This is the finished fender flare. It's hard to tell that anything has been done at all. L
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 with. It's a stock fendered '66 Mustang Fastback. The origi
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 from scratch, spending many hours fighting the metal, Jeff h
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 |
Here is the '71 flare after it has been cut from the fender. Mani marked the fender 1/4 in
The '66 Mustang wheel openings are significantly smaller than those of the '71, so they wo
Mani fits them on the car until the look is just right. The overhang gives the car a slamm
Once the general position is established, Mani uses clekos to hold the panels in their fin
Since they cut the original drop off on the '71 flare, the edge needs to be finished. Mani
Mani bends a piece of wire to match the template that will be attached to the wheel openin
Here Mani uses simple spring clamps to hold the wire to the fender. These can be purchased
Mani tack welds the wire onto the flare every couple inches. This helps keep the shape whi
Now is a great time to make a template of the wheel opening so it can be duplicated for th
Between the tack welds, Mani cuts along the edge of the new flare through the original fen
Here you can see how the overlap fit has been turned into a butt joint.
Now is the time for any last minute adjustments before the flare is welded on completely.
They like to use a MIG welder to do the final weld because it keeps the heataffected zone
Metal finishing starts with a grinding disc, then ends with a 36-grit sanding pad seen her