I've now moved to the front of the car and am well underway repairing the headlamp mounting area. I've used James' 'project RUK' as my guide here and replicated the amount of metal cut from the front panel in order to get access to the eyebrow panels.
Starting at the nearside, I first removed the fairly rotten headlamp mount panel by drilling out the spotwelds. Before I did this, I took a few measurements etc as a guide to when I come to refit the new ones. I then removed the eyebrow panel, again this didn't really take too much effort - most of it was pulled out by hand!
The wings around the eyebrow panel area are really good though, so I am pleased here. I will spray a liberal coat of wax here after fitting up the replacement panels.
The inner valence was very rotten. I carefully drilled out the original spot welds before removing the remains of the panel and cleaning up the inner wing mounting flange - all is nice condition. There was a hole in the inner wing towards the front (by the valence), so while this was all removed, I cut out the rot and made a repair piece to 'let in'. Otherwise, this area is solid and I could look right into the chassis leg from here - again all looks good.
I also managed to repair a small hole right up at the top of the inner wing, near the flange for the outer wing. The area was very tight and I couldn't really get a grinder in to cut out any of the area, so I ground it back as much as I could with my belt sander (this is the best tool I have had during this project). I was then able to bridge the back of the hole from inside the engine bay with a piece of copper then carefully fill in the hole. This worked well...I was concerned I would end up blowing holes up to the windscreen!
With that complete, I found another series of holes around the bonnet hinge area. Again, I cut a section out and made a repair section. This is an odd section as it has a slight lip on the edge from two pieces of metal sandwiched together.. I presume this is original and not the fact it has a panel over a panel? Anyway, I managed to replicate this, and once cleaned up looks good.
With that complete, I then offered up the club valence repair panel. Using the whole panel this time, I marked up the flange location before drilling a series of holes in the panel in order to plug weld it back on. I seam welded the rest to what was left of the original valence. This all went well.
A coat of epoxy primer over the area and a skim of fibreglass filler over the welds and that is as far as the nearside has got for now.
Moving onto the offside - the inner valence here had been repaired in the past. Earlier on in the project, I had cleaned it up and decided it was 'good enough', but looking at it now, it has obviously just been stuck over the original rusty panel - understandable given the lengths to do this properly. Anyway, it really is rusty and I've come so far now, I decided to replace this side too, so Alun kindly sent me one very promptly by post - thanks Alun!
Again, removal was easy, the majority of which by brute force and ignorance. All very corroded and nasty. Wings are all good though and as I write I am just cleaning this area up to fit the panel. The hinge area is bad, in fact much worse that the nearside, with some repairs required around the hinge support bracket required also. James kindly gave me some advice here, so I will set to carefully carry out this during the next few evenings.
All the best. MC