Donor car decision..

Detroit_Lives

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I have a 65 Polara 2 door that is complete, it was running and driveable when I parked it in my garage...years ago. Its a Michigan car and there's some rust at the rear wheel openings and rust to the rear of the wheel opening, some of the trunk side drop panel. The floors are still there and look solid underneath without pulling the carpet up yet. The dash is good, the headliner s good, rest of the interior is fair to good. bench seats. So I cut the rusted areas from the drivers side, havn't got to the pass side rust. So that was when I stopped and it sat there while I finally started to look for real quarter panels cut from a donor car. I found a 65 2 door in Arizona no drivetrain, good metal, some collision damage. So the plan has always been to cut the rear quarters, not the entire quarter but patch panels around the wheel openings and back, planning that I will be doing some inner wheel house work with it although they look pretty solid on ol blue, I imagine they've got some rust up in there. I had the donor hauled up here and now its been sitting in my driveway for 2 yrs. I was getting ready to measure, mark and cut the donor, I plan to drill the spot welds around the wheel opening first. I got under the donor and got my first good look at the underside of the donor and now I'm having secod thoughts. Maybe I should restore the donor car instead??? use ol blue as a donor? the metal is in better condition in terms of rust. There's collision damage at the passenger tailight that has crumpled the metal around the tailight bent the bumper also caused some wrinkle in the quarter. Passenger door is dented in. I need ideas, how to decide what car to build and what car to use for parts. its probably obvious to an experience restorer but I'm not and I'm not sure what to do. I dont want any regrets later shouda woulda coulda. I found an interior on ebay, factory buckets with rear seats and console, misc parts new in box that came with the donor car, brake parts, new carpet. I bought new brake lines and fuel lines from Inline tube, new in box.
Basically I don't have a huge budget for restoration. I do have tools tho. I enjoy working on it but I don't have tons of free time.. ugh. Here's pic of the AZ. donor car. What should I consider to make this decision? Thanks for your comments.









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cbarge

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Dents are easier to fix compared to rust. Some of that damage can be pulled out.
Get the rear frame rails checked out on the Arizona car for damage. If not bent out of shape fix her up.
As for old blue,whatever rust you do see add 50% to what you dont see once you open her up.
Need pics of old blue for a fair comparison
 

Detroit_Lives

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thnx for the reply, I didn't have much confidence that I'm going to be able to un-crumple the taillight area. I've done a little rust patch hobby level bodywork but not so much collision damage. I was thinking even if I ultimately stick to my original plan and cut it up, first I'd try to unfold it best I can then slide hammer here and there, hammer / dolly, at least I can get a dolly behind most of it. Am I correct in thinking its easier and better idea to straighten that out before cutting it out as a patch to be welded into ol blu. does it really matter?
I'm going to get some pics of both cars to compare, I'm going to make a list of criteria and do a comparison then that will give me something to look at so I can come up with a scope of work for different scenarios. I hear you about hidden rust, good point, def have to keep that in mind.
Frame rails: Nothing bent that I can see... how to check? take measurements with a tape measure everywhere, across rails and criss cross mayby? I'm just guesing.
 

cbarge

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thnx for the reply, I didn't have much confidence that I'm going to be able to un-crumple the taillight area. I've done a little rust patch hobby level bodywork but not so much collision damage. I was thinking even if I ultimately stick to my original plan and cut it up, first I'd try to unfold it best I can then slide hammer here and there, hammer / dolly, at least I can get a dolly behind most of it. Am I correct in thinking its easier and better idea to straighten that out before cutting it out as a patch to be welded into ol blu. does it really matter?
I'm going to get some pics of both cars to compare, I'm going to make a list of criteria and do a comparison then that will give me something to look at so I can come up with a scope of work for different scenarios. I hear you about hidden rust, good point, def have to keep that in mind.
Frame rails: Nothing bent that I can see... how to check? take measurements with a tape measure everywhere, across rails and criss cross mayby? I'm just guesing.
Do as much as you can on the crumple while still on the car. The results may still further the influence on the swap.
Measure the wheelbase on both sides. That will give any indication the car is bent.
From there you can measure distance from the tail panel to the axle? Maybe? To see if anything else was drove forward.
 

