Last Call: Door Alignment Edition

If you are going to take the time to find a 56 Nomad and spend tens of thousands of dollars customizing it,

install a chrome plated 502 under the hood and tote it around the country to hawk your services,

you might just want to double check minor issues like door alignment.
Yeah, my fellow Hoons, that is not an optical illusion, the top portion of that door was visibly, and I touched it also, an 1/8″ inset while the lower portion was just the opposite. Hell, I have diecast cars with better panel fit than that!

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29 responses to “Last Call: Door Alignment Edition”

  1.  Avatar
    1. JeepyJayhawk Avatar

      Excessive use of the N button causes massive PAH!

      1. Deartháir Avatar


  2. Tomsk Avatar

    Were there a horizontal cracks in the paint at the base of the B-pillars? That condition seems to be endemic to every Tri-Five Nomad I've seen, almost certainly a result of body flex.

  3. Joe Dunlap Avatar
    Joe Dunlap

    Probably a better fit than when it left the factory though.

  4. Tim Odell Avatar
    Tim Odell

    Better not look too closely at my Falcon, then.
    That thing's crooked in all kinds of ways. Of course, I'm pretty sure it's all within spec by '64 Ford economy car standards.

    1. Tomsk Avatar

      Yeah, to hear my dad tell it (and by "it" I mean "all the glitches his dad's '65 Impala had when he took delivery"), spotty fit-and-finish on American cars did not, in fact, begin with the Malaise Era, though he did point out that the budget brands like Ford and Chevy tended to be worse than their upmarket cousins. However, he says all Mopars regardless of badge have been suspect for as long as he can remember.
      Your mileage may very, void where prohibited, etc….

      1. Thrashy Avatar

        There's a guy building a 1967 Camaro for autocross and he's running into the same kind of chassis-uniformity problems. Check out the wacky random-height spacers he needed to mount up his subframe connector.

      2. P161911 Avatar

        Cadillac used to boast of having the slowest assembly lines.
        I remember about 10 years ago I was working for an automotive aftermarket company working on a trunk liner for the Buick LeSabre. We would go out to the rail yard where all the cars came in and test fit prototype parts. There was one of the tie downs in the trunk that had to be installed by hand. We finally figured out the tolerance was +/- 1" or more. It was maddening to get erevrything right and they try the part on a different car and it wouldn't fit.

  5. lilwillie Avatar

    Both rear pillars (are they C pillars) on my 69 Camaro are cracked…doors both fit horrible from launching PAH. I say they are doing it right.

  6. Feds_II Avatar

    This is why I stopped going to classic car shows. 3 years with The General, and I couldn't look at cars anymore; all I could see were gaps and flushes. Took the enjoyment right out of cars. I had my epiphany in Cleveland, at the Rock and Roll hall of fame. I walked up to the Eliminator Coupe, and instead of Beards, Blues Rock, and Legs That Go All The Way Down To The Floor, all I could think about was how poorly the doors and hood fit.
    Since then I have gone on to embrace the wabi sabi in my life, and reflect on the fact that these machines are the work of human hands, and thus can only be imperfect. I still strive for mechanical perfection, but a paint drip, a scratched rim, a little dust around a heater vent, these things bother me no more. They only serve to remind me that I am human, and not only will I not ever be perfect, I don't even have that much time to try.

  7. OA5599 Avatar

    "Yeah, my fellow Hoons, that is not an optical illusion, the top portion of that door was visibly, and I touched it also…"
    Did you ask the owner's permission to touch the car to validate your feature story on how porly his panels fit together, or did you take it upon yourself to put fingerprints on glossy black paint? Either way seems like sketchy car show ettiquette.

    1. mdharrell Avatar

      Asking the owner strikes me as perfectly okay, even for this purpose, but touching it without permission is a no-no. We were given some of these to put on our cars at the Seattle Auto Show:
      <img src="; width="400">
      which at first seemed a bit much until I realized that nearly nobody bothered to distinguish between the new cars on display (touching encouraged!) and the invited vintage microcars. When I finally got tired of asking people not to climb into and all over my car, I taped a sign over the door handle.
      I should have done it sooner, though. Not that there was much of a threat of genuine damage, but simply because it was fun to watch people stop, read the sign, then lean forward to sniff….

      1. OA5599 Avatar

        I once came out of a food tent to find a kid standing on my driver's seat (the car was parked with the top down). The rest of the family was right next to the car, and I asked them to please get out of the car and step away. The parents told me one of they would go as soon as one of their other children had a turn.

        1. Deartháir Avatar

          So you grabbed the offending child and threw it?

      2. BlackIce_GTS Avatar

        So what does it smell like? I'm imagining old chair, hot plastic, and two stroke exhaust.

        1. mdharrell Avatar

          Add the distinctive tang of rusty metal to the mix and you're surprisingly close. Of course it's suffused with the French versions of all these odors, which are naturally a bit more stylish than their domestic counterparts.

