July 2000 Newsletter


I spent most of the month turning sheetmetal pieces into a Roadster for Roland. BJ finished his ’64 Coupe project and the Basalt ’59 Coupe finally came back from the painter.

Roland’s ’60 Roadster had just the rear bulkhead and engine tray attached. The other sheetmetal panels were a mix of replacement panels and original skins. The rear fenders had been heavily brazed and warped. Plus Roland had obtained a rare A-model twin grille deck lid.

The first job was to build the inner engine compartment using the deck lid as a jig. I track welded the pieces until it looked OK. But when I put the outer skins on it was off. So, I ground out the tack welds and redid it.

To position the outer sheetmetal I used the deck lid and the lock posts. But you can’t get Roadster lockposts so I had to modify Coupe lockposts. I used the doors as a jig. The hinge plates for the soft top are right behind the lockposts. So I used the top as a jug to position the rear sheetmetal and the doors to position the lockposts at the same time.

This is one big jigsaw puzzle but it all came together. Once everything was tack welded I cut out the warped metal at the fender seams one small section at a time. I hand shaped the fender curves and checked with a carpenter’s counter guage. Fortunately I had Rhome’s ’61 Roadster here to serve as a reference library for measurements and curves.

Once the rear was together I repaired some poor work on the front fenders. Someone missed the right side wheel opening connection to the rocker panel by one inch. One was to fix this would be to cut loose the whole front outer skin and ddrop it down to get the proper opening curve to the rocker panel. This appeared as if it would create more problems so I just cut enough metal one the fender to get the opening to match to the rocker. Not a perfect solution but hey, 356’s were made by hand!

We will return Roland’s Roadster to him so we can finish the Basalt ’59 Coupe. Roland can work on the mechanicals and bring it back for finish work. BJ’s

64 Coupe will go to the painters so we both can work on the Basalt Coupe.