Replacing Floor Pans and Rocker Panels with originals.

Hi Doug,
I'm restoring a 61 Cadillac convertible. Floor pan.  Bracing and rockers are rotted out so I have a 62 Cadillac 2 door with a good floor etc., that I'm intending to cut out in one piece to replace the convertible floor pan etc. Assuming the floors are identical which I believe they are.
I was a body and fender man 40 years ago, so I hope I haven't forgotten too much. Of course dimensions and alignment are critical. Any advice would be very much appreciated.

My other hobby projects are a 74 Corvette, 68 Plymouth, 55 Imperial, 59 Imperial and another 62 Cadillac. All 2 doors.

Thanks very much.
Best Regards,

Kingston, WA

Hi Gary,

Taking it apart at the original factory seams is the way to go. They make some real good spot weld cutters/drills now, that we just didn't have 40 years ago. Also, we are using die grinders with cut off wheels, to cut welds. It used to be that we took everything apart with an air chisel, back in the late 60s and 70s. Those are used much less now as it was so easy to damage your project with the chisel. We also have a weld through primer now for the seams that consists of a high zinc content. This primer does a fantastic job of holding down the corrosion in your welded seams. It does make plug welding more difficult, but the benefit outweighs the negative.

Once you get your floor pan and rocker assemblies removed at the proper seams, clean them thoroughly and punch holes for your spot/plug welds, keeping in mind the easiest side to dress your welds when finished,  assuming that you will be using a mig welder to reassemble your car.

Prime up your seams and fit the panels in place. Make sure your car is sitting perfectly flat and that all your door openings are fitting perfectly and that your convertible top is fitting good, and your window seals are lining up as you go through the process of reassembly. Check your fits frequently, as you do the reassembly. Your starting points for fit is always your fixed body points. The easiest way to maintain that is by making sure your doors are fit to your rockers and "A" pillars before you take things apart. Even gaps at the bottoms of your doors to the original rockers usually gives a good starting point. Keep the doors attached if possible as this with give you the correct position to place your new rockers.

It is extremely difficult to correct problems with fit after a major reconstruction project that you are planning to do, is done improperly.

I have taken on projects like what I just mentioned and did what I could to correct those mistakes that someone else made. It is nearly impossible to end up with a real good finished product after such a thing has taken place though.

Finally, when it is all in place and cleaned real well, seal all the necessary seams with a good urethane seam sealer. That is another thing that we didn't have 40 years ago. Good seam sealer!

Going back to the beginning... If you take your project over to Scott at Benchmark Automotive, located in the business park by Albertsons. You can probably get things cleaned up with his new, wet glass blasting system, especially in the areas that you will be working. You should at least give him a call to discuss the possibilities. Clean metal is far better to work with when doing such a project.

Good luck with your project and don't hesitate to give me a call if you need. I'm over in Sequim now.


1936 Ford Custom Coach Towncar Sedan Delivery

This 1936 Ford Towncar Delivery has been created from parts that have been collected over the last 40 years. You will hopefully have the opportunity to view it in it's first mock up stage, as pictured here, at the Early Ford V8 meet in Lake Tahoe, the middle of June.

We still have much to do to refine it to the stage of completion, but I have all the confidence that those of you who are experienced in the field of restoration, or design of fine automobiles will be pleased with what you see.

The 36 is being built as it could have been, back in the era that the 1936 Ford was originally conceived.

To go back and see where this project started, click here 1936 Ford Towncar Delivery