New convertible project - Update

Well, yesterday I made a shortened rear door, cut 10" out of a spare rear door, welded it back together, actually looks really good considering I only had about 2 hours to spare after the wife had me gardening all weekend !

I had mole-gripped the b/c post in place 10" further back and hung the new shorter door on it, and it all pretty much lines up.
Don't worry, the idea isn't to force rear seat passengers to squeeze in through a 16" door opening ! The idea is to now weld the shortened door onto the end of the rear wing, creating a long rear wing.

I have some photos which I'll post later.

Next I need to make a new sill section to make the outer sill top section reach back to the b/c post, I'm going to make a more complete section to add strength to the sill, the standard section is really just a filler to give you something to bolt the outer sill to.

Ah, I'm not that stupid !
The car came with a full set of rust free doors, well the entire car is pretty much rust free.
Knowing that I might get it wrong first time (and possibly second and third) I decided not to attack the good doors.
I was lucky enough to be offered a free set of sundym glass which came complete with a set of rusty doors, so these are the ones I am using for now.
At a later stage I may do the same again with the rust free doors, but I would also like to have a go at making some fibreglass panels, even fibreglass doors.

Anyway, here are three pictures of the modified door, I finally got a new digital camera, which has made to whole process a lot easier, and the pictures a lot better !

standard rear door in front of modified rear door.

A clearer view of the modified door, I still need to finish welding the join, but the top section is excellent, I'm well pleased !

Interior shot, inner frame will probably be removed as the door apperture will be plated over.

So with these rusty doors, I not only need to do the length adjustments, but also replace the bottom 6 inches !!!

How about the marked similarity between a P6 and a Citroen ID/DS? Wonder if a lengthways engine with the gearbox in front would fit a P6?
You could then have a P6 with height adjustable suspension...
Al, I was toying with that idea, but I was visiting my local P6 specialist (Dan, Priory vehicle engineers) and he was telling me how he was planning to build a pillarless coupe, had a car ready to go etc etc. I was saying that I was considering it based on the results of the work I had done so far, at which point Dan expleted a bit, and said there was no point him building one if I was already in the middle of it !!

I already knew I was going to build a convertible really, but I thought I had better reasure him of the fact !, don't want to put him off building another nice modified car.

I will be retaining the old steel roof as a hard top anyway, so it will basically be a coupe with that on.

while you have the welder out you could extend the rear doors backward a bit to shut the clearence up between that and the rear wing, this would make joining it to the rear easier. and on that point are you going to weld the rear wings on or use bolts? just wondering lol brains going abit at the moment, instead of fitting rear doors, could you extend the rear wings forward to meet the front doors, have the whole lot bolt on, then you could weld over the rear wheel arches and give the car a smoother look, like it has wheel spats fitted:blues:
Funnily enough, I was thinking of going the other way, and making the rear arches into full curves !

Probably won't but it was an idea.

The rear doors will become part of the rear wing, then the whole new rear wing will bolt on/off just like the current one does, with the front mounting points effectively being where the hinges for the rear doors are. I was going to leave slightly more metal in the rear door when I cut it, so that it was a straight fit to the wing, but i need all the removed metal to stretch the front door, so i'll have to make a small filler piece for the rear door / wing joint instead.

Not totally clear but I'll post more pictures as I go along.

OK , Thinking outside the box..... Why not copy the Mazda RX8 and have small rear doors ,with suicide hinges ie hinged at the rear, and no ( or hidden) door handles
Easy access to the rear seats ....
There was someone round Guildford way who made an XJ6 2 door/ 2seater by chopping about 3 foot out of the rear compartment out and just having small rear windows in the rear 1/4 panels
Looked better than it sounds
I was considering doing rear suicide doors on the old convertible, long before the RX8 was released, but there are a couple of problems :

1, Its ok on a coupe, but with a convertible you need all the sill strength you can get, and adding an extra door opening doesn't help !

2, Its too late now, Mazda have done it !

Well, I've bought a 8'*4' sheet of steel, so I'm ready for some serious work this weekend, I'm going to build a 4ft folder to make the extra sill sections, I made a short 2" section tonight as a test, to make sure I can form the folds I need.

The outer section ended at the b/c post, I will be removing the entire outer section.

Test piece of section to replace old outer section

Test piece held by my youngest son !, you may be able to spot the deliberate mistake.... Yes its about 15mm too short in the top section, thats why I made a test piece !!

Well, had a long day today, spent most of the day making a folder

Made from some angle iron and some box section, cost me about £20 in total. Just had time to fold the replacement sill section before end of play.

This section will fill the gap between the front jacking point (will be welded to it) and the repositioned b/c post, and should add a bit of extra strength, its formed from 18guage steel, quite a bit thicker than the material used for the rest of the sill.

Tommorow I will be mostly fitting this section, and re-attaching the b/c post properly.

Not as much progress as I would have liked today, had to re-make another sill section as the first one wasn't quite right, on the old car I would have just used the big hammer to get it close enough, but on this project I want to get it right !

Here we see the new section clamped in place, I did manage to tack weld it on before packing up for the day.

What was impressive was the strength of the new section, I tacked it on at the A post end with 3 half inch welds, when I removed the clamp at the other end I couldn't move the panel up or down by hand ! Not bad for a section over 3 feet long. When its fully welded into the sill it will add quite a bit of strength.

I'll have to try and do some more on it after work during the week.

Time for a quick update, over the weekend I managed to attach the rear door to the rear wing.

Attached to the car it looks like this

I've also re-attached the b/c post in the finished position

So what I need to do now is grind down the welds to a nice smooth finish, strip the new rearwing fill and prime for effect !, and most importantly, make the new longer front door.

I measured the gap between the font edge of the new rear wing, and the back edge of the front door, and it is within 1mm tollerance in the door gap ! Very pleasing !

I'm not totally happy with the rear wing yet, you can't really see on the photos but there are a few ripples around the weld areas which I'm going to have to correct, I suspect I was a little impatient with the welding and did too much at a time.

Its looking pretty good, and hopefully the next pics will have the full length front door, and I'll probably put a front wing on for full effect !

I agree with BB. The coupe look would go down a treat.
Why not do a fast back version? Sort of an Aston Martin DB5 back end. :p
I have too many projects in the workshop to plan for more sillyness, so someone else out there is going to have to do it!!!
Well not much work has been done for the past few weeks, welder went back to its owner for a little job, plus I had family holiday duties to fulfill, but the welder is back now and I finally got a day to work on it today.

I've been working on the front door, before the welder went I had cut the lock end off the door and attached it to the rear door leaving a perfect shut-gap, then attempted to weld the section removed from the rear door into the gap.

This proved very difficult, mainly due to the shaping and swage lines at the top of the door, these taper as they run along the car as well as curving out to the middle, this all had to be correct in the lengthened door.

Today I managed to correctly attach the top section in the gap, having to make a small section from scratch with the curve and fold.

Door with lock end cut off

Lock end

Lock end tacked to rear wing

Straight edge tacked on to help align the door to rear wing

Top section correctly attached, nice big gap to sort out !

View along side of car showing correct alignment and curve

Hopefully I'll get some more work done tomorrow, maybe even get the door fully welded.

The idea in the end is to possibly take moulds off the finished rear wing and door, so that fibreglass copies can be made. I hate rust !

One more thing to point out, you may notice that the door wasn't cut straight down, but with a step near the end at the top, this was so that the top curved section was cut as close to the end of the tapered section as possible.

The step meant that the remainder could be cut straight down avoiding the lock panel on the inside.