1966 Ford Mustang - Project '66 - Real-World Solutions: Quarter-Panel Repairs
Patch panel, skin, or full quarter-options abound for repairing your rusty flanks
Though our '66 Mustang hardtop project has been painted for almost two months in real life, in "magazine life," we're still working on the bodywork. Previously, we've featured articles on floorpans (with the addition of torque boxes), rear framerails (with trunk floors), radiator core support, and fender apron replacement. This month we'll head toward third base with our sheetmetal repairs by replacing the rear quarter-panels and outer wheelhouses. After this, the only repairs left for our '66 are replacing the taillight panel and repairing the rusty cowl vents, which will be featured in upcoming articles. Then we will follow through with preparing the car for painting and showing you how you can paint your own car.
Before we replaced the quarter-panels, we discussed our options with Merv and Pat Rego of Classic Creations of Central Florida. Classic Creations has been ably handling our '66 up 'til now. Since our quarters were poorly patched when we bought the car, our only option was a full replacement. We're not saying that using patches is bad-they can be quite cost-effective for small rust problems-but the poor installation by the previous owner and the overall condition of the remaining quarter dictated that we replace the complete quarter surface.
So with the idea of patches out of the way, we were left with only two choices: a quarter-skin or a full quarter-panel. The differences between the two are not major. The skin is literally the outer skin of the quarter (there is no taillight panel end or trunk lip). The full quarter is identical to the original quarter installed by Ford, including a trunk lip, a front weld lip, and the lead-seam channel at the roof. After some thought, we called KS Reproductions for one of each. We decided to install a skin on one side and a full quarter on the other side, so that you could see the installation differences and the good and bad points on both types of quarter repairs.
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Decisions, Decisions, Decisions...
When deciding upon the type of quarter-panel you need or would like to use for your Mustang's sheetmetal repairs, you must take into account several things. First and, to some, foremost is price. The quarter skin can be purchased for around $59-$69, whereas the full quarter is in the pricier neighborhood of around $150-$200. This means you could purchase two skins for less than the cost of just one full quarter. But sometimes a full quarter is needed. If the rearmost part of the quarter (where the quarter extension bolts to) is damaged and beyond basic body repairs, the only way to obtain this section is via a full quarter-panel, thus a quarter skin would be useless to you. In this sidebar, we have a few more photographs detailing the pros and cons of your choices. Take a look at these photos, then your Mustang, then your checkbook, and then order the appropriate parts.