THE MIRACLE OF GETTING
A CHANCE TO REBUILD
MY CAR  AGAIN, 20 YEARS LATER
Eric Gordon's 1954 Kaiser
Convertible Conversion


 
 

 
 

ERIC GORDON'S  '54 KAISER CONVERTIBLE
APPROVED BY DESIGNER "DUTCH" DARRIN



 
On  my nineteenth birthday I bought a  used '54 Kaiser Manhattan right off a
New Jersey automobile dealership's showroom floor. Originally this car was a 2 door
Sedan. And I made it....converted it to a "Convertible" (vin # K542-002380).

Yes, I just started with a hacksaw, pliers, chisel, hammer and screwdrivers.
Yes, and a huge amount of youthful "can do" enthusiasm-optimism and not to forget that
nebulous elusive  naiveté. Without that I would have never gotten started.
What puzzled me back then, and, yes, even today, is:
Why was a '54 Kaiser taking up space in a dealership's showroom;
almost a decade had passed, since this 2 door Sedan was new?
I saw this car late one evening while getting off a crowded expressway, and  driving
through town. It took up the whole show-window and looked phenominal and
mysterious the way it was lit with hidden spotlights. That night I could not sleep much.
I only thought about the '54. I had never seen one, and knew they only made very few.
I had gotten a really bad case of the incurable "Kaiser-Fever."
After all, I was already driving a '51 Kaiser which I liked tremendously.

At that time my family lived in an apartment and our cars were parked in city streets.
It just so happened that my mother bought a "summer cottage" a month earlier, some
forty miles outside the city, three miles from a lake. This "country-place" inspired me
to want a convertible. It had to be a car with very special lines, low-long-sleek.
My mother also liked the looks of the '54 and said :
"...almost like a brand new car...but where will you be able to park it?"
"At our summer-place, " I replied. "But we don't even have a driveway?" she said.
"So? So I'll build the driveway first." The next day I bought the 2 door Kaiser.
And now, let the following pictures, each tell a thousand words, and more...

OH ! Kaiser designer Howard "Dutch" Darrin's approval ?

Once I finished building the Convertible, I volunteered for the U.S. Air Force, and was
stationed out West, Nevada. I used my Kaiser as a daily driver on base, 99 per cent of
the time the top was down, I even upgraded  the transmission to manual with overdrive.
After serving honorably, I settled down in Southern California. There, years later, upon
a chance visit with friends to Santa Monica's Park, I noticed a distinguished elderly
gentleman taking snapshots of my Kaiser Convertible.
(I had heard that "Dutch" Darrin lived somewhere  in Santa Monica).
"Are you "Dutch" Darrin by any  chance?" I asked the gentleman.
"Yes, I am. I designed this car, but we never built a convertible !" Darrin looked closer
at my Kaiser, then said: " Very good... this is excellent work...who built this?"

"Mr.Darrin, I did it...I am the "redesign...  ahh...reworker," I answered.
Then I showed him a small photo album of the conversion work
I carried in my  glove compartment.

He then invited me and my friends to his house. I parked in his driveway. I listened
with my friends of all the cars he told us about that he had
designed and showed us photos of them.
Many were especially custom made by him for Hollywood-Stars and personalities.

Next to my car, in his driveway, was a new Volvo which he was at that very moment in the
process of redesigning.
That familiar "chrome slash" across the grill?
"Dutch" told me personally :
"In our mechanical automotive world, everything is balanced. Right and left,
top to bottom, all is equally balanced. This "slash" violates an unspoken code,
your eye is drawn to this, therefore, this Volvo becomes more visible........"

Reflecting upon this decades later, I realize I truly was in the presence of one of
the great "genius" automotive designers.


This is how Eric built the 54 Kaiser Convertible.
It's now time to look at how he found that car after some 20 odd years of searching.

That was about 3 decades ago. Today Eric was fortunate enough to get a second chance to rebuild his convertible.

