1971 240Z Restoration - next stop: Body & Rust Repair!

 1971 Datsun 240Z Restoration Body Work

Great news! A "rust-free" Z car! 

This 1971 240Z has no rust in the battery box, K-box area, doglegs, rear deck support area, fender walls, fenders, etc... The only rust we found were 2 small areas in the floor pans and a larger area at the drivers side firewall to floor pan seam. Due to the minimum rust issues, we were able to patch the floor areas with sheet metal and skip the full floor pan / frame rail kit! 

As many of you know, it is not uncommon for Z's to have major rust issues in or around the wheel wells, Battery box, K-box, rockers, doors, hatch and, well, virtually anywhere you can imagine! Correcting these rust issues on a uni-body can be very time consuming to perform. Because of this, many find that the easiest way around this is through "band-aid" repairs. But remember, this is only a short term solution to a long term problem, and will most likely lead to labor intensive and costly repairs in the long run. So, when replacing rusted metal, it's important to maintain or improve the structural integrity of the original design, and install it so it looks like the damage never occurred. Not a small task, but definitely worth it in the end!
Examples of typical rust found on Z Cars

While the rust on this 1971 240Z has been extremely minor, the body has been a bit more of a challenge... 

When we received the car, there was collision damage on the passenger side that was significant enough to bend the rear frame rails, and bring the car out of spec. It had been poorly repaired long ago and repainted up both quarter panels to the edge of both doors. At some point, the doors, fenders and hood had also been repainted to match the rear end repair, but the paint job was so shoddy, we were able to strip most of it with only any air hose. The paint was coming off of the car in chips the size of a baseball!

Once the doors, fenders and hood were stripped, we found many dented areas that had been fillled with sub-par bondo work. There was no attempt to remove the dent first, just bondo filled over it. We performed dent removal and straightening, along with additional fillers to bring the panels back to their correct specs.

Another area of concern were the body seams at the top of the hatch and quarter panel. Both of these factory leaded and filled seams had undergone an enormous amount of stress due to the collision. We ground down both seams to metal, welded and re-leaded them, and filled to a clean finish.

Examples of fender body work
So those are the main points of the body work for this 1971 Datsun 240Z. Tune in next time where we talk about the condition of the Suspension, and what components we replaced!