Rip Van Winkle Lincoln

Body Work Begins

Page 2

Restoration of 1949 Lincoln Cosmopolitan Town Sedan

A year has gone by but work has been continuing. As with many restoration project this one has not been going as expected. The condition of mechanical components turns out to much better than expected, while the rocker panels which looked OK in places turned out to be undercoat over rust.

As the interior was stripped out the true condition of the floor and rocker panels became more clear. As did the amount of structure inside the rocker panel and all of it was rust held to together by memory and not much else. I'm afraid that this may well be the Achilles Heal of the Cosmopolitans.


With all four doors of the Town Sedan opening with smooth action and closing with a solid thunk keeping everything aligned became a priority. Along with taking very careful measurements of the position of everything. Figuring out how to brace and hold the body straight and true as the structure of the rocker panel is removed and replaced was very important.

To locate center door post, it was necessary to tie the door post into the X bracing, part of the problem was how to bolt a mounting plate to the door post without adding more holes that might cause problems later particularly when the door post is basically a box structure. Fortunately it had several bolt holes, but how to get a bolt in from the blind side, there is an old trick of welding a fish wire to the thread end of the bolt the wire can then be inserted from another location and out the hole to be used.

Of course when the brace is removed I'll have to remember to fish out the bolt and washer, or it will add an unwanted rattle. In the past this has been done with a magnet on a string.

(Note several months later it when the brace was removed the bolts did drop down inside the post and now need to be fished out. My revised plan for the other side will be to drill a small hole through the end of the bolt so that a string may be inserted when it is time to remove.)


The other important step was to establish witness points to align the new parts to, this was done by painting lines on the floor of the car with measurements to the location for the actual rocker panels.

Once this was done then I started making sketches and measurements of what the structure of the rocker panels and the backing structure.

It took making many samples to determine what the cross section of the rocker panel structure was along the whole length. As these parts were all stampings they were not straight bent units as would come out of a metal brake. Took longer than expected to make CAD drawings.

I tried making the rocker assemblies on my own metal BRAKE but found that consistently bending 18 gage sheet metal accurately was just not in the cards. In the end I took the CAD drawings to a sheet metal fabrication shop I asked for 3 sets of 7 foot length which would have give me one extra of each, just in case I screw up. For $350 they made me up three lengths of 8 foot long of the components. They were going to charge me for the entire sheet of sheet metal so they just them 8 foot long, giving 24 liner feet of each section. The car will actually need only 13 liner feet of each so if I don't make any mistakes there will be enough for a second Lincoln.

Above two pictures show what one of the body mount look like when it was remove. The other one that was remove totally disintegrated.

As can be seen from the photo above ends of the cross body HAT Channels that also located the back side of the rocker assembly need to be fabricated as well. From the drawings templates were made to make metal forming BUCKS this was done by gluing layers of wood together to make up the needed width and then cutting them out on the band saw To make the cut out process a little easier I printed the drawings out full size on Avery Shipping Label stock, using the blank 8 1/2 x 11 full sheet label stock. In this way the self adhesive sheet can just be stuck on the roughed out BUCK that had been glued up. (Photo below left) Then the two side parts of the BUCK are glued in place to form the sides of the HAT Channel.

Once the glue as cured the BUCKS can be used to form the sheet metal in the picture above right is the face of the HAT channel that has been cut slightly wider than required and the edges beaten over to start the curve edge of the HAT. Bending this material over also stiffens the face. Then the sides of the channel are cut out with plasma cutter. Now if you are lucky enough to have a digitally controlled plasma cutter you feed in the drawing and it cuts them out. Not having a digitally controlled unit the alternative is to make a template the cut out the sides. In the drawing below right note the red dashed line this is how far from the edge my template has to be for my plasma torch. Once again the drawing is printed out on label stock which is then stuck to the thin plywood and the template is cut out using the red line to cut by.


The Hat Channels got gradually better as I did more but with a little smoothing once they are painted and then undercoated the difference should be hardly noticeable.

The original Hat Channels had a drain hole that was not at the lowest point which is something I will correct. As the Hat Channel is spot welded flat against the back wall of the rocker panel assembly this provided a location for rust to start.

As it is hard to paint the inside of things like Rocker Panels and Hat Channels the plan is to paint the insides with a primer sealer in areas that will not be welded. In the areas that will be welded I plan to use Zinc Weld Thru Primer. To better understand how this products works, did some test welds on 18 gauge steel with both Mig Welder and with Pinch Spot Welder.

In doing the experiment discovered that the paint will wipe off when the steel was still hot from welding. The Zinc Weld Thru Primer did work well as far as electrical conductivity which the pinch spot welder is very sensitive to, even thin normal paint will provide enough insulation that the welder will not work. Just to test the little sample I have put it outside the shop were the water drips of the eves of the roof.

The plan is to provide good low point drainage for any new panels installed and to provide plug holes for spraying in oil.

Rocker Panel work continues on Rip Van Winkle Lincoln Page 3.

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Rip Van Winkle Lincoln Page 3 Body Work Continues Rocker Panel Structure

Rip Van Winkle Lincoln Page 4 Body Work Continues On Rear Wheel Arch

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Rip Van Winkle Lincoln Page 1 History of the Vehicle and Beginnings of the Restoration

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