Holden HQ Sedan


After forty six years of service, this vehicle was exhibiting signs of deterioration that were in need of attention. During the consultation, the corrosion issues on the vehicle were assessed and appraised. Each of the defect areas on the vehicle were then broken down further into manageable repairs and presented to the prospective client.

The client was given a detailed explanation of the pros and cons of each of the defect areas. We then prepared a proposal tailored to the clients budget and to rectify the major areas of concern that would impact the structural integrity.

It was determined that the largest risk would come from the cowl area (water ingress into the cabin and including the A-Pillars, floor pans, door hinges and the front windscreen).

Although unknown to us at this stage, this section of the vehicle had been repaired (by others) on two separate occasions. The substandard repairs (presumably cost efficient), had compounded the problem, driving the corrosion deeper into the vehicle structure and inadvertently increasing our scope of work.

Our process involved exploring the route cause of the corrosion issues and restoring the structure by rebuilding it from the inside out.

RHS Front Windscreen Aperture

The photo below illustrates the condition of the right hand side (RHS) of the dash as found, following the removal of the front windscreen.


Over time the moister that has been trapped by the silicon sealer (and cosmetic repairs), has migrated into the metal structure of the dash panel. The damage was so extensive that it affected the RHS windscreen pillar (aperture), where the stainless steel (S/S) windscreen trim fastens.

The corrosion damage was so advanced that it had penetrated through the upper reaches of the plenum chamber and A-Pillar structure.

Unbeknownst at the time, the corrosion had effected the lower reaches of the plenum chamber also.

RHS Cowl Panel

The photo below illustrates the RHS replacement cowl panel (provided by the owner) being fitted to the vehicle. The panel was aligned with the RHS door and fender, but required a major alteration to fit and align the Stainless Steel windscreen trim.


Following the removal of the external cowl panel section, it exposed an excessive amount of built-up debris and corrosion species. After the debris was removed, the panel sections beneath were found to be weakened and perforated by the depth of corrosion.


This area forms the underlying structure of the cabin with multiple layers of overlapping panels. This section is also the juncture point for the RHS A-Pillar, plenum chamber, dash panel and windscreen cowl panel.

RHS Windscreen Pillar / Door Aperture Section

At first sight this section appeared to be relatively solid, however at closer inspection we’ve identified some hidden issues.


Apart from the obvious lower section which was missing, the previous repairer has bronze welded a patch (over the top) and filled the void with plastic filler. Originally this section is made up of two layers (the upper & lower sections) to form the structure.

Internal Cowl Panel Duct (plenum chamber)

While removing the Internal Cowl Duct, it was noted that the seal on the underside of the plenum chamber, had corrosion embedded into it. The area where the cowl duct is fixed has been photographed below. This item resides behind the dash and relatively inaccessible to repair.


The only sure way to fix this issue is to remove the complete external cowl panel to allow access into the plenum chamber.  This was a major unforeseen issue, that if left without repaired would allow water ingress into the vehicle cabin and rusting out the floor pans.

Internal Corrosion Issues

At this stage, the vehicle was far from finished, but still had one more surprise to catch us off guard. Check out the full video of the work completed under the title Rust Repairs-Holden HQ Sedan.


Rene Farrace

Toyota 100 Series – Front Windscreen

RE:     Toyota Landcruiser 100 Series –  Front Windscreen Aperture (Corrosion Repair)

This document has been prepared with photographic illustrations to highlight the severity of corrosion damage and the recourse of the repairs conducted.

1.0           Initial Inspection – 22/01/19

On the 22/01/19 @ 20:30pm, an assessment was carried out to determine the extent of vehicle damage and to enable an estimate for the repairs to be carried out at the clients residence. From the initial review, a preliminary rectification schedule was compiled and estimated (the basis of the repair scope and estimate was the use of lead filler and two metal plates to fill the large void areas). The photo below illustrates the conditions at which the assessment was carried out (at night and under insufficient lighting).


2.0           Vehicle Review – 24/01/19

The vehicle was delivered to the workshop on the 24/01/19 at 09:30am. The vehicle was reassessed under better lighting conditions and the following observations were noted. The photograph below illustrates one of the void areas where the level of corrosion damage was more significant with the corrosion penetrating through multiple layers of the windscreen aperture.


