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31-Aug-01 Installing a Rolled Rear Pan Part 1

Getting Rolled



Sorry to keep you in suspense. It's been a hectic week with the start of school and all. I have to be honest; making the raised area for the quick-change rear end didn't excite me. I found the work to be monotonous and boring so I honestly can't tell you why I'm excited about this next project. It basically involves the same fiberglass work but with one major difference, when you look at the car - you'll see it. In fact, it will play a major part in the overall look of the car when it's finished.

I'm talking about the rolled rear pan. I just love the look of a bobbed rear end with a quick change peeking out from under it. In my studies of '33 and '34 highboys, I've seen it done many different ways. I'm planning to take my favorite aspects from the cars I've admired and incorporate them into this one.

It's time to let you in a little secret, but you have to promise not to tell anyone. My original plan for the rear pan was to tuck it in between the frame rails. This would mean that the frame rails would be visible at the rear of the car. Do you remember when I welded the rear frame horns in place? I didn't have the body back on the frame until after it was painted and out of summer storage. When I put the body on -low and behold, the right side frame horn has a small gap between it and the body at the very tip. While this is nothing that will adversely affect the car, it's visible enough to be noticed, so now I need to hide it. For those of you keeping track, you can chalk up another mistake.
ImageSo I guess it's time to make lemonade from our lemons. I assumed I'd have to create a panel from scratch but after reading an article in a recent street rod magazine, I found out that Gibbon Fiberglass manufactures a rolled rear pan (for their Viper coupe).
ImageIt looked like it would work so I had Yogi order one for me. He had Gibbon drop-shipped it directly to me to save time and expense.
ImageIt's going to need a lot of massaging to make it look right but it's saving me a tremendous amount of work since the piece has a compound curve.
ImageI don't think it was out of the box for five minutes before I cut it in half :)

My frame measures 44 inches from outside to outside at the back. The new rolled pan measures 43-3/4 inches from inside to inside so my first decision was whether to cut the sides off and reform them since they fit the body so poorly, or cut it down the middle and try to salvage the ends. I decided to cut it in half and save the ends for two reasons...
ImageThe first reason for cutting the pan down the center instead of the sides is because the existing ends were molded in at the time the panel was made so they'll be stronger and less likely to crack along the lower edge. The second is the fact that I'll be modifying the center of the panel anyway so I can contain most of my work to the center of the panel instead of the center and both sides.