Both Doors to the ’76 Monte Carlo were, well they were bad! When we first started to look at them I really did not think there was any hope and told my mentor that I could not fix them. I said they were garbage and and we should start looking for replacements. We looked for a while but could not find any, all we could find were replacements skins at about $300.00 each! We did find some online but were 40 years old too and not in great shape either, plus the shipping was going to be ridiculous on two ’76 Monte Carlo doors. So I was told to see what I can do with the original doors. Soooooo challenge accepted.
The bottom of both doors looked like this, totally rotted out
Here is the side of the passenger door not only rusted but had accident damage too
For this article I am going to talk mostly about the Passenger door since it was by far the worse of the two. It’s the one with all the accident damage. I started with the side of the door which was rusted and crushed, I just cut it out and made a replacement piece. You can see that in the images above. I then went on to made a new bottom sill for the door. I used a bend brake to make it all in one piece then cut out all the rust and welded in the new sill. When done it was pretty much factory.
Now that the sides and bottom were rebuilt, I had to make a new skin. I was glad that I did not need to make the whole door skin, however at least three quarters of it need to be replaced, including the sharp body line through the middle. The center had some old accident damage that was only repaired with filler and had rusted through there and also at the bottom. I had done the drivers side door first so I was able to use it as a reference. I took a lot of measurements and started with a piece of sheet metal a little larger than I needed. I started with the center body line and had a student help me run the piece through the Planishing hammer until the bend went all the way through the center. We then moved over to the English wheel. so we could put a bit of a gentle curve in the bottom part. After that we did a lot of test fitting put in the flanges to hammer over bottom and side edges, and prepped for welding. I had to weld it in about a 1/4 of the way from the top. The hard part was welding it in without warping the door and having it cave in, but it was a success. Then it was a matter of finishing the bottom and side lips. This door was by far some of my best work to date!
Here was an early test fit after we did the Planishing hammer and English wheel work
Kind of hard to tell here, but I was able to weld this all the way across without any warping. Patience is the name of the game