If you own a classic car or are looking at buying one inspecting for body and or frame rust is something you need to do in order to know what you really have. Many owners drive their cars and trucks around with rust problems and are unaware that their pride and joy has major structural problems. This is particularly true in the snow and salt areas of the upper states.
We start off with the trunk as we inspect the floor for holes. If the trunk metal is thin more then likely the water that rusted it came from the rear window channel leaking under the rear glass lower molding and in to the trunk. This is particularly true on Chevy Truck Restoration projects at the bottom of the bed where wood inserts were installed.
In addition to the rear molding if the car or truck came with a vinyl top the rusting process could of been sped up even more as the vinyl holds moisture under it against the metal.
Next on the inspection list we move on to the front windshield area where the bottom glass surround molding again is a regular problem and the usual culprit to rusting the channels. If you have a GM car that came with a 4 inch wide stainless channel molding covering the entire bottom section of the windshield, this held dirt over the years and as moisture from rain and washing soaked the dirt it stayed damp rusting out the channel over time.
We go on to the doors and looking at the bottom of the door where the inner and outer panels are seamed together we check to see if there are any bubbles or scaly areas. On each end of the door there is a channel inside that holds moisture against the outer panel and this usually rust out the door within the first 10- 15 years if exposed to regular moisture. The quarter panels tend to rust out around the wheel edges due to where the inner wheel house attaches to the quarter. The bottom rear section of the front fenders on most Chevy restoration vehicles are prone to this problem which comes from the brace reinforcement and is attached behind most fenders attracting dirt buildup which retains moisture.
One area that is often overlooked is the main floor where your feet go. Leave a window down once during rain and let the carpet get soaked and you will have a damp rug holding moisture against raw metal. The bottom line is to check these areas and be sure to find any problems before it costs major money to repair.