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Buttercup gets door gaps adjusted

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  • Buttercup gets door gaps adjusted

    Studebaker Corp. seemed to not care very much about what size and eveness of the panel and door gaps on their cars. Since Robert is going to paint this car, he couldn't stand the thought of putting paint on it with bad gaps. He welded 1/8" rods to the door edges to narrow the gaps then ground them to get the desired gaps. Click image for larger version  Name:	20200930_150447.jpg Views:	0 Size:	60.3 KB ID:	1859059Click image for larger version  Name:	20200930_150537.jpg Views:	0 Size:	55.8 KB ID:	1859060Click image for larger version  Name:	20200930_150505.jpg Views:	0 Size:	58.4 KB ID:	1859061
    Jerry Forrester
    Forrester's Chrome
    Douglasville, Georgia

    See all of Buttercup's pictures at

  • #2
    Looking good!
    DT Holder - Bakersfield CA, USA
    1950 Commander ("Resto-Mod" in progress)


    • #3
      It wasn't just Studebaker. No one cared how far off the gaps where years ago. That didn't change until in the 80's. I remember when I worked at a shop in the mid 70's and we had a new Dodge come in. Was a State of MN car and it was in to get the door decals put on. We could see the drivers door to fender gap from the door of the break room. It was about right at the top and about a good 3/4" gap at the bottom and that is the way it was delivered. Made for some good laughs at break time though.


      • #4
        Looks Great! I wish that I had done the 1/8" rod method. I am not all that happy with my door gaps, but was in a hurry to finish the car for Tacoma, so settled with them the way that they were. Might go back and redo them someday.
        Tom Senecal Not enough money or years to build all of the Studebakers that I think I can.


        • #5
          I once saw a restored '53 Commander Starliner parked at SASCO with a beautiful paint job, but horrible panel gaps. The poor panel fit (maybe worse than original) detracted considerably from the looks of the car. So, I commend Jerry for showing us how it is done. Thanks,
          Last edited by Dwight FitzSimons; 10-01-2020, 10:24 AM.


          • #6
            I love the attention to detail. Tried that on my Avanti but just kept getting a burning polyester resin smell for some reason. As usual, well done. Bob


            • #7
              Thinking of the six years I spent restoring my '48 Business Coupe, I am very impressed with the skill and artistry required to pull this off! This particular operation requires a very steady hand, and enough experience to develop a feel for exactly how much heat gain the metal can accept to allow the rod and substrate to accept the weld without burning. The patience needed to manage the weld and pause cycles is a challenge. All the while, the door and fender line clearance for the entire range of motion to maintain non-interference when the door is opened and closed have to be considered.

              For my lack of experience and the duty cycle of my Lincoln wire feed welder, I don't think this is a job I would attempt myself. At least, not without setting up some practice sessions on scrap pieces first.

              In fact, more than once during my restoration project, I would have nightmares of my work cracking and falling apart in front of crowds at shows! Thankfully, after over 16 years since...those horrible dreams never came true.
              John Clary
              Greer, SC

              SDC member since 1975


              • #8
                That's an old time trick that yields beautiful results. I had an old timer (long departed) show me how he had done that on his '53 hood and every line on that car was exact. Good for you Jerry, Robert is taking care of you. Bill


                • #9
                  Jerry, I’m glad you ended up with Buttercup. I was tired of seeing it sit under that pole barn in Tallahassee.

                  I remember checking out the Cadillac limo in your shop that Robert had stretched the front sheetmetal on, to make it look like a V16 model. All that metal work and then he painted it black. Impressive stuff.