View Full Version : Door/fender gaps or gaps in general:)

Jeff T.
10-31-2008, 07:13 PM
Not that I am going to be able to get everything lined up until I do a whole lot more bodywork but what is the gap width between the front fenders and the doors and the gap width between the top rear of the fender and the cowl up by the hood corners.

I have the feeling that I have to move a lot of shims here and there:)


Jeff T.

"I'm getting nowhere as fast as I can"
The Replacements.

10-31-2008, 08:34 PM
The short answer is "it varies" all over hell's half acre.

Go to museums or shows and look at low mileage survivor Studebakers and the panel fit, alignment and gap maintenance was only fair by '50s standards and absolutely abysmal by today's robo-jig-welded standards.

FWIW, I just spend more dollars than I'll ever admit to get a '56 Hawk up to today's street rod standards. This was beginning with sheet metal factory straight, never hit, never rusted and it took a pro custom builder weeks to get a decent fit, alignment and gaps.

thnx, Jack Vines


10-31-2008, 09:57 PM
In added to right hand door length to get my my gaps the same.

55 Speedster

10-31-2008, 11:12 PM
Really varies. For example on 47 convertibles there 1.5 inch of adjustment between the left and right side for the front to rear. The top has 3/4 inch adjusters up front and in the rear. If you purchase any of those books that are factory photos you will see the gaps all over the place. There is one photo of a young lady in a bathing suit, satnding next to a 47 Champ convertible. The rear of the hood is sticking up about 3/4 of an inch. If you can get near anything less than 3/8ths you will be doing good.

Jeff T.
11-01-2008, 06:48 PM

Good thing I bought a box of fender washers this afternoon. I thought I was doing something wrong in working with that left fender. I also wondered how much of the cowl showed between the door and the fender...I guess the answer is somewhere between "it depends and "it varies":)

Any thing that is too easy is not a proper learning experience.

Jeff T

"I'm getting nowhere as fast as I can"
The Replacements.

11-01-2008, 06:56 PM
I am going to confuse you even more as far as gaps. The fender to cowl joint in some cases requires a rubber spacer. These rubber spacers came in three or four thicknesses.

My old 47 Coupe had two different thickness shims on the fenders.

There is a great old photo of 47's coming from the 2nd floor to mate with the engine and frame. The picture was taken from the 2nd floor. You will see that there are taped on rubber pads to the frame, and off to both sides of the line are two "old timers" with their hands in their pockets. These guys "eye balled" the bodies and frames and added or subtracted the rubber pads to make sure the body aligned and the gaps which rely on the pads are close.

You have to love the way they built them.

11-01-2008, 11:53 PM
I believe it was a 10 penny nail I used as a "gap gauge" on the convertible. I used welding wire to close up the gaps on both doors, and just welded/filled the fender/cowl joints.

Steve Hudson
The Dalles, Oregon
1949 "GMOBaker" 1-T Dually (workhorse)
1953 Commander Convertible (show & go)
1953 Champion Starliner (custom/rod project)
1954 Champion Coupe (daily driver)
1960 Hawk (future project?)