 

c  copyright  2005 by Aigle Books
POST SCRIPT:
ERIC GORDON, Writer, Editor, Publisher of Aigle Books, Place ST. Georges, Paris, France  GIVES HEREBY
PERMISSION: for John MacDonald- "Sympatico Mail" <johnmd1@ns.sympatico.ca> and ,sharon@summerville-
novascotia.com. to use my writings, computer sending and pictures for the above named internet pages.
(Saturday 26 March 2005.)
 



 
 
 
 

For family reasons Eric had to trade this car for an airline ticket back East,


to help his mother who had gotten very ill; twenty-five years ago.
Ever since then he had tried to locate his Custom Convertible.
After a nearly 20 year search, Eric's car was found by a Kaiser-Frazer
Club member.  On January 14th 2006 the present owner allowed Eric 
and this K-F Club member to view  Eric's car and take some snapshots.

Surprisingly, it is only 99.9 miles from the New Jersey driveway where 
Eric had built/rebuilt this convertible in the early 60's. 
It is now stored in a barn and needs lots of TLC. There are no major damages,
as these pictures show..........

!!!!Coming Home !!!!
The following announcement was received from Eric Gordon 
on the 28th of April 2006.
<> NEWS <> CONVERTIBLE NEWS <>

  DRIVING TO PENNA  /  RENT U-HAUL 
   TOW  MY 54 KAISER CONVERTIBLE BACK TO  CONNECTICUT / 
 THE PRESENT OWNER CALLED / WE MADE A REASONABLE  $-DEAL


 

And now the story continues

Early in the morning of April 29'th Eric took a little drive to Pennsylvania.

The following pictures will tell the story of the start of a new life for

"ERIC GORDON'S  '54 KAISER CONVERTIBLE"

:"Jersey boy....standing proud....
  some three decades ago...
"standing proud"  with "MY" car that
  I built/rebuilt some 30 years ago....
  PHASE  II

So my machine must now be on it's own, for a while...
I have done the best I could within my range of mechanical awareness's and home-garage tools available.
Now off to the mechanic-specialists that are going to refine it.

I take this very personal...
After all, I worked on my convertible again for seven months; and the elation, the surprise, the good luck of finding it again?
Well, it took a month for the  "nostalgia worship" to wear off.

I then settled down to brass, aluminum and copper tacks and started restoration.
That part that needed it most: the floor. While simultaneously writing a "photo-essay" documentation. The continuing restoration work, aided by the razor sharp editorial
skills of John MacDonald of Summerville, Nova Scotia, Canada.
John has several chapters about my "Kaiser stories" in  his 
"Automotive Library of Congress."
www.oldcarandtruckpictures.com    and   www.kaiserfrazer.ca

Now,
I have guided this  >one-of-a-kind-machinery< again towards its reawakening, 
towards a new future...
I have some bruises, cuts and scrapes and my hands feel a bit swollen.  I also learned new mechanical skills, and writing skills. 

My convertible is only seven miles away, awaiting a space on the new lift.
Quite frankly?
I am grateful to the many mechanics, and various auto specialist,  who will work on needed items....
who have skills and tools beyond my specialty. "
..

And now the work on Phase II begins

 
I found an automotive shop, taking on the needed 
work to be done on my convertible was the way to go.

Page 1


My convertible gets a piggy-back to Craig's garage for a break job and a tune up.
I had already bought the many parts needed at various auto "swap-meets" and car shows.
It's been a long winter waiting for this day to come
...the very same where my 4 door (see Kaiser Manhattan Rebuild) in www.kaiserfrazer.ca
got a new drive-train and paint
Back in the 50's the previous owner's father used to operate a Kaiser Frazer dealership out of this shop 
and showroom.
CRAIG'S GARAGE
Craig,  is now the new owner and shares my  enthusiasm of having found my convertible again...
The paint booth is visible in the back, doors wide open!
Now my convertible...
...is awaiting  PHASE II  of this restoration.
Back in the 50's this was actually a Kaiser Frazer dealership.
A place on the lift and work starts...
The first thing is removing the gas lines and then 
the brake lines.
Craig is now ready to start the brake replacement
   
... as well as a new brake-master-cylinder, visible here, which Kaiser Motors must  have subcontracted from the Ford Motor Company which used this exact type of master cylinder on their '49 thru '51 Ford & Lincoln automobiles.
All new brake calipers and new brake shoes
are to be installed ........
   
