So, here are some of those pictures from the last couple of days. I have the wheel well and trunk all welded in, and all I need now is a good long afternoon to fit and weld in the quarter panel. I didn't take too many pictures of the welded up panels--it's really not that exciting. But here are some pics of what fitting them in looks like, more or less.
First off, that hole with my finger in it holds the spring for the trunk lid. To line it up, I put a 1/2" drill bit into one side and levered the other into place, then secured it with a self-tapping sheet metal screw. I then moved along the rest of the wheel well, adjusting and adding screws where necessary.
The screws help pull things nice and tight for welding, and generally make life MUCH easier when fitting panels. But you have to be careful, because you can make yourself a mess if you don't watch it.
This is one of the more important structural elements, the roof support is welded directly to the outside wheel well. You can see here I've got it screwed in tight, and ready for welding.
The gray stuff is weld-through primer, which as far as I can tell is just really zinc-heavy spray paint. The heat of the weld melts it, and it flows back into the welded area as it cools. It seems a little backwards, because you have to sand the primer off the seams on the panels, and then paint them with weld-through primer. But it's a very important detail. The primer provides extra protection from rust in the places where you simply cannot paint--inside the welded seam.
I am also going to hit all of these seams with a good seam sealer before I fit and weld the quarter panel in place. Taking some extra steps to kill and prevent all that rust should extend the life of the car indefinitely.
You can see I have a little bit of a nasty gap where the rocker meets the wheel well. I'll patch this in, and weld it up nice and strong. I'm not worried about how pretty it is, just it's structural strength, since all of this will be covered up.
What it looks like after welding. I've also hit this with a wire brush really quick to clean it up. I'll actually brush it good before I apply the seam sealer. Down towards the bottom you can see one of the holes from the sheet metal screws. After I've welded everything in, I go back and undo the screws, then weld in the holes to fill them.
So now all I have to to is fit that quarter panel, and get it welded in.
Even though it's been a month, I've only been able to work on the car a couple days, so there's really not that much work represented here. I estimate that if a fellow was really serious, this whole quarter panel process could be done in 3 or four days. Faster in a professional shop with all the goodies.