Tech Tip: How to Repair '55 Chevy Fenders


When it comes to restoring a classic car, there are different schools of thought. Some restorers prefer to keep as much original sheetmetal as possible, which usually requires repair and patching of rusty or damaged areas. Others prefer buying original-style reproduction panels, which greatly reduces labor and ensures every seam and contour is where it should be. The good news is that Classic Industries caters to both — we have patch panels for original sheetmetal and a huge selection of reproduction body panels, too. A recent article from our friends at Modern Rodding shows both options in action on their 1955 Chevy restoration project.

Lead photo courtesy of Mecum Auctions. Other photos courtesy of Modern Rodding magazine.

Repairing '55 Chevy Fenders


When the Modern Rodding crew started working on their '55 Chevy, the original passenger side fender looked OK. However, the headlight brow had been damaged by rust at some point, so it was hammered down and filled with lead. After removing the lead, the true state of the metal became apparent — not good.


In order to save the original fender, the sheetmetal in this area had to be cut out and replaced with a headlight patch panel from Classic Industries. This panel is cut and contoured to fit right onto the original Chevy fender.


The patch panel was test-fitted and marked where it met the cut portion of the factory fender. Then it was cut down to the appropriate size and welded in place.


The inner headlight mounting ring was also fitted and welded onto the fender, ensuring there's a solid foundation for attaching the headlight. The welds were carefully ground down to remove seams and create a smooth surface.


Finally, the headlight rim was fitted and checked for alignment before reinstalling the headlight.

Replacing '55 Chevy Fenders


On the driver's side, rather than repairing the original sheetmetal, Modern Rodding replaced the entire fender with an original-style reproduction fender from Classic Industries.


Right out of the box, the fit of the fender against the headlight trim ring was good, but the MetalWorks Speed Shop team wanted it to be absolutely perfect, so they did a little cutting and welding to fine-tune the fender. It's important to remember that panel gap tolerances on older vehicles are not nearly as precise as modern vehicles, so minor modifications may be necessary to get the exact fit you want.


Once the reproduction driver's fender matched the original passenger fender, the crew ground all the welds smooth and installed the headlight and rim.


We encourage you to read the full article for more photos and detailed instructions. Although Modern Rodding still has a lot of work ahead to get this '55 Chevy back on the road, the front end is looking great now after the fender repair and replacement. We're looking forward to seeing it once it's completed!

Looking for '55-'57 Chevy Parts?


Classic Industries is the place to go for all things 1955-57 Chevy. We offer thousands of parts for these "Tri Five" vehicles, from patch panels and sheetmetal through lighting, trim, emblems, and much more. Browse our 1955-57 Chevy parts online, or click the button below to get a free full-color Tri Five Chevy restoration parts catalog.