Gerald Morris

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Those rear frame rails can be a SNEAKY, subtle, dangerous failure point. I originally planned to repair old Mathilda after the front end collision with that Infinity last summer, but, while removing the rear springs from Tilly this past May, I saw how BADLY rust had destroyed the rear frame rails, including the support for the spring shackles. There had been sheet metal over this when I got that car, and NOW I saw why! The rear of that car is worse off than the front. I already figured out that despite the good looks, that was all from plastic body filler and sheet metal. I'm going to cannibalize all the good stuff, and let the rest go to the yard up the avenue from us. The glass is good anyway. I already got the drive train loose.
 

Big_John

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If it were me, I'd use the donor car and swap the parts to it. It would be much less work and a better finished product.

I'd see if a body shop could pull the crumpled quarter out, even if they don't finish it. That would be money well spent, even if it can't be saved. Most likely, you could cut that part of the quarter from your existing car and patch it to the rest of the rust free quarter.
 

3175375

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If it were me, I'd use the donor car and swap the parts to it. It would be much less work and a better finished product.

I'd see if a body shop could pull the crumpled quarter out, even if they don't finish it. That would be money well spent, even if it can't be saved. Most likely, you could cut that part of the quarter from your existing car and patch it to the rest of the rust free quarter.
I believe that using the donor car would provide the least amount of unknowns. That being said, either approach will require a LOT of tedious work. You may want to make a pro/con, task list for each method that you are considering. Unknowns will arise, but scoping out the knowns and listing the costs and risks associated with each way will help you understand the efforts. Don’t let your heart/emotions get included in the list - just the facts.
 

Detroit_Lives

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thanks for your input, I de-crumpled some of it..
took some measurements with a tape measure and seeing +/- .25inch difference max. comparing to the other side trunk opening etc. looking everything closer, now focusing on the trunk lid gap.. any tricks / tools to adjust the trunk lid with the torsion bar in place.?

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cuda hunter

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Have not seen ole blue, but it appears through your words that goldie is in way better shape. That little bit around the light is very fixable. Probably going to throw my vote to building the Arizona car. Nothing helps keep a car under budget like having no rust to deal with.
 

cbarge

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That damage can be repaired or cut that section out of old blue.
So we really need to see old blue to give an unbiased opinion...
 

Detroit_Lives

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in that last pic above; looking at the side panel, I think I want to hammer, from the outside, the high wrinkle that comes down to the "rib" the rib that runs the entire length of the side of the car. And where that turns into the half moon shaped (high) wrinkle; while holding a dolly offset from the hammer spots, maybe heat the high spots before hammering? propane? map gas? any advice appriciated. The area I'm talking about looks more pushed out then dented in.
 

Detroit_Lives

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I only called her ol blu on this forum, I've always refered to her as "the dodge" but I had to call it something... Here'e some pics of the dodge in the garage: the drivers side story; long time ago I bought a quarter panel that was "formed" in Canada. I cut out the rust around the wheel opening and decided to keep cutting um because I thought it would be easier to weld a patch like that and the rust went up to the rib in a small spot. It was obvious that the replacement quarter didn't match up very good and overall its just cheesy. I went as far as you see with the patch held in place. Then I stalled , couldn't go any further with it, imagine what a mess I'd make if I tried. Thus I found a donor car.

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Detroit_Lives

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Donor car has alot of factory(?) undercoating. Thick and solid, whats the best method to remove it? I need to preserve both these cars ugh need more hours in a day
 

3175375

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Donor car has alot of factory(?) undercoating. Thick and solid, whats the best method to remove it? I need to preserve both these cars ugh need more hours in a day
I spent hours removing undercoating from the front end of my 65 Mustang with a couple of gallons of Simple Green and a plastic putty knife.
I ended up getting all the way down to the factory paint and the yellow and white grease pencil marks that the quality inspector made back in the factory in late 65.
 

Big_John

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Donor car has alot of factory(?) undercoating. Thick and solid, whats the best method to remove it? I need to preserve both these cars ugh need more hours in a day
Why take off the undercoating? It makes the car quieter, adds some protection to the underside etc.

You are just adding work that's not needed.
 
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