GTO Body work Part 3

This is the third page of the bodywork section of the GTO. This deals with finishing up the body "tub", fixing the front end sheet metal and doors, as well as the trim refurbishment.

To see the LATEST entry on this page, scroll down to bottom of page....

To see the first part of the bodywork section, go here.

To see the second part of the bodywork section, go here

Body Back on Frame

June 12, 2011

With the major work on the quarter panels complete, and the frame completely refurbished, I was starting to run out of excuses to re-unite the GTO with its frame. So with the help of my neighbor I put the body back on one night last week. 

I had an old Canon point and shoot and I discovered that I could "hack" it with a wicked cool download firmware that could turn it into a time lapse camera. So I set it up in the corner of the garage and made about 700 pictures of the process. I put it together with some more free software and made a video and tossed it up onto youtube. Click the picture to check it out.

Lower Windshield panel Repair

September 08, 2011

The GTO Bodywork Page 2 section of this webpage ended with the prediction of being done with all the "tub" metal work. Well, that was a bit premature. Upon removal of the windshield, some old filler was found on the lower windshield panel. I ground out the filler and found some holes. Here's an overhead view of the base of the windshield. The new panel is laying next to the old. Note the holes on the original panel...

Lower windshield patch on 1967 Pontiac GTO

This piece bends down underneath the windshield and has trim clip studs for the windshield trim. The new patch panels have the studs welded on already. The panel I received was bent, so I sent it back. The replacement did not have studs, so instead of making more calls and consuming more time, and instead of using screws instead of studs, I decided to make my own clip studs. 

The studs look like nail heads which gave me the idea of using some steel nails. I found none that had a matching head size, so I used roofing nails and turned down the head diameter to match the original size. The OD of the "nail" body is the same. The picture below also shows the alignment tool I made to hold the studs in place for welding.

Roofing nails turned down to use as clip studs.

I put dimples into the new panel to drill holes for welding in the "studs".

Lower windshield panel without clip studs. Dimpled for new studs.

The holes were drilled, and the nail heads were placed over the alignment tool. The tool set the height as well as the position. The hole in the panel was oversized to let weld puddle envelope the stud. The stud was tacked on from the underside. The tack weld was somewhat sloppy since the extra length of the stud made it difficult to weld. 

New stud held in place with alignment tool. Lower windshield repair panel for GTO
New clip stud welded on underside. GTO lower windhshield repair panel

The extra stud length was cut off flush on the underside, and then welded again with a big puddle. The welder "heat" was turned up quite a bit to really penetrate. The bead was then ground down almost flush.

penetrating weld for clip stud.

Here's the finished stud. The clips fit very nicely. 

Clip stud installed in lower windshield repair panel.

Tearing out the damaged windshield metal.

The windshield panel has alot of folds in it so the old one had to come out in sections. Firstly, I cut the panel on the top to remove the part that just hangs out over the cowl opening. The grungy stuff isn't rust, it's some kind of dried up sealer.

Cutting off first section of the windshield panel

Next was cutting on the inside fold at the base of the dash panel. The screwdriver shows where this inside corner cut is.

Second cut to remove lower windshield panel on 1967 GTO

I prefer peeling old metal away rather than drilling out tenacious spot welds. 

Peeling away the old metal. No drilling. 67 GTO windshield repair panel.

The remaining spot weld lumps can be ground off with no holes left behind.

Spot weld lumps ready to be ground down

The thick firewall/cowl metal was in perfect shape only needing sandblasting to clean it up. The dash is quite floppy at this time.

Cowl/firewall metal sandblasted and ready for paint before welding.

Holes were drilled in the new panel for plug welds, then it was clamped in and welded in.

New 67 GTO lower windshield panel in place for welding

The flange of the new panel was aligned to the floppy dash and screwed down with a few screws . To create a butt weld joint, a cut was made on the flange/dash "sandwich". The resulting gap was ready for stitch welding.

Butt welding new panel to dash panel for 67 GTO windshield panel repair.

The driver side needed a wee bit of an extra "patch".

Driver side detail

The welding was finished up and all the welds ground down. Grinding is not fun, but it looks good when done. The under side of the dash is accessable and this area was ground down and cleaned up as well.

67 GTO lower windshield patch installed.

The driver side pillar cover had some rust damage and this was repaired. Here the damage is being removed...

Windsheild frame Pillar cover damage on 67 GTO.

And here is is all better.

Pillar repaired and mocked up

Doors and Fenders.

December 20, 2011

Metal work is drawing to a close on the GTO project. The front fenders and doors were the last pieces to attend to. Before starting the detail work on the doors and fenders, I put the car together to check fit. It all went together pretty nice, but I took it apart again to get patching and blasting.

It looks like a 67 GTO convertible


The doors were actually in pretty good shape but both needed the rear inside corners replaced. They have slots for the trim fasteners to pass through. The rusty stuff was cut away and new pieces fabbed up. The slots were drilled and shaped with files.

GTO door corners fabbed up.

The passenger side needed a wee bit o' patch on the outside.

Outside corner patch on GTO door 1967

The passenger door also had some heavy pitting on the bottom edge flange that wraps to the inside. I decided to grind the edge off the door and remove the pitted flap/flange.

Grinding the door edge and removing the "flange" GTO door

To make a new edge, I used stick-welding rods with the flux coating scraped off. The rod material was welded to the outer door skin first.

Welding rod used for new door edge on GTO

Next, I fabbed up a new sheet metal flange for the inside of the door. It will be stitch welded to the rod.

New flange to be welded to bottom edge welding rod

Here's the edge welded and smoothed. 

GTO door metal work complete

I also patched a hole from a 70's speaker installation. 

Inside corner all done. GTO door.


