Gutting my coupe... how far?


Jan 17, 2008
My coupe inevitably has more problems than it is worth, but it was a cheap car to buy and im learning as I go. I know I could've/should've bought a better car to begin with, but I like the experience!

I need some advice however.

I have to replace-

Trunk floor, floor pans, shock tower assembly (both sides including frame rails), firewall, cowl, etc.

How much can I take off at once? I do not want to destroy this car, but I want to know that it is in 100% condition when I am done. I am so picky that even if I had spent $10,000 on a solid body, I would strip it too and find some reason to put it in this car's condition (gutted).

I do not want the body to sag while I replace parts (and I'm approximately half way on buying those structural parts)

I will be sure to make a write-up of my car when i see a sizable amount of progress!
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I'm not a body expert at all, but I think you will want to get the 'body' assembly manual. It lists all the dimensions for all the critical area's.
Also, make sure you are on a FLAT,LEVEL surface, and all your jack points are even.
Some things to think about...
you are going to want to brace the unibody befre you start cutting. ive used the rear window regulator attaching points, along with the lower door hinge mount. get a piece of 1" tubing and a piece of 3/4" allthread with nuts.with one nut welded onto the tubing, it makes a dandy screw jack that can be used with a couple pieces of angle to move the unibody around after it is cut can also tack weld tubing to the sheetmetal, but once it is welded in you cant move things without cutting...
For the most part I'd say take off one piece at a time that way you'll have the old piece (even if it's going to come off later) to line things up with. I've saw magazine articles of bodymen changing both quarter panels and the tailight panel all at once and that's ok if you have the experience. When I did it I put on one quarter panel at a time and then changed the tailight panel last. That way I had something to line the pieces up with.

If the floor is very bad I'd go ahead and buy the complete floor panel. I've never done one but you'd have to brace the body up real good before cutting the old one out.

When you do the cowl I'd recommend drilling several holes around the outside all the way through all panels. I've never heard anybody say to do this but when you put the cap back on you can align the whole thing up with these holes. You can just drop a bolt or something through these holes while you weld it up. After you have it back on you can weld these holes up.
I am building this car to be bulletproof fun. It will not be driven every day, but often of course. Something to get out and eat corvettes for dinner in :eek: .

I have to replace-

Shock tower assemblies, both sides floor pans, cowl, firewall, a touch of metal in the trunk area as well.

Also, I've noticed on the quarters that there is surface rust on the inside. I would like to remove these and treat that as well. Any/every where I can prevent rust I would like to do so.

My ultimate goal is a 331 stroker possibly with a turbo kit, T-56 viper spec transmission, and a clean looking reliable 67!
It is best to get your car sandblasted to see the problem spot, and based on the extent decide whether to replace whole panel or not. I would not replace shock towers unless I absolutely had to. keep in mind that replacing a panel is usually more difficult than patching it with sheet metal

Cowl area is another problematic spot. The only way to replace it is to drill out about 200 spot welds. An option is to completely remove cowl area and install air intake for fan/heating somewhere from engine compartment, + instal some decorative (watersealed) mesh.