I even dig the color!

Yes, I know- there’s more important things we really need to be doing. Like the rust up front- that’s gotta be taken care of before we can put the engine back in.

But we decided to start getting acquainted with my brother’s new (used) welder first, and what better place to start than this plate bracket?

Pretty simple to make- Just had to measure the plate holes vertically and drill the upright bars to weld in some short bolts from the back side. After that, I lined up the horizontal piece and glued it together prior to welding.

That may have been a mistake.

As I was tacking the piece together, I got a brief whiff of the strongest, most noxious odor ever to sting my nose. That was dumb. Super dumb. I don’t know what kind of gas that produces, but it’s definitely not the good kind. Right in my face, too. I probably lost a few brain cells.

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But it worked. I adjusted my angle of attack to keep my face clear and finished the job, keeping the alignment dead-on. Frankly I don’t know how I would have done it without the super glue. I would have used clamps except that the old license plate I was using to line it up was in the way. Couldn’t quite figure out a good way to place magnets either. Oh well.

Once it was cool again, my brother decided to coat it with yellow paint. Why yellow? I probably would have chosen something boring like black. I guess it doesn’t matter. Once the plate’s on, nobody’s going to see it anyway.

Come to think of it, it’s slightly reminiscent of a certain flag... if only the rest of the car was blue. Ok, I changed my mind. Yellow was a pretty cool choice after all.

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For those who don’t get the reference

Once the paint was dry, we broke out the super glue and attached some little rubber pads to the back of the bolt heads to keep them from scratching the car once it was tightened down.

We test-fit the plate again and suddenly realized that something had gone wrong. Partly because I have a few old license plates, and used one prior to welding, and a different one afterward. Much to my surprise, apparently Michigan (or is this a national thing?) changed the hole spacing at some point in the past few years. The old ones were 4-5/8" between upper and lower holes, but the new ones are 4-3/4". Just enough for my dead-on-balls-accurate initial alignment to be way off.

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But it’s not the end of the world. Really, who uses all four holes to fasten license plates anyway? We can just chop off the lower ones and hang the plate on two fasteners like everybody else.

So that’s done. But we’re still not ready to weld the front of the car up. We’ll practice on the trunk first to get a little more familiar with this welder. The front will be a little more complicated, but once the truck’s done we’ll have a better idea of just how we want to address the repairs up front.