In the world of lowriding, the best way to stand out amongst the crowd is by having body modifications performed. From removing emblems, to shaving off parts, doing any of the aforementioned is sure to leave you with a clutter-free look that refines and enhances the body lines. So in this issue, we’ll be getting down on our Project Boat Tail Riviera and showing you the proper way to patch, weld, and shave parts we deemed unnecessary.
To begin “Operation Clean Shave” we turned to artisans David and Greg, of Engle Brothers Fabrication. Looking to perform some of their metal artistry, they did a once-over on our Riviera candidate, and collectively we decided to shave the emblems, corner/marker lights, door lock keyholes, as well as the rear gills/louvers on the decklid.
Each of these areas have their own set of characteristics when it comes to tackling the metal patching process, but the premise is the same. For the bigger holes you must cut out some sheetmetal to patch them and, if necessary, shape the pieces to match the contour of the body as closely as possible. Taking pains to shape your patch panels not only gets them to fit better but it will minimize the amount of welding necessary, thus minimizing the risk of warping the body panel around it.
There are many different approaches to shaving unwanted holes. Some opt to cut sheetmetal patches to fit the hole to be covered, while others make them oversized and in turn enlarge the existing holes to fit the patch. Now if you’re wondering which method is better, the answer is both. They both have their time and place during the procedure, it’s just up to your discretion to decide which method works better per situation.
Follow along with these basic metal fabrication steps in shaving clean an entire classic body of a 1971 Buick Riviera.
1. To begin, you want to start off by removing the body parts (ie: door handle, light, emblems, and so on) you want to shave or clean up.
2. Once the part is removed, a template must be made so you can cut the piece of metal patchwork that will replace or cover the part being removed.
3. Cut out your metal patchwork. With the piece cut, check to make sure the contours match as closely as possible, the specific part of the body panel it will replace or fit into.
4. With the piece done, test for fitment and then make sure that the body panels are taken down to bare metal and that it’s free of any contaminants. By doing so, it offers better contact area for your welds.
5. Drop your metal piece or patchwork in its area and tack weld it into place. For the patchwork, we opted to use our Miller Electric Manufacturing Company Multimatic 200 with the MIG welding setup.
6. Once in place, use a hammer and dolly to flush out any imperfections and then start tacking the piece in little by little. Make sure to take breaks if you notice the panel getting too hot to the touch—this will prevent warping of the panels, thus minimizing the amount of body filler needed to get your car straight as an arrow.
7. When the metal piece is completely tacked into place, an angle grinder with a sanding disc is used to flatten the welds off for a smooth finish.