In numerous ways, almost everyone involved in the classic car hobby has worked diligently as a preservationist, whether they know it or not. For many, it's not only the act of restoring and maintaining a vintage ride in top form, but also ensuring that it retains its purity from when it was first rolled off the assembly line. Some car owners will go on quests to locate genuine NOS parts while others choose to utilize finely crafted aftermarket parts throughout their builds. Either way, the job gets done and the cars live on for decades to come. The initial teardown of Project Orange Krate revealed many issues that were not visible when it was first purchased, especially ones lurking beneath its once-glossy surface.

Once the body was stripped, it was apparent that the car had been in an accident involving the passenger side, with collision damages progressing from the door well into its quarter panel. In a past issue of Camaro Performers magazine, we covered the replacement of the panel that had previously been poorly installed and required it be removed and replaced with a fresh aftermarket section. When Peter Newell and his team at Competition Specialties in Walpole, Massachusetts, evaluated the damaged door, there were a number of issues which led them to make the decision to repair the original factory skin rather than replace it. Once the door had been stripped clean of its coating of paint and body filler, the revealed "repair" confirmed the obvious damages were pulled in the old-school method of drilling holes and using a dent puller to rework the sheetmetal. The repair got the job done, but required an overabundance of body filler. When Newell and his team reviewed the door, they noted that it fit and closed perfectly and that its edges, especially those along the bottom edge, were free from any corrosion or past rust-related repairs. This led them to focus their concerns on properly repairing the skin so it could be maintained on the car.

To get started, team member Brian Jordan ran his hand across the door panel to determine the exact areas needing attention. He fully prepared the doorskin's surface by grinding out any remaining body filler with an air-driven angle disc grinder topped with a 24-grit disc. He then broke out his Uni-Spotter Model 4500 electric starter welder stud gun and proceeded to get busy securing a number of copper welding studs in place, preparing them for pulls with a Posi Cam slide hammer.

Let's follow along as Jordan brings the panel back to life to preserve some of Orange Krate's original factory personality.