Monday, January 13, 2014

Quarter Trim Solution

Well, I've probably built more suspense into this than it deserves. But in my defense, it has been a niggling problem that has bothered me for quite awhile. In review, I've been looking for a alternate solution to the factory external quarter trim. Those goofy-looking, backward-facing chrome "C's" that reside just behind the doors. Unfortunately there aren't many options available. You can delete them and weld the holes shut - but then you have this featureless 1/4 panel that looks...well...featureless. You can add the brake scoops. The choice being the CS/GT's that are non-functional - which seems a bit silly. Or the Shelby scoops, which require drilling a large hole in the panel for ducting the air hose back to the rear brakes. For a RT66 cruiser? That seems a bit silly as well. Which leads back to the factory set-up - which for me, has too many styling cues from the 60's that really date what is otherwise, one of the most beautiful designed bodies out there. There's a very good reason why our 60's Mustangs are still seen in movies and commercials. Good design never ages.

So what is one to do? Well turns out, as most discoveries do, that it took an accident to lead me to the solution. Not a painful accident, just an incidental accident in the sense that I didn't mean to do that on purpose. I was sitting there pondering the factory trim for the nth time. As you guys know, the chrome part of the trim has 3 pins that go through a body-painted base molding then into the 1/4 panel where they are retained from the inside by sheet metal nuts. I was thinking, 'why don't I toss the chrome piece of the trim and just use the base molding? It's body color and adds a subtle feature to the 1/4 panel w/o too much clutter. I wanted to see the molding-only look, without the chrome trim, but of course it wouldn't hang there as the method of attachment requires the chrome part. So I reached over and found a button-head screw lying on the floor and stuck it in the top hole of the 3-hole pattern and stepped back for a look.  I went back to the car, pulled the screw out, tossed the molding, and put the screw back. Close but not quite there. Headed to my fastener bins and dug out 3 flanged stainless button-head screws and stuck them in the 3 holes. And bingo, there was the answer - maybe not 'the' answer, or even 'an' answer - but it was 'my' answer. For a few weeks, I just left them sitting there in the holes. Occasionally, I would stop and take a look and see if they continued to float my boat. I was happy but not 100% happy. Then one night while shopping at Ring Bros for their door strikers - I spotted a line of machined washers they make that come with a corresponding unique button-head screw - in stainless of course. Bought a couple for a test run and liked the results.

Even better, it ended up solving another design problem I've had - those equally ugly rear quarter reflectors. I tossed those as well and put the machined washer/button-heads in their place. In the end, I'm going with the motto, simpler is better. For my tastes, it is a cleaner look and feels a bit more industrial, a bit more racy. I like it. Feel free to throw rocks. I'm still open to alternate suggestions. Maybe this will stimulate an even better answer. Gosh knows, we've all sat on the floor staring at those quarter panels long enough :)

Apologies for the photos. It looks much better in person. The flash ruins the look.  I've also stuck some of the button-heads in the 1/4 end caps but I think I'll end up going with the standard trim back there. That part of the car is one of my favorite views of  the 67/68 bodies. The long, thin trim across the deck lid and the 2 hockey sticks on the end caps.

Ring Bros - 304 stainless steel button-head and machined washer

Quarter trim holes filled with button-heads

Rear reflector holes filled   

End caps with button-heads...hmmmm...maybe not...

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Christmas Bling

Well, like Dennis, I've been occupied elsewhere lately. But got a little Christmas cash from the in-laws and thought what better place to spend it than on SusieQ. As you know, I've been wanting to button up the rear quarter area but needed to figure out what I'm doing with the quarter panel trim. I think I've finally got that figured out and bought some parts for a test run. I've tried them, and although not 100% happy, I'm happier with the results than anything else that is out there - that being, simply weld the holes shut, install the OEM trim, add the Shelby brake scoops or make something from scratch. Ideally, I'd like to make something from scratch. I have it in my head what I would like to see there but realistically with a business to run, there just isn't time in the pipeline for it. And like Alex, I have a porch falling off the back of the house as well :/

In preparation for sealing up that area, I wanted to rehab the door strikers first. I didn't want to seal that area up if for some reason I needed to get to the back side of those strikers screws to get them out. Been there, done that. Those door striker screws are notorious for not coming out. I have a REALLY cool impact tool in the tool collection - specifically bought for having fought that battle before.

But I got the strikers out intact and was trying to decide what to do with them. Blast and powder coat, blast and zinc plate, blast and chrome - or drop $65 and buy a pair of billet stainless ones from Rings Bros? Since my solution for the quarter trim was coming from Ring Bros, I just decided to splurge a little with my Christmas money and spring for the billet pieces as well. They arrived this week and like everything from Ring Bros, are perfect. I should just hang them on the wall than install in the car. Beautiful craftsmanship. Here's the pieces in the flesh. Hopefully I'll have the 1/4 panel solution installed soon and I'll post to gauge your reactions.

Of course, now I'll probably have to lay out for the billet scuff plates as well!!!