A grim reality exists when major car projects require cannibalized parts from donor vehicles that may have deserved a much better fate–if they were not four-door sedans.
The unfortunate sedans are unloved enough to become the center of attention for a cutting torch, cutting blade, or any other instrument of horror forced upon them to ensure the survival of a rusty two door hardtop or convertible during a build.
The good news on this front is the availability of aftermarket body parts that offer a wide range of choices (and quality for that matter) that may have saved a few four door sedans from total annihilation for the sake of a more glamorous model.
The even better news for builders is the availability of complete body shells in 2019--and the list just keeps getting bigger as demand for them increases in the car hobby. MyStarCollectorCar decided to pick five of our favorite body shells for vintage rides because these shells may signal the dawn of a bright new era for undertalented car guys and unpopular four-door sedans.
The rule of thumb for these aftermarket vehicles is indeed based upon potential sales that has made the aftermarket body shell choices a solid investment for both the manufacturers and customers. The “Wow” factor is a very cool automotive blast from the past and the “Why” factor is the body shells are made for auto body morons in most cases.
Pre-war favorites include the classic 1932 Ford because of its long association with the hot rod culture. Today’s ’32 Ford buyers do not have to look at a rusty hulk disintegrating in the Back Forty to find a body for these classic rides.
In fact, they can buy a steel or fiberglass version of their dream hot rod that may even have been already chopped, channeled or built to accept a completely modern power train in the finest tradition of old school go-fast power enhancement.
The first-generation Mustang has also become a mainstay for aftermarket body shell manufacturers. The Blue Oval pony cars have long been associated with a seismic shift in car tastes when they debuted in time for the 1964 New York World’s Fair.
The first-gen Mustang sales tsunami shows no signs of abating, even though this pioneer ride and its subsequent successors that helped define the Pony Car era have not left a Ford factory in over 50 years. These days a car guy who wants to own a vintage Mustang can start the process with a brand new body shell that has not already taken 50 years of abuse on the road.
Ditto our third addition to the body shell list: the 1967-69 Camaro. The General’s entry into the Pony Car Wars was an instant hit and continues to be a vintage ride legend with its large legion of fans.
Most of the original first-gen Camaros were subjected to an enormous amount of abuse at the hands of young owners who failed to grasp the limitations of 20th century automotive engineering as it applied to driving late 1960s Camaro models.
The typical buyers were young males who wanted V-8 performance and sporty handling. The young drivers got part of their wish list-but first-gen Camaros were not ready for the road race circuit straight from the factory.
The resultant crashes put plenty of dents in Camaros and drivers at the time-but the cars’ cool style is still a winner and a hot commodity- in aftermarket body shells.
The fourth body shell on MyStarCollectorCar’s choices is the 1970 Dodge Challenger. 1970 was the first production year for the Challey when it debuted as an E-Body, along with the newly re-tooled Plymouth Barracuda.
The two Mopar pony cars were Chrysler’s answer to the Camaro and Mustang. Both have enjoyed a huge level of popularity over the years and the 1970 Dodge Challenger body shell is a good way for car guys to reinvent the early Seventies with the Challey platform as a base for some serious resto mod action with modern Mopar powertrains.
MyStarCollectorCar’s fifth and final pick for aftermarket body shells is the famous Jeep. The little 4×4 that helped win World War Two was built in abundance during the war, but it was retired from active duty after the many decades that followed the Allied victory in that conflict.
Jeeps were like old soldiers who just faded away–but never died in the hearts and minds of their many admirers. The result is a strong demand for aftermarket Jeep bodies that are similar to the first-gen Jeeps that helped win a war for the good guys.
The aftermarket Jeep bodies help recreate one of the most popular vehicles ever built for a noble purpose and are a worthy addition to MyStarCollectorCar’s list of desirable body shells.
BY: Jim Sutherland
Jim Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer whose work has been published by many major print and online publications. The list includes Calgary Herald, The Truth About Cars, Red Deer Advocate, RPM Magazine, Edmonton Journal, Montreal Gazette, Windsor Star, Vancouver Province, and Post Media Wheels Section.