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Just Some Dude in Jersey
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Discussion Starter #161
Okay, so here's the plan:

Charlie is going to do the bodywork and surface rust remediation. A guy near him will walnut blast the body. A Maaco near him will paint it inside and out, then I will no my Gordo magic to the interior and engine area. I never had any intention of doing my own bodywork and have no room or place to do it. I can't trash my tiny garage where I keep my GTX car with fiberglass/putty dust. Charlie has big enthusiasm to do the job and the resources and space to do it. He and associated people will be MUCH cheaper than any other option.

I have 2 mechanical issues to address before I can give him the car: The door struts and the door latching.

First, I need to get new struts, the ones on the car are totally shot. Also, the anchoring bolts for them on the roof are loose and inadequate. The gull wing mod on this car is the only thing that makes it special, so it behooves me to throw every bit of cool modern engineering at it. Linear actuators, pnuematic openers(like on Briklins), dampeners, etc. are all on the table. I'll contemplate that later.

Second, the door latching. This is what I'm going to focus my full attention on for now. Presently, there is a keyed push button at the bottom center of the door with the door latch mechanism just below it inside the door and a nasty post sticking up from the door sill for it to grab. I think this idea is crapp. It's 12" off the ground and there's no handle to lift or close the door. Why was it felt necessary to remove the original door handle and latch concept? Possibly 2 reasons. The door now arcs upwards, instead of sideways, and maybe it was felt that alignment of the door latch mechanism and "jaws" on the car body could not be adjusted to work. This seems unlikely, the angle change during the one inch of movement as the door disengages from the latch is not that severe that adjustment of the jaw angle couldn't have made it still work. They went to a massive amount of trouble to shave off the door handles and finger pocket and remove both the latch mechanism in the door and the jaws from the body. Why? The doors have been shortened and the push button is on the other side of the glass in relation to the oem interior door opening lever. A half-ass, sloppy, cable and lever system was devised to run from the interior door latch lever, to the back of the door and around the window track to the door latch, most of it rusted away or disconnected. I'll have to take measurements to verify if there was no reason to remove the oem latch assembly. Here's some pics:

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Just Some Dude in Jersey
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Discussion Starter #162
I just talked with Charlie as I was writing the above post and we might consider starting all over with new doors, hinges, and latching. I don't think the window frame reinforcement is adequate and the hinges are too weak and non-replacable. Considering all the issues, rust, the current state of the doors, and all the mods already done, it might be better to start all over again with new doors.
 

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Will aerodynamics come into play? Without the front hinges, maybe the door will be sucked open by the passing air so the bottom latch was to pull it in tight on both sides. It might not pull open but could cause wind noise.
 

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Detritus Maximus
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So originally the door had heavy hinges in front (top and bottom) and the latch midway up the backend of the door.
Think of those as anchor pints in an accident.

The gull wing hinges and bottom center latch probably don't provide the same amount of support.

If you reengineer it, what about creating front and rear latches similar to the oem?
 
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Opel Tinkerer and Rescuer
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AutoLoc sells parts already engineered for this sort of thing.. so no need to reinvent the wheel.

Automatic Vertical Gullwing Door Conversion Kit (2 Door) « autoloc.com





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The original solution was similar to the aftermarket kit seen here.

So I think cleaning up the welds, and welding in these hinges that were designed for the job ( and rated for 200lbs ) should do the trick.

As for latches
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Bear Claw kit for Lambo doors with this



For the interior and use the original door handles to trigger a relay to open them via a solenoid
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That should do the trick..
 
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I wish my metal shop was fully set up and functional. I’d just make all new doors from aluminum. Nice and light and would never rust.
 

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Opel Tinkerer and Rescuer
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I wish my metal shop was fully set up and functional. I’d just make all new doors from aluminum. Nice and light and would never rust.
:ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO: Dont give Gordo ideas..
 