      3. Deartháir Avatar

        I came out of a coffee shop to find a group of teenagers sitting on the hood of the Corrado. I saw rage like I cannot describe. They were your classic little wannabe punks with skateboards who like to think they're tough, and are usually itching for a fight, but I saw none of that. The girlfriend informs me I scared her from about 30 yards away. Apparently I made it across the parking lot in about four steps, bellowing something about how they should "get off my fucking car before I pulled off all their limbs and shoved them up their asses". They didn't move until I reached for the nearest one — still from about 10 yards away — to demonstrate my technique. At which point they ran like the wind.
        When I calmed down, I realized how stupid that was, because I'm not exactly a great fighter by any means, but I think my rage was such that I might have stood a pretty good chance against the four or five of them.

    2. longrooffan Avatar

      When I am at a car show, I NEVER touch a privately owned car. However, this sales motivator was parked out in the open on the midway out at the track in front of a huge transporter. As I was approaching this display, I noticed a pretty young thing, albeit employed by the owners, sitting on the driver's side fender of it. As such, I presumed that my second long finger-touch would be acceptable.

      1. Tim Odell Avatar
        Tim Odell

        "I noticed a pretty young thing, albeit employed by the owners, sitting on the driver's side fender of it. As such, I presumed that my second long finger-touch would be acceptable."
        Glad to hear she didn't mind.

      2. Feds_II Avatar

        Well, if she didn't mind the first…
        Congrats on the long fingers. You know what they say about a man with big hands…

        1. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

          Expensive gloves?

          1. coupeZ600 Avatar

            That are too small…..

    3. CptSevere Avatar

      That was one of the first things my grandfather taught me, not to touch other people's cars. He was a Hoon, and would take me to Porsche, Jag, Ferrari, etc. dealerships throughout New England as a very little kid, and I understood that if I wanted to go along, I had to keep my hands to myself. Fair enough. Then, one day while I was downtown with my Ma, I saw some guy with his hand on the fender of a car. My mom says that I walked right up to the poor dude, and in my most stentorian three year old voice, told him "Grandpa says No Touching Cars!" The guy took his hand off the car like he had been shocked. My mom still loves to tell that story.

      1. longrooffan Avatar

        I, too, taught my daughter at an early age not to touch cars at car shows and she learned that lesson well. Then I took her to a new car show in Washington DC when she was about ten. She went freakin' crazy. One time we got separated and I paniced as her mother is going to kill me and suddenly I heard her voice calling me at the top of her lungs. I spun around only to spot her perched on top of a conversion van waving with a shit eating grin on her face.

        1. CptSevere Avatar

          I get it. She must have found the ladder they always put on the back of those. Any little kid would be tempted by that.

          1. longrooffan Avatar

            That's it exactly. I was so happy to see her utilizing her exploratory senses that I wasn't even upset at becoming separated. And yeah, that cute blonde had every salesperson eating out of her hand by the end of our visit. This is her at about 5 sitting on what she proclaimed to be in her words…"Dad, check out that hip car." She is now 16 and driving a fully restored 83 Ford F150 while a senior in high school. I guess some genetics have been passed down.
            <img src=""end&gt;

  8. ZomBee Racer Avatar

    My 67 Dodge Polara had near perfect panel gaps around the doors and trunk. Hell, the trunk was so perfect you could click the lid shut with just one finger.
    Then one day I had it on a 4-post lift going up, and failed to realize the driver's door was ajar, or that it had swung open and caught on a support beam. The lift motor slowed slightly, and the car seemed to be lowering itself over the tires and I finally realized what an idiot I was.
    I was able to adjust it back fairly close with wood and jacks, but it was never the same… always a little sticky to open.
    The trunk was even more heartbreaking… I was on the final leg home from 3 months on the road after Power Tour 96, and we stopped off at the Bonneville Salt Flats for a photo op. I parked the car next to the sign, got out to grab the camera out of the trunk and as soon as I twisted the key a brisk gust of wind caught the lid, ripping it right out of my hands. "BAMM!!" it flew straight up and bent the hinges.
    To this day it still sits a little proud, and usually takes 2-3 attempts to stay closed. That depressed me.

  9. Jim-Bob Avatar

    I will say that GM never had good fit and finish on their cars. Their idea of how to make things fit well was a shim stack that could be almost an inch thick in places to get it "good enough" for a customer. I found this to be a source of great aggravation when assembling my 1985 Cutlass Supreme Brougham after I did a glass out respray. The motto seemed to be "If it don't fit, shim it!"
    That being said, there are plenty of tricks a good body man could employ on a custom build like this to mitigate the issues. First of which is just holding the bottom of the door with your leg and pulling the top with your hands. This usually will square a door on most cars that are out more on the bottom than the top ( I learned this from an episode of "The Secret Life of Machines" where they were discussing refrigerators and applied it to my own cars). Then again, a metal rod can be added to the edge of a door via welding to close a gap. Plastic filler makes the fix invisible to the naked eye and the car looks right. Likewise, a slight build of filler on the quarter panel and edge of the door that is then sanded down with an air file can also deal with a number of sins.

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