THE art of hand-forming sheet metal into complex shapes almost seems like black magic in this age of high-volume production and exotic materials. But thankfully there are those among us who still know one end of an English wheel from the other and aren’t scared of a planishing hammer.
Which brings us to Jamie Downie and Nate Browne from Kustom Garage in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs. They’re pumping out metal magic every day of the week, and aren’t afraid to tackle the big jobs. One of their biggest in the past year has been creating the rear quarters and door skins on Peter Sharp’s SHQRP Monaro; a project that was sub-contracted out to them by the guys at Taree’s Down Town Kustoms (DTK).
DTK has been transforming this HQ Monaro into a wide-body supercar for well over 12 months now, and stripped the shell right down to its skeleton. We’ve covered some of the previous work in SM, June and July 2014, but since then the guys have moved on to the massive rear quarters. Creating these from scratch is difficult enough, but ensuring they are exact opposites is a huge job, so DTK farmed it out to Jamie at Kustom Garage.
"Graeme came down with one of the original quarter panels off the car and together we spent a week working to create the shape that they wanted.”
Once they had the shape sorted, Jamie and Nate created a wooden buck out of thick plywood, and used that to make reversible paper patterns and templates so they could transfer the shapes to flat steel sheet and get the job underway.
“This isn’t the only way to do this job; it’s just the way we’ve gone about it,” Jamie says. “We could create the panel out of a single sheet, but the piece would be so big and difficult to work with that you wouldn’t be able to use any of the machines, so it would take too long. For me it’s all about getting the job done.”
This story isn’t so much a step-by-step guide; more a showcase for some of the processes involved in the 350-hour job of creating the rear quarter and door skins. If it tweaks the creative part of your brain, so much the better. Start hammering!