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I think you could easily use the stock latch at the bottom of the door. It would work just like it does on the side. However using the stock type latches front and rear would give the most solid latching and most secure doors. Either way you go and especially with dual latches, electrically activating them will be by far the easiest. I used something very similar to the Corvette system, where I can use a couple of fingers, one to press the door release button and the other to pull the door open. You could do something similar to what I did. Or if you wanted a totally clean look, go with a remote or hidden button and use door poppers to open the doors.
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I wish my metal shop was fully set up and functional. I’d just make all new doors from aluminum. Nice and light and would never rust.
That's not entirely crazy...

- Take an old pair of doors.
- Add some hardboard shoulders as a form.
- Fill the door with concrete and chickenwire mesh.
- Use the old door as an anvil to shape your new panels.

I wouldn't expect the concrete to survive multiple doors, but, ought to make it through one.

Then just TIG together the inside to whatever you want it to be.
 

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That's not entirely crazy...

  • Take an old pair of doors.
  • Add some hardboard shoulders as a form.
  • Fill the door with concrete and chickenwire mesh.
  • Use the old door as an anvil to shape your new panels.

I wouldn't expect the concrete to survive multiple doors, but, ought to make it through one.

Then just TIG together the inside to whatever you want it to be.
There are simpler methods! A friend of mine, Wray Schelin, came up with a novel way to recreate complex sheet metal panels with nothing more than tape. It works well and is actually reversible to create left and right hand parts. I used to make non-existent body panels for old cars at a restoration shop. I have the skill-set, just not all the tools. But one of the first things I will be building when my shop is set up is my English wheel.

 
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Detritus Maximus
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Now that is cool! I always wanted to learn panel shaping, this may be the way.
 

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There are simpler methods! A friend of mine, Wray Schelin, came up with a novel way to recreate complex sheet metal panels with nothing more than tape. It works well and is actually reversible to create left and right hand parts. I used to make non-existent body panels for old cars at a restoration shop. I have the skill-set, just not all the tools. But one of the first things I will be building when my shop is set up is my English wheel.

Wow, neat.

There's 2 more parts in the series for those curious:



... and, I had no idea how easy that would be.

To be honest, when he was shrinking and stretching it with the hammer, I thought he'd ruined it. It looked like a toddler was bashing it around randomly. No finesse work, just two-handed gorilla bashing on it, huge visible ugly dents. I thought he was joking.

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And then in only a couple minutes on the English wheel to smooth it out and it looks like a door panel.

3 hours to make a fairly complicated panel? Even if it took me 3 days doing one my first time, I'd still think that was a bargain for time.

He does mention a "Polish" technique of making a hammer form to do this a lot faster, basically what I described earlier, but that it's not really worth it for a one-off.

Anyway, found that all very interesting and surprisingly beginner-friendly. Back to Gordo's thread :p
 

