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Fiberglass gurus....one piece hand laid front end (C1) with dash or...?

Stan's Customs

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Project 1961....
It was told by a reliable source that a one piece hand laid front end for a C1 is as good and perhaps a little stronger than the press mold front ends. This is in reference to building a retro car with an aftermarket frame, motor etc., where originality is a moot point.

I was surprised to say the least because it is certainly much cheaper..... I am considering a complete front end with dash for my project since my body man isn't making enough headway to suit me....in fact no headway! Like everything else, if you want it done ...do it yourself. So it looks like I'm going to have to educate myself on glass work...which I really didn't want to have to do.

I know that several of the forum are hands on expert fiberglass men.. Especially on Corvettes...

What say 'ye o learned colleagues...? Is the fit and trim comparable? Strength? More or less difficult in any area...Pros ...Cons


Thanks ...Stan M.
 

Stan's Customs

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Project 1961....
Hey guys...its Ok if you disagree with this guy. Like I said I was surprised...that he said that.

I'm just trying to determine if that's a crock or not.

I've spent the last two chilly days and nights reading previous fiberglass post....looks like if there is a shread of glass left it's fixable.

I'm just not sure that this wouldn't be much faster....then again maybe not. Looks easier to me but I'm no glass man. I've piddled with some small fiberglass boat repairs years back and that's about it.

I'd be particularly interested in how long it "should" take to mount a front end on a bare body mounted on a rotisserie, and install new inner fender wells on both sides.

I would attempt to repair this front end, but it already has had a fenderwell cobbled into it after a fender bender and the hood opening in particular is a mess on the fender edge, making the hood a fit problem in my view.

Also the parking light area has been patched poorly has to be redone....and there is a lot of wavy body work on the other fender that needs to be taken down to the glass to see what they have piled on there.

I want this thing to be sharp....and it looks like I'll be doing the work. So maybe I'd be ahead to just replace all the panels instead of rebuilding them.....considering the whole front end is about $1500...if a hand laid front end is acceptable.

If you disagree...that's what I need to know.

Looks like...well, I'm not sure. I just want to get this thing in my court so I can get on with the project...I've been messing with this body man for close to two years...I'm tired of waiting.

Thanks and best regards....Stan M.
 

Mac

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I'm not sure where the experts are on this one, Stan. I've always heard that a press-mold front end was more accurate and less likely to have waves but I've never had to replace a front end. I'm sure a couple of the guys will weigh in here soon...

-Mac
 

Stan's Customs

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Project 1961....
Thanks Mac...

I kinda thought the same thing, but I sure don't know. Of course I did know for correct restorations they wern't even a consideration..

Looks like I'm going to have to bone up on lots of thigs I don't know about..

Must be controversial or some of our big guns would have shot it down or agreed with it ... I was hoping the currrent hand laid molds are better than I had thought, and were especially well suited for a resto project, as had been suggested to me...

Regards...Stan M.
 

henny496

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1963 Corvette coupe(pro street)
Hello Stan
I have a one pc on mine. They are apparently stronger due to not having any bonding strips, but mine was not as straight as I would of liked
I had to spend some time fixing it. I don't know if different manufacturers makes a difference in quality, but if you get one, I would not go for the cheapest one
Mine came with the bare shell when I first got it.......dunno who made it
take care
Tom
 

Stan's Customs

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Ft. Worth, Texas
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Project 1961....
Good morning and Thanks Tom....


Did you have to do anything serious to get it the way you wanted it? Was it any more difficult to install compared to ...?

I think they all come as a shell and inner fenders have to be added....but some can be had with the dash top attached or not.

Was there any noticeable difference in he thickness of the shell compared to the original panels? I was thinking that they might be a little thicker since they are not press molded.


If you did it again would you still use the hand laid one piece or would you do something else?


Thanks again...Stan M.
 

henny496

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1963 Corvette coupe(pro street)
Hello Stan
The glass is thicker and much rougher inside than the press molded parts. It is stronger than the press molded due to not having the bonding strips and seperate panels
I have seen a 67 that had a cheaper one pc front end on it and it was really bad. The guy who redid the car took it off and put on a PM jig set up front end......it was not cheap though
My car is so far from being normal it does not matter that it is not the PM front end, and I am afraid of breaking the nose area as it is( I have seen a drag car with an original front end and it was really messed up)
I think the PM front ends are at least 3 times more for the price. I would not buy the cheapest one pc, but look for something more reputable......maybe ask the company you are dealing with, for people who have used their product, and then talk to them
hope this helps
Tom
 

Stan's Customs

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Project 1961....
Thanks again Tom for the input...

