Am for the girlfriend.