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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

New member here. I did some research though and found tons of useful information.
I am considering buying a car. It's a 1966 289 with C4 transmission. The owner had it for 30 years and restored the car in mid 90s. From what I can see on pictures, it seems like the car was well maintained and stored in a garage since then.

I don't see any rust on the pictures, except for doors. The doors have bubbling on the lower side, with one door having a pretty deep rust.

Three questions:
1. If I decided to purchase the car, what would be the best way to address the problem? Patch? Replace door skin/shell? Replace the whole door?
2. Assuming each of the options above will need painting, what cost should I expect?
3. Do you think this sounds like a reasonable car to consider or this rust is just a tip of the iceberg and I should expect much worse problems?

Thanks everyone!

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My gut feeling is that replacing the skin will be required. Replacement doors rarely (if ever) fit exactly and if you can save the original, it would be best route. I suspect that once you get into it, it will be badly rusted through.
Also, if you have that kind of rust there, I would be surprised if there wasn't some other serious rust lurking somewhere under that shiny paint. I wouldn't want to buy this without looking at it personally.
More pictures would be a great help to the group to point other issues out that maybe you may have overlooked.
 

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This a super common place to have rust. The drain holes at the bottom of the doors get clogged and bingo- there is the rust. I thought my car was rust free but when it was stripped down for painting both doors were rusted in the same place. I had the rust cut out and small patch panels welded in- it wasn't a big job. Replacing the doors in more than just a fitment issue, you have to strip out all the innards and adjust everything which is a big pain in the butt. Lots of bleeding and cussing.
 

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It seems that the "normal" place for rust on doors is in the corners (rear corner being most prevalent). Looks like these are rusting all along the bottom edge, not just in the corners. Are the doors rusted underneath (looking up from the bottom)?
 
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100% agree with Huntingky. From the pictures you can assume that rust is going to be A LOT worse once you strip the paint. Yes you can patch or replace the door skin, but paint and body labor is absurdly expensive unless you do it yourself. Quit frankly I'd be wondering what else is hiding under that shiny paint since it clearly wasn't delt with properly last time it was painted. Unless your are getting the car super cheap, I would pass on the car and find one without body rot.
 

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Depends on the rest of the car...how good the power train and interior are, how much rust (and body filler) are in the floors, rails, behind the fenders, quarters, trunk floor, wheel wells / lips, and cowl...
 
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I am embarking on this type of journey on a 71 Mach 1 now. This car has a rust on one quarter panel, and a big dent on another. It seems that everyone is now just cutting quarter panels off and welding new ones on. I will be trying to save mine, with some patches and some body work. I am a novice body man, and I have never used a welder, but I am going to learn. I have painted a couple of cars before in my youth, but everything that I did back then is obsolete. We used to paint in lacquer ...

If you like that car, that door rust would not be a deal breaker for me. I don't know if you are willing to do this yourself and learn how to do it, and even if you are, it will probably cost you almost as much as having a pro do it, as you will need to get so many new tools you do not have. I like to learn new thing so I am buying tools, LOL.

To answer your questions:

1- I would tentatively say to patch the door, it does not look like there is a huge amount of rust there and that the door can be fixed, but you could get a surprise when you strip it to the point that it may make it more feasible to reskin it or replace it. I would say that whatever you see on the surface will be 3-4 times more when you strip it.
2- patching should be the cheapest route, you should be able to patch it without having to remove the door, or remove much from the door except the door panel. When you re skin you will need to blow up the whole door into pieces, and there are a lot of hours into disassembling it and reassembling it, skins are about $80, and I have no idea how good the fit will be. You can buy a complete new reproduction door shell for $260, you will have labor into blowing out the old door and putting everything in the new door, again I have no idea how the fit will be, but if they fit well, it may end up being almost as cheap as patching it, assuming you are not doing the work yourself. Body shop labor is not cheap.
3- I think that the car should be fine. If that car was painted 30 years ago, any bad body work should have shown up by now. The big issues pop up when you try to buy a car that was just done up to sell. Those cars may look great, but they may have cut every corner in existence to get the car done cheaply, and it will start falling apart soon after you buy it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Thanks everyone, your answers are very helpful. Here are more pictures from the owner.

The pictures show some rust in the trunk. Owner initially did not attach this photo and I had to ask for it, which is a bit concerning. Owner claims it’s a surface rust but I didn’t have a chance to see the car in person yet.
The owner did proactively tell me about the headliner and rust on doors though.


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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Owner shared the photos of the restoration made in 90s. They also said the engine and transmission were replaced. It’s still 289 with C4, but from a different car.
To be honest I’m a bit lost at this moment, trying to evaluate the options. There are some things that I like about the car and some things that I’m not sure about.

It’s a 6 hours drive, so I’m trying to make up my mind before I decide to drive there.

I guess, my biggest concern is — once I end up patching/replacing doors, they will need painting > will it require repainting the whole car to ensure I don’t have mismatching doors? Trying to estimate the cost of work.

PS: the vehicle is listed at 13k.

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I'm not sure which of the pictures are current and which might be from before the restoration. But I'd be a lot more concerned with all the rust I see in the trunk floor, and by implication, the rest of the underbody, than with the rust in the doors.
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Sorry, I should’ve provided context.
The pictures of printed photos (post #9) are restoration. All other pictures are current.
 

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That rust, once you start poking, will be way more than you think.
 

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In the first photo, you're not only going to have to repair the outer door skin but also the lip on the inner shell. In the 2nd photo the rust doesn't look as bad, but you won't know until you open it up. The problem with rust is that it's like an iceberg.. what you can see is only a small portion of what is hidden.

In our current build, where we skinned both doors, we placed the door shells in a home-made electrolysis tank (wood frame and plastic) with wash-soda, a sacrificial anode and old laptop power supply for a couple days and converted all the rust, repaired the areas that had eroded away, and epoxy primed. You could do something similar with the entire door if not reskinning to remove the rust inside to see the extent of repair needed.
 

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I wasn't there, but the pictures suggest a paint job and not a true restoration. That's my take.

FWIW, I installed repop doors from NPD on my '70 Mustang. They fit better than the factory doors. My factory doors were toast. There was nothing left to re-skin. The steel was so thin it couldn't be patched. Getting a welder anywhere near the metal resulted in blowing out a large hole. So, consider that's a possibility with that pretty, red pony.
 

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EugeneNY - I agree with the above comments. That trunk pic is scary. And combined with the rot in the doors I think this car has a much worse rust problem than you realize. Certainly not indicative of a car that's been garaged for 30 years. At the very least try to get some pictures of the underside before you drive 6 hours. My guess is its got rot in the floor boards and frame rails too.

Like awhx said - proceed with extreme caution. Don't fall in love with that shiny paint.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
And here’s the final set of photos.
So far it looks like more rust than I expected, so I think passing on the car would be a right decision.

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I think you're making the right choice. That strut rod bracket is almost falling off the car from all that rust. There's sure to be more hidden elsewhere in the car that will cost you plenty of resources to fix.
 

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