I was given the advice to “Eat the Elephant one piece at a time.” I get the metaphor though in practicality I’m not sure how large an appetite one would need to consume an entire elephant – or how the last pieces might taste by the time they were actually eaten. But I digress. So my 48 Hudson Commodore Elephant awaits.
After some hours on the interweb searching for Dynamat alternatives, cheap hot rod floor fixes, etc and a few trips to Lowes and CAP Auto Parts for some self-adhesive Duct insulation, couple sheets of metal, aluminum tape, metal caulking and a POR 15 substitute, the floors are done. I’m pretty happy with them. I tried to find a balance between what I normally do (the minimum requirement for flair (16 pieces)) consisting of a light spray of whatever paint I had lying around and hoping it works and my totally-going-the-other-way of 4,567 layers of paint, fiberglass, paint again, bondo, sanding, paint yes again, a roll of duct tape per square foot, and some home carpet.
So I sanded the floors lightly and then cut out the rusted area on the driver’s side. Armed with some sheets of metal from Lowes, a pair of cutting scissors and a MIG welder I went to town tacking all over the place. I forgot to make relief cuts in the first piece so as I tacked it, the metal shrank and my precisely trimmed to fit piece now fit perfectly imprecisely, off by the proverbial hair. Tried filling the gap with weld and burned more holes. Tried filling THOSE holes with weld, which meant the continual getting up and stumbling over things in the now-cramped garage to get to the MIG which is on the opposite side of the car. Adjust the settings of speed and heat and retry. Back again. Burn more holes. Repeat. Finally got the speed and heat sorted. A smart man would have practiced before going straight to the car. I never claimed to be smart, but I did say I am persistent. Kept it replacing patches as needed, overlapping joints, and relief cutting to follow the contours. Holes fixed, floor back to 1 piece. It won’t win any beauty pageants but it’s solid. So after letting everything cool I went back with a very light sanding and laid over the POR 15 substitute. I got 2 pints for $31 – when I could have spent $6 more for a quart. Oh well. The stuff went on smoothly and left a nice silver sheen. It cleans up easily and I felt good that I had put down a solid layer of rust prevention.
Over the next few days I made a couple trips to Lowes for the Duct insulation. As this isn’t a showcar and I am not made of money even if I seem to bleed it out, I looked all around for alternatives to Dynamat. I’m not worried about the sound or heat from the sewing machine Straight 8. More that I wanted to feel like the floors were secure or something. I don’t know really – I just WANTED to put something down between floor and carpet. The stuff is easy to work with and the same metal shears worked well to trim the pieces. Passenger side was fast as its all flat. Driver’s side took a little more time and looks much more patchwork-y due to clutch/brake/gas pedals and the master cylinder inspection cover. It will be covered by carpet at some point but I’m happy with it. Put some 3M Aluminum tape across the overlapped joints as an added security measure. Need to spray some rubberized coating underneath the patch panel as well.
I’m sure there are better ways and a bodyman/restorer is hyperventilating somewhere as I type this. And just in case some one from PETA happens to also like 1948 Hudson Commodore’s, I love elephants and wouldn’t dream of eating one. It’s why I have one in my garage.