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Looking for some advice whether to replace the door skin or buy a door shell for my '63 Nova. I can get the door shell for $375 from Goodmark or a skin for $150 from AMD. My concern is that the complete door might require more work to get fitted than just a skin. There is a bit of damage to the rear door structure, but I'm sure this can be straightened without too much effort. The rear quarter and outer wheelhouse will be replaced as well. I might just get the skin and give it a shot first, then if that doesn't work, then buy the complete door shell. Thanks for any advice!
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You are rolling the dice with the complete door shell. There has, and continues to be, random problems with them. The curve were the reveal mounts is one of them - the radius being off (sometimes substantially). Another is the body lines and / or general bow of the door being off to the discerning eye. I seem to recall people reporting to me issues with getting the vent window installed properly as well.

And before we get the usual person who wants to state how wonderful reproduction sheetmetal is and "their car" did not have any problems, these parts are made in batches and highly variable. Quality control is poor at best in relation to where it should be with a part like this.

If the GM door shell can be saved and is not rusty, save it. Especially with a coupe door.
 

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Very sorry to hear about the damage to your car. I hope you and everyone was/were OK. Really, if everyone is physically fine or going to be, you dodged a bullet. Tough as it might be, the rest is all just sheetmetal, and much lower on the importance list.

Use original parts if possible. If not possible, then you must expect to potentially deal with ANY changes from original. Even among originals, there is variation. Not everyone has the chance to use original replacement parts in good condition, so it's nice to have the aftermarket. But when you're dealing with fitment issues where 1/16 of an inch somewhere can show a big difference, you'll likely have to do more work to fit an aftermarket part.

I ask Adam to explain what is meant by the 'curve where the reveal mounts'. Is this where a trim piece would mount on the middle of the door? Or where the top of the door stainless mounts to the door, it doesn't have the same curve?
 

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I put a aftermarket door shell on my car and while some aspects of it were ok it was small compared to my original door. We had to build the back of the door up and to be honest we should have built the bottom up also. The lines and curvature was ok. Any aftermarket sheetmetal is going to be hit or miss. If at all possible I would try to find original sheetmetal. Nothing aftermarket is going to be as good as what came on it including any/all trim pieces. I hunted down and found a 1966 hood and back glass trim instead of ordering aftermarket. I may be looking for doors and fenders before it's over. You never know what you are going to find when you start stripping one. A aftermarket door skin won't be much better either. I just had a friend find that out on his second gen camaro.
 

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I ask Adam to explain what is meant by the 'curve where the reveal mounts'. Is this where a trim piece would mount on the middle of the door? Or where the top of the door stainless mounts to the door, it doesn't have the same curve?
Where the stainless mounts to the top of the door. The simplistic description of the problems I have been told is, some dimension in this area is out of whack that makes installing the reveal difficult to impossible. In one recent case the "flat spot" just before the 90 degree curve that folds into the door (where scraper mounts) was too wide to where the reveal actually could not be installed without cutting material out of the door and welding back together. Manufacturer refused to warranty and customer was looking for a replacement door.

The other area where details are off -- the 1st gen Chevy II doors have a specific center "bulge" or "wave" to them (as you probably know), the door skin is not perfectly flat. Also the finite curves of that lower body line on the door (where it loves to rust) not matching the same line on the fender and quarter. Not really that important on driver's, but these are details that bother some builders.
 

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I know guys who have gone to great lengths to eradicate that 'bulge' you mention. My doors have never been rusted or hit on my convertible, and they bulge out over a very gradual arc to the tune of 1/4-3/8" each door. It's the way they were made. Wonder if the replacement skins do that?
 

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Good luck finding a decent OEM door. I've been looking for months for a rust and bondo-free passenger door for my 64 SS.
 

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That's been hit pretty hard you may need to pull that before you remove that quarter remove the door skin do the rough work and pray the Skin going to work thats a bigger job that it may seem i bet it pushed in more then you think.

Do you have the Skills you could get in trouble on this job
 
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