In this month’s tech, we tackle the chore of sheet metal repair on a Relic 1947 Chevrolet Fleetline Aero Sedan. This is an essential step when it comes to paint preparation, as you’ll want to make sure that the lines on your classic car are preserved forever. We called on Chev’s of the 40’s for help, as they are certainly the authority when it comes to restoring these makes of “Bomb” type Chevrolets.
According to the research listed on their comprehensive website, 1947 saw an increase in the production of Chevrolets of over 40 percent from the year previous. The Fleetline Aero Sedan specifically became Chevy’s leader over the Stylemaster Sport Sedan in 1946, with 407 produced, versus just 159, respectively. Minor modifications were made on the 1947 Chevrolet models, including grille and beltline moldings. With era and year correct parts essential to restoring these cars correctly, Chev’s of the 40’s is the best place to begin your build as they have most replacement parts that you might need, from the interior to the sheet metal.
Most sheet metal work should be done by more experienced people, such as Jimenez Brothers Customs, the company we called upon to handle all of the sheet metal work on the car. If you try to do it yourself, you’re going to need a welder, a spot welder remover, and you’ll need to make sure to take precautions in bracing your car, as these professionals did. Now follow along, as we repair the sheet metal and get this old classic ready for paint!
1. This 1947 was ready to be treated with some new sheet metal from Chev’s of the 40’s.
2. You can see that the floors need to be cleaned out to see the extent of the damage caused over the years.
3. The rocker moldings that trapped water throughout the years were the first things that needed to be replaced.
4. They checked the measurements to see how much would need to be trimmed on the car.
5. The same was done on the driver’s side, allowing us to see how much material was going to be trimmed.
6. Before anything was cut out, the doorjamb was reinforced to make sure that the body didn’t flex.
7. With the body reinforced, a plasma cutter was used as the rocker moldings were cut out.
8. The factory brace was still good, but had we needed to replace it, Chev’s of the 40’s had us covered.
9. The new replacement rocker/door jamb needed to be marked before installing it.
10. The brace was held tightly to allow us to tack weld it into place.
11. To make sure that there were no open sections, the ends of the rocker were capped.
12. After welding and grinding, the ends looked like they were brand new from the factory.
13. The corners were built back up with a piece of metal, which was bent to give us the shape we needed.
14. The rockers were swapped out and ready to have bodywork done to them.
15. Using a hammer, center punch, and a spot weld remover, we began to remove the rusted floorboards.
16. Chev’s of the 40’s has all the sheet metal we needed for the car, no problrm.
17. The floors were marked using the sheet metal replacement panels as a template.
18. After using a center punch, the spot weld remover was used on all of the spot welds.
19. Once the spot welds were free, it allowed us to cut the floorboards.
20. The old floorboards came apart like a can opener to a tin can.
21. Here is a comparison of the old and new parts before the replacement.
22. The old braces were prepared for welds.
23. The floors were ready to be tacked and welded back in place.
24. All of the sheet metal work was done and the car was ready for bodywork.