This 1931 Hudson was actually in very nice shape. It needed the typical patches of an old car, such as the bottom of the cowl. The subfloor needed several patches that were bent up and welded in. Most of the car was very rust free. It was only the areas that had leaves and dirt inside the car that were rusted out.
The firewall also needed some massaging and a bunch of holes filled that were unnecessary. This is a restoration, not a hot rod, but someone had obviously drilled a bunch of extra holes for whatever reasons or accessories that might have been added over the years.
The inside of the car against the back of the body apparently had a pile of leaves and dirt, and the bottom several inches needed to be replaced. This was the most difficult part of the whole restoration. The back end of the body had been pushed in about a foot and was dollied out to original. There was a lot of work with hammer and dollies, as well as shrinking with the shrinking disc, to remove the stretched areas.
The bottom patch was a daunting piece to make, but we got it done. It was curved from side to side, as can be seen in the photo, and had a bead in the middle with a peak in it. The panel curved around the bottom of the body, then up again to a right angle bend that was part of the floorboard. It was a head scratcher to make.
All panels were butt welded with the tig welder, then ground smooth and planished. Only a very small amount of filler will be needed. The owner of the car is a very handy fellow, and he worked with me most of the winter on this project. The two of us spent countless hours on the rear of the body to planish it smooth. The photos don't really do it justice.
The owner had a couple sets of fenders, but the best ones, which were actually in quite nice shape, did not have the wheel tubs in them. He originally wanted me to cut and repair the wheel tubs and put them into the better fenders, but I had to make more than half of the wheel tubs from scratch anyway, and I didn't see any point in cutting up a set of really nice fenders. Its hard to see in the photos, but the wheel tubs have wide beads rolled into them, longitudinally front to back, as well as some short ones from side to side. These are also unavailable anywhere, and had to be made from scratch.
We made patches for the front end of the damaged fenders, and new portions of wheel tubs and left the other fenders alone. He is going to post them for sale, as there aren't many of these around, and there are zero patch panels available.
The front end of the fenders had a fine little bead around the outer edge that was a bear to reproduce, but after a few tries in the bead roller, it was done. Actually quite a few tries. The new panels were all made up from 19 gauge cold rolled sheet metal to match the original material. I obtained a small cache of 19 gauge and had it shipped from the U.S. midwest. Impossible to find here, and the steel dealers will not co-operate with you to get it for you, even though they have it listed on their websites.
The panels were hammered out on the sandbag, and the outer edges shrunk on a stump to get the initial shape, then finished up on the english wheel. Once the panel shape was there, the bead was rolled into the outside edge, then butt welded onto the fender.
Unfortunately, I didn't take any pics of the rear fenders as they were brought to me. That was one of the biggest areas of distress for the owner of the car, as he was unable to find any others, and they were in pretty bad shape. I had to rebuild most of them, and they were both squashed pretty badly.