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Steve’s Ragtop: Lead loading

Posted by Steve Gosling on 1 December, 2011

My bodyshell has barely been at Creative Coachworks for 5 minutes and they’re already steaming into it.

Steve Gosling 1961 Ragtop Project

Way back in Feb 2008 (yes it really has been going on that long!) I welded a small repair piece into the bottom of the wing mounting face on the off side front quarter panel, while doing this I slightly warped the panel due to heat distortion and had later corrected this by skimming the area with as little plastic filler as I could get away with.

Alan and the team were concerned that due to the close proximity to the door hinge and the fact that the wing bolts directly to this area, there was a high risk that the filler could crack at some point in the future and they weren’t prepared to take that risk. The only option was to remove the plastic filler and lead load the repair.

To me lead loading seems an elusive lost art, mainly practiced today by people that look to do a job properly, I’m talking specialists, not crash repair shops. If you walked into most paint shops and asked if they did lead loading, you’d be greeted by blank faces. It’s (I’m told) not as hard as it looks and I’ll get to find out soon as Simon is going to show me the ropes, it’s going to be a baptism of fire!

For now check out Simons amazing work on the quarter panel – to say I was blown away when these photos arrived in my inbox would be a massive understatement. He’s clearly got some skill and I’m looking forward to learning as much as I can from him.

If you would like Creative Coachworks to work on your VW, give them a call on 01939 235 707 or visit
Photo 1: I’ll explain the process properly when I actually know what goes into it! But for now lets just say Simon is heating the lead and smoothing it into place
Steve Gosling 1961 Ragtop Project

Photo 2: Once the lead is applied it looks a little like this
Steve Gosling 1961 Ragtop Project

Photo 3: Here the lead is roughly filed
Steve Gosling 1961 Ragtop Project

Photo 4: The finished article, final blending has left and almost invisible repair
Steve Gosling 1961 Ragtop Project