I have mentioned in the past that bodywork is not terribly exciting because you can work at it for hours and hours, and end up not very far from where you started. That is the hell I’m stuck in now. I am addressing a bunch of issues with the rear clamshell, many of which are a product of the way it was manufactured. Namely, that it is a bunch of different pieces that have been bonded together. It is also pretty flimsy. The work I am doing now is addressing both of those issues.
Some specific examples – here, the segment just over the roll hoop that covers the back of the roof has been bonded to the rest of the piece. That is no big deal, but it is an overlap bond, so there is a step there.
There is a glob of light gray bonding material where the step is. It drops around 0.1 inches. At the other end of this piece, the slope where the rear window mounts has an abrupt curve at the end (this is the other side).
That curve down at the end is a problem because the plexiglass is not going to bend like that. So this end has to be raised and straightened. In addition, notice the “channel” that runs under the scoop and is glopped with more bonding agent. This all needs to be filled and smoothed.
Another problem is the rear window opening. It has square corners, which is not what a real 037 would have. It also presents a problem with the window trim I will use – a squareish corner would require cutting it at an angle and having multiple pieces.
So the lower corners nearest the rear of the car were the areas that required the most amount of work. In order to keep the rear window following the same line all the way down the car, I had to cut the window opening larger, longitudinally. This was not a big deal since a real 037 also appears to have a rear deck about the size that was left after the cutting was done. The clamshell had 2 layers of fiberglass, separated by corrugated cardboard, of all things, in this area. So I removed only the top layer of fiberglass, and corrected the curve on the window frame. That came out looking like this.
You can see that the channel under the scoop has also been filled. This was repeated for the other side.
Next would be the ability to mount the plexiglass. What I chose to do here was weld 2 pieces of aluminum flat bar together, with the longer piece on bottom. They were different widths, and offset from each other. This was then bonded to the underside of the edge of the window opening. This shot gives you some idea of what I am talking about – this shot is from the underside of the clamshell, which is standing up on its tail end. It has already been bonded in place. The “bottom” piece of aluminum (closest to the camera) provides a ledge on the other side for the plexiglass to lie on. The aluminum will also have holes drilled/tapped in it to fasten the plexiglass to the clamshell.
The aluminum was then encased in more fiberglass, for stiffness.
Here is the view from the top. Ignore the messy body filler on the aluminum.
A piece of aluminum angle was used at the top end to provide the same ledge, visible in the lower right of that shot. It was also bonded to the clamshell.
With that work done, I could determine the final shape of the plexiglass. I used some 1/8″ hardboard and whittled away at it until it fit in the channels. Here is an early test, before I made the radius of the corners more gentle.
The hardboard will later be used as a template for cutting the plexiglass.
I think the major bodywork is close to done on the clamshell. I need to cut the vents out of the rear bumper, address some other minor issues, then sand and smooth the entire piece and prep it for a guide coat so I can see where it still needs work. As I said, this is a slow process, so it may be awhile before another post, but that doesn’t mean I’m not working on the project. Stay tuned!