The second observation noted was that the outer turret skin had separated from the internal support frame. This is clearly visible by the horizontal fracture line of the full length of the windscreen aperture.


3.0           SCOPE OF WORK

From the condition review/reassessment conducted on Thursday 24/01/19, the following scope of work was conducted to meet the basic requirements of the repair and return the structural integrity to the panel section.

3.1                Turret Aperture

In light of the condition reassessment and scope requirements, a complete new panel section was fabricated to match the original profile. The fabricated panel was then trial fitted for the correct contour and alignment.


Note: the multi-layers of corrosion build up beneath the aperture were obstructing the correct alignment of the replacement panel, so the complete lower lip of the aperture was removed.


Upon removal of the windscreen aperture section, the internal support frame was found to be weakened by the corrosion. The area was sandblasted to remove the corrosion contaminants and clean the metal surface ready for welding.


The panel replacement section was aligned and held in position by clecos and then fully welded.


3.2                Vertical Apertures

Both of the vertical apertures were found to have localised areas of corrosion around the perimeter of the (pillar trim) fixing holes.


The full lengths of both apertures were sandblasted to remove all of the corrosion contaminants.

4.0           Conclusion


The remediation of the corroded turret section has been completed above the standard of the quoted repairs. The requirements have resulted in time/cost variations which we have absorb to preserve the integrity of our fixed price guarantee.

René Farrace

1964 VW Beetle Convertible

LHR Fender – Repair

This video illustrates the repair process on the rear fender of a VW Beetle Convertible.

The cracks that were visible in the fender panel were the result of a failed attempt to repair a vertical fracture. The extent of the damage was assessed and a new replacement panel was fabricated to the size required. The damaged area was then cut out completely the new replacement panel was aligned and fully welded.

1957 Chevrolet Bel Air

Rear C-Pillar Restoration

This Chevrolet BelAir had significant corrosion damage in both of the rear C-Pillar’s. The repair process involved the removal of interlocking panel sections which provide the structure. The surface was cleaned free of contaminants and etch primed. The sections removed were re-fabricated and the structure repaired from the inside out.


1968 Camaro


1968 Camaro

This vehicle had the appearance of a very tidy unit albeit for a couple of minor issues at the rear wheel arches that raised concerns.

To investigate the hairline cracks and irregular contours, we started by removing the surface duco from the left hand side (LHS) quarter panel. Beneath the surface was an excessive amount of body filler that in places measured over half an inch thick. This was followed by an additional amount of fibreglass in the rear wheel arches and internal tubs.

Now back to bare metal, the assessment of the LHS quarter panel concluded that there was excessive panel damage and extensive corrosion damage in the internal and external sections of the wheel arch. Given that there is a readily available supply of reproduction parts, It was determined that the most efficient course of action was to replace the complete external skin and internal wheel tub.

Next the right hand side (RHS) quarter panel was investigated and it too was concluded to have been repaired the same way as the LHS quarter panel. The repair schedule was set to include two new quarter panels and also new internal wheel tubs.

The doors both had new external skins replaced, the internal frames were sandblasted and minor rust repairs conducted. The complete front window aperture was cut out and replaced by Rene Farrace. And other repairs included the firewall, the RHS turret and drip rail sections.

The owner wanted to convert the vehicle to LPG and provided us with the pressure vessel. The brief was to have the tank in the boot of the vehicle, but also to retain as much boot space as possible. The boot floor was re-fabricated with the vessel recessed in to it, this lowered the compartment floor level and provided the function the owner required.

This vehicle was delivered in a metal finish ready for paint.

Mustang Fastback

Lead Wiped Repairs

The rust repairs/restoration of the Mustang door pictured here has been repaired by a technique called lead wiping. At Auto Resto we are passionate about providing quality repairs and this is why we still practice this old art. This is our way of providing a budget friendly solution and still maintain the quality of a metal finish.

This Mustang is a fine example of a picture perfect vehicle. Although there were some major issues with both the driver and passenger doors. The corrosion in the lower sections of both doors were so bad that they had to be removed to be repaired.