...... along with new brake lines....
   
 
   
 
   
 .....and flexible hoses
   
The gas tank was completely cleaned out of the
heavy/old/slushy gas and, a new plug installed; 
next :  new gas lines.
   
...and  hi-tech modern neoprene lined fuel injection  flexible plastic hose is used.
New sparkplugs installed,
   
... and now distributor points...
   
..delivering parts in my 4 door 1954 Kaiser Manhattan :
   
"Standard" brand distributor cap...
   
A brand new 6 volt battery was purchased,
and it has a familiar "back-then" look.
 
... now points-rotor-cap are all new, then, new gas was added a new filter to the pump and the engine started right up. 
It has a very  low, deep muffled sound, very steady! 
  {Now a gallon of gas is $3.08 regular, and this car drove over 300 miles from Las Vegas to Hollywood,
at one time, on only $1.50 worth of gas.}
High and dry, my convertible is waiting for some  minor mechanical work.
The work that Craig was doing is finished and the Convertible is.....
back home where it was driven a bit in the driveway.
Something that it hadn't done for many years.
.."ancient "  14 inch bias tires (left) are at least 25 years old, and can  now finally be replaced with new 
 15 "  spoke wheels with new radial tires (center).
..while a 15 " steel wheel will get a new radial tire also
and be used as a spare; meanwhile ...
...15" spoke wheels are installed with new radial tires...
...including  sporty center hubcaps !
Besides new tires, my convertible also has missing parts that need restoration work, such as this '52 Buick vent window handle.
(Original conversion I used Cadillac and Buick window parts.) Vent window handle is still available at...
...Kleeman's Salvage, and  can  be bought at a reasonable price.
Another item bought at Kleeman's is this missing section  >shown on right<  of the driver's side door frame. It is cleaned with  "Naval Jelly" - a rust inhibitor -
...to prevent future rust formation;
 and sanded smooth many times.
Then, this partial frame > left< gets a first           application of undercoat paint, then...
...placed on  door  with existing frame for exact millimeter fit. The  ...
 ... TWO door frame pieces are pressed,  'plyered' and hammered, actually:  "metal sculptured," into ONE usable door frame ; and the very first coat ...
 ... of bondo, a "body filler" metal to metal plastic fastener, when dried becomes very hard, yet "sculptural ability " is applied.
 After 5 sanding and "bondoing"  > a  grey, spoon size chemical in center of photo gets mixed with a drop of hardening chemical - in tube <and applied to door frame with a self-made plastic spatula -center left -
.. and the TWO pieces become ONE door frame...
... with much sanding... 
... and sculpturing.
Now ready for several applications of ...
...red undercoat paint. And when this dries, door frame gets sanded  slightly with "600" wet sandpaper...
and the final paint is applied to  frame.
 >See "Body Work" section for completed  installation<
And again, my convertible takes a  short 10 mile piggy-back ride on
the same flat-bed truck  to...

..and, through the hills of eastern Connecticut, to...

 ..."Carlson Auto"

Now working to restore and paint, ~including welding  and general repair ~ if needed.
A father and son team agree to provide quality body repair and paint services...which includes...

...door jams, dash, underside of hood and trunk lid, undercarriage
 and repair of body panels as necessary.
Chief mechanic/body-specialist Mark is on right, while I am helping out with  starting fluid on left. (Son Matthew took this photo).
Carlson Auto's completed works speak volumes;
 such as this customer's '56 Chevy soon ready to  "rock 'n roll"...
... while my convertible and the car on right will now get restored ...
Mark Carlson is taking on the challenging task of supervising the subletting/outsourcing of all the re-chroming...
...he knows just where to have this bumped,
battered and beaten up old chrome....
...repaired to get to this stage of restoration...
it is not cheap by any means. Chroming costs!

