Saturday, August 15, 2009

A Type 3 Floor Pan Manifesto

I'm a purist, an idealist and a realist--which often puts me at odds with myself on the topic of what an automobile restoration actually means and how the finished results should be. In short, I'm willing to spend the money required to get a car within that 95% or better nearly correct category for restoration quality. I've hesitated for while now in wading into this topic...but I can no longer resist.

Type 3 floor pans are a serious bummer. They always seem to be rusted through and there's nothing authentic, new and readily available to replace them with. The small battery tray repair panel that is available from sources such as C1P is never large enough to deal with the later stages of pan cancer on a car. Just so it's clearly stated, the original Type 3 floor extended front to rear, side to side, as a single large stamped panel, with the tunnel welded to it. Front beam and rear subframe bolt to it. Lots of metal, with unique angles, bends and curves. In a Type 34, the seat rails must also weld directly to the botton of the floor, so when the Type 1 Ghia pan halves are used for the restoration process, one quickly finds that they aren't shaped correctly, by default. This can be worked though, but at additional cost, and again the authenticity suffers. The purist rages, the idealist rolls eyes heaven-ward and shrugs, while the realist smiles.

The purist is really looking for a huge sheet of stamped steel with correct bends and contours that represents the full pan, tunnel optional. The realist knows that this is improbable and idealist is willing to accept a new pan half. Both the realist and idealist know this pan half can be installed nearly invisibly by a talented body shop without breaking into the retirement fund. The purist remains un-swayed.

Where the idealist and realist part ways is with the use of used floor pan panels. The idealist wants new, but the realist uses whatever comes along, just to further the project, knowing the new panels are not to be had, because T3D either doesn't have them or is not returning emails at that time.

After having bought at reasonable prices and shipped at unreasonable prices 9 pan halves and having ended up with Swiss cheesed results after media blasing on every one--despite notable sellers claims of solidity--I can absolutely say that I wish I had had a new panel option to go with. The realist ended up costing me FAR more money in the long run than the proposed pricing of new Type 3 Klassic Fab floor pan halves, which the idealist in me is more than willing to pay.

Let EVERYONE, et al, keep their used crap. When restoring your Type 3 pan, insist on new pans. Let Gerson at Klassic Fab know you need them and in turn help them keep the faith to make them!

You can email Gerson at Klassic Fab by clicking here.


olen sturgeon said...

I have owned a 1963 Type 343 since 1978 and have worked on the restoration of same during the entire time. I am now in need of a section of the floorpan. I believe that a "QUARTER PANEL" would repair my floorboard without having to replace the entire half and I wouldn't have to bother with cutting out the seat tracks and rewelding them in place on new half panels. Is there any chance that Gerson will be fabricating quarter panels for people with my same situations. I AM VERY WILLING to "pay the price" to repair my floorpan, and IF I can only purchase half panels, then that's what I'll do. Maybe your Type 34 isn't worth it. MINE IS.
Olen Sturgeon

Greg Skinner said...

Gerson's pans are absolutely top notch items. Even if you won't use the entire piece, it still might be worth it for you to go this route. HIGHLY recommended vendor. Having met the man and seen a large portion of his product line, I can absolutely say that he's put a ton of energy into producing quality items that he stands behind. He's an asset to the hobby. Give him a call.