The passenger door is in pretty good condition and will be ok with a bit of cleaning up, the drivers door however is another matter.  The bottom inner and outer are in a poor state.  I will need to replace both with repair panels as they are full of rust and rotted through in a number of places.

Here you can see the passenger door ready to be stripped and painted.  It looks like it is in pretty good shape, but I wont know for sure until it is blasted. 



This is the drivers door, as can be seen it is in a bad way.  The only thing for it is to use repair panels on both inside and outside bottom sections.







I stripped the passenger door completely to get a better idea of the work needed on it.  It has a few areas of rust on it that I had not noticed earlier.  I initially thought that the passenger door was in pretty good shape, but after having a much closer look I found a number of areas of rust.  I started to unpeel the door skin in the areas around the rusted sections to be able to cut out the rust and replace with new metal.  Its going to be a very fiddly and time consuming job. 

I cut out the section of the door where the locking mechanism is and trial fitted the Bear claw.  I bought Altmans Easy Latches from Mid fifty a year or two ago.  They come with a cut out template that uses one of the original mounting holes as a datum.  So I was able to make the necessary cut-out before fitting the door.  I just hope that the old doors were made to a reasonable tolerance and that the locks will line up with the strikers when I hang the doors. 

Door stripped down with the old star latch mechanism removed. 



This is the cut-out required to fit the Bear Claws.



The couple of areas of rot found on the passenger door, I have peeled back the door skin as best I can ready to cut out the rot and replace with new steel.




Here you can see the original handle mountings cleaned off ready to blank off.  I am removing the original door handles to do something a little different.  I was going to remove the handles completely and use some remote solenoids, but after thinking about it I decided not to go down this route for a couple of reasons.  1, everyone seems to do this, so not very original and 2, I am always hearing of horror stories of the shaved handles causing nightmares getting in the vehicle with dead batteries etc, or worse that people have been able to break in very easily by knowing where the manual cable is if one had been fitted.  So my idea is to use some handles, but very different ones to the originals to give a sleek look.  The Handles I am using are almost completely flat on the outside oval shaped with an inset bar that you lift to open the door.  They are very small (they could really be a bit larger, but they only come in the size I have) and will almost be unnoticeable compared to the original handles.  As they are flat and there is nothing effectively to hold onto I will have to use some door poppers to push the door open.

Here is the patch tacked in place, prior to being fully welded.



After both holes were welded up it was just a matter or grinding everything back down flush again. as you see here.



Then the new cut-out was made for the new handles to complete the transformation.  I am going to use the original lock, you can see the hole still in place below the handle cu-out.





Here you can see the repair of the awkward area above the top hinge on the passenger door. 

You can see the way that I cut the rusted section out carefully after peeling back the door skin around the area.



I made a replacement section out of three separate pieces welded together to make the shape required.  Unfortunately I forgot to take any pictures of the piece as I was making it, but you can see it in place here before being welded in.



Use of some mole grips to pull the piece into place while welding in position. I welded a thin strip of steel to the repair piece then used the mole grips to pull it up into position before tacking in place.  Then finally cut off the strip and grind back down flat again.



The finished repair, ready for a little wipe of filler to blend in the edges and then Primer and paint.




I got the repair panels from Midfifty delivered during the week and am now considering how to attach them.  I have read a few articles on bonding the panels in place on the outer face to minimalise the distortion so am considering going this way rather than welding them in place. 

Here you can see the internal bottom repair panel loosely laid over the door to check fit and finish.  I have to say I am reasonably impressed with them.  I have seen a lot worse for modern cars.  You can see in the first picture the two different types of bonding adhesives that I have got to test.  one is a two part and the other is a single part.


My initial tests with the adhesives were not good.  I bonded a couple of test pieces and left them for 48 hours before then trying to pull them apart.  I was not impressed by either.  In fact the two part adhesive hadn't even gone off, it was still fluid under the test piece when it almost fell off under its own weight ( I am being a little sarcastic here, but it really didn't take much effort at all).  The single part adhesive was a little better requiring a reasonable amount of effort to pull apart, but still not what I would expect to be sufficient to hold a door skin in place.

I am going to try another test this time ensuring that the adhesive is well mixed (in the two part variety) and that there is a good covering of both over the test area.  A friend suggested that maybe the two part was not mixed properly and this was why it never went off.  I am not really sure how though as it comes with a special applicator with mixing tips.  But I will make sure to get a reasonable amount out of the tube before using it next time.   If its no good the second time I will just weld them in place.