"WARNING," it is extremely important that one
finds  a chrome shop that is firm on the original 
price quoted and does not shock one with doubling 
the price upon completion.

 

... "chroming"  it is an exact science, which must be carefully restored/balanced with lethal chemicals and electricity...
....sparks flying,
 the chroming technician also becomes a 
molding-shaping-straightening "metal~artist"...
...and a  "heavy-metal sculpturer" !
So,  Mark carefully unwraps the chrome parts, and...
 ...he explains while showing me the first chromed
    bumper parts :
 " this  'triple chrome' means first copper, then nickle, then chrome, not chromed three times..."
since I have a "1953 Lincoln" front bumper which does not have the indentation of the Kaiser rear 'bullet bumper guard'
...he had the chrome shop "artistically craft" the same indentation here (shown on right)...to match the rear of the Kaiser design (left).
Originally I had selected this  '53 Lincoln  front bumper since it has
the "bullet" shaped bumperettes, similar to the Kaiser rear bumper...
plus,  Lincoln bumper follows the contour of the
Kaiser splash~panel below the '54 massive grill !
(It has been 55 years since this bumper "wore"  new chrome.)
The chrome shop marks each chromed item
with an "in-shop number"...
Mark Carlson further supervises the removal of blemishes, dings, pot marks and welding needs, as pointed out here on the inside of bumper (center of photo).
My initial reaction : ... "stunning" should be in an Art Gallery !
 This photo inspires me to start my very own Art Gallery called :
            "GGG"  ~Gordon Garage Gallery ~
in my Daytona Beach home garage
...yes, the rear bumper (top)...
and the rear  " bumper~cradle " would make a great,
shiny sculpture in an Art Gallery !
The 5 piece front grill, 2 piece hood scoop
and headlight trim is next...
 "I drove the convertible in the "Carlson Auto" driveway..'   superb handling,with the new brakes and new exhaust system  as quiet as a Rolls Royce !
Next....the front chrome gets removed..
..while the car is raised somewhat...
.. Mark and Matthew  Carlson are removing the...
  ...  massive and very intricate "inward-bowed" grill.
Even I help,  by removing the distinctive early 50's
Buick look alike, 1954/55 Kaiser headlight frames.

 Some automobilists like to call them "doors."

"DE-CONSTRUCTION"...
...is NOT a very pretty sight .
Tail lights hood-scoop  and door handles also get removed,
ready for chroming.
All other shiny surfaces, windshield and side window treatment,
including the 6 inch strip on bottom of doors and fenders,
are famous " Kaiser~Industries~Stainless~Steel "
and will  only need some polishing.
...disassembly continues, I even helped removing most of the interior, because ....
...the frame will be box welded for added strength.
Any inside lines (brake and fuel), shown here, will be
moved to the outside of the frame.
...restoration also includes new rocker panels
Mark is also an expert welder.
 Paint removal is definitely  messy...
... necessary...
...job.  Body prep is utmost important.
  Mark of CARLSON AUTO said: 
  "...I felt more like an archaeologist digging
  though the layers of paint and body filler.
  To me it's like unwrapping it....
  not quite knowing what you  find."
... "boot", trunk lid prepped for undercoating...
...now the hood ! 
..."Bonnet" as the English~English would say.
..."Bonnet" as the English~English would say.
Including the large front "splash panel"
54-55 Manhattans have a 3 piece unit,
prevalent in the earlier classics, which
has totally disappeared on modern cars.
Hood, ready for undercoating
And naturally...
...the convertible's main body, doors and fenders, get the CARLSON AUTO thorough body preparation treatment, waiting for the special  undercoat paint.
CARLSON AUTO also built a clever storage shelter...
.. just  for my various disassembled convertible parts...

