How little things can make big differences
Story and photos by Rotten "Rodney" Bauman
It was a long haul, but this long-ongoing ’31 Cadillac V-12 convertible coupe project was a runner by the time we were ready to paint and complete the final installation of the fenders. The body was resplendent in green with black reveals. The fenders and aprons would soon be black as well. We had a trimmer working on the car and the painter in me was pretty protective at times like these. However, as it turned out, our trimmer of choice was actually quite conscientious and he did a bitching job while I was painting little pieces and working the fenders.
Before I put the fenders in color, I wanted to verify that they were going to fit as well as the rest of the car. We worked hard to fit the gaps on this old wood-framed body. The fenders had been fit to the car before, but that was in the early stages of the restoration and they had been hammered a lot since then. So, a double-check for fender fitment was good insurance while they were still in first-round primer-surfacer.
Before any serious scrutinizing took place, and before any measurements were recorded, we checked for even tire inflation all the way around. A measuring stick confirmed that the passenger’s side frame horn was a little closer to the shop floor than the left.
A weak spring could have been the culprit, but that could be addressed at a later date. For this fender fitment inspection, we needed the frame level, which we temporarily accomplished with a little help from a level, a measuring stick and a small hydraulic bottle jack.
What started out as a standard, straight-forward procedure took a surprising twist in the form of a twisted driver’s side front fender. In short order, I embarked upon an emotional rollercoaster ride which took a lot out of the lil’ old auto restorer in me.
What you’re about to witness made me sick at first glance. So, I devoured a large habanero, anchovy and headcheese pizza, had a beer and called it a night. The perplexing problem’s simple solution came to me in a warped and twisted dream — a warped ’n’ twisted fender dream.