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Just Some Dude in Jersey
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Discussion Starter #173
What a freakin' disaster.
I began stripping my gullwing GT's doors of parts and scrubbing and wire brushing the loose stuff off. Holy Cow, what a disaster these doors are. They look like something someone named Bubba would make after downing his 13th breakfast beer and getting the notion of turning a regular GT into a gullwing!
The doors needed to be shortened, so instead of just chopping 6" off the bottom of the door and making a new bottom, they chopped 6" out of the middle of the door and spliced the upper and lower halves together by overlapping the metal. There's 1/4" of body putty over the whole skin of the door.
There's a push button at the bottom of the outside of the door and a door latch from a VW van or something protruding out the bottom of the door. In order for the door latch on the inside of the door to open the latch, which is mostly on the bottom outermost part of the door, they arranged all sorts of pulleys and plastic pivot levers and sliders for raw bicycle deraileur cables to go towards the rear of the door, behind the window tract, then forward to the door latch. There's no room under the window when it's down to route anything. The cables had corroded to dust and the plastic levers had dried out and snapped off.
The door lifter slider bars had to be shortened by 6". One is entirely missing! I'm going to have to cut and make a new one. There was a window crank in one window, with the wire not attached to anything, and the other one was missing entirely. There was nothing mechanical actually holding the windows up. Todd or someone had used household caulk applied to the rotted window rubber and glass to hold them up and closed. He actually did a very good job of that, I didn't realize it until I tried to remove the not-attached-to-anything window and it wouldn't budge. I cut it free with a razor knife.
But that's not the worst of it. This almost is: As I was rotating the door around to clean it and strip it, I heard rust particles sliding around inside the 12"x12" panel each door has above your head. This chamber was 1" deep and metal plates had been welded over the 1" square tubing used to make the structure of the door over your head that attaches to the hinges. Flat, straight, metal tubing with flat, straight sheet metal welded on top and bottom off it. This was to be the top of the gullwing doors on a car that has a domed roof like a VW beetle. Their whole game plan was to use flat, straight, metal parts to make the rooftop door extensions, on a curvy car, and then make up the difference between the flat and the curvy with gallons of body putty.
But that's STILL not the worst of it. This is the worst of it: The rust I heard rolling around in there needed to come out and I needed to know what the structure of the door was at the top. I whipped out the angle grinder and cut the bottom of the 12"x12" chamber off. Holy Bejeesus! 1 1/4 cups(!!!) of loose rusty material, grout, and a little of my cutting wheel dust poured out. All out of a small 12"x12"x1" area.
You couldn't have fukked up a gullwing door mod worse than these clowns at Zander Tuning did when they modded this car. You would literally have to try as hard as you could to do the worst job possible. Unbelievable! It would be less work to remove all the gullwing door mods from the car and make it a nice normal rust free California GT. The rest of the car is just about perfect, the original paint is still intact under the black paint and there ain't no rust anywhere except where they did the door mod. I gotta do a lot of thinking about all this.......

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If I were you , I would get Ken 2 parts car in Mass. You could use it for roof and doors , sell off left over body parts to recover cost and you could redo your car better. Something to think about.
 

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Here is something else that might be a idea for you, have a roll bar type frame made in shape of outline inset welded to door frame. .At hinge point on top it will be straight across. The pipe is hollow so you could put a spring thru like a garage door spring. under tension it will open door with ease. At bottom of door the pipe is hollow straight across allowing pins to latch into each end giving security. Sealing the door would be easy with the half curved shape as any flat rubber would work .
 

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and then make up the difference between the flat and the curvy with gallons of body putty.
And it worked!

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(What, you have a problem with tradespeople?)

. Holy Bejeesus! 1 1/4 cups(!!!) of loose rusty material, grout
Oh great, now you've gone and ruined the passive acoustic sensor system. That was carefully placed there so that you could more easily identify when the road was bumpy.

I gotta do a lot of thinking about all this.......
So, the doors are garbage.

What's left that makes this car unique, that isn't quicker to just do yourself to a virgin car than to rebodge back into a functional vehicle here?

1 - The roof cutaway.

2 - The rocker panels.

3 - The mods shortening the width of the door.

...

How closely have you looked at the rockers and the other bodywork? I would be surprised if the level of quality was, umm... inconsistent with your current findings. What kind of masonry work are you going to find where those were done?

All said, earlier you seemed focused on all the gull-wing mods and how much it would cost to do that yourself. However, redoing something completely is surely more expensive than starting clean.

Fattening up the rockers and covering up some doorframe is pretty much all you've got left, no?

Nothing's unfixable. It sucks finding more faults than you imagined, but I do wonder if eventually you reach a point where you say "I'm still pursuing this, but I regret starting." The merits of the good deal seem to be evaporating your value.
 

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Just Some Dude in Jersey
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Discussion Starter #177
View attachment 431056


Oh great, now you've gone and ruined the passive acoustic sensor system. That was carefully placed there so that you could more easily identify when the road was bumpy.



value.

Ha! Ha! Ha! Now that's some funny schitt there!


The discussion on Facebook about all this has been very lively and I can't hope to repost all of it here, but here's a synopsis of where my thinking is at this point. The gullwing GT's are very valuable cars and the ones made by Lumma are very well done. My car is not valuable because the mod was done very poorly. I could do various rig jobs to make it all work.....for a while...... or apply all my lifetime's acquired skills and fix this car up as good as reasonably possible.

