This is the finished fender...
This is the finished fender flare. It's hard to tell that anything has been done at all. Let's see how Jeff Lilly Restorations accomplished this look.
Fast cars call for fat tires. Drag racers can get away with installing wheel tubs, bringing the tire in as far as possible. This works well, but what about the guys who need big tires in the front too? Fender flares can give us some room for the extra rubber. They also give us more clearance for lowered cars. The great thing about fender flares is that even if you don't need the wider meats, they look really cool.
Some people have gone overboard with fender flares, giving the car a cartoon-ish look. Fortunately, Jeff Lilly, owner and builder at Jeff Lilly Restorations of San Antonio, agrees with us. Jeff's story started in his early years, working for his father building custom cars in Ohio. When his father retired in 1985, Jeff packed up and moved the shop to San Antonio.
This is what they had to start...
This is what they had to start with. It's a stock fendered '66 Mustang Fastback. The original wheel openings don't fit the racer look Jeff Lilly was going for.
He walked us through the process of grafting tasteful and functional fender flares on their project '66 Mustang Fastback. The Mustang, named "Franken Stang," is a great example of his work because he has refined the style of the car, keeping the appeal of its factory look. The car has undergone many changes at the shop, but the intentions were always the same, to keep the car looking clean and not overdone.
Instead of shaping each flare...
Instead of shaping each flare from scratch, spending many hours fighting the metal, Jeff has found these factory flares work great. They are from a '71 Mustang and the front reproduction fenders go for around $80 each. This year's flare is much more aggressive than on the '66, but not gaudy looking. Here, Mani at Jeff Lilly Restorations, looks over the fender for any imperfections.
The fender flare modification was inspired by the Trans-Am race cars of the late '60s and early '70s. Instead of starting from scratch and creating the flare from a flat piece of metal, Jeff has found that the '71 reproduction quarter-panels feature a flare that looks great on the early cars. Because it came from the factory, it isn't too large or goofy looking. Being able to use a factory panel also helps keep the flares consistent one wheel to another. These replacement quarter-panels go for around $80, and keep the cost low.
There are some specialty tools involved, but nothing out of reach to the home-based builder. This project can serve as guidance for many makes and models, not just an early Mustang.
What Is A Cleko?
There are a handful of absolutely necessary tools in the fabrication of body panels, and a set of Clekos and Cleko pliers are some of them. A Cleko is basically a temporary rivet that can be reused many times. It's purpose is to hold two panels together while adjustments are made.
Most Clekos use a 1/8-inch pilot hole to locate the two panels. The Cleko then is pushed through a hole drilled through the two panels to be temporarily fastened. The pliers depress the button on the top of the Cleko forcing the fingers at the opposite end to retract. You press the Cleko into the hole, and then release the pliers. The fingers force out and hold the two panels together. Removal uses the exact opposite procedure
Local hardware stores probably won't carry Clekos or Cleko pliers because they are a specialty metal fabrication tool. Matco Tools does carry a complete line of Clekos in 1/8-, 3/16-, and 1/4-inch diameters. It's good to keep a decent stash of Clekos because you never know how many you will need. If you want to stock up, 1/8-inch Clekos are the most common.
|HOW MUCH IT COSTS |
|Description: ||Part No.: ||Price: |
|Cleko Pliers ||F2AV11-192 ||$28.30 |
|1/8-inch Cleko ||F2AV11-194 ||$0.50 each |
|3/16-inch Cleko ||F2AV11-195 ||$0.50 each |
|1/4-inch Cleko ||F2AV11-193 ||$2.35 |