C3-Bird Cage Transplant


Well-known member
Apr 4, 2008
I though i give some info about the birdcage transplant I did to my car and a series of pictures.

It is a very intensive work to do, but in the end it was worth it.

I did it somewhat different than some, i will outline this in the pictures.

When starting to dismantle I alway just self tapping screws through the panels that i could use later on the reattach/realign the panels relative to eachother. Don't overdo this, because you probably need to adjust things when trialfitting things/

What i first did, was carefully remove the front end. The means breaking the bonds between the front end and the cowl area both in front of the door and in the back of the engine bay. This can be done with a chisel and some wedges. Be carefull not to put the chisel or wedges in to deep. So like to apply some heat. I didn't use it. I work form the bottom to the top creating a small opening with the chisel and putting in a wedge, moving up with the chisel, putting in a new wedge and pushing the previous wedge in a little deeper. You need to get a feel about how deep you can push your chisel and wedge as not to break the panel.

Most of the time the bond between the hood surround and the fender breaks. This needs to be rebonded back to the bonding strip. I took a piece of bonding strip of, cleaned it and rebonded it to the body. After drying i would fill the gap with bonding paste.

This is a picture of the front end when dismantled. I didn't make pictures of the process of dismantling, since it was not intended to be shown to the public at the time.


Next i would turn my attention to the cowl. I took every small piece of the cowl in the area where the door is. The method is much the same as for the removal of the front end.

Here is a picture of the cowl ready for mounting on the cage : I don't have any pictures of it when it came off.

The cowl itself is attached to the cage with various rivets along its edge. It is also glued so it is not easy to seperate. Make sure that you remove all of the sealer, since a lott of rivets are hidden underneath.

It's also very handy to have an AIM manual of your year of corvette at hand, since it shows where all rivets etc. are.

I will continue with this thread later on.
When the cowl and all of its components is off i turn to the rear. This part is probably the most difficult.

The rear hull is glued to the rear floor part which you can see here :


Note that the pilar panel is sandwiched between the floor panel and the outer hull : be aware when you start seperating them :
Here you can see the two together when trialfitting :


Here you see the hull itself :


The top hoop of the rear hull is glued to the inner hoop (resting on the birdcage. There is also a strip under the inner hoop which is rivetted to the cage.

When I started seperating i seperated first the rear quarter panels from the pillar panel with the same method as above. Watch out when you reach the area where the bonding strip is. I worked on the bond between the floor and the hull next, seperating them and continuïng allong the rear (in front of where the fuel tank normally is).

The last thing i seperate is the hoop from the hull. Be carefull here since the glue is very thin here. and work slowly. Some ruptures may occur which have to be repaired later.

When everything is seperated you should be able to take off the intire rear hull.
When the rear hull is removed, you can take off the pillar panels and the inner hoop.

When they are gone, you can turn your attention to the rear floor. This one is also attached with rivets to the metal birdcage. You will need to drill the rivets out (don't forget that there are 2 hidden behind the panel which covers the nrs 5 & 6 bodymounts / top of this panel). Then seperate it from the cage.

Now the cage is almost completly clean, leaving only the front pillar panels and rockers panels on. These can be removed as one complete item, since removal of the pillar panels is almost impossible. Be aware of a lott of rivets attaching the pillar panel to the cage. Again refer to the AIM for an accurate view of where they are.

Here you see the complete thing :

Reassembly is basically the reverse, except there will be a lot of trialfitting involved and moving things around to make them fit. You might want to consider mounting the doors in the birdcage and trying to get them to fit pretty good.

The places of the old screws you put through the panels should give you a very good idea of where you should be.

Here are some random pictures :


Sorry but i didn't take more pictures of this.

This is the finished result :

Wow, you went all the way there. I managed to get the rear clip off without cutting it completely apart. The only glue was in the rear firewall (with the rivets), up where the body line is (base of hoop) and on top of the hoop where the T bar attaches (also rivets there). Once I got through those it was a matter of giving it a big pull and off it came. I cheated though, I cut the rear compartment floor and storage boxes off :)
How did you take care of the pillar panels ?

I found out it was easier to move the hull around and match it better to the doors.

As you can see, i actually have little pictures of the assembly, maybe for the sake of information, you could add your pictures also. There are enough birdcage problems for people to need info on this.
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I removed the door striker panels, that's all. I don't have any good pics of the birdcage.