 

wating for their turn of reassembly.
After rocker panels and fenders are removed...
.... some frame areas ...
... need to be strenthened  and...
... and in some areas requires heavy metal welding.
( Deconstruction " frame on ~ frame off " 
is not a pretty site).
Mark is testing new front seats for proper mounts.
 Four light blue metallic paint samples are picked.
 At first?.... in the can, they all look the same.
Then, four metal  plates are painted.
And when new paint samples are  dry, they take on quite an individual " metallic blue", and then are... 
... placed on a portable cardboard that I can take
around with me in different shades of light, 
night and day.
Meanwhile,  Mark is measuring " half rounds "
for portions of metal that might...
... be needed to support and strengthen the
  "customized" wheel wells.
Driver's side door frame needs rebuilding.
...piece by piece ...
...of front brace of door frame.
..actually total "re-sculpture" of entire door frame.
Close-up of door hinge receiver plate
...some frame members need to be fabricated...
....and welded to "good" frame...
 some  replacement material is manufactured  outright,
 such as ....
... these totally new lift points, super strengthening the frame, which Mark Carlson designed  for
future service needed.
...also body supports,
new rocker "backer" and sill supports!
Better than "FACTORY" sill supports.
Mark said:  " I feel that the structure of the car
needs to be sound, before ...
more cosmetic work begins...
   
...entire sections of rusted floor metal are cut out,

 

   
 and new floor metal welded in
   
 Matthew prepares floor metal for welding, he is 
standing where entire new floor braces and floor 
metal will be welded in.
   
 Carlson Auto's strong point...
   
 is to "metal~sculpture" first  ...
   
 and  then weld in  new floor sections.
 Some after market floor-pans are used,
   
 however, most metal sections are designed,
 imagineered~immediately, right on the spot.
   
 this procedure is repeated ... 
   
...on the driver's side... 
   
... rebuilding the metal floor.
   
 also where needed...
   
 new metal is designed and welded into place.
   
Welding sparks are flying, as new...
   
... metal is placed over some of the existing  u-shape frame... 
   
 ...measured here exactly  by Mathew,
then welded into a new box frame.
   
  ... rusted metal is replaced
   
 where needed, and
   
steel support bars are inserted into frame wherever weakness is found.
   
while DAN an auto-body helper,
   
 of the CARLSON AUTO team, is applying the
standard gray undercoating, RTV adhesive sealant,
   
 and then black rustoleum spray paint.
   
...rear axle is removed, cleaned ...
... also sludge removed and gears inspected...
... Matthew is applying undercoating... 
...new undercoating applied...
...then painted...
while sagging rear leaf springs (left)
are replaced with new ...
   
 ... and then, new leaf springs,
and restored rear axle are reinstalled.
   
...gas tank is also removed...
   
 ...and sludge is found...
   
...including a completely emulsified
inner tank gasoline filter..
   
 Mark mentioned more than once "feeling like an automotive archeologist" as this fuel-sensor-probe
clearly shows...
   
including a small connecting gas tank hose..
   
through the "Kaiser Store" in Arizona
I purchased a re-manufactured fuel sensor.
...now, easy access to rear fender panels.
 
New sheet metal is welded into place
 
rusted metal removed and body panels "re-sculptured" 
 
 ...there was some serious rust damage on the
bottom of the front fenders, in the seam area 
forward of the wheel wells...
...all has been cut out and new steel welded in.
Old undercoating was scraped out of fender's underside.
Large portions were cracking loose thus allowing dirt 
and moisture behind it.These were cleaned and  rust treated by applying new rubberized undercoating...
   
Mark Carlson is using these "half rounds"to fabricate..
   
...cut: weld....
   
....cut;  weld;  and re-engineer new rear.....
   
...rear wheel wells.
   
actually "imagineering" new wheel wells.
And then  undercoat, and...
   
...... undercoat paint , while axle and
wheels are still removed
   
New " imagineered "  rear wheel wells:
Driver's side top left,  passenger side: right.
Mark continues: 
 " The material on trunk & hood is a polyester body 
filler~ like bondo. It is a  thin sprayable kind that is
applied through a special spray gun.
 .And...when dry, I block sand the part. 
Any large imperfections are taken out with a hammer
and dolly...after the panel is perfect I will apply 
urethane primer."
Meanwhile in April 2009 (3rd year of restoration)
the chrome came back all shiny and new,
carefully wrapped and labeled...
...this includes the huge, finned taillight chrome...
...headlight frames and outside door handles...
...great care was given to smaller pieces
like this instrument cluster chrome frame...
...radio frame and horn button...
...the "avionic style" 2 piece hood scoop...
... and the distinctive '54 Kaiser front showpiece,
the five unit massive grill.
 paper thin metal around ...
   
