Getting Started on the Nose

Yesterday I decided that I would get started on the front-end/nose of the body.  So far I have been concentrating a lot of my time on the rear of the car.  Since I’ve made a lot of progress on the back half, it was now time to see if we can get the front of the car into a matching state.

First on the list was opening up the front “horn” vents and cutting out the openings for the headlights.  I was able to take some close-up pictures of these vents while I was on the WB tour.

With those pictures in hand I got started masking off the area to give me some guide lines for the rotary tool.

Once everything was cut out I repeated the steps on the passenger side which was a little trickier just because it was so close to the garage wall.  You can see from the pictures below the vents have a different degree of appearing open based on the angle in which you view them.

Next was following similar steps on the headlight cut-outs.  These were actually a lot trickier to reach with the rotary tool just because of the angles involved.  So I cut out a large chunk of the opening with a cutting wheel on the grinder which allowed me to bring the rotary tool in from behind to trim off the rest.

Of course as soon as I had them cut out I thought I would see how my headlights fit in the opening.  Of course they came no where close to being the right size.  In fact they were about 4″ too long.  So I’ve sent out a request to some other builders who have their cars on the road to see which headlights they used.

The next project for the day was working on the front “winglets”, also known as the “bumperettes”.  Essentially the front pieces that go right under the headlights and vents.

Like everything else on the car the body needed some massaging (aka chopped up) for them to fit.  I used a bunch of reference photos as well to make sure I had them in the correct spots and then drilled a hole on one end to bolt it in-place while clamping the front.

This process let me adjust the opening and also figure out how I was going to mount the rest of the winglet.  I decided that I would build a flange around the bottom of the body opening so that I could drill down from the top and place a bolt securing the two together in the middle.  I also would build both a flange on the front of the winglet and where it met the body to secure another bolt.

That meant busting out some bristol board for some backing and laying down some fiberglass matt and resin.   The passenger side winglet also needed some more material built up on the top in order to create the center connection point.

Once these were trimmed it was time to start with the driver’s side and make the winglet into a baked potato 🙂

One great way to make sure that fiberglass resin doesn’t stick to a part is to wrap it in aluminium foil.  This will allow me to use the top edge of the winglet as the surface to build up the flange on the body and also create a dam on the outside of the body to get a tight fit where the body meets the winglet.

It was then time to lay down a few layers of fiberglass matt and resin to get a sturdy structure.  Once everything was cured I could pull away the winglet and peel off the foil.  I then used a grinding wheel to get rid of any foil that didn’t come off as well as smooth the edge where the body now meets the winglet.

I’ll have to repeat the same steps on the passenger side since I ran out of time for the day.  I’ll also build a steel skid plate that I can bolt onto the bottom of the winglet.  These areas see a lot of abuse while pulling into parking lots, driveways and other areas which have steep slopes.

I also had a visit from one of the folks who’s working on 3D prints of the side mechanics for the 89 car.

He also took one of my gun doors with him to see if we can get them made out of steel 🙂

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