Of the many cool things that we can do to our hot rods, sheetmetal replacement is definitely not on the list, or at least it may reside at the very bottom. Other than the satisfaction of knowing that your car is solid, it doesn't really make your car go any faster or sound any cooler, and looking better is relative to what your car looked like before you welded in the new metal--oftentimes you've screwed up a decent paintjob just to install a front fender or quarter-panel patch. With most of these cars having reached 40-plus years of age, the vast majority of them will need some sheetmetal repair, unless you buy a car that has already had the work done or one that is possibly a survivor from the southwestern United States.
Our Colt of Personality '66 Mustang fastback project seemed to be a pretty solid car when purchased, and for the most part, it was compared to others that were considered at the time. As we've begun to peel back the layers of parts on our quest to improve the performance of our Pony, we've come across more and more previous repairs. While repairs aren't necessarily a bad thing, the quality, or lack thereof, with which they were executed has been less than desirable. As the owner of the Mustang plans to keep Colt of Personality for the foreseeable future, we decided it was best to forge ahead with professional repairs in these areas to provide the perfect foundation.
Luckily, we've found ourselves in the capable hands of Gillis Performance Restorations, and while the staff does have a knack for finding all of the uglies that you simply don't want to see in your car, they do a superb job at repairing these foibles. As you'll see in the accompanying photographs, an extensive amount of work went into the front end of the car before we started installing our new Total Cost Involved independent front suspension. In an upcoming issue, we'll cover some of the body mods made to the rear of the car, which were thankfully not as extensive.
If you live anywhere other than the Southwest and you're planning on restoring and/or modifying your ride, take a look at these images and their locations in particular for problem areas that you just might have to drop some money to repair prior to modifications. For that matter, it should at least help you make a more educated inspection of a possible future purchase.