...gas tank filler area was totally removed,
   
 ..new support metal "imagineered" 
   
new  vertical "back-brace" imagineered....
   
...then piece by piece new metal  "sculpture/welded"  into place...
   
While some trunk rust~holes are being repaired...
   
 back splash panel
   
 is being removed...
   
...while other paper thin metal is being replaced...
   
 ... a rear "back-splash" in excellent shape is found 
and purchased,  clear across the country,
from an Arizona KaiserFrazerClub member,
   
it is prepared, by grinding off any slight rust areas....
   
 ...ready for primer coat and installation.
   
...driver's side..
   
...and passenger side...
   
 ...are checked for fender to body and frame alignment.
   
"The first spring flowers celebrate with me
and the Carlson Auto refurbishing crew
my convertible's third year of restoration."
   
Emphasizing the detailed needed restoration                   such as this, which photographer son
Matthew Carlson is documenting...
...the new sheet-metal welding below the fuel
 tank filler door  by his father Mark...
... including the left...
... middle rear areas...
and right...are repair/welded for a solid
back~splash foundation.
...the  Kaiser Stainless Steel that runs along the
bottom was also polished and buffed, to a high gloss.
Mark Carlson:..." they are not 100 point show but 
I do think I could use them for a shaving mirror!"
   
 Mark is meticulously hammering...
... and removing imperfections that still exist,
... with a super-fine file,
and then buffed out to mirror like perfection
55 years ago Kaiser was the first auto manufacturer
which already had a padded dash for safety reasons.
Meanwhile, dash gets completely disassembled
rust removed and prepared for primer undercoat paint
   
 ...this part of the dash is Kaiser Aluminum, 
Kaiser saved 20 pounds in weight by using 
aluminum for underside of switches~shroud..
   
 ... for shroud of instrument cluster....
   
...including radio speaker cover (middle)
and glove box dash-frame. Aluminum requires extra care  to remove 3 layers of old paint, before 
painting  undercoat.
   
 Meanwhile, the chrome and polish  shop returned the refurbished and polishedKaiser Stainless Steel, 
that trims the...
   
 ... side windows  (right), and the wide bottom line
side-trim (left).
   