I'm really just fishing.. I don't know one supplier from another. That is one of the things I had hoped to determine , along with whether or not it would be a good choice for the project...

According to the usual catalogues they are about $3000 cheaper. That makes a difference here....but I'm really concerned about the labor too... The whole reason for the one piece is to cut down on labor.

Did you have a real hard time getting yours blocked out and do you think it would be about the same on a press mold? Considering the cost factor...a little more work is OK...a lot, well then... how do you judge?

I've never replaced a front end either ...but I'd think that it is easier than a bunch of body work.

Thanks again ...Stan
 

Stan's Customs

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Ft. Worth, Texas
Corvette
Project 1961....
Due to the lack of response to the query.... I guess the press molded front end must be peoples choice regardless of the project.....

Bueller....Bueller .....anyone.....anyone...?....?
 

Mac

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I'm thinking the boys must all be in shock after the B-J auction... either with buyer's regret or envy...:chuckle

-Mac
 

Stan's Customs

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Ft. Worth, Texas
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Project 1961....
I'm thinking the boys must all be in shock after the B-J auction... either with buyer's regret or envy...:chuckle

-Mac
.....or maybe sellers regret...although I thought that some of the Corvettes brought less than last year.

Stan...
 

Mac

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This year was the Mopar year, I guess... although Carrol's Cobra brought $$$ too.

-Mac
 

IH2LOSE

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We Will All Meet Again
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1966,and a 1962 thats almost complete
Sorry so late to the post

My thoughts

Although we dont build our cars for the next owners

It seams if a car is for-sale one of the first things looked at is if its a hand laid or press molded, some times it seams as if no body wants a car with a hand laid parts

So I began to think why

First I would think press molded is actually stronger then hand laid as they say the less resin you use the stronger the repair is

second I would think if you use a press molded unit, if you had a fender bender with a press molded you have the choice of replacing just the damaged piece where as with a hand laid you have to replace the entire unit again unless it could be repaired.

When I got my 62

the front end looked like a disaster to me,I posted some pictures and the majority of the folks here said it was repairable, so that what I did I had it repaired.

Lastly

Some one recently (over the last year) had sent me a link to a discussion about hand laid over press molded and there were some concerns that one of the front ends was having solvent pops because they were not being prepped correctly or something. I hope whom ever sent me that link would chime in here as it was a good discussion about the two products.
 

Stan's Customs

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226
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Ft. Worth, Texas
Corvette
Project 1961....
Thanks IH2...

I have done alot of searches on the subject....and saw that thread too.

It seems that if there is a shread of glass left that the general consensus is to fix it. My project is worse that what your pics were in that thread. I just wonder where the line is....when does a new hand laid become a better choice than a patched or rebuilt pressmold, if ever?

Regarding the solvent pops...gell coat or epoxy primer seems like the cure for that. Strippers cause lots of problems...because so much prep is required afterwards. Seems like media blasting would be easiest...with sanding being the other. But I'm just learning about fiberglass...most of my hot rods have been steel bodied cars.

I too would like to see that link on the comparison of the two...I can't find anything like that at all...

Thanks again for the input...Stan
 
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My 10 cent's worth

Stan,

I can't comment on the C1 front clips since I have yet to install any, but I have had the occasion to replace at least a dozen front clips for the C2's. I don't think I would be wrong in assuming that the do's and don'ts would most likely be the same, along with the build quality

For starters I will address the "one-piece " vs the " press molded ", multi piece front ends. I think the question has been hashed out by fellow hobbyist, as often as the chicken and the egg thing. In my opinion the decision should be made by taking into consideration the final use of the car. If this is a big dollar thing, a long term investment, or is slated for judging, sadly you have no other choice then to go with a multi-piece clip.

On the other hand if you are building the car as a fun driver, you would be much further ahead by using a one piece unit. They are much stronger, and their cost is not as prohibitive, compared to the multi piece front end.

These clips however, do tend to be a bit more difficult to install because of the extra thickness of the glass, and they usually need a bit of additional grinding, and cutting in order for then to fit properly. As for their final fit and finish, even though they tend to be a slight bit wavy, they are no worst then the sloppy factory fit.

As for quality, well I must say that they are definitely not all alike. I have purchased and used one piece clips from all the different fiberglass manufacturers, and although I refuse to bad mouth those who I would never again purchase, I will make a recommendation as to which one is of the best overall quality.

The VERY BEST I have ever had the pleasure to install is made by " ACI " American Custom Industries " Theirs has always proven to be more then a little better that what is normally seen and is a much better product, then you would expect for the money.

Sadly, they do not offer any replacement panels for the C1's, so you will have to do a bit of homework in order to find a good quality supplier. Personally I would not make any choice, purely based on a lower price, because as with everything else, less money, usually equates to less quality.

