A: There are some obvious signs:

  • Tight door gaps
  • Scuttle shake
  • Hard steering
  • Stress cracks in front shroud and rear shroud
  • Compression buckle in main rail between engine mount and pedal box (feel side of rail- it will have a bulge on it)
  • Cracked engine mounts
  • Buckle under rear axle
  • Outriggers rotted out
  • Chassis rails rotted

If you have any of these symptoms your chassis is failing. Over the years, we have had the opportunity to examine thousands of cars, both restored on original chassis and those needing restoration. They all had one thing in common-the chassis had failed.

A: The easiest way to do this is to place a jack under the rear outrigger by the rear of the door, slide the jack under the chassis where the out rigger meets and jack the car up. Check your door gap, if it opens, the main rail structure is worn. Look at the front tire and rear tire, if they are resting well on the ground this will indicate the torque rigidity is failing.
A: No, while this seems to be a common practice it is not necessary, if you have a dimensionally correct car. The chassis is the foundation for the car, if your chassis is sound then your panels should fit properly. Some people will insist this added weight must be there for the panel fit but if you need to do this then it indicates the chassis is sagging. One has to wonder, what will happen when a car with a sagging chassis goes over railroad tracks, pot holes, and road dips. My experience tells me, it puts more stress on an already overstressed, likely cracked, chassis.
A: No, they are not. I recommend you look at the article entitled “Specification for Performance” by Donald Healey
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