Carlson Auto team welds four seat-studs directly
into the floor for easy bucket seat installation.
'52 Buick arm~rests/door~handles that need 
attention,  are...
...also repaired with the "right, sensitive touch"
and leather-type vinyl by  Jackie, a Lady's upholstery skills, who is also part of the Carlson Auto team. 
She also redesigned very slim vinyl sunvisors
 this extreme close up shows her talent for
exactness and attention to detail, for these "mock" pleats. Sunvisors need to stay slim for proper fit.
Meanwhile...
new  front bucket seat anchor frames are sanded, 
then rustoleum; ready for pleated vinyl custom 
seat upholstery.
Vent windows are carefully removed.... 
....ready for chroming.
Kaiser has an intricate aluminum dash.
Meticulous care is taken to remove.....
....any miniscule spots of old paint, before...
...Mark paints primer,
   on both sides of the many dash parts,
And then 24 hours later....
The primer is dry.
Finally, hurray, an important day has arrived,
as Mark mixes the paint,
 and the first coats of the actual final paint " Lt Montana Sky Blue Metallic" 1994-95 Cadillac, is applied. 
Like all colors...
...they take on different hues in various light.
THIS IS IT ... there is no turning back now for another selection of paint!
Mark calls the down-position convertible top cover a bonnet.     At a local "friendly" salvage yard, Mark finds an 82 Saab's roof, perfect for ....
... his "imagineering" project: The right kind of steel
18 or 20. the proper curvature, no rust, even painted on
the roof's underside...
I help by wedging a bar to lift the roof slightly,
while Mark is sawing the roof 's outline
This Saab roof will become the "bonnet" cover.
Back at Carlson Auto,  Saab roof is laid sideways.
Mark is outlining the steel shape.
"While I point to the "Bonnet Project."
Magic Lady Jackie is asked by Carlson Auto to turn this...
...into some very outstanding, comfortable, and 
good looking seats.
Jackie  and Mark are trying out...
... how the upholstery will look and fit...
I give it the ..."perfect fit  A-OK"
while I am  pointing to the Kaiser design smaller
padded pleats, on seat's back portion to match the...
...smaller pleats of the padded dash. One of Kaiser's 7 safety points! Matthew is holding the painted instrument cluster frame to the dash...
...for a trial upholstery "look-see" ...
...the basic Kaiser seat design is echoed with this mid 60's GM makeover.
Special seat brackets were "imagineered" for the Kaiser floor with bolts that are welded into the floor for easy seat installation and removal and proper/level fit.
One of the "fringe benefits" of living in Daytona
are the car shows and the "Swap Meets" an actual tent city suddenly appears, for all sorts of new and used parts, including...
... hard to get rubber seals needed for...
...the chrome frames of the 1952 Buick side windows,
the very last convertible parts that are to be chromed...
Mark Carlson: " These... one sees all the time          therefore, it must be new looking!"
Also, new green tinted glass will be installed, with new rubber seals and weather stripping.
new rocker panel,  which is then spot welded to frame. 
(At one time a person could stand on this below the 
door panel and "rock" the car).
...minor metal work is "imagineered"
on the front part ....
....of driver's side....
Rocker-panel area is also strengthened by ..
...welding an extra steel plate to rocker-panel frame area.
This keeps the now convertible frame
from flexing/bending.
Then rust preventative high grade undercoat/primer is applied, before...
Once dent is pulled out, copper pins are ground off...
(similar to rocker-panel grinding shown here)
...and yellow polyester light weight body filler >like the familiar bondo< is applied to smoothen sheet metal imperfections.
Once new pull pins cool down and electric spot
weld gun is removed..
...a slide hammer's tip is locked onto the copper pin, while gently probing...
...the slide hammer's action, to pull out dent.
The refurbishing shop uses fairly new methods to eliminate dents 1/2 in. or more from the 
driver's side door...
...with an electric spot welding gun that houses 1/8 in. copper pins and spot...
... welds these pins directly into the indented area with electric hot weld/contact (shown here) to the damaged door area.
More work is done to align driver's side panel and door, now fits perfect again.
Gaps not covered by aftermarket 
RP (rocker panel) are ...
...welded by body expert Dan ...
Dan welding in critical front RP
...including custom Imagineering/manufacturing the...
... front cap ....
... welded on insides, of the...
 ...passenger RP shown here welded to the floor
ECU (extreme close up) of front custom Imagineering/welding.
Then RP is tack-welded....
...to the auto-body metal.
 The 2 door Kaiser Manhattan sedan has these holes on
 each rear quarter panel hidden under the belt-line chrome. Only 46 of these 2 door Manhattans were ever built, these holes could have been for adjustment of the rear windows or frames.
The rear windows were removed for my original
conversion in the 60's.  Carlson Auto strengthened this area with metal supports and welded this hole shut.
Mark is also an expert welder...
...using the latest state of the art 
welding equipment...
...first he spot welds the metal...
...to get an exact fit.  A new metal piece is manufactured
between back-splash and bottom of trunk-lip...
...and then welded.
After spot welding...
...complete welding is done, better than original Kaiser Motors factory work.
Dan and Matthew help with...
...the detailed work of grinding, and...
... then more grinding.
Meanwhile Mark is resetting and refurbishing
rusted rain drains...
...of the upper lip of the trunk closure.
cluding realigning... 
... and rewelding foundation for the...
....the spring loaded ...
..."balanced" trunk closing mechanism.
Auto refurbisher Mark states: "This has been a bit of trial and  error to get the trunk to close just right."
 Mark continues: " I had to re-cut the right fender attachment point to the trunk floor and move it 
over a little." 
 " Then I can weld it all up...
and make the trunk latch and remote release."
While Mark is working on the trunk latch,
I found new bias wide whitewalls 6:70-15 for the trunk's spare well. These tires are narrower than the wider,
modern radials to be installed on the car.
Nevada sun and age, created havoc on this radio...
...a Kaiser club member, specializing in 6 volt radios, restored this, to be installed after painting is done...
David, another member of the Carlson Auto team,
gets sparks flying as he grinds finishing touches on
the rain drains of the trunk area.
David uses a scotch brite wheel.  The welds are brushed with panel adhesive to ensure that pin holes are sealed.  Once hardened,  the extra...

