Like death and taxes, rust is inevitable in a classic car. The inexorable march of oxidation will take its toll somewhere, and you’re going to have to deal with it. If you’ve got paint bubbling up with rust under it, don’t just slather on some body filler and slap on a quickie coat of paint. That move is for scumbag car dealers. If you are tempted to go that route for the sake of expedience, you aren’t fixing anything, you’re just hiding the real problem.

The real solution is to cut out the cancer and replace the damaged area with real metal. If you love your ride and plan on keeping it, the investment in time, tools, and materials will be well worth the effort to do it right. Our ’68 Nova project car has dealt us several surprises during its time at Outlaw Motorsports in Riverside, California, where our step-by-step restoration is proceeding nicely. Over the past few months, we’ve encountered damage in nearly every part of the body, and we’ve been documenting a variety of those repair procedures along the way. We’ve had to replace some of the sheetmetal, but other areas are salvageable. In the case of the rust in the lower portion of the left quarter-panel, Outlaw operator Ron Aschtgen suggested we save the panel rather than replace it, since it’s easier to save what’s there than replace the entire quarter-panel. (Unfortunately, the right side panel needs replacement and we’ll have the entire story for you next month.)

…don’t just slather on some body filler and slap on a quickie coat of paint. That move is for scumbag car dealers.

We discovered that repairing rust properly with a patch panel is pretty doggone easy, provided you’ve got the right tools on hand. In the case of this quarter-panel patch, we were surprised that the repair only took about three hours, not including stripping and painting. Obviously, a job like this is best done in coordination with a full paintjob or a restoration—which Outlaw Motorsports specializes in. If you don’t have a shop like Outlaw near you, don’t sweat it. This repair is about a “4” on a scale of 1 to 10, so don’t be afraid to dig right in.

…we were surprised that the repair only took about three hours, not including stripping and painting.

Stuff You’ll Need

MIG welder

Hammer and dolly set

Rust converter

Cutoff wheel

High-speed angle grinder

Tape measure

T square/straightedge

Neodymium magnets

22- to 24-gauge mild steel

SOURCE
Eastwood
800-343-9352
www.eastwood.com
Outlaw Motorsports
800-924-1913
www.outlawMS.com
Miller Electric
1635 W. Spencer Street
Appleton
WI  54912
920-734-9821
www.millerwelds.com