Last year, I decided I needed a new passenger fender. The original had a bunch of holes from a slide hammer repair and wrinkles all over the place. The lower edge behind the wheel was rusted out too. The whole mess was too far gone.

I found and purchased what I thought to be a good used replacement, but while fitting it to the car, I found swiss cheese rot where the hood hinge bolts on. Too far gone to save. The original fender was fine here, so I frankensteined the two fenders together to make one good fender.

Here are the pieces put together with a few sheet metal screws. Note the original green top section mated to the "replacement" fender.

Grafting two GTO fenders into one.

The two sections were sliced and then butt welded. Here's a close up of the front splice.

Grafted GTO fender parts welded together.

Here's the fender welded, ground down and smoothed

Grafted GTO fender smoothed.

The driver's fender needed a wee patch down low.

Driver fender patch on 67 GTO

After the major surgery, I put the car back together to test fit all the newly repaired sheet metal. The alignment and fit was pretty darn good. 

Initial sheet metal alignment on 67 GTO

The doors and fenders were stripped, cleaned up and coated with RM EP epoxy primer. This stuff sprays pretty nice. 

Epoxy laid down onto doors and fenders

Bits and Pieces

Anyone who's taken a car completely apart can testify to the large quantities of stuff that accumulates. All this stuff had to be sanded, blasted, wirewheeled, cleaned, primed and painted. I found it easiest to do this in managable batches. Several batches have been completed, including the core support, the front wheel wells, bumper brackets, and on and on.

A batch o' parts to paint for the GTO assembly

For all the underhood and chassis parts, I decided to go with Kirker epoxy primer and a gallon of their "Hot Rod Black" single stage paint.

Pile o' parts primed with Kirker epoxy

The Last of the Metal Work

March 20, 2012

While stripping the old paint off in preparation for paint work, I found just a little more metal work was necessary. The rear corner of the quarter panel had been squashed at some time in the past, and it had been hammered out, but the metal was fatigued and needed help.

cracked GTO quarter panel end

I cut out the damaged area...

End face of 67 GTO rear quarter removed

The patch was made and fit with magnets...

Patch made to fix rear of GTO quarter panel

It was welded up, ground down, and here it is all done...

Patch welded in and complete on 67 GTO rear quarter end

Now, with the metal work done, it was time to strip the car. I broke out the 3 inch rolocs with 50 grit discs and went to town. This was followed up with 80 grit on an electric DA. I did this job outside in February.

GTO stripped of paint.

All the door jambs, rear tail panel, and front cowl areas had to be sanded by hand because of the multitude of contours. Many quality hours were spent sanding away.

From this point on sandpaper, filler, and primer became a big part of my life. 

Go to GTO Paint work to read all about it.

Stainless Steel Trim

Many hours were spent polishing the loads of stainless steel trim. Some of the trim had to have pretty extensive dent removal. Here's a big dent in the passenger rocker. Also note how sand blasted the bottom is from long road use.

67 GTO rocker panel repair and polish 1

I had an array of picks, rods, worn screwdrivers and scrap metal along with hammers and dollys to get it all straight. It goes pretty quick after getting some practice. 

Stainless trim repair tools

Some of the damaged pieces required starting with files, then on to sanding with 220, 400, 800 and then 1200 grit sandpaper, then onto the rouges and cotton buffing wheels on my old bench grinder. 

Here's the rocker after smacking out all the dents with a hammer and dolly, and I'm starting to smooth it in a "blocking" fashion with a flat file. You can see the high spots are dark and the low spots are still dull. After a quick pass, I continue smoothing with a hammer and dolly. The metal is thin and I don't want to take off too much with the file.

67 GTO stainless steel rocker trim dent removal

The piece was then "DA'd" with 220 grit. The deep scratch was mostly removed, but I didn't completely remove it. It was deep, and I didn't want to remove too much metal. You can see the scratch in the lower left of the picture.

Sanding stainless trim

The buffing was done in two stages: black rouge with a sissel wheel, then green rouge with a loose cotton wheel. I used my ancient Taiwan bench grinder. It survived the hours of buffing and still lives on.

I found that it is nearly impossible to remove every fine scratch. This grade of stainless is actually pretty soft, and scratches very easily. But when the trim is installed on the car, especially the stuff down low, you just don't see those kind of flaws. 

GTO rocker trim polished and installed on 1967 GTO

The 67 GTO has a TON of stainless trim. And convertibles used stainless for the side window reveals...(hardtops and coupes used aluminum). All the polish work took many many hours. It's not a fun job. It's also a risky business. I lost grip a couple times on some smaller pieces whilst buffing. Holy jeepers that wakes you up. Despite these high velocity mishaps, I still have all my fingers.



Willys Jeep CJ3A Forum

There exists a nice set of webpages for CJ3A's. It's got a forum too that caters to both '3A's and  CJ3B's. It's a great resource, and frequented by very knowledgible folks.

1967 GTO Original Owner

These two videos feature an original owner GTO. This car was featured in Hemmings Muscle Cars magazine a couple years ago. Part 2 has inside and outside shots of the owner driving the car. Very nicely done.

Blues Maker

"Mississippi" Fred McDowell. One of the great Bluesman. This is a documentary made in 1969.


Pinstriping the ol' fashioned way. Pretty nice.

MGB Racecar

I've always liked MG's. Watch this MGB lift it's inside tire a few inches off the tarmac when going "'round the bend". Awesome.

Pepsi Throwback

Pepsi Throwback with Sugar!

Pepsi has put out a "limited edition Throwback" version of Pepsi with REAL sugar, instead of high fructose corn syrup which has been used since the 80's. Holy cow there IS a difference; it's WAY better. Find some quick!

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