Phase II Continues on Page 2
 

Use the links below to continue viewing the various stages of the reconstruction


Coming Home
Under the Hood
Wiring
Mechanical
Items
The Convertible Top
Body Work
 

 
 
Links
John's Old Car and Truck Pictures
Historic Aircraft Pictures
A Deck of Cards showing
The 1952 cars of The World
Eric Gordon's Kaiser Rebuild
There are many pictures showing the details of this Rebuild
Eric Gordon's First Kaiser
A 1951 Deluxe which comes to a startling end
Visit our Home in Summerville Nova Scotia. This house was built in 1873.
Where we live and what we  do
The Early Harley-Davidson Motorcycles
The Model T Ford and Model A Ford
The Model A Ford
Click here to View the Famous Chevy Tri-Five 55, 56 and 57 Chevrolets
The Chevy Tri-Five
55, 56 and 57 Chevrolets
The Chevrolet Corvette
From 1963 to 1970
Don Pate's 1947 Chevy Aero Sedan 
View the rebuilding of this car from the
bullet holes to the trophy winning
The Early American Sporty Cars
The Oshkosh The Truck that all other only dream of becoming
The Oshkosh 
The Truck of Trucks
The Divco Truck
America's Milk Truck
A Picture Review of 
the Ford Mustang

The Cars Dreams are made of
Those Old Classic Convertibles
Cadillac, Duesenberg, Cords and many more
Anthony Hazelaar's Model Trucks and Cars
Yes you can get a Jeep stuck, Really stuck if you just half try.
Have a look and see how a 
Jeep can get really stuck
A Picture Review of the Cars
of the Chrysler Corporation
A Picture Review of the Studebaker 
If you remember it, could you
ever forget it ?
A Picture review of the Packard
A Picture review of the Nash and Hudson
A Picture Tour of the
Hudson, Essex, and Terraplanes
that were found in Australia
A Picture Review of the
Pickup Truck from 1940 to 1969
A Picture review of the Volkswagen
A Picture Review of the Jeep
from 1940 to the present
A Picture Tour of the Crosley
A Picture Review of the Chevrolet
from 1916 to 1970
The Corvair 1960 to 1969
A Picture Review of the Ford
from 1908 to 1969
The Oldsmobile
The Pontiac
The Cadillac
Wouldn't you rather have a Buick
Wouldn't you rather have a Buick
The Chrysler Airflow
The Tucker '48'
The Amphicar
A Picture Tour of the Henry J
A Picture Tour of the Kaiser Frazer
The Stanley Steamer
View some of John Evan's  Artwork
View some of John' Evan's Auto Artwork 
Click here to View the Jeeps of World War II
WW II Jeeps
James Rucker's Car Collection
A website featuring many articles on many different cars
If you can't find it anywhere else, try here and
if you can't find it here it isn't anywhere
Jim's Old Car Page
A good page for Kaiser information
  View the steam locomotives of the CNR
  Another fun page involving a Jeep
 Tour the 64 remaining Covered Bridges
  of New Brunswick
The Covered Bridges that once dotted Nova Scotia.
If any one is interested in Microsoft's Flight Simulator I have written some scenery files for Summerville. Maitland, Windsor and Hantsport.
Summerville now has an Airport
 
 
E Mail
johnmacdoanld@summerville-novascotia.com

 
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