To see an assortment of mid-years that have been treated to front clip replacement, go to my web page www.autoretro.info and click on " previous accomplishments "

Good luck with your choices

regards
Stepinwolf
 

Stan's Customs

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 10, 2004
Messages
226
Location
Ft. Worth, Texas
Corvette
Project 1961....
Stan,

I can't comment on the C1 front clips since I have yet to install any, but I have had the occasion to replace at least a dozen front clips for the C2's. I don't think I would be wrong in assuming that the do's and don'ts would most likely be the same, along with the build quality

For starters I will address the "one-piece " vs the " press molded ", multi piece front ends. I think the question has been hashed out by fellow hobbyist, as often as the chicken and the egg thing. In my opinion the decision should be made by taking into consideration the final use of the car. If this is a big dollar thing, a long term investment, or is slated for judging, sadly you have no other choice then to go with a multi-piece clip.

On the other hand if you are building the car as a fun driver, you would be much further ahead by using a one piece unit. They are much stronger, and their cost is not as prohibitive, compared to the multi piece front end.

These clips however, do tend to be a bit more difficult to install because of the extra thickness of the glass, and they usually need a bit of additional grinding, and cutting in order for then to fit properly. As for their final fit and finish, even though they tend to be a slight bit wavy, they are no worst then the sloppy factory fit.

As for quality, well I must say that they are definitely not all alike. I have purchased and used one piece clips from all the different fiberglass manufacturers, and although I refuse to bad mouth those who I would never again purchase, I will make a recommendation as to which one is of the best overall quality.

The VERY BEST I have ever had the pleasure to install is made by " ACI " American Custom Industries " Theirs has always proven to be more then a little better that what is normally seen and is a much better product, then you would expect for the money.

Sadly, they do not offer any replacement panels for the C1's, so you will have to do a bit of homework in order to find a good quality supplier. Personally I would not make any choice, purely based on a lower price, because as with everything else, less money, usually equates to less quality.

To see an assortment of mid-years that have been treated to front clip replacement, go to my web page www.autoretro.info and click on " previous accomplishments "

Good luck with your choices

regards
Stepinwolf

Thanks very much for your in depth post Bob...

That's kind of information I was searching for.

It is indeed for a big dollar long term investment...at least for me. It also will be for my personal enjoyment for several years as well.

Even with the retro-mod cars bringing more than numbers matching originals in many instances, looks to me like the the press mold front ends would be a moot point to many of today's buyers ....but you can guarantee that something like the sound system could make or break the sale.

It was even suggested that smoothing out the underside of the mold and installing some bonding strips would fool most, other than judges and builders. That's when I started to wonder if this whole issue was over emphasized ....even for resale....particularly on a completely customized resto-mod type car.

Then the issue of a possible better fit than original molds was suggested ...and perhaps greater strength in the hand laid. Woah...says me to me ....when does the hand laid become a better choice?

At that point...it began to look like that the cheaper molds "might" even be a "better" choice , "all" things considered.

Being the novice that I am on these cars...I'm trying very hard to not do something stupid on this expensive project. However, I oft times see many big $$$'s spent on projects that could be done better and cheaper if common sense was applied in the planning.

One other thing has been brought up as as well....although I don't know about it's accuracy.
Factory panels were compressed with tons of pressure, while it seems thats today's press molds are just two dies clamped together till the glass dries. I have no knowledge in this area so ..?

Many fine examples of non original cars are on this forum and several resto-mods. I am just wondering how anyone could care one way or the other.... if it was a beautiful hand crafted modern automobile.

I guess the underside would be more difficult to obtain the same detail..? But how hard is that to overcome for $3,000 less money...? Especially since we are talking about under the front fenders only....the inner fender wells are only available in press mold unless I'm mistaken.

Just seems to me like that this could be like an old wives tale, or a "just because I like it thing"...since reproduction press molds may not be like the original panels either.

What I'm trying to determine is....is the press mold better, or just different?

...if the hand laid is better, with times changing as fast as they are . I expect this smart young generation will have that figured out by the time I sell this one. If it was better, they might even pay more...or is that being over optimistic, heh, heh?

You mentioned that this has been hashed out ...many times. Maybe that's why I havent had many comments on the matter. I apologize to the forum if that is the case. I did a lot of reading in the archives on previous post made by some of our most knowledgeable senior members. I found no discussions when approached in that manner....but I wanted opinions from those that I believed to be most knowledgeable.

Perhaps I need to search further, as I know rehashing stuff over and over can become a real nuisance.

Thanks very much again Bob for time and your input. It is very much appreciated...

Best regards...Stan M
 

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