Alright, up until now it's been all about the back story and posting period photos (without permission) of cars that inspire me and this project. Now it's time to show the work. The first order of events is to completely level the car so we have a completely square (so to speak) canvass to guide us in making straight cuts.
Next up we remove the gas tank since we will be using a fuel cell and don't need the factory molotov cocktail sitting right in the way of where we will be doing lots of cutting and welding. For future reference, it should be noted that you need to drop the rear axle in order to remove the tank through the rear wheel opening. Or you can do it like we did and struggle with pry bars and jacks to try and squeeze it out before giving in and doing it right. Next we removed the doors and drilled out the spot welds for the B-pillar.
We spent hours planning on how this cut and splice operation would go and even longer making straight and level lines on the car before we even made one cut. The difficulty with altering a wagon compared to a sedan is that the inner wheelhouse runs the entire length of the quarter. The sedan can have the entire wheel house (that is more the shape of a tub) sectioned out and moved as one. This allows a lower cut below the belt line so there's no interference with the compound body lines. Because of our dilemma it was necessary to do a high cut and jog it back on the inside in order to clear the leaf spring perch. Our hours of planning paid off and the sectioning was a success. Stitching everything back together will be a bunch more work but I think the end result will be worth it