Monday, December 22, 2008
The Full Monty
Obviously one of the bigger challenges with Victoria was filling in the side windows. The closed rear end lends itself so nicely to the van's character that I never seriously considered keeping them in. However, I knew that welding shut all six windows would cost a fortune. I also knew that the result was always less than perfect. I expressed this to Steve D one day and he explained that he had a friend that specialized in metalwork. He lived near my house too. He offered to bring him by the van one afternoon. I thought that would be great, and I offered to buy them lunch.
Steve D's friend was Monty. The two came out and looked at the van. Do you know how it is when people think you're over your head but they're too polite to say it to your face? Well, that's how Monty was. He encouraged my to get as many pieces fabricated abroad; to get the van media blasted and, then, he said he'd give me a quote. Later, I invited myself over to his immaculately clean shop. There I witnessed some of his projects. The one that really caught my eye was One-off hand-built aluminum-bodied special built on a shortened Maserati Mexico chassis. I saw that and I thought, "hey, he's probably qualified to do this job, but I probably can't afford him."
Regarding my windows, Monty proposed not but-welding new insert, but instead, cutting out pieces slightly larger than the opening, stretching them to create a flange, and then popping them in place from the inside. They would be riveted in place. No heat, no warping. The outside would receive a thin skim on body filler. The only evidence then that there would have been windows would be a brand running around the original window contour. Two of these would be hidden behind the pocket doors anyways. I liked the idea and that's what I intend to do.