This slide attached illustrates the Mustang door removed from the vehicle and the internal mechanisms completely disassembled. The next step in the process for this door is for all of the corrosion to be removed by abrasive cleaning. Hence the reason why the door is just a shell.

Although sand blasting is the best method to completely remove all of the corrosion deposits, the process can create issues far beyond just the repairs required. For example, if the door mechanism, glass and window regulator were left in the door, the fine grit would penetrate into the mechanism and fowl the operation. If the abrasive made contact with the glass, you can kiss that good bye too! As laborious at it might seem, prevention is far more sensible than the grief, time and cost and of locating & replacing damaged parts or components.

At Auto Resto we pride ourselves with providing quality solutions that endure the test of time.


1965 Ford Mustang

The photos illustrate the Ford Mustang firewall conversion to right hand side drive .

The old firewall was used as a pattern which was inverted, re-fabricated, aligned and fused welded in place. The process included the relocation of the heater box and the location of the inlet/outlet hoses.

The brake booster was then re- located and the firewall was recessed to provide clearance and the correct placement of the pedal assembly. The steering column was then aligned with a protrusion was made through the firewall and secured with a bespoke end plate.

The repairs were then sandblasted and etch primed to seal the metal surface from atmospheric conditions during the restoration process.

Honda Prelude – Rear Window

At Auto Resto we are all about corrosion remediation. Although 80% of our work is vehicle restoration, we also repair corrosion in modern vehicles too.

Just like this Honda Prelude, window rust is a common problem for many vehicles. There are multiple reasons why this situation has occurred, but the obvious is the build-up of decaying plant matter.

The build-up of vegetation has retained the moister long enough to permeate through the surface coating and with the assistance of readily available oxygen, this has created localised corrosion cells.

As illustrated, the extent of corrosion damage was so deep inside the metal structure, that the contaminated section had to be completely removed and duplicated.

The fabricated repair section was then fused welded in replacement and sanded off to a metal finish.

Holden EJ – Fender

Holden EJ – Fender
This fender belongs to an Holden EJ Ute.

Sometimes a clients budget needs to be staggered over time and we don’t always get to see the whole vehicle all at once.

This fender had some minor issues in the past which could have been repaired better by the other repairer. At first sight, the corrosion appeared to be concentrated at the lower rear section of the fender.

The fender was then sandblasted to remove the paint and corrosion contaminants.
After the blasting process, the fender was reassessed and we found that the upper rear section of the fender had a small concentration of corrosion perforations.

Rene created a pattern of the fender sections and then fabricated the complete external (rear section) and lower internal fenders sections.

The corroded internal & external fender sections were then cut out and the replicated panel sections were fuse welded in place.

This may seem to be an extreme approach, but at Auto Resto we warranty our rust repairs for 5 years. We are passionate about restoring vehicles and eliminating corrosion.


HR Ute (white)


Buyer Beware

This Holden HR Ute was purchased as seen above with little knowledge of the underlying issues yet to be revealed. This vehicle was sold on a club licensed and when the new owner tried to re-register the vehicle it failed for good reasons.



The vehicle was then totally disassembled. Everything was remove from the vehicle, the interior, the windows, doors, fenders, headlights, grille, the front bumper.




Next we removed all of the mechanical items; engine, gearbox, tail shaft, leaf springs, differential, fuel tank, brake and fuel lines.




The front sub-frame was then removed and the body was supported by axle stands before mounting onto the vehicle rotisserie.


Vehicle Rotisserie



Following the disassembly of the vehicle, we mounted the body on a rotisserie and commenced the assessment of the vehicle.



Vehicle Assessment

A preliminary assessment was conducted on the vehicle to re-evaluate the areas of concern. We’ve provided a brief extract of the findings, as continues.


LH A-Pillar (external section)

This photo illustrates the condition of the LH A-Pillar (external section – corrosion).





LH A-Pillar (internal section)

This photo illustrates the sub-standard workmanship performed on the internal section. Fly wire and plastic filler make up the main structure.



found the under-body sub-frame and chassis rail in urgent need of attention.

To be continued….