It has been a while since I posted on the car, it is now in the restoration shop after weeks of my disassembling, cataloguing parts and too many hours stripping very old paint... The attached picture shows the NOS DZ3 taillight panel installed on the car after the damage to the passenger side rear trunk pan was first completed. The new panel was required as the old one had been spliced (damaged part of existing tail light panel was removed and a new piece tacked in and bonded over... when the car had previous work completed many years ago.
Fortunately, when the car was on the frame/pulling machine, there was no damage to the unibody caused by the rear hit at the bumper mounting location. All measurements were confirmed as per the factory specs. The pan in this area was straightened out and the bracket then re-welded into the pan/frame area just in front of the tail light panel. The impact had pushed the bracket and trunk pan about 3" forward but caused no permanent damage. Additionally, the trunk pan area around the shock supports (both sides) were corrected by welding in new metal where the long term use of incorrectly installed air shocks had caused damage.
My goal with all of this work was to salvage the existing trunk pan and I was able to do so though the excellent work of my restoration shop here in West Lincoln, Ontario, Canada. If there are any members in the Ontario area frequenting this board; the shop is Randy Colyn Restorations, look him up; nice guy and he and his team take pride in their work. He has three Mustangs in the shop at the moment.
The replacement NOS D3Z taillight panel first required some work in order to be correct for a '71 installation. The attached picture shows a new welded in piece taken from my old panel at the area where the wire for the license plate light comes through the panel to the outside bumper area. Also, this area is indented on the '71 panel, but was flat on the new panel, so it had to be re-worked. It will look good once done.
The front battery apron was being replaced today with an NOS piece as well (due to previous battery acid damage...). Additionally, I had my shop fabricate a new battery support bracket (actually seen from the under passenger side fender area) to mimic exactly the original one that was on the car. As those in the know are already aware, these brackets are not being re-produced (that I am aware of) and I have seen many '71-3 cars where the battery apron is replaced, but the original exterior bracket is missing. Yes, the replacement battery aprons will more then likely hold the battery, but it is not original and as this battery is a Group 27 version, the extra support is welcomed.
I will post a picture of the new bracket install, the next time I am at the shop.
** I just added a picture of the underside of the passenger front fender. You can see the accumulated surface rust and also the factory applied undercoating in two areas where the plastic splash shield rub against the fender when installed. It looks as though someone on the assembly line used a paint brush and stroked the fender in these two area with undercoating.
I will be taking a number of parts for chemical dipping this week to remove mostly surface rust from a car that although spent most of its life in Arizona, all exposed non treated ( no rust proofing or paint of any kind) metal still built up some surface rust over the years due to normal oxidization, etc. This includes the doors, fenders, trunk lid, valances and all other steel parts that can benefit from this process. The hood will not be done, as there is no way of restoring the caulking between the top and bottom panels of the hood after the chemical stripping process will have removed the original material. We will do what we can on this the old fashioned way.
Its good to see the car making progress... I think I have accomplished a lot since September of this year when I first started the disassembly. Cheers