If you’ve come across my other Retrofuturism project PT panel van - you’ll know I’m on the marmite loving side of the PT Cruiser argument.
Although that project has been great for the last few years there’s always stuff you want to try on project cars (but don’t feel you want to risk it when you’re happy with the result you have) - the kind of stuff you can’t do to an existing custom car...
So I bought another one.
Thanks to a random browse around eBay looking for parts for the RudyProject GTi, I stumbled upon an abandoned PT panel conversion project. Before I knew it I’d had a phone call and parted with more of my PayPal balance. Afterall with Rudy about to go to the body shop and Preston in a happy place while TheHoff still sleeps off winter & random snow blizzards - you could say this was perfectly timed.
While I'm not on the marmite loving side of PT Cruisers (they could have been so much better but aren't), I did enjoy Preston's build. If I ever inherited one, I would definitely be tempted to chuck the underpinnings from a 300C SRT underneath (or the V6 Turbo diesel), then panel wagon/shooting brake it.
Today I started with giving the new PT2 a once over. I haven’t settled on a name yet but I guess that’ll reveal itself as I progress - as will my ultimate intention with this build. Not knowing exactly is kinda exciting....oer.
So besides the obvious welded up doors and inserted panels what exactly did I have? I unpacked everything that was loaded into the back of the PT and took an inventory of sorts.
That revealed some interesting facts. One, I had the wheel bolt key for the wheels nuts which was a relief. I also had two broken rear tail lights and a diesel instrument cluster. I had noticed when I drove this PT onto the flatbed trailer that it didn’t have the diesel coil light, so it appears the cluster has been changed. Ok. At least I know that the airbag & abs lights work for mot.
All the interior trim appears to be there, no rear seats as they were junked, and all the door seals & trim along with wiring harnesses.
So I then set about reconnecting the rear light harnesses to ensure I had the looms. All good.
One thing I did notice when i unloaded all the stuff was that the rear foot well carpets were damp...now that could be because, like Preston, the rear wiper seal fails and allows ingress over time, or it was because neither the rear hatch nor now welded shut rear doors had their respective door seals installed. No seals equals ingress at some point. As I wasn’t certain the first to go back on was the hatch seal.
Now you might be wondering why I’d want to put the rear passenger door seals back on with the doors welded shut...well. The previous fabricator hadn’t closed off the top of the door gap like we did on Preston. Consequently there was daylight looking upwards between the door & body. Not good and a recipe for cascades of water, which if they didnt make their way into the cabin would accumulate in the lower part of the door and rust it to hell over time.
Not knowing if I could actually refit them it was time to give it a go...
Thankfully I got both inner door seals fitted back in nicely with the help of a rubber mallet.
Whether I keep the seals in there or not over the long term remains to be seen but I’m happier now knowing it’s water tight. I’ll be needing a vapour barrier probably too.
It’s quite cavernous in there.
Interior up front looks good but that’ll be coming out I think. I have a complete interior in my shed that I think is destined for this PT.
Vegemite for life mate. My mother liked the look of these things when they first came out. I've never been sure what I think of them. Certainly think it looks better as a panelvan / sedan delivery than as a four door car though.
The carpets are wet and will need some drying out. Good news is that there’s no water ingress since I’ve fitted the seals.
It was time to inspect the body work that I’ve “inherited” - it’s early days in this project and getting stuck in is helping it become mine. The ideas are taking shape and I’m fairly certain on how I’m going to proceed, but time will tell - there’s a heck of a lot of smoothing out to do still. It does help having Preston to compare to. There’s some complex curves on the body work that need maintaining.
Anyway this is how things stand at the moment. Pretty rough & unfinished but solid.
After some sanding down with 80 grit and wire wheeling the weld lines i’ve started the process of getting the body work all smoothed out with fresh filler. I expect it’s going to take me a while, especially with intermittent rain.
Now that you've replaced the rear door seals how does the water get out? Obviously you'll fully weld the top edge too eventually but in the meantime can the water run out at the front of the rear doors adjacent to the front doors or is it ponding in there?
igor yes the water can run out forwards to the front doors. I’m going to spray copious amounts of cavity wax in the lower doors to protect the innards. Once it’s fully sealed & finished up top, and I’m convinced it’s dry inside, the door jams will get finished off like Preston’s.
I can't help but think that would look amazing with a full length bit of glass in it instead of the metal panel,,,, However the bodywork involved would probably be a massive ball ache to get right for strength because you'd need to remove the C posts for the seamless look.
Loved following your last one [Lurking] (especially with the old school sign writing to finish it off), I can't wait to see how this evolves