View Full Version : Body: Tips on best sequence for body, windshield, instrument panel and trim reinstall?

07-07-2012, 08:41 AM
I read with interest a recent post about the difficult of getting the lower chrome trim pieces reinstalled on a K-body Hawk (mine is '57 GHawk), once the instrument panel is installed.

My plan HAD been to completely rebuild the chassis and engine, have the body (off frame) soda-blasted and primed, do majority of Bondo work "off the chassis", paint the gold color on engine compartment and inside the body, naked doors, under cowl, etc.... while off body, and then reinstall the body on the chassis. This will keep my freshly painted and detailed chassis and engine clean as possible from the grime of body work. Though I'm sure I'll want the professional to touch up that long, sleek hood a bit vs my amateur 'best efforts' . After all, what is the first thing you notice on a Hawk? :-)

But after the priming and SOME paint was done off-chassis, I was then going to assemble the interior (dash, instrument panel, windows.....) and FINALLY find someone to put the headliner in, and then lastly WINDSHIELD and REAR WINDOW (since they go over the headliner!). (seats and door panels can go in at the very end I think.....)
And then DRIVE the car to the body shop for the final touch-up and the final coat of paint..... (without any of the chrome or stainless trim installed yet)

Only problem is, this means the chrome cowl trim can't go on (under) the windshield until all that is done, and I'm back to the same problem this other gentleman was complaining about; getting at those darn nuts/studs for the chrome cowl trim pieces behind the instrument panel.

How did YOU guys sequence this? Or is it possible to partially have the cowl trim in place, still get the windshield in later and then at least only have to reach in there to TIGHTEN the nuts instead of having to locate and start them too?

(I didn't mention, my final step was to be taking the 'assembled' car to the body shop, probalby in primer and wet-sanded, to a body shop for a professional EXTERIOR paint job, but all the interior things I would have gotten painted with the same batch of gold paint before reassembly).
I know, one other option is to do the entire body "off chassis", but not only do I have no means of carting around a body to a paint shop (no trailer or truck), I also figure it is sure to get scratched somewhere in the process of putting it back on and back together. Plus, I'm going to need that final "body work touch up" once the hood is in final position (will put plastic down over the whole front end and engine......)

I'm just at the point of finally hoisting my body off the chassis, lots of work to go before this is an issue, but thought I'd ask while I was thinking of it (and could change my sequence of work yet)

07-07-2012, 12:13 PM
I have changed those cowl pieces with the dash installed, but I do not recommend it.
In your case, I suggest getting the paint work done before you start on the interior. Just be careful. This includes putting the cowl trim on before installing the dash.

07-07-2012, 12:35 PM
thanks Gary.
with my Model-A, the electrical system was so simple that I drove the chassis around with a lawnmower gas tank and "cowl" of plywood to mount coil and ignition switch and wiring junction....
For a '57 Hawk, any chance I can do some minimum wiring for ignition (steering column completely installed of course) and NOT install the dash or any other wiring but the ignition switch (hot wire brake lights somehow, to be legal), so I could drive the 5 miles to the body shop and back? Then I could pretty much have my cake and eat it too; complete the body without glass or interior, and still have a professional shop do the 'final' paint prior to me doing the interior (and another 'professional', somewhere, doing the headliner, I don't want to touch that! I like the mechanical work, HATE anything to do with upholstery :- )

I don't need any instruments to drive it a few miles and back, just need to start it and have brake lights; I think I'm ok without turn signals even for that far, on an early Saturday morning or something..... Shoot, wasn't too many years before '57 that turn signals even became standard, was it?

07-07-2012, 01:16 PM
In New York State, turn signals became a requirement with the 1953 models.
I would not attempt to drive the car, as you described, on any public road.
Instead of spending all of the time and effort (along with the possible risk and liability exposure), just pay to have it trailered or transported on a flatbed. Around here, it would only be about $60 for five miles. If the bodyshop has a flatbed, they would probably cut you a deal.

07-07-2012, 10:20 PM
Probably wise advice; there is such a thing as penny-wise, pound-foolish. :-)