72 Corvette - Restoration Updates

TimP

CCCUK Member
Here is the remediated drivers side with new metal let in.
Birdcage brace 27.JPG
and with the new corner section attached... (again will need some fettling)
Birdcage brace 28.JPG

That just leaves the middle to sort out.
Birdcage brace 29.JPG
 

TimP

CCCUK Member
It took a little while to figure how to get the new top frame attached to the rest of the car. The fact that the old top frame was really corroded and full of holes did not help but I finally came up with the plan which requires a rather brutal cut to the T-Top centre frame. After carefully measuring and marking up the required cut points half a dozen times I finally took aim with a Dremel and cut off part of the top section. A triangle was cut so that the repair weld will be a little stronger. It's a llittle rusty inside but not bad considering and has in fact cleaned up pretty well.
Birdcage brace 31.JPG Birdcage brace 32.JPG
I fitted the old top frame to check fit ....
Birdcage brace 30.JPG
... and then fitted the new top frame for the first time. Not perfect but not far off - a little fettling should see this fit quite nicely. The centre section is about an eight of an inch too high - I seem to remember it sat up a little when I popped it off the old top frame, so maybe my jig/brace was perhaps a little too snug (or perhaps the hot weather has lengthened those long brace sections?). It can easily be clamped to join properly but I would rather it sat right without being forced.

Birdcage brace 33.JPG
This week I will continue to refurbish the T-Top join area and replace the spot weld tabs that hold the centre section to the top frame as they are pretty mangled. I also need to get everything sitting square and then fettle the corner pieces so that they can be plug welded in the appropriate places.
 

TimP

CCCUK Member
As previously mentioned I had cut out the end of the upper T-Top centre section in order to removed the windscreen upper frame. There was quite a bit of corrosion on it and the tabs where this piece is welded to the upper frame had all but disappeared....

Birdcage brace 34.JPG

Two new metals inserts were welded onto the ends of the 'kinked ' section (on the left of the photo above) and the three rivet holes were welded up as they need to be moved forward for the new upper frame. Two new tabs were attached replacing the two stubs (top and bottom). Here's a photo of the test fit where you can see the new tabs without and then with the new rivet holes drilled.
Birdcage brace 38.JPGBirdcage brace 40.JPG

The two corner pieces needed quite a bit of persuasion to get somewhere close to fitting and there were large gaps between the corner piece and the upper frame on both sides as the curve radii were a little different. An incision was made with a Dremel in each corner and then the separated sections were bent to fit. A small piece of sheet metal was added in the gap and then welded up. A die grinder (another recent purchase which I couldn't have done without) was used to clean up the weld afterwards.
Birdcage brace 35.JPG Birdcage brace 37.JPG
The gap was bigger on this side. Strangely the passenger side side tab was way too small and did not extend the full width of the side frame, which is necessary to give room for a reasonable size plug weld. This was extended to give the full width.

Birdcage brace 36.JPG Birdcage brace 39.JPG

Everything seems to fit pretty well now - the 'steel windshield' jig I made earlier fits really nicely and all four tabs sit flush with frame so I think the fit is pretty close.
Birdcage brace 41.JPG

Next steps are to check the new measurements with the old ones and then identify the places that need to be drilled for the plug welds. Then through weld primer, tack weld, check the fit with a real windscreen (and the T-Tops) and then hopefully complete the welds. More painting and then move onto the challenges of the lower frame. Onwards and upwards.....

A handy hint for anybody thinking about doing this job - you can't have too many clamps!
 

johng

CCCUK Member
Top end is looking good Tim, but the bottom looks nasty. Has the outer corner panel just disintegrated or have you already cut it out? How are you planning to replace it?
 

Mad4slalom

CCCUK Member
I dont know what your background is Tim , but you are taking some major structural stuff in your stride , and you crack on at a good pace. Great job , this will be a very special car when finished. 👍
 

TimP

CCCUK Member
Top end is looking good Tim, but the bottom looks nasty. Has the outer corner panel just disintegrated or have you already cut it out? How are you planning to replace it?
Thanks! Very nasty to be honest - I have deliberately not touched the lower end of the windscreen side frames as they are quite rusty particularly on the passenger side where it is badly perforated and probably doesn't have much residual strength - hence the time taken to make a brace to keep things steady whilst the upper frame is being replaced.

Good Question! Although I know what needs to be done I have deliberately left the 'how am I planning to replace it?' thought until the last possible moment .... obviously one option to get this done properly (particularly by someone inexperienced like me) is to take the front glassfibre moulding off so that I can get to all the parts that need to be replaced/refurbished. However, once the upper frame is done (not too long now) I will work out a plan for the rest of the windscreen frame and hinge posts (which mainly are in good shape).
 

TimP

CCCUK Member
How’s the bit at the bottom that’s covered in fibreglass?
Another good question! The hinge or A post is in reasonably good shape but the birdcage rocker (I think that's the right term) than runs under the hinge post to the hoop at the back of the car is in pretty poor shape (it's a theme with this car :rolleyes:). I have taken the hinge post covers off to have a look and have looked underneath and a lot of the lower edge of the rocker has gone awol - one of the reasons I decided to do this repair before lifting the body. The realisation that the seat belt guide mounting brackets had completely rotten away on both sides gives a pretty good clue as to the condition down there. I will remove the rocker covers at some point - probably after the lower windscreen frame is repaired and see what needs to be done.
 

TimP

CCCUK Member
I dont know what your background is Tim , but you are taking some major structural stuff in your stride , and you crack on at a good pace. Great job , this will be a very special car when finished. 👍
Not sure about in my stride but slowly, one bit a time, I seem to be making progress. Background: Mechanical Engineering at Brighton Poly (any Polymoba out there?) back in the eighties and then a career in IT and project management in airlines and healthcare. Most of which is not particularly relevant for Corvette rebuilding however, as in most jobs, a lot of my time was spent problem solving which comes in handy (big time) on a restoration like this :)
 

Mad4slalom

CCCUK Member
Not sure about in my stride but slowly, one bit a time, I seem to be making progress. Background: Mechanical Engineering at Brighton Poly (any Polymoba out there?) back in the eighties and then a career in IT and project management in airlines and healthcare. Most of which is not particularly relevant for Corvette rebuilding however, as in most jobs, a lot of my time was spent problem solving which comes in handy (big time) on a restoration like this :)
Very impressive Tim👍
 
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