Jump to content

I need to cut my cars in half and weld them back together

Recommended Posts

Like the title says, I am going to cut my 2 280z in halft and weld them back together again. reason being is that the front end on one is in MUCH better condition than the back and vice versa with the other.


My question is where to cut. I was thinking about the end of the rockers and right before the 1.4 windows. I know to measure a million times and cut once. Another reason is that I am going to build and install a 8 point roli cage which would be easier to weld and install with it/them in half.


A little off the subject but has anyone made/sell a fiberglass hatch for the first gen Z? I was just wondering. If not I was thinking of making one and if it turns up nice enough and if there is enough demand to start making/ selling them. But if someone else already does, then why should I then.


Any added input is apreciated.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I wouldn't literally cut the car in half. You probably want to use the whole roof and rear half from one car and the front clip, cowl, floor pans and rockers from the other. It will take a lot of time and measuring to make sure everything is straight and lined up.


A little off the subject but has anyone made/sell a fiberglass hatch for the first gen Z? I was just wondering. If not I was thinking of making one and if it turns up nice enough and if there is enough demand to start making/ selling them. But if someone else already does, then why should I then


http://www.betamotorsports.com (tooting my own horn).

Link to post
Share on other sites

There was a company back in the 70s that did just what you're talking about. They'd cut right through the middle of the floor then I think they cut the roof at the front or the back. They'd take a good front and a good back and weld them together to create a whole good Z.


My friend who was a Z mechanic for a long time told me about these cars. He was test driving a car and it just felt super weird. He said it felt like the pedals went farther away when you went over speed bumps. Scary part was they did. The floor welds were almost all broken and the car was sagging in the middle as he was driving!!!

Link to post
Share on other sites


I was in the paint and body business for twenty five years. I have first hand experience with this type of repair. (in other words I have done it myself) It is commonly refered to as 'clipping' the car in the business. The name comes from the fact that when you bought a half car from the junk yard, either front or back, it was called a 'clip'.

Here's how it was done:

You cut the two cars at a point half way up the windsheild opening. (A pillar) You then cut across the floor pan, usually under the front seat, and through the rockers. The two car halfs are lined up and welded together. The windshield cuts would be done measuring very carefully and butt welded so the windshield would fit back in. The cut in the floor on the other hand would usually be cut with some slack and simply overlapped. The cut in the rockers would often be staggered with the cut in the floor pan to add strength.

That's technically how it's done for the purpose of collision repair. Now I'd like to give my opinion and make a few comments. First, at some point they stopped letting us do this, later they started letting us again but it was rare. (they being the insurance companies) That was for two reasons, the first was some guys were doing a crappy job of it and creating unsafe cars. (I've driven one that did exactly what jmortensen describes) The second was that guys were doing it with stolen cars and it made tracking down the stolen cars difficult. Also, this was popular to do in the collision business because it was a fast easy way to fix a really hard hit car. If, however, this was my car, I would do it differently. I did a ton of restoration and in the old days we didn't have all these readily available patch panels. When you replaced a panel, you either made the replacement from scratch, bought it from the factory new (often unavailable) or you cut one off another car. I stitched a lot of old cars together with panels from other donor cars. This is how I'd do yours, cutting the pieces apart at the factory seams by drilling out the old spot welds. It's time consuming but it ends up being a better job, First off, somebody can't crawl under the car and see the seam.

Maybe if you can provide more info, I can make suggestions on how to proceed. What exactly is mess up about each car, what parts? the frame rails in front, rust damage, collision damage, what?

Sorry for the long post.

Now I must contact beta motor sprouts about some bean seeds.

(only kidding John)

Link to post
Share on other sites

The roof in particular is a big piece to get straight if you mess with the middle. It will oil can on you when you goto sand it unless reinforced from the inside, or spend long hours massaging it straight and much foul language. (Before I got my Z, someone must have sat/jumped on it)


You can graft the roof in close to where the factory did it. The factory leaded the roof in just at the opening of the hatch, and somewhere along the front lower pillar. You'll know when you sand through it. The sand paper will run into more resistance, instead of gliding over bare steel. It looks different too. You won't want any lead near your welding joint, as it won't really weld, and will contaminate the weld and undermine it's strength.


When creating the joint, try and use lap joints whenever possible, instead of butt, as they are stronger, especially considering you may have to grind down most of the weld and thus strength. A good idea is to use some reinforcing steel or tabs behind where you weld for added strength.



Also, I'd build a solid jig that squared up some datum points from a straight z, that way when you frankenstein the Z, you don't have to worry about suspension and drivetrain lining up.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Did this to make one of our ITS cars one time. I drilled out the spotwelds that attached the front clip to the firewall- frame rails, inner fender, and hood ledges (old microfiche calls these the "food ledge" LOL). Worked great. Well up until the carbon lump in the driver's seat T-boned an RX-7 at the old Road Atlanta bridge anyway. That split the tranny tunnel and floor pans, but my clip held up great.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd like to concur with what mom'sZ said. I've done it a few times and feel it is completely safe and gets a bad rap because of the people who do it half-a$$ed.


I did a Jeep Cherokee for the wife last year. The only thing i do a little different is butt the rockers together but i put a 1" wide piece of ~14guage steel formed to fit inside the rocker all the way around the weld. Forms a sleeve effect and gives me something to really weld hard to. But overlapping is just as good. My buddy does it that way. Also i tap down the weld just a bit so as not to grind so much away. I just grind near the tips. I sleeve the A pillar as well. Inside the rockers and A-pillars i leave the weld intact and backweld a couple of times (nice thick wide bead) as the carpet and trim will be over it and my customers always knew if my car had been clipped, so nothing for me to hide. Also with Cherokees, there's another set of thick walled rails under the floor that has an 8" overlap halfway back. I split it there, and drill out the floor pan spot welds at the very back. This creates a very staggered joint as mom'sZ points out for added strength.


Like i said, i'm very confident in the strength of my work. No qualms at all about my wife driving it. Though i wouldn't trust this job to anyone else unless i knew their work.


But i did tell the wife she'd better be nice to me the week i was welding it back together! haha


Couple of pics: (not for the faint of heart






And for those paying attention, yes that's a factory true right hand drive setup. It's for the wifes US Mail route.


Take care,

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well I desided to cut the car where the existing body panels are.


One along the rear end of the rockers, and the other on the quarter window/ trunk pillar. I have to use a tourch to get all the lead out of the pillar though and after thats done I'm going to have to lead load it again. Any alternitives for lead loading?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...