The reinforcement of the roof and rockers seems to have been adequately done. The square tubing at the top of the door seems adequate. But all of the rest of the execution of this mod is crapp. The doors are butchered and covered with putty to hide the crappy work. The window frames haven't been reinforced enough and there is stress cracking where the window frames meet the box of the doors. I think that all the sheet metal should be removed from the square tubing. I think it would be better to start off with all new doors and redo the mod. I have my previous Red Baron car to use as a source of parts for that. Bars of metal need to be welded onto the window frames and those bars need to extend down into the box of the door.

As I'm typing this, it just occured to me that maybe the whole chassis stiffening and raising of the rocker panels/shortening of the doors is not necessary or could be reenvisioned and chassis stiffening could be accomplished in a way that doesn't involve chopping the crapp out of the doors and the consequent problem that the windows can't go down all the way and stick up 6" above the window sill. What if a 6" tall, thick, metal plate was welded to the inside of the body from the side of the footwell to the side of the area below the rear window, making it possible to use a completely unmolested door body? There are many way to reinforce a chassis for a convertible mod that don't involve raising the rockers and shortening the doors and all the consequent problems this causes.
 

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Detritus Maximus
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One thing to consider, adding 6" to the door increases the weight and stress on the thinner upper door around the window and also on the roof mounts, hinges and struts.
It doesn't sound like much, but you are pushing the heavy bottom of the door outward increasing the leverage when open.
 

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Ha! Ha! Ha! Now that's some funny schitt there!


The discussion on Facebook about all this has been very lively and I can't hope to repost all of it here, but here's a synopsis of where my thinking is at this point. The gullwing GT's are very valuable cars and the ones made by Lumma are very well done. My car is not valuable because the mod was done very poorly. I could do various rig jobs to make it all work.....for a while...... or apply all my lifetime's acquired skills and fix this car up as good as reasonably possible.

The reinforcement of the roof and rockers seems to have been adequately done. The square tubing at the top of the door seems adequate. But all of the rest of the execution of this mod is crapp. The doors are butchered and covered with putty to hide the crappy work. The window frames haven't been reinforced enough and there is stress cracking where the window frames meet the box of the doors. I think that all the sheet metal should be removed from the square tubing. I think it would be better to start off with all new doors and redo the mod. I have my previous Red Baron car to use as a source of parts for that. Bars of metal need to be welded onto the window frames and those bars need to extend down into the box of the door.

As I'm typing this, it just occured to me that maybe the whole chassis stiffening and raising of the rocker panels/shortening of the doors is not necessary or could be reenvisioned and chassis stiffening could be accomplished in a way that doesn't involve chopping the crapp out of the doors and the consequent problem that the windows can't go down all the way and stick up 6" above the window sill. What if a 6" tall, thick, metal plate was welded to the inside of the body from the side of the footwell to the side of the area below the rear window, making it possible to use a completely unmolested door body? There are many way to reinforce a chassis for a convertible mod that don't involve raising the rockers and shortening the doors and all the consequent problems this causes.
My guess would be that Todd was able to acquire this Gull wing GT because it not have been possible to keep it on European roads long. Also probably the reason it sat in his shop so long. All that aside you should try to look up Steve Daniels who built the Aero GT. He may have some helpful suggestions. I think he showed some photos of how he reinforced his GT on his build thread.
 

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Opeler
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I too always wondered why the doors were shortened? Seems like the normal chassis reinforcements you do for the convertible or targa tops would suffice. If it were me I would take a parts car we decent doors and top, fill in the top gap and splash a quick fiberglass mold with three layers of shopped glass. Glue some wood forms on the mold to hold the shape and pop it off. then make outer door skins out of fiberglass to keep them light. Still a lot of work but unless you have the metal working skills of Rally Bob, hand forming aluminum doors is impossible.
 
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