We left the Purple Pig last month with the new EMS lower quarter-panels tack-welded in place, and continue now by installing the rear panel and rear trunk floor section.
I fabricated a lower rear panel some 10 years ago, and will admit to not making a great job of repairing the floor section, as I was rushing to get the car on the road and out of a borrowed workshop. While the outer panel didn’t really need replacing, it sure made installing the floor section easier, plus it meant I could get rid of the old outer panel with its full width seam weld and filled original light holes.
I also took the opportunity to finally install a cable-operated trunk lid latch, as up to now I’d used a bungee cord to keep it shut! While these are available in the aftermarket, over the years I’ve used several early VW Rabbit hood latches for both hoods and trunks. They’re compact, look reasonably nice, work great, and are, or were, readily available in junkyards. My local yard happened to have an early Jetta in stock, which has the same front sheetmetal as a Rabbit, and which gave up its latch mechanism to my project, for the grand sum of $8. Junkyard hot rodding is still possible, if you have an eye for adapting late-model parts. My rear lights are a similar example.
The late-model Fiat lights come as a huge assembly with three lenses. Trimming two of the lenses off, and mounting them vertically instead of horizontally, they match the curvature of the Chevy quarters and provide late-model reflectors and bright lights, unlike the small stockers. I’ve had these on the car ever since I first built it in England, and am always receiving queries about their origins. So now you know!
The eagle-eyed amongst you will notice that I have only tack-welded the latch bracket in place and haven’t welded the center of the new floor section. This is because I have further plans for this area that involve the bumper—not because I forgot. Stay tuned …