Ever had a rusty tail light panel on a classic Mustang? We had one our '68 Mustang project car that was too eaten to repair, so we opted for a swap and we'll show you exactly how it's done in the March issue!
It's common spot to find rust on vintage Mustangs, especially '67-'68 cars with their concave tail light panels and thick gaskets that trap water. Most often it will pop up first on the bottom side of the tail light bezels.
The problem is, this rust always starts from the inside- and by the time you spot it on the outside, it's guaranteed to be a major issue.
On our project, the rust wasn't evident at all until the tail light bezels were removed when we were prepping it for the first sanding. The rust had eaten most of the metal under each light, so a couple layers of paint were all that was really still there.
We could have technically cut out each individual piece and spliced in metal, and there is a part of us that would have liked to keep all of the car's original panels, but it was just too labor intensive for our paint and body timeline. Thankfully excellent reproduction tail light panels that fit like factory are available now.
After carefully removing the original panel by drilling out the spot welds, we slid in new sheetmetal from Year One. We won't lie; were nervous about the fitment. To our great relief, it fit like a glove with only very minor adjustments.
It's a scary thing to cut away the whole rear panel of a classic car, but thanks to the restoration experience of Brian Ferre and the metal working talent of him and his students at Los Angeles Trade-Tech College, we discovered it's not as difficult to do as you might think.
Wanna see how it's done? Watch